>Memorial Day—-

>A hero is someone who does decent things in a way that everyone notices but it is heroic to do decent things when no one takes notice.  Hero’s tend to get applause from everyone.  Someone who is heroic usually has the love of only those who know them best.  Personally, I think it’s far better to be heroic than to be  a hero…...

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Balance—-

Balance

People are creatures
Born of spirit
Born of earth
Like all the other creatures
Who inhabit our little blue planet
We all have an inclination
To look for danger first
This is why our news
Show our problems, show our grief

It’s common to believe
You should error
On the side of safety
But this is just a way to say
“Listen to your fears
Listen to grief”
Far better
To ignore your anxieties
Balance yourself with care
And error on the side of optimism

If you gotta make a mistake
Do it on the side of compassion
Rise to the hopes of your spirit
Balance yourself
With the piece of you
That looks for the best in life
And in people

In all that you do
In all who you meet
Give living half a chance
And the benefit of a doubt
You’ll be surprised
How many times
Life rises to the occasion

Dewey Dirks 2011

Book Review…..

Review of “Dave Riggler’s Stories”

Today I’m going to take a look at “Dave Riggler’s Stories” written by Brian Hartman.  “Dave Riggler’s Stories” is series of six short stories in one binding about a man who was born with spina bifida, a spinal problem that prevents him from walking.  The book is small, at about forty-five pages.  It is presented as a series of scenes from Dave Riggler’s life starting with a story from his early youth before his was in kindergarten.  It follows Dave through his life ending with a story about dating from his thirties.  Mr. Hartman is the sort of writer who says a lot in just a little space.  The book is absent of drawn out or flamboyant descriptions, and the work carries itself quite successfully on storyline, conversation and poignant choice of narrative alone.
As I read the book, I quickly began to like Dave for his kindness and his determination.   A few pages in, and I couldn’t put it down.  Dave is a fellow who approaches his handicap and life in general from a very pragmatic viewpoint.  It’s very interesting to read his views on daily life and his opinion of the medical community such as the physical therapists who try to get him to walk with a walker when he was a teenager.  Time and time again, Dave shows considerable empathy for the lives of those whom he happens across, such as a suicidal woman he meets one night in a bar, and a homeless man for whom he buys a meal.  In one of the most dramatic passages of the book, Dave recounts his experiences on 9-11 as he watches the disaster unfold while working in a multistory building himself.  He watches the news in shock as he thinks about all the people in the Twin Towers and about those among them who are in wheelchairs and likely would not be able to escape a building in which the elevators no longer work.
Two themes run throughout the book.  Daves experiences with the medical community and his experiences with trying to find a partner.  He mentions in one passage that by a certain time in his life he’d undergone surgery thirteen times.  One has to read a book like this to begin to develop an appreciation how significant a part doctors, psychologists, and surgeons play in the life of some handicapped people.
I finished the book wanting it to be longer so that I could come to know Dave Riggler even better.  He’s is the kind of person you’d like to spend a few afternoons at coffee with.  If the book has any shortcoming at all it’s that it could be of greater length.  At the same time, in forty-five pages, Mr. Hartman very successfully gives you a heartfelt, well rounded, very well written look at the daily life and emotional wanderings of a man who goes through this world on wheels rather than on legs.  The fact that Mr. Hartman is able to accomplish this in a work of this length only confirms the fact that he approaches the art of the pen with a very great deal of skill.  I recommend Dave Riggler’s Stories as a must read for anyone interested in learning about the heart and mind someone who is handicapped.  I would like to thank Mr. Hartman for the opportunity to review his fine book.  It has been a real pleasure to read.   ——Dewey Dirks