Tag Archives: Wally Lane

Let’s Not Say Goodbye, Only Farewell

As you’ll see from Wally’s blog today, Black Ink, White Paper is winding up. We’ll be done as of December 31. We’ve had a terrific time with all our readers, but it’s time for us – for all of us – to move on to something new. So if you’ve enjoyed any one of us, or all of us, please follow us on our new endeavors. At the end of the year, we’ll leave you with all our personal blogs, websites, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media we subscribe to.
 
We’ll enjoy seeing you during December – and elsewhere after that.
Kate and Lisa

 

When I heard the news that Black Ink White Paper was going to be retired at the end of the month, I was filled with all sorts of emotions. Sadness, relief, anger (at myself) came rushing in to harass me, assail my psyche. Why you might ask? Anyone who knows me will tell you I am neither self-deprecating, and I certainly don’t think of myself as a victim. I guess my first thought was the shutting down of the blog was a sign that it had failed, we, the writers, had failed, I had failed. Which, after I quit beating myself up, I realized was as far from the truth as one could possibly get.

Black Ink White Paper managed to grow and prosper for 20 some months, providing an insight to the life of the writer, from the perspective of an eclectic group of writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, essayists, short story writers, word smiths and yarn spinners who create a profusion of stories in plethora of disciplines: short fiction, poetry and novels / women’s fiction, magic realism, paranormal, erotica. /non-fiction adventure thriller/ YA fantasy, YA novel, science fiction/screenplay romance, and fantasy. We gave the blog readers a look into the “Writing Life” and a glimpse into our souls.
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But first and foremost, we, the writers, became friends, friends I will never forget, friends I cherish as much as I cherish family. People I will miss sharing with on a daily basis. The blog was a direct connection that I will miss.

I have promised myself to make every effort to stay in touch with all the writers, no matter how crazy life gets. And I hope they will all do the same. I know I have gotten to know some of you better than others, but you are all in my thoughts and I don’t want to lose any of you. And that goes for the readers, too.

Let’s stay in touch, share our victories and achievements and if time and fate allow…

…a wee dram of good scotch whisky

Wally

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A Cautionary Tale

I would like to share with all of you, what I think is a funny story, and what my wife assures me, was her most embarrassing moment.

As you all know, Belva, my wife, best friend, and the light of my life, and I own and operate a web site, Belva’s List; which is a recreation guide to Seattle, Puget Sound, and Western Washington. One thing we do is list all kinds of yearly events, car rallies, neighborhood extravaganzas, summer water events and festivals of every size and description. We attempt to attend as many of these events as we can.

We decided to attend Seattle’s Fremont Summer Solstice Parade a couple of years ago. What a blow out affair that was. The abundance of floats, performers, and attendees was truly overwhelming. All of the pageantry, both in the parade and on the sidelines, is what has made this parade world famous. And one of the highlights every year is the Nude bicyclists. Believe me when I say, the sight of—there must have been a hundred or more—people, wearing nothing but athletic shoes, a hat, sunglasses and a smile or a coat of paint—Don’t Look Alice!—stream by on bicycles, it stirs a crowd… Lots of “Ooh’s and Ahhs”.

Now, on to Belva’s moment… We had ridden the bus from Greenwood to Fremont. It’s impossible to find a parking place on Parade Day. And though the bus stop is some little way up the hill from the heart of the activity it’s a closer walk than any parking places you might find—if you can find one, chances of winning the lottery are more likely.

After the Parade and much viewing enjoyment, during which, we “porked-down” a bunch of junk food and beverages, we started back up the hill to our bus stop. Just as we were getting close to our destination, Belva began to have a moment of personal panic. She had to go! And there wasn’t any place to go! And a lot of hill left to climb, not to mention a twenty minute bus ride! All of the stores and restaurants were behind us a few blocks down the hill.

The further up the hill we walked the more concerned Belva became, scanning the buildings along the sidewalk, in search of a restaurant, she spied a brick building with a storefront type window. Passing the window, we noticed small groups of people sitting around various small tables, others on couches and easy chairs; beverages and snacks available at various stations through out the room. It shouted, “Neighborhood coffeehouse”, happy, friendly, cozy and full of people and a restroom.

A look of anticipated relief washed over Belva’s face, she had found this place just in the nick of time, for her moment of need was fast approaching the extreme panic stage. As we entered through the open front door, she spotted a slightly open bathroom door in the far corner, meaning the bathroom was not occupied. She left me to my own devices, as she, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, raced to the open bathroom door, nodding to folks as she passed, trying not to slam the door behind her, as she disappeared into the restroom.

A short time later, business done, she opened the bathroom door and reentered the room. Everyone stood up, and
wearing big smiles, began to clap, politely. Confused and thinking, maybe she should have bought something on the way in, Belva got into her purse and left a dollar on the table full of snacks, then joined me to continue our trip to the bus stop.

Just out side the front door, a smiling couple on the sidewalk, cups in hand, obviously customers of the establishment, informed us this was not a neighborhood coffee shop but their apartment. And they were hosting a group of friends celebrating the summer solstice. Everyone, including Belva had a good laugh.

Belva ruminated to me later, that thinking back after the fact, perhaps, the bathrobes hanging on wall hooks in the bathroom should have given her a clue. She later talked about the incident on her blog, making a public apology to the nice couple, for her little faux pax and her sincere thanks to them and their friends for being so gracious to a lady in distress. She assures me that this is one of those moments forever burned into her memory. She will also tell you, “Do not just head off mindlessly following a group of people whom you think know where they are going; if you do you too might find yourself out of the “comfort station zone.” A very good lesson to remember.

Wally

It’s A Boy!

Instead of a blog this week, with me boring you with my knowledge or some story from my past—I’d like to take this time to share with you something wonderful. I have a new grandson! My son Duffy (Arthur Wallace Lane III) and his lovely wife Catherine have presented the Lane clan its newest member. Andrew Wallace Lane, 8.5 pounds of bouncing baby boy. He will soon be joining his brothers Dylan, Austin and Clayton Thomas in terrorizing the neighborhood as all good boys do.

Andrew Wallace is the eighth grandson, Belva and I have been blessed with, so, join us in wishing him, a long, good and healthy life, filled with fun and adventure. Raise a glass to Andrew Wallace Lane, “May the world be the pearl in your oyster. Slàinte! ”

Little Boys
by AW “Wally” Lane

A baby boy is born
A tiny thing
All pink and helpless
In the beginning
Doing little more
Than eating and sleeping.

But then he grows
Begins to cry and shout
For all the world to here
“Come and look at me!”
And then he crawls
Begins to walk
And things are no longer
The same
The metamorphosis
Is complete

Yesterday’s baby
In the crib
Has become a little boy
With droopy pants
And untucked shirt
Shoes that are forever
Untied
A face and hands
Somehow always smudged
With dirt
No matter how much
Soap and water are applied

A runny nose and
Mussed up hair
He seems to take with him
Everywhere

His pockets filled with
“Who knows what”
An odd piece of string
Assorted bottle caps
Various rocks and
Marbles
A jackknife that’s rusted
Shut
Lizards, snakes and
Frogs
Angle worms and spiders
Almost any kind of bug
That wriggles, creeps or
Crawls
Kept in bottles or jars
Sacks or boxes
Or perhaps
A handy pocket
Many times completely
Forgotten
Until someone does
The washing

He’s rough and tumble
Hard on his clothes
Not to mention
Knees and elbows
Struggling to be braver
Than he really is
Especially late at night
Or in dark places
When other guys
Are around
But no matter what
Right or wrong
Good boy or bad
One look will
Melt your heart

He’s half imp
Half angel
One hundred percent
Your son forever
And thank God
Every day for that.
#

Wally

Another Life Lesson

I had no blog in mind this week—nothing to share I thought. And then my mind flashed back to the previous week and a phone call we received that one of our grandchildren was in custody—lock up, county jail. Next came the conversation about what shall we do. Our choices were put up bail money and get him out or let him stay there for the next three or four days until the court let him out. Right about here I should tell you the charges against him were not serious, the crime was more of an act of stupidity committed in a moronic moment. We decided the three or four days in the pokey would do him more good than harm.

I should also explain that Belva and I have had a hand in raising two of our grandchildren and when I say that, I don’t mean in the grand-parenting sense. I mean in the “roll up your sleeves and take command” sense of being a full-time surrogate Father and Mother. I will also tell you, it ain’t an easy job and I hope you don’t have to do it. Oh, sure, there are a lot of good times and feelings attached, but it is damned tough duty trying to wear both the grandparent-hat and the parent-hat—trying to decide which one to put on, and when. I do know, like any other hats, you can’t wear them both at the same time without looking like a fool.

Well, we thought all of that was behind us, until reminded by the phone call, we were being called back into duty and had to make the above mentioned decision. And it was not made lightly and without some trepidation. Belva worried about his safety, I reminded her that he is over six feet tall, pushing 200 lbs and 23 years old—and this was county jail not the penitentiary. But still she worried… and so did I.

I asked myself, “Where did we go wrong?” “Why did he do this?” After beating myself up and wrestling with my inner-guilt, I came to the conclusion that we had done the best that we could do. People do stupid things every day. Commit crimes everyday and we can’t and shouldn’t blame their parents. We all are faced with decisions daily. And some times we make the wrong decision. And sometimes we go to jail for it. And we can’t blame anyone but ourselves.

I remembered back to my first bicycle, and how proud my folks were to give it to me. How hard they worked at trying to teach me to ride it that first day—hours of pushing me down the sidewalk, only to crash in the grass. Showing me, time and again, how to get on and supposedly ride away, to no avail. Finally, they tired and gave into defeat, put the bike away, and left me to steep in my own inadequate defeat.

The next morning, at the break of dawn, when everyone but me and the paperboy were sleeping, I quietly slipped my new bike out of the house and walked down the street a half-block away, and faced off with my nemesis “the bike” vowing it would not defeat me today. I would break and ride this wild bronco-bike or die trying. It was up and down for about an hour but two skinned knees and bleeding elbow later… I did it! I threw my leg over the bike and launched myself onto the seat, while at the same time pushing the bike into motion. This time my feet found the peddles and I was riding the bike down the road. What a feeling! What an accomplishment.

When my folks got up, I greeted them by riding by with no-hands. The look of pride on their faces more than made up for the previous day’s failures.

What did that story have to do with me letting my grandson stay in jail? That’s easy. Sometimes you have to let kids skin their knee in order that they learn a lesson. And secondly, as a parent, you can’t learn the lesson for your children; they have to learn it on their own. We are all responsible for what we do and can’t blame bad decisions on someone else, only learn from them.

Wally

Dead But Never Forgotten

I was filled with a sense of sorrow when Dick Clark passed away on Wednesday. A great American icon was gone, an icon from my time. On the following day, the news came out that Levon Helm also passed. A feeling of emptiness washed over me. I felt as though part of me was destroyed, lost, blown away! A part of the fabric of my history was lost.

I am a child of the 40s and 50s. I grew up with WWII, the advent of the ‘A Bomb,’ Jet
Airplanes, men traveling faster than the speed of sound, T.V. and Rock N Roll! American Bandstand, Dick Clark and the Bop! It was a time of change, radical music, radical dancing styles and I was living it! I was part of the change, part of the new America.

The amazing part is I didn’t live in Philadelphia, PA (The home of American Bandstand) or LA or New York. I grew up and went to High school in 1950’s Spokane, Washington, not exactly what you would call a grand metropolis. Not what you would call a “hot-bed” of cultural change. But I’m here to tell you, when it came to being exposed to the music of our time, we hit the mother lode in old “back water” Spokane!

I saw and danced to all the greats there, Bill Haley & the Comets—I danced on the stage with his band to the hits, Rock Around the Clock, Shake Rattle & Roll, and See You Latter Alligator, I met and shook hands with greats like Little Richard, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter, Lavern Baker, The Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran (Sittin’ in the Balconey), Gene Vincent (Be-Bop-A-Lula), Jimmy Rodgers (“Kisses Sweeter than Wine”), Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry. In those days, they had dances at the Armory, Natatorium Park, and the Spokane Coliseum, I’ve been to dances there, when the joint was packed, (I heard figures over 3,000 kids at a dance in the coliseum), I can tell you with certainty, far more than a thousand. Everyone was dancing to Rock N Roll, R&B, Rock a Billy, Doo wop—Talk about the joint jumpin’!

Thinking back on it now, I’ve concluded that besides being a metropolitan center, as well as the largest city in Eastern Washington, and the home of two air force bases, Fairchild and Geiger Field, which had a population of several thousand young military personnel, was why Spokane became a major stop for touring bands and shows. Whatever the reason, there was always something going on, a concert or a dance, with live music or a DJ spinning records or both, someplace.

I danced in Rock N Roll contests every weekend sometimes both Friday and Saturday nights. I loved to dance, my mother taught me how to do the Lindy or Jitterbug and I picked up other ballroom dance steps in school or from other kids, dances called “The Camel Walk, The Chicken, and the Twist. In those days, Mead Junior High School had a program where they taught a co-ed dance class, we learned Swing, waltz, fox trot, rumba and samba. It’s a shame they don’t do that in schools now days. We may not have had American Bandstand but we had the music and places to dance and someone to show us how.

It was a magical time. One I’ll never forget. A time when a kid named Levon Helm from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas could team up with some kids from Canada, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson, to form The Band and make magical, mystical music, an amalgam of country, blues, bluegrass, gospel, R&B, pop and rock ‘n’ roll that helped define an era of American history—rightly called Americana.

As I thought about all this, I went to “You Tube” and immersed myself in the music of Levon Helm and Dick Clark—sort of a mini wake. It helped fill the temporary hole in my soul. And it made me realize that when we make a contribution that somehow adds to this world in which we live, that contribution lives on, making us, in a sense, immortal.

From now on, every time I hear someone sing, Take A Load Off Annie or The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, I’ll Think about that kid from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas named Levon Helm and I’ll remember back to a magical time, when the world was changing and I was part of that change. And maybe I’ll remember Dick Clark and American Bandstand and Shake, Rattle & Roll.

Goodbye Dick and Levon, it was a great run. Thanks for all you gave us.

Dick Clark, November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012
Levon Helm, May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012

Wally

Writing, Teaching, Teaching, Writing

I do a lot of teaching, and one-on-one mentoring these days—more and more lately. I never planned on being a teacher, didn’t go to school for it, it just happened. I should clarify that, the school part. I did go to school, several of them over the years—I completed several extensive screenwriting programs, including the Seattle Film School, I was in the inaugural class.

I think it all started, the teaching thing, when I was head of the Northwest Screenwriters Guild’s compendium—back then a writer had to prove they could write to industry standard before you could qualify to be included in the compendium; which aloud you to pitch to visiting producers.

Consequently, I had to know what industry standard was, which lead me to reading a lot of books, including the Screenwriters Bible and talking to many of the screenwriting gurus. I also ended up reading one hell of a lot of screenplays over the next four years—many of which the writer new little or nothing about writing screenplays. And I took it upon myself to help them along. I’m not sure anyone in the past had gone to these lengths but I felt I had to, for some reason—Belva says it’s my personality.

I’ll be the first to admit, that I can be a bit on the obsessive/compulsive side—Belva would say, quite a bit on the obsessive/compulsive side. And I think that’s a good thing, when it comes to developing characters—Belva might argue it’s not so appreciable in other aspects. Anyway, as usual, I’ve gotten a bit off track. Here I am, talking about personality traits and building characters; when I wanted to talk about teaching.

I love to write and there’s something about teaching aspiring screenwriters that gives me almost as much satisfaction as nailing a story—writing a screenplay that POPs. I think it’s the look on their face when they see their words come to life. When they see their cardboard characters become real and develop personalities; see their pages morph from exposition filled blocky paragraphs into slender lines that show the reader what will be shown on the screen and hear in their mind what the actors will say—witness their clumsy, stumbling story blossom into a sleek and slender screenplay that can dance.

I’ve always believed in Karma, believed that what goes around comes around. And I believe we should pay it forward—help others if we are able. But I’ve also learned through the years of teaching, I too was learning, developing and honing my own skills, growing as a writer.

Writing screenplays is a continually evolving craft—and if you don’t keep up, you get left behind—you become obsolete over night. Hey, there’s another reason I like to teach—It keeps me young, up to date.

Wally

Community

The other day my friend and fellow writer, Angus Vieira, announced he was going to stay in Portland, move down there. You see, Angus went to Portland in November of last year, 2011, to baby sit his old roommate’s bunny rabbit while she was touring Vietnam. That in its self should qualify Angus as a special friend in most people’s book. Not many people could or would uproot their life for two months—that was how long he planed to be gone—to babysit a bunny rabbit.  But Angus is a special guy!

Did I mention the roommate’s an exotic-dancer and that the bunny rabbit has no ears—I guess the mother rabbit gnawed them off… accidentally, of course.  Confused? Maybe I should explain, see, once the roommate, being a compassionate sort—as most exotic-dancers are, according to Angus—was caught up in the grip of an overwhelming urge to adopt this tiny earless bunny, once she laid eyes on it. And Angus, caught up in an overwhelming urge to help out his friend, the exotic dancer, by becoming an earless bunny’s protector and provider, did the right thing.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah…

Angus is a special guy! He likes to let people know up front, he’s a nudist, a Buddhist, a poet, a sometimes pagan and a confirmed bachelor. What he fails to mention, is his best trait, so I will, he’s a trusted friend you can rely on in a pinch—the guy you can call at 3: a.m. to go your bail, and he won’t hang up. Or, if you’re an exotic-dancer, a guy you can call on to babysit your earless bunny! But again, I digress…

Actually, I was going to miss not having my old friend close at hand—there is never a dull moment when Angus is around. Without him here, there would be an empty spot in my circle of friends. Something I dread seeing more and more as I and my friends grow older. I actually worry about my shrinking community. I’m not talking about the larger community of man, or Seattle, or the neighborhood. I’m talking about “MY” community,

my circle of friends and relatives. It’s shrinking—people moving away, people dying… and let’s face it, I don’t get around, as much as I used to—a late night is 11:30, lately. Belva and I live in an apartment. In the two years we’ve lived there, I’ve met a couple of the neighbors… but I don’t know them… very seldom ever see them—none of them are in my circle.

What was I doing wrong? I’m a friendly guy. I belong to all the right social networking groups—Face Book, Twitter, Linked In.  I know hundreds of people, from all over the world. I spend hours and hours every day on my computer, answering email, Face Book messages, working on Belva’s List, writing blogs, writing screenplays, mentoring screenwriters…

Suddenly it dawned on me… I realized that, Angus’s announced move was my wakeup call!  I was allowing myself to be confined to an ever shrinking circle of friends; while he was joining a new circle of friends, becoming a part of a new community and at the same time remaining connected to his Seattle friends.  I either have to adopt an earless bunny rabbit, or Belva and I have to get out and Party More!

Wally

Memories…

Memories must be like jars or boxes, vessels where we store each and every thing that we witness or that happens to us every moment of our lives. Kind of like the jar Belva has of sand dollars and sea shells we’ve picked up off the different beaches we visited, or the wooden cheese boxes I kept my marbles in when I was a kid, or the photo albums, now replaced by computer files. Places to store our keepsakes in until we want to take them out and remember back to another time and place, pieces of our lives we never want to forget.

But all memories aren’t pleasant, snap shots of fun times. Memories can be bad, even frightening, painful reminders. Things we would rather not recall. Happenings that bring nightmares to us in our sleep or bring us “down in the dumps” on a sunny day.

But good or bad, memories are there for a purpose, stored away in the closets and drawers of our minds. They are the unique way we learn to do, and not to do, things: A skinned knee from the past, reminds you not to ride your roller skates down the steepest hill in your town.

Memories start in the womb, I’m told, and continue through out our lives. Recollections help us breathe, eat, find our way home, do chores, walk, run, jump, read, write—they help us to survive, help us travel this road called life. Memories are a big part of the fabric that shapes us—the sum total of who we are at any given time and they are with us until our time is done… our days ended… until we are nothing but a memory.

Wally

BELVA’S LIST AND HOW IT GOT STARTED

Every once in a while there is a movie with which I can readily identify. THE BUCKET LIST turned out to be one of those movies. About four years ago Belva, my wife, and I ordered it and watched it on, one of our “date nights” and as soon as we finished watching the film we realized that we had never taken time to list any of the things we would like to do before we died. Granted we were always thinking “Boy, I would really like to do that before I die”. However, life and day to day activities would take over and all thoughts of that thing we’d like to do were pushed aside, until the next time something struck her or my fancy.

Finally we started a list, like the guys in the movie did. Belva wanted to take a hot air balloon ride or go on an archeological dig (for almost anything, located anywhere), she just wanted to find something older than she was, or maybe go to somewhere that stays daylight for 24 hours a day. I wanted to drink wine in the south of France; celebrate Octoberfest in Germany, and tour the distilleries of Ireland and Scotland. These are just a few of the things that began to make it on to our Bucket List.

Whenever friends would ask “what are you doing now?” and learn that we were pondering and compiling our very own bucket list, they always asked what we had come up with. After hearing our list, they would mention some items that they had always wanted to do, some of these sounded so interesting, we asked if we could add them to our list. Soon that list was growing by leaps and boundspeople were calling to add items they heard about, things for us to do, things they may or may not want to do themselves, but sounded interesting.

As time went by, our list became much more than Belva could keep up with, even on multiple pages of her yellow legal pad. I suggested we start putting them into the computer and create some kind of order to the ever growing list of eventsMe and my big mouth!

Making a word document and an excel spread sheet was a breeze but my entrepreneurial wife took one look at that and said, “why couldn’t we turn this list into a resource for people looking for things to do?” Like a website, I asked? Again, me and my big mouth!

Belva, jumped on that foolish suggestion, like a lioness on a baby springbok, “Can you make a website?” Not wanting to sound incapable or lacking in some way, I answered, “Maybe?”

In truth I hadn’t the foggiest idea where to even start in the process of building a website. But, neither did Belva, and she also believes that I can do anything, if I set my mind to it! And I wasn’t about to change that. “What shall we call it?” she asked.

Seeing as it was her idea, and I didn’t want to be blamed if it failed, I suggested Belva’s List. She bought it and so a new website was conceived, “Belva’s List… of things to do in and around Seattle and Western Washington.”

But to bring it to life and fruition we were both set out upon a course that included, me navigating the trials and tribulations of website construction, content management, coding, SEO, ad building, HTML, CSS, PHPThank God for W3 Schools. And Belva, who ran the other way when ever I turned the computer on, had to learn how to operate one enough to write blogs, search the web and collect data. As there were exactly two of us and multiple jobs to do, writer, techie, sales person, ad guy etc., we each had to wear multiple hats and our work day expanded to, “get up early, go to bed late, seven days a week.”

The good news is Belva’s List, after numerous remodels and format changes, is up and running, growing each year in visitors per day and ad sales. The bad news is, Belva and I are so busy we can’t find the tine to do any of the fun stuff we list for everyone else to do. So, our new goal is to sell Belva’s List to someone who will franchise it, like they have with Crags List, and Angies List, branching out to include other major cities. Then hopefully we can find Belva a “Dig” and me, a near by distillery, or ride a hot air balloon over southern France while drinking some great local wine. So, if you know someone with a lot of money, who needs a project, send them our way. As soon as possible, there’s a lot on our Bucket List and we’re not getting any younger.

Cheers
Belva & The Bearded One (that would be me, Wally)
http://www.belvaslist.com/

Sticks and stones

I want to talk about “civility” or should I say the lack of it. “Incivility” seems to be prevalent where ever I look these days. I read about it in the paper, it’s all over TV. Respect seems to have gone out the window. It’s as though the Bullies of the world have taken over—Bullies leading gangs of bullies. And it’s causing problems, everywhere. It’s in our schools, our churches, the workplace, our government (city, county, state and federal), it’s in our everyday lives—it touches us all. Kids bullying other kids in school and on line, Facebook and Twitter, until some of the victims become so distressed they commit suicide or grab a gun and shoot up their school. Or a worker is bullied by a boss or fellow workers until she/he quits or goes off the deep-end and comes back to work with a gun. Bullies are pulling political strings to turn the clock back—take us back to segregated schools, divide us into black and white, wipe out the gains that were so painfully made, and paid for with blood and life to overcome the ignorance of racial prejudice; or trying to legislate away the rights of women, the right to vote, do away with social security retirement and medical programs for the elderly, cut off the food stamps and welfare from or poor, hungry and less fortunate folks, split us into two categories—the “Haves” and “Have-nots.” I see more and more people who can’t make it, while a few rake in vast sums of money gained at the expense of many.

I’m not what you would call a religious person, fact is, I don’t believe in organized religion. I do believe in being respectful of another person’s feelings. I do believe in treating others as I would like them to treat me. I don’t believe in turning a blind eye to injustice. I don’t believe in ignoring my neighbors’ plight if I have the means to help in some way. I believe a person should be judged by how they live their lives, their daily deeds—not the color of their skin, not by what church they attend, not by their sexual preference, not by how much money they have, not by their political affiliation. I don’t care what blows your skirt up, as long as it isn’t at the expense of, or harmful to others—especially children. Just don’t try to make me do it if I don’t want to, or if I don’t believe it’s right. If you believe in same sex marriage, that has nothing to do with me; doesn’t affect my marriage. If you want to have an abortion, that is your decision—something you have to resolve personally. It’s none of my business, or your neighbors business, or somebody from a different state that doesn’t know you or your situation. If you don’t want to have children or you want to have a lot of children, that too is up to you, no one else—especially the church.

I’m tired of people disrespecting our president. I’m tired of people disrespecting my neighbors and friends. I’m tired of people getting away with disrespecting anyone that doesn’t believe exactly as they do; doesn’t go to their church, that is born from another ethnicity or that belongs to a different political party. I think it’s time that people stood up and said enough! That means you and I, all of us have to speak up when we witness someone being bullied. Bullies are cowards and if enough people call “B.S.” on them, they’ll back off. When I here a racial slur, or someone verbally maligning someone or a group, I’m going to call them on it—“I don’t appreciate that kind of talk.” I know I’m only one person, but maybe if I stand up and say something, someone else will, and another and another. I know the bullies are in the minority; most people lean toward civility and fair play. But we, the majority, have to step up and be heard. I believe it was John Donne who said, “No man is an island.” We all have a stake in this, it effects us all. And I personally am fed up with the incivility that is permeating our world! I’m tired of the Bullies running things!

Wally