Riding the Big Woody

You know those things you get to do when you are entertaining kids, like take them to goofy movies, make flubber, put together giant farm puzzles, watch ants be so busy? I was recently thinking about some of those things – missing my grandchildren, I think. I said to myself, “I don’t have to have kids with me to be silly.” I’ve gone to the park to swing without little people. I’ve done lots of silly things as an adult. I’m lucky enough to have silly friends.

On a hike with adult friends at Clifty Falls we came across a playground with a swing-set. What did we do? Well, we did some swinging, of course. Anytime I get on a swing, I have the most vivid memories from my childhood of one of my favorite things to do-swing. I loved the sense of flying, the breeze in my long blonde hair as it nearly touched the ground when I would lean back and point my toes toward the sky.

I think the thing I enjoyed most was the wind in my face and hair. A sense of freedom, weightlessness, unconnected to the world around me. Many activities that I have enjoyed have been just like that – maybe challenging and adventurous, but the wind in my face and a sense of freedom – or even total control.

Well, today I am happy to say that the wind was in my face, and I felt free and in control, just for the fun of it. What did I do, you ask? I, and my husband – he just goes along with a lot of my ideas, bless his heart – went to The Track, in Gulf Shores, AL., and road the three story wood go-cart track. We were the only two people on the track, riding recklessly, as fast as we could get our carts to go. The attendants let us go extra rounds as they had nothing else to do. We raced each other, we cut close corners. We laughed and the wind blew in our faces. What a cool day.

If there is a moral to this, it is probably – don’t wait on anybody. Enjoy today! Follow your passion. Accept a challenge. Relive your childhood now and then. And keep making memories for tomorrow.



And Then There Was Crab POOP

A few thoughts that began as I pondered my feet in the sand.

And Then There Was Crab Poop

The waves crash against the shore one day and gently roll in and out the next. I watch the diamonds sparkling across the water, alive, moving, almost blinding in their brilliance as I stare at their beauty, their luster, created by the vibrant sun sparkling in the moving water.

I am enchanted, mesmerized, awe-struck by water in nature, especially the ocean. I people watch. People interacting with and drawn to the ocean, its sounds, power, salty smell and taste. There is something intrinsically biological in the way we are drawn toward the water. I’ve watched in the early hours of the morning as vacationers drift from their hotels or condos, still sleepy-eyed, to welcome the ocean as it awakes into the morning light.

I like to walk the pier, usually early evening, along with many others. We go to watch fishermen with their heavy-duty equipment, meant to make their wishes come true, to lure and catch the biggest and best the ocean has to offer. Sometimes it happens. But really, I think the others are there for the same reason I am there. We look over the rails into the inky blackness below, hoping to see something magical or exotic, maybe something that would scare us if we were in the water rather than safely leaning against railing that hold the last breath and smell of fish that were gutted and cleaned nearby.


Why? What is the lure (chuckle)? Why do some return to the beach year after year to spend their hard earned money to become one with the beauty, splendor and power of the waters? Others yearn to retire by a beach so that they can experience it daily, so they plan and save and hope.

I sit lazily in my beach chair today and watch children, and adults who play like children, and teenagers who are being a bit of both. The water is crystal clear today and gentle, as opposed to yesterday’s rough waves as the result of a hurricane that ravaged Florida’s east coast. Boogie boards and buckets and shovels and nets amuse me as I observe how we humans interact with something so powerful and dynamic, without thinking of it as anything more than a giant swimming hole.

That is, until it isn’t. The amount of water that covers our earth is breathtaking if you take the time to ponder the dimensions. The fact that it is almost alive, palpable, as it moves, ebbing and waning, not just today or yesterday but for all time, as we know it.


“I don’t want to go in. There are fish in there,” cried a young child in an adorable, pink-ruffled swimsuit.


Really? Fish? The ocean is their home. Whales and sharks, sting ray, jellyfish, blue marlin, tuna, ugly things and creatures of such majesty in their beauty they take your and my breath away, and I don’t want to forget, crabs of all kinds, they all live naturally in those great waters, living, surviving, procreating and – sorry about this delicate news – even pooping.

I have been lucky enough to experience some of the wonders the ocean has to offer. From various piers at different locations, I have seen giant sea turtles, beautiful, yet huge and scary jellyfish, and dolphins gracefully arching into the air, completing a dance long enjoyed by their species.

Last year I was just as excited as all the little children who gathered around a helmet crab that literally looked like an old army helmet with a large upside-down crab inside. The helmet crab was spotted close to shore by a young man who was swimming. He carefully caught the interesting creature in his shirt and brought it to shore to share its wonder with the children. My grandsons and others, including me, were mesmerized, seeing this strange creature of the sea that we will, most likely, never see again. I felt huge admiration for the young fellow who walked the helmet crab back into the ocean, and set it free, again.

This summer, I saw a sting ray swimming close to shore, and followed it down the beach a while (on a cruise I chose an excursion to swim with sting ray, and have never regretted the amazing experience as they glided around me, circled my legs and body, gentle, as curious as I was)– a nest of baby turtles – jellyfish – and crabs. I saw a lot of fish on my plate at a favorite eatery by the beach, but that’s another story.

Today, I saw something that created a memory that will never go away, that filled me with sadness. I walked with my wonderful husband down the beach, after too much lazing in the shade of our umbrella. A mid-size stingray washed up on the beach and no one seemed to notice. Or maybe they had and didn’t know what to do. I was shocked. I took advantage of a wave rushing in and splashed the poor thing to determine if it was alive. It didn’t move. Then I saw his ugly injury. His had no tail. It looked as if it had been ripped away from him. This doesn’t happen naturally. A propeller? I feel shame that this could be the result of a human action. If the sting ray had been alive, I would have helped him back into the water. Like others, I waited for the tide to take it home.

The ocean is vibrant and wondrous and doesn’t need us to be so. We are lucky to be able to enjoy it for all the reasons important to us. But, it is more than a place to swim and boat and ski. We will do well to respect it and the life it supports.


Back to the meaning of the title of this essay. I must say, I love experiencing and learning about the large and small wonders of the ocean blue. Have you ever walked along the beach enjoying the waves as they sweep over your feet? Do you enjoy seeing those tiny critters that get washed up by the waves, then stick their little bottoms up and swiftly dig into the sand? They are amusing, and I have to wonder how many times a day they have to repeat this action.

A couple years ago, while walking along the beach, I watched the drama repeated as the little critters were washed up by the waves, stuck their backsides in the air and, as usual, dug themselves into the sand. Now, if you’ve ever seen an ant hill, you will get this picture I’m about to describe.

As I walked along I realized they had added a new element to their process of digging in. Around the little holes they also left mounds of dirt, just like ants do.

“Wow,” I said. “Never seen this before.”

Later, I sat near the water, letting the waves wash up on my feet. I became suspicious. I watched the waves stir up what I thought was sand, but I didn’t like the looks of it. I moved back to the umbrella and pondered the situation.

Then an older couple were stepping into the water that had increased in its brownness. The woman was hesitant. She didn’t know what was discoloring the water, but her husband assured her it was sand stirred up by the waves.

I was skeptical. I had to know the truth. I walked down the beach to where a young lifeguard enjoyed the sun’s rays.


“Hello,” I called out. “Can you tell me what the brown stuff is in the water and on the sand?” I was afraid of the answer, but waited breathlessly.


He looked down at me and smiled, then said, like it’s something he says every day, “Crab poop.”

“Crab poop?”

“Yep. Crab poop.”


Well, I Googled this one. Had to. You would, too. Right? So, apparently those cute little critters are small crabs. An interesting phenomenon, according to my thinking, is that they save their poop until their shells are so full that they have explosive events. I can’t say they have bowel movements, but their poop just explodes out of their shells spontaneously. I thought this was very interesting, but could not find out why they all do it at once, on the same day, at the same beach. I mean, really? Thousands of them. I could not find the answer to this, but it just shows how amazing the creatures of the sea are and how in sync they are with their fellow crab.


The moral of the story is, if it looks like poop…

In Memory

I’ve missed you. I’ve been spending a lot of my time the last two weeks soaking up the sun at the beach or pool. The only downfall to being so relaxed is that my brain goes on pause. So-not much writing going on except what I do for the online classes I teach.

Today, I want to share a few words about the best teacher I ever had. Sister Lucy, who was an English professor at the University of Louisville, and a fantastic and vibrant woman and teacher. She died recently, after a long and productive life. She taught so that her students would be better in every way.

When she returned a graded paper in our professional writing class, she would have written almost as much as I had. In purple ink-I never used a red pin again. She was the kind of teacher who told me what I had done right, and how I could improve.

I learned to appreciate feedback. No matter how much I loved the work I had done, I knew I could always do better. And, I knew Sister Lucy would guide me in the right direction, if I wanted to go there.

Did I mention that she was the ‘hardest’ teacher I ever had? I know that if I am challenged, then I must be working hard at being successful.

I feel a need to thank her for being so intelligent, caring and creative, and for using these gifts and nurturing others.

Let’s never forget those special people in our lives who mentor us, especially in writing and the realities of life.

May she rest in the presence of God.


A story or poem lies all around us.

Hi Everyone. Hope you are having a great day or evening. I have been trying to stay ahead of the weeds in my yard, but to no avail. They are hardy, fast-growing, Olympic kind of weeds that never let me speed past them. They get the gold medal every time.

Take an extra long vacation, and the yard turns into a jungle. Throw in a vacation where half the people get sick – yes, me too. Came home with bronchitis and two rounds of antibiotics later, I am finally tackling the weeds of all weeds, gargantuan, and sneaky.

So, have you ever tried to write a story or poem about something as powerful, yet inconsequential as those freaking weeds in your yard that have overtaken what should be the beautiful garden you worked on in the spring.

I did write a short story titled, Who Killed the Sod. Wow, a story about dead grass. But what if you make that dead grass someone else’s fault and you end up in court with all kinds of interesting peoples. So there you are, when it comes to us writers, nothing is off limits. Try it. It could be fun. And, keep in mind…any bystanders may be written in my stories.

Keep Writing

Brenda D


Where do the ideas come from?

Someone recently asked me, after reading some of my short stories, where I get my ideas. She asked, “Don’t they say you should write about what you know”?

Well, I thought that was funny, because I’m sort of sure she was thinking about the gritty bar scene in The Bouncer. Where does it all come from, you might wonder. Life. People. Conversations. other people’s stories. Sometimes, I’m inspired by an unusual twist of a phrase or a news article that sparks an idea that grows into something larger. Stories are everywhere.

But, I must admit it does take some effort to put together a story, much less a novel, from a single thought. Sometimes that piece must be put away for a while or scrapped if it doesn’t seem to want to grow with me. At this very moment, I have a number of stories in the making, not sure which will survive the creative process. But, at least, I have given them a start, a possibility of coming to life.

I’m an observer. I learn a lot by watching and listening to people in a variety of situations. Sometimes those situations are my own. Don’t we all have a little crazy in our lives, now and again? Just living and connecting with the world around me invites ideas that may become something more.

Think about it – Everyone has at least one story to tell. More on that later.



Thanks for stopping by. I have great news. My newest book of short stories is published and should be online at Amazon and Create Space by tomorrow, if not tonight. No joke. Or, maybe you are already reading it. Wow, you are fast. Look for LIFE IN IT’S OWN FRAME OF REFERENCE by me, Brenda Drexler, and enjoy the heck out of it.

Who are you?

I found a quote, from Annie Dillard, I liked while reading Writer’s Digest, so, I will share…

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives

I like the simplicity of something profound. It, of course, again, got me to thinking about the meaning of the quote and things I used to say to clients…and will to anyone who pays me to talk… So, I posted the following (by Me) to facebook.com, and thought…what the heck, why not share it with you, and see what you think. Perhaps you know another quote that we can only hope makes people stop and think about themselves, where they are going, or not going, etc.

What or Who Are You Today?

Are you loving or hating?

Waiting or doing?

Giving or taking?

Smiling or sneering?

Achieving or day-dreaming?

Taking responsibility for everything you do or don’t do?

Or blaming the universe, the world or others for your lack of success?

…In other words,

Are you a grown-up or just pretending?

Have a great day, Brenda D






Indie Author Fair

Hello all. I will be in Indianapolis this Saturday at the Indie Central Library for the Indie Author Fair. I will be available to answer questions about anything in the universe…my specialty, and to sell and sign books. I’ll try to post a pic or two. It’s going to be BIG. If you are in the area, for goodness sake, drop in and say Hi.

Book Review, Movie Review

Everyone must read….drum roll….The Book Thief. A touching, gently-told story of life during war by one of the most interesting narrators I’ve ever come across. Don’t hang on the words touching and gently. The story comes out of a time of war, a world war, and is gritty and scary, with well-rounded characters. It has been adapted as a movie, but I have yet to see that. Happy Reading.

But, I’ve got a movie for you, also…A Walk in the Woods with two old coots, Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, walking the Appalachian Trial. Good one-on-one dialogue and beautiful scenery that brought back fond memories for me in the Great Smokies and my 40 ft walk on the Appalachian Trail.Truly laugh-out-loud for the audience. I got a tremendous dose of laughter/happy running through my mind and body to last quite a while. Again, this is based on a fantastic book. So many books, so little time.