You decide: Does the actor make the role, or does the role make the actor?

I have spent a lifetime watching television and movies. As a kid growing up 30 miles away from Hollywood, I was surrounded by the movie industry. In elementary school, I was in the 6th grade play, and a television star, Murray from The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Gavin McLeod, who later played Captain Stubing from The Love Boat), came to our little production because his daughter was the female lead opposite my male lead in our school’s Christmas play. He recited “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to a delighted audience filled with parents and siblings of all the actors.


Cleaning swimming pools in Baker, California almost got me killed.

Southern California is known for its abundance of swimming pools. Fly over the Los Angeles basin, and you’ll see blue dots every third house or so, chlorinated oases, a way to beat the summer heat. Someone has to clean all those pools.

My first job was cleaning swimming pools in Baker, California. Except Baker, is not southern California.

Situated one hour to Barstow to the west and one and a half hours to Las Vegas to the east, Baker is known as the gateway to Death Valley. …

Ivan - I totally agree! Because the Internet seems to give people unlimited informatoin and the means to research items, most people think they're well-informed, or they don't even look up things. But if and when they do, they have no means by which to evaluate the information they receive. The internet is the wild west of snake oil sales, and there are so many gullible marks, er, vulnerable people who can be scammed easily. Education and vigilance can help. We all must become catchers in the rye.

Viral video influencers are today’s purveyors of snake oil

Over the past week, grocery store shelves have been emptied of liquid chlorophyll. A TikTok video went viral, trending about the virtues of liquid chlorophyll for clear skin.

In my night job to support my writing habit, I work as a vitamin clerk. I’ve watched mostly young women come in and ask for liquid chlorophyll, as our stock has dwindled and disappeared.

I asked where they heard about chlorophyll, and each one said “TikTok.”

I asked what miracle chlorophyll was supposed to perform, and they said, “clear skin,” “helps weight loss,” and “internal deodorant.”

(Controlling those stubborn internal odors is…

Step out of the flow of traffic and take control of your life.

Life comes at you fast. At times, life can feel like a storm surge, battering every window and door with pounding pressures and responsibilities.

The tide will continue unabated, the relentless tick-tick-tick of the clock marching forward, but how you deal with that inexorable march of time makes the difference. No matter the circumstances, you can stand up to the flow of life.

When faced with life’s stressors, what will you do? Will you hide under the covers or will you stand up tall and face whatever life throws at you? How you face life is up to you.


Learning to stand up for yourself one word at a time

Recently, I learned that a letter I wrote is worth more than $1000.00.

Unless they’re getting paid directly for a story, writers often don’t know the direct impact of their writing. They write and send it off into the void. They may publish a story in a newspaper or magazine and never hear back from a single reader. They receive constant rejection letters from publishers and agents. In the case of letters to companies or entities — congresspeople or government officials — they often don’t hear anything back, or worse, they receive a form letter something along the lines of…

Calling out the traitors among us

Forty-three United States Senators are complicit in the deaths of seven United States citizens. They are criminals and traitors to our country.

As a result of a mob violently attacking the United States Capitol on January 6 to stop the certification of the electoral college votes, five people died. Two more officers died by suicide in the following days attributed to the insurrection. More than 140 people were injured, most of them police officers.

The seven people who died are:

Brian Sicknick, 42, US Capitol Police Officer Ashlii Babbitt, 35, US Air Force Veteran Benjamin Phillips, 50, Computer Programmer Kevin…

The 1971 Sylmar Quake shattered my peace of mind

In 1971 at 6:00 in the morning, a 6.5 earthquake rumbled through the north end of the San Fernando Valley, upturning our lives forever. It was the first modern earthquake in a place where the anticipated Big One is talked about with great regularity.

I remember the event because I was 7 years old. And it was my grandmother’s birthday, February 9. She lived in Ohio. February 9th would forever after be known as Earthquake Day.

Compared to more recent earthquakes, particularly the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in the San Francisco Bay area and the 1994 Northridge quake, a far…

Writing ‘beyond’ what you know will lead to new knowledge and fresh ideas

Most beginning creative writing course instructions begin with some version of the famous phrase “write what you know.” This pithy phrase keeps the 20-something-year-old skateboarders-turned-avante-garde-poets from adopting the narration of 80-something-year-old blue-haired civil war widows.

I mean, there are good reasons for a 20-something-year-old skateboarder-poets NOT to write as 80-something-year-old blue-haired civil war widows. What can the one possible know about the other?

Authenticity of voice and subject matter leads to believable writing.

I think “write what you know” is mostly to keep disaffected creative writing instructors from reading the kind of drivel that they themselves don’t have the nerve…

I found one glorious day of peace in nearly 6 decades, on television.

One summer Sunday morning in the San Fernando Valley, I awoke to peace.

It was 1975. I got up, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, grabbed the milk and cereal, bowl and spoon, and sat on the old rust-colored carpet near enough to the television to turn the dial, my morning ritual. My siblings were older and had moved away. It was just me. As was their custom, my parents slept in. Normally early risers who also stayed up late into the night, they luxuriated in weekend sleep.

On this particular morning, I turned the dial and found a deeply…

Lee G. Hornbrook

Writer, Editor. Vegan, Sailor, Non-conformist. Former college writing teacher. **I Write. Mostly Words. Every Day.**

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