The Paw Paw River Journal
EDITOR’S NOTE: This entry of the Paw Paw River Journal was previously published in the Tri-City Record.
Words that live Most of my adult life I have dealt in words. They are an important part of my living, my work, my hobbies, and even my recreation. In fact, I have gotten so used to them I sometimes forget how important they are. So then I have to stop and think… consider… and sometimes write about the importance of the words we all use in our daily lives. First time I realized that words could be powerful was in about the seventh grade. We all had to write a story for English class. I had been reading about World War I and the men who flew the skies in crude fabric airplanes… They were like knights jousting as they tried to shoot each other down. I loved those stories, so I tried writing one about the air war over France. It was a crude effort, but my teacher must have seen something in it because she praised my efforts. Now I realize she was trying to encourage me… seeing in those first efforts the possibility that some day… some day… I might get better and write a worthwhile story. When I started college after WWII, I was interested in getting back to writing. So I enrolled in a course for learning how to write creatively. It was taught by a lady professor, and I won’t say she was down on life… but I don’t remember her smiling very often. She did teach us a lot about what authors really do when they ply their craft. We all had to read our stories in front of the class. One of my first real efforts was about a crime. And it was a doozy! The plot turned on a case of mistaken identity… two guys who looked so much alike that one was tried for a crime the other committed. Well, when I read it before the class, it was received well enough. But the prof was still sucking on a lemon and, in our conference afterwards, she told me, “It might make a pulp magazine story.” Back in the day, “pulp magazines” were those cheap dime publications on the newsstand… printed on newsprint paper, and having lurid covers. I had been an avid reader of them as a kid… “G-8 & His Battle Aces,” “Doc Savage, Man of Bronze,” “Black Mask Detective,” etc. But my teacher said it with such a sneer, I was crushed. Later I came to realize she was right. But it still didn’t make me like her! Since that time, I have come back to my earlier efforts and I can see what was wrong with them. And I realize that writing well consists mostly not of inspiration but solid ideas and revising, revising, revising. In fact, I came to rely on revision so much that when I applied for a fellowship that would give us a year at a major university with all expenses paid… I wrote a six-page autobiography as an entrance exam. And I revised that paper again and again. My Chief Accountant said she knew all along that I was going to get the fellowship. But… in my mind… what tipped the scales was the endless revising that improved it. Words are so powerful… and perhaps I could end with a story that came in one of Marion’s nursing school newsletters. The son of one nurse wrote it. I know nothing about him, except that he is in the religious life and his name is Brother Benjamin. He said, “A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the unfortunate frogs they would never get out. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit. The other frogs above kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and simply gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and suffering and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. “When he got out, the other frogs asked him, ‘Why did you continue jumping? Didn’t you hear us?’ The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time. “This story teaches two lessons: 1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift him up and help him make it through the day. 2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill him. “Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words… it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another!” I say, “Amen, Brother Benjamin, amen!” And, goodness knows, we need more word of encouragement as we weave golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.
Dressed up and ready to go!
Coloma Library News Money Smart Kids Read Story Time
The library is participating in Money Smart Week by having a children’s program, presented with Honor Credit Union in Coloma on Wednesday, April 25 at 4:30 p.m. This program is geared towards K-2nd Grade, but all children are welcome. Children will learn about money, saving, spending and what makes sense! There will be a story, craft, game, snack and each family will get to take home a copy of “Lots and Lots of Coins” by Margarette S. Reid. Books are provided by the Michigan Credit Union Foundation. There is no sign-up or fee required. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers are invited to hear a story, make a craft and sing a song with Miss Amy. There is no sign-up or fee required. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult during Story Hour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Still Life” by Louise Penny. Generally, dependin