“Burn, Burn, Burn”

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” — Jack Kerouac

The Power To Go by Paul Calle

The Power To Go by Paul Calle

Another entry for the Rocket City Bloggers Year-Long Blogging Challenge: What are you passionate about?

What am I passionate about?

Doing my tiny part to put human footprints in the dust of another world. • Enabling someone to get on stage and make people laugh, a lot. • Making my nieces and nephew laugh. • Inspiring someone toward one of those moments where they realize that God is much much bigger than we think. • Telling a story in a way that gets someone excited about something it never occurred to them to be excited about. • Writing words that succeed in saying something I really want to say. • Helping someone I love realize she’s capable of something she didn’t know she could do. • Seeing the world from a slightly different perspective than I’ve seen it before. • Sharing that perspective with someone who’s never had the opportunity to see it. • Heading up a mountain with my hiking stick in my hand. • Hearing a song that resonates through my heart like a tuning fork. • Returning to those places where my soul knows exactly where I am. • Living a moment with friends that I know I’ll be reliving for a long time to come.

Those sorts of things.

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situtation you believe to be the will of God.” — Jim Elliot

“Get absolutely enthralled with something. Throw yourself into it with abandon. Get out of yourself. Be somebody. Do something.” — Norman Vincent Peale

“Catch on fire with enthusiasm, and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” — John Wesley

“It is a remarkable thing that some of the most optimistic and enthusiastic people you will meet are those who have been through intense suffering.” — Warren Wiersbe

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

“What you risk reveals what you value.” — Jeanette Winterson

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world nees is people who have come alive.” — Gil Bailie

“I don’t want to survive. I want to live!” — Caption of the Axiom, “WALL•E”

“In a world full of people, only some want to fly. Isn’t that crazy?” — Seal

Mourning And Night

So the Rocket City Bloggers are doing a Year Long Blogging Challenge, where there’s a prompt for each week of the year. Since I’ve been remiss in blogging lately, I missed the first three prompts, but I figured I would do something for this week’s: “What is your favorite joke/cartoon?”

If I had more time, this would have a long explanation about the history of the cartoon and an aside about the joys of collaboration. Instead, I’ll just say my friend Lain is brilliant and here’s a cartoon we did:


Rocket City Bloggers Carnival — Summer in the “City”

Image unrepentantly stolen from Entirely Adequate’s submission for the carnival. Used without permission, unless she tells me to take it down.

For those who don’t know, I’m part of an incredibly awesome group of local bloggers, known as The Rocket City Bloggers. Basically, as a group, we write things, share things we write with each other, eat things, and talk about writing things. And sometimes write about eating things. And often write things about talking about writing things, but that’s getting kind of meta. Like I said, it’s an awesome group.

Also, once a month, we have a blog carnival, in which those of us who aren’t too lazy (Bo, I’m looking at you here) all write posts about the same topic, and then one of us publishes a post linking to all of the other posts.

This month, the theme is “Summer,” and the host for the month is yours truly.

So, welcome, then, to the Rocket City Bloggers June Carnival.

Here are this month’s posts:

• From the “Mrs. Mood” blog, we have Who Else Is Ready?: “I know, I know, here we are on the inauguration of June but I am here to tell you, I am ready for Christmas.”

• Over on “Ninasoden,” there’s Summer Then & Now: “Summer time used to be a time of running around in the sprinklers and riding my bike for hours before finally running into the house truly exhausted and collapsing on the living room floor.

• “Calluna” wrote a post titled Summer As I Knew It: “The routines of the first 21 years of my life were dictated by a school calendar.”

• At “Girl Gad About,” you can read Summer Editorial Calendar: “To all my wanderlust-stricken love bunnies out there, Girl Gad About plans to implement a summer editorial calendar.”

• Over on “Entirely Adequate,” there’s Unscheduled Summers Provide The Best Memories: “Nearly everyone I know who has kids spends tons of money and time striving to plan the perfect summer.”

• And, for those who missed it, I posted my entry on Monday, How’re Dem Seasons? Summ’er Not As Good As Others: “When I was younger, as should be the case with every red-blooded American child, my favorite season was summer.”

• As an added bonus, I’ll include this submission from “Successful Freelance Writer,” who, participating the carnival for the first time, didn’t quite get the theme idea, but did put in enough of an effort to actually send something. Next time, though, it’s all gonna be theme-related again, so don’t nobody go getting any ideas: Taking Steps to Build A Writing Career

Visions of Meals Past


When I read that the topic for this month’s Rocket City Bloggers blog carnival was “food,” I assumed it would be a walk in the park.

Surely, I thought to myself, I have some lovely definitive post about food that I can submit as my entry.

So I searched through my archives, and was surprised at how little I had, being a man who loves food and all. And, in reading the little I had, it made me realize that I really didn’t know what I would say if I were to try to write a definitive post.

But in looking at old posts that I might could submit, I came across one about things I ate on a business trip to Cleveland that had a lot of good photos, and that inspired me to look at some of my old food photography.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here about my 365project, but I am still doing it, and this inspired me to go back through and collect all the food and drink pictures I’ve taken in over two years of doing the project. The results were actually rather interesting. Some of the pictures were much better than others, there were some interesting recurring things (Starbucks and pizza in particular), and then some others that, when viewed together, somewhat say some interesting things about food and how and what we eat.

Got Ink?

So this month, the shared topic for the Rocket City Bloggers’ “carnival” is “your favorite tool.”

It’s proven to be a challenging topic. What to write about?

Certainly, a leading contender would be my iPhone. I’ve written before about how life-changing it is — how, with it, I’m basically a cyborg.

There’s a good case to be made that I should write about one of the amazing Pampered Chef tools I sell, and, to be sure, they are pretty awesome. Or, along a similar vein, my Foreman grill, with which I produce much tastiness.

But the truth is, as hard as it is to imagine now, I’ve lived without those things.

I couldn’t imagine living without a pen.

I have at least one with me always, and have for as long as I can remember. Back when I was starting my newspaper career, not only was my iPhone unimaginable, even a cell phone was years away. But I always carried a pen.

Today, I carry three. I’ve always carried at least two, in case one died, and now added a third one for when I need a different color. The exact type has changed over the years — for a while, one was a disposable fountain pen, and another was purely dedicated to signing books. In general, I like my pens cheap enough to lose, but not too cheap to write with comfortably. A smooth rollerball is vital.

Over the years, some of my pens’ duties have been usurped. When I started college, I would compose in ink. Now, that’s almost unheard of, as the way I’ve written has changed. Today, even just simple note-taking is done on my phone far more often than scratch paper.

But ink still has a power that a digital device doesn’t. When I write a check or sign a credit card receipt, ink gives the paper the authority of my name. I could write the most moving letter I could come up with in e-mail, but there’s still something intimate and meaningful about conveying the same message in handwriting, particularly as the written word becomes more and more rare.

As a writer, it’s easy to see the pen as a totem for myself, a physical representation of my identity. But it’s more than just a symbol — whether it’s a signature on a check or a heartfelt note, ink still captures and embodies “me” in a way few things can.

Carnival Time Again

I participated once again in the Rocket City Bloggers monthly blog carnival.

This time, the topic was family, and the carnival was hosted at Rocket City Mom.

Go check out the other great posts from local bloggers!