Last chance to get a hug from a cranky old lady! Happy New Year to all!
It’s that time of year when we look back and wonder where the hell 2013 went to. It seems as if, in the blink of an eye, the months sped by and we are now on the brink of another new year.
2013 was a banner year for this old lady. I discovered blogging. I met new friends…new mentors…and learned so much from all of them. I was shocked to discover that I seemed to have a knack for writing…trust me, I still shake my head in disbelief when one of my works gets published. I was inspired by all of you to start thinking about the last quarter of my life and what I wanted to do with it. I’m now chasing down a degree in journalism and look forward to being the old fart walking across that stage at graduation.
2013 was an interesting year and I’m hoping that 2014 will bring more surprises, more discovery and more success in my writing endeavors.
Before the year ends, I do want to share my gratitude and my appreciation to all of you who have lent me a shoulder to sob on; you have given me the inspiration to break out of my shell and let the words flow; you have smiled with me, frowned at me, and laughed together as we looked at the silly things in life. Two fists thump on my chest to all of you for your friendship!
So, 2014, bring in on! I’m ready, willing and able to see what you have in store for me and for my friends here in WordPress!
Everyone have a safe and Happy New Year!
My next course in college will be a real challenge. Just the title “The Art of Public Speaking” is enough to make me break out in sweats.
I’m sure many share my fear of stepping out of my comfort zone and having to put a voice to the words I write. I had hoped that I could go through life without having to stand up in front of a crowd and talk again. Because, I have been there before, and it wasn’t pretty!
I remember being in eighth grade and entering a writing contest. I really can’t remember what I wrote about, but I managed to make the list of finalists. Cool, right? No, my friends, not so cool. Because now I was expected to read my speech in front of the whole school, my family and visiting school administrators.
Just the thought of having to speak in front of over a hundred pairs of ears gave me nightmares for weeks. My History teacher, who was in charge of mentoring us in Public Speaking skills, was close to a nervous breakdown by the time the speech competition arrived. I just could not stand at that podium and get the words to come out of my mouth, not even with an audience of one.
To make things worse, the other contestants and I had to draw numbers from a hat to determine who would speak first, second and so on. There were six of us, so I hoped if I went last, perhaps my other classmates would be so bad that I would be able to “Wow” the audience with my own speech. Oh yeah, folks, you guessed it. I picked the number one spot…lucky me!
The day of the competition, I tried everything I could to convince my mother that I had a life threatening disease and bow out of the competition. She didn’t believe me. I tried to fake laryngitis with my History teacher. I tried to fall down the steps leading up to the stage, hoping to give a new meaning to “break a leg” but the other five contestants were standing close behind me, pushing me forward.
On shaking legs, I reached the podium, laid my papers on the top, and reached down deep inside for the courage to begin. Evidently, from the sounds of rustling and fidgeting in the audience, it took me longer than I thought to find that ounce of courage. I finally locked my eyes on the first paragraph and opened my mouth. I can only imagine what I looked like with lips moving and no sound coming through the loudspeakers.
I took a deep breath and tried again. To make a long story short, I finally managed to choke out the first paragraph and forged on. My twenty-minute speech took much less time since I gave a great demonstration of speed reading while I presented my material. I think I finished in five and when I spurt out the last sentence, I immediately ran off the stage and into my mother’s arms, crying copiously.
“Don’t cry, honey. You did your best,” my mother said. My mother thought I was weeping with shame when actually, I was weeping with joy. No one, based on that performance, would ever ask me to speak in public again. I suffered through the other speeches with the rest of the audience, although the remaining five contestants showed much more talent for public speaking than I did. I walked up to the stage as my name was called to receive the trophy for third runner-up. Do the math, three winners and three runners-up equaled last place for my dazzling performance.
So, you can understand my lack of enthusiasm for this next course. Yes, I have matured a bit and I have had experience teaching software classes to students. But, that fear of standing in front of a podium again is starting to keep me up at night! Let’s hope my instructor has a few tricks up his sleeve to bring out the Public Speaker in me!
Wish me luck!
We need to put our money where our words are sometimes!
If you’re a writer, a poet or a photographer, I’m sure you dream of having your work published. Perhaps you’ve already accomplished that goal and can add the publication of your work to your list of credits when submitting your future work to publishers. But, what if there were no more markets for your hard work? What if print magazines became a thing of the past or e-zines become extinct due to lack of support? Where are we to go? What happens to those great short stories, those touching poems or those amazing photos?
No one will see them. That’s what happens. How can we prevent that? We can support the publishers that do take a chance on us…who dedicate their time and resources to helping others to get our work in front of the public.
Many of these magazines are run by people who take no salary; they make…
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This is a very touching, beautiful salute to our soldiers!
I tried to address this card, but I can’t find an envelope big enough to include all the names of the people that I want to send this card to. I’m just going to have to settle for hoping that all you wonderful, talented, creative people that I’ve had the privilege to meet this year get my personal wishes for a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or whatever holiday you celebrate!
There is no card large enough to hold all my love for you guys and there is no way to convey my appreciation for putting up with Cranky’s shenanigans all year! I hope the next year brings you success, happiness, and a publisher if that’s your desire.
So, from my family to you and yours, Have A Very Merry Christmas.
Mary Ellen, Danny and Buddy
Everyone can take a few minutes out of their Christmas day to fill someone else with a little Xmas cheer! I’m in!
You’ve probably noticed the pretty new badge on the side of my page. And oh– hey look, there’s Marilyn with it, too! In fact, just to give it some attention– since we’re starting a little late this year on getting the word out– I’ve taken down most of my side-blog sparkle.
It’s C4C– Company for Christmas!
Company for Christmas is a volunteer-fueled mission, created by fabulous blogger RuleofStupid. It is a virtual place for people who, quite simply, don’t have any company on Christmas, and would benefit from a little non-religiously-affiliated, non-counseling-oriented, conversation.
I’ll be volunteering, so if you want to spend some of your Christmas day chatting with me and the hubs– come on over. Schedules will be posted, too, so you’ll know when to find us.
You can help, too.
- Spread the word, so that no member of our wonderful blogging family spends Christmas alone.
- Volunteer! If…
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A Christmas gift for all!
This morning I got an early Christmas Present. One of my favorite sites that feature great short stories sent me an e-mail that Alphie Dog Fiction is now offering some free short stories as a gift for Christmas. When I checked it out, I found that everyone can download these stories for free!
I didn’t want to be selfish so I’m writing this to let all of you know that these great short stories are sitting there waiting for you! You can access them here and then sit back and enjoy! While you’re there, take a look around and sign up for their newsletter! They’re a great site dedicated to supporting new and emerging writers!
I am a huge supporter of Alphie Dog Fiction (Okay, there are three of my stories available there too. If your interested in checking them out…go to Authors and look up M E McMahon and…
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Phil Robertson – Redneck Extraordinaire
If you’re expecting this post to be about religion, politics or my views on homosexuality…you might as well click on out of here right now. Cranky doesn’t write about those things.
Before I begin, for those of you who might not know me, I’m a Northerner who escaped the long, cold winters of New England for the warm Southern nights in Florida over twenty-five years ago. I have met many “Phil Robertson’s” in my years here. I also have a son who is gay and I love him, cherish him, and support his lifestyle as long as it brings him happiness. BOOM! Enough said.
Now, let’s take a look at what really happened to Phil Robertson.
The guy gives an interview (yes, I’ve just finished reading it and you can find it here) to a reporter from GQ magazine. OK, let’s stop right there! Why is GQ interested in Phil Robertson? Are they going to advertise his duck whistles? Are they interested in opening a “Phil Robertson” line of clothing franchise? Hmmm..no, I believe GQ wanted a funny, satirical, controversial expose on Phil and his redneck ways.
So, what happens? Phil expounds on his own personal beliefs in regards to black oppression and homosexuals. Wow…Phil is the FIRST person to do this, right? Now, gay and liberal rights groups have a new Anti-Gay Poster Boy and religious leaders and bigots have a new Redneck Idol to support…shouting “Free Speech.” A & E adds fuel to the fire by suspending Phil for speaking his mind on what he believes.
Yup, we now have a controversy larger than Gun Control whipping around the Internet and the news media. C’mon…who gives a duck?
Could this whole controversy been avoided? Oh yeah. If A & E wanted to protect the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty Cash Cow, they should have sent a staff member over to his shack and taught him the meaning of “this is off the record” or “No comment” thereby robbing the journalist out of one of the juiciest bits for his article.
Phil could have remembered that what you say to a journalist can come back and bite you in the butt. They’re careful on the show not to thump those bibles too loud on controversial issues…so, what was Phil thinking? Being a true blue redneck, probably not much about the effects his words would have on the future of his reality show.
The end result of all this hullabaloo will probably be that A & E loses some viewers from this broo-ha-ha and eventually Duck Dynasty will be cancelled. Phil and his family have made so much money off the show that they most likely won’t be hurt by all the bad publicity. They’ll just fade off into the woods and blow up some more beaver dams without cameras tracking their every move and thought.
So, let’s cut everyone a break and move on. After all, with all the other business this nation needs to attend to, do we really need to use Phil as an example of what we personally believe in? I think we can find some better role models than this poor redneck from the deep woods to pick on. And, in all fairness, Phil also was quoted in the same piece as saying:
“You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off.” Now, come on people, who can argue with that one?
I’m going to share a great piece of advice a teacher who once told me (regarding remarks that went against what I believed in), “Consider the source,” she said. “Always consider the source!”
So, when people ask me what I think about this whole uproar, I say “Who Gives A Duck?”