Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The case of the burnt cookie and a season of loss


Domestic disasters can throw off the elderly as never before

This morning Mom wanted a little treat after breakfast—a woman after my own heart. So, she put a frozen cookie in the microwave and accidentally programmed in one-too-many digits. From upstairs, I smelled something burning but thought it was just toast, which would have been a pretty normal mistake. 

When I investigated, however, I found Mom very upset and apologetic. She was so sorry for having burned the cookie and the plastic food protector and for having filled the house with a terrible smell. But she was far more upset that she’d made such a “dumb mistake,” as she put it. The poor thing was literally in tears and couldn't stop emotionally flogging herself.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing and getting it right

In my early school years, I wrote and edited all my papers with a pen

Wouldn’t our English teachers be so proud of us? They used to have to assign us to write. Now, we write blogs, send Tweets and emails, comment on Facebook, and even self publish—all of our own volition. What's come over us? 

Many of the long-standing barriers to writing are no longer relevant. Digital devices, together with social media channels, eliminate most excuses for not being able to ever publish your writing, and those same technologies have crumbled the walls of self-consciousness once so common among reticent writers, making “having our say” almost irresistible at times. In fact, a rare few contract “hypergraphia,” an overpowering desire to write.