Beach Me

Never Forget Who You Are

“Never forget who you are,” she whispers in my ear as we say good-bye. I take in this moment, the soft late summer air, the way the breeze picks up the wisps of white hair around her face, her hands on my arms, squeezing reassuringly. She is my friend, the widow of a World War …

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It’s Going to be Legend… Wait for it…

  Let’s get one thing straight right now. I am not, nor will I ever be, a particularly cool person. I’m not smooth. I’m not sophisticated. I’m most definitely not fearless, nor particularly put together on any given day. I say all this to you, dear reader, because I know that I labor under the …

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Into the Mystery and Home Again: Europe Part 3

This post is part 3 of 3 about my upcoming pilgrimage to Europe to explore the places my grandfather, John Briggs, served during World War 2. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.  After eight months of combat, after the War was over, my grandfather John got to go on vacation in Switzerland. On …

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Into the Mystery: Europe Part 2

This post is part 2 of 3 about my upcoming pilgrimage to Europe to explore the places my grandfather, John Briggs, served during World War 2. You can read part 1 here.  When this idea first hatched in my heart, to travel to Europe to visit the places my grandaddy, John Briggs, served during the …

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Into the Mystery: Europe Part 1

This post is part 1 of 3 about my upcoming pilgrimage to Europe to explore the places my grandfather, John Briggs, served during World War 2.  “I’d like to go back,” he said, his hands folded in front of his chest as if in unconscious prayer. My grandmother tsked from the kitchen. He was in …

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Next Stop on the Blog Tour: My Writing Process

I’m excited to participate in this summer’s blog tour, where writers tag one another to describe their creative process. Last week, I was tagged by Whitney Stewart, New Orleans based children’s book author and fellow World War 2 researcher and story-teller. You can read her blog post from last week (and learn more about her …

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Writing a Better Story: How it all Began

If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers…. But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful. The truth is, if what …

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This Is Love.

  I sprinkle Comet on a damp blue sponge and scrub the scuffmarks on the worn linoleum created by the refrigerator dragged across the floor and out the front door, on its way home with its new owner. The floor will never be truly clean again. Once nearly white, it is old now, yellowed, stained …

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Piecing Together the Story, Unraveling the Mystery

I knew my grandaddy John by these things: the bright, open, and immediate smile that was never far from his face. The smell of aftershave and pipe tobacco. The roughness of his cheek as he hugged me hello and goodbye. I knew him through soft drinks (soda and pop to non-Southerners). He ran a bottling …

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Roots and Wings

This post was written on April 1, 2014, on my birthday.  Today is my 42nd birthday. For the first time in my life, there will be no birthday card from my Nana, who died last September at the age of 99. I won’t see her handwriting, loopy and large and old-fashioned, telling me how proud …

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Breaking Out of the Beige Box: Real Travel

The room was disgusting. A bare bulb, 40 watts at most, hung from the ceiling by a black cord. Two double beds, sagging in the middle, sat side-by-side on the worn linoleum floor.  A massive dark wood armoire dominated the far wall. That looks like the perfect place to store dead bodies, I thought to myself, …

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