Literal Power

Technology is a only a tool; but becoming literate, that is what gives us the power to wield the technology with forethought and wisdom.

Old Advice for a New AgeThere are few things in life that can truly give a person power. Learning to speak multiple languages is one of those things. Becoming comfortable with mathematics is another, and learning to read is another. And one more: being able to read. There is incredible power in being able to read. In this era of technology, screen media, and audio and visual stimuli, we often overlook the power of simple literacy.

However, ask the parents of the four-year-old who can suddenly read the signs on the vendor carts at the State Fair—how hard is it to redirect the little blossoming literary critic to the parents’ agenda now that she can read “ice cream”? Just that little bit of knowledge has given that child new power and her parents new headaches. Continue reading “Literal Power”

Anniversaries and Birthdays

party_eWe visited my husband’s parents down in Rockford, IL, for an early celebration of my birthday. So, as I sit down to write, I am thinking a lot about birthdays and anniversaries of major life events.

Cheese Grits, my newspaper column and the seed for this blog, first appeared in my local newspaper on February 7, 2008, so for nearly five years I have been sharing random stories and thoughts with you. Five years is a fairly significant anniversary. For children, five is a big birthday, representing a move from toddler to young child, and quite often from day care to kindergarten. For wedded couples, the traditional gift of wood is given to celebrate the strength of the marriage bond that has grown over the first five years of life together. Continue reading “Anniversaries and Birthdays”

The Dog and the Bird

WritingMy dad recently sent me a box of papers that he had found. Several of them were papers from college—old tests and lab reports. Some of them were older, my immunization record from my pediatrician and the record of the registration of my birth. Others were older still: several mimeographed pages of family ancestry on my mother’s side, so old that they did not include the last addition to my generation—me. They did include notes in my maternal grandmother’s school-teacher-perfect handwriting and even a poem that she wrote—the original with edits that she made. I was aware of the poem, but had only seen the edited version. I had never before seen the original.

The papers he sent also included something I never knew about: Continue reading “The Dog and the Bird”

Everybody’s a Critic

Not too long ago my daughter related a dream that she had. It was about a truck who wouldn’t clean up after himself and was in a big mess. A bulldozer came by but wouldn’t help him. A dump truck came by but wouldn’t help him. A crane swung by, but wouldn’t help clean the mess either. Finally a hook-and-ladder truck came by and helped him clean up the big mess.

There were several things about this dream that I liked.

Continue reading “Everybody’s a Critic”

Wow! Versatile Blogger Award!

Fellow blogger and online friend Sylvia Morice just gave me the Versatile Blogger Award, a floating blog award that travels around the net. I am excited to accept this award, and happy to pass it along to other bloggers whose writing on many and varied topics has intrigued me.
One of the things requested of the versatile blogger award recipient is to list seven things about yourself. The other is to recommend seven other bloggers to your reader. Here it goes: Continue reading “Wow! Versatile Blogger Award!”

Timeless Teenage Angst

I’ve started a project to transfer my childhood and teenage journal entries from their yellowing and crumbling pages into electrons on a computer screen. It’s a mammoth project because I have been writing since I was exchanging letters and poems with my maternal grandmother as a little girl.

One of the entries that I just transcribed was held in a three-ring-binder by a single hole punched into a collection of motley, scavenged notepad sheets. I looked at papers on which I had scrawled my thoughts, and I realized that the electrons could never replace the actual writings. This collection of tiny notepaper contains more than words, it holds a clue to my daughter’s obsession with collecting paper and notepads. Apparently her strategic foray each day into the office at the preschool to collect notepaper from the manager is genetic and not a side effect of watching too many episodes of Blue’s Clues.

But today my thoughts are about the words on those pages written a few months before I graduated from high school. I knew where I was going to college and how my college tuition was going to be paid for; so I laughed out loud when I read the first couple of lines of a really bad teenage angst poem I wrote about going to college:

Alas, alas, my childhood has passed and where do I go now?
What do I do? What do I do? What career do I pursue?
Will it be doctor, lawyer or Indian chief—
Reporter, pilot or dancer? Good grief.

Good grief is right, Michele. Let’s lower case the DRAMA.

Or maybe not. This was a HUGE question in my life that I thought I had to answer—immediately if not sooner. I suspect many high school seniors feel this way. Continue reading “Timeless Teenage Angst”