The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild

Published 10:33 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

“Basics of Finding and

Keeping Family History”

By Marie Craig

DATA: Keep your own information on a software program such as RootsMagic. Update often and back up to cloud or external drive often. Upload this data to FamilySearch and/or Ancestry.com. FindAGrave.com also contains much family history data from genealogists, and you can add yours to it. Be aware that other users can copy your information and photographs if you place online. They can also change your data. Have a willing heart to share, or you will be sad you put it online.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Digitize your photos with a scanner or smart phone. Label them with name, date, place, occasion, etc. Store originals away from direct light in a location that is climate-controlled.

HEIRLOOMS: Take photos of items that have belonged in the family. Describe them in writing and state who will acquire them at your demise.

INTERVIEWS: If you have living parents and grandparents, don’t delay in interviewing them. Use audio, or preferably video equipment to capture their stories and experiences. Practice using this equipment ahead of time and make sure the sound is loud enough to be understood. Eliminate distracting sounds. This audio and video can be uploaded to FamilySearch Memories after you get permission from the person being interviewed.

BOOKS: Using self-publishing companies, such as Lulu.com, you can compile books about your family. Prepare your file with a word processor, such as Word, change to PDF format, and upload to the company. Prices are low, delivery is quick, and you can order the specified number of books that you need. Family members will be able to order online. Be careful about sensitive issues such as divorce, out-of-wedlock children, crime, etc.

ART: Using your data and photographs, you could write a novel, a play, or a poem about your family. You could sketch or paint a picture of your family members or their former home. If your ancestor had a skill such as blacksmithing, tatting, or furniture construction, you could learn this skill so that you share this.

MUSIC: If your ancestor played a musical instrument, you could learn more about that skill. Perhaps you could write a song that described an ancestor. You could go online and see what songs were being sung during that time.

“Funeral for Abandoned Dreams”

By Kevin F. Wishon

“You are here tonight to say goodbye to long-held ambitions. These dreams were once your desire to improve yourselves. However now, you realize, you will never achieve your goal. No doubt, each one of you has struggled in your effort for years. Never admitting failure, you believed you would eventually succeed. If you are here tonight, then your reluctance to admit failure is over.”

     A crowd of people holding objects in their hands, and arms, stand before a woman speaking on a large outdoor stage. The chilly night air would have caused most people to depart had it not been for a blazing bonfire just to the right of the stage.

     “Please come onstage and bring me your abandoned dream. Just remember, this is the end. Once you leave, you are released from any obligation or regret associated with it. You there, in the front, come forward.”

     A slim, well-dressed woman in the front row steps up on the stage carrying a stack of manuals, folders, and software. She struggles to handle the load. Eventually, she reaches the speaker.

     “What have you brought us?”

     “I’ve dreamed of being a computer programmer. I really wanted to be one. I tried several times, both through classes and online guides, but in the end, I failed. I’m terrific at my day job, but a computer programmer I will never be.”

     “Very well. Step forward and throw it into the fire. Once burned, you will leave and never look back.”

     Piece by piece, the woman tosses items into the fire from the stack in her arms and then moves on to a second stack she laid aside earlier. Eventually, with only one manual remaining, she briefly pauses and then slings it into the fire before leaving the stage in tears.

“You there. You are next. What do you have?

“I tried to paint. I wanted to be a good painter, but I’m not,” the older gentleman admits.

“You know what you must do,” the speaker says, pointing towards the fire.

The casually dressed man walks to the edge of the stage, slings handfuls of brushes, paint, and small canvases into the fire, before slowly walking away.

Shortly all, except for one, of the individuals has stepped forward, explained their disappointments, and pitched related articles into the fire before departing.

A woman, who had arrived late and lingered to the last, steps up on stage with several notebooks and a laptop computer in her arms.

“And lastly, what do you have?” the speaker asks.

Nervously, the woman fidgets about as she explains her frustration.

“I want to write well. I dream about writing well. I know, somewhere deep inside of me, I can write well. However, I can’t satisfy my readers or myself. I believe I’m ready to give it up.

Suddenly, a nearby stage assistant snuffs out the blazing fire with an extinguisher as the writer looks on in dismay. She turns to plead her case, but the speaker is already shaking her head in the negative.

“You are not ready. Go home and keep trying. If you can’t write well in a year, I will see you at that time.”

As the disappointed writer walks off, the stage assistant approaches the speaker.

“That was pretty cold! She seemed ready to me,” he says.

“I did her a favor,” the speaker explains. “She doesn’t realize how close she is to a breakthrough and having the life of a successful writer. This ceremony is for dead dreams. Her dreams haven’t even started to live.”

“Road Trip”

By Gaye Hoots

Kendra and I recently drove out to Aurora Colorado to visit my grandson Vann who is stationed at Buckley AFB. He had joined the Navy and qualified for Navy Seal training until he was given a color blindness test. This trait runs in our family. They transferred him to a cybersecurity unit which he likes, and he has done well with it. He recently learned that if he excels, it may be possible to get a waiver to start the Seal training, so he has not given up on his dream.

     It was reassuring to see that he lived in a nice home off base and to meet his friends. I was impressed with his choice of friends. We timed this trip to coincide with an eye surgery he was having to correct nearsightedness. This gave him some time to spend with us. We stayed at a hotel on base and drove into Denver and the nearby hills. The country is beautiful. I can see why it is called “sky country.” The mountains were impressive with snow-capped slopes.

     On the drive out, we went through the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains. Our first stop was in Nashville, where we saw the Grand Ole Opry building, the Ryman, and Music Row. The next stop was St. Louis, where we stayed two nights at River City Casino on the Mississippi River, which was flooding nearby roads. The view of the river from our room was lovely, even if it was out of its banks.

The next two days were spent driving across Missouri and Kansas; It was reassuring to see large farms and pastures for mile after mile with few houses. The sight of the Colorado mountains gave visual relief as we neared Denver. We spent five nights on the base and visited with Vann. We drove into the mountains outside Colorado and enjoyed the scenery.

This was the first time I had been away from my twin granddaughters for more than a day or two. I imagined they would be missing me and upset at my absence. When I called, they were glad to hear from me. They told me they were watching videos and said, “Bye Grandma” in a dismissive tone that told me they wanted to get back to their videos.

When our visit ended, we hugged our young man goodbye and headed back across the country. There were miles of wide-open spaces again before we stopped. The second night out, we stopped in St. Louis at the River City Casino for our third night there. The hotel rates were comparable to other hotels in the area, so the casino was a bonus.

We chose a different route home through Indiana and Kentucky. This was a scenic route with little traffic and no big towns. The green mountains were a treat after the flatlands. I love a road trip but was glad to get back home to Advance and the kids.

For more information on Renegade Writers Guild, visit www.renegadewritersguild.wordpress.com.

Renegade Writers Guild Requests Your Memories: Submit a favorite memory of life in Davie County to Renegade Writers Guild. Submission is to be typed and no more than 250 words.  Any entry published will receive $10, and we retain reprint rights.  Include name, email address, and phone number. Email submissions to swdean@embarqmail.com.