headstone for martin

Christmas Remembrances at the Masonic Cemetery

Christmas is a difficult holiday for me. It has long evoked strong emotions and has become a time to recall lost friends, refresh old memories, and celebrate the turn of a year. To commemorate the day and a friend we lost on Christmas Eve ten years ago, my friend Marie and I visited the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery in Austin, Texas. This is a cemetery in far South Austin that has late-19th-century graves of Masons and their families. It’s an interesting step back in time, and a quiet, out of the way place to wander and contemplate on’s own history. The cemetery’s own story is also as good as it gets. As the official historical marker details: According to local tradition, in the winter of 1859, 23-year-old John Davis joined a community wagon train headed for work in the pine forests of Bastrop County. Davis, sprayed by a skunk during the night, began running wildly through the camp. He was … Read more…

McApple Pie of My Eye

This is a crazy tale of a McDonald’s apple pie that will not die. As it’s owned by the husband of one of my colleagues, I have faith that his story is indeed true.

When a writer becomes a novelist

Thanks to a colleague’s suggestion, this year I took the NaNoWriMo plunge. With less than a month to fashion the concept of a novel, I signed up, drank the koolaid, and jumped off the cliff. I’ve been writing fiction since grade school, but only in November 2013 did I really start to think of myself as a novelist. And that’s not because I “won” NaNo by writing over 50,000 words, though I did (71,664 to be exact). Nor is it because I “finished” a novel in 30 days, though I did that as well (see below for the synopsis). I think of myself as a novelist now becase I realize that the art of writing a book isn’t just about putting words down, creating fun characters, and entertaining yourself. It’s actually hard work that requires a great deal of commitment and focus, and many lessons learned along the way. NaNoWriMo offers writers the opportunity to plunge forth into the alchemical … Read more…