Viewed another way, however, they can be of great benefit, regardless of your job title, but especially if you are an editor or a writer. We all have deadlines in life, many of them imposed on us by others, some self-imposed, and some that we impose upon others. Some deadlines are realistic, others are downright ridiculous, and a few are totally meaningless. The key is distinguishing one from the other and dealing with each appropriately. As a student, I had to meet certain d
“I need something from the attic,” my wife said to me the other morning as I was beginning my assault on the day’s crowded to-do list. “Could you pull down the ladder for me?” “Oh, just a few things for my classroom. You do remember that we’re starting school soon,” she replied, as though she had not been reminding me of that fact all summer. Since the last day of the previous year, in fact. (You can take the teacher from the classroom, but you can’t get the classroom out of
My wife and I recently took a short trip to relax and celebrate our wedding anniversary. We went to the Smoky Mountains, where we frequently took our girls camping when they were growing up. We especially were interested in driving the Cades Cove Loop after so many years away, hoping to see the wildlife for which the Loop is famous: bears, deer, turkeys, and maybe even elk, which were reintroduced in the park several years ago. But we were in for a series of disappointments.
I just signed a contract with TouchPoint Press for publication of my book Evangelism and Expulsion: Missionary Work Among the Cherokees Until Removal! Not sure what the release date will be, but the process toward that goal has begun! This is my third book with TouchPoint. My first work they published was Combat! Spiritual Lessons from Military History, released earlier this year. The second, Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies, is due to begin
One memory I have of Nannie Summers, my maternal grandmother, was her attitude toward dreams. I recall her saying that one should never tell anyone what he or she had dreamed lest it come true. As a child, I thought that odd because I often had good dreams that I wished would come true! I haven’t dreamed about muddy water lately (that I recall), but I have had several dreams about several family members (many of whom passed into eternity years ago), friends, and even some for
While my wife and I were visiting out-of-state relatives recently, one of our daughters was taking advantage of her public library’s provision of a free genealogical program to do some research on her ancestors. (Finally! I thought. Family history holds interest for her, if not yet for her siblings!) Nearly every day of our vacation, she e-mailed me to share new discoveries she was making. In one such e-mail, she quoted from a letter that one relative had written to another.
In last week’s post, we considered some of the most helpful advice about writing. But, as I mentioned in that post, everyone is a critic, ready and more than willing to offer advice. Some of it is helpful, but much of it is anything but that. And much of that counsel is offered by people who are not writers, and some of it comes from those who are still working at the craft but have not yet been published. So how do they know what works? They only know what hasn’t worked for
Someone once asked what pieces of advice have helped me most with my writing. After contemplating the question for a while, I think I’d have to give the following answer. “Make Every Word Count.” Use a thesaurus to help with this task. It will show you that even broad synonyms have various shades of meaning. Choose the exact word. 2. “When In Doubt, Cut It Out.” But be forewarned: writing tight is hard work. The shorter the text must be, the harder it is to write. But your wr
The first event occurred last Thursday afternoon as I was putting the final touches on my blog posting, which was to appear the next morning. Before I could post it, I suddenly had no internet service. The Friday blog post didn’t happen. (Did you miss it?) It’s not too uncommon in our area for us to lose that connection for a few minutes, but this outage was unusual, lasting until the technician came and fixed the problem (a broken underground cable) Sunday afternoon. It made
As the first stage of the Corona virus reopenings began in my state, libraries were not included among the businesses released from captivity, so I naturally gravitated to a similar place that was: a used bookstore. I perused the shelves in search of nothing in particular, just relishing the opportunity to be among books again and ever vigilant for that unexpected “find” among the thousands of volumes offered for my consideration. I seldom find such books by consciously look
It’s funny how smells can trigger various emotions and thoughts. You detect a certain odor, and your mind immediately flies to a memory of a person, an event, or a substance. A former teacher’s perfume. A steamy apple pie fresh from the oven. A smelly, stale, sweat-saturated locker room. An old elementary school classroom. Fresh cut pine lumber. A skunk that is now roadkill. My mind turned to thinking about odors while I was shampooing my hair during my shower. I began to thi
Zinsser was born October 7, 1922. Following service in the Army in North Africa and Italy during World War II, he returned to the United States and fulfilled a life-long dream by being hired as a writer for the New York Herald Tribune as a theater reviewer. When that stopped being fun for him, he quit and became a freelance writer. He also taught writing courses at Yale and later became executive editor of the Book-of-the-Month Club. In addition to numerous articles and revie
My week started off with a measure of excitement for me. I was able to meet (in a virtual sort of way) an author whose works I’ve long admired. The meeting occurred during a Zoom meeting (a technology that I’ve come to appreciated during this time of enforced isolation) of the “scribes” for the Coolidge Foundation with its board chairman, historian Amity Shlaes. I logged in early to ensure that nothing went wrong with the new (to me) technology and in the hope that I might be
First, he calculated how much time he had had to that point of his life. (I think he was in his mid-70s at the time, having been born about 1908.) He laid it all out, down to the number of hours and minutes. (He was a much better mathematician than I am.) Then, he began to recount his estimation of the various activities of his life and how many hours he had spent doing each of them. Sleeping took up much of that time, of course. He had gotten relatively little of it during t
“A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.” That statement often runs through my mind when I look at my desk or wherever I happen to be working (i.e., writing) at the time. And I write all over the place. The location depends on a variety of factors. My back has taught me that too long a period sitting at one location can wreak havoc on one’s back. Sometimes, it depends on my current task and how much room I need to do it. Lately, my possible work locations have been
(Excerpt from Combat! Spiritual Lessons from Military History by Dennis L. Peterson, available on Amazon at http://ow.ly/ZXQ350xX9mx.) #writing #DennisLPeterson #Combat #writers #Militaryhistory #books #publishing #editing #Lessonslearned
The Korean War has often been called America’s “forgotten war.” People remember World War II and Vietnam, but sandwiched between those conflicts was Korea, and people tend to overlook it. Foremost among those lessons is the importance of leading by personal example. Ridgway knew the importance of getting out among his soldiers, of seeing things from their perspective, of coming to a firsthand understanding of the problems they faced. He made a point of rubbing shoulders with
Throughout much of America’s military history, its strategies of warfare have been based to varying degrees on the teachings of three great military men: Sun Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and military strategist who wrote The Art of War around 500 B.C.; Antoine-Henri Jomini, a French general who published Treatise on Grand Military Operations in 1838; and Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general whose work On War, published posthumously in 1832, emphasized the moral (psychologica
That could have been me! I found myself thinking a few hours after an incident occurred in our neighborhood. I wonder if someone will be around to help me when I need it? In much of modern community life today, especially now when so many of us are quarantined, sequestered, homebound, locked down (or whatever your term for the situation is), we are inside, oblivious to what is happening around us. Under such isolation, how can anyone know when another person needs help? “Huh?