A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Writing Our Life Screenplay: Guest Ron Easton

         Today I welcome a dear blogging friend, Ron Easton.  Ron has been an A to Z Blogger since the 2011 Challenge.  For the 2012 April Challenge Ron was the inspiration for the A to Z Video Contest which I hope will become an annual prelude to the April event.  Ron blogs at Dads UnLimited.

       First of all, thank you to Mr. Bird for his friendship and welcoming attitude that allows us a place to come and connect.

      Second of all, thank you to all of you reading this. I know how valuable time is.

      I read, a few weeks ago, a really fun memoir by Donald Miller. In it,  A Million Miles in a  Thousand Yearshe recounts the writing of a screenplay from an earlier book of his, Blue Like Jazz.  In the writing, he drops an interesting idea. While revising his own life for the big screen, (an act he struggled with, ethically) he began to wonder whether we really can write our own story, through living deliberately.  This really has caused me to think.

       His premise is that the best stories, the epic stories, are the ones with great sacrifices, great acts of service for another or for the globe. From that point, he investigates why we settle for boring lives when we would never let our books or movies away with such banality. Why do I praise others for their sacrifice and not pursue it in my life.

       He considers his own attempts at living a full life by training for and then traveling to Machu Picchu in Peru to climb the mountains and hike the long trail to that ancient wonder. As majestic as the journey was and as good as it was for him physically to get in shape for the trek, at the end of it all, he wondered at his own motivation. In the end, it was for him. As great as that adventure would be to tell about, as fun as the pictures will be to show friends, relatives and total strangers, there was no long lasting good conceived outside of himself. What a great realization to come to. While self fulfillment and self-improvement are great, he realized those themes were becoming the goal of his life.

       That realization of his has sparked something in me too. A quiver full of kids and too little dough does not allow for Machu Pichu trips in my own life. At the same time, I do allow myself to fill my minutes with “me”, and not “us”, or “they”.

       Added to that book have been the last two books I’ve read, Calico Joe by John Grisham and Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll. The first a baseball novel, the second a how-to book on great marriages from a God-first point of view. Both of these books deal with the end redeeming and being better than, the beginning. Grisham has one of his characters doing the right thing for the first time in a long time because he doesn’t want to die a loser. The Driscolls suggest that more important than the first day of our marriages is the last one, does it end in divorce or death, have we endured or enjoyed?

      How do I script my own life then? From here on this becomes theory, not reality, for we can’t do anything about those unscripted lightning storms, tornados, cancer cells, job losses, etc. However, if life is all about choices, as everyone tells us, and as I preach to my own children, then why do I choose the mundane over a mosaic, maudlin over magnificent? If I choose others ahead of myself, then I’m writing something great. That is so hard to unlearn in our culture of ease, leisure and look-out-for-number-one attitudes. If I look to the final chapter, to read the ending I want to see there and plot out the moves to arrive at that point, what an epic tale I could write and live. As a Christian, I want to hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” But don’t we all want that, whether it’s in our obituary, at the funeral, or just in people’s minds? Then I actually have a memoir worth writing, and reading.

      To a better script!

And there may not ever be anything new here to say, but I'm fond of finding words that say it in a different way- T Taylor

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  1. An excellent write and so absorbing to read. Thanks for sharing with us and thanks to Lee for letting you loose on his blog.

  2. Yes, a very thought-provoking post and something I ought to bear in mind particularly right now while things seem so dismal to me and I can't get my mind off my own problems.

    Maybe I'll return and reread this blog bit just before I string myself up on the end of a rope. :o)

    Seriously, nicely written, Ron!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  3. Thank you for giving me some important words to ponder. I'm writing an on-line memoir on my blog and so I truly need to think about what you've shared us. Peace.

  4. Like you, I want to be able to craft a better script. It's sad that for the most part, we only know what kind of life a person lived by hearing about it at a funeral. So much better to actually plan to live the best life possible and just do it.

  5. Hi Ron and Lee - having just lost my mother, who I think couldn't recognise her own worth ... yet from the funeral, the blog, and the many letters from family, friends and colleagues she has an amazing following and recognition of the life she led - well led, despite many hardships.

    Perhaps my scripting of her life ... brings back the positives, while not forgetting those challenges she overcome - which gave her strength of purpose more intent.

    Our own life is something else isn't ... I suspect I'll be remembered for this period, rather than my earlier times.

    Living our best life for all around us, caring and cheering others on is so important ... great post - cheers Hilary

  6. i love that--telling the same stories a different way :)

  7. Thank you to all of you for writing. I think what struck me the most was that we don't put up with it in movies or books, but we settle in our own lives. I know why, but I don't know why at the same time.
    I think that many of us want to write memoirs because its what we know, but at the same time, we are searching for meaning in what has happened to us, or in our choices. We really do want to do something that matters, make a difference in someone else. Maybe we think that in the writing we find that meaning, I'm not sure. I do think that I can learn to live even more purposefully than I do now. I may put the words to the memoir down on paper later, but its being written right now!

  8. Impressive publish! STICK WITH IT!

  9. Ron--Don't know why, but your comment went to spam so I released it to publish.

    Thanks for this great post and thanks to all who have commented so far.


  10. Very inspiring post! I am really glad I popped over to catch this guest post. Thanks for sharing it Arlee :)

  11. Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

  12. This a post that deserves re-reading and reflection as there's much food for thought contained in your topic.

    At one level I agree, at another I don't. An "ordinary" life is not necessarily a boring life. Each of us has special gifts and talents to bring to the world -and you've just clearly demonstrated one of yours!

    Having a family to care for, and doing it well, may not make the news or become a movie, but it's definitely in the commendable category. Perhaps we need to value the "ordinary" in our lives as well.

    thanks for a thought-provoking post. I'll be revisiting it.

  13. Hi Pauline:
    I definitely agree. I hope that is clear from my post that its in living that life for my kids, for my neighbours, for a greater good than me, that I end up with a life worth noting.
    I think we can live ordinary lives while still living extraordinarily.

  14. Lots of great points here! I also agree with Pauleen's comment about what constitutes an "ordinary life." It is so important to strive to do our best, and to help others in the process. Thanks Ron and Lee! Julie

  15. Love the post. I wanted to pop in and thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog today. I am now following you GFC and Twitter to keep up with your ramblings. Donna

  16. Thank you, Ron, for your enlightening post and thanks to all who visited and left comments.


  17. And biggest thanks of all to you, Lee, thanks for inviting me over. Maybe next time for some tea and crumpets?

  18. Oops, that was me, posting through my wife's ID! I used to check for that, forgot today.

  19. At first, I rather liked the concept of writing my story by living deliberately, but as I twirled it around in my mind, not so much. Instinctively, I knew that "living deliberately," for me, sucked the breath and excitement out of living. Seems to me, that one needs to show up for living, through the good and bad, fun and not so much, high points and low points. A friend of mine recently told her daughter that not to show up for that "boring family BarBQ" might mean the loss of a once in a lifetime moment -- you just never know when ah-ha strikes.

    Hmm, obviously you struck a chord.

  20. Reminds me of the Olympic flag bearers during the opening ceremonies. After announcing their name etc and then said things like, "we salute your integrity". I thought that was pretty cool that these people were honoured for making a difference.

  21. Thanks Ron for the blog that I didn't notice until today.

    I think there is something about time and its deceptive replenishing that makes us think we can put off the memorable until later and forgives our own mediocrity. Having a brief 9 months back in Canada and a looming 4 year term away to follow has made me see the value of the mundane moments available to me now and compels me to the "boring family BarBQ" as Joan said. When we feel there will be more opportunities for grandiose plans we put them off. When time is limited we "seize the day." Carpe Diem, everyone!

    Dennis Easton


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Arlee Bird