Burning Desire to Succeed – Writer Eulogies

For some really strange and weird reason, the thought of writing a biography errupted through the process of an interview yesterday with Danielle Simone. I’d been considering a biography, simply because there are things about my life that I believe my grandchildren (okay, I only have one now) might want to know at some point. Not because I’m a famous person or because I’m even someone who made a great impact on the planet, I believe I’ve left a relatively small footprint thus far, although, I’ve made a difference. But, rather because I’ve been an integral part of the lives of their parents.

Beyond my own grandchildren, there may be a few who would be interested in the life I’ve lived. Probably a few more who don’t give a rinky-dink about anything I have to say, anything I’ve accomplished, or anything that might have been caused by the fact that I raced time across planet earth, somewhere during the late 1900’s. To those folks, I can only say, you’ll never know what you’ve missed by not knowing me. To those who did know me, I’d want to thank you for making an impact on my life, for the breathless moments you shared with me, and for the breath taking moments we experienced together.

The real reason I’ve been thinking about a biography is that I have noticed successful writers have one that spills out the joy of writing and shares the purpose of their lives. Once joy and purpose are spilled out, success appears. A biography doesn’t have to be long or accomplished to be important, it can be simply a statement of joy and purpose. (I’ve been told, I’m redundant. I disagree.) I want mine to be an expression of the joy I’ve lived, the care and concern I’ve given others, and a gift of love that I can give back to my children and grandchildren.

An Epitat goes on the headstone, and mine should read “A blessing in word, deed, and seed. She has wonderful children.” Of course, it would be best if my ex-husband’s were not asked. I’m most certain they’d have a different epitat for me. Of course, I have a few blessed words for them as well, so if you don’t ask, I won’t tell.

The Eulogy is read after the demise, and most often written by the heirs of the demised (hopefully prior to the reading of the will). This short description of the dash between the years of birth and death leaves those behind with a view of a warm fuzzy person, caring and sharing, and often missed.

The biography, on the other hand, recognizes the importance of life before it is complete. Most often a Biography tells the story of how the person lived, the joy they gave to others, and the purpose of their life. A bio shares the philosophy and the concerns of the person and reveals the attempts at success as well as the achievements. But, more than anything else a biography does, the simple profound fact that a writer has a biography often implies the writer (or person) has accomplished something of value.

The value of a person’s accomplishments may be perceived differently from one person to another. Whether a writer offers great provisions and receives great awards may not be the only determination of value, but it probably has significant impact on their readers. At some point in life, I aspire to receive a pulitzer. The bigger goal is to write for people who read, to share the joy and the purpose of my life and to glean power and prestige for what is good and whole in life.

The Burning Desire to Succeed rests in my daily drive to complete my goal of loving more, giving freely, and sharing the most.

Sand and Sage Fair

Big Timbers Museum offered a booth at the local county fair this week and there was much to-do about not a lot of anything. Although all the usual folks were there for 4-H and politicians made a big show of appearing in person at the event, including a registration booth for new voters, and a means of turning your registration into a vote by mail option, there really wasn’t a lot going on.

Is it the economy? Was the big question of the day.

No, it wasn’t the economy. In sunny Colorado where the weather in august often reaches a balmy 105 degrees, it was 64 degrees. It wasn’t the weather friends, it was the rain. Nobody wanted to leave their nice cosy homes where they were getting a blessed afternoon to read a book and enjoy life to mosy around the local county fair and look at political booths. And there was precious little else to offer.

A fine lunch put on by the 4-H’ers in Elmer’s Garden offered a fine Saturday noon meal without spending hours in the kitchen. You could have your choice of cookies, cakes, pies or delicious cream puff deserts to top it all off. An afternoon spent bidding on cattle at the auction in the newly completed Pavilion offers a dream come true on a rainy summer afternoon. Bright lights, friends, room to roam around and the galant ring of the auctioneer’s voice bring memories rushing back. Nothing is better.

But there’s still not enough people.

The only commercial booths sold for the event were makeup, jewelry, and candles, under the grand stands and the Big Timbers Museum booth where A.C.E. Writers representative, Jan Verhoeff, offered an ACE Writers drawing for the coming Conference on August 23rd.

When people complain about there not being enough going on in town to keep the kids busy, I always have to wonder where they spend their summers. This year in particular, the Fair was unattended and left wanting on many accounts. I’d like to know where the people went.

Write “The Rain Drops Splatter”

Crisp clear mornings washed bright by rain don’t happen often in Colorado. The dawn of a new day after a rain here often means dirt will blow, or some other gray phenomenon will be coming our way before the day’s end. Not pessimism, just simply the way the rain works in Colorado. There aren’t many rainy days.

As a teenager, we spent many summers in the midwest where rain was more common and I learned that I really enjoyed a good rain storm. Many of my journals those summer days began with “the rain drizzled down the window” and talked about weather systems I longed for back home. “Thunder rumbled and rolled across Michigan, ripping through the forested land like a new plow, laboring under rain laden gray clouds.” Could provide for hours of writing a description of storms rolling slowly overhead as I curled on the top bunk of our family motorhome with my paper and pen a handy friend.

Continue reading Write “The Rain Drops Splatter”

Inspired by The Write One

“There’s one story in your heart that must be written!” The words linger ever nearer as I write each story in my journal. Even more, as I write a book, a short story, or an article for publication, each time, I wonder, is this the story that must be written?

Is that the only story in my heart? Or more, is that THE story I must write?

Then I remember, the quote says, “There’s one story in your heart that must be written!” but it doesn’t say, there’s ONLY one story.

Continue reading Inspired by The Write One

Writer Biographies – Who are you, anyway?

When writers try to figure out what to write in their bios, they often stumble around in the dark for a bit. There’s a lot of room in life that doesn’t really fit on that dash between the date of your birth and the date of your death, but how much of it do you really want anyone to know?

My own biography started out simply enough, way back in the beginning, until I realized that I was including too much. So, I edited.

I marked out so much of my life that I felt as if I didn’t really matter too much. The biggest parts that I’d marked out, to begin with, were my educational endeavors. Who cared about my degree in Philosophy? That degree certainly didn’t take me anywhere worth going. I’m sure it influenced my life, but how much can Socrates say about your life in 1978? Ahem. Delete! The next step was to take out my hopes and dreams. They’re important, but not as part of my biography. People want to know what I’ve done, not what I’m gonna do.

The next step was to look at the family portion of my bio. Quite honestly, that which happens through an accident of genetics probably isn’t of monumental importance, and my DNA doesn’t need to be shared with the multitudes. The genealogy that describes whose gone before me, may have been important if it had been someone of valuable importance, or of documented history. But, my ancestors, as special as each of them are, haven’t made any major historical efforts of substance.

My experience of life could be summed up in a trite phrase concluding more than three decades of writing. That ought to impact the neighborhood with a frenzy of activity and celebration… or not! Where I come from is so easy to find, we call it the Heart of America and there’s a little red heart on the map in the middle of the United States, referring to our location at the Crossroads of America. Impressive, only if you’re driving by, and even then, if  you blink you miss it.

My accomplishments on the other hand are so great that even I was impressed by their weight, in rheems of paper and ink. At least, until I noticed they don’t measure up much compared to the accomplishments of others. My books have won no Pulitzers, and any awards I’ve earned lack noteworthiness in the big light of life, so I deleted most of those piles of paper too.

What was left?

Jan Verhoeff, a writer from southeastern Colorado, the mother of four wonderful children, who loves to write for others.

Simple, to the point, direct, and not too badly over stated!