Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Tombstone with a Story . . .

I love walking through cemeteries. I pray for the dead and explore the tombstones and wonder about the people remembered there. I posted on Twitter a while back that on a recent exploration I found this unusual stone. It is a flat stone set into the ground, obviously hand-carved by a loved one. It's unusual for two other reasons - first, there is no first name so I don't know if it marks the grave of a young man or a young woman; second, it has a smiley face (under the date). Who was this young person and who carved the stone? There is a story here, and I wish I knew what it was . . . If I get the chance, I might research obits from 1935 and see if I can find out. In the meantime, my imagination will continue to get the best of me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Save the Date - September 29th is Smithsonian Museum Day

Get free admission for two on September 29th at participating museums. Here is the list for Massachusetts - I wish I could go see them all! http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/museum-search/?c=y&page=1&state=Massachusetts

Find out more and print your ticket at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stephen King's 1st Payment for Writing

I'm currently reading On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King which was given to me and which I have heard is a classic writing book. I'm still fairly early in the book and haven't really formed an opinion of it yet, but I enjoyed King's telling of his first payment for writing.

He was in first grade (although he missed most of the year due to sickness) and started writing stories. He shares:

I eventually wrote a story about four magic animals who rode around in an old car, helping out little kids. Their leader was a large white bunny named Mr. Rabbit Trick. He got to drive the car. The story was four pages long, laboriously printed in pencil . . . When I finished, I gave it to my mother, who sat down in the living room, put her pocketbook on the floor beside her, and read it all at once. I could tell she liked it - she laughed in all the right places - but I couldn't tell if that was because she liked me and wanted me to feel good or because it really was good. . . 

She said it was good enough to be in a book. Nothing anyone has said to me since has made me feel any happier. I wrote four more stories about Mr. Rabbit Trick and his friends. She gave me a quarter apiece for them and sent them around to her four sisters. . . 
Four stories. A quarter apiece. That was the first buck I made in this business.

And that is why, as parents, we should ALWAYS support our children's writing efforts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Can Writers be Replaced by Robots?

My answer to that question would have always been "No," but apparently I would have been wrong. Artificial intelligence has come a long way, and computers can now do some creative tasks - creating music, interpreting behavior, and deciding the value of written words.

This article in the Wall Street Journal - Automatons Get Creative - features some pretty scary information to think about. Creativity is one of the basic attributes and unique qualities of being human. And, yes, computers can only do what they are programmed to do. But, still, I can't help but wonder what kind of world our technology is creating and where humans will fit in the large picture.  We live in an age in which science fiction has become reality, and I for one, am a bit terrified by the prospect.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Contribute to a Book about Irish Heritage in Western Massachusetts

Our local newspaper, The Republican is compiling a book about Irish history in Western Massachusetts and is asking for help with the project.

They are searching for the following information:

We are thrilled to give our readers the opportunity to participate in this unique project. If you have photographs that meet our submission guidelines criteria, please download submission forms and bring them to one of our public-scanning sessions.


  • Irish historic photos, such as: living, industry, commerce, society, public service, etc.
  • Photos taken from 1800 to today.
  • Photos only – preferably original photos (no newspaper clippings or photocopies).
  • Photos taken in the Alliance area
  • 10 photos per family.
For more information, please visit: The Irish Legacy

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction

I wish so much that I could enter this contest, but no matter how I tried to schedule my life, there is just no way I would be able to get my work in progress done in time. But, for those of you who have a work done, or close to completion, this definitely seems like something worth checking out: Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction. The deadline is September 30, 2012 and there are categories for short story, novella, and novel.