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Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

Hello September!

Last Fall, when we greeted the month, we had no inkling what a devastating occurence was in the wings. We look back now, knowing that the innocent, trusting, nature that this nation held until September 11, 2001, will never be revived. Being totally unaware of such evil as what was to befall, resting secure in some half-idealized notion of a state of untouchableness, we all slogged around in our daily routines, griping about our jobs, ignoring our families unless attention was demanded, feeling sorry for ourselves if we didn't get our way, and living with other such self-indulgent disciplines.

Now, that solemnly stated date may truly bring tears and chills to the majority of us who faced the fact that we were vulnerable, in ways never dreamed of, as a nation, as a city, as businesses, as individuals. When the infrastructure of New York City's service personnel was dealt such a blow with the deaths of the firefighters and policemen along with the collapse of the twin towers, we were all shaken with the realization that such a thriving, busy, and alive city could be stricken to a standstill in mere minutes. Somehow it affected our perception* of our own vulnerability. It brought to immediate focus how we would feel were it our own loved ones lost in the destruction. The planes and their passengers were another shock to our consciousness - the unanticipated horror of them being turned into weapons against fellow human beings took even longer to absorb, to process, as the information flooded all media avenues.

Many of us still are processing what the entire calamity means to other people - those sacrificed are mourned, yet the debates have arisen as to who knew what or could have known what, that might have served as a deterent to such rampant loss of lives. And ultimately it is the lives that we all mourn, collectively, and as those individuals with direct losses among their family and friends.

We, who write, have struggled with words to describe our reactions and those emotions of others nearer the ground zero of the attack. (Many of the poems and articles this past year have addressed the trauma of last September.) Yet, we as writers, know that we also need to elevate those emotions whenever possible, and to help ourselves and others to move beyond the helplessness of that day. We have recognized heroes among those who continued to work toward the area clearing, and discovery of the missing, under a dire and deadly necessity to do both. And yes, we writers help voice the patriotism that surged up through our nation - as cream rises to the top of fresh milk, the patriotism rose above the fresh wounds of our nation.

As September rolls around, we commemorate all who have struggled to survive the ongoing effects of last September. We know the employment situation has become one of great concern; we know that many corporations have lost the trust of those they serve through the Enron and other scandalous disclosures; we know that insurance companies have taken advantage of our fears and raised their premiums. But, we also know that we renewed our family ties: many chose to marry, and older married's chose to have new children, and some families chose to have reunions who had never even considered doing so before. Ultimately, we know that most of us have redeemed our own pride in our country and caring about family and want to assure that our children cherish those ideals too. Writers manage to get these concerns and realizations into song and poetry, and we are blessed with their talents as they phrase emotions we may not know how to even murmur ourselves.

September 11th Tribute Day

September 11, 2002 is soon approaching. On that day, please wear red, white and blue to work or school to show your support for those who lost their lives on


and to honor the heroes who worked to save them and the families left behind. At noon your time, on September 11, 2002, no matter where you are or what you are doing, stop, put your hand on your heart, and say the Pledge of Allegiance out loud or to yourself and say a prayer for our nation. If all of us do this together in every time zone around the world, we will have a powerful chain of thoughts surrounding us. Please keep this going to your friends and family. By September 11, 2002, hopefully enough people will have read this and will join together in unity.

God Bless the U.S.A.

With school in its beginning throes again, and the weather abating somewhat from summer's heat, authors have begun to shake off their lethargy. Compositions have arrived earlier than usual. Not all thoughts center on that tragic anniversary, but some are shining examples. We have new authors to introduce, and one who details very well the theme of Patriotism is Saydee Hawkins, the truck driving lady. Saydee's voice is easily recognized in our area as she often calls in and comments or reads one of her poems on the daily morning show of KGEE 100, an FM station serving Monahans, Odessa, and Midland in our part of the world. She graciously supplied three of her poems at your editor's request: "Independence Day," "What Does it Mean to be An American," and "What's It Gonna Take?" Thank you, Saydee, and we hope to hear more from you in the future.

Our columnists are almost full strength this month:

    Cassandra, "Cassandra's World"
    LC Van Savage "Consider This"
    Leo C. Helmer "Cookin' With Leo"
    Darren Bardsley "Ever Increasing Circles"
    Mattie Lennon "Irish Eyes"
    pbobby "Provocations"
    Sam Vaknin "Taming The Beast"
    Gerard Meister "Thinking Out Loud"
    Michael Craner "Mike's Place"

Both Cassandra and LC Van Savage touch on the school days, past tense mostly. Bardsley guides our minds to examine our human faith situation, while pbobby advises some of mood-elevating ideas, and Mattie Lennon whisks us away to hear the sweet voice of one of the green isle's favorite songsters and adds some moonstruck musing. Meister lends some humor to our reading, and Helmer suggests putting our thoughts on a new recipe. Vaknin discusses Turing Machines (no, not a new food processor) and Michael Craner takes time to remember.

Helmer dances us into his article "Some More Western Swing" about Hank Thompson, using his personal expertise, then hits us between the eyes with another article. The latter is done with the tacit understanding that he speaks as a voting citizen of the U.S. and has the right to comment upon his subject. Don't miss "An Editorial: One Year Later." Another article, "Begging To Differ" comes to us from Canadian Talia Alleyne Pierotte aka Oceanfires, and no, it is not a debate with Helmer's warnings, but advises us ways to materialize our dreams. The third article, "Thoughts On Depth," is bylined by Froggy, whose bio consists of two words, Gentle spirit. Remember to click those bylines which will lead to the authors' bios, perhaps their picture, and a list of other work they have published with Pencil Stubs Online. (Hint: blue type is usually a clickable link, and so the titles listed will lead to the composition when clicked.)

Stories this issue are by returning authors:

    Jill Cruzan aka PrairWarur in the chat rooms, went to a focus on schools as they were a few years ago, with "Sixth Grade Science Project?"
    Cayce B Shelton's continued story, "The Sighting," which has everyone wondering what is going on, features Part Five
    Judy Issette, includes notes on when and why she wrote the poem that is included in this essay, "When I Wrote My Angel Guide." She illustrates how beginning writers can employ ideas and incidents, or emotions, from their own lives as the core of their poetry.

Our poets include a few more authors new for our publication, in addition to Saydee mentioned above. Courtney Sterenchock, daughter of two of our other authors Dave and Teresa Sterenchock, sent her poem, "I Think," which is deep, though brief, and shows much contemplation. Well done, Courtney, and we also expect further compositions from you. Jimmyb with "Alone" reminds us how that condition can monopolize our every thought. Jeffrey MacNair aka one-of-four submitted "Love's Fires," and "Heart Fades," two poems that are, as you may have guessed, quite romantic, and his third one soars to rest atop your thoughts, "Falconer of Soul." TheOne, author of well-rhymed, epic length "The Journey to The Higher Me," is another chatter at the spiritual chat site,, as is Pradeep Damodaran who gives us the sensitive poem, "To the unborn." Welcome to all of you new-to-our-ezine writers. We encourage you to continue the craft, and remember us when it is time to publish your next words.

Returning poets include: John I. Blair with three verses ("Snake In the Grass," "The Deer," and "The Mayflies;) and Clara Blair, his wife, chimes with three of hers ("Wrecked Armada, In Purple," "Friends in Mourning," and "Reading The Newspaper with St. Francis.") Also, Susan Glover aka Infinitespirals with "Sometimes She Cries;" and Bruce Clifford with two ("Faces Looking Like You Looking at Me" and "I Never Had A Reason.") The former work is more like a song, and the next author, Mattie Lennon, who is one of our columnists and occasional feature writer, composed the poem "John B." which has been set to music by John Hoban. You will find a link to Hoban's site as well as one to more info about the subject of the tribute below the poem. Parcelvx also has sent us a poem, "From The Light of God," although he usually sends articles. We like to see authors be proficient in the different ways they can present their thoughts.

Yes, Presenting our thoughts is really what writing is all about. The experiences, gifts/trials, tribulations/joys, winnings/losses - indeed, all that we go through, shapes our minds, however, we each see things differently. That is what makes it so exciting to start gathering material for each developing issue of Pencil Stubs. We never know which slice of life, or glimpse of eternity we will be priviledged to read. We eagerly share these with you, the reader. What revelation will come to you as you browse through the ezine? what answer have you been seeking? what insight lies before you?

Well, don't wait any longer - get started reading!

We'll see you in October!

*our perception: click the red/white/and blue ribbon at the bottom of the pages on this site to go to the comment page begun (still active, though neglected) that was started to receive and log our perceptions ... open to all readers ... as comments on "America Under Attack."  

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