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Collecting Beach Glass

For quite a long while I have loved sea glass. Sea shells are nice, but something about the semi-translucent soft colors of glass washed up by the sea fascinated me. I longed to live near the ocean where I could collect these beautiful pieces to my heart’s content. A friend once told me she collected beach glass along the shores of Lake Erie, not too far from where I lived. I was never able to go with her, though, on her occasional trips home, and didn’t know the spot where she went. So I quietly dreamed of someday finding beach glass, and meantime admired and purchased jewelry and pieces from beach glass artists in the area.

Recently, though, another friend showed me where to search for beach glass nearby. Our first foray out yielded several nice pieces.

When you find something you really love doing, it fills a part of you that nothing else quite fills. It’s exhilarating, it’s rewarding. Fulfilling any of the passions you were given when you were created gives you a feeling of completeness. It is never without risk, and you have to step out of your secure zone at times, but it’s always worth doing.

Tonight I decided I would go to the beach spot again, before it got dark. The weekend would be a little breezier, and waves might make glass searching a little harder. I wasn’t dressed for it; but I used rubber bands to hold the legs of my slacks up, and had old shoes in the car, so I took the chance. I had my cell phone with me, I knew how to stay safe, so I ventured out on my own.

My first time out, I wondered if any beach glass collectors would resent that I was encroaching on their territory. Then I realized, the lake, like the sea, always has treasures to reveal. Almost immediately upon setting foot on the shore tonight I found my first piece of aqua blue glass. I gathered a large number of clear glass pieces, a couple of greens, a few more tinted pieces, and a few brown. The lake showed me her treasures, and I collected them gladly, reaping as many rewards as she cared to reveal.

Clear beach glass is common, greens, browns and blues are frequent colors. Then I found it, a lone red piece of beach glass! The odds of finding that color are one in three thousand, one in thirty-five hundred. Seasoned beach glass hunters consider themselves very lucky to find that color. Here I was, a novice, holding a rare red gem in my hands! I have crossed the line from gatherer to serious collector.

We all have passions in life. It takes courage to pursue our passions. Each time I step out for photography, or now beach glass hunting, I take a chance. Each time I pursue a new writing project, I take risks. The rewards are always worth the risks. Take chances! Pursue your passions! The feeling inside when you reach a goal, when you discover your bravery leads to greater fulfillment and joy, is indescribable!

For a look at today’s treasure trove, check out my photo page!

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Why We Write

Writing is a hard business. It’s solitary and lonely, as we need a fair bit of silence in order to focus our minds on the words we string together. It can be frustrating, even maddening, as those words at times play hiding games on us. It is a demanding taskmaster, forcing us away at times from the people around us who define, support, and otherwise color our lives. It is a full time job for so many of us already have full time occupations to keep a roof and walls around us and food on our tables.

Why do we put ourselves through such torture, not once, but on a regular basis?

We write because our hearts and minds demand it. We have stories we need to tell, whether in the form of fiction, poetry or prose, or nonfiction, memoirs or journalistic exposes, pieces that illuminate or inspire, not necessarily in a faith way, although it takes a great deal of faith of sorts to keep us on the path we have chosen. Something in life has impacted us and we are compelled to share what we feel.

Every time I participate in an author event I go in with a thought in mind no as to how many books I want to sell. Sometimes I reach my sales goal; sometimes I don’t. Along the way, though, I also always realize another goal: I make excellent contact with readers and with other writers.

Every author I come across is worthwhile and unique, and a pleasure to get to know. This year at the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival I came across three new writers in particular who have completely blown me away. Colin Broderick, Greg McVicker, and John Sexton each brought with them their memoirs of growing up in various parts of Northern Ireland during the 1960s through 1980s, when The Troubles in that region were particularly volatile. They tell stories that are sometimes very painful, always very real and powerful, but told at times with such wit and humor that you will find yourself crying and laughing at the same time.

Their stories are hard. They are vital though, needing to be told, and relayed by three very courageous people with deep hearts and incredible talents. As I read their words I came away with my third gift from this particular outing, that of catching the vision of where my own writing needs to head next, not in the way of telling my life’s story, but in reaching for a higher level with my writing. I believe in my writing as is but, like anything in life, I always strive to improve. Colin, John and Greg have each given me a new standard to reach for in my own writing. The way they frame their words and phrases, the heart and spirit they capture, is of the highest quality. I am both humbled and inspired in reading their books.

Look their books up: That’s That and Orangutan by Colin Broderick, The Big Yank by J.P. Sexton, and Belfast Child by Greg McVicker. And keep an eye on my own novels and poetry books to see where the writing journey leads me next!