A Quilt of Valor in Progress

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There is a mixture of pride and amazement watching my wife make a quilt. And, I am honored that she will ask me to lend my eye to the design and layout. Perhaps it is my photographic eye, or just that she enjoys having me participate.

I have asked her on several occasions if I could write a story of her making a quilt from start to finish, and she has agreed, but this one quilt, this Quilt of Valor, is not that one. This quilt was started a year ago before I asked.

Lin had attended a Quilt of Valor workshop to learn more about these special quilts. A Quilt of Valor is made for loved ones who are members of the military or veterans. At that workshop, she cut strips and sewed blocks. Later, at home, she put those pieces in a box to store the quilt pieces. After a while, it became a UFO, that’s Unfinished Object in sewing speak. Over the weekend, the pieces came out of the box, and were laid out on the floor to start the process of quilt making again. This is where the actual layout comes together and corrections are made. Ideas for borders are contemplated and different fabrics and designs tested.

The quilt pieces laid on the floor for a day or so before going back into the quilt box. How long will it be before this one is finished? Don’t know. But some veteran, somewhere, is going to enjoy the comfort of this quilt. Stay tuned.

You may be asking if this quilt is for me. No. I have seen Lin’s design idea for my Quilt of Valor. It’s going to be incredible because it will be made with a whole lot of love.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Get on with it!

The writing has been absent for quite some time. Of course, there are reasons, excuses really. The pencil has not scribbled on the paper for some time.

So what is the problem? Time? Distractions? Aging? Chores to do? There is no reasonable answer, at least not one that another would say, “Oh. Okay. I understand.”

“Are you going to write today?” Get on with it.

Acer

So where does the writing start? An idea? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of putting pen to paper or opening that notebook. Lately, thoughts have been on methods of writing, as if that’s to blame. Well, there is the bad battery that needed to be replaced in the little notebook. The Daytimer, used as a journal for many years, is covered in dust and lacking proper pages. Writing pads, composition notebooks, reporter’s notebooks, they all sit ready to use.

Pens and pencils await. For some curious reason, a mechanical pencil is the tool of choice, as if it can compose by itself and disappear with the rub of a good eraser. And there is that little Acer notebook that has a new battery, compact and ready to display letters, sentences, paragraphs, all with the stroke of fingertips and thumbs.

Yes. It’s all good. So … get on with it.

Thank-you-V-Strom

See you on the highway.

Brent

TBT: Let’s Talk about Historic Highways

Here’s something from the past on Throwback Thursday.

I have a fascination for highways–old and new. They have been my focus for many motorcycle rides.

I had the chance to talk about riding historic highways and trails with Carla King and Tom Lowdermilk on Side Stand Up, that great motorcycle talk show hosted by Tom.

SIDE STAND UP–EPISODE177, 05/25/2010. Episode Notes: Miss Adventuring, Carla King, is back to talk with writer and photographer D. Brent Miller about motorcycle rides that will take you back in time. The Historic Natchez Trace  and the National Pony Express Historic Trail are just a sample of the historical roads he’s chronicling. Listen to the excerpt here:

[audio:SideStandUp-Episode177-excerpt.mp3]

Perhaps, we can talk Tom into bringing back Side Stand Up. 🙂

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Reporter’s Notebook

What would we do without notebooks—the kind you actually write in?

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I often wonder if they are becoming obsolete. Everything is digital today or soon will be, and that is a detriment of our society, our culture.

The latest book I am reading is Digital Storytelling. It’s about “capturing lives and creating community.” Thousands of years ago, before there was a written language, we had oral storytelling. Even our religious books—the Bible, the Quran, etc., began as oral histories. Even what is considered the oldest story in the world, the story of Gilgamesh, from between the land of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a thousand years older than the bible, was an oral story before it was recorded on baked clay tablets in cuneiform characters—a very ancient “notebook.”

And now? We have digital storytelling. Digital cameras. Digital audio recorders. Computers, laptops and iPads. What has happened to the good old pencil and paper?

Here’s what a notebook does for me. It slows me down to gather my thoughts, and then to put them on paper. Impulsive thoughts may come and go, but they are always self critiqued. That’s when a good eraser comes in or lining out that sentence or paragraph.

There is a drawback, a negative to good old fashioned pen and paper. The difficulty is coming back to something I wrote sometime ago and trying to decipher my hand writing! When it’s no longer fresh in my mind, that scribbling can be terribly hard to read. Maybe I should have paid more attention to penmanship in grade school.

On the other hand, the benefits of a notebook are portability and reliability. It takes up very little space. A notebook operates consistently even if the user does not. It can be easily carried in a pocket, purse camera gear bag, briefcase or backpack. It requires no electricity nor a wireless connection. And perhaps the most profound use of a pen and notebook is that it is capable or recording the deepest thoughts of the user, if the user is willing to reveal themselves.

So, how did this post come to be? I wrote it in a notebook, and then transcribed it on the computer. The notebook came first. The computer allowed me to  publish it.

A good old-fashioned notebook! Don’t leave home without it.

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See you on the highway.

Brent

End note: If you have never read the story of Gilgamesh, do yourself a favor and visit your library. It is a wonderful piece of ancient literature, full of friendship, love and tragedy. Enough so that one episode of Star Trek Next Generation was wrapped around this ancient story, “Darmok” Season 5, Episode 2. It first aired September 28, 1991.