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  • Another Brick in The Wall

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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         There is a place, a bounded land where I go to write books. It is a safe place I guard fiercely. As of late, I’ve let other people’s emotions and needs push hard on the walls I built around my favorite place. A few bricks fell out of my castle tower, a hole emerged here and there. The detritus of other people’s narrow mindedness and mendacity seeped into my writing world. It’s not a good mix.
         By nature, I am an empathetic person. I take on the moods of others. I feel their pain beyond sympathy. It served me well as an actress, this ability to feel so deeply what it was like to be someone else. I feel sure that empathy at this level makes me a better writer than I would be if I couldn’t understand what it was like to be a whole different person, with emotional scars for which I have no actual frame of reference. It has been both a blessing and a curse. The curse comes from the very real pain this empathy can bring.
         As authors, readers contact many of us because a novel we wrote moved them in such a way that they were compelled to communicate that to us. My email address is on all my novels and I encourage people to write to me. There’s nothing quite as motivating as knowing something I wrote changed someone’s life in their eyes. Readers also share heartbreaking personal stories that often leave me astonished, in tears, and a true believer that truth is stranger than fiction, (if truth can be found on the Internet.) I’ve also been deceived and perplexed at why someone would lie to me, a total stranger. To what end, I always wonder?
         Still, it’s a small price to pay, to listen to a reader’s troubles, but email has made authors so accessible, it can become overwhelming and time consuming. I had to learn to respond politely and, respectful of the person’s feeling, offer a short “hope it gets better.” That may sound heartless, but becoming emotional invested in the lesbian dramas of the world would be a full time job and one for professional therapists. I am not qualified. That point was driven home to me very recently. I still enjoy getting email and I will read everyone. I simply put a brick back in the wall.
         I don’t read reviews. I am in agreement with Rita Mae Brown on this one. Once the book is published, a review isn’t going to change how the book is written. It’s already out there. Nothing I can do about it now. My wife reads the reviews. If she thinks I could learn something from a bad review, she tells me. She’s very intelligent, fair-minded, and not afraid to challenge me on what I write. She also reads me a good one now and then, just to keep me motivated. All of this was learned behavior, after a particularly nasty personal attack by an unsatisfied reader. I am also reminded that there is a distinct difference between a “review” and a critique based on classic literary definitions and themes. I’ll take a critique any day. The delete button is my friend and I don’t seek out sites that review my books or those of other authors. Another brick back in the wall.
         I belong to several groups, one of them my own. I love my group. We talk about my books, other people’s books, ask questions that puzzle us, share answers and have fun. I only had one person post anything negative and I just happened to be online when it happened. Her racist remark about the President was met by a quick banishment. Problem solved. I belonged to another group that did nothing for my writing career and caused me anguish. Removing myself from the group brought instant relief. I hadn’t known how much I dreaded opening the messages until I was out. That brick was a pleasure to mortar back in place.
         I had alerts set up to let me know when new topics popped up in several lesbian fiction discussion groups. I only responded in the groups when a direct question was asked about one of my novels. After weeks of nothing but notifications of one particular overly enthusiastic new author, tooting her own horn to the point of obnoxiousness, I disabled the notifications. If I was anything close to that verbose in my excitement at becoming an author, I do humbly apologize and ask forgiveness. If someone is truly interested in my books, they know where to find me. That brick went back in pretty quickly and the silence was golden.
         Readers sent me transcripts of conversations from other groups that I am not a member of. It’s amazing what people will say when they don’t think the person they are talking about will ever see those words. After several of these, I asked the kindhearted readers, that were only trying to defend me against what they deemed unwarranted attacks, to please just leave me out of it. Let them talk. To give it another thought would be lowering myself to the level of middle school “she said – she said,” and quite frankly, I’m just too old for that. If another author or anyone involved in this genre feels the need to bash my novels in public, more power to her. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and it just might trigger a reader to go find out for herself. I, for one, believe there is room for lots of lesbian fiction authors and no need to attack each other, since the far right does such a good job of it. Another brick in the wall.
         I became involved in the marketing and daily grind of running my own publishing business. Lawyers, accountants, editors, formatters, sales and taxes, the realities of running your own business. Communication with readers is also essential in today’s market. I gladly spend time each day on Facebook. I have, however, begun to watch my time there more closely. It’s on in the corner of my screen while I write and when I take breaks I pop over to see what’s happening or comment. Facebook can suck two hours away before you know it, so I check the time when I click on the page. I know exactly how much time I’m spending there. If I’m stuck or plotting, it’s a nice diversion for a while. The most important thing I realized is that the people on my FB friends list are already readers. That’s how they found me in the first place. No sense in wasting writing time, chatting with them all day. They would rather I were writing anyway. A small brick in the corner went back in.
         That brings me to my final brick. My fortress is almost as good as new, as pristine as when I began this journey. I was alone in my fantasyland back then. No one but my wife knew I was writing. It was blissful in that world, no voices of decent, no distractions, just me and a keyboard. I didn’t worry about what the readers would think. I never thought there would be any readers. I wrote that first novel for my wife and me. I shared it with a few close friends. They liked it. I was hooked. I wrote like a demon possessed and turned out four manuscripts in less than nine months. Every spare moment was spent in my little very productive world. I saw that production decline as the popularity of the novels I eventually published rose.
         Distracted by this and that, I longed for the peace of just writing. That heart pumping excitement that greeted me each time I sat down at my desk. The days when all I thought about were the characters and plot lines, and what to cook for dinner. I truly missed it. I set about putting my house back in order. A friend told me yesterday that another author said to her, “Readers read and writers write.” She went on to say, and I paraphrase (hopefully well,) “anything beyond that is just extra.” Readers want more books to read and writers want to write them, it’s as simple as that. Get back to basics, what got you here, why you began to write in the first place. I’m doing just that. I made up my mind this morning to put the last brick back in the wall.
         As my hands shook from anger, I wrote a long scathing post in one of the last two groups I’m in, outside of my own. I didn’t send it. I realized my heartfelt response would fall on deaf ears. I am the odd man out here, and out I’m going. I wouldn't hang out with people I don't trust in the real world, why should I do it in the virtual world just because we “seem” to be in the same profession. In “real” life, I would simply walk away, because my life is complete as it is. My mother-in-law has a saying. “Life’s too short to hang out with people you don’t like.” She also says, “Don’t put yourself in situations you know you don’t do well in,” meaning eventually I would go off on a rant, because I don't do well staying quiet while others clog the air with deceit and complete self-absorption. I was going to blow a gasket if I stayed in that group. I’m going to take that advice. The last brick goes back in the wall and I am once again shielded from the distractions of negative karma.
         I am writing this while taking a break from the novel I’m working on. I was amazed at how freely the words flowed this morning. A weight has lifted and I am once again in my safe place. If I feel intense emotions like anger and anxiety, I want it to be in the middle of a scene I’m writing, not staring at group messages. I get all the support I need from my family and readers who enjoy my work, and let's face it, writers thrive on feedback. I’m remaining in one group only and if at anytime the pleasant atmosphere dips to negative drama, I’m out. If this is poor marketing strategy, because word of mouth plays a huge role in this tiny little incestuous genre, then so be it. My blood pressure will remain at healthier levels.
         I’ll do a better job of protecting my space from now on. As an author, my brain is my only asset. If I clutter it up with things that really have no relativity to my work or my family, then I’m misusing my instrument and disrespecting the people who truly love me for me, not because I write books. If you are an author reading this, then you’ve probably already had these revelations. You’ve learned to manage your time and not let things interfere with your work, and are nodding your head, "Been there, done that." If you are a reader, then know I truly appreciate your support and if you’re not a nut case, I’ll probably keep talking to you anytime you feel like dropping me an email or a message on FB. (don't flame me over the use of the term "nut case." If you've been on the Internet, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Let's be real here.) Don’t freak if I don’t answer right away. Know I’m writing and managing my time better. That’s what most readers want anyway, more books. There have only been a few readers that expected more than I could give, but that few taught me valuable lessons. It was a hard lesson for me, fraught with hair tugging and tears, but I made it back to my turret, where I gaze now over the land I’ve created. The tower is again a stronghold, and I write, and write, and write, because after all, what good is a castle without a fairytale. 

    Jan 25 Tags: Untagged
  • "The only thing to fear is fear itself."

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

         Today, I was digging through the copious quotes on the Internet honoring the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The man certainly was quotable and a visionary. The quote above stuck with me and after about an hour of reading, I came back to it. Those words ring so true, we hate what we fear and fear what we hate. I have never experienced horrible injustices because of my skin color. I'm Caucasian, dirty-blonde hair (I love my hairdresser. She is the queen of color,) and blue eyes. Thanks to good guidance from some awesome adults as I grew up, I was taught to believe that the content of one's character was much more important than where you came from, what your parents' do for a living, how much money you do or don't have, the color of your skin, how much education you have, etc. You get the picture. I listened to Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders as a child and thought they had a point. Separate is not equal, any six year old (my age at the time of his death,) can tell you that. I understood and finally America did too. We grew and are growing in our understanding of the words this country was founded on, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
         I know that some people don't want the LGBT community's struggle for equal rights compared with the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. Okay, I won't do that here. What I will do is reflect on the quote above by the great Civil Rights leader himself, "People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other." King knew that if people began to know each other as human beings, then it would be so much harder to hate someone. So, what can we do in the LGBT community to allay the anxieties of those who fear and hate us? I suggest we speak up, at least those of us that can without fear of reprisal, and make a new LGBT ally every day. I suggest we show people that our everyday lives are not much different than theirs and we are not to be feared. After all, what some people think they know of our community is what they’ve heard spouted by hate mongers. They fear us because they really don’t know us.
         For example; I’m a lesbian fiction writer. When I tell people that, I get the look. You know, the look. The, “OMG! You write porn,” look. Trust me folks, my novels are about as vanilla as they come, according to my voracious lesbian fiction reading friends. I blush when I read a scene in public that fades to black before the action starts, simply because my imagination knows what is about to happen in the character’s world. In my explanation to the shocked onlooker that I do not write porn, or erotica, I try to point out that sex is generally not the center of our lives. It is a big part of it just like it is in the hetero world, but so is doing the laundry, buying groceries, and going to work. I write about human beings getting on with life, they just happen to be lesbians. “Oh,” accompanied by a doubtful look, is usually the response.
         We have to do a better job of letting the public know that we are not a deviant bunch that spends every waking minute seeking the next sexual encounter. Okay, yes, some of us are on the hunt 24-7, but in my case, I’m chasing my wife around the house. That also seems to happen in healthy hetero marriages. I am extremely happy that after almost 25 years, I still like to chase my wife around and I don’t need Viagra. (Sorry guys.) We’re healthy adults with normal sexual desires. We are not pedophiles stalking the school parking lots. (Being lumped in with pedophiles is one of my biggest pet peeves. Hey folks, the Penn State dude is married with children. Claim your own.) The only difference between my marriage and hetero marriages is that mine has lasted longer than most of theirs.
    There is no need to fear us. We work, we play, we eat, sleep, dance, sing, and we love just like other humans. I can’t imagine a creator that would put this wonderful human being on the earth, somehow let us find each other, and then not want me to love her. I just can’t wrap my mind around that. I think ignoring the gift of love I was given would be a bigger sin, than living this happy life we’ve led. My wife and I are not alone. Millions of LGBT people live quite “normal” lives. Our lives can be as routine as the next family on the block, simply getting by, living and loving.  
         So, the next time your neighbor waves and smiles, spend a moment to just be friendly. You don’t have to start every conversation with, “Hi, I’m gay. Gotta problem with that?” I rather like it when someone says, “Oh, I didn’t know you were gay. You’re so normal.” I smile and say, “Yes, I am.” Sometimes the person can’t believe they’ve befriended a gay person and you see the light come on. Suddenly, we don’t seem so scary, so much of a threat to “normal” people. We are teachers, doctors, lawyers, clerks at the market, policeman, military personnel, artists, writers, dancers, singers, preachers, your neighbors, your friends. “Get to know us before you fear us,” is my message to the haters. “Help them understand,” is my message to the LGBT community. Make an LGBT ally everyday. Dispel the fear and teach them. Dr. King was right, “…they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other “ Open the lines of communication today. 
         I'll close with another King family member quote, one of my all time favorites:
    "I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation." ~ Coretta Scott King
    Jan 16 Tags: Untagged
  • Lost in Translation

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    In an effort to cut through the language barrier. I emailed this helpful guide to the difference between sharing and stealing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Yamila Luciana Guerrier
    Cochabamba 948
    Ciudad de Buenos Aires
    1150 Argentina

    Yamila,
    I saw that you spoke on the phone with my friend Layce Gardner. Yes, she posted the transcript of your phone conversation. You see, lesbian fiction is a very small genre and we're a bit like a large family of sisters. Just like any family, we don't always get along, but we have rallied around one cause - Putting you at the top of the most wanted pirates list for illegally posting copyrighted material. In your conversation with Layce, I detected a slight translation problem and I'd like to clear up any misunderstandings. The word "share" seems to be a stumbling block in your conversation. Share can be used both as a verb and a noun. The noun "share" means a portion of something, as in "your share of the pie." It implies ownership. The verb "share" has several meanings.  In one sense of the word, when you share you allow someone to use or enjoy something that you possess, as in "I will share my water with you." "Share" can also mean to tell, as in "I will share my thoughts with you." There are other definitions of "share," but these should help you comprehend the difference between sharing and stealing.  Stealing, thievery, is the taking of something that isn't yours from it's rightful owner.
    You say you don't "steal" copyrighted material, you "share" it. See, this is where I think the language barrier may come into play. Where I grew up sharing was okay, stealing would get your ass kicked. I was under the impression that most people knew this. Alas, I wish you had grown up in my house, because we were taught the difference between sharing and stealing. When something is shared, there is implied permission. When something is stolen, no permission has been granted. So, for the sake of this argument, let's say you did buy one copy of each ebook. (By the way, you must be a huge lesbian fiction fan, because you have illegally copied every big name in the business.) If you shared your copy with a few friends, while it is still not good for my business, I really don't have a problem with one or two people reading your copy. That is sharing. I loan books to friends myself. The word loan implies that it will be returned to me. I participate freely in the lending programs at my authorized distributers. I don't know too many authors that have a problem with loaning and sharing books. What we do have a problem with is the illegal uploading of complete ebook files to thousands and thousands of people. These people are not your friends. They are Internet strangers you seem to desperately need to please. This, by the way, is probably due to your low self-esteem and emotional issues. I'd get that checked by a mental health professional. I am sorry that you must buy your friends using my work and that of others. It's sad really. 
    If you are a fan of lesbian fiction, then I suggest you cease and desist damaging the earnings potential of its authors. We are not mainstream authors with huge publishing corporations behind us. (I think pirating the wealthy authors is just as despicable, but at least they'll keep eating.) We are women (for the most part) who have families to feed and bills to pay, just like the women who legally purchase our books. Some of those women struggle to fit lesbian fiction into their budgets, but they buy the books, and I am forever grateful. The money I get from those sales goes right back into publishing my next book. The rest goes into the family budget. I don't live in a big house, or drive fancy fast cars. My wife works, I write, and we get by. I'm a REAL PERSON. I am not a virtual entity and that is not virtual money that you are taking out of my pocket. 
    I am respectfully asking one more time, (and now that we've cleared up that translation issue, you should comprehend exactly what I'm saying,) that you stop stealing from me. I am sharing my opinion with you in hopes that the creator gave you your fair share of humanity. If this falls on deaf ears, as all the other requests have, I hope the thieves come in the night, steal from you, and share your belongings with anyone that wants them. I hope you have your share of misery and bad karma. I'll share with you something I read in the news. The US is threatening to stop sharing with countries that do not respect copyright laws and punish the thieves appropriately. Trust me, your government doesn't want trade blocked with the US. When the government shares its displeasure with pirates, it won't be the big upload sites sharing the bill. They will laugh behind their corporate lawyers while the blame is shared by the pirates. I hope when the law catches up to you that the court shares with you the severity of your crimes and gives you the appropriate jail sentence, where you should be happy to share everything you own with your new roomate. Hopefully she will share your love of lesbian fiction and you can share your stories into the cold dark nights. I hope the judge also takes my share of the money you have cost me and shares it with me in one lump sum. 
    I hope you now understand the difference between sharing and stealing.
    R. E. Bradshaw
    Jan 13 Tags: Untagged
  • Unleash the Kraken!

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    "Let no joyful voice be heard! Let no man look to the sky with hope in his eyes! And let this day be forever cursed by we who ready to wake...the Kraken!"~ Davy Jones - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"


    A line uttered by a famous pirate from a famous movie, by an even more famous actor. I give credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, not everyone plays by the same rules. Credit is due thousands of artists around the world. Pirates are raiding our work and no one seems to be able to do anything about it. Hands are raised in the air, heads shake, but no one gets anywhere in this struggle to hold and maintain copyrighted material as sacred, not to be duplicated by unauthorized persons. 
    Arguments for apathy abound. "Come to terms with it," "It's a waste of time to send take down notices," "Pirates are good for business," "Ebooks are too high priced," etc. The list goes on. I'll try to address those quickly. Bull shit! Was that quick enough. Doing nothing when all this started is why we're in the mess we're in. Had the alarm sounded much louder, or had we listened, we would have foreseen the impact pirates have on sales. "If they download a book free, they'll buy the rest." Again, BS! They'll download books for free and laugh at the people who pay for books. Pirates are not good for the lesbian fiction writer. Our readers are a loyal bunch. The core of our readership dutifully buys and will always buy our books. People downloading free books are going to do it no matter what, but continuing to stand by and let the pirates have their way is in no way good for my business. I lost a significant amount of money according to download numbers. I am certainly not alone. About prices, to say that lowering prices will stop pirates is ludicrous. They steal FREE stuff to download. If it's okay for them to steal my work and cost me money, then I would hope the person stating that is ready for me to pass on the losses through the price of my ebook. I'm already charging less than publishers. I'm not doing this writing gig without food and shelter. To authors that aren't incensed about all this I say, they just haven't hit you hard enough yet. When the real numbers start to come clear to you, you'll see. 
    All that said, I am joining my fellow authors and readers in saying enough is enough. We are targeting one of the most prolific lesbian fiction pirates out there. Yamlugue1080 or Yamlugue, she changes her screen name from time to time. There has been a call for a letter writing campaign to request politely, but voice an opinion strongly, that she stop stealing from a genre of which she claims to be a fan. Fans don't steal from artists. Thieves steal. Layce Gardner has a sample letter on her blog.(http://laycegardner.wordpress.com/) Saxon Bennet is talking about this too.(http://saxonbennett.wordpress.com/) If you feel strongly that pirates should be addressed, then send an email and a snail mail, (Yamlugue will shut down her email pretty quick I assume,) to the addresses at the bottom of this blog.
    I always wondered what a group of women could do with a common enemy. Amazon women were fierce. Modern lesbians are taking on the world. We are strong when we are strong together. Pirates beware, you've poked a slumbering  beast. Davy Jones was right to curse the day the Kraken was unleashed!
    One last thing. I have a favorite line from "The Lion in Winter." I use it when someone says something can't be done, like telling me we'll get results with this campaign, "When pigs fly." To that I say, in my best Katharine Hepburn voice, "There will be pork in the treetops come morning. Don't you see? You've given them a common cause..."

    email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Yamila Luciana Guerrier
    Cochabamba 948
    Ciudad de Buenos Aires
    1150 Argentina
    Jan 12 Tags: Untagged
  • Thank you, Kristy McNichol

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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         When I saw the feed hit twitter, I was excited. I turned to the wife and said, "Kristy McNichol came out publicly." I clicked on the link, saw the picture, and read the story. Cool, she looks content and has been in a relationship for sometime. That's great. I'm happy for her, but I'm more excited that she chose to show us. From what I read, she made a public statement because she's tired of seeing the stories about kids being bullied. There are already those that say it's an attention grabbing opportunity. Good, I hope she gets lots of attention. She's right. The bullying has to stop.
         What I want to address here are the folks saying, "Who did she think she was fooling?” I'm no Kristy McNichol, world famous actress, (even if her star is a bit dated,) but I had to hide for much the same reasons she did. Her career would have tanked way before she simply faded out of the public eye. She would have been, Kristy the gay actress, not simply the kid everyone fell in love with on the screen. Her income would have been devastated even after she was no longer the star she once was. As a public school teacher, I hid that part of my life for one, because it is my personal life and two, because I wouldn’t have been a teacher long if I was out publicly.
         When I started seeing the posts commenting on how everyone knew Kristy was gay and how it wasn’t a surprise, I felt an old wound awaken. When I finally gave over to latent feelings and mysteries that had plagued me throughout my youth, I fell in love with a woman at 26. Some of my friends were quick to say, “I knew you were gay.” Oh really? You knew something about me that I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know that what I was looking for was a woman. I didn’t know she would be the answer to all my questions. If I didn’t know, then how the hell did you? I wouldn’t recommend this be the first thing you say to a friend that has struggled with telling you their deeply held secret. Maybe you should just say, “Welcome to the family.”
         I was out to friends and family, but not at work. When I quit my job to write fulltime, I could say it out loud for the first time. I am a lesbian. I have a wife, a son, and I am very happy. My God, was that not a moment to remember. I felt like a weight had been lifted and I had been given wings. It makes no difference that most people, including the students, “knew” I was gay. They never heard me say it. They never heard me say, “This is my wife and that’s our son.” They never heard me say, “We’ll be celebrating our 25 anniversary this year.” They never heard me say, “Honey, it’s okay to be gay and it will get better.” But they can hear me now! I'm sure Kristy feels the same way.
         So, yes, I suspected Kristy McNichol was gay. I had the same crush on her that the rest of America had, and looking back, she played a part in the questioning of my own sexuality for years. Kristy and Jodie led the bandwagon of latent sexuality out of my soul. And though it took me 26 years to figure it all out and nearly 50 years before I could just be me all the time, I will always look back on them as the little girls that held my hand while I remained in that dark closet. I know Kristy didn’t make this statement without a lot of soul searching and I’m glad she came to the conclusion that she could remain silent no longer. Each person has her own journey to make out into the world. I for one am grateful that Kristy is making hers. Thank you, Kristy. Welcome to the family.


    (And yes, I write under a pen name. I started writing when I was still a teacher and as I've stated, you don't come out in my school district and keep your job.  Anybody can find out my real name. It's on this blog site, on my Facebook page, and if you've met me I probably told you my real name. If you're curious, do some research. It's easy to find.)
    Jan 07 Tags: Untagged
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  • Nullam imperdiet libero

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed et ligula ultrices massa eleifend pretium. Nam augue augue, imperdiet sed mollis id, vehicula vel nunc. Fusce commodo lectus quis turpis scelerisque facilisis. Morbi elit metus, bibendum ac egestas quis, posuere eu nisl. Aenean mauris libero, pellentesque pharetra suscipit a, eleifend id urna. Suspendisse ultrices porta dapibus. Suspendisse laoreet condimentum sem eget auctor. Donec interdum volutpat massa non iaculis. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nullam eget rutrum erat.



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    Curabitur a dolor eu velit volutpat rutrum sed nec ipsum. Suspendisse venenatis nisi at metus ultrices id mattis sem sollicitudin. Integer quis lorem turpis. Maecenas a nibh arcu. Nunc consectetur, leo eget interdum rutrum, lorem purus lobortis arcu, eget suscipit enim metus at massa. Morbi rutrum purus sed turpis accumsan hendrerit. Curabitur ut laoreet libero. Suspendisse mattis tincidunt risus. Sed ultrices sagittis purus, a fringilla odio facilisis sed. Donec quis ligula magna, in vestibulum diam. Vestibulum convallis, sem sit amet pretium iaculis, odio dui porta sapien, sed eleifend ipsum leo eu tortor. Fusce placerat arcu et mauris varius id pellentesque enim fermentum. Aliquam accumsan pulvinar nulla, ac rhoncus sapien hendrerit ac. Curabitur id sem vel ipsum posuere placerat sit amet ut libero.



    Curabitur eget diam a quam lobortis scelerisque. Praesent velit augue, mollis eu sodales quis, mollis nec purus. Praesent tincidunt feugiat orci, lobortis interdum nisi convallis ut. Etiam convallis, sapien ut interdum auctor, libero nisl vulputate turpis, ut interdum sem magna eu nibh. Cras a massa non tortor gravida aliquam. Vivamus vel augue sed erat ullamcorper adipiscing nec at felis. Nullam id nunc sit amet lacus luctus tempor. Integer ornare nibh eu turpis convallis et scelerisque eros molestie. Praesent rhoncus sollicitudin mauris, sed consequat dui laoreet vel. Mauris sit amet nisi nibh, et auctor tortor.

    Dec 08 Tags: Untagged
  • Ut egestas, orci sed iaculis

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed et ligula ultrices massa eleifend pretium. Nam augue augue, imperdiet sed mollis id, vehicula vel nunc. Fusce commodo lectus quis turpis scelerisque facilisis. Morbi elit metus, bibendum ac egestas quis, posuere eu nisl. Aenean mauris libero, pellentesque pharetra suscipit a, eleifend id urna. Suspendisse ultrices porta dapibus. Suspendisse laoreet condimentum sem eget auctor. Donec interdum volutpat massa non iaculis. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nullam eget rutrum erat.



    Nullam imperdiet libero a nisl lobortis scelerisque placerat diam tempus. Ut egestas, orci sed iaculis auctor, magna urna bibendum odio, et aliquet enim lorem ac ligula. Integer a libero sapien. Morbi dictum dolor vel quam ullamcorper rutrum. Maecenas nunc dolor, bibendum eget aliquet at, blandit a risus. Vivamus a sapien ut purus tempus tincidunt. Duis lectus augue, pulvinar quis porta non, condimentum eget magna. Aliquam porta iaculis varius. Cras ac nibh sit amet eros aliquet ullamcorper vitae ac orci. Donec rutrum est et sapien faucibus iaculis a non mi. In dolor nunc, ullamcorper sit amet volutpat ut, luctus sit amet nisl. Sed luctus, dui a rutrum lacinia, odio tortor fermentum erat, sit amet rutrum libero quam sit amet dolor. Maecenas quam ipsum, vestibulum nec vulputate ut, ultrices eget arcu. Sed orci dolor, lacinia ut venenatis sed, imperdiet eu nulla.



    Curabitur a dolor eu velit volutpat rutrum sed nec ipsum. Suspendisse venenatis nisi at metus ultrices id mattis sem sollicitudin. Integer quis lorem turpis. Maecenas a nibh arcu. Nunc consectetur, leo eget interdum rutrum, lorem purus lobortis arcu, eget suscipit enim metus at massa. Morbi rutrum purus sed turpis accumsan hendrerit. Curabitur ut laoreet libero. Suspendisse mattis tincidunt risus. Sed ultrices sagittis purus, a fringilla odio facilisis sed. Donec quis ligula magna, in vestibulum diam. Vestibulum convallis, sem sit amet pretium iaculis, odio dui porta sapien, sed eleifend ipsum leo eu tortor. Fusce placerat arcu et mauris varius id pellentesque enim fermentum. Aliquam accumsan pulvinar nulla, ac rhoncus sapien hendrerit ac. Curabitur id sem vel ipsum posuere placerat sit amet ut libero.



    Curabitur eget diam a quam lobortis scelerisque. Praesent velit augue, mollis eu sodales quis, mollis nec purus. Praesent tincidunt feugiat orci, lobortis interdum nisi convallis ut. Etiam convallis, sapien ut interdum auctor, libero nisl vulputate turpis, ut interdum sem magna eu nibh. Cras a massa non tortor gravida aliquam. Vivamus vel augue sed erat ullamcorper adipiscing nec at felis. Nullam id nunc sit amet lacus luctus tempor. Integer ornare nibh eu turpis convallis et scelerisque eros molestie. Praesent rhoncus sollicitudin mauris, sed consequat dui laoreet vel. Mauris sit amet nisi nibh, et auctor tortor.

    Nov 08 Tags: Untagged
  • Show all entries from Creative

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  • Morbi dictum dolor vel quam

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed et ligula ultrices massa eleifend pretium. Nam augue augue, imperdiet sed mollis id, vehicula vel nunc. Fusce commodo lectus quis turpis scelerisque facilisis. Morbi elit metus, bibendum ac egestas quis, posuere eu nisl. Aenean mauris libero, pellentesque pharetra suscipit a, eleifend id urna. Suspendisse ultrices porta dapibus. Suspendisse laoreet condimentum sem eget auctor. Donec interdum volutpat massa non iaculis. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nullam eget rutrum erat.



    Nullam imperdiet libero a nisl lobortis scelerisque placerat diam tempus. Ut egestas, orci sed iaculis auctor, magna urna bibendum odio, et aliquet enim lorem ac ligula. Integer a libero sapien. Morbi dictum dolor vel quam ullamcorper rutrum. Maecenas nunc dolor, bibendum eget aliquet at, blandit a risus. Vivamus a sapien ut purus tempus tincidunt. Duis lectus augue, pulvinar quis porta non, condimentum eget magna. Aliquam porta iaculis varius. Cras ac nibh sit amet eros aliquet ullamcorper vitae ac orci. Donec rutrum est et sapien faucibus iaculis a non mi. In dolor nunc, ullamcorper sit amet volutpat ut, luctus sit amet nisl. Sed luctus, dui a rutrum lacinia, odio tortor fermentum erat, sit amet rutrum libero quam sit amet dolor. Maecenas quam ipsum, vestibulum nec vulputate ut, ultrices eget arcu. Sed orci dolor, lacinia ut venenatis sed, imperdiet eu nulla.



    Curabitur a dolor eu velit volutpat rutrum sed nec ipsum. Suspendisse venenatis nisi at metus ultrices id mattis sem sollicitudin. Integer quis lorem turpis. Maecenas a nibh arcu. Nunc consectetur, leo eget interdum rutrum, lorem purus lobortis arcu, eget suscipit enim metus at massa. Morbi rutrum purus sed turpis accumsan hendrerit. Curabitur ut laoreet libero. Suspendisse mattis tincidunt risus. Sed ultrices sagittis purus, a fringilla odio facilisis sed. Donec quis ligula magna, in vestibulum diam. Vestibulum convallis, sem sit amet pretium iaculis, odio dui porta sapien, sed eleifend ipsum leo eu tortor. Fusce placerat arcu et mauris varius id pellentesque enim fermentum. Aliquam accumsan pulvinar nulla, ac rhoncus sapien hendrerit ac. Curabitur id sem vel ipsum posuere placerat sit amet ut libero.



    Curabitur eget diam a quam lobortis scelerisque. Praesent velit augue, mollis eu sodales quis, mollis nec purus. Praesent tincidunt feugiat orci, lobortis interdum nisi convallis ut. Etiam convallis, sapien ut interdum auctor, libero nisl vulputate turpis, ut interdum sem magna eu nibh. Cras a massa non tortor gravida aliquam. Vivamus vel augue sed erat ullamcorper adipiscing nec at felis. Nullam id nunc sit amet lacus luctus tempor. Integer ornare nibh eu turpis convallis et scelerisque eros molestie. Praesent rhoncus sollicitudin mauris, sed consequat dui laoreet vel. Mauris sit amet nisi nibh, et auctor tortor.

    Oct 08 Tags: Untagged
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  • Beach, Sand, Waves, Books—What more do you need?

    Posted by Super User
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    R. E. Bradshaw will be among the more than twenty-five authors appearing at the New Smyrna Beach Book Festival, Friday through Sunday, October 4 – 6,  2013. Locations include the Best Western Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 S Atlantic Avenue, and the Hampton Inn, 
214 Flagler Avenue. Festival activities are free to the public.


    Invited authors were selected through a committee that took recommendations from the community, educators, and state-wide literary groups. With book readings, Q&A sessions, book signings, writers' workshops, festival bookshop, and nightly author socials, the New Smyrna Beach Book Festival provides activities for everyone from the avid to the recreational reader.
     
    R. E. Bradshaw will be discussing the latest in the award winning Rainey Bell Thriller series, The Rainey Season, at the Hampton Inn location, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. For a complete schedule and info on the attending authors follow this link: http://nsbfla.com/images/content/2013fall_bookfestival.pdf, or text “Author” to 71441 for a complete schedule sent to your smart phone.
     
    "Meet the Author" socials are scheduled each night. Friday night's social will take place at Toni & Joe's Oceanfront Patio (309 Buenos Aires St) from 7 pm - 8:30 pm. Saturday's will be at Barracuda's Bar & Grill (203 S Atlantic Ave) also from 7 pm - 8:30 pm, and the Sunday night social is at Flagler Tavern (414 Flagler Ave) from 4:30 pm-6 pm.
     
    “Come stick your toes in the sand with me and let’s talk about books.” ~ R. E. Bradshaw
    Mar 06 Tags: Untagged
  • What did you learn?

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    Link to preview.


    I have a book on my desk written and compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., entitled Live and Learn and Pass It On. The subtitle reads: “People ages 5 to 95 share what they’ve discovered about life, love, and other good stuff.” During the introduction, Brown discusses how on his fifty-first birthday he thought it would be interesting to jot down some of the things he had learned in a half a century of living. He wrote, “I’ve learned that…” twenty times on the left-hand side of a piece of paper. He then completed the twenty sentences. He enjoyed the activity enough to add it to his Sunday routine. One thing led to another, which led to a book filled with the wisdom of people just beginning to learn and those amazed to be still learning nearly one hundred years later.

     
    Between the covers of the book are such pearls of wisdom as the ten-year-old’s words, “I’ve learned that it’s not what happens to people that’s important. It’s what they do about it.” Or the sixty-six-year-old’s statement, “I’ve learned that nothing very bad or very good every lasts very long.” And my absolute favorite, today anyway, is the five-year-old who said, “I’ve learned that goldfish don’t like Jello.”
    I sat down and wrote the first twenty things that came to mind. I’m sure my list would change from day to day, depending on what was on my mind, but here are just a few things I’ve learned in my first fifty-two years.
     
     
     
     

    1. I’ve learned that Dorothy was right. There is, in fact, no place like home, but home is where you make it.
    2. I’ve learned that plans never really go as planned. Being willing to adapt without fuss is the key to a happy vacation.
    3. I’ve learned that I should be thankful that the promise of tomorrow was kept. Every morning I rise is a good morning.
    4. I’ve learned that anything to excess is too much.
    5. I’ve learned that how people feel about themselves is more important than what anyone else thinks.
    6. I’ve learned that it is possible to eat healthy food and like it.
    7. I’ve learned that my parents were much younger than I thought they were when I was growing up.
    8. I’ve learned that seventy-five percent of the stuff I worry about never happens. Worry is not a smart investment of time and energy.
    9. I’ve learned that friends and loved ones can be taken in a tragic instant. Never take them for granted.
    10. I’ve learned that love at first sight is a real physical phenomenon. Our bodies recognize the connection before our hearts do.
    11.  I’ve learned that disciplining a cat only creates an enemy hell bent on terrorizing you.
    12. I’ve learned that knowing you are loved gives you wings.
    13. I’ve learned that finding a way to earn a living doing something you’re passionate about makes life so much more fun.
    14. I’ve learned that you’re never too old to pursue a dream.
    15. I’ve learned that I knew nothing about the proper glasses for consuming different kinds of wine, or that it even mattered. A Dixie cup was always just fine.
    16. I’ve learned that the compassion of a dog can heal a broken heart.
    17. I’ve learned that a home filled with laughter is a great place to be.
    18. I’ve learned that there is more truth to fiction than most people assume.
    19. I’ve learned that only our bodies age. My mind still thinks I’m 25.
    20. I’ve learned that I love to learn. The world is fascinating to me.
       
      I'll end with another favorite from Brown's book:
       
      "I've learned to keep looking ahead. There are still so many good books to read, sunsets to see, friends to visit, and old dogs to take walks with." —Age 86 
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    Mar 06 Tags: Untagged
  • Why not?

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    When someone says, “We can’t change it, because that’s the way it’s always been,” I say, “Why not?”

    At the heart of my need to speak out is my six-year-old self. I was seventeen days from my seventh birthday, June 8, 1968. I remember it vividly, but as an observer now. I see my white button-front, short-sleeved shirt with the Peter Pan collar; the tail of which hung over my blue cotton shorts. I was a notorious un-tucker. No shirttail would remain tucked in a waistband if I could get away with it. I see the white socks folded over the fine blond hair at my ankles, and the faded blue canvas Keds I’m surprised are still on my feet. It was Saturday, so we were probably going to town later, hence the shoes. I hated shoes almost as much as I hate my bra now. I was a scrawny tomboy with a Dutch boy haircut, the top layer of sandy blond faded white from hours in the sun. I had freckles on my cheeks and tears running from my blue eyes, as I squinted into the morning sun. I stood, one foot in each seat, pulling on the bars to make the sit-down swing rise and fall. As I swayed back and forth, the swing sang a rhythmic “scree-scraww,” and one of the swing-set legs thumped up and down, loosened from its buried concrete footing. Above the rusted iron protestations of the swing, a young man’s voice cut through the air.

    I had procured, (probably without permission, because that is how I rolled at six,) a small transistor radio. It was in the corner of the swing seat, tied there with a piece of baling wire I found out by the horse barn. I was resourceful, if not wise, as evidenced by some of my other adventures as a child. I was alone on the swing because the rest of my family was inside, watching a grainy black and white TV image of what I was listening to on my pilfered transmitting device. I was only six, but I had fallen in love and my heart had been broken. The adults could never understand the depth of my misery, so I chose to deal with it alone, outside. That’s where most of my childhood miseries were dealt with, outside, on a swing, in a tree house, a hidden fort, or floating in a small boat. On this day, I was completely without hope, the sun would never rise again, and my little broken heart would never heal.


    How I came to love that man, I will never know. I do not remember a single thing about my infatuation other than that Saturday morning of bereavement on my swing. Years later, as a sophomore in college, I wrote a research paper on his speech writing skills and innate ability to deliver a universally understood message. My first crush was Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy and, on June 8, 1968, I listened to his brother Teddy give his eulogy. I had been in deep mourning for two days and was now in attendance at the memorial for my beloved Bobby. I may physically have been standing in an old rusty swing set on a country road in Inez, North Carolina, but my mind was in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Teddy quoted from one of Bobby’s speeches, given to the young people of South Africa on their Day of Affirmation in 1966.

    Robert Kennedy arriving in
    Cape Town, the site of his famous
    "Day of Affirmation" speech.
    “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”  

    Of course I don’t remember that quote off the top of my head. When I was older, I looked up the eulogy and printed a copy for myself. I also found a recording of the memorial service on vinyl and listened to it from time to time. I read every speech Robert Kennedy ever wrote for himself and his President brother. I’m quite sure that my devotion to standing up for what I believe in comes from the phrases I do remember from that sad day in June of 1968. Although I may not have always heeded them, I heard these words running through my mind throughout my life, as a gentle reminder to do the right thing.

    My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
    Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.
    As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:
    “Some men see things as they are and say why. 
I dream things that never were and say why not."

    The passage of time has given me insights into Robert Kennedy’s life that I did not possess as a child. Without the taint of scandal and politics, I fell in love with an ideal. I believed that we could make a difference and that standing up for those who could not stand for themselves was always the right thing to do. I still believe that. I went through changes in my lifetime that affected my political views. We all do. But it seems I’ve come home to my roots as I aged. I, like many of my generation, still believe in ideals.

    We are the generation that walked hand in hand through the civil rights movement in our classrooms. The adults were on the outside, fighting over the color of skin. We were at our desks, learning that we were not so different after all. We are the children that watched our first war from our living room television sets, and the resulting protests in the streets. We are the generation who saw women stand up to the status quo and win; fighting for equal rights and working to pass Title IX, from which I reaped many benefits in both education and athletics. We are the generation that blew away the closet doors and became very active on the issue of civil rights and equality for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality. We are the generation that learned as babies, listening to the radio, that social change does happen. We never forgot what we witnessed.

    Something else happened on June 8, 1968. James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr., was captured in London. That seems rather coincidental or perhaps poetic. The fiftieth anniversary of The March on Washington and King’s “I have a dream” speech is August 28, 2013. Many marches and events are planned for the anniversary. I hope they are well populated, for we still have much to do before discrimination is a thing of the past. With all I’ve read in the news lately, discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, and bank account status has not been overcome, just set aside, a “it's better than it used to be” kind of thinking, the status quo of our day. We tend to look at discrimination as something that happens outside of our homes, out of our control, a “we can’t change the way other people think” mentality. That little girl in the Peter Pan collar believed in a world where wrongs were righted. I still believe. I still ask, “Why not?”

    "There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember -- even if only for a time -- that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek -- as we do -- nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can." Robert Francis Kennedy

    Link to the last portion of the eulogy given by Ted Kennedy.

    Aug 14 Tags: Untagged
  • "We read to know we are not alone." C. S. Lewis

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    I'm off to work with some teenagers this evening. I am really looking forward to supporting them in anyway I can. I miss working with young minds. The best part of this experience is that I'm going into it as me, not some part of me, but as a whole human being. When teaching before, I was required to leave part of me behind closed doors, away from prying eyes. Tonight, I get to look at LGBTQ young people and say, "Yes, yes I am." I can hold up a picture of my son's wedding and say, "I have a 25 year relationship with my wife and we raised a son together. This is my family."


    I could never do that in public schools. I could never say this is the person I love; this is my happy life outside of these walls. No wonder our youth think there is something to be ashamed of. Their very obviously gay teacher isn't proudly displaying pictures of his child, because it's his partner's natural son. How would he explain his love for this young man, that he is his son too? That lesbian drama teacher calls her wife a “friend” and never introduces her to the class. They hide the truth. It must be shameful. There are no pictures of smiling vacations and happy family portraits to prove it gets better. Only the straight teachers have happy lives. After all, they have the photographic evidence displayed for all to see, right?


    So, tonight I can be a real role model, a whole role model, not just the parts that others deem “mainstream.” Look around world. The LGBTQ family is out there and it is a distinction no different than the color of ones eyes. You work and live around people with blue eyes, brown, green, gray, the shades are endless and as unique as the individual possessing them. I look forward to the day that sexuality bears no more meaning in a description than a passing reference to eye color. I also look forward to the day when children aren’t taught to be afraid of the evil gay people. Hate and shame are both learned. I have the utmost hope that the next generation will teach less of it.



    I want to help these kids, ages 13-20, build their library at the equality center. If you are an author and would like to offer assistance with this task, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . No explicit erotica, please. They can find that on their own like the rest of us did. I'm not playing censor as much as asking that you be conscious of the message you are sending along with your book. 

    In addition to fiction, they have expressed an interest in learning LGBTQ history, which I find refreshing. These are our future leaders. Let us help them discover the roots to the tree of equality that they will continue to nourish. I hope for the day when a center like this is not the only place a child hears, “You are beautiful just the way you are.” Some kids never hear that. That has to change. Be the change you want to see. 

    Aug 08 Tags: Untagged
  • My Tea Drinkin' Buddy

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    I have been forced to drink tea and not sweet iced tea. Nooooo, that's bad for you the nutritionist said. We are now drinking hot tea, healthy stuff with names like "Perfect Energy" and "Women's Energy." I have to admit drinking a cup each of those two kicked me into high gear. There isn't a low hanging limb within 9 feet of our yard—the terminal reach of my chainsaw on a pole. I finished projects that have been hanging on for years, not weeks or days; we're talking many years, decades. So, I'll give credit where credit is due. The tea really does make me feel healthier and engaged.


    I'm a coffee drinker by habit, so the tea thing is new. All part of our get healthy and stay that way plan. Seems my favorite 1/2 & 1/2 and sweet coffee are now off limits. Soy creamer and a measured teaspoon of cane sugar in my two cups of coffee in the morning, (I had to beg for that from the nutritionist—I call her Satan.) Then I switch to tea, water, and almond milk. I can have a cup of coffee after dinner, but then it's back to "Stress Relief" or "Bedtime" tea. 
         

    The tea thing is okay. I got into it; bought a variable temperature teapot for my desk and the "Tea Bag Buddy," which despite its unfortunate product name is very handy. I researched the proper temperatures for specific teas. I'm getting used to drinking slightly flavored warm water, as opposed to my usual "I like a little coffee in my cream and sugar" good old cup of java-syrup. I do have a problem deciding if the tea bag is used up, because the last cup and the first cup seem to taste a lot alike.

    Anyway, Deb and I spend a lot of time staring at all the different teas and what they are formulated to do. We buy a box of something different every time we go in the store. We have a pantry shelf full of tea. I threw two more boxes of the energy varieties in the cart the other day, (that stuff is the speed of my generation,) while Deb was still searching, reading labels on a couple of boxes. 

    I asked, "Are you looking for a specific kind of tea?"

    She said, "The hurry up and write more books so I can retire tea."

    "Ah, that would be the 'Sit your ass in the chair' tea."

    "Precisely."

    My tea drinkin' business manager/wife/buddy is not subtle.







    Aug 04 Tags: Untagged
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  • Be careful, the children are watching.

    Posted by RE Bradshaw
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    Two of my favorite flags fly above the ferry named Ocracoke, as it crosses the Pamlico Sound on the Outer Banks of my beloved home state of North Carolina. My recent visit reminded me how much I truly love North Carolina. From the deep green mountains to her sandy dunes and crystal waters on the coast, North Carolina is a beautiful state. I have always been proud to come from the state where the first colonists began to live in this country. After leading the way some 429 years ago in settling a new home for people escaping political, religious, and class persecution, I would hope to see North Carolina lead the way in the recognition of basic human rights of all it's citizens.
    Recently the legislature of NC voted to place a proposed Amendment to the state constitution on a ballot in May of 2012 that will prohibit state recognition or validation of “domestic legal unions” except marriage between one man and one woman. There are plenty of places to find out the nuts and bolts of this amendment, http://equalitync.org/ is a great place to start. Equality NC has done a great job of pointing out how detrimental this amendment would be to all of NC's citizens, not just the LGBT community that is obviously the target of this attack. What I want to talk about is the children.

    "How do you say to your child in the night?
                                               Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white
    How do you say it will all be all right
    When you know that it might not be true?
    What do you do?
    Careful the things you say
    Children will listen
    Careful the things you do Children will see and learn
    Children may not obey, but children will listen
    Children will look to you for which way to turn
    To learn what to be
    Careful before you say 'Listen to me'
    Children will listen" 
    (from: "Into the Woods")

    How do those people who are pushing this bill reconcile telling a child that they are considered a second-class citizen in the state they live in? How do they plan to keep the bullies from using this amendment as an excuse to ridicule and berate a classmate for being born different from them? After all, if the adults think that the LGBT community is not worthy of recognition then why should they learn tolerance. It wasn't too many years ago when the same arguments were used against the black community in NC. I remember desegregation and the unrest we all lived through. I also remember my parents teaching us to judge others by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. What are these people teaching their children? 
    Two kinds of lessons can be taught here. One of bigotry and hypocrisy, where people who believe differently than you are to be looked upon as less than human with no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's not just the LGBT community, but all un-"married" couples lose rights under this bill. So if Johnny happens to be the son of two people who chose to have a civil union and not a marriage, even if they are man and woman, his family will lose all rights pertaining only to "married" couples. It teaches children that the "separation of church and state," they learn about in school, is just another rule adults ignore. They learn that it's okay to call someone an "abomination," when that person has no more control over their sexuality than the color of their skin. It teaches children to hate based on nothing more than what they've heard repeated by adults with agendas. This is blatantly illustrated by the fact the vote will take place during the NC Republican primary. If that's not stacking the deck and an obvious ploy to rile up the conservative voter, then I have some land I'd like to sell you in the Everglades. 
    The other lesson that could be taught here is one of tolerance and acceptance of people who are different from you. Watch a group of very young children play. Unless someone points out the differences, they usually don't notice. They learn to belittle and bully by watching adults. Teaching a child to form opinions of others based on character and not some preconceived notion of an entire group of people is a valuable lesson. One could also teach a child that standing up for other peoples' rights, and in some cases their own, is an honorable thing to do. No one is free until we all are free. Isn't that what this country was supposed to represent?
    If I am going to be a second class citizen in the state I love, how do I tell a child that it gets better? It's getting worse. Outright hate speech is the norm now in the political arena. What are the proponents of this bill teaching the children? People say don't bully. In my opinion, that is just what the supporters of the amendment are doing. They are following the bully code: 1) degrade the person publicly. 2) Make up  lies about the person and then make sure you spread the lies thoroughly. 3) Separate the person from any allies through fear and intimidation. 4) If you get caught bullying then say it's the other person who is too sensitive. After all, you are not really doing anything wrong, right?
    I sincerely hope the people of NC do the right thing and show up at the polls to vote this amendment down. Be leaders once again and show the nation that you are a progressive state. Show the children that this is truly a country and a state where all citizens are created equal with the same inalienable rights.  Teach them that love not hate is the way it will get better for all of us. 
    Sep 28 Tags: Untagged
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