He's Still Here, A Warrior's Tribute by @SupernalDana

Written by Dana Taylor
Dedicated to her Dad, Dale Rojas
From Dana: My Dad served in the Marines during the Korean War. After his stroke in 2003, I took care of him until his passing in 2007. During that time we grew much closer and I came to appreciate his depth of character. I also glimpsed how his war experience impacted him. 
Here's the poem I wrote in his honor.



The old man stumbles, about to fall.

To strangers he’s barely a man, no one at all.

Just a stick figure, bent and confused,

Society’s discard in the heap of refuse.

His speech is garbled, a childish babble,

One more elder in the crowd of old rabble.

But look beyond the deterioration.

Old bones once defended a nation.

See in his eyes the trace of the soldier.

The body is aged, but the spirit no older.

Before the years of wife, children and work,

He reported for duty he never would shirk.

Marching from home at the outbreak of war,

He traveled to lands never seen much before.

A callow recruit full of bluster and youth,

He fought for liberty, freedom and truth.

The sights that he saw brought shock and dismay,

Burned into his memory day after day.

A boy caught in battle, unsure and green,

Transformed through war to a mighty Marine.

Forever changed, forever the fighter,

Now time is the enemy, it pulls the noose tighter.

He faces life with a warrior’s heart.

Each day is a battle, right from the start.

He won’t give in to helpless despair,

Won’t use a cane or a smooth wheeling chair.

His walk may wobble as he strolls round the block.

His fierce independence comes as a shock.

The old man knows death, struggle and fear.

Look closely, you’ll see, the Marine is still here

He’s Still Here Copyright © 2004 Dana Taylor. All Rights Reserved. Printed with permission by the author.

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How to Start a Book Club

I have a dear friend who is a member of a book club. She enjoys meeting up with other readers and discussing the books that the group has chosen to read. I asked her to give me some tips on how to start a book club. Here’s what she suggested:

1.     Decide on the “tone” of the club. Will the feel be seriously academic, highly social, or somewhere in between?
2.     Genre matters! What kind of books will be read? Will the group focus on best-selling literature or mass market genres such as mysteries, romances, thrillers, etc?
3.     The “when” and “where” also matter. How often will the group meet? It seems once a month is about the average. If you want to meet more often, breaking the reading into chapters (read chapters 5 through 10 before the next meeting) will work. And will you meet in someone’s home? Or rotate meeting locations? Meeting in the local library might be an option.
4.     Decide on the size of the group. Probably between 8 and 16 members is a good size. Large enough to have a good conversation even if several members are absent, but not so large as to make the discussion overwhelming.
5.     Naming the group might be a fun “ice breaker” at the first meeting.
6.     Keeping in touch: exchange emails and set up a “loop” or create a phone tree for meeting reminders or emergency cancellations.
7.     Going above and beyond—collect dues and use the money to buy books for the local library, a school, or donate the money to a local literacy program.

Here are some suggestions on how to structure your meetings (with or without a leader).

Find ideas for promoting discussion here.

Are you a book club member? How often do you meet? What types of books does your group read?