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New to Kindle – Tourist Trap

New to Kindle: My short true crime book on the Oba Chandler case. Just 99 cents!

Longtime readers will remember this story. Now I’ve put it up on Kindle for everyone to enjoy.

Please buy and share. Thank you for your support.

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The Grand Old Opry — On Fire?

One day I was eating lunch alone. I was captivated by the conversation of two men sitting at the table beside me. They were talking about their hobbies. One man talked about how he had been playing guitar most of his life. He told a story that was compelling whether it was true or not.

He said he played the Grand Old Opry in 1979. He was 19 years old. He was an opening act. He can’t remember the headliner.

He said backstage was like nothing he had ever seen. There were lots of beautiful women. He saw things he hadn’t seen before or since.

When it came close to time go on stage he was shaking like a leaf. The stage manager asked if he was nervous.

He replied that he was very nervous. The stage manager told him he would be ok. Then he said something that will never be forgotten.

“Just go out there and play like your ass was on fire”! he exclaimed.

And so, he did. He hit the stage full of confidence and played a great set.

 

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The Hard Romance of Grief: Mark Liebenow riffs on losing a spouse

About a year ago I experienced the loss of someone close to me. The pillars shook, the sky fell, and the ground gave way. At times it felt as if I was adrift in white water and unable to swim. Many times I sought comfort in the written word. That is when I discovered the writings of Mark Liebenow.

This week’s guest post comes from Mark. He writes about grief from a very personal space: the loss of his beloved wife. The loss was unexpected, and the void incomprehensible. “I fear that if I do not face grief directly, it will tear me apart inside,” Liebenow writes. Mark has written a book and several articles. In this post he compares grief to romance. The similarity is enticing. I thank Mark for allowing me to share his work.

The Hard Romance of Grief

by Mark Liebenow

I admit it’s unexpected, but I find Grief romantic.

She gives me her undivided attention, but she’s bad-ass. A tiger-woman. Wounded-little-bird-woman. Wild frontier-woman with soft doe eyes and fishnet stockings. I never know what she’s going to do next.

Grief whispers in my ear, entices me to dig deeper into emotions than I want to go. Asks what I loved best about Evelyn, and twists the knife. “You don’t have that anymore, do you?” Then she slams me to the floor, walks out of the door.

Never a dull moment with her.

All I wanted was a fling, something to distract me for a month from the incessant battering of Death. I didn’t realize they were cousins and talked to each other behind closed doors.

I’m falling in love with her melancholy ways. She’s sexy and mysterious, but my god, so intense! When I finally straggle to bed, she crawls in beside, wanting to cuddle. But her skin is cold, and she stares. I don’t think she ever sleeps. Every night at 3 a.m. she wakes me to go party at the Bar of the Dead, a catacomb dive with morose skeletons listening to Tom Waits.

Push-me, pull-me. Whatever. She gets what she wants. A siren singing to my sailor, luring me to her crashing rocks. She’s manic. I’m depressive. We’re a great pair.

Grief strokes my hair, and listens as I pull out my heart in pieces and chunks. Pours another drink, says, “Tell me more.” But she has no memory, and tomorrow I’ll have to repeat my stories again.

She’s a roller-coaster ride through the dark with a 10-second loop.

She says suffering proves the depth of my love. I tell her to “Stuff it. I don’t need to prove anything to you!” She whacks me in the head. I call her names, she calls me worse. I apologize. It’s this way with us. But I could use less drama.

Grief is driving this big rig without brakes, and we’re barreling down the mountain highway so out of control that I scream until I pass out. When I wake up, she’s leaning over and says, “I will never leave you.” And I believe her. I have to. She’s all I have left.

One day she goes out for cigarettes and whiskey, and is gone for an hour. I get a tattoo of her, but when she leaves again and doesn’t return, I think I’m so pathetic that even Grief doesn’t want to hang around.

A year later, after I’ve forgotten about her and have begun talking to other women, she sneaks up, whacks me behind the knees, and down I go, sobbing. I wail that I missed her, but she brushes me off. Tells me not to forget again. And she’s gone.

She drops by now and then, especially when our song comes on, and asks if I’ve thought about X or Q. I haven’t. So I make coffee. We discuss Q, then X, and I come to see what she was trying to help me understand a year ago.

I thought I loved Grief, but what I wanted was to feel not dead.

——————————————————————

This article was originally published by The Rebelle Society.

Mark Liebenow is the author of four books, most recently “Mountains of Light: Seasons of Reflection in Yosemite”, his account of going into nature to deal with grief. His essays, poems, and critical reviews have appeared in journals like the Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Fifth Wednesday Journal.

You can view his website at http://markliebenow.com and follow him on Twitter at @MarkLiebenow2

Mark also has an excellent grief blog at

http://widowersgrief.blogspot.com/

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Shooting at Carrollwood area Ross store in Tampa

 

From: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

On September 24, 2016 at 8:51 p.m., a white male walked into the Ross store
located at 14940 N Dale Mabry Hwy. armed with a handgun. He walked towards the
front counter and then to the rear of the store.

At that time, patrons and
employees started evacuating the store.

Employees heard gunshots and the male
was subsequently found deceased by deputies a short time later.

There were no  injuries to any patrons or store employees. This is all the information that  will be released at this time

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Have you heard the Dawn Chorus?

Have you ever heard the dawn chorus? This is what they call the singing of a large number of birds before dawn each day. Especially in the spring.

There was a period of time, not too long ago, when I had to be outside just before dawn every day. Hearing the dawn chorus was breathtaking, motivating, and inspiring all in one. First you hear a couple of birds. Then a few more start. Then a few more. Before you know it, the air is filled with bird song. If you pause long enough to catch it, it seems like the entire planet is ALIVE. I’m no hippie, but it’s a wonderful feeling.

When spring comes around, try taking your first cup of coffee outside. Be still for a few moments and listen. It is an amazing feeling.

dawnchorus

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Stephen King: A man’s life was five dogs long

This is an evocative of a paragraph as any I have read. So I will let it speak for itself.

 

“A man’s life was five dogs long, Cortland believed. The first was the one that taught you. The second was the one you taught. The third and fourth were the ones you worked. The last was the one that outlived you. That was the winter dog. Cortland’s winter dog was Negrita, but he thought of it only as the scarecrow dog…”

 -Stephen King, “Ur”, from the short story collection “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams”. Copyright 2015

 This passage was King imitating what a Hemingway novel would sound like had Hemingway continued writing.

 

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Eight ways to honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is more than just the unofficial kickoff to summer. As you ride boats, enjoy the beach, and cook out with your families, take time to remember our fallen American heroes. My family has fought in every single American war. Thankfully, none of them have died while in service, but it gives us a good dose of perspective.

Cathy Maxwell gives eight great ways to honor the fallen:

1. Take part in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm
Wherever you are, stop, and give a minute of your time in reflection or prayer.

2. Be a part of your community
Take part in a local parade or commemorative service. Most cities will hold concerts.  If yours doesn’t, you will be able to catch the televised National Memorial Day Concert on Capitol Hill Sunday evening.

3. Purchase a poppy from a VFW member
They usually sell them for a donation in front of shopping centers.  Tie a poppy to your purse or your lapel. Remind the masses that this isn’t just a day to find great deals on used car.

4. Crank up the tunes
Make a patriotic music playlist and hang the red, white, and blue.  Remember other decorations such as bunting. 

5. Keep your family’s personal military history alive
Ask your military family members for personal stores of what they experienced while they served.  If they are willing, make a recording or take notes. This truly is history alive. Not only is it military history, it is family history. Don’t let these experiences fade.

6. If you are a Veteran, please, take a moment to write your own history
Some things you might not want to share, but what you will can change over time. Don’t mothball your service awards, either. Share them. Perhaps scan your service records and letters to a digital format.

7. Donate to a charity that supports our military in ways our government doesn’t.
I recommend looking up organization on Charity Navigator to determine if the charity is true to its promise.

8. Volunteer
Consider helping the USO in its mission to help active duty personnel and their families.  The VA  Hospitals also need help.  Check the  http://www.volunteer.va.gov website for more information.

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