Thursday, May 31, 2007


I have been collecting my personal daily thoughts since I began sending them out to friends and co-workers three years ago. I began doing it when Chloe was born. She will be three years old on July 6th. I now have collected more than 250 pages of my thoughts and stories. Part of the reason I began to collect them is so I could someday give Chloe all the stories about her. Maybe when I am an old man and she is a young woman, she will be in the publishing business and through her efforts Pa Paw's book will see the light of day. Another reason I began to collect them is because many of you encouraged me to do so. I am grateful for that encouragement. I enjoy writing even though some days I feel like a newspaper columnist staring at a blank page with a deadline looming. However, the pressure to produce something everyday is a good discipline. Some days it comes easy to me and other days I struggle to say anything meaningful. I am not an expert on anything. What I write are just my opinions, random thoughts, or real life adventures and experiences. There have only been one or two occasions when anyone has taken issue with what I have written. I am still sometimes in awe that people like what I write. I suppose I will continue writing as long as there are people who want to read my thoughts. Even though I have only been doing this electronically via email and the internet for a few years, I actually began keeping journals when I entered the monastery in the summer of 1971. It was Thomas Merton, the famous spiritual writer and monk, who influenced me. For many people, including me, his journals are the favorites among all his written works. Another influence was Henry David Thoreau and his famous "Walden Pond". There is even an imaginary character that influenced me. Some of you are old enough to remember a television show called "The Walton's". For those that do, I am the John Boy Walton of my family. I encourage all of you to write down your stories. In ancient times, stories and history were passed from one generation to the next through storytelling. We all still do that to a certain degree. Someday, however, I hope that all my written thoughts will be treasured by Chloe and others because they contain memories that might otherwise have been lost over time. As I write these thoughts now I find myself remembering a recent film entitled "The Notebook". It starred James Garner and Gena Rowlands. In the movie they are an old married couple. The wife, however, has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. The husband visits her regularly and while there, he reads to her. Most of the movie you are under the impression that he is reading a fictional love story to her. Eventually you realize that the stories the husband is reading to the wife are his true stories of their life together. It was his way of helping her remember and to reconnect with her past. The written word is powerful and precious. Computers are great but books are better. Much of who I am today is a product of words and books.

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