Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for January 22nd, 2012

Certainty, AKA a Mixed Bag of Thoughts

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I’ve just had the oddest thing happen: someone accused me of being, of all things, certain.

Hmmm.

As a writer, especially of opinion pieces (which, make no mistake about it, blog posts can’t help but be most of the time), it wouldn’t go over well to take a more equivocal stance.  So perhaps that’s why I may seem so “certain” some of the time, even though I’m just like anyone else and have more than my share of uncertainty, too.

One good thing about this world is that there are a wide variety of people in it.  This helps to promote an interesting dialogue, if you’re willing to listen, and only by listening — and learning — can you get anywhere.

Observation is one of the key skills writers attempt to learn; it’s how we grow, as writers.  We can’t just assume we know everything, even when we’re playing around in our own little created universes; if we do, we are doomed.

I have friends of all political stripes, all ethnicities, and all ages, because I find diversity not only necessary, but also to be intellectually stimulating.  This helps me observe, which helps me learn in the bargain; in effect, it’s a “win/win” strategy, and it’s one that I hope keeps me from an interminable stay within the “doomed” category.

That said, I have very strong opinions.  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you already know that.  I’m not likely to change some of ’em, especially when it comes to actions I find stupid, pointless, unnecessary, or unjustifiable.  I’m also not keen on hypocrisy, as I find it the root of many actions that I, personally, find reprehensible in modern daily life.

All this means is that I’m sometimes extremely certain; at other times, I’m as uncertain as a newborn babe.  Because that’s what being human is all about.

So, please.  Don’t accuse me of “certainty” as a way of life.  Instead, give me credit for being as human as you are.  (Because believe you me, this blog isn’t writing itself.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Posted in Writing

Former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno, 85, dies in PA

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Most sports fans are probably aware that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has died at 85.  He had lung cancer, but what probably hastened his demise was the furor that erupted over the sordid behavior of one of his former coaches, Jerry Sandusky (a man accused of having sex with several pre-teen boys).  Paterno was fired from Penn State in November due to the fallout from this scandal.

Please see the following link for further details:

http://news.yahoo.com/joe-paterno-revered-coach-tainted-scandal-dies-010702826–nfl.html

All I know is, I feel saddened by Paterno’s passing.  This was the guy who had the most wins in college history; he’d had a major trophy (the Big Ten’s conference championship trophy) named after him, then that honor was taken away due to Sandusky’s conduct and all the fallout at Penn State.

Now, me being sorry that Paterno is dead certainly does not mean that I condone anything that Sandusky has been accused of doing.  All it means is that I feel sorry that an old man, a grandfather, had to face such a terrible ordeal in what amounted to the “overtime” of his life — something Paterno couldn’t change at that late date and certainly couldn’t help, either — and that I hope that, like any other man, Paterno’s life can be seen for what it was.

Right now, there’s a lot of sentiment that has said that Paterno wasn’t well-treated in his age.  I share much of that.  But one would hope that when Paterno “meets his Maker” that the sum total of Paterno’s life will be what’s important — whom Paterno loved, and why.  What he actually did (including helping many of the young men on his college football teams graduate and become productive citizens), along with what he unfortunately failed to do — not merely the actions that came to light in October and November of 2011.

I don’t know what the whole story is regarding those actions.  I suspect we’ll never know.

What I do know is that Joe Paterno’s life has ended.  I wish his family, friends, and colleagues as well as possible, and I hope that somehow, they will find peace despite the complex issues that surrounded some of Paterno’s tenure at Penn State with regards to Sandusky in particular.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized