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Teller of Tales ׀ Author ׀ Lifelong Dreamer

It’s exquisite, this photograph.

The simplicity with which it captures the essence of my great grandmother.

Look closely. Her expression. Nervousness or Serenity? Dreaming of what would be? Or what had been?

I had a good education.

I thought.

I didn’t know there were holes. Cavernous black holes.
We were being taught only one slice of history.

We were learning in the dark.

I was taught Lincoln freed the slaves.

I didn’t learn it took years for all to be free.

I learned about the underground railroad.

I didn’t know it had a maritime route.

I learned that the evil of slavery was a Southern thing.

I didn’t know it was also a Northern thing, in the very town I grew up in.

My education was woefully inadequate and fostered ignorance that…

Fiction is fickle. As a writer, the idea may start in your head, but soon the story takes over. The characters you develop come into their own and begin to lead the way. And sometimes, sometimes, reality seeps in. When it does, all bets are off.

I set out to write a lighthearted romantic mystery. I think I succeeded. Until reality snuck in. Research is essential to telling a good tale. Of course, when researching one might come across unexpected finds. History is full of those. And now my novel is as well.

Execution Rocks sits alone in the Long…

We must live our lives together.

Break bread together.

Work together.

Play together.

Laugh together.

Love together.

I’m a privileged white woman in so many ways it’s impossible to delineate. Not that I’ve lived a charmed life. Nor am I upper class. Nor am I free to walk the streets at 2am. That’s not the privilege I have. I have the privilege of living my life without fear of being me.

We all should understand the horror of what it feels like to be judged by the color of our skin. But we can’t unless we experience it. The most…

Learning to see beyond the mask.

I realized it yesterday in my first trip to a market in weeks. An unmasked woman walked by, a bit close, apologizing and smiling. I smiled back, to reassure her I wasn’t upset. She didn’t acknowledge. Then as I walked away it dawned on me. I was wearing a mask. She didn’t see me smile. I hadn’t spoken. I didn’t say “no worries” or “it’s OK” or even “move out of the way, lady.” I simply smiled.

The simplest expression. The one that speaks the unspoken sentiment. So how do we move forward in…

In the most unexpected places.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the here and now. Frustration, anger, angst and all the swirling emotions that turbulent times may bring. Taking a detour from it all may seem impossible. It’s not.

Sometimes, if you close your eyes, and just breathe, you might find yourself with a smile on your face, as if by magic.

A whiff of a cherry blossom. The joyful sound of a child‘s laugh. The memory of a first date. Or last.

Sometimes, you need to look again. Sometimes you need to change how you see, feel, hear.

Using them on Humans? Lazy Language.

I’m not going to tell you what’s wrong with this whole lit-up debate on our generational differences. Boomers vs Millennials. Enough. There’s simply too much of it and it’s really distasteful and disrespectul from any vantage point.

A four-year old sees a bunch of grown-ups behaving like children and simply can’t fathom it. They are all grown-ups. So let’s leave that one aside for a moment.

We love to label human beings. Everything from what they wear, what they look like, how they laugh, the size of their feet and the size of their…

Or what I dislike most about the new age of numeric content.

My inbox is inundated daily with numeric instructions for conquering all of life’s hurdles. Now I don’t mean to be critical. Wait, yes, I do. Honesty is paramount in this new world order. I cannot take it any longer.

15 Steps to Success. 10 Hacks for Humans. 179 Ways to Satisfy Your Cat.

No more. Please. Just no.

A litany of lists.

Today’s selections began with 10 ways to organize my closet, which believe me there’s no hope of in my lifetime. How about 33 ways to pressure cook an egg. 57…

Everything you do matters.

Frank Capra understood how connected we are all. And how basic the impact of human kindness is. With so much emphasis on paying it forward, we sometimes might forget to simply pay it right now. Because everything we do matters.

It’s the little things.

The car that you choose to allow to break into the traffic flow? Driven by a dad who’s late to see his daughter perform the lead in the school play. Well done. She’ll remember that moment, looking through the stage curtains trying to see if he made it? She’ll carry that moment…

So write your story. Data be damned.

My mother loves to read. Her preferences are limited. Non-fiction or literary fiction. A high-brow reader as I like to say. I occasionally share books with her, and she with me. Rarely does that work out well. Not that I don’t appreciate literary fiction. I’ve read my share of seriously swoon-worthy prose. Books that make me giddy. It’s just that I also simply love to escape into something that allows me to wind down. I don’t read horror or graphically violent novels. I generally prefer humor and romance and tales of the unbelievable…

MJ Miller

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