John Prine, Prison, Sex, Religion, Abe Lincoln, Grammar and Happy Meals (favorite Google Hits)

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I was inspired by a recent blog post I read to check out the Google searches people have used to find “A Way With Words”.

My overall impression is that Google Search is doing a fine job of directing readers I want to reach my way.  I hope, in turn, they are finding here much of what they are looking for.

I thought it might be a helpful service, however, to directly address a few of the searches I found particularly appealing –

has john prine ever been to prison

No, you are thinking of Johnny Cash, who recorded “Live at Folsom Prison”.  John Prine did write the song “Christmas in Prison” but he did this with his artistic imagination and poetic license (which he keeps in his billfold next to a picture of Fiona in a bathing suit).

the pursuit of happiness sex scene

Hmmm.  I guess I could work in a sex scene between my 70+ year old lead characters, but that would be just, well… gross.

religion is a system of wishful illusions

On the contrary, as C.S. Lewis once wrote – “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.”

which president is better abe or george and why

Well, according to one of my new blogging buddies, Abraham Lincoln was actually one of our worst Presidents.  I disagree.  While it’s hard to definitively discern history, I believe Lincoln did as good a job managing the worst period in our nation’s history as any President before or after him has done (in much less difficult times).

why is there a place for grammar and mechanics in modern culture

Just as the sun rises in the morning and the moon rises as night. we rely on grammar rules and mechanics to provide anchor our words such that we can make beautiful sense.

how to write an interview on happy meal

Go to the source.  Old McDonald’s Farm.

Gorgeous George and Honest Abe: A President’s Day Reflection

George Washington by History RewoundAbraham Lincoln by roxweb

I grew up before there was a “President’s Day”.  We celebrated both “George Washington’s Birthday” and “Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday”.  I don’t remember getting off of school, though.  I think we just spent the whole day reading and hearing stories about Washington and Lincoln as well as drawing pictures and making crafts of their images.

I never really developed a strong interest in George Washington, even though I still remember a song in a play we did where I had a lead solo –

Me:  “We gotta have a leader.”

Chorus:  “Yeah, man.”

Me:  “He’s got to be strong.”

Chorus: “Yeah, man.’

Me:  “He’s got to be brave.”

Chorus:  “Yeah, man.”

Me:  “Who’s the man I’m talking about?

Chorus:  “G-E-O-R-G-E Washington.”

Honest Abe Lincoln, however, captured my imagination.  The stories of his growing up in a log cabin (I actually grew up in a converted log cabin), his passion for reading, his interest in fairness.  Later, I learned he battled bleak periods of despair, something I could deeply appreciate as well.

People debate Lincoln’s religious faith.  Secularists contend he never joined a church, which is true (though he regularly attended a Presbyterian church).  Christians point to the depth and  breadth of God in Lincoln’s writings.

Regardless of Lincoln’s standing in the Church, he clearly conveyed the most fully developed Biblical perspective of any politician before or since.  In an age of stark relativism, where “my truth” is more important than “the Truth” (which arguably, doesn’t exist), hear his words –

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

As for doubt and the existence of God, Lincoln shows both compassion and conviction –

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”

Finally, for someone who faced some of the greatest moral dilemmas of all time, he was clear where he most sought guidance –

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.  My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

What are your reflections of George and Abe today?

(image of George Washington from History Rewound, some rights reserved)

(image of Abraham Lincoln from roxweb, some rights reserved)

Eight Thrifty Writing Posts on WordPress Today

winter scene

The air is brisk outside.  Ice-encrusted snow continues to make walking hazardous.  It’s been a good day to stay inside.  Listening to George Jones.  Leaning back on this electric recliner.  Being grateful I’m not out filling pot holes or patrolling city streets.

Instead, I’m reading blog posts on writing to share with you.    Here are some good ones you might want to check out.

30 Stories, Day 6: The Door” (The Read Room) offers a review of E.B. White’s “The Door”… “a wonderfully nonsensical story by a renowned grammar nazi!”

7 Lessons Learned From Blogging Every Day of 2012” (Next Practices) reveals some insights gained from a discipline of daily writing.

Thank you, George Washington” (My Teaching Portfolio) shares a class writing assignment and gives an example of one wondrous result.

She Was a Few of His Favorite Things” (charlottesville winter) responds to a writing prompt by celebrating and bemoaning the unrequited love of artist and muse.

“… and our hearts forever” (mothering spirit)  pays tribute to an alma mater – Notre Dame – a place to grow in faith and love as a person and as a writer.

The black in my blood” (Writer Michael Burge) describes one man’s ambivalent journey from the country to the city (and back again).

A Christian Writer’s Confession” (John Erik Patterson) points to the temptation “just below the surface” to lead a wild and reckless life (for which many artists become known).

May All Your Dreams Come True, with No Expiration Date” (Kaye Munroe Writes, Too) details the hard work of one artist realizing her dream of publishing a book.

(image “Ottawa Ontario Canada March 2011” from dugspr — Home for Good, some rights reserved)