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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

“Resolutions and Reflections”

By Linda Barnette

Although I have never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions, I do have a few for 2020. I really want to start some classes at the Y again and exercise more, to eat healthier, to practice playing the piano, to continue my genealogy research, to keep on writing and hopefully win a contest and perhaps get paid for something I author. Spending more time with family and friends is also on my list although we do pretty well with this one. However, we can never spend too much time with those we love. I want to continue to play the hand bells at church, and to become more immersed in the Bible and in my spiritual life.  Doing more for others is also on my list, as is continued involvement in current events and politics. What I would really love to do is to run for office again although people might not vote for a “whisperer.” I certainly learned a lot by serving on the Board of Education for six years. Public service is also a family tradition that I would like to carry on. I would like to be a voice for those who do not have one.

Being close to 80 years old gives me much pause for reflection also.  Most of my life is behind me at this point, and I think about all of the things that I used to do, such as teaching.  I loved teaching and am thankful for technology such as Facebook that allows me to keep in touch with former students, colleagues, and friends.  I also miss our travels, but I have pictures and memories. I miss those family members and friends who have passed on.  Yet there is much left to be thankful for. Yesterday I was reading William Wordsworth’s poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” and realized that I taught this poem to my college students many years ago when I was young and that now I was reading it as an older person, as the author was when he wrote it. I so totally identify with the following lines near the end of the poem.

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flowers,

I will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind….

With age, as the poet reminds us, we gain wisdom, among other things. But we also remember all of the things of our youth.

I wish all who read this a very happy 2020.

“Prepare for Joy”

By Stephanie Williams Dean

My word for 2020 is “prepare.”

I’ve been pondering the New Year and considering changes I might make that would improve my life. Not resolutions – small changes. There are lots of them, but I think the word, prepare, ncorporates them all.

When I was young, I auditioned and was accepted as a piano student at a prestigious music school in Nashville, known as Blair Academy of Music. I was reading some vintage documents when I came across a student work and repertory report from the school.

My private teacher made these comments on my report:

“I sincerely believe that if Stephanie would get down to work each week and learn what it feels like to come to class prepared to participate, progress would be two times as fast and interest and enjoyment would double.”

Here comes the best part of her words. “No one enjoys what he cannot do and no one can do well what he does not work at. Set aside a short time each day for practice and study. It need not be long but it must be habitual.”

Bingo. There’s the change. Prepare to begin each day with prayer. Prepare for Bible study by reading the lesson ahead of time. Prepare the night before for the gym with my bag already packed. Prepare ahead to practice my piano with a set time. Prepare with time scheduled each day for writing.  Prepare for art the night before by packing my materials. Prepare for healthy meals by going to the grocery at the first of the week. Preparing also means setting aside the activities that don’t bring me joy to make time for ones I enjoy more.