How to Keep a Bridge Quiet When in the Car

There is nothing like writing a book to illuminate just how awful a communicator you are.

I think everyone should do it. Not only for the (eventual) resounding joy of completing such an accomplishment, but also to recalibrate your ego—bring it down to a more palatable level.

Like bug height.

And it’s only at such a degree that you will see the crucial minutia—the details, the complexities, the nuances that exist beneath the large umbrella encompassing the process of conveying information. Yes, the granular level is critical; the grammar that contains all the basic linguistic units that make up our parts of speech, but there is so much more than the study of the classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in each sentence.

Of course, to see that “so much more” collection, one must pull back the lens to include a big, broad perspective. One must don the panoramic glasses of an omniscient deity, let’s say, providing you the opportunity to view your work from every angle and from great heights.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever met a human who embodies the ability to do all of the above, for if you ever have the chance to experience publishing a book in a traditional manner, you begin to see that there should be countless names given credit as author, and not just one boldly inked above the title.

Let me explain. I think writing a book is a metaphor for factory work. Rarely, do we find one person who wears every hat. Creating something—for instance, a widget—typically requires an interconnected tapestry of relationships. Even if you hang your own shingle stating you’re a one-man band baker, it’s doubtful you’re also the grain farmer, the mill grinder, and the manufacturer of the oven, right?

The last box I tick off on the completion list of “book writing” is to craft an acknowledgement page. Over the years, I have learned to keep a checklist, as there is nothing more worrisome than coming to that moment when this write-up is due, and you’re wracking your brain for Who else? Who else? Oh fudge, there are surely more!

There are. I’m not kidding when I state that I would like to include some grade school English teachers who taught me the basics, and also highlight others whom I hold at fault for not drilling more into my brain. I suppose one could lasso in any individual who aided you whilst learning language, but it’s mostly considered a slight not to include one’s parents, so we’re mostly covered there.

The factory work of book writing is where we could state that our earliest teachers are the manufacturers of the raw ingredients. They provide the schooling that leads to the recognition of a collection of sounds, which are assigned to various letters. Placed together and in dictated order, they form a syntactic unit.

I see myself as the widget maker—utilizing all those syntactic units. Once possessed of all those units—or words—I churn them out and pray they have a functional purpose. Whether to educate or entertain, the person who soon purchases those words will, optimistically speaking, find them worth the expense.

That widget is then inspected by upper management for design flaws, operational errors, and defects of any nature. Upper management includes editors, proofreaders, and interior designers. The widget gets sent back to the production room floor a lot. A LOT.

Then that widget is enrobed in fashionable, eye-catchy wrapping. Photographers, graphic artists, models, and designers first all huddle in some stylish conference room and bemoan the fact that it will be near impossible to convey the “idea” of the widget, unless upper management can make the “idea” a better one. Upper management sends the widget back to the production room floor.

The floor operator (that’s me) has no one to complain to, as she is not unionized and really just hopes for a paycheck and therefore, straps on her elfin cap once more and gets to work.

Eventually, either the widget is acceptable to upper management and the creatives, or someone shoves it through inspection as they can’t stand to look at it one second longer.

The larger point is that we’re all involved in trying to communicate something to others. Something we feel is worth the slight distraction from whatever other activity those others may be engrossed in.

Us: “HEY!” (Now, someone holds up the widget)

Others: “Huh?” … “Oh, I get it.”

Us: “Our work is done.”

But getting to the “done” part is arduous—and, oftentimes, sadly unsuccessful.

Communicating is hard. Telling people what you think, how you feel, what you see and believe should not be that difficult with all the tools at our disposal, and yet, because of inflection or syntax, those threads are open to interpretation.

Every proofreader (but mostly those having worked on my books) will tell you that we give meaning and emphasis to words and phrases where we absolutely shouldn’t. I am at an Olympian level when it comes to misplaced modifiers.

Example: Being a lover of bridges, this one was gorgeously swoopy.

There. I just made a bridge a lover of bridges. (facepalm)

Back to the larger, larger point—I trust my readers to know what I mean, not what I say. And I ask them for forgiveness and also not to laugh at the parts that I did not intend to be hilarious, like making bridges anthropomorphic.

I think, as humans, we all have ample experiences to point to where we’re finding dialogue, and communication writ large, to be more challenging than ever. Whether attempting to pair the perfect emoji to replace words (often fails), sifting through media opinions hiding as facts (often succeeds), or trying to decipher what code level color the CDC has stamped as today’s mask needs (usually epic blunders), time is an important element one must employ on both ends for success.

Well, maybe time to communicate, time to interpret, and time for a stiff drink if we manage to botch up the babel.

I stand by my suggestion that everyone gives it a shot though—a shot at writing a book. It will flood you with a sense of thoughtfulness as you spend countless months and years attempting to craft content that will be unforgettable. It will highlight the value of cooperation as the team of factory workers by your side pour their souls into attempting to re-craft your content so that it will be readable, enjoyable, and all errors will be “forgettable.” And lastly, it will provide you with an opportunity to say something without being interrupted—as this always happens to me whenever I’m in a car with a bridge and they just blurt out their enthusiasm for overpass architecture.

~Shelley

For the time being, the blog is closed to comments, but if you enjoyed it, maybe pass it on to someone else. Email it, Facebook it, or print it out and make new wallpaper for the bathroom. If it moves you, show it some love and share. Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all gossiped about down in the pub. Or check out last month’s post and catch up.

Don’t Wait for a Chance … Take it

A couple of days ago I did a yet to be published interview for a bourbon organization geared specifically to women. Not surprisingly, its name is Bourbon Women.

The first question I was asked was When did you realize your life’s path was leading you to whiskey?

I have answered this curious query a thousand times over the last twenty-five years, and yet I never tire of telling the tale.

My first sip of whisky was in Scotland where after I’d finished a tour of the Oban distillery—situated on the frothy west coast—I’d been handed a dram of their prized product to try. A mirror would have reflected the female doppelganger of the green Mr. Yuk face, and I immediately declared this liquid foul, poisonous, and something that needlessly dirtied a previously clean glass. I was 22.

I had been touring Scotland for the first time and was perpetually aware of the countless fragrant assaults on my nose and the repeated exposure of jaw-dropping vistas. This country was leaving its indelible thumbprint all over my senses. The whisky was one I was trying to rub off.

The following evening, our hotel barkeep asked if I’d like a wee dram before dinner. With a tongue more acerbic than the whisky I’d tasted, my then husband clarified how it would be a wasted pour, as my palate was rebellious to the drink.

Feigning some chest-clutching cardiac arrest, the barkeep asked what I’d tried, and then knelt beside me, lamenting over the fact that my tongue had been assaulted with the deep end of the whisky flavor spectrum. As a neophyte, I should have been introduced to the various “flavor camps” that existed within single malt scotch.

With deft speed, the barkeep returned with an elegantly shaped nosing glass filled with an ounce of straw-colored gold—a whisky my tutor described as a “Lowland Lady.” I tentatively took a sip and held the liquid in my mouth for a few seconds as my counseling barkeep instructed. The memory of the Oban’s feisty smoke, oak, and cloves was replaced with a glass of something delicate, sweet, and custardy.

Everything about today filtered through my mind. The aroma of embering peat fires. The leaden smudge of sky that dispensed a drizzly mist. The pub with its heavy meat pies and patrons with their heavier dialects. The woozy-inducing beer—leaving me heavy-lidded and inarticulate. The muffled rustlings of the ancient hotel with faint whispers of its past inhabitants. The towering mountains, the ravaged castles, the gleaming lochs.

I swallowed and felt transported. This elixir was as bewitching as promised.

Thereafter, I found every new adventure with whisky fused onto the myriad ingredients that made up this country. The citizens, their tales, their villages and pubs, the distilleries and warehouses, the landscapes that unrolled in front of me, and the inescapable flavors and scents that soaked the air and earth. Whisky was no longer simply a high proof spirit, but a potion that unfurled in story form, revealing the magical elements of countless distinctive times, places, craftsmen, and skill.

Had I remained steadfast and insular—unwilling to accept the proffered hand holding out a second chance—I would have missed the thrill of a career where I now find myself writing, researching, and lecturing about whisky, as well as selling it, making it, and most importantly, enjoying it. I would have been blind to a magnetic pull that existed right beside me, shunned from view because of one unfortunate first impression.

And haven’t we all had this experience? One where we make a quick judgement, assess prematurely, haphazardly dismiss something or someone and then march on our way, never realizing the potential impact of possibility.

In a time where we are inundated with choice, where so many of us are surrounded by an embarrassment of riches, the tapping for our attention ubiquitous and inescapable, do we owe it to ourselves to slow the speed?

Should we study and take more time to contemplate before we move with haste on toward the next decision needing to be made?

I often wonder how many times I may have made this very blunder, erroneously rushing beyond the now and into the what’s next.

Of course, it’s likely we all have a handful of things we attempt with repeated effort, and for one reason or another, failure is what we face. We may never develop a taste for that food, or that book, or that person. And if we are impartial with those efforts, not sabotaging the outcome beforehand, it is easier to shrug and move on.

Interestingly, both sadly and happily, some things just take time. I was not born with a penchant for historical fiction. It took me three false starts before finding myself sucked into the world of Tony Soprano. And I fervently avoided hip hop music until my son started writing it and Ellen DeGeneres began dancing to it.

Those flavor camps of Scotland? The vast spectrum of delicate to rugged, silky to abrasive, subtle to pungent? I embrace it all now. But now is a long way from 22.

And looking back over those decades, I am filled with such incredulity and joy over what taking that second chance brought me. Yes, maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.

It was for me.

~ Shelley

For the time being, the blog is closed to comments, but if you enjoyed it, maybe pass it on to someone else. Email it, Facebook it, or print it out and make new wallpaper for the bathroom. If it moves you, show it some love and share. Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all gossiped about down in the pub. Or check out last month’s post and catch up.

Why am I Not Surprised?

My phone chirped, informing me I had a call on the other line.

Off to voicemail it went, as I was on a conference call with work.

Then my phone whistled that I had a text.

I followed all worldly business advice and did not glance at the phone, and secretly congratulated myself for continuing to focus on that all-important conference call.

Not ten seconds later, I hear a fist thumping on the back door. The attention stealing gods win this one. I quickly make my apologies, leave the call, and march to the door to see what’s so urgent.

No one is there, but as I’m craning my neck to see around the side of the house, I hear the front porch door slam shut with springs that have never been so up for the job of closing the gap.

I hurry toward the sound and now see a grizzled old man, sweating profusely, his fist poised to give the kitchen door a few new dents.

I fling it open.

“May I help you?” I ask, not hiding my annoyance.

“I called. And then I texted. And I knocked on the backdoor. Takes you a long time to git up and git goin’ don’t it?” He looked at me and shrugged.

“I was on the phone. Who are you?”

“Stanley. Did I surprise you? I’m super good at surprising people.”

I gave him a look that said we’re done here, and then he added, “I’m here to give you a quote about the wall that’s fallin down. You said to my son that you wanna build it back up again, right?”

Ah yes. The rock wall. Definitely needs fixing, but so do a zillion other things around here. I’d called these folks more than a month ago.

“I thought maybe I’d get a heads up someone was coming out,” I said.

His eyebrows rose. “I like surprising people. It’s what I’m super good at,” he laughed.

“I hope you’re also good at repairing rock walls.” I pointed toward the object in question and started heading toward it.

“I was a master carpenter for thirty years. When every other kid was outside playing ball, I was growing up in the basement building cabinets.” Stanley took out his Stanley measuring tape tool and began to walk along the wall. I wondered if he might be erroneously thinking I wanted cabinetry inside my rock wall.

“I bet a lot of people would wish to have that skill, although the price of lumber now is surely hindering work, right?” I was being polite, but I wanted to hurry up with the quote. I had to get back to work.

“I’ll tell you what’s expensive, darlin’. Drums!

I felt my eyebrows fuse together, but Stanley took no notice. “I wouldn’t know,” I said, hearing my words tinged with exasperation.

He pointed a finger to the sky. “Well, I would, because I used to be one. Did I ever tell you the story about when I got a call from a bunch of guys in Montana who said their drummer just up and quit and they needed one pronto? I packed my whole kit into the trunk of my car and made it there 19 hours later. They were playing at the Holiday Inn, but were staying at the Ramada Inn across the road, and when I went to the front desk to ask for the room of the drummer, they sent me to the drummer who was in the band playing at the Ramada Inn and not the Holiday Inn guy. I pounded on his door and when he opened it, I told him I was here to replace him.

“Well, you woulda thought I just told him his dog died, cuz he collapsed with grief. It was really funny.”

I looked at Stanley with disbelief.

“We straightened it out, but boy was he super surprised, cuz I do that really well.”

I pointed to the rock wall. “Any idea how long it might take to repair this?”

Stanley pulled a handkerchief from his shirt pocket and swiped across his brow. He shook his head. “Whatever length of time it’ll take, no doubt it’ll be a easier job than the one I had when I was a long-haul truck driver. Whoo-ee! That work is exhausting, and the stress of it tries to kill you every which way. People have no idea how hard it is to drive one of those big wheelers. You can’t see anything, can’t control your speed for nothin’, you’re always white knuckling the steering wheel if you’re East Coasting it. Midwest and the Northwest ain’t bad—that’s just straight and narrow—”

“Which is exactly how I’d like this rock wall to look. How bout it, Stanley? Can you do it?”

He looked at me with widened eyes. “Oh, I doubt it’ll be me. I just had a heart attack a month ago—and hip surgery to boot. My son just sent me here to measure. Maybe get some exercise, right?”

My teeth begin to itch. “I could have measured the wall and sent those dimensions to you.”

Stanley laughed and said, “Yeah, but then my son wouldn’t have gotten me out of the office and off the phone with clients now then, right? He really insists I get moving a bit—really wants me to be healthy.”

I turned away from Stanley and mumbled, “I think he really wants to get some work done, actually.”

Stanley chuckled and put a hand against a tree to rest. “You know, it’s super surprising just how much he’s like my ex-wives, always encouraging me to get out of the house and office. Did I tell you how many ex-wives I’ve had? I bet you’d be super surprised.”

“I’d be more surprised if this job ever gets done.”

“I think the surprising thing is going to be how much it’s gonna cost, so I’d suggest you better stop lollygagging around here with me and git back to your phone calls, right? Go make some money, honey. That’s a phrase I used to say to the girls when I used to—”

I held up my hand. “Don’t wanna know, Stanley.”

He snorted and slapped a thigh. “Okay then.” He turned and headed back to his truck. “I’m sure you’ll hear from us soon.”

I shook my head. “I’ll be surprised if I do, Stanley. Super surprised.”

~Shelley

For the time being, the blog is closed to comments, but if you enjoyed it, maybe pass it on to someone else. Email it, Facebook it, or print it out and make new wallpaper for the bathroom. If it moves you, show it some love and share. Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all gossiped about down in the pub. Or check out last month’s post and catch up.

Why You Should Always Bring Two Trucks to a Demolition

“I’m going to get rid of that hot tub,” I said to no one in particular about 500 times in the last two years.

Okay, that’s not true. I’ve said it to everyone who has ever walked past the antiquated, broken down, monstrous piece of rotomolded plastic that surely had people wondering if I was going to invite them to a bubbling bacterium filled night from the 70s.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

Never happened ever.

I hate hot tubs. Hate them.

They make my skin crawl both figuratively and literally. I am just not a jacuzzi natured nut. I’m not much of a pool person either. More of a “if you’re hot, go stand under the garden hose” kind of a girl. I don’t even own a bathtub, so why was there a giant tank of promised tranquil times in my front yard taking up valuable real estate where other valuable, contributing items like tomato plants, a patch of grass, or a host of plastic pink flamingo might live?

I’ll tell you why. Because no one wants to haul that junk away.

So, I looked at doing it myself. But there’s the tiny component that includes “disassembling” involved. My thought was this is doable, for if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life thus far, it’s that the solution to any problem is viable even if you only have access to three things:

  1. Duct tape
  2. WD40
  3. YouTube

It was a great idea for about 30 seconds. At the 31st second mark of the first video I watched on how easy it is to dismantle your old hot tub I’d changed my mind. Easy is not a word I would pick. I would instead pick words like onerous, laborious, and ignorantly ambitious.

They required power tools with gas tanks, multiple blades, and signed waivers in order to purchase. As I was far more fond of my fingers than farcical waterfowl, I picked up the phone and furthered my search for anyone willing to haul this sucker away.

After countless calls to every variety of company with the name “junk” in it, I finally settled on one who’s name I can’t recall but could aptly be named “Umm … Sure, if I Can Shove it in My Truck.” It wasn’t necessarily their enthusiasm that won me over, rather that basement price of stating they could do the work for 60% less than everyone else.

I am a penny-pinching son of a gun, and the thought of holding onto a few more pennies made me suddenly envision buying my new flock of plastic feathered friends at someplace fancy like the Garden Decor´ section at Walmart, rather than straight off the clearance shelves at the Dollar General. 

But then Willie and the gang showed up with a pickup truck that would definitely always be chosen last when team captains were divvying up the choices for all the pickup truck games. Tiny red flag.

Willie put his son to work—Willie Jr—and then left to answer the phone. I heard the sound of angry steel come to life, ripping through fabric and plastic and wood and thought that could have been me. And then a minute later I heard the sound of Willie Jr cry out and thought that would have been me.

“Snake!” I heard lil Willie cry.

I came out onto the porch and looked at Willie Jr. pointing out to Willie Senior the head of a black snake who was obviously just as surprised as the two of them and shared the same expression.

“Don’t kill him. That’s Hortense. He’s just a garden snake,” I said.

“Hortense? Is he a biter?” Willie Jr. asked.

“Only if you’re a rat,” I answered.

“Well, you have the face of a rat, Willie, so I’d watch out if I were you,” his sister said.

The sound of Willie Jr’s angry steel sprang to life again in answer.

That could have been me, I thought.

I brought out a pitchfork and handed it to Junior. “You ever had spaghetti? You just need to twirl that feller up onto here and then walk Hortense out to the woods where he can be safe.”

Junior was not thrilled. But he did it. And then the angry steel returned with a chorus that began to sound like it was running out of steam.

From the porch where I sat studying a library book, I heard snippets of phrases like Did you bring the extra battery? And Well, we’re gonna have to plug her in. Also, What do you mean it’s not working? Did you hit water? And finally some sort of thunk. Like a head falling to the table.

Junior and I finally found another suitable and working outlet for the angry blade brigade and the work resumed. Until …

“Snake!”

I came out onto the deck again. “That’s Hildegard. She’s probably wondering where Hortense is.”

And she’s probably wondering what the hell is happening to her house, I thought looking around with despair. Plastic, insulation, fiberglass, foam, and wood were scattered everywhere. Good lord, it looked like my attic went on a binge and vomited onto the lawn.

“How’s it goin?” I asked, noting it had been over three hours of work thus far. Three hours for five people against one hot tub. The YouTube video has one guy, one crowbar, and fifteen minutes, seven of them spent explaining to the camera what he was doing.

“Nearly done,” I heard Willie Senior offer up. Behind him, Junior was wrestling with Hildegard who was determined to stay in her home come hell or high water … or high-powered chain saws. Maybe she had babies to protect.

Poor Junior. That could have been me.

An hour later, as the sun was setting, I brought out a tray of glasses and a bottle of bourbon. “Good work, lads and lasses,” I said, seeing nothing but a concrete slab where the hot tub used to be.

“The truck is full up. Can’t fit anymore into it,” Willie Senior said, pointing toward it.

I saw half the hot tub, or what used to be the hot tub, shoved into the back and spilling out the sides. The other half was in several large piles on the lawn and driveway.

“We’ll come back for the rest tomorrow,” he said.

“And the check for payment of services?” I asked, suddenly realizing that question now took the place of whatever last sentence was in first place for Stupidest thing I’ve ever asked. My sluggish brain now foresaw being stuck with a driveway full of junk while I chased down a handyman who’d never return my calls.

Willie Sr. smiled and winked. “We’ll come back for it tomorrow.” He hitched a thumb again toward his truck. “Can’t fit anymore into it.”

Well, there you have it, I thought to myself, a man who owns a garbage company is a valuable treasure of honesty himself.

Maybe instead of the flock of flamingos, I’ll erect a statue of Willie.

~Shelley

For the time being, the blog is closed to comments, but if you enjoyed it, maybe pass it on to someone else. Email it, Facebook it, or print it out and make new wallpaper for the bathroom. If it moves you, show it some love and share. Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all gossiped about down in the pub. Or check out last month’s post and catch up.

Will Goldfish be More Clever than our Children?

Because of the nature of my work, I often find myself in the company of children and teenagers. If one intends to write for young adults, or those peeking over the wall into young adulthood to see what the fuss is all about, one finds benefit by listening to them, conversing with them, and generally just taking a softly tipped stick and poking about in territories you might not normally be invited into.

Curiously, that same ‘nature of my work’ is growing more challenging as it does not fit into the current timeframe of many young adults’ attention span—a trajectory of current evolution where now every fleeting second of focus counts and best be saturated with impactfullness.

Where I used to describe the concept of story to young readers as a richly developed plot with engaging dialogue, a diverse set of problems that might tangle complexly at first but unravel beautifully in the end, and a few solid examples of struggle, failure, perseverance, and finally success, now my definition has been forced to change. Currently, I define story as “Once upon a time there was a guy, he had a problem, he figured it out, the end.”

Much more TikTok, much less time-honored tale.

Short-form episodes are now the norm. One can see information streamed about nearly anything and those sessions require a mere 15 seconds of focus. The problem is, is that a recent study determined that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to a whopping eight seconds today.

Goldfish have a better chance of making it to the end of that video as they are believed to have an attention span of at least nine seconds.

Somehow, our youths are being encouraged and pushed to find satisfaction with a story that lasts less time than we expect them to be standing in front of a running sink, washing their hands. I grapple with this especially hard when I realize that oftentimes just one of the myriad sentences I shove into a paragraph far exceeds the newly allotted timeframe many kids will devote to scanning words across a page. And how does one cram a beginning, a middle, and an end into a curt and clipped few moments?

One of the most difficult tasks authors—or anyone with something to sell—must do, is create a pitch. Something that answers Why should I devote my attention (or hard-earned pennies) to you? It often involves boiling your story or your product down to its bare bones—the skeletal structure that shows all strength and no fluff.

The process for authors often happens like this:

  • take a 325-page book and reduce it to one page (hard)
  • take that one page and tighten it to one paragraph (ugh)
  • take that one paragraph and shrink it to one sentence (facepalm)

If you’re writing a film script, the next bit is to slash it to fit the form Blank meets Blank. Godzilla meets The Godfather, Dirty Harry meets Harry Potter, Jaws meets The Little Mermaid—or something like that. Somehow the mash-up is supposed to bring immediate clarity to anyone hearing the phrase as to the plot, struggles, and triumphs within the storyline.

But does it really?

Can one short phrase really tell us the necessary amount needed to exclaim, “I get it”? Can a fifteen second video really reveal the depth of dance, comedy, or education? Is it even possible to jampack a “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” into 30 seconds or “The History of World War II” into a three-minute YouTube video? Will our next generation of surgeons learn how to remove our gall bladders via Instagram stories?

Personally, it takes me donkey’s years to learn anything. And it’s not because I’m slow. It’s because I’m slow and stubborn. New information that crosses my path is met with skepticism until I can research its source, decipher which end of the political spectrum it may live on, and see Anthony Fauci demonstrate it at a White House Press Conference. It took me literally decades to watch the series MASH because I believed, like the execs telling the show’s writers, that the series run would be limited because the Army isn’t really a pool for humor.

I need convincing. I need repetition. I need my children to walk through the door at holidays and declare amazement at the fact that they’ve actually time traveled into history and perhaps I should let someone in the science department know that it’s possible.

“When are you going to get a new microwave, Mother?”

“As soon as I’ve researched all the newfangled ones on the market. There’s a lot to learn and compare.”

“Have you yet learned that this antiquated piece of junk is a fire hazard?”

“DON’T TOUCH MY RADARANGE!”

But it’s more than just diving deeply into any subject to learn its function, purpose, and capability, it’s also about staying with something long enough to feel the comfort of its complexities. Typically, you cannot learn to play the piano by just watching someone else on video, and it’s downright impossible to sum up our planet’s horrific battles by declaring into a camera lens, “Humans fight. War bad”. There is nothing wrong with embracing the depth and breadth of any subject, but I feel it’s wrong to lead kids into believing any topic can be shortened into a framework of explanation that would have the writers of Cliff Notes blush at its brevity.

Our world is huge in scope and requires effortful thought to make sense of even its least complicated aspects. It’s a daunting task, and we’ll never finish it, but we certainly shouldn’t allow our children to shy away from it. History takes time to be explained. Skills take time to be acquired. Stories take time to be told.

Perhaps we can quote American author and keynote speaker Michael Altshuler more often to our children: The Bad news is time flies. The Good news is that you’re the pilot.

~Shelley

For the time being, the blog is closed to comments, but if you enjoyed it, maybe pass it on to someone else. Email it, Facebook it, or print it out and make new wallpaper for the bathroom. If it moves you, show it some love and share. Cheers!

Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all gossiped about down in the pub. Or check out last month’s post and catch up.