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Posts Tagged ‘Charleston’

Today I’m off to take a workshop on Travel Writing! I’ve been thinking about the topic since I managed to find an email about the class yesterday. Bring “pen and paper” the instructor said, since we will be passing our work around the class.

Learn to write compelling and engaging travel narratives (personal essays, articles ,or memoir pieces), which combine the eye of a journalist with the flair of a storyteller. In-class readings and exercises will address pertinent craft issues, and we’ll also discuss the practical matters of how to submit your work for publication.

I’m off to a good start since I already have the “…eye of a journalist,” but what kind of stories should I tell? Should I write for the soon-to-retire Boomer generation, the grandparents among us with more free time and a long bucket list? Or should I focus on memoir, and write about our trips to Martha’s Vineyard with friends when the kids were very little?

After we moved back to NJ, and because we could never travel in the summer – all those newbie residents in July needed Bob’s attention – we fell into the habit of visiting one island in the French West Indies over and over again nearly every winter. It was perfect for Bob because he could lay on a beach and decompress from his intense and busy work life. It became less than perfect for me. Being Irish, with red-headed skin, I wanted to avoid the sun, and…

I wanted action! I wanted adventure! I’d listen longingly to friends who were biking in Vietnam, or hiking across Ireland. I know, complaining about going to the same island every year sounds like a First World problem, but believe me, I was done with the beach. Here are some of my ideas for our next chapter:

A riverboat cruise along the Danube

A cooking school in Tuscany

A photographic safari in South Africa

A hot air ballon trip over France

A writing workshop in Iowa (OK, that’s just me)

A knitting excursion to farms in the UK, or maybe Wales

And I just want to see Iceland!

But for now our next trip will be to Charleston, SC this Fall. Before the devastating mass shooting at the AME church, Charleston had been voted the best US city to visit in Travel and Leisure’s survey, and the second best in the world!! http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/30/travel/tl-worlds-best-cities/

We’ll be going with the Bride and Groom to check out the city and have some fun with the grandbabies. I’ve rented an ocean view home on Home Away, so I guess it will be cooking and sunscreen for me all over again. Still, I love to cook with the Bride and could never complain about combing sand out of the Love Bug’s hair. It will be like deja vu all over again.

The next island generation

The next island generation

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

EE Cummings

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An interesting word, “contempt.” It implies dishonor, and three more D words – disdain, disgrace, and one may even result in being despised. It’s a strong word; if you should find yourself in contempt of court you may find yourself in jail. But contempt is a step beyond the worst case, like despair trumps depression. Which is why it was so contemptible for an Alabama Congressman to use such semantics on a radio show recently.

Republican Rep. Gary Palmer told a radio host he thought it was too soon to be calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the SC memorial in front of the state house. He just kept clinging to his Southern tradition as he elaborated:          “…people that have an agenda seeking to exploit a tragedy…to me, that’s beyond contempt.”

Now granted, I’ve taken my time trying to exploit this particular tragedy, one in which a white supremacist zealot sat in on bible study in a black church in Charleston, SC for an hour, and then executed nine people in cold blood. When I saw the picture of that deranged 21 year old, my first thought was, “He’s crazy as a loon.” And news junkie that I am, I followed right along with the debate. Should this be called an act of terrorism, or a hate crime? And I think you know which side of the fence my sentiments were falling right? Because to me it’s no worse to kill someone in a house of worship than in their own house – or in a Kosher market or a movie theatre – or in a college or an elementary school.

Why has no one asked the important question over Father’s Day weekend? Why did the shooter’s father buy him a handgun for his 21st birthday?! Most parents can tell when their kid is going off track, and from all accounts this particular young man was sending out all kinds of clues. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the mentally ill will always be with us, but how crazy are we Americans for not doing something about gun violence in this country! We had a legislator in this state who was attacked by his psychotic son, with a knife, because guns had been taken out of the home. Can we not agree on background checks at the very least? https://mountainmornings.net/2014/01/26/political-willpower/

A debate about the Confederate flag only serves to pollute the waters. Yes, I agree the Rebel flag belongs in a museum. I was semi-shocked to find it flying on houses in rural parts of the South still, but that involves private property and if I want to fly a cardinal flag outside my house I have that right. Do we fly a Nazi flag outside the Holocaust museum? A blogger I admire, who happens to be African American and Jewish, posted a comment online that the erosion of voting rights in the South should be our priority, and not where or what is on a flagpole. And I get it, I really do.

When our President must use the N word to make his point, and shrugs his shoulders to show he has little political leverage or will left to fight the gun lobby, well I just wanted to cry. That was after listening to the families of the #Charlestonshooting forgive the killer. What should we forgive him for exactly? I’m getting out my rosary beads, and this will be my prayer:

 “Forgive us Lord for letting this happen again and again and again”

CIIahHHUwAAuQWt

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