Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

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Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2022

“When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free.”

Orhan Pamuk

Every year on November 15 PEN International launches its Day of the Imprisoned Writer campaign, highlighting the cases of writers around the globe who are imprisoned or facing prosecution and calling for urgent international action to release and protect them.  Free speech and a free press are treasured features of any society, and writers often serve as the link between truth and lies.

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Veteran’s Day 2022

George Washington

Veteran’s Day

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Still Fighting, Living and Writing!

Today, Saturday November 5, marks my 59th birthday, and I have to gloat on myself!  For the first time in a long while, I feel better than I have…in a long while!  For one thing I don’t feel a day older than 57!  And, even as I rapidly approach the seventh decade of my life, I’m determined never to get “old”.

I’ve had so much going on lately.  The COVID-19 pandemic decimated both my burgeoning freelance writing career and what savings I’d amassed over the previous years.  I’ve had trouble finding work, which I attribute in part to my age.  Other stuff has gone awry.  My truck is showing its age; the overhead garage door needs to be repaired; I need a new PC, CD player and DVD player.  I’ve had ongoing plumbing problems.  A job that was contract-to-hire (and that looked very promising) was pulled unexpectedly from me on Friday.

But my hair is still black; my face and body are in relatively good shape; I still enjoy writing and blogging; and – most importantly – I’m still alive!  I woke up this morning…well, more like this afternoon.

I’m also happy to say I’ve achieved that coveted status of “Dirty Old Man”!  Now I can emulate my dad and pretty much do and say whatever I want and not give a shit what people say about it!  What a glorious state of being!

As someone who has suffered from chronic depression most of my life and alcoholism most of my adult years, I’m glad to know I’ve made it to another year of life.  I haven’t given up on myself and neither should any of you!  If someone as deranged as me can live this long, just about anything can happen!

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November 2022 Literary Calendar

Events in the month of November for writers and readers

Movember (Men’s Health Month)

National Family Literacy Month

National Memoir Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month

Picture Book Month

  • 1 – All Saint’s Day; Author’s Day; Day of the Dead; National Family Literacy Day
  • 2 – All Soul’s Day; National Stress Awareness Day
  • 3 – National Non-Fiction Day (U.K.); National Homemaker Day; National Sandwich Day; National Men Make Dinner Day
  • 5 – National Redhead Day; World Tsunami Awareness Day; The Chief’s Birthday
  • 6 – Book Lovers Day
  • 8 – Young Readers Day; Margaret Mitchell’s Birthday
  • 9 – Go to an Art Museum Day; International Day Against Fascism; World Adoption Day; World Freedom Day
  • 10 – World Science Day for Peace and Development
  • 11 – Veteran’s Day (U.S.); Singles Day
  • 12 – National Happy Hour Day; World Pneumonia Day
  • 13 – Robert Louis Stevenson’s Birthday; World Kindness Day
  • 14 – World Diabetes Day
  • 15 – I Love to Write Day; National Entrepreneur’s Day; National Philanthropy Day; Recycling Day (U.S.)
  • 17 – International Student’s Day; National Homemade Bread Day; National Rural Health Day; World Philosophy Day
  • 18 – High-Five a Librarian Day
  • 19 – International Men’s Day
  • 20 – Future Teachers of America Day; National Absurdity Day; Universal Children’s Day
  • 21 – Voltaire’s Birthday; World Hello Day; World Television Day
  • 23 – National Adoption Day
  • 24 – Thanksgiving (U.S.)
  • 26 – National Family Health History Day; Small Business Saturday (U.S.)
  • 28 – National French Toast Day; Cyber Monday (U.S.)
  • 29 – Louisa May Alcott’s Birthday
  • 30 – Mark Twain’s Birthday; International Computer Security Day; National Personal Space Day

Famous November Birthdays

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Happy Halloween 2022!

“I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.”

Carolyn MacCulloughOnce a Witch

Samhain Rituals and Traditions

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The Queen Died…So?

I can only imagine many Britons are still in mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8.  But, like many Americans, I don’t really care.  While much of the American media still treats the British royal family as iconic figures, the overwhelming majority of us couldn’t care less what they do or say.

The only member of that tribe I liked was the late Princess Diana.  I always felt she had more class in her little finger than the entire gang put together.  When she and Prince Charles wed in 1981, many Britons had begun questioning the purpose of a royal family.  Their political power had officially been stripped decades earlier.  They’re figurative leaders, and Elizabeth was considered a “Sovereign Head of State”.  But there’s no question the Windsors remain deeply influential.  They were among the few European royal families to survive the carnage of World War II.

Regardless of their heritage, I consider Elizabeth and the entire Windsor clan representative of the legacy of colonial repression and European superiority complex.  What purpose do they – or any of the other royal families around the globe – truly serve?  The Windsors own a multitude of properties in the British Isles and cost local taxpayers billions every year.  England is currently in an economic crisis.  The Windsors pay some taxes, but – like the wealthiest citizens of most every society on Earth – the actual percentage is questionable and unknown.  That’s by design.

If you want to get an idea of what many in the British Commonwealth think about Elizabeth, watch this piece on Jamaican reaction to her death.  Like the peoples of many former British colonies, Jamaicans were forced to give their lives to enrich the “Crown”.  England, like France and other European powers, slaughtered millions of Indigenous Americans and then snatched millions of Indigenous Africans to replace them.  After World War II, the British Empire was compelled to relinquish two of its biggest colonial prizes: Canada and India.  The fought bitterly to hold onto the Falkland Islands in 1982, but eventually gave up Hong Kong in 1997.

I have to commend the British for doing something positive overall to make some kind of amends for their activities in many parts of the globe, especially Africa.

Years ago many conservative Americans criticized President Obama and his wife, Michelle, for not bowing or curtsying to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.  I reminded many that our president doesn’t bow or curtsy to the British monarchy or any royal family.  While the U.S. and England are historically and inexorably bonded, the American Revolution was about divorcing ourselves from the power and influence of British royalty.  We represent a true democracy – not a monarchial federation.

The world knows what the French and Russians did to their royal families.  I don’t suggest the same fate befall the Windsors or any other regal clan.  But no one can seem to answer – what purpose do these people serve in a modern world?

I have a tenuous connection to the Windsor clan – emphasis on tenuous.  Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, was a chronic smoker.  So was my paternal grandfather, Epigmenio De La Garza, who was born in 1893.  In February 1952, both George and my grandfather had surgeries to remove part of one lung.  Both the surgeons who worked on King George and the ones who worked on my grandfather attended the same medical school.  King George died.  My grandfather survived and lived for another 17 years.

Fate, like irony, makes for strange outcomes in life.

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October 2022 Literary Calendar

Events in the month of October for writers and readers

  • National Book Month
  • National Reading Group Month
  • October 1 – International Coffee Day
  • October 2 – Name Your Car Day
  • October 3 – Techies Day
  • October 7 – World Smile Day
  • October 6 – Mad Hatter Day
  • October 9 – Curious Events Day
  • October 10 – Indigenous People’s Day
  • October 11 – Myth and Legends Day; National Coming Out Day
  • October 12 – Cookbook Launch Day; Moment of Frustration Day
  • October 13 – International Skeptic’s Day
  • October 15 – Mario Puzo’s Birthday
  • October 16 – Noah Webster’s Birthday; Oscar Wilde’s Birthday; Dictionary Day
  • October 16-22 – National Friends of Libraries Week
  • October 19 – Evaluate Your Life Day
  • October 20 – National Day on Writing
  • October 21 – Alfred Nobel’s Birthday; Babbling Day
  • October 22 – Smart Is Cool Day
  • October 25 – Pablo Picasso’s Birthday; Howl at the Moon Night
  • October 27 – National Tell a Story Day (Scotland; U.K.)
  • October 29 – Hermit Day
  • October 31 – Increase Your Psychic Powers Day

Famous October Birthdays

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Banned Books Week 2022

I know I’m running late with this, but it’s Banned Books Week, the annual commemoration of free speech and free press.  As always, some people feel they have the authority to determine what the rest of us can see and read.  They start with the schools and libraries under the familiar guise of protecting the children, but the ultimate goal is to restrict literature and education.

All writers and bloggers should always stand up to any kind of censorship.  Remember, no one – absolutely no one – has the right to select what you can and cannot read!

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In Remembrance: September 11, 2001

“Without knowledge of the past we shall lose the future.”

Celtic Proverb

911 Memorial

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