Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

A Loss of Innocence

dreamstimefree_218013

I grew up in the fifties and it was a great time to be a kid.  We walked the streets in safety, we went to school without fearing for our lives and we spent hours playing games like cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians.  We used our imaginations and built forts in the snow, made bows from string and willow branches, and spent hours shooting water pistols at each other while we pretended we were Flash Gordon destroying space monsters.  It was an innocent time and an era where a small child’s imagination knew no limits.

Now, children are being subjected to mass hysteria, brought about by the tragic shootings that have occurred.  Their toys are being considered lethal weapons and they are being punished for using their imaginations.

Police arrested a seven year old boy for bringing a Nerf style gun to school.  A six year old little girl was expelled for bringing her brother’s toy gun to class for show and tell.  A five year old (yes, five years old) boy was reprimanded for building a toy gun out of Legos in an afterschool program.  Another five year old was suspended from school and subjected to a psychological evaluation.  Why?  Because she was overheard talking with a classmate about shooting each other with a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun.  So, she was labeled a terrorist threat and now other schools will not accept her as a student.

Schools have taken a zero tolerance towards guns in school.  Who can argue with that in light of recent events?  BUT, where does good judgement come into play in this policy?  These are not guns, they are toys!  How far is this going to escalate?

Have we really become so fearful of a child having a toy gun that we arrest them or label them terrorists?  For heaven’s sake, they are too young to have any idea of why they are being punished.  Are we so intent on enforcing Zero tolerance policies that we are willing to have innocent little children arrested, expelled or suspended from school for possessing a toy?

Let’s get a grip!  We need to look at what we are doing and stop projecting our fears onto our children.  Yes, we need to be vigilant, it is a violent and dangerous world out there.  But, we also need to let our children enjoy their innocence and not be punished for using their imaginations.  We need to exercise good judgement and think before we punish a child for being a child.

10 Comments »

I Cry..I Mourn..I Pray

imagesCATCYE1N

I was having lunch with Danny on December 14, 2012. We were watching the noon edition of the news on the television, when the report of a shooting in Newtown, Ct. was reported. Details were sketchy, but the announcer said that twenty-six people had lost their lives, many of them children.

I set down my glass, grabbed my napkin, and cried. Danny and I were speechless as the report stated that innocent children had lost their lives at the hands of one, evil gunman. I cried.

I looked at Danny; he was sitting, motionless, and tears were streaming down his face. We couldn’t speak, we could only listen and shake our heads in disbelief.

We watched as the video showed small, helpless children being evacuated from the school, with their hands raised in the air and terrified looks on their faces. I cried.

We saw frightened parents outside the school, waiting for word of their children, not knowing if they were dead or alive. I cried.

As the days passed, we watched as the reports came in about the heroics of the principal and the teachers, who lost their lives trying to protect their students and I wept.

Then, the mourning began. I mourned for the unbelievable loss of these twenty-six precious lives.

I mourned for the parents, I mourned for the families, and I mourned for the nation.

Time will pass and we will all move on, as difficult as that is to believe right now, and as hard as this horrifying event is to accept. But, we will never forget and that is right.

Now, I pray. I pray that these angels in heaven will watch over us and feel the love we send their way, in our thoughts and prayers.

I pray that the parents, families and the nation will begin to heal.

And, I pray that nothing like this ever happens again.

God hold you tight, sweet angels! Rest in peace.

2 Comments »

When Writers Drop the F Bomb

johnny_automatic_wise_owl_on_books
I have a pet peeve. I hate the word F**k, whether it be in conversations or articles, or books. This aversion to what I call the “F Bomb” is not new. So, before you start thinking that this is just a prudish Grandma’s outlook on this subject, let me tell you that I have always hated this word. Why? Because it is a crude, nasty and offensive word that makes me cringe every time I have heard it used or seen it used by a writer.

Let’s start off with the definition. I’ll give you the short version, it’s the act of sexual intercourse! No big surprise, after all, this word has been around since the 1400’s, so most people know what it means. These days, it is thrown out as an intensifier or an insult but basically the use of the word is universally found to be just downright vulgar.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not consider the act of sex to be vulgar. Far from it, I believe intercourse can be the most heavenly thing (oh, yes, even at my age!) But, try turning to your partner, look into his or her eyes and ask, “Do you want to f**k?” Good luck on that one, you romantic devil you.

So, why do we, as writer’s, consider it necessary to use this word in our works? Some writer’s use it for the simple shock factor. They believe that putting the F bomb in their titles will draw an larger audience. Or, they drop the bomb numerous times in their piece, feeling that they are relating with their readers.

I, for one, will quickly scroll down if you have the F word in your title. Sorry, just the way I am! If I start reading your piece and you start dropping the bomb more than once, I run for the hills and quickly go to block, unfollow or whatever method I can find to prevent me from having to read your work again. So, if your target audience for your writing is limited to readers who are used to the continuous use of this vile word…count me out. But, if you truly want a larger audience, don’t drop the bomb. Use another word, phrase or intensifier to put your thoughts out there!

If you argue that it is necessary to use the bomb to keep up with today’s readers, I point you to the books of one of the most read writers over the past 3 or 4 decades, Stephen King. He’s a master at using characters from all walks of life, and I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that I’ve had to duck the F bomb in any of his books, and I have read the majority of them. If he has used the F word, it was so subtle that I didn’t feel I had been slapped in the face with it.

So, is it really necessary to use the word f**k to attract readers…I think not. And as for the word “Motherf***er,” don’t even get me started. That’s another rant for another day.

DO YOU DROP THE BOMB? WHEN AND WHY OR WHY NOT?

22 Comments »

Is It Too Late To Unbottle?

“Artists who begin late are sometimes said to unbottle.” said Nanuzzi.

Excerpt from Duma Key by Stephen King

 

I have always dreamed of being a writer.

When I was much younger than I am now, I took my first creative writing course.  Before the course ended, my instructor called me aside and told me that I had a talent for writing and that I should pursue a career in it.  I thanked him and walked away.  At the time, I was raising three children, trying to make a second marriage work and had just started a job in the banking industry that offered an opportunity for growth and a career.  So, I stuffed my dreams of writing in a bottle and moved on.

A few years ago, I decided to sign up for online writing courses, curious to see if I did have any talent in that direction.  During the courses, I found that I not only enjoyed writing, but I was also surprised that I liked my writing, and so did my instructors.  But, once again, I turned my back on my ambitions and continued on with my life.

I believe that I hesitated to pursue my dream, not due to a lack of time or obligations I had, but because I had a lack of self-confidence and a fear of rejection.  So, the dream was kept in a bottle for most of my life.

Last year, I decided to once again dip my toes into the waters of writing.  I had heard about blogging, and felt that it was a low-risk method of trying to write something that people might actually read.  I searched around the Internet; looked into numerous blog sites and signed on for one.

I started off slow, did more reading than actual posting, and when I did post, it was an impersonal and silly piece that I had written a while back for one of my writing classes.  I was stunned when I got comments and even more stunned when people actually liked it!

Lately, I have found that my posts have taken on more of a personal note.  I find that my talent lies in writing about life experiences or issues that have deep meaning for me.  I am quite proud of some of the writing I’ve done when I’ve stayed in this area; although I will still post silly articles because they make me laugh!  But, I will leave the writing of the next great american novel to someone more experienced and motivated than I.  I will be happy if I can move forward and write a novel.  It would be a legacy for my grandchildren and a source of pride for my family.

I was quite pleased when another website contacted me and asked to publish some of my pieces on their website.   I was floored when one of those articles received more than 39,000 views.  It proved to me that some people actually liked my efforts. I am very close to actually sending out some of my work to publishers, as I feel I can handle rejection now, much more so than when I was younger.

Unbottling can be unsettling.  Ideas bombard my thoughts and I have to keep a pad around, so I can use the ideas in the future.  But, I no longer keep those ideas and my ambition to write kept bottled up.

So, is it ever to late to unbottle?  I don’t think so…what about you?

 

26 Comments »

Absolutely the best idea since mulch!

1 Comment »

Little Heroes with Big Hearts

I was feeling down and went traveling through the Internet highway in search of something to cheer me up. I don’t know how I stumbled into the “My Hero Project”, but was very glad I did. I found a lot of little heroes with big hearts who did big things.

This is Alexandra Scott, who was diagnosed with cancer before the age of one. She wanted to help other children with cancer so she opened a Lemonade Stand to raise money for cancer research. She was four years old when she opened her first stand but managed to raise $2000 in the first year. People heard of Alex’s lemonade stand and joined her cause by opening more stands to raise money for cancer research. Before she passed away at the age of eight, she had raised a total of $700,000 which was just short of her goal of one million. But, her cause is carried on by others in the Alex’s Lemonade Foundation, which has raised millions over the years for childhood cancer research.

Her foundation’s goal is the same as the day Alex started her first lemonade stand. They fight childhood cancer, one cup of Lemonade at a time.

And, this is Anthony D. Leanna, who at the age of ten, spent a lot of time in the hospital with his grandmother who was battling breast cancer. Anthony noticed that many of the patients on the floor had no hair, so he decided to start a community project called “Heavenly Hats.” He started this project in 2001 when he was ten years old. He held hat drives and drove through communities collecting brand new hats for cancer patients and patients who have lost their hair due to medical treatments. “I wanted to provide comfort, warmth and kindness to people who were going through a rough time,” he said. His foundation has raised over 1,200,000 hats for patients since then.

In the words of one of the patients, “The hats you sent me not only brightened my day, they brightened my life.”

Now meet Brandon Keefe, who overheard a conversation his mother was having about the lack of a library in a local home for orphans. He went home and thought about the books he had outgrown and he knew his friends had some too. He went to school the next day and began a book drive and he collected 847 books. Local volunteers helped catalog the books and the Rotary Club donated shelves, tables and chairs. The orphans now had a library.

But, Brandon didn’t stop there. He went on to organize another book drive when he entered the seventh grade. That drive collected over 5000 books, too many for the small library in the orphanage to handle. So, he found a local public school who had pine cones instead of books on their shelves. After receiving the books from Brandon and his volunteers, the principal of that school started to spread Brandon’s idea though-out the Los Angeles School District as a method to fill school libraries.

In Brandon’s humble words, “It’s great to know you made a difference and things are going to change because of what you’ve done.”

There are many more wonderful stories on the “The My Hero Project” website. If you’re ever feeling down and need someone to inspire you, visit this website and meet some more little heroes with great big hearts. You’ll be surprised at how many are there for you to meet.  

1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: