Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dimout – Wordplay Wednesday™ 09/27/17

A Cautionary Tale 

Once upon a time there was a young country that came to the aid of others—not just once, but every day, in nearly every way.

While many of the others appreciated the assistance, some resented their plight of helplessness and blamed not themselves, but those who came from the helping hand.

Others’ hate formed from simple jealousy. And the young country unknowingly nurtured their hate, only to find themselves facing a …

DIMOUT (aka dim-out; dimʹout’) n. – a dimming or reduction of the night lighting, as in a city, to make it less easily visible, as to enemy aircraft. [WW #131] 

Never a word taken lightly, dimout was not born from electrical glitches or a synonym for brownouts caused by lack of available energy. This word is a product of war.

Your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents may recall this warning word from yesteryear. Those old enough in the 1940s’ Hawaii, California,* and New York City especially, recall the days dimouts were not for practice. Today, if not for radar and other high-tech detection means, dimouts still would be relevant. (*One such, San Luis Obispo Telegram-Telegraph, August 18, 1942.)

The first Cold War was in effect as I struggled to learn junior high math. Dimouts were still referred to, and though well past WWII, we were instructed in preparations for war. I still can’t believe that in the case of bombing while we’re at school, we were instructed to dive under our desks. Alrighty then.

Once past the Sixties, we—the world—enjoyed relative peace, except for the hotspots of the Middle East, and of course, Vietnam. Though that too, was winding down.

It never occurred to me that we would be in such heightened circumstances again, in my lifetime. Yet here we are. And make no mistake, this has been building from the remnants of the Cold War. It isn’t due to any one president or leadership.

It comes from our intolerance of others—in different countries, different lifestyles, different skin colors, different religions, different politics. But with all our differences, we should be PROUD of whatever country we claim citizenship. Especially born or naturalized citizens of the United States.

I feel the privilege. I was born here. (Though far from a “privileged” lifestyle; that has a definition all its own.) My ancestors however, were immigrants at one time, just like EVERYONE’S, except the Native Americans. And I don’t believe in pseudo-exotic (once derogatory) hyphenated nationality, claiming my heritage as “Irish-American.” I’m American. Period. And proud of it.

It's painful to see the hate from other countries spreading within our borders and threatening to tear us apart. if you’re a naturalized citizen—you have come here to make the United States a permanent home for you and your family. That means you feel THIS country is better and offers more opportunities than the one you were born in; so why are many immigrants, legal or illegal, resistant to learn the language and participate in the society that was here when they arrived?

If you are U.S. born-and-bred, and have been to a struggling nation and affected by the difference between what you have and what they have, how can you disrespect our flag or national anthem—or even the history on which America was built? For those who haven't been abroad, we have, for better or worse, the Internet where you can see the poverty without traveling.

And that goes double for those who fought to get here, only to turn, on the very generosity that allowed you the freedom you sought. 

More questions to ponder: Why is our flag violated? Why is the national anthem shunned? Why can’t our two primary parties work together for OUR common good? Why is there so much hate in a country that tries desperately to please everyone—and ultimately pleases no one?

We can blame a poorly run country on the politicians and humans’ irritatingly inherent capacity for corruption. We can blame the architect of humanity that created our differences. But don’t hate the country. America does not deserve your disrespect. Individuals, perhaps, but not the nation.

Unfortunately, we have learned nothing over the past millennia. There will always be wars. There will always be other countries that hate us—as a nation. Only our elders at this point, know the stress of dimouts because of it; once again though, “The Times, They are a-Changin’.”

Lastly, will the next war ravage U.S. soil? Will our citizens realize soon enough the privileges we—as a country—need to defend, together?

The apparent answers are unnerving. How will this young country’s fabled story end? It’s up to you.

In dimout nor in bright lights, bite not, the land that feeds you.

Word Challenge: DIMOUT. Contemplate your place in home, community, city, country, and society, as you fit dimout into your week of serious writings.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Donnée – Wordplay Wednesday™ 09/20/17

Two to Tango … One to ROCK! 

Inspiration. Intuition. Instinct. Insight. Awaken your writing ideas with a song and a dancing …

DONNÉE (dô nāʹ) n. – [French] an incident, idea, etc. that serves as an author’s starting point or inspiration for a novel, play, etc. [WW #130] 

OMG! I have those ALL the time … unfortunately, so does someone else – first – or it isn’t necessarily a great thought … sigh.

Why stick to novels or plays? Certainly, starting points for any endeavor would qualify as a donnée; and don’t think you’re limited to just one

My “book ideas” folder is FULL of one-line données, and even a few that have a mini-outline. Some are novels, others non-fiction and all, interesting subjects; none inspiring me to dance with them.  

An Aha! moment, however, came as I chatted on the phone with radio DJ friend, Bill Gardner, about a Rock & Roll memorabilia article I was writing. Voilà! With a jitterbug sidestep, the Blast from Your Past book series donnée popped into my head.  

As much as I love working on the BFYP series, it’s obvious I won’t become a millionaire from its modest proceeds. More of a legacy than a money-maker, its writings inspire my heart, but not my bank account. So, I’ll continue to ponder, seeking the donnée with dollar signs attached; or even better, the marketing donnée that makes BFYP a commercial success.

The world is full of billionaires who had just one truly great donnée. I’ll keep trying ‘til my muse hits me over the head with mine. How about you? Good luck … and Rock On!
Word Challenge: DONNÉE. It might take two to Tango, but it only takes one inspirational donnée to make life worthwhile. Take a donnée-break and mull a few ideas as you fit it into your week of Rocking writings.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle)