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Pay The Price

“Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

I’m often asked by aspiring writers what it takes to get something published. Is it luck? Timing? Connections?

While all three admittedly play a role to some degree, the real reason someone becomes a published writer is because he or she paid the price. What do I mean by that? Simply this: Nothing is free in this world. Every dream comes with a cost. And that cost can be defined in terms of money, time, effort, energy and resources. Read More 

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Drink From The Hose

I am continually amazed I survived childhood. Growing up, my brother, sister and I did things that would make any adult today cringe in both fear and disgust.

For instance, we jumped off roofs training to become ninjas. (Hit and roll! Hit and roll!).

We lit firecrackers and held them as long as we could before quickly tossing them aside to explode, trying to be the so-called “winner” by holding the Class C explosive the longest. (The resulting blast wave and heat blistered more than one finger!) Read More 

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A Life Becomes A Poem

Every day thousands of people die in the United States. Unless one of those deaths directly or tangentially impacts us, such as the death of a friend or family member, most of us rarely acknowledge the ether of mourning swirling about. It usually takes a particularly unfair, gruesome or heart-breaking death to spur us to a “Tsk, tsk, how tragic” shake of the head.

I had that moment last night. And while I am admittedly a sensitive and empathetic soul, the death of Marina Keegan was especially painful to me. Read More 

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It Was Just An Idea

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

Many summers ago when I was a teenager, my grandfather took my brother and me to Big Diamond Pond in northern New Hampshire for a weeklong vacation at Sportsman’s Lodge. We stayed in a log cabin on an open hillside overlooking the lake. The days were sunny, warm and lazy, filled with flitting butterflies, chirping crickets and songbirds. We spent hours swimming, boating, waterskiing (well, mostly my daredevil brother), fishing, catching lightning bugs at dusk and generally creating our own mischief. Adolescent hormones coursing through my veins at the time also compelled me to sneak glances at Cindy, the lodge owner’s attractive daughter. Granted, she was at least four or five years my senior, but no harm in looking, right?

But I digress… Read More 

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Iceberg Alley: Back To The Titanic!

Crew members prepare to drop a wreath on the RMS Titanic's resting spot. © SF Tomajczyk

By April 1998 James Cameron’s epic, adventure-romance movie, Titanic, was a phenomenal hit, receiving 14 Academy Award nominations. Theaters across the nation had long lines of people at every showing anxious to see the film for the second or third time, tissues in hand. Everyone it seemed had an interest in the ship’s tragic tale, including People Magazine. After discussing an article idea I had with the editors, I soon found myself zipping into my parka and going on assignment to visit “Iceberg Alley” with the International Ice Patrol and search for rogue icebergs threatening ships at sea. Read More 

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National Poetry Month: A Rhyme Every Time

Autumn 1977 brought dancing, prancing leaves into my life. It was my senior year in high school and I was seated in Mrs. Tankard’s humanities class, which had the reputation of being the most difficult course offered at Chantilly High School. Twice now she had attempted to remove me on the grounds I was not cut out for the academic rigors of the class. And twice my Aries stubbornness kept me glued to my seat, in spite of the nightmares I was having about Sartre, Camus and Shakespeare. Read More 

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Pencil Day: For the Love of Lead

March 30th celebrates the original word processor: the humble pencil. It has all the features of today’s software programs – write, edit, copy, cut and paste, delete – with the additional benefits of being inexpensive, lightweight, extremely portable, waterproof, and able to function without electricity. I wrote my first book and all my early poems using a pencil.

Frankly, there’s nothing more tactile and sensuous than the feel of soft lead flowing over paper. And I love the fact that the pencil allows me to record a spur-of-the-moment thought  Read More 

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The Sky Was So Blue...

I’m admittedly a private person, however, with the arrival of the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attack it seems appropriate to share a few thoughts. After all, I played a small role in that day’s news coverage as well as in other emergency-preparedness activities that took place in the following years.

I first learned of the attack just after 9:00 am when Fox News called me from New York City wanting to know if the plane crashes were accidental or an act of terrorism. At the time, I was enjoying a cup of coffee while doing some research outside on the patio.  Read More 

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