My Nanny, “The Bait Boss”

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An Anthropology-Inspired Grandmother Sciku:

No cookie baker.
No white hair or sober shoes.
Nanny rocked the world.

Two Drastically Different Grandmas

Maw-Maw, my paternal grandmother, was as transparent as Saran Wrap. No hidden motives, no mind games, no sharp tongue. She was music and word-play, and faith rolled into one smiling, white-haired, wrinkled-skin package.

On the other side of the family tree, the branches weren’t so straight.

My maternal grandmother was the daughter of an itinerant gambler in a tough home in a Southern Indiana river town born in the first decades of the 1900s. …

Delight that doubles with twins

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“So many good things come in pairs, like ears, socks, and panda bears.

But, best of all are the set of twins, with extra laughter, double grins.” — Anonymous

Downsizing Into Delight

“Downsizing” for us meant moving from a large two-story home on our twenty-five-acre property into a house one-quarter of the size. Our new home was a much smaller house that we had built years before for my husband’s mother, just about thirty yards away from our original Big House.

As we got closer to retirement, we recognized that we didn’t need all that space and all that upkeep. Our older joints…

Or all three…

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Only for the love of it…

If you’ve read my work, you know that I write for the love of the craft. My early dreams of making money on Medium were blown to smithereens long ago. No matter how many times I’ve been curated, or how many “bigger” publications I’ve been in, or how consistently I’ve published, I have never yet broken the $100 per month mark.

Yet I continue to publish on Medium because I like the community. I’ve met people I care about here even though I may never physically get to shake their hands or see them eye-to-eye. I enjoy creating a body…

Review of Radical Humility

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How often do you think about humility?

Be forewarned. I rarely read books of essays or short collections, usually preferring longer novels or works of nonfiction. When I was asked to read Radical Humility: Essays on Ordinary Acts, something wild and strange got ahold of me and I said “yes.”

My response to the publicist was,

“This is a book out of my norm, but I adore a well-written essay; I dislike arrogance; I believe in the power of “ordinary” people to change the world through small acts of kindness….and maybe humility. …

Grieving Those Who Are Alive But Not What They Used to Be

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Honest. Raw. Painful…Helpful and Healing

Pat and Tammy McCleod are leaders in the Christian community of Harvard University, serving as campus chaplains. They coordinate student activities, mentor young adults who are growing their faith, and lead mission trips to put Christian beliefs into action.

Like many working parents, the McCleods did their jobs while parenting four children. Chelsea, the oldest child is just beginning her freshman year of college when the action of the book happens. Three boys follow: Zach, Nate, and Soren. Zach is a congenial, devout sixteen-year-old, an all-around good kid in his junior year when tragedy struck.

Pat and Tammy McCleod were…

Just be curious

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Curiosity and the Dizzying Effects of Brain Buzz

I have trouble sleeping sometimes because my brain buzzes.

You know what I mean?

Those nights when you wake up, words circling around each other, tumbling from one thought to the next, ideas looping around and around in your head making you dizzy with the vast and unlimited potential of words?

That’s “brain buzz,” and it can be one of a writer’s most potent assets, making sure that you never run out of things to write.

Because one idea always leads to another…and another…and another.

You will never lack for ideas if you are curious. Just follow the looping, meandering…

Throw fuel on your fire

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If you want to be a writer, you hear it all the time. “Write every day” is the standard advice. Everyone talks about how you need a daily habit to establish yourself as a professional. Writing every day improves your skill. Creates a routine. Teaches you discipline.

Thousands of articles and blog posts urge creatives to write, stating that the physical act of writing helps you clear your head and organize your thoughts while physically training your body to produce output.

You have to put your butt in a chair and work, not just once in a while, but daily…

Distribution Feb 20-March 4

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The Standard Advice from Medium Stars

If you read about how to succeed on Medium, you probably know that “experts,” the people who have had those pieces that go viral, the people who swear they make thousands of dollars each month, the people who say that quality and consistency will get you to the top tell you to aim for the bigger publications.

Yes, it’s great to be published in The Startup, (680 K Followers,) The Writing Cooperative (232 K Followers,) Better Marketing, (122 K Followers,) P.S. I Love You, or any other of a myriad of other large and thriving publications. …

Dolly Parton: Book Hero

“Hollywood Star Dolly Parton” by DominusVobiscum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who’s Reading What We Write?

It feels like everyone wants to write. Bloggers abound. Hundreds of content platforms exist. Seems like everybody wants to publish a “how-to” book, a memoir, or a book of poetry. Some estimates are that more than 6 million books are published every year, with self-publishing increasing daily.

Reading material is everywhere, and has been for several millennia. Since the invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1440, estimates are that there have been over 130 million unique titles printed.

One writer on Medium J.J. Pryor, suggested that there are 47,000 new articles posted each day on Medium, amounting to over one…

What you need to know — simplified

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If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard about the proposed merger of Simon & Schuster with Penguin Random House. If you haven’t, you probably will. It’s a fundamental issue in the shaping of the publishing industry that may actually be litigated by the Department of Justice.

Here’s what you need to know and why it matters, simplified.

Who is Penguin Random House?

Penguin Random House (PRH) is the biggest publishing house in the United States. It was already a powerhouse publisher when it acquired Penguin in 2013. …

Melissa Gouty

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Creative content for the literary world. Follow me at, Twitter, or Facebook.

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