Saturday, August 9, 2014

Describe the best concert you ever attended

Un-journal prompt 6

It's time for another writing prompt. I'll give you my response, post yours.

This continues in the Un-Journal journaling series.

Describe the best concert you ever attended
I’ve been to tons of concerts in all musical genres in my life, from gospel and jazz to rock, bluegrass, country and the blues. I’ve seen Al Jarreau and Elton John the most. The first time I saw Jarreau (in Pittsburgh, Pa.), David Sanborn opened for him. That’s how long ago that was!

If I have to pick just one … man, that’s hard. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Chet Atkins and Babyface (how’s that for a quartet of conflicting genres!) have been standouts. But I think the prize has to go to the late great Luther Vandross, November 1993, playing the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.

Luther came out and promised “I will never, ever mess with your ticket money.” He then sang for hours! For those not familiar with him, listen to this Luther classic.

In addition to the music, and why I can remember the day, it was a girls’ night out, we had great seats, and I’d just sold my first novel. So we were celebrating both my sale to Arabesque and Luther that night.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rivne Vechirne journalists visit the U.S.

Rivne Vechirne is a newspaper in Rivne, Ukraine. For the past week or so, the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., has been hosting three journalists and two translators from Ukraine who traveled to the United States to learn about and observe how U.S. newspapers operate. Today was the farewell following a full week of activities, including a live online chat with readers. Feel free to read the transcript of the chat. It's in English!

From left, Svitlana, the finance director at Rivne Vechirne; me; Valentyna, the newspaper's editor; translator Nadia; translator Anzhelike; and political writer, Serhiy. 

I learned a few key phrases from my Ukrainian colleagues, and can now say -- if not spell! -- the following phrases in Ukrainian:
how are you?

There are a few others, but I'm just starting and Ukrainian is much more difficult than some of the other languages I've attempted to learn.

Here the group says farewell after gifts were exchanged all around, including chocolate and coffee from Ukraine.
On the table are some of the individually wrapped sweets from a factory in Rivne. And they presented the newsroom with several packages of coffee that is "much stronger" than the apparently weak coffee Americans are used to. In the background (below wall of photos) is the latest puzzle the DP newsroom is working on, a 2,000-piece challenge. Two of the gifts presented from the DP to the Rivne journalists were puzzles for their newsroom!

One of the coffees.

Fruit-centered sweets in assorted flavors.

I gave each of them a a signed copy of SING TO MY HEART. They gave me a bar of chocolate and it's really cool to read the packaging -- or I should say look at the packaging since I can't read most of it.

This is the second group from Rivne Vechirne to visit the Daily Press. A delegation from the Daily Press is supposed to go there when things calm down in the country.

Here, DP writer Peter Dujardin, right, chats with the Ukrainian journalists.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Three Things You Can't Go Without

Un-journal Prompt 5
Continuing with the series of Un-journaling prompts, here's my response to an intriguing one. Feel free to post yours below. The Un-journal prompt was "Three Things You Can't Go Without."

Three things I can't go without: Food. Water. Shelter.

After the big three, there are truly few things I could live without.

People come and go in our lives, friends, family members, lovers, co-workers. Possessions are fleeting – or in the case of hoarders, overwhelming – and are, after all, just things. Even things with significant monetary value are still just things. You can’t take them with you when you die. Although plenty of kings and emperors and pharaohs have tried to do just that as they headed into the afterlife surrounded by jewels, wine, servants and the trappings of their power.

As for the trappings of modern life, there are certainly things that I wonder how I managed before they existed. Among them:

·        The microwave. My oven is essentially a place where I store the baking pans and trays that I don’t use.

·        My mobile phone. I do just about everything on it: banking, bills, play, reading, emails, etc. Oh, yeah, and phone calls – which is actually the least of what I do with it.

·        Post-it notes. God bless the 3M scientist who accidentally invented them!