Author Archives: patwcoffey.com

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St. Patrick’s Day and More

St. Patrick’s Day continues to be celebrated by my family. We are born of Irish heritage, quite the contrary. We are Polish, but we celebrate it as though it was a high holiday.

My Polish speaking father was born on St. Patrick’s day. He felt he was lucky to be born on this day.

Many looked at his life and thought he worked too hard. If he were alive today, his reply to this assessment echoes in my mind, “I’m the richest man in the world. I have a wife who loves me. She is a great cook and baker.  I have six children, twelve grandchildren, and ten great-great grandchildren.”

My dad ‘s life reflects an unwritten saga, but one St. Patrick’ Day story imprinted in my memory is the night my second sister was born. Dad brought mom home from her checkup and the doctor told her to ready herself, the baby may come any day.

I was in first grade. The school prepared a St. Patrick’s Day program that night. My dad dropped me off at my classroom and said, “I’m going to get a good seat so I can’t see your dance. I’ll pick you up when the program ends.”

 My mom stayed home because she was tired. After the program, it seemed like a lot of kids left really fast. There were only a few of us left, so Sister Lillian told us to put our heads down on the desk and wait until she would call our name. She turned off the lights in the classroom and let the coat room lights on. I fell asleep.

In the meantime, my dad never made it through the program to see me. A neighbor grabbed my dad’s arm and said, “Wally, we need to take Marie now.” The neighbor drove my dad and mom to the hospital. Dad planned to take a taxi home and get me along the way.

Early the next morning dad returned home to find out that no one picked me up. He ran to the convent and rang the doorbell until someone answered. Mother Superior woke the janitor.

They both entered the school and walked down to my classroom and called my name. “Daddy, it’s very dark out.” answered. “I was sleeping hard. I am really tired what took you so long?”

My father laughed, “Have good news! You have another little sister. She was born during the school program. Let’s go home and sleep in our own beds.”

So each year we celebrate my dad’s birthday and every year since we celebrate my little sister’s birthday. St. Patrick brought my dad a healthy child on his birthday while keeping another child safe.  

Ligeann se a!

Ligeann se a! (Let the party begin!) Party on America enjoy the day and if you stop by my place the corn beef is cooking. The cabbage is simmering. We’ll toast to my dad contributions and to my sister’s health with Irish whiskey.

Be a Sweetheart to Your Self

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be for lovers. Yes, the card shops, restaurants, flower shops, jewelers flood the media with ads reminding you to remember your sweetheart, your loved one, your lover, et cetera, et cetera.

We all should stop and take stock in how we love ourselves. Yes, you read it right. We can’t love someone else, be faithful and supportive, if we aren’t loving towards ourselves.  Oh, I know we all read books or watched movies where the hero or heroine are long-suffering with an unrequited love. Wake up folks! How healthy is that?
Today’s model of love should portray balanced individuals seeking other balanced individuals. We need role models of men and woman who take care of themselves emotional, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  Heroes or heroines should be seeking partners not prototypes from books, plays, movies, and all types of media.  Idealistic? Probably, we are human after all. 

So back to reality, we all like to be wooed every once in awhile, but we don’t have to be weak. So, if you don’t have a significant other in your life, here are a few suggestions on how to woo yourself:

  • indulge in a long hot bath
  • buy a small amount of very expensive chocolates for yourself
  • buy a bottle of your favorite wine and share it with a friend who also will appreciate it
  • splurge at the spa-pick your favorite treatment or one you never selected

By now, I bet you have a few ideas of your own. Once you have found something for your self, do something for someone else:

  • visit a relative or neighbor who lives alone and bring a Valentine treat
  • select a Valentine card and send it to someone who has been there for you through a tough time
  • buy or make Valentine treats for the office (do this only if it will make you happy)
  • send Valentine flowers to someone you think would love a bouquet from an anonymous admirer

Again, the Valentine nod doesn’t have to be a big item. It should be an appropriate action, token, or expression that simply says:

“I acknowledge you for being a good human being. I am glad you are here.” 
Be a sweetheart, give someone a smile with an act of kindness on Valentine’s Day.

Comments

Impeachment Reflection

This blog offers U.S citizens an opportunity to cut through the noise of the debates. It attempts to help the reader balance the information given by those who brought the evidence of high crimes to the House of Representatives.

We heard rebukes and howls from the President and his supporters. The din and noise muddled the information and made it difficult for Americans to understand the impeachment process.

I’ve never been a fan of Wikipedia, but their gives a non-biased description of the U.S. Impeachment Process. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States

I listened to several hearings leading up to the decision to impeach the President. I could not watch it everyday. I found a bevy of house members who lacked debate training. Some members demonstrated a lack of preparation when they responded to a colleague’s presentation. It saddened when members who raised his or her voice even though the microphones worked. When did we, as a nation, start to believe that he or she who shouts the loudest they are most correct?

Impeachment participants represent the voters. Our founding father built this country on the principle of three equal but separate governing branches.. Each division acts as a check and balance system.When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks openly about “insuring a fair trial for the President and announces “I am positive the President will not be impeached.” Tell me, is Senate McConnell fairly representing his voters? How can he speak for his colleagues’ voters? “

Remember, you do have a voice. It is as close as text or a phone call to your Senator. Keep the powers of the government balanced. Remind your senator who they work for, tell him or her what you think about the evidence. Also read the findings from the House of Representatives before you make a judgement.

Access, Plan, Move

As the 2018 winds down, we can sit back and evaluate the good, bad, and the ugly or we can look forward. When it comes to emotional goals, when achieved, they make us happy. We need look forward. We know the lessons of the past, we have the scars that remind us.

Humans own free will. We can deviate unlike the rest of the creatures in the animal kingdom. Our ability to decide enables us to change. Stop. Make goals for 2019. Design them for yourself. Sit down in a quiet place and think of three things you want to start or finish in 2019. Now remember, you only have twelve months, fifty-two weeks, and 365 days. Look at your potential goals and look at your life.

Calculate how much time you’ll need to accomplish each goal. Think about time, days, and months needed to actualize your end result. Are there things in your life you can eliminate to make more time for your goal or goals? Leaders call this exercise ‘sitting on the mountain top and getting the whole view.’

Resolutions, goals, objectives are synonymous. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all are planners. When we don’t plan, that’s a plan.

When your goals are complete, don’t stop there. Make a few goals with your partner. Teach your children how to make a reasonable (achievable and measurable) goals.

Move Forward in 2019. Sit alone. Set reasonable and measurable goals. Start January 2019 making a plan. Remember, its your goals, a couple’s goals, a child’s goal. Like everything in life, things happen, so all is negotiable.

Resources

https://www.google.com/search?q=Ressources+for+goal+setting&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS827US827&oq=Ressources+for+goal+setting&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l2.12605j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS827US827&q=goal+setting+worksheet&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj6i-2Fxs3fAhWLsFQKHc7cALYQ1QIoAXoECAYQAg&biw=720&bih=410

Link

Veterans Day in the United States evolved. In my youth, we proudly placed our coins into the tin containers and received our red paper poppy to wear to honor those who fought and died for our country. So, before writing this blog, I researched the origin and etiquette of poppy wearing.

Like the current tenor of our nation, the red poppy’s existence and meaning changed since my early days. There is debate in the U.S. when a red poppy can be worn – Veterans Day or Memorial Day.  There are several different colors of remembrance poppies including white for animals who died in the line of duty. There is protocol for the wearing a poppy.  Welcome to the 21st Century. Nothing can be simple or non controversial any more, not even the red poppy that said “thanks for serving this country or dying for my freedom.”

Interested in learning a more about the red poppy, check out these links:

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flower.pdf

https://www.google.com/search?q=poppies+for+veterans&oq=poppies+&aqs=chrom

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/flanders-fields

https://iheartcraftythings.com/paper-poppies-craft.html

The Book Bungalow

IMG_1542Old St. George, Utah hosts a new business, the Book Bungalow, an independent bookstore. It is a small inviting place where you meet the owner and her family. I went to this bookstore to help launch its first Authors’ Night.

The owner Tanya Parker Mills (left) feels her customers need to get close and personal with  authors, particularly, Utah’s local authors.  Wikipedia does not reflect the actual number of  writers and poets in Utah, but they should. I venture to say, per capita, we probably rank in the higher altitude. (No pun intended.)

My drive to the southern end of this state was rewarded. I found an owner who

personalized her bookstore. The children’s book area has hand-painted walls by a local artist. The displays welcome visitors to browse and stay. Tanya knows her literature and the book business. She is a published author. It was an honor to support a small bookstore, especially one that snuggled into a community for the community. Visit The Book Bungalow. Browse the store’s interior, check out its inventory, set up your own account, and order from the store online.

Murder, Mystery Thriller

Changing Habits by Pat W Coffey

If you want to boost the Book Bungalow’s sales, order one of the limited signed copies of Changing Habits, I left at the store. Small businesses support small town economies. Browse the Bungalow and see what treasures you can find.

Keep It Real – Research

apple-class-conference-7102 (1)“Write what you know.”  Mark Twain

This piece of writing advice echoes throughout schools and even in the halls of higher learning. The real challenge is to know what you’re going to write. Yes, we all have a great idea looming in our minds.  We know what we want to say.  Ask yourself, how are you going to place the reader comfortably or uncomfortably into the world you are creating.

If you’re a mystery writer, horror enthusiast, dystopian creator, gothic scribe, or a romance “fictioneer” reaching back in time, you need to research.

I hear the echoes of your resistance!

“Me, I create worlds. I don’t need to research them. 

Once you outlined your novel or if you are a “pantser” ( a person who writes by the seat of his or her  pants), you need research to deepen your characters, enrich your settings, and enhance your dialogue. Research supports your story line. It helps you describe your story’s world.

Research helps you as a writer.

Know your story’s historical era. If you are writing a story even twenty or thirty years in the past, don’t rely on someone’s  memory. Search online for newspapers, towns, cities, or events that happened while your character was alive.

Remember location, location, location not only works for real estate. Use the Internet to search for maps, architecture, clothing, newspapers. Reading and seeing helps you visualize

If you are creating you own world, write out a list of sensory descriptions you want your characters to make your reader feel. Create a cluster of phrases, words, even language particular to the inhabitants of your world. Let your mind build a world, word by word. Use pictures, personal feelings and experiences to expand this list.

As a writer, you need to visualize yourself living, breathing, eating, and wearing your characters’ clothes. You need to see, feel, taste, hear, and live in the world you create for your character,

Samples of sites to help you research your novel.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/how-to-research-your-novel

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/01/18/research-a-novel/

http://www.well-storied.com/blog/cut-crap-research-novel-effectively

https://mybookcave.com/authorpost/21-ways-to-research-your-novel/