Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

New At Bat Song?

I’m always searching for the perfect Life At Bat Song, the song they break into right after your name is called to step up to the plate.  The perfect song needs to provide insight into who you are, inspiration to you as a player, have a motivational beat, be a tone setter for your opponents, and blend well with the clapping and cheering of the fans in your peanut gallery.  So is  I Don’t Dance from Disney’s High School Musical 2 a contender?  Looks like a few big leaguers are trying it on for size.  What’s your At Bat Song?  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele


August 25, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Dance, Humor, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Music, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Sports Stuff, Summer | 1 Comment

Have you reached a Verdict?

jury_box.jpgYou kin never tell what a woman or a country jury is goin’ to do – Kin Hubbard

“Ladies and Gentleman, the only service demanded of you as a citizen, is your participation on a jury; a small price to pay next to the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  Thank you for your service.  This jury is dismissed.”

I ponder the judge’s words as I leave the courtroom after two long days on a six person jury.  I balance them with the uneasy, vaguely frustrated feelings I leave with.  

This is my first experience as a member of a jury.  I’ve never been one who has tried to dodge the experience, nor do I resent it, so I don’t understand why I feel as I do as I walk away. 

The case was fairly cut and dry.  We as a jury agreed.  There were no cross words, no heated discussions, but very much an air of heavy resignation that it was our duty to pass judgment on a barely adult young woman who one year ago displayed a major lapse in judgment, putting herself and others in clear and immediate danger. 

By grace alone, this young woman  lived to sit and watch and listen with the six of us, her attorney, the prosecutors, the judge, the court reporter, the bailiff, a smattering of spectators and her father, the video-taped and audio-recorded driving while intoxicated arrest she experienced one year ago.  Her mother sat outside the courtroom during this phase of the trial. 

As I watch the video tape of a young woman, still three years away from the legal drinking age, too drunk to stand, speak coherently, or even respond to basic questions,  I wonder if she realizes how lucky she is she didn’t die or kill someone else that night.  I wonder why there is a question regarding the charge and why she entered a plea of “not-guilty”. 

Nevertheless, I am impressed with how the jury system worked.  Even in light of overwhelming evidence, the responsibility falling to us wasn’t taken lightly.  Questions were addressed, considered, discussed and mutually agreed upon.  

After a verdict of guilty was rendered, the even heavier responsiblity of determining punishment was addressed, considered, and discussed till we reached a mutually agreed upon consensus. 

After the judge dismissed us, the bailiff escorted us back to the little room we’d called home for the past two days where we turned in our badges then went our seperate ways.  Some of us said a formal goodbye, while others chose to walk away without a look back.  This felt odd, and a little sad, after the two days of intimacy forced by circumstance.  While the case we were assigned to didn’t exactly merit traumatic bonding,  a “nice to meet you”, “thanks for driving us to lunch”, or even a “that last part really sucked”, would’ve been a more satisfying conclusion to the jury experience.  

The jury experience was as interesting as I believed it would be, and more heart-wrenching and heavy than I ever imagined.  I went to bed last night wondering and worrying about the young woman, hoping she receives the help she needs and that this experience will be her first and last time on the wrong side of the law.  I imagine that the other four women and the one man who with me decided her immediate fate are doing the same. 

And since it didn’t get said, I’ll say it now: 

It was very nice to meet you.

I enjoyed sharing lunch with you.

That last part really sucked.

And as far as how I feel about the experience, my jury is still out.

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele 



August 25, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings | 1 Comment

Post Writing Day

writing1.jpgFind a job you like and you add five days to every week~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Have I mentioned I love my job?  Probably.  I still can’t believe I waited so long to take the plunge into freelance writing.  There’s rarely a dull moment. 

When writing an article, I’ve developed a routine that works for me.  On the front side I spend a significant amount of time researching, interviewing,  gathering background information and creating outlines about the subject at hand.  If I do this well, it makes the actual writing process that much easier.  When I do this well, I look forward to Writing Day.

On Writing Day I rise early and stay in my jammies till I’ve knocked the article out.  On a good Writing Day, this can be accomplished at around the same time I pour my final cup of coffee.   On a not-so-good day Writing Day, it’s not unheard of for my hubby to return from work to find me sitting in my jammies staring blankly at the computer screen.  On those days, dinner conversation can get a little stilted.

“What did you do today?” he’ll ask.

“I worked,” I say.

So far, even on the not-so-good Writing Days,  by the grace of God, the work gets cranked out.  I don’t question this when it happens, I just say something along the lines of “thank God!” as I hit the send button and shoot my submission  into cyberspace, with an added prayer that it will be to the liking of the editor receiving it.

Today is Post Writing Day.  Sometimes on Post Writing Day I feel elated and energized, while other times, I feel hungover, or as if I have a major case of brain drain.  Today I feel something in between.  Probably because technically, I still have more work to do.  I am curious to know if other writers feel this way after completing projects.  Let me know.  I’d love to hear more about your experiences. 

August 16, 2007 Posted by | Freelance Writing, Michele's Musings, Novel Writing, Writerly Stuff, Writing | 5 Comments

Brush With Living History

in-memory-of-lady-bird.jpgIt’s not often that one has the opportunity to sit with one who has pictures of United States Presidents and the fore-fathers of Texas mixed in with baby pictures of his neices and nephews.  At least I’m not one who has had that sort of opportunity. That is until today. 

And to think, I thought I was just interviewing a local 93 year old World War II veteran who happened to be kind enough to share his story with me in connection with a Veterans Day story I’m doing for the magazine I write for.  Not only did he share his fascinating stories of his time in service to our country, he backed it up a bit, and I was treated to a Texas history lesson that will take me quite some time to process. 

As it turns out, this gentleman’s ancestors on both sides of the family tree, were responsible for settling a huge portion of Texas, before it was actually Texas in fact.  And both sides of his family have kept meticulous records, and memorabilia that he was more than happy to share with me.  His family stories jogged memories of Texas history class, but were more familiar, including anticdotes such as the snake bite remedy his great-grandmother used (the one she learned from the local Native Americans) when her husband was bitten by a copperhead snake. 

I know I will write much more on this later, but for now, I just need to process and let this experience sink in. 

Just wow.

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

August 11, 2007 Posted by | Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Writerly Stuff, Writing | 2 Comments

Notes from the Road: Heavy Metal Thunder or Our Close Encounter with Hell’s Angels


August 3, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings, Summer, Travel | Leave a comment

Notes from the Road: What We Saw in Oklahoma


August 2, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings, Summer, Travel | 4 Comments

Notes from the Road: “I wish Derek Jeter would scoot over a little so I can get a good picture of the kids” or Things I Thought I’d Never Say


August 1, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Best Lines, Blogroll, Derek Jeter, Michele's Musings, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Sports Stuff, Summer, Travel | 4 Comments