Has your life ever inspired you to write? Then come to check out the Gulf Coast Writers Association. Our guest speaker DL Havlin, will be letting us in on how he weaves reality into a world of fiction. The meeting will be held Saturday, June 16 at Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Myers 33919. First time guests are free. If you want more info please call 770-906-7885 or go to gulfwriters.org.
Just when you think you have control … control has you! A few days before Christmas I believed, erroneously, I had the next four months hog-tied, caged, and on the truck. January through April are a very busy time for me. Florida’s winter residents make it the time for all types of organizations to hold events. That means it gives me lots of opportunities to meet a lot of you, do my impersonation of a car salesman and sell books, and it makes my historical presentations, book readings, and writing classes a lot more frequent.
Wham! My publisher was ready with one of my books earlier than I anticipated and there were galleys to peruse. Bam! A writer’s club, one which I’m on the board of directors, decided to start work on a great project, but one that gobbles time. Allikizam! PR Lady (my publicist) received a lot of new opportunities for me speak, crowding my schedule. Yes, I still have to finish a book in February! Finally … Double WHAM! The damage caused to my seawall isn’t resolved. Insurance companies believe you pay them so they have money for their executive payrolls. What a mess!
All this has turned my smoothly oiled machine into rusted junk. At least as far as my time is concerned.
I’ve been speaking a lot at libraries, historical societies, book clubs and civic organizations and have been to a number of book festivals and signings. The most recent one (last Tuesday) was at the Englewood – Charlotte County Library as part of the city’s week-long historical celebration. My topic was about one of Florida’s most important figures from the 1800’s, Jake Summerlin. We had a “full house” of enthusiastic listeners. Two of them were descendants of old Jake himself. Both were embarrassingly complimentary of the talk. That’s quite an honor. Those two gentlemen’s pictures are highlighted at the beginning of this post. Below is a photo of the participants. Charlotte County’s library system and their Cultural Center are among the best we visit in the state. If you’re interested in having me speak to your group, go to my web page at http://www.dlhavlin.com and click on the presentation list on the right side.
If you are in the Englewood area tomorrow (2/10), I’ll be at Pioneer Park 10 to 4, meeting, greeting and yakking. The park is located at 301 Dearborn, Englewood, Florida. Come on out, I’d love to meet you!
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One football helmet. Used. Scared. Priceless!
Yesterday, my wife found a package that had been delivered by UPS. We evidently weren’t home when it was delivered for the delivery man placed it in a place where it would be safe from the weather. It was in plain sight, nestled in a group of boxes of similar size and shape. Obviously, it went undetected for a few days. In the box were Christmas presents sent from my daughter and her family.
My daughter is a busy sales executive (V.P.), but she manages to take the time each Christmas to find a gift that transcends the obligatory … her gifts are personal. I’ve come to expect and look forward to their arrival. But this year … this year, I received a priceless gift in that plain brown corrugated box. However, it was not from her.
You see it pictured above. It is a football helmet, one worn by my Grandson Brad. With it was a note, a note I choose to selfishly keep as one of those objects that is of the “heart,” private. It is for me to savor and for me alone. That’s one of the things that makes it so special. As we age we appreciate life landmarks more; we know life’s important issues because we have lived it.
As a grandparent of four marvelous young adults, I have been blessed. Like all grandparents, I want to do what I can to make each one successful and, most importantly, happy. When I looked at my inventory of items I might share with Brad, my experience coaching football was something I believed would help him. He was an eager learner. He never lost the flex in his knees, kept his toes in so he could start quickly in any direction, kept his power line low, and never let a blocker get to his outside leg when he played outside linebacker. He was a very good player.
As satisfying as seeing him play successfully was, receiving the helmet is an indication that he learned things that transcend the physical skills he was taught. The greater values a sport teaches us are values that are retained and used as we go through our lives. Brad values our relationship on a deep level; it is one of those lessons. The value of team work, personal sacrifices required to attain a goal, embracing hard work, learning that we are a victim if we choose to remain one, and the concept of loyalty to ideas, to organizations, and to people are notches on a person’s character belt. Thanks for a priceless gift, Brad. I’ll sleep well tonight.
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With very few exceptions, Christmas has been a season when people in this country put aside our differences both petty … and not so petty.
We’ve welcomed each other in thought, in presence, – we’ve done so without reservations – no identity relationship has mattered, no visible difference, no qualification as to where we live, no reservation based on ideology.
It’s been a time when we all can look at our fellow humans with understanding, kindness, charity and dare I say it … love?
Isn’t it sad?
There is pressure to put an end to this season of good will.
It comes from all around us and inundates us like a tsunami destroying that feeling of happiness and peace that accompanies the magic I associate with a simple phrase … “Merry Christmas.”
What I see on TV, what I read, what I hear, and worse, how I see us treat each other during this season … what I see as a period of truce … convinces me that there are those who wish to steal from us, the most valuable thing we have.
Our collective humanity.
Listening to TV commentators and politicians this morning occasioned a thought.
I refuse to allow others to rob my sense of humanity. I will NOT reject people who differ from me in any way based on narrowness of vision and selfish views of life.
Humanity’s laws do not require that we think the same.
Because someone doesn’t agree with my political outlook, social values or other personal beliefs, doesn’t give me the right to value them any less as a human.
Certainly the reverse is true.
My personal set of values does not devalue me.
With this thought in mind, I’ve decided I won’t allow the rhetoric of division and derision to destroy my enjoyment of fellow human beings this Christmas. I hope I have the wisdom to maintain this state of mind far past this season of goodwill.
I will not assign a negative value to a person with whom I disagree most vehemently. I will proudly retain my thoughts, understanding that people will differ. Disagreement with another simply means I have to be tolerant of them. I’ll strive to remember those who see only one point of view … those who resort to labels and vitriol in response to opposing ideas … lack the intelligence to reason and refute. I’ll react to them with the pity and understanding those with such narrow intellect require.
I will put the atmosphere of recrimination aside, hope they will, and if not, ignore the “slings and arrows.”
Can I persuade some of you who read this to adopt this thought? Let’s make this a “Merry Christmas!”
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Fall has fell. Day-light savings has disappeared and my time, spare or otherwise, has vanished with it. Fall, winter, and early spring are my busiest time of year. Florida’s tourist cycle is tied to the calendar and cold weather “up north.” Events of all types proliferate and with them calls for me to speak and go to events.
Since October 20th, the unofficial kick off date of the winter season, I’ve been all over the state. Starting with a speech to the Space Coast Writer’s Guild (Cape Canaveral area) on their 35th Anniversary, my Ford Edge has been getting a work out. My next stops were at the Deltona Regional library for a book fair, KDWK to do a southwest Florida radio show, a commemorative event for the opening of the Susan Staub Library in North Port, a three day event at the Charlotte County Cultural Center, and a presentation regarding Florida in WWII to a group of veterans at the Charlotte Library. I was honored to do a writers workshop for the Writers League of the Villages north of Orlando during that time.
My schedule for the remainder of the month will be packed. I’ll be in Eau Gallie Book Fair this week end, as well at the Shoppes on Strawbridge for a book signing (Melbourne), and at the Whiskey Creek Country Club in Ft Myers. Matlacha Menagerie, (in the Cape Coral/Matlacha area) is one of my favorite haunts and I’ll do a meet and greet their the Friday after Thanksgiving. The Boca Raton Library will host my next historical presentation Sunday the 26th and I’ll finish up my November appearances with another historical talk at King’s Gate Country Club in Port Charlotte.
This schedule is hectic, but I love it! I get to meet so many folks who like my work and get great feedback. Below are a few photos from the places I’ve been recently.
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“It’s an honor and a privilege to speak to you today …” and it was! I had the honor and privilege to speak to the Space Coast Writers Guild on the occasion of that organization’s 35th anniversary. That number says a lot in itself. Organizations of this type typically have a short life span. Politics and personality clashes are an inherent companion of these groups. Most live a few years and then disintegrate with a boom or slowly rot away. The fact this organization has faced these land mines and successfully maintains a membership in the hundreds and features active vibrant programs are testimony to its members and leaders … past and present. You don’t have to wonder why after you meet its members and officers.
Space Coast Writers is located in Melbourne, Florida, that’s within figurative spitting distance of Cape Canaveral. It’s members are a diverse group that provide a full array of social styles. The members are passionate about writing! The most prominent traits I perceived in the members were high intelligence and strong conviction, but those were tempered with open mindedness. I highly recommend that you visit their web page and join their organization if you live in the area and are stone-cold-serous about wanting to write.
One thing that impressed me was the dedication their president exhibited in pursuing a program that would enhance the members knowledge and contribute to the possibility of their being successful. It was the over-riding message I perceived from our conversations about the presentation I made yesterday. From awarding the Don Argo Literary Award (named for a past president), the connected poems offered by a member that combined meaning with some humor, and an essay read about Argo’s feelings on the organization delivered by an enchanting lady, to the fine meal served … all said one thing … this is a quality organization!
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This coming Weekend I’ll be at the Deltona Book Fair with my publisher Taylor & Seale and several of their authors. It will be held Saturday (October 28th) from 9:30 until 4:00. The location is at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona, FL 32725. I’ll be there most of the day and at the fair sale area 1 to 4.
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