Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is coming up.

I wore my veterans hat the last day of the conference in Colorado in recognition of it being Armed Forces Day. Some however said "I thought that was next weekend." I responded, "No, that weekend is Memorial Day."

Armed Forces Day is to recognize active serving Military personnel. Veterans Day, which comes in November is to recognize those who have served in the past, and Memorial Day recognizes those who gave all in service of their country. There can be a little confusion about the meaning of the three special days.

The Memorial Day holiday observed on the last Monday in May, originated after the civil war to honor those who died in the war. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was later extended to include all who have served and have passed on. Many use the occasion to mark family graves of all types, but the primary reason is to recognize this service.

The National Cemetery at Arlington places a small American flag at each headstone for the day, exactly one boot length from the stone. It is a very impressive sight.

The first documented observance was in Savannah Georgia in 1862 marking the graves of Confederate soldiers. The following year the cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated and the observance began to be recognized by both sides. With over 600,000 dying in the war the recognition was of major significance as there were few families untouched by the tragedy in some manner.

War is a terrible thing and there is no one who would like to see no more war than the soldier. However, no matter how we might feel about war itself we should never allow that feeling to color or detract from the honor due the brave soldiers who have stepped forward when their country called and who gave their lives in that service.

When family gathers on Memorial Day and we are cooking out or going to the park or however we choose to enjoy the weekend, let's pause for a moment and remember the true meaning of the day. Freedom is not free, and it is only right to pause and remember who paid that price for us.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

On the Road

Saundra and I just returned from the conference in Orange County California. It was a great conference and I enjoyed it very much. Heard some good pitches. We took the RV and made the trip out and back something of a vacation. We saw some really beautiful country in New Mexico and Arizona on the way out and in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico on the way back. If you’ve ever seen the majesty of places like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park or Monument Valley you have to be awed by the hand of our mighty Lord.

Now we turn around this coming week to go to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park Colorado. It is one of our favorites and we have gone for many years.  It is very beautiful up there too and I hope to see some of you there. It is not only a time for working on your writing craft but a time to work on your faith through program, content and introspection.

The CCWC conference has always meant I couldn’t go to the Blue Ridge Mountains Conference but my clients that have attended tell me it’s a great conference too. I wish I could go this year for sure because I have five clients who are finalists in various categories of the Selah awards which will be given at the conference. I am confident in them winning of course and wish I could be there to support them. Other agents here at Hartline have clients that are finalists as well for a total of ten finalists, so we will be well represented.

We will be in the RV again on the way to Colorado as we love the pace of the trip and seeing the countryside. That and it keeps me out of airports which I genuinely hate. We’re lucky to have someone who will sit with the house and dogs and water the garden and greenhouse as well as clients who are understanding on the time requirement which gives us the time to do it.

I have attended several conferences a year starting long before I became an agent. They played a major role in my learning the craft of writing. They gave me the contacts that led to my getting published and later led me to be able to function as an agent.  They gave me the chance to spend time with others who understood the passion for writing that people in our lives do not always get. I’ve cut back on the number I go to but for years I was going to a couple of them a month.

If you aren’t making a conference or two a part of your growth as a writer you are omitting a major part of the development of your career. I hope to see you at one soon.