Category Archives: Writing

On Writing (originally drafted 2010)

Original draft

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write. I dreamed of someday being published and having people read what I’d written.  In 2000 or so one of my grad school professors asked me if I’d help him with part of a book he was writing for AOL. I was in charge of an annotated appendix about various software and websites on photography and found the writing and research part easy, but the formatting part impossible. The professor ended up doing the formatting and also, I discovered when I got my copy of the book, pretty much changed every annotation I wrote — using words I’d never uttered in my life (maven was one of them). That experience sort of squashed my desire to be published. It seemed like a lot more work than I was willing to do.  My words would, no doubt, be changed anyway. Oh, and I hate rejection.

As you may know, I kept a journal (actually many journals) for several years. The trouble with journals was: no one read them but me, so all the creative energy I put into writing entries was sort of wasted. I remembered when my 10th grade English teacher read my journals and commented on things I wrote — it sort of validated something in me — that I had a voice.

Then I discovered blogging. I remember searching for journaling software — I wanted to type my journals instead of write them long-hand — and stumbled upon Blogger. I thought it was a perfect compromise — I could keep a journal and maybe someone would read it someday. Just like when Miss Sliger read my 10th grade journal. That was all I really wanted anyway — to write and have someone read what I wrote.

It was frustrating at first. I’d write but didn’t know if anyone was reading. The first year I had the blog not one person commented and there were no analytics attached to the software for me to see if anyone even visited. I persevered though, and did actually get published that year in an online version of a magazine.


I am not sure where I was going with this or why I wrote it. Maybe just to say that blogging is my way of writing and even if no one reads it, it really is all about getting it out there.

Since writing this I was also published (twice) in a newspaper supplement about my time spent in Chetek, Wisconsin. They posted some blog posts of mine with my permission.

I feel that my writing is suffering from either my old age or my lack of practice. I read things I wrote years ago (like these drafts that I am going through today) and am surprised at how much better my writing was then.

Dean suggested that when I retire I should take a class at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. That would be cool.

Senior Portraits (draft written in 2008, updated today)

Going through my drafts, I found this from the year Clare became a senior. I wonder why I never finished it. It was pretty good. Her photo turned out very nice despite not following the advice of the photography studio.

My all-to-soon to be senior (school starts on Tuesday) is sitting for her Senior Portrait this morning. She missed her first sitting because we were still on our college road trip.

At the beginning of the summer Clare received a letter from Jackson Blanton Photographers assigning her a sitting date in early August at her school. The letter congratulates Clare on being a senior and gives some “suggestions to make the day go smoothly” for her. Here are a few (with my comments):

  • Nail appointments should be approximately one day before your session. Choose a neutral or coordinating nail color
    How many school photos have you seen where someone’s hands are showing?
  • Bring 1 casual outfit. Don’t forget any additional props you may want in your photos. Arrive dressed in that casual outfit. Be sure all clothing is neatly pressed.
    How can you bring something and wear it?
    Props? Like what? A lion tamer’s whip? (Clare either wanted to bring her cat or wear a fake pregnant stomach under her clothes)
  • If you wear eyeglasses, removing the lenses for your session is highly recommended to avoid glare and distortion.
    Huh? (The accompanying brochure went so far as to ask your optometrist to borrow a pair of lensless frames for the sitting)


Birthday Card from Grandma Green

Sometime after 1981 I drove from Pittsburgh to Shorewood, Illinois to spend a few days with my Grandma Green, then drove up to Elgin to spend time with my parents. I brought my cat, Cinder.

While with Grandma we reminisced about old times and ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (R) with tuna fish. We also played cribbage and drank banana milkshakes like we used to do when I’d visit her in Chetek.

She sent me this card for my birthday that year with the following message:

Dear Dona!

It was so nice to have you with me for just those few days.

I am sorry, but gift will not be ready for your birthday. How about for Christmas?

Having a bit of trouble finding the right kind of fabric.

I am not positive what she means by material. I don’t recall her making anything for me for my birthday or Christmas.

…who is loved so very much!
Have a wonderful birthday!
With love — 🙂
Grandma and John