Dear Millenials: It’s okay to have high hopes. Love, Gen X

Yeah, I said it. Before you go making fun of Generation X’s “High Hopes” dance, take a few notes from your elders. (And maybe read the lyrics of that song, too. It is the Generation X anthem.)

I have not yet decided which Democrat I will vote for in the primary election. I like different aspects of several of them. I wish I could combine all these different aspects into one Super Candidate. Lacking that, I wish that all of the other candidates would get behind one candidate in a kind of Super Coalition and promise to help that person defeat the Great Evil, Donald Trump.

I have High Hopes.

You gotta have High Hopes.

Truth is, I started out my adult life with High Hopes. My generation, who hadn’t yet been disregarded as Generation X—not Boomers or Millenials or even The Silent Generation, but evidently not even worthy of a name—at any rate, my generation was the first to realize we needed to recycle. I remember how proud I was to cart my little blue bin from the apartment I shared with my husband while he was in medical school to the larger blue bins labeled by colors of glass, newspaper or aluminum cans. I was making a difference.

I had High Hopes.

Not many dimes, though. I worked for a tiny newspaper an hour away, covering local news in a town I didn’t live in but grew to care about. I covered politics, police reports, wrote features about interesting folks, even tried my hand at writing about sports (baseball was my favorite, basketball a close second, football killed me).

I was going to make it big at the little newspaper and catch the eye of the bigger ones. I pictured myself eventually writing something that caught the attention of Rolling Stone. It could happen. After a couple of years of it not happening (and late nights at the paper keeping me from my new husband), however, I was tired of commuting. Burning your biography and rewriting your history isn’t all that easy after all. A job at the library of the medical school attracted me, just as jobs at libraries always had. I went back to my roots.

But I still had High Hopes.

Twenty-some years later, I still have high hopes. I still write, and it’s not all romance or kid stuff. I write about my politics and my beliefs and just my thoughts, not because I hope Rolling Stone will take note, but because I know words have a way of getting out there. Sometimes in an article like this one.

Maybe my generation hasn’t changed things. Maybe we aren’t the ones who will save the world. But we have the influence and the power to effect change when we find the one (or ones) who will. We’ve got one more run in us, and it’s going to be a sight to see.

We want everything.

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The sun has not yet set on Generation X. We still want it all.

Poem: For Tom (broken)

One of my heroes made the news for the wrong reasons this week, bringing home to me that all of us become less relevant as we age. Even the great ones.

For Tom (broken)

By Michelle Garren Flye

Don’t speak too loudly.

Stay out of their way.

Their edges are sharp and they will cut you,

Force you to retreat, retire.

Your own edges are worn—

Who is impressed by Woodstock anymore?

You didn’t win your wars.

Vietnam, civil rights.

Even the drug war is left for this generation to fight.

Compassion is round

In your hands, but

It turns flat in theirs—and shows only one side.

That side has edges

And they are used to cut.

So be careful, stay silent, keep clear and beware.

For the round and the soft,

The worn and the frayed

Have no place in the edgy world of the young.

Poem: “What Good Will It Do?”

In today’s news, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist, disappeared after entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. It is now reported that he was killed for the stories he routinely wrote criticizing his home country’s government. When it was proposed to President Donald Trump that the United States should cease selling weapons to the Saudi Arabian government, the leader of the free world responded, “What good will that do us?”

My answer? We would no longer be accepting blood money from a repressive regime. We would no longer be upholding a bully. We would no longer be endorsing their human rights violations. 

We would no longer be guilty by association. 

What Good Will It Do?

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

What good will it do?

Sticking your neck out,

Standing up to a bully,

Being courageous.

What good does it do me?

If I refuse to befriend the “strong”

That will make me weak.

 

What good will it do?

Who says I have to help

When others are down?

Got my own life to live.

What benefit is there?

Right and wrong don’t mean

A thing when you’re on top.

 

It’ll do me no good

To give you a handout.

Sure it’s tough all over.

Get a grip on yourself.

There’s nothing in it for me.

Helping others is just a game

Invented by bleeding hearts.

 

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.” –President John F. Kennedy

 

 

Blog Tours: The Why and Where I am Today

In my first journalism class, I learned about the who, what, when, where, why and how. Today I kicked off my umpteenth blog tour for my fourteenth (?I think?) book. So who is me, what is a blog tour, when is now and how is through Goddess Fish, a blog tour company I’ve worked with successfully before.

Why is a little tougher. Why do blog tours? I already blog. Sometimes I neglect my own blog, so why write guest posts and interviews for someone else’s blog? Why pay a third party to set it up? Simple. Hope.

Hope that somebody who reads these blogs will want to read my book. Hope that they’ll love it enough to tell ten friends and at least five of those friends will love it enough to tell ten more. And so on.

Hope springs eternal in the breast of every born writer. We are made of hope or we wouldn’t keep writing. We exist on hope because we know our writing is never going to support us. We live for hope because without it, there is nothing.

Today, I hope you’ll join me at Edgar’s Books for an interview in which I speak about what makes Becoming Magic different from everything else I’ve written and from much of what is available in the romance market these days. I also reveal what my first reaction is to a bad review. And why I hope I keep getting them.

Find me here: Becoming Magic: Book Tour and Blog Giveaway. Oh yeah, and there is a giveaway to register for, too!

Two Days to Becoming Magic: A Salute to Just Journalists

assorted wooden alphabets inside the crate

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

It’s just two days to the release of my new romance, Becoming Magic—and I can’t seem to stop thinking about The Capital Gazette‘s dead.

This probably wasn’t considered a mass shooting. A mass shooting, I think, is defined as ten or more victims. There were only five in Annapolis yesterday.

Just five people who didn’t get up and go to work this morning. Because yesterday a man decided it was okay to take a shotgun into their office and shoot them.

This is not a very magical way of thinking.

This is not romantic at all.

This is the life we’re now living.

Somewhere along the timeline of my life it became somehow okay to solve your problems by picking up a gun and shooting the people who you see as causing it. How did we get here?

Some say we need to go back to God.

Some say we’ve lost our common decency. Those people may be right because I can’t help but think that yesterday there was a certain dismissive attitude about the five dead people. I heard the whisper of common conception as plainly as if someone were standing behind me shouting it into my ear.

They were just journalists.

Just journalists. I went to journalism school. I worked on small newspapers in both North Carolina and Virginia. I remember getting up in the morning to drive an hour to the small newspaper I worked at and feeling like I was the luckiest person alive to have gotten a job doing something I loved doing. I loved writing the news in that tiny town. I loved helping with the layout and typesetting and taking photos of people’s kids playing soccer and even—a couple of times—driving all over the back country of North Carolina delivering the papers.

So I was just a journalist, too.

I wasn’t even that great at it, and the hours were terrible, and I got paid next to nothing. But I was proud to have a press pass and to work to uphold the basic principles of journalism.

I imagine those journalists at The Capital Gazette felt the same way.

Just journalism is nothing to sneeze at, fellow citizens. Just journalism is all that holds those in power in check. Just journalism holds a light of truth on the unethical. Just journalism verifies and monitors and maintains independence.

And all too often, just journalism suffers because of it.

I apologize for the length of this stream of consciousness column. I encourage you to read up about the victims of yesterday’s shooting. They were just journalists and I salute them.

Oh yeah, and buy my book, on sale July 1.

Lessons of a Favorite Teacher: Like a String of Christmas Lights

pexels-photo-632205.jpegToday I found out that my favorite teacher passed away. Mr. Goins was 75 years old, and I never told him he was my favorite teacher. He was the first to teach me the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of journalism, the first to encourage me to check my sources and back them up, the first to impress upon me that journalism is facts only—my opinion and my point of view do not matter in true journalism.

Mr. Goins was too kind-hearted to be a journalist, but he was the best of the best at teaching it. He led the little band of would-be journalists who made up our high school newspaper The Broadcaster to multiple awards. In fact, it was while attending a ceremony to receive one of these awards that I first stepped foot into Howell Hall of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And I knew I would go there and get my degree in journalism. And I did.

I’m luckier than most. I managed to finagle my way into the job of editor of The Broadcaster during my senior year and I helped found The Purple Fridge, the literary magazine of our high school, which Mr. Goins also agreed to sponsor. So I worked closely with this gentle soul who guided and advised and helped, but never ordered. He never yelled, though once or twice I think we all saw those bushy eyebrows flare over the gold-rimmed spectacles he wore. And sometimes he’d take those glasses off and rub the tear-drop shaped indentations on his nose very wearily.

I’ll never forget going into The Broadcaster office—Mr. Goins’s classroom—after school to ask him a question and find him, more often than not, kicked back in his chair with his feet up on his desk smoking his pipe. He’d drop his feet to the floor and motion for me to take a seat nearby, puff on his pipe and listen, think, and answer. He was never to busy for a student.

I never thanked him for that. I never told him he inspired me to pursue my writing career or that I still remember his journalism lessons like they are Christmas lights strung along the journey of my writing career, lighting my way. But they are. His lessons live on in my life, and I treasure their light. Thank you, Mr. Goins.

National Poetry Month: Poem 24

I had some fun with this one. 🙂

 

Poem 24

Headline Design

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Little bits, pieces.

Unimportant on the floor.

Haircuts for the news.

 

Is that the story?

Which words are most trustworthy?

What makes the whole truth?

 

Bits and pieces lie.

Truth lies in between the cracks.

Don’t believe one source.