If you like to read, and enjoy quirky, welcome. There are about 30 random things here for you. After you read a short story you may even find some personal comments/insights! The main purpose of creating this blog is for writers. I see so much written about writer's block, and honestly, I don't have it. Occasionally, I write short stories, longer stories, books, plays, one act plays, monologues, and sometimes I even think one is good enough to submit somewhere. Of course, when you submit a story to a magazine that receives 200 stories a month and publishes five, you'd better enjoy the process of writing. I'm not suggesting that I'm a good writer, merely that I can sit down and just start writing.

It is important to write, to constantly be working on your art. If you are constantly plagued by writer's block, perhaps you are being too selective in what you write about. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some examples of my writing, from someone who can write all the time. Occasionally the topics are a bit strange, but I don't let that slow me down, I love to write and get to a finished product. Hopefully, by looking at some examples, you will say to yourself that phrase that all artists who visit MOMA in NYC say: "Well, I can do this!" That would be good, because you can! One of my posts is about a talking tomato. (You have to be able to do better than that!)

In part I'm trying to get some of my stuff in one place, so keep in mind I never claimed it was going to be an incredible read. You can decide that. I will tell you that occasionally I have a story in me that seems to fit the goal of a publication, and I try to write specifically with that goal in mind. Lately I've been considering publications that publish nonfiction memoirs, so some of the entries you'll find here will have that flavor. Perhaps this is a way to get past writer's block - find a publication looking for something that you'd like to write. It seems like memoir-based publications may be a good place to start, because we're all experts in our own families. I'm using a blog here to share some of the things I've written; the blog format is not ideal, so you need to poke around a little at old posts, to see if you can find a story or something else that may interest you.

Two last items. None of these are finished products. I usually get to a point where I have something written, and then stop. If it is something I may decide to submit for some reason, I'll finish formatting, following the specific rules of the magazine or organization (the rules are alwaysdifferent). If you do see something in here that you may be interested in using, don't hesitate to contact me.

So welcome to my blog. Welcome to my writing. Write, people, write! It feels good.

Please also consider getting a copy of my first book, Saturday Night at Sarah Joy's. All Royalties go to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Please check out the book's blog at:

Thank you!

© 2012 John Allison

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Book of Love, Chapter 68

I'm sure Uncle Dave surprised Aunt Grace when he returned home from World War II, since he brought Lolly with him.  He picked her up in "the islands".  One might think that it would be impractical to be a "hula dancer" in Philadelphia, but she became, in fact, something of a local attraction.  The first time I was aware of her, I saw only her bare feet.  One day, Uncle Dave asked me if I wanted to meet Lolly, and if I'd like her to dance for me.  She did, often, for me as well as for many others. He was always generous with her.  He would flex his right arm muscles and she would dance.  She would shake and shimmy.  Even if he had no money, he could always share Lolly with people, and make them smile. My last memories of my Aunt Grace and Uncle Dave as a family are of them in their living room in their suburban Philadelphia home.  He is in his special lifting chair, and she is sitting on the sofa, always at one end, so she can hold his hand.  He was down to about 85 pounds, had Alzheimer’s and dozens of other problems, but she was grateful for every day.  After a string of heart attacks, his body forgot how to swallow, so he returned home for hospice care; they took him home to die.  With no tubes or other support, Aunt Grace watched him for eight days before he left her.  He was definitely a tough old sailor to the very end.

In my old age, I've just stopped approaching the casket at funerals.   Instead, I went right to Aunt Grace, held her hand for a while, and then walked around the funeral home. From the back of the room, I saw Uncle Dave's face sticking out above the bunting, and thought of him and Lolly.  As he grew older, Lolly sagged as he did, stopped dancing as he did, and accompanied him through every pain, to the end.  No one saw the tear on her face when he died, but I knew it was there.

David and Grace were the happiest couple I knew, and had just celebrated their 68th anniversary. It is easy to dismiss this accomplishment as what people did from their generation, but they weren't together for 68 years - they were happy for 68 years!  So from the back of the room I asked my Uncle Dave, "how do two people stay happily together for 68 years?"  I had to ask him now, since this was probably our last chance to chat.  

The family had hundreds of pictures around the funeral home for visitors. He pointed them out for me.  So as mourners mourned, I walked and studied.  I noticed that, for these high school sweethearts, most of the photos, taken over decades, were of them kissing.  A pessimist might suggest that they would always kiss for the camera, but there were too many kissing candids.  One of the oldest pictures was a kissy black-and-white of them on the beach in Atlantic City.  It was documented!  They never stopped kissing.  I also noticed that people in the photos seemed to always be touching.  I started over and it was clear - whenever Grace and Dave were together they touched, multiple times.  There she is sitting on his boney knees, with his two hands on her shoulders.  He touches her twice, but if you count butts and boney knees, it's four touches!  There were always at least two!  They couldn't just have their arms around each other waists; they'd also have to be holding hands.  In many pictures, they sat next to each other, often hand in hand (only one touch).   But as I looked more closely, it was amazing!  They were also resting their heads against each other. 

Touches and kisses.  It was just what they did.  They couldn't keep their hands/lips off of each other, and this kept them happy for 68 years.  I wonder if Aunt Grace wanted to be a tattoo as well, jealous of Lolly, just so they could always touch.  

I'd asked a simple question - how could two people stay in love for almost 70 years?  The answer was there, for those who wanted to know, explained over many years with miles of film.  I'm not sure it's the only way, but it was their way, and I'm glad he explained it all to me - about kisses and touching.  Lolly saw it all, and can confirm it, but for now she lays there beside him, resting silently, holding him close, two to a box, dreaming, as he was, of the day when they would dance together again. 

© 2012 John Allison

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