Wednesday, April 11, 2012


According to, the word FOCUS means exactly what I thought it did, especially in the context in which I cannot seem to apply it for the last few days.

1. "a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity: The need to prevent a nuclear war became the focus of all diplomatic efforts."

And wow! Isn't that some sample sentence to at least momentarily FOCUS your attention on disaster?! I wonder what's happening in the news RIGHT THIS MINUTE, especially with all that nuclear testing threat stuff going on in North Korea. Maybe I oughta turn on the TV for a moment.

See what I mean?

Sure, I've had a lot on my plate lately, what with the new book release. But even on days when Google Calendar tells me I have no appointments scheduled, I can't seem to FOCUS on the project I set as my goal.

For instance, I absolutely need to tackle all the piles of whatever they are strewn and stacked around my house. Every day I say to myself, TODAY I SHALL TACKLE THESE PILES! Yet I seem incapable of making a dent in them. Which caused me to zing back to to look up the word LAZY.


  [ley-zee]  Show IPA adjective, la·zi·er,la·zi·est, verb, la·zied, la·zy·ing.
averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
causing idleness or indolence: a hot, lazy afternoon.
slow-moving; sluggish: a lazy stream.
(of a livestock brand) placed on its side instead of upright.

So, I start reading the definitions and think, Yes. Perhaps laziness is my issue--until I get to #4. And I have no idea what they're talking about. Although my brain does feel a little on its side lately rather than upright (like on TILT), so I guess that fits too.


Well you can see what happened next! Since I pasted in the definitions, I can't get the left-hand margin of this post set back to to where it belongs. I have no idea why. I've poked around and wasted another five minutes fretting about that rather than FOCUSING on a single one of my piles. But how could I ignore this distasteful formatting issue?

I'm pretty concerned about being lazy when it comes to my piles, but my efforts to fix this margin were so diligent that perhaps I'm not lazy, but rather just PROCRASTINATING with those piles, another word I want to look up so I can discern the root of the problem that's keeping me from FOCUSING. But it's time to start dinner, which I'm going to do right after I check in one more time with the Eagles

American Idol is on tonight.

Tomorrow is another day, hopefully with another word, like ACHIEVEMENT.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good and Evil

I was reading a recent copy of Literary License, association publication for the Society of Midland Authors, when today's words, Good and Evil, jumped off the page and gave me goosebumps. I'll tell you why in a moment. First let me give you the context.

Robert Loerzel wrote that Marilyn Robinson, author of Gilead, a book I truly loved (I'm going to blog about that experience on my new GoodReads blog one of these days), recently "took part in a March 3 discussion on 'Literature and Evil'. The larger event, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference (strangely, I can't find 2012 info, which perhaps just isn't recapped yet?), was held in Chicago. Ten thousand people attended, Loerzel said. Somehow I missed the ginormous sold out conference was even taking place in my back yard until after it was over.

Yep, that's the way this author sometimes rolls. Oh, well ...

Loerzel said that the title of Robinson's event [Literature and Evil] "seemed to make her uneasy. What is evil? 'The greatest peril is in thinking that you know what it is,' Robinson said. 

'Too easily arrived-at definitions of good and evil do the work of the devil.'"

Whoa. Let me read that again!

I not only read it again, underlined it, put a star in the margin, and repeated it here, but I'm cutting it out and pasting it on the upper right-hand corner of my computer monitor. I might even photocopy the provocative line and put a copy in my wallet. I believe that is one of the deepest most profound and convicting truths I've read lately, especially when applied to ... just about any walk of life, and especially in this political climate.

I shall be holding my feet to the fire of that poignancy every time I make a snap decision, especially when I'm about to spout off on the good or evil of it--or him, or her, or "those people."

Think, Charlene. THINK! Maybe you are wrong.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love Is All You Need

I attended a wedding this past weekend. The reception took place in the gymnasium of an old combo church and school turned art museum,  transformed into celebration perfection.

As we flooded into the vintage venue--complete with tables, table clothes, candles, wedding favors and snacks all lined up and waiting for us--glorious sunlight (thank you, Mother Nature!) streamed through the partially clad windows and began to celebrate and play right along with us.

Before this portion of the par-tay began (Crank up the music! Pour the drinks! Turn on the disco lights!), we'd been blessed by the ceremony held in an intimate room with colorful paintings on the walls. We received a word from the man referred to as the "Internet pastor" (he did a terrific job!) and the couple read their personally created vows (tender and tear-inducing). Then, the kiss. A GOOD kiss, and you know what I'm talking about. There was even a short follow-up dessert kiss.

As the couple turned to face us, All You Need is Love blasted into the room. Mr. Internet Pastor closed his eyes, held out his arms benediction style, threw back his head and saaaaaaaang right along with the lyrics as the new Mr. and Mrs. high-beamed their way down the aisle.

I can't stop thinking about that electric moment in time when I had no doubt it's absolutely true: all we need is love. If we loved with our whole hearts, minds and wallets, how much better would the world be?! (Hello, starving people! Hello crazed dictators! Hello lost and forgotten! Hello forgiveness!) I will forever carry that bright spot in an easily accessible corner of my heart.

After dinner, toasts, dancing and making merry, the sun began to wane. As natural light faded, the mellowness of fairy lights, candles and dance-floor illumination settled the room with an ambient glow--just perfect for yet MORE dancing and merriment.

When it was time for us older folk to depart, the bounty of love and love light continued to spread its radiance far beyond the festivities.

And the entire world felt just a little bit LOVE-lier.