Dear Sean

Once, I helped deliver puppies. Once, I had macaroni and cheese and a Budweiser on top a water tower. Once, I tied a necktie on a raccoon that was named Levon.


My sister sent me some of your writings, and I don’t mean to be a jerk, but you’re not much of a writer… Now, I’m not saying that you’re awful, but your stuff needs work.

… I have a master’s degree in English, I have written three books, and I know what it means to be a writer.

Again, I’m not trying to be cruel, I’m just offering a healthy dose of reality. Simply posting content on social media doesn’t make someone a writer.

P.S. I’m pretty sick of hearing about your dumb dog, and I’ll bet others are too. Word to the wise.



A week ago, I attended a GED graduation ceremony. I was invited by Miss Terri, who teaches the general education prep classes.

I wish you could’ve been there.

We could’ve used you. It was a small room, there were only about twenty-five in attendance. Most in the audience had just gotten off work. Some wore neckties. I didn’t.

The recipients were from different backgrounds. One man was in his seventies. You would’ve liked him. Everybody did. He cried through the whole ceremony. He clapped hard for each graduate.

He’s worked construction most of his life. He walked across the stage to receive his diploma. His smile could’ve set the woods on fire.

Another graduate was late-forties, a recovering alcoholic who almost committed suicide three years ago. He was grinning like he’d just discovered teeth. He broke down crying, too.

The word “beautiful” comes to mind.

The next graduate was a woman who’d sustained a traumatic brain injury at age seventeen. She is fifty-three. She posed for a photograph with her two sons, and well…

Niagara Falls.

The reason I’m telling you this is because these people are me. I am them. We are the same.

When I was in the seventh grade my father shot himself with a hunting rifle. I didn’t attend school again until I was a grown man.

And I’ll spare you the details—I doubt they’d interest you—but let’s just say that everyone has a story.

I worked hard to get my education as an adult. I took night-classes and worked days. I took day-classes and worked nights. I ate suppers in my truck between periods. I did English homework on construction jobsites.

I have no big achievements, no letters behind my name, no master’s degree. I live in a trailer.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t lived.

I’ve done things. And I’ve known people—special people. I’ve seen things that mean something to me.

Once, I helped deliver puppies. Once, I had macaroni and cheese and a Budweiser on top a water tower. Once, I tied a necktie on a raccoon that was named Levon.

I’ve worked on construction sites with Mexican men who cooked on the tailgates of minivans.

I’ve laid sod with former-inmates. I’ve cleaned condos with my mother. I’ve thrown the newspaper to pay the rent. I’ve watched the sun lower behind the Vulcan Statue on my birthday.

I have shaken hands with the Lady Saint of Auburn—Mo Malphrus. I have high-fived a twelve-year-old girl who was blind from birth. And on more than one occasion, I have hugged the neck of Michelle Matthews and lived to tell the story.

I have seen every episode of the Andy Griffith Show at least fifty times, maybe more.

I’ve known love.

I’ve known the love of a strong woman for fifteen years. A woman who believes that I am somebody.

But yeah, I was in my thirties when I finished my education. That’s why I’m not a great writer. Even so, on the day of my graduation, my mother told me I could be whatever I wanted to be.


I was crazy enough to believe her. And I’m glad about that because a few hours ago, before I wrote this, I hugged my mother. She held me and said, “I’m so proud of you, baby.”

Her opinion means more to me than yours. Thanks for the letter.

P.S. Leave my dog out of this.

Word to the wise.


  1. Scott - May 21, 2018 5:38 am

    Great stuff. BTW, the person who wrote you their opinion is probably from up north. Sometimes they just don’t get it…..bless their heart.

    • Mickey - May 21, 2018 2:17 pm

      Come on now Scott I am from up north.
      I just want to know why Séan would wast his time answering.
      I would print it out and let the wee dog eat half and poop on the other half.

      • Patricia Williams - May 21, 2018 2:51 pm

        Great idea!!

    • MARY E GREER - May 21, 2018 5:20 pm

      I agree, the person who wrote to you had to be from the North, (a bleep) Yankee. I have a degree that allows me to put intials behind my name, and I love your writing. Your compositions (fancy Yankee word) are great, and they remind me of Louis Grizzard. Thank you and keep it up!
      Just an old lady from Cottonwood, AL.

      • Carla Dillenburg - May 21, 2018 7:09 pm

        Excuse me, but this bleeping yankee also loves Sean’s writings and relates to his topics. People everywhere love, lose, work, try, fail, struggle, succeed, feel.

        • Perri Williamson - May 22, 2018 9:31 am

          Carla, I’m from as Deep South as you can get. Life is too short to hate, dislike or even misunderstand. Many of my people have never been up North. And even if they have, often it is with preconceived notions. My kids moved to Cape Cod nearly two years ago and I began visiting. I was apprehensive. I was sure people would make fun of my accent, at the least. Nope. Never happened. We’ve been warmly welcomed all throughout New England. I’ve developed quite the fascination, or maybe obsession, with snow plows. Truthfully, I need help. I take pictures, make videos….If my people only knew about snow plows they would love the North. We love farm equipment, loud stuff, fast stuff….a front end loader with a snow plow! But I digress.

          For many years I’ve thought we need an exchange program so we can see how many more similarities we have than differences. Too bad they are missing out on whales, sheer cliffs that drop off to the vast Atlantic Ocean, a people every bit as tough as any Southerner I’ve ever known, Lobster rolls—SNOW PLOWS.

          Please don’t let the ignorance of a few paint with a broad brush. If you ever get down this way I’d be happy to show you the finer points.

          • Carla Dillenburg - May 22, 2018 1:14 pm

            Thank you for your kind message (and invitation! be careful what you ask for . . .) They express the warmth and hospitality I’m sure most southerners would want to be known for. I am from north of the Mason-Dixon Line so technically a Yankee, but actually a Pacific Northwesterner: no views of Atlantic sunrises, but gorgeous Pacific Sunsets, temperate rainforests, snowy peaks, wide-open east-of-the Cascades farm country, and yes, my husband has a blade on his tractor for plowing snow. I love your idea of exchanges within our own country. You, too, are welcome. We love sharing “our neck of the woods”.

          • Val Cole - July 20, 2018 4:11 pm

            Hooray! “The more we get together, the happier we’ll be”

      • Kristin - July 20, 2018 7:55 pm

        They do remind me of Lewis Grizzard. Man, I miss him. But, I love Sean’s writing and recommend him all the time. Although I did send him a message on FB and hoped to hear back, but I never did.

    • Denise Oelschlager - May 21, 2018 8:23 pm

      Touche’ Sean!

    • Pam - July 23, 2018 3:33 am

      Dear Scott, I’m from up north. Really up north. Like Canada. And I get it. Love your writing, Sean. Keep it up. You are somebody.

  2. R - May 21, 2018 5:52 am

    I never question your writing. But, is this for real? How rude? Just like my opinion, nobody asked for Don’t Get It’s. But I am from up north. Born and raised north of the Ohio River, and than some. I was lucky to live in SE Alabama for 5 years. I think I get it. Thanks for your writings.

  3. Melissa - May 21, 2018 5:56 am

    I agree with Scott. Bless her heart……. I have a PhD. To get that I had to write one hell of a lot of papers. I’ve written a dozen text books in my field. But, I can’t write one line that conveys how people feel and live and love the way you do. If you suck as a writer, I’d love to suck as a writer the way you do. And, by the way, PhD stands for piled higher and deeper. You can put the entire alphabet behind your name and it doesn’t mean anything. It’s what you do with your life that matters and you’ve done the rest of us proud. Even though I don’t live in Alabama or the South any longer, you’re one of the reasons I’m proud to say I’m from there. Please keep on sucking at writing the way you do. I like it.

    • Glenda H - May 21, 2018 1:05 pm

      Beautifully stated.

    • Nita - May 21, 2018 1:29 pm

      Sean, I graduated from Alabama at the age of 57 and received my master’s 2 years later. It’s never too late. You are a blessing to many. Write your peapicken’ heart out. Sic’em, Thelma Lou.

    • Linda - May 21, 2018 2:17 pm

      I agree with Melissa. I was an English teacher, taught college prep honors English, and I only know one other person who could write with as much feeling as you do. He moved to Europe and has a PhD.

    • Susie - May 21, 2018 7:29 pm

      The jerk wasn’t man enough to sign his name. I feel like he needs prayer, because he obviously has a deep problem in his heart. Just saying.

    • colmel - July 20, 2018 4:50 pm

      From one Melissa to another, we’ll said!

  4. Tami - May 21, 2018 5:58 am

    Dear Sean,
    You are loved in our household. You touch our hearts with every story. It would be a crying shame if you changed one dang thing about your way of writing. Just saying.

  5. JANA DOVE - May 21, 2018 6:09 am

    Sean, I hope that you won’t “rise to the bait” next time some jerk sends you that kind of message. I think of you as a modern day Samuel Clemens. You are THAT kind of great writer.

    More importantly, my days are more joyful for your stories. Even through the tearful stories, my heart rises up.

    Remain proud of yourself. I, for one, am proud to be in your fan club.

  6. Judy Miskelly - May 21, 2018 6:24 am

    I love your writing and your insight on life. It is the first thing I read each day. I had much rather be in your shoes than be some stuffy, nose in the air, boring writer.
    I don’t mind hearing about your dog. Your words reveal
    Kindness and love- two traits necessary for a successful

  7. Kenny - May 21, 2018 6:29 am

    Loved your response . The literary giant’s comments read like an un-educated troll to me. Keep it up. Mom’s know best.

  8. Lynn - May 21, 2018 6:45 am

    You tell’em Sean. His signature says all anyone needs to know. You are the only writer, that regularly renews my faith in people. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with your writings. How repeatedly one page of words takes me back in time, to tears, or to such happiness. And please tell us more about Thelma Lou.

  9. MaryBurns - May 21, 2018 6:58 am

    Why do people think it is their right to trash other people? If you don’t like Sean’s writing, just delete him and you never have to see it again. That’s your right. It’s his right to write what he wants and how he wants on his website. I will continue to exercise my right to read his stories. I love them!

  10. theholtgirls - May 21, 2018 7:05 am

    Sean, I love you. I love your dog Thelma Sue, and I loved your dog Ellie. I love Jamie. I love Miss Terri, that construction worker, the recovering alcoholic, that fifty-three year-old woman and her sons, and I love your mother.

    I-JUST-DON’T-GET-IT, how someone who knows what it means to be a writer doesn’t know when it’s best to not be a writer. Maybe they have never heard Ephesians 4:29? It seems my Grandma was right when she said, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

    Sean, please keep writing about your dog and good people and good news. Some people just don’t get it, but they should.

  11. Joann whittington - May 21, 2018 7:06 am

    I would give anything to be as bad of a writer as you!!! I live for stories about you dogs – don’t ever stop writing about your dogs or anything else for that matter!!

  12. Dewey Fleetwood - May 21, 2018 7:59 am

    As I’ve said before, “Keep on keeping on”.

  13. Tina Clark - May 21, 2018 7:59 am

    I love hearing about your dog

  14. Linda Acres - May 21, 2018 8:03 am

    He may be right, who knows? You may not be Tolstoy or Faulkner. I think you’re a magician. I live in the north east of England but even at this distance, you can make me laugh or cry. You remind me it’s not a tragedy that I can’t afford a £200 dress for my daughter’s wedding but to celebrate the fact she has a good man and I have the smartest 5 year old for a grandson. And to glory in the hills and dales, the sheep and lambs, the birds in my garden.

    Give your Mama a hug from me; tell her she raised a good boy.

    • Susan - May 21, 2018 9:40 am

      You made me cry too! We both have the smartest grandson, they may change the world!

  15. A. Engel - May 21, 2018 8:21 am

    Sean, above is a note of gratitude from England. I send you one from Denmark and it is not seldom that I send
    your “thoughts for the day” on to Spain where they are greatly appreciated. Just wonder how far reached the
    “Writings” of “I-just” extend? Look forward to each day hearing from you!!!

  16. Marilyn Vance - May 21, 2018 8:48 am

    I agree with all of the above….I am only a high school graduate with 56 years experience under my belt, but I know good writing when I see it….every morning in your column……..HI, Thelma Lou!

  17. Carolyn Kent - May 21, 2018 9:08 am

    You are an awesome writer!! I tell everyone I know about you & they all love you too!! Some of the best stories have been about Ellie Mae & Thelma!! The first thing I do each day is read your story, most times when I wake up iniddle of night!!! Always look forward to it!!!

  18. Kelly Crowl - May 21, 2018 9:15 am

    Your the next thing I read every morning after my devotions. Letters after a name are worthless if you don’t have compassion and respect for everyone and everything. We need stories about goodness and light and Thelma Lou more than ever right now! Maybe this persons sister should get them a rescue puppy – sounds
    Iike they could use some unconditional love!

  19. CKD - May 21, 2018 9:28 am

    Oh my. I love reading stories about Ellie and Thelma Lou. Please ignore what that person wrote. You always have something to say that I needed to hear. Keep on, keeping on!!

  20. Chris Longcrier - May 21, 2018 9:29 am

    So I guess that Don’t Get It would be miserable at the Conecuh Sausage, boiled peanut, collard green fest that we will be having. Oh and Thelma Lou will be there with lots of peanut butter treats also!

  21. Katie B - May 21, 2018 9:40 am

    I have 0 of that person’s books and 4 of yours, with more yet to read! Who is the writer? I begin my day with your new post followed by a sermon of one of my favorite preachers. Your stories have inspired me to be a more compassionate person. I think of WWJD and also WWSD? Then, I pay for the person’s food behind me in the drive-thru and write “Have an awesome day” on their receipt. Why, not because of a writer with a master’s degree!
    PS – that person IS a jerk!

  22. Susan - May 21, 2018 9:44 am

    My granddaddy always said,” Don’t mess with two things. A man’s wife or a man’s dog.” We love you, your wife and your dogs living and dead. Thank you for all you do to brighten our days and bring kindness into this dark world.

  23. Pam - May 21, 2018 9:46 am

    Dear Sean,

    I have my masters only because it’s a stepping stone towards a goal – I want to ‘retire’ as a nurse practitioner for a nursing home and visit old folks in their homes – like medical folks used to do. Maybe one day I’ll learn to write like you do.

    “Degree-itis” is what your critic has – that person is is dire need of a raccoon to tie a tie on, heck, probably needs a dose of Budweiser and a water tower to sit on while drinking it.

    You’re my cup of loving reality in the morning.
    Privileged to be a subscriber of yours.

    A future NP.

  24. Ams - May 21, 2018 9:51 am

    Dear Sean,

    I married and quit school when I was 15. I had a beautiful baby boy soon after. Quitting school so young was not a bright decision. I spent the rest of my life trying to get the ever elusive bachelor’s degree. I did become a licensed nurse by the time I was twenty and was able to take care of my son. I’ve taken care of him since he was born, because my ex decided children weren’t his thing.

    Once I received a one-year certificate in web design. When I was forty-five, I went back to get a computer degree with emphasis on web design. I love marketing and am a writer, too. I saw early on the power and eventual dominance of the Internet.

    I have taken enough English classes that I could’ve majored in English. I have critiqued papers for professional writers for approx twenty years now. I say all this, because I read a lot on the Internet and elsewhere. I’ve looked, but I’ve not so much as seen a typo or wrong word in your writing. I notice these things, and they are rampant in the so-called professional writers on the Internet these days. Plus, I love your writing style.

    I was two classes shy of obtaining my bachelor’s degree when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. During the difficult year-long treatment, I drew close to God and wrote better than I have in my entire life.

    Four years out, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Both cancers had already metastasized. This time round, I had chemo and a major surgery. I’m not one hundred percent sure of my longevity. It doesn’t matter in some ways, because I know the Lord. It matters in others, because I know I haven’t completed long-term writing goals. I’ve had much pain throughout my life. One great writer says to never waste your pain that someone needs to hear and benefit from your story.

    I’ve never tried to publish my work. I’m kinda stubborn in the way I want it to be done. Right now, my creative process is kinda shut down. Perhaps it’s being sick. I don’t know. I write every day to no avail.

    Prior to this, in my weekly critique group, I found that my writing sometimes didn’t sound like me. It sounded like you. They say imitation is the best compliment.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to read your stories each day. I was so sad with the loss of Ellie Mae and tickled pink to hear about little Thelma Lou tales. I love hearing about your wife and your dad and your travels and people you meet on your adventures.

    I wish I could say that I had fulfilled this completely, but I promised God long ago that I wouldn’t use my gift of writing with malice in my heart. Words can hurt, and they can’t be taken back. Perhaps, the man with the fancy degree should search the meaning of his life and give his talent back to God to use for building people up, instead of tearing them down.

    God bless you, my favorite writer, whose style I accidently let slip into my technique on occasion.

    I bet you’re a much happier, content, and self-assured person than the man critiquing your work today.

    Amber–an often silent, but humongous fan

    • Cheryl swift - July 20, 2018 5:45 pm

      So well written. God bless you and your health

  25. teachenglish67 - May 21, 2018 9:54 am

    Those from humble beginnings have the strongest roots. Some people just don’t get it. I have a master’s degree in English. I love your writings. I get it….the message of every one. I love the tales about your dogs, by the way.

  26. Penn Wells - May 21, 2018 9:57 am

    There is only ONE Sean Dietrich. You are unique — you know it and we know it. Most importantly, you are ONE of us and we love you and your…stuff.

    ps: Come to Norfolk, VA (it’s closer to “the border” – if you catch my drift – that I ever thought I’d live). But you gotta bring Jamie. And Thelma Lou.

  27. Georgia - May 21, 2018 9:58 am

    Television news is muted…the words you share and Jesus Calling, thank you!

  28. John Jay - May 21, 2018 9:59 am

    Boy have we changed! Now it seems that if you want to see real mean spirits and vile behavior you have to add more titles and letters after your name. It used to be the other way around unless you were a politician. Sean, you don’t have to have a master’s or even a Phd to be a proven horses ass. Thank God we have more dog lovers and fewer horses behinds in our world. I’m sticking with the dog lovers!

  29. Ken M. - May 21, 2018 10:11 am

    You keep on being a writer, Sean… and tell us about anything, including your dog and all dogs. When I read the first couple of paragraphs of today’s entry, this quote came to mind (often attributed to Calvin Coolidge): “Nothing in the World can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

  30. Lloyd Stamper - May 21, 2018 10:13 am

    Dear Sean,
    I read the comments from -i JUST-DON’T-GET-IT and I have to say that you don’t need a formal education to touch people’s hearts or make folks smile.
    Please keep using your God given talents and I’ll keep reading, especially about your dog.
    Signed “I DO get it”
    Lloyd Stamper

  31. Pat Patton - May 21, 2018 10:16 am

    Hi Sean,
    I just discovered you yesterday because of an article in the Tuscaloosa News about your new book Whistling Dixie. After reading that article I looked you up and read some of your writings and then ordered your book. You’ve already changed my life by seeing the good in others. Thank goodness I found you! I love the way you write!

  32. lslawson - May 21, 2018 10:18 am

    Sean, I hope you’ll keep on “not being a writer” because the world needs your stories. and I hope “I don’t mean to be a jerk…not trying to be cruel” realizes he or she is !

  33. Steven Porter - May 21, 2018 10:19 am

    Hahahahahahahah!!!!! #goodstuff

    All of Sean’s writings make me smile. Sometimes smile with a leak. Just real. Echoed: keep on keepin’ on!

  34. Joyce Bacon - May 21, 2018 10:31 am

    Dear I Just Don’t Get It,
    You’re right. Sean isn’t a “writer”. He’s a story teller which is 100 times better. Story tellers have always reigned in the South. Sean’s difference is he tells his stories on paper. And thank God for that because it allows me to keep them – forever. I wonder if anyone would be able to say that about the books you have written.

    • Jennifer - May 21, 2018 1:24 pm

      Perfectly said!!!

      Jennifer from Birmingham, Alabama♥️

    • Vicki - May 21, 2018 3:03 pm

      Thus us a perfect response! Sean, I get it!

      • Vicki - May 21, 2018 3:07 pm

        Sorry about the auto-corrections. Should be:
        This is, not thus us.

  35. Carmen - May 21, 2018 10:32 am

    I am a teacher in south Florida. Every morning before work I read my devotion and then Sean. My make-up is ruined many of these mornings. Your writing touches the heart. You can’t “learn” that. It is a God given gift.

  36. Deborah Jones - May 21, 2018 10:41 am

    I read every column and re-post many to my Facebook page. Your observations on every day life and every day people in the South speak to me every time. Every time. I really should comment more to let you know that. However, I am not “big” on commenting. Sorry about that. But, I did re-post this column and I also saw Saturday night that you will be speaking at the Gadsden Cultural Arts Center (sounds fancy, huh?) in January of 2019. I hope to be there. Keep on doing what you are doing. please. I don’t think (actually, I know) that I would not pay to see this letter writer speak anywhere. As before said, bless his/her heart.

  37. Grace - May 21, 2018 10:46 am

    I don’t know how I stumbled across your writings, but I know it was by Divine intervention. He knows I’m struggling right now with many things, but everyday when I read your column, I am reminded that there are good people in the world.

    And I believe you’ve written a few books, too, right Mr. Sean?

    I’m glad I’m clumsy and found you! Have a wonderful day!

  38. Buddy King - May 21, 2018 10:51 am

    Thank you Sean for replying to this rude “ want a be” writer! Success is defined by more than income however I would bet my last dollar that your income from your writings, substantially exceeds this rude person’s income. You see the good in people and the good in life. She is negative about everything!
    And the more you write about Thelma Lou the better! May God continue to bless you, your family and Thelma Lou!

  39. Sharon R. - May 21, 2018 10:52 am

    Sean, thank you for not forgetting who you are or where you came from. And I hope that you NEVER stop writing about your dog. For anyone that has ever loved a dog, we get it!!

  40. Mickey burroughs - May 21, 2018 10:53 am

    Balderdash! You tell interesting stories that make me want to read to the conclusion. I know your characters, deep in my bones. Grew up with them. You Make me want to examine my values and how I spend my life. Sometimes I smile…..sometimes I weep……but I usually always feel something. Good Lord, what else can a reader want. Most “professional” writers would give an arm and a leg to be able to reach a reader the way you do…and in a short piece at that.

  41. Shirli Kralik - May 21, 2018 10:55 am

    Perfect! I. too, share your column on FB with my friends. I love to write, but don’t do it often enough. You inspire me to try again. I, too, stopped my schooling to have my oldest son at 18. I, too, have lived an “unconventional” life. I, too, love my pets with a fierce mama-bear love. You write to the heart, and that is what matters. All the fancy words and turns of phrases, the oh too correct cadence of over-educated writers leave me cold. Keep writing, keep touching hearts… it is a blessing to all your fans! (And I, too, am from the North originally, and I don’t think that is the problem with the person who wrote you… it’s a heart problem). Thank you for being REAL.

  42. Camille Atkins - May 21, 2018 10:58 am

    Thank God I don’t get I-JUST-DON’T GET-IT!

  43. Susan - May 21, 2018 10:58 am

    I love your sucky writing. It’s the first thing I read every morning. It helps me start my day on a happy note. Thanks to you I see there is still good in the world! Please don’t ever stop writing.
    P.S. I don’t trust people that aren’t “dog people”.

  44. C Johnson - May 21, 2018 11:03 am

    Wow a masters in English. I’m bet Thelma Lou can chew up his book just like any other, even with it’s bitter taste.

    Keep writing in whatever form you want. It’s the first thing I read on the morning. It’s probably the only truthful thing I’ll read all day!

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  45. D. Green - May 21, 2018 11:09 am

    Mr. Master’s Degree obviously doesn’t have a clue what it means to be a writer. A writer touches your soul, reminds you of why it’s great to be alive, makes you cry and laugh, and writes great stories about good dogs. This guy might not “mean to be a jerk”, but I think he’s succeeded. And he’s an ignorant one at that.

  46. Debra Helwig - May 21, 2018 11:12 am

    You make my life better with your words. There is no greater gift. There is no greater talent. There are many days the good Lord speaks through you to me, reminding me about all the ways we can love one another. Thank you for sharing your life and experiences and meetings and partings with the world. I, for one, am grateful. And I pray the fellow who said those hurtful things finds a little peace for himself somehow and someday, because people don’t say things like that when they are content with themselves and their situation.

  47. Howard Humphreys - May 21, 2018 11:13 am

    My answer to the letter writer would not be printable…

  48. Lynne Guitar - May 21, 2018 11:20 am

    Dear I-Just-Don’t-Get-It, I’ll trump your M.A. and three books with my A.A., two B.A.s, an M.A., and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, cum laude (the last four degrees earned after age 42). Oh, and I published 10 bilingual and 1 trilingual books in the last two years. Does Sean have perfect spelling and grammar? No, but Sean of the South writes from the heart and introduces me to the good-hearted people of this world, something the nightly news (which I’ve mostly given up on), does not do. I read his work every morning for inspiration and to renew my sense of hope and the basic goodness of humankind…. Who reads your work or mine every day?

    L. Guitar—May 21, 6:16 am

    P.S. I’m a dog lover, too, so I appreciate and understand Sean’s love of his hound dogs. My little Coby, a Min-Pin and Daschund mix, has been my faithful companion for 14 years, come August.

  49. Pat Box - May 21, 2018 11:23 am

    Dear Sean,

    The woman who wrote this mean-spirited review of your writing probably lives in a sterile world and she’s probably boring as heck. She obviously is not from the South, does not love dogs, and couldn’t be much of a teacher. A good teacher works hard to help others, not to denigrate them; to encourage them, not do her best to tear them apart. YOU are the writer, Sean, and a dang good one! Your writing express LIFE and HOPE and LOVE. YOUR writings bring both joy and tears to your readers. YOU are the rock star, and this poor ol’ woman is sitting on the sidelines, wishing she had what you have. Never worry about people like her and what she says ’cause what she says carries no weight in the real world. This woman doesn’t like your writing ’cause she’s never lived your experiences nor can she relate to them. She lives in the stale, artificial world of academia, insulated from the REAL world and the REAL folks who experience it and all it has to offer.

    We, your readers, love you and Jamie, love your writing and LOVE Thelma Lou and hearing about her antics! The reason we love you so is that we can identify with your stories. We’ve been there and done that too – or something similar. Thank you for what you do, and keep on doin’ it!

  50. dkbfox - May 21, 2018 11:25 am

    A writer wanna be. You can have all the degrees in the world and still not be a writer who touches people’s souls. Sounds like he’s a bit jealous. Write on, Sean, and hug your pup for me. You’ve touched my soul and I’m a real reader and writer, so my opinion trumps, wanna be.

  51. Frances - May 21, 2018 11:47 am

    Thank you for seeing life the way you do & taking us along for the ride.

  52. Ange Ingram - May 21, 2018 11:48 am

    Well, sir, I just had my first angry impulse after reading your column. You see, I force myself to read at least two news sites each morning before I can fall into your daily deliveries; what you write (as a writer) means that much to me each and every day. I’ve my share of sad stories and a father who died at his own hand. However, I am strong (as you are) and come from a violent clan in NW Florida. So, my angry impulse this morning was to look up that “jerk” (and the best way to find a jerk is to listen to him/her say, “I’m not trying to be a jerk”) and whip his/her A-double-S. I was hoping to hear more about Thelma Lou today as it’s Monday and tales about her always perk me up. As it is, I’ll just go on to sit with my mother (who has Alzheimer’s) and remember that, in her day, she’d have helped me whip that jerk, too.

  53. Leisa - May 21, 2018 11:53 am

    I love your writing! Who cares what a pointy-head academic thinks? You’ve lived in the real world and write from the heart! I’m pretty sure old Masters Degree has ALWAYS lived in the world of academia. I also love your dogs. I ugly cried when Ellie Mae crossed the rainbow bridge and Thelma Lou melts my heart and makes me smile!

  54. Johnny Reb - May 21, 2018 11:54 am

    Remember the time Yankees knew when to shut up? Me either. I wish you woulda told him how many books you’ve published. I bet they’re a site more entertaining than his’n!

    Ps- even if the ole boy is from the south…. he thinks like a Yankee.

  55. paynecounselor - May 21, 2018 11:55 am

    Education does not make you a good writer, gifting does! You have a gift. God given. You were born to write. Thank you for giving me an experience and emotion when I read your work, sometimes it’s a smile and sometimes tears. God bless you Sean! And keep up the good work!

  56. Delynn Roberts - May 21, 2018 11:55 am

    Dear Sean,

    You are one of the best writers whose work I have ever had the privilege of reading. And I do consider it a great privilege to be able to wake up every day and read your beautiful words woven into a beautiful tapestry.

    A friend of mine told me about you and I will be forever grateful to her for sharing with me your gift.

    Part of what makes your writing is beautiful is the fact that you write about things that are real and her dear to your heart. I’m thankful that you shared your grief with us I’m thankful that you share your joys with us and I’m thankful that you see the good in all of us.

    It’s people like you who give plain people like me hope in knowing that nothing is out of our reach.

    God bless you,

  57. Claire - May 21, 2018 11:55 am

    Two words for this person come to mind: 1. Ignorance 2. I cannot write, sinful to think that of another, worse to write it. Keep on keeping on, you give my husband and me a great read everyday. Oh, and your baby, well let’s just say I still cannot go there over a Golden that we had to put down December1, 2016.

  58. Melanie - May 21, 2018 11:58 am

    I don’t get people who have the time to waste and the hurtful mindset for ignorant criticism of others.

  59. Jo Ann - May 21, 2018 11:58 am

    We all love your writing, your wife & family, & your dog. Please keep on keeping on.

  60. Linda - May 21, 2018 11:59 am

    Dear Sean .. After I read my Bible and devotions every morning, I read your writings. They are important to me. Keep on writing and we will eagerly keep on reading what you write.

  61. Martha Moorer - May 21, 2018 12:00 pm

    This person would make a nice doggie treat for Thelma Lou!

  62. Linda Brown - May 21, 2018 12:03 pm

    If you weren’t a good writer I wouldn’t read your stories every day. You and your dog Bless My ♥️

    • Ellen Walters - May 21, 2018 12:11 pm

      I haven’t much to say other than you talk to my very soul. Being a country gal I have experienced many of the situations you write about. Please keep writing because my soul is enriched by what you have to say. I am 72 and still miss the farm I grew up on. I leave you with one word BRAVO!!!!!!

  63. Terry Barr - May 21, 2018 12:05 pm

    Good response Sean. I read your column every day. I have written two books and have a Ph.D. For what it’s worth, I think you are definitely a writer. And I love reading your work! Sincerely, Terry Barr

  64. Ellen - May 21, 2018 12:10 pm

    Whatever would possess someone to write a letter like that? I don’t believe I would want to read the books I Don’t Get It wrote. With an attitude like that, the books are bound to be downers.

    Sean, your writing is uplifting to so many, every day! Bless you, and your dog ?

  65. Jane Henderson - May 21, 2018 12:14 pm

    The person who prompted your post is a jerk, especially if he actually used those actual words. The best writers in the world never went to college, nor did they feel compelled to advertise their accolades or awards.
    Write on and on and on Sean. Your readers wouldn’t want to be in the same room with that guy with an English degree. By the way, I love your dog stories the most of all.

  66. Amy Crews - May 21, 2018 12:18 pm

    Just goes to show that a formal education doesn’t mean a good heart or eyes to see. Your people (we are not just fans, we are kin) would stick up for you any time. I love the comments. You are so loved and appreciated. And it’s God given indeed. If the only people “allowed” to write had to have met this persons’s criteria, think of the stories we’d never hear! That’d be a real shame. I have to admit I let the grammar police intimidate me. You help me be brave.

  67. Tina - May 21, 2018 12:19 pm

    The first thing I read every morning is the email with what you have written. Makes me try to be kinder. Just because someone has a lot of letters after their name does not make them a caring human and anyone who goes to school long enough can add letters to their name.

    I love your dog stories.

  68. Norma Napoleone - May 21, 2018 12:19 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I am a seventy year old retired nurse. I was blessed to work for forty years in that profession. My day could would be bereft without reading your words.
    Both I and my 13 year old grandson have read every one of your books. You are my favorite author.
    I honestly think you are the Chaucer of this century.

  69. Connie - May 21, 2018 12:21 pm

    Mornin! Education doesn’t mean you are a good writer…you may write well, but aren’t interesting enough for people to read what you have to say. You are interesting, and more important, uplifting and humorous! You lift humanity up and give them dignity, and for that we are grateful ❤️! Oh yeah, there are lots of dog lovers who are crazy about Thelma Lou…just keep on going, cause you’re in the right direction!
    ( something wrong with people who don’t like dogs)

  70. Steve - May 21, 2018 12:24 pm

    Ms.”I just don’t get it” will never get it. So sad to be her.

  71. Clara Edwards - May 21, 2018 12:29 pm

    Wonderful response. I like you and your life better! Just saying!!!

  72. Gary D - May 21, 2018 12:29 pm

    Sean, for somebody who doesn’t know how to write you sure write some very inspirational stories. And funny. And sad. And interesting. And I love to read about your wife, your mama and your dog. And like some of your other readers I too sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to see what you have written. Your stories have made me cry(don’t tell anyone) and laugh and I enjoy them all.

  73. Patti Knapp - May 21, 2018 12:31 pm

    You are always the first thing I read in the morning and I love your stories of regular folk, Jamie and Thelma Lou. I’m a transplanted Ohio “Yankee” (mid-Western Yankees don’t put on airs) living in South Carolina and truly appreciate your stories and reminiscences. Keep on sharing. You are touching many hearts.

  74. Geri Worley - May 21, 2018 12:34 pm

    Dear Sean, you are somebody and I am proud of you too.

  75. Carol Rothwell - May 21, 2018 12:35 pm

    God love you Sean..your more man,writer,human being..than this person will ever be…
    He picked the wrong person to mess with…you have an army of good God fearing soul’s standing with you….and as far as Thelma Lou..thats our dog too….and you don’t mess with kinfolk!!
    We’ll never forget you…and gee I dun forgot what he wrote…..dont matter..
    Love ya!

  76. Mike Guilday - May 21, 2018 12:35 pm

    A. Please continue to tell us about Thema;
    B. Please continue to share your heartfelt stories;
    C. Please continue your blog, it makes my morning;
    D. Please don’t post letters from jealous losers who hide behind the letters that follow their name, you know, PHD, MS, that never have accomplished anything. We have enough of them in Government. Signed WE DO GET IT!

  77. Heidi - May 21, 2018 12:37 pm

    I’ve never lived in the south…..never even visited…but you make me wish I did. You bring me the humanity that I’ve needed. If you suck at writing (which you don’t) then keep on sucking because you’re a true gift. Also, keep writing about Jamie and Thelma Lou. They are family now. Thanks.

  78. Jonathan - May 21, 2018 12:38 pm

    Dear Don’t Get It,
    I wish you had had the balls to use your real name so I won’t accidentally read any of your work. Although I was reading the bathroom stall the other day so I may have done it already. It doesn’t take a degree to be a writer–any degree, at any level. I’d rather read about Sean’s dog than another letter like this.

  79. Amy - May 21, 2018 12:40 pm

    I think Thelma Lou should be given a stack of “I Don’t Get It’s” books to chew on…

  80. avviemae - May 21, 2018 12:40 pm

    To: I-JUST-DON’T-GET-IT . . .Quite simply, you ARE a jerk . . And a quite assuming one at that!!’

  81. Kevin - May 21, 2018 12:40 pm


  82. Cathi - May 21, 2018 12:42 pm

    Bless her heart. And Sean, you just keep letting us know about Thelma Lou, we love her & you!

  83. william vessier - May 21, 2018 12:42 pm

    That poor lady has all the education one could hope for, and she’s written numerous books, but I doubt seriously that anyone has created a special folder on their E-Mail for her writings, like I have for, “Sean of the South”… write with soul…it doesn’t matter how well you write, it does matter WHAT you write that matters to me!!!

  84. Marjorie - May 21, 2018 12:44 pm

    For someone so smart, he totally doesn’t understand where you are coming from. I on the other hand with a high school education understand you to the max.Please keep writing and kiss you fur baby for me.

  85. Sylvia - May 21, 2018 12:48 pm

    The signature says it all I-JUST-DONT-GET-IT. Too bad, his loss.

  86. Susie - May 21, 2018 12:48 pm

    I think you are an awesome writer, that’s why so many people read you! That person did also. Obviously she’s been reading you a lot!!! Keep it up, we love you, here’s a hug()

  87. Larry J Hughes - May 21, 2018 12:48 pm

    Well said Sean! The unbelievable arrogance of this “writer” is almost unbearable! I have a masters degree from a top university. I have served on boards and societies at institutions of higher learning. I have even led a state commission on higher education. None have equaled your education! Your level of “education” cannot be taught! Yours is earned not learned by heart felt observations and personal experiences of the reality of the human condition, especially those of the South! You are certainly one of, if not the, best “writers” I have known. Keep doing your great work and ignore the ignorant arrogance of the “educated”! I have “learned” to do so myself! Just call me Bubba! (My sister still does!)

  88. Lisa Perkins - May 21, 2018 12:49 pm

    Argh!!!? Don’t listen to some rude person who is trying to make themselves feel better by putting others down. (and for those who commented about him/her being a Yankee, I grew up in CT and NY, and I was taught to have manners, respect and to always “put myself in others shoes before judging”.) Let me just tell you that I have NEVER enjoyed reading. I have a degree, detested reading for classes no matter what the subject and do NOT enjoy reading non fiction either. People tease me about it….it’s a family joke. I LOVE and look forward to reading you emails!!!!! I don’t attend many events, but if you are ever at an event near me, I will definitely be there! Thank you for making me smile and think deeper with your writings. As far as Thelma, please keep writing about her. I lost my 14 yr old dog last year and your writings have encouraged me to start looking for another rescue to mend my broken dog-loving heart. Thank you ?❤️

  89. Ethelyn Underwood - May 21, 2018 12:51 pm

    I am for you and Thelma Lou.

  90. Mary - May 21, 2018 12:53 pm

    Your letter is the first thing I read when I get up in the morning. It starts my day off right. Please don’t stop.

  91. Roxanne - May 21, 2018 12:53 pm

    I think we would all like to hear about the racoon in the neck tie. Just sayin’.

  92. Victoria Mann - May 21, 2018 12:54 pm

    As a seminary student (I also am a late bloomer at 61) I am required to read more books than I can digest so I am very particular on what writings I choose to spend time reading. Out of all the hundreds of possibilities I choose your writings dear sir, because for me it is a breath of fresh air. Every morning either by email or FB, you welcome us into your world. Your slices of life give me hope and a smile for the day. Thank you Mr. Dietrich for sharing your gift.
    PS I cherish the Thelma Lou stories. (Obviously “I Don’t Get It” is not a Southern Gentleman or he would have known better than to bring your Thelma Lou into the discussion).

  93. Mickey Paulk - May 21, 2018 12:54 pm

    I don’t get “I just don’t get it.” I laughed when I read this as when I turned on the news this morning, I said to Jesus “I just don’t get it”. Hugs for Thelma Lou and my dog, Frankie says come play.

  94. Joe Bolton - May 21, 2018 12:55 pm

    I have a Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama and minored in English as an undergrad. I’ve been practicing law over 40 years. I look forward to your writing every day. Please don’t stop writing about dogs.

  95. Kathy Daum - May 21, 2018 12:56 pm

    Like photography, good writing is seeing. That is what you do. Then you stand back and show us. If that’s not good writing, it doesn’t matter. Because we like it.

  96. Mary Calhoun - May 21, 2018 12:56 pm

    Dear I don’t get it,
    Apparently not! A writer has heart and it shines through his/her words. Sean is a true writer with a pure heart.

  97. Darrell Dame - May 21, 2018 12:58 pm

    I love it. I suppose there is more than one reason to write. I believe that you touch the heart strings of many people. What you are doing is working for me and many other I believe. Keep it up.

  98. Alicia Kasen - May 21, 2018 12:59 pm

    I love this post so very, very, very, much!

  99. Jim Moon - May 21, 2018 1:03 pm

    Don’t listen to this nut job. I notice that he didn’t dare sign his name nor the name of his three books. Guess he couldn’t stand the scrutiny. Naysayers are a dime a million, they only want to slap you and run away. I like your writing, your stories and both of your dogs. I am you and you are me and my dog likes peanut butter too.

  100. Amanda Gibbs - May 21, 2018 1:04 pm

    This woman clearly has no idea how your letters help people. And talking about a man’s dog. Really, crazy lady. I love hearing your stories it’s like I am right there with you living the stories. Thanks for writing them. You will have people who criticize anything in this world, just to make themselves look good or make themselves happy. But I think you do a marvelous job. And I love everything you have written so far. I love getting the emails every day. Thanks for all you do Sean. Next time your on your adventures, come
    Through the cute little town of Atmore. I’d love to see what you could write about it. And stop in and eat at David’s Catfish House while your here.

  101. Lylabeth King - May 21, 2018 1:06 pm

    Sean, I’ve been reading your stories every day since I discovered you a couple of months ago. I’ve read 4 of your books and have 4 more to read as quick as I can. This. This might just be the best yet.

    For whatever it’s worth, Sean, this 73 year old grandmother is proud of you, too.

  102. Toni M Martin - May 21, 2018 1:07 pm

    Sean! Don’t listen to “I Don’t Get It”! So many of us, including my family, would be crushed if you stopped writing. You bring love and light to this world and we desperately need it. You be you!
    Much love, Toni
    PS – Please give Thelma Lou a belly rub for me today.

  103. DIANNA Davis VAUGHN - May 21, 2018 1:10 pm

    What she said!!!!!! ????

  104. Beth - May 21, 2018 1:12 pm

    I believe there are many, many more people looking forward to reading what you have written than this rude person. I believe you are pure Americana! What you write touches the heart. Please continue to write about your dog and about life. We need this. Congratulations on your GED. God Bless!

  105. Candy Clark - May 21, 2018 1:15 pm

    Perfect comeback Sean!! Just another “over educated snob” trying to show how much they DON’T KNOW! I’m always touched by your writing! Please keep it up! Thank you – Candy Clark

  106. Anne P - May 21, 2018 1:16 pm

    Sean, Please don’t stop writing. I love your style of writing and your stories. They always evoke some kind of emotion, whether it is laughter, tears, or soothing of the soul. I would say that kind of evoking of an emotion is a definition of a writer. Although, this person does not like your writing, that is a subjective opinion, and it doesn’t make it true. There are many classic books and bestsellers, which I don’t enjoy reading, yet that doesn’t make the authors of those books less of a writer. So, please keep on doing what you are doing. I always wait to look at your writing after I have read the daily newspaper. I know it will help erase all the bad news in the headlines and remind me of the goodness in the world. Today, we need that more than ever. Thank you for being you.

  107. Karen G. - May 21, 2018 1:24 pm

    Well, I get it, Sean. Every single day! P.S. I have a master’s degree and one of the many reasons I read your work is to learn how to write. I am also a sucker for dog stories. Barney says hi.

  108. Dondi Dunaway - May 21, 2018 1:27 pm

    Dear Don’t Get It…. 3 whole books ?? anybody read them besides you ???

  109. Bo Brown - May 21, 2018 1:27 pm

    Reading you daily has changed by life for the better. Your Mother was right. Your wife is right. You have a gift. Continue to share it. Keep on keeping on.

  110. Lynn - May 21, 2018 1:29 pm

    Thank you, brother! Just keep on taking the high road. Every. Time.

  111. Cathy Pera - May 21, 2018 1:31 pm

    Some people put words on a page and are called an author. Others put life on a page and are the envy of authors-these people are writers. Charles Emerson Winchester from MASH said “I can play the notes, but I cannot make the music.” You Sean make the music.

  112. Chuck Gerlach - May 21, 2018 1:31 pm

    There is a lot of not-so-nice comments I would like to make to the nimrod who wrote that response, but his comments about your dog tell the whole story. His degrees and profession notwithstanding, he’s just not very bright. You can not completely trust anyone who does not love dogs.

    • Perri Williamson - May 22, 2018 10:12 am

      So true!!!!!

  113. Tricia Williams - May 21, 2018 1:35 pm

    Lawd. What is wrong with people that they think they need to criticize and find fault with everyone and everything? I absolutely love how you write and what you write about. Your writing makes my heart happy every single day. I look so forward to your messsges. You put life into perspective when we get so busy and crazy that we don’t see or pay attention to what is going on around us. I can’t thank you enough for what your writing means to me. Please don’t stop and especially don’t pay a bit of attention to what that woman wrote. I am pretty sure her three books might suck. I did not know your story until now. I am so proud of you too! You are a gifted writer and a wonderful person. You are the kind of guy I would love to have as a friend. You are sharing important stories that need to be told. Thank you very much!

  114. Lance Hunter Lance Hunter - May 21, 2018 1:40 pm

    I have read eaverything you have written for months now. I have a masters degree from an Ivy League school. The writer said it all. He reads you regularly, There are great, great blogs on the greatest literature ever written that I read. I would suggest Brainpickings. But with all that great stuff out there he has taken his time to read you. And then took more time to criticize you.

    Your writing tells me a lot about you. His comment told me a lot about him and his life story.

    Bless his heart.

  115. Lee Taylor - May 21, 2018 1:43 pm

    I’ll top the genius with a Masters Degree. I have TWO Masters Degrees and have traveled to more than 40 countries. Mr. “Master” you just proved education isn’t everything!

  116. Kathy - May 21, 2018 1:46 pm

    Sugar, we who love you far outweigh the ones who dont.

  117. Shaw - May 21, 2018 1:49 pm

    Well, Van Gogh never sold a single painting in his lifetime so I guess he wasn’t much of a painter… everyone has different tastes. I think you write very well, and that someone who can convey emotion and share his life, warts and all, is both a gift and an extremely brave task, one you undertake on a daily basis. Please keep writing, because I want to keep reading what you have to say.

  118. Jan - May 21, 2018 1:49 pm

    You rock, Sean! You have the people skills and insight as well as the writing ability to express not only your own thoughts and feelings but those of many. You see things we are often blind to and open our hearts and minds to all the good in the world!

  119. mfontaine2017 - May 21, 2018 1:49 pm

    Well said ! I agree with you about leaving the dogs out of this. P.S. She’s probably a cat person.

  120. Alice - May 21, 2018 1:51 pm

    I love your stories Sean you are a great writer and I never ever get tired of you talking about your dog I love hearing everything she does❤️I am a dog lover so I know how you feel may be you could post a picture of her sometimes God Bless You

  121. Bobby - May 21, 2018 1:51 pm

    Your beloved readers do get it. Keep on writin my friend.

  122. Debra Lawrence - May 21, 2018 1:55 pm

    Please keep writing! I look forward to your posts everyday. I was born and raised in Alabama. I love the South, and I love, love, love hearing about Thelma Lou! There are no “dumb dogs”, only dumb people! As a matter of fact, we like our dog more than we like most humans!


    Debbie Lawrence

  123. Laura - May 21, 2018 1:58 pm

    Pardon me, but this guy is full of crap. Having a master’s degree does not mean a thing compared to living life. I have a master’s and have written a book and many professional articles but NONE of them mean as much to me as the daily dose of Sean I get each day! And I will help you protect Thelma from this jerk!’

  124. jnearen - May 21, 2018 1:59 pm

    Bravo! Oh, and I met a man in Orange Beach who owns the cruiser from the Andy Griffiths show. Saw him driving down the street in it the other day. He owns a bunch of other memorabilia from the show. You should come and see it some time.

  125. Nix LaVerdi - May 21, 2018 2:00 pm

    Golden. Your response to this letter pumped me up. Your true heart, makes true art. Not only are YOU my favorite writer, but you are an ARTIST. You paint life’s picture with beautiful stories, imagery, humor and BEAUTY! I am proud of you, Sean. You light my days with hope, and no education can put a degree on that, hope. You are priceless. So is Ellie Mae and your mom, and Jaime. Much love from over here, Nix

    • Gaynell Lumsden - May 21, 2018 2:22 pm


  126. Christine Sanders - May 21, 2018 2:02 pm

    Don’t you change a single thing about the way you write, it’s perfect just like it is. I love the way you write and I love what you write about. I was hooked the first time I read one of your stories, now I look forward to reading them everyday. Don’t change a thing, you’re perfect just the way you are!

  127. Meg - May 21, 2018 2:04 pm

    Don’t ever stop writing. And especially don’t ever stop writing about Thelma Lou or any other thing your heart desires. You truly are the best in my world and many others. Great writers move hearts and minds. You do both so easily. I send your column to my best friend every day. She says its the brightest thing that shows up on her phone every morning. I bet Hemingway never heard that from anyone. Keep writing and keep watching Andy Griffith. It does a heart good.

  128. Nix LaVerdi - May 21, 2018 2:04 pm

    Emmy Lou is priceless too!

  129. Art Cate - May 21, 2018 2:05 pm

    I think this definition pretty well sums it up: “n literature, writing style often refers to the manner of expressing thought in language characteristic of an individual, period, school, or nation.[1] However, ‘writing style’ may also refer to linguistic aspects that identify a particular writer [2]. Thus, style is a term that may refer, at one and the same time, to both conventions that go beyond the individual writer and to singular aspects of individual writing. Beyond the essential elements of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, writing style is the choice of words, sentence structure, and paragraph structure, used to convey the meaning effectively.[3] The former are referred to as rules, elements, essentials, mechanics, or handbook; the latter are referred to as style, or rhetoric.[4] The rules are about what a writer does; style is about how the writer does it. While following the rules drawn from established English usage, a writer has great flexibility in how to express a concept.[5] The point of good writing style is to

    express the message to the reader simply, clearly, and convincingly;[6][7][8][9]
    keep the reader attentive, engaged, and interested;[10][11]
    not to

    display the writer’s personality;[12]
    demonstrate the writer’s skills, knowledge, or abilities;[13][14]
    although these are usually evident and are what experts consider the writer’s individual style.[15][16]”

    I like your style.

  130. paula jones - May 21, 2018 2:05 pm

    Two things:
    1. He REALLY doesn’t ‘get it.’
    2. So . . . I match his masters degree in English and raise it with a doctorate in linguistics . . . AND I have taught English. Good writing is a lot less about proper punctuation and a lot more about evoking a response and stirring up feelings. You deserve a doctorate for that alone. I seldom read SOTS without receiving the priceless gift of a smile on my face or a lump in my throat. BRAVO! Keep up the good work.

  131. swuppet - May 21, 2018 2:09 pm

    I am flabbergasted that someone would write something so wicked to you, but then I remember we live in a fallen world, and jealousy over another’s talent, ability and God-given gifts often bring forth the worst in others.
    I am a professional writer with 20 years of experience getting paid by big successful companies to lure people into buying more stuff, and yet I recognize in you a talent greater than my own, and most of the other celebrated writers out there, who like me, have been given every financial and educational opportunity on a silver platter.
    Sean, you are not just a good writer, you are a great one. I cannot say this enough.
    Your stories connect people to the good that’s inside of them and to what really matters in life. I am daily surprised by your ability to make me cry with just a few words and I consider myself a tough nut to crack. More importantly, it doesn’t take you 50 pages to make a point. You have a gift for seeing the heart of a matter and taking the reader to it with such beautiful turns of phrase. I love how you choose to see the good in others. I love how you love your wife and your dog and your family, and how you honor them and the common man.
    I had fallen out of love with writing, but after a friend invited me to hear you in Decatur, I remembered what I love about it.
    In reading that horrible letter to you, I was instantly reminded of how confounded the Pharisees often were that Jesus, a carpenter’s son, with no formal academic training or scholarly degrees could teach with such authority, wisdom and insight.
    As a fellow son of God, you too, have been given an extraordinary gift which you use well to bless others.
    On that note, I’d say you’re in good company.
    P.S. Luke 2:47, Acts 4:13 and James 5:17 are your verses for the day. 😉

  132. Starr - May 21, 2018 2:09 pm

    And this is why so many love you ! I can’t wait to read your stories. Everyday I receive too many emails from too many people that I don’t want to hear from. Then, I see yours. I can’t wait to read what you have to say. It’s real. It’s life. By the way, I have never read anything that man has written. Now, I never want too ! Have a blessed day ! Once again, you made me smile !


  133. Bill Heaton - May 21, 2018 2:12 pm

    Dear Sean,

    Yes you are – a good writer, that is. When someone writes something and it elicits emotion, it is good writing. You do that. Your stories make me laugh or cry or get angry…sometimes all three, and more. Your stuff either reminds me of how good things are or how bad things can be – and that makes me want to DO something about it. Now, sometimes that ‘doing’ something is taking time to nap or sit and ponder, but that’s good.

    And it’s because of good writing.

    Now our friend with the masters degree may know HOW to write good, but that doesn’t mean that he can.

    Plus, he should stick to giving actual advice and not let his personal preferences lead him to think that he should presuppose to tell another WHAT to write about.

    Never quit talking about your dog.


  134. Jeff Corkran - May 21, 2018 2:14 pm

    Some people just don’t get it, do they? I also have a master’s degree and have worked in higher education for about 15 years, after retiring from a career in the US Army. But I understand the value of people who don’t have the education I do, of people who have lived full lives and understood what is most important. It’s sure not the education.

    Sean, I’ll make a deal with you — you keep writing and I’ll keep reading. I write, too. I self-published a book in 2008 and now I write songs. Some of the songs may not be very good, but I keep writing and singing them. People listen and I haven’t been thrown out of any places yet.

    By the way, as a dog lover, I really enjoy hearing about Thelma Lou, just as I did about Ellie Mae.

    Some people just don’t get it.

  135. Sandra Hangey - May 21, 2018 2:14 pm

    To me you are one of the best writers on the face of the planet. I love reading about life as you see it, I am a lot like you. Please keep on a writin…..I read daily, but don’t always comment… Love the way you SEE life. As It IS…

  136. Beverly Mathias - May 21, 2018 2:15 pm

    I think you are wonderful and my opinion counts!

  137. Alison - May 21, 2018 2:16 pm

    HA! Two observations……First, ” Don’t Get It” was offering up a “healthy dose of reality” to a young man who has already lived a healthy dose of reality. Second observation, when a person leads off with ” I don’t mean to be a jerk….”, they usually do.

  138. Kristina Hansard - May 21, 2018 2:18 pm

    Beautifully said, your genuine heart for mankind always shines through in all of your writings. My mother, who is a saint on Earth was a GED Teacher/Director in the southwestern corner in the hills of Virginia for over twenty years. Your story resonated as the images of her students ages 60+ to 17 came through my mind. Does education matter….yes, but do degrees and letters after your name make you intuitive and brilliant…no. We all have our own story and every single girl and boy have the opportunity write their own here in our country. Some have struggles others will never comprehend but it is our job as other human beings to help all of these people along the way. And you are a shining example of this through your writing and your life….Don’t stop 🙂 Thank you!

  139. Gaynell Lumsden - May 21, 2018 2:19 pm

    The jerk who sent that letter hasn’t lived – he only existed. I love your letters Sean – and look forward to them every day. Keep your writings coming please.

  140. Al-San Ferderber - May 21, 2018 2:22 pm

    Oh my goodness! Never before have I responded to that sort of hogwash. Something so persnickety and unhelpful. Should I mention coming down off his high horse? I’m glad you chose to respond too. I want to say who cares what he says, but obviously most of us do.
    I am thankful for your mama! She has the right song in her heart and she knows exactly what you can accomplish – anything, anything at all. I don’t think you need us to pump you up, but a little praise goes a long way. You write in your true voice and that is what really matters. Your column is the first thing I read each morning. You make me smile, laugh right out loud, sniffle and even cry. Keep on writing for us Sean. The “don’t get its” should listen with their hearts and learn. Thank you for starting my days on the right foot. Al-San

  141. Deborah M Haddock - May 21, 2018 2:27 pm

    He may not have meant to be a jerk, but he sure was! I look forward to your writings every day! Keep up the great writing….and I love hearing about your dogs!

  142. lissahamblen - May 21, 2018 2:28 pm

    Sean, I am a journalist with 30 plus years of writing television news. Your critic would also dislike my writing but your style is very much like a news writer, tight and succinct. Still, somehow you manage to paint incredible imagery with few words. I would love to be so prolific as I stare at my own blog and wish I would devote more time to it. I’m also the person who organizes the animal rescues to appear on our live broadcasts so you can keep writing about Thelma Lou and any other animal that inspires you. Anyone who has ever loved a dog and been loved “by” a dog will weep as you describe your loss and triumphs with your babies. Keep writing my friend. You inspire the rest of us…and in the end, isn’t that what you hope to do?

  143. Janet C Averett - May 21, 2018 2:30 pm

    Sean, I am a nobody like you. I do have little college degree that almost killed me trying to get. Almost had my bachelors degree but Florida State University stole that opportunity from me at the last hour. The orders must have come from a person such as your writer that condemned you. I know that you and I are both worthy in the sight of our Lord and our dogs. That is all that really matters now isn’t it. Keep on being you and please let us know how your pup is doing. Godspeed. Jan Averett

  144. Sue - May 21, 2018 2:34 pm

    Perhaps that I-Just-Don’t-Get-It person’s sister was trying to tell her (or him) something! And, if it is just so bad, no one is being forced to read your writings! I don’t miss a day! You are writing life and if it helps, saves, heals or inspires just one person, that one person needed it on that particular day! You have been through the School of Hard Knocks to write your story! Sometimes God works that way!

  145. Jacque Kochak - May 21, 2018 2:37 pm

    To the guy who has a master’s degree (a big so-what for writing) and has written three books (let me see them): I beg to differ. I’ve been a magazine and newspaper writer and editor for years, have won some two dozen writing/reporting awards, and have written a book, too. I think Sean is a fine writer – an I have a lot of writerly friends who agree. So there!

  146. Patricia A Schmaltz - May 21, 2018 2:37 pm

    Sean, I would like to offer a counter to Mr. (I’m being gracious here) “I-Don’t-Get-It”. I have a Bachelors in Vocational Education, a Masters in Instructional Technology, and my Doctorate is in Management. I’ve been published numerous times, in global publications.

    I LOVE to read what you write. I read your posts every single day. I may not always relate to them, but your voice sings to me.

    I’m more about the HEART shinning through, rather than proper grammar. You Sean have EXCELLENT word choice (as I love capital letters!). We all have our issues, our own journey and our own connections to the world. I will not judge “I-Don’t-Get-It”, just as I don’t judge the Kardashian family (well, maybe a little!). Free will is a great concept; he should exercise it like I do with the K-family. If you don’t want to read/hear/see something, make yourself busy elsewhere. It is not constructive use of time to tear someone else down. Perhaps the mortar in his brick wall is made of jealousy?

    Keep on writing please. I will continue to enjoy hearing your voice.

  147. Mac - May 21, 2018 2:41 pm

    Sean, you inspire me everyday with your writings. I imagine it’s hard for that 9 to 5 desk job jerk to understand what the trenches are like. Silver spoons must be nice. We wouldn’t know anything about that. Small town southern boys from Alabama don’t get that chance. Continue everyday to write your heart away. Give Thelma Lou my love. God bless brother.

    PS. I pray ol buddy doesn’t find his way into the comments. His feelings may become hurt….Bless it

  148. Kathy - May 21, 2018 2:42 pm

    I get it, Sean. ❤️❤️

  149. Donna Gulliver - May 21, 2018 2:45 pm

    Sean, every one of your columns is saved in a folder on my computer, to read and re read, since a friend “introduced us” a couple of years ago. The highlight of my morning is reading your columns! My mother loved to write poems and stories and my grandfather did not let her use the full scholarship she was awarded when she graduated from high school. “Farm girls don’t need an education”. At age 57, she went to college and graduated at 62, as an English major. It is never too late! However, in my opinion, some people are smarter without a degree, than some who have one. I have worked in the public school system and have know some pretty dumb educated people! Common sense, using what you’ve got, and love of people and animals counts for a lot!

  150. Carla Dillenburg - May 21, 2018 2:46 pm

    You tell ‘im, Sean. You are a writer. You write. And I love to read what you’ve written.

  151. Karen - May 21, 2018 2:47 pm

    I truly hope that I-JUST-DON’T-GET-IT is not a teacher, because of all of the potential talent that would be discouraged. It is interesting that this individual chooses to criticize your writing, while using terms and vocabulary like “awful”, “dumb”, and your stuff needs work”.
    Please keep writing about your dog and all of your magical stories.

  152. Phyllis Bergenholtz - May 21, 2018 2:47 pm

    Sean, I love you and your writing. You are an inspiration to me. I know that letters like that bother you, even though you try not to let it. I hope knowing how much so many people love you helps with that. I agrer with one commenter…. the writer of that note is probably from the north, as I am ashamed to say that I am from there too and often am confused by the people around me. Hugs to you and you dog.

  153. Jane Vaught - May 21, 2018 2:48 pm

    I believe you’re brilliant and would read your column any day before others. You write about life and people, and dogs. I love it.
    Please never stop writing from your heart

  154. Joe Murray - May 21, 2018 2:48 pm

    “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” — Ernest Hemingway

  155. Evelyn Flowers - May 21, 2018 2:52 pm

    Sean, I love all your blogs! I cried when I read about Ellie Mae going to Heaven and still read it almost everyday! To me you are a” GRAND WRITER” who understands the average Joe! Keep up the good work!!

  156. Deborah S Wilson - May 21, 2018 2:53 pm

    Way to go Sean! Love love your stories! Keep on writing!

  157. Maxine - May 21, 2018 2:55 pm

    Sean, never give up your interpretation of heart. Yours and others, that is the important ingredient in any writing and you have honed it to perfection. We will read as long as you write.

  158. Elizabeth - May 21, 2018 2:59 pm

    Writing, like art, is in the eye and heart of the beholder. Being able to provoke emotions is a valuable asset to a writer and you certainly are one. Keep on keeping on!

  159. Jeri Shuck - May 21, 2018 3:00 pm

    I know you’ll probably never read this Sean, but I love your writing. I wish I knew more people who appreciate ordinary folks who care for others. The news is full of “experts” like the guy who said you weren’t a writer. Don’t believe them. Also anybody who doesn’t like stories about dogs certainly isn’t worth listening to. Keep writing!!!

  160. Lynn - May 21, 2018 3:00 pm

    I have a couple of degrees, one being English. But the one I am most proud is “life” and enjoying your heartfelt thoughts each morning with my coffee. Thanks for giving me hope for the future each day when I read your positive thoughts.

  161. Rita - May 21, 2018 3:02 pm

    Just read the latest from Sean. I don’t know how you can’t love his writing. I always feel like I live where he lives and can hear and smell and see everything he writes about and I live in a suburb of Chicago. He truly has a gift. I feel sorry for that woman that she can’t enjoy his words.

  162. Toni - May 21, 2018 3:05 pm

    Go gitter! I too quit school in eighth grade, not for reasons as devastating as yours, I just hated school! Oh how I have longed for an education since then.I have met you, heard you speak,saw the kindness and the approachability that you have. They don’t have a school for that,no degree, it’s a gift from God! Please, continue to share it!

  163. Ithamar - May 21, 2018 3:06 pm

    Writing books and selling them are two different things. There are many writers with no readers. Bookstores are full of them. Have a high suspicion that the arrogant “many degrees” arse that wrote the criticism is of the sort.

  164. Nancy S. Jones - May 21, 2018 3:08 pm

    Sean you are my daily read. You are truly one of the nicest guys I’ve never met. Stay the course as I’ve said many times you are “REAL”

  165. Penny Carpenter - May 21, 2018 3:12 pm

    Writing from the heart eclipses writing from the head most of the time…all of the time for you.

  166. Opal Croke - May 21, 2018 3:13 pm

    Dear Sean,

    Please keep writing! Your stories are enlightening and educational. I too have degrees in English, letters after my name, etc. and they mean I chose to play in the education sandbox, that’s all.
    Last time I checked it is still a free country and if someone does not like your writing, don’t read it. I like it. Your writing supports me in noticing how luckily I am to be here on this planet with my DOG.
    I just have one comment for your distractor-/ Bless his heart!

  167. Ed Haas - May 21, 2018 3:16 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I think that your post are real experiences in life. I see that you put yourself through school, lived through uncertain futures with your father shooting himself creating misdirection for your life. I lived through many of the same type of uncertainties myself. I had a friend many years who most of the south heard of. His name was Jerry Glower. Jerry was a christian man. Jerry was also an Grand Ole Opry Star.
    Jerry had a saying ,”those people are educated far beyond their intelligence”. The next time some of the educated idiots want you to feel inferior too them don’t be afraid to let them know just how really smart they really aren’t.
    I cried for several day’s when my dogs, Molly, Hank, Rufus and Daisy died.

  168. Rhea Wynn - May 21, 2018 3:18 pm

    Sean – Thank you for the stories that you write. As a high school English teacher, I wish I could inspire my students to write with the same heart and passion that you have. I guess I just haven’t helped them find what inspires them. It takes some people longer than others. I tell my students all the time to “ignore ignorance.” Someone who thinks their opinions, ideas, subject matter, etc. are better than someone else’s is displaying ignorance. Just ignore the critics and keep on being you. I love reading your blog every morning.

  169. Peggy M. Windham - May 21, 2018 3:21 pm

    I’m so glad you put that jerk in his place! You’re a great writer!

  170. Barbara - May 21, 2018 3:22 pm

    Sean, We Understand and Love your writings!
    Thank You!! ?
    They make us feel at home and give us peace!
    PLEASE KEEP WRITING your stories about Real Life!

  171. Tim - May 21, 2018 3:29 pm

    Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.
    What you lack in riches or education Sean, is far exceeded by your ability to tell the real story that makes us all reflect, be grateful and hopefully empathize with our fellow ‘man’. Thank you for that.

  172. Alan Brock - May 21, 2018 3:32 pm

    Sean, I have a Masters and Doctorate degree. They mean squat! I love your writing and bloodhounds. I pity the dark soul that wrote you those words to you. You start my mornings off in a good way by your writings. Keep writing and hug your dog for me.
    Alan Brock

  173. Darlene Day - May 21, 2018 3:42 pm

    Dear “I Just Don’t Get It”,

    Could it be that you’re jealous because Sean has no college degree and yet thousands upon thousands of people read and enjoy his work every day? Are you angry that his name and works are so recognizable? How popular are your three published works? Have they helped anyone in ANY way??? Are you wishing your life was a bit more like Sean’s? As for your “not meaning to be cruel or a jerk”, you certainly did a great job of being both. Your mama must be so proud!

    Love you Sean,

  174. Cathy Weaver - May 21, 2018 3:46 pm

    I am an English major graduate from Auburn (War Eagle, hey). All of your stories are precious, poignant and perfect. In the words of my husband’s high school friend, “This makes my butt want to suck a lemon.”. I believe Thelma Lou would agree.

  175. Jack Quanstrum - May 21, 2018 3:51 pm

    Your special Sean. Because your writings relate to real life and real people. Your the best writer of stories I have ever read.

  176. Marinan Brewer - May 21, 2018 4:03 pm

    Pay no’tentiin to some people_— rest of us regular folks love ur stuff!
    Remember u can’t FIX STUPID!

  177. Edna B. - May 21, 2018 4:09 pm

    Wowsie! Well I guess “I Don’t Get It” won’t be writing to you anymore. Such a small mind some folks have. I live in the North. Half my children live in the South and the other half live in the North. So I guess I have the best of both worlds. I worked really hard for my Masters Degree. It took till I was almost forty to get it. I didn’t need it. I just love to learn. I also love to read.

    I have to say that you are the most enjoyable writer that I have found, and I look forward to your stories every day. They start my day off with a smile or a giggle, and sometimes with tears in my eyes. You have a God given gift. Keep on using it. And please keep on writing about your doggie, or maybe even that raccoon. I love animals. I just could not fathom a day without my little Pogo. God Bless You, Sean. Hugs, Edna B.

  178. Dale Head - May 21, 2018 4:14 pm

    LOVE your blog – love your writing – and if I were your Momma, I’d be proud of you too! I-DON’T-GET-IT isn’t worthy of a reply, but you indeed wrote a GREAT ONE! Keep writing!

  179. Dr. Dana L. Key - May 21, 2018 4:17 pm

    I have an earned Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, and am always appalled at the ignorance of someone who can’t see the wisdom and talent in others.

    BTW, I taught English in high school and at the university level and graduate school!!! I have taught English, reading, education courses, and methods to teachers in our International Programs serving teachers internationally to help them earn graduate degrees.

    I find your writing to be exceptionally thought-provoking, entertaining, and I hope you don’t change anything!

  180. Constance Ridgway - May 21, 2018 4:30 pm


  181. Ellen - May 21, 2018 4:35 pm

    Wow. You obviously don’t need my support, Sean, and I “should” just move on, but you didn’t deserve those remarks. I’m also not clear if I-Just-Don’t-Get-It thought he(?) was helping or was just being snarky. Besides, I doubt he’s read writers like Rick Bragg (for instance), but it sounds like he hasn’t. One I’m almost sure he hasn’t read is the late Celestine Sibley who worked for the Atlanta Journal in it’s heyday and beyond. She knew all the important people in Atlanta, but it was mostly the people only God loved whose lives we heard about. And she was a tough newspaper woman who stared out writing obituaries. Celestine lived in a little wood cabin on Crababble Road and let Atlanta grow up around her.

    You are probably too young to have read her too.

    Oh, my goodness, I almost forgot Lewis Grizzard who made a fine living, and was acknowledge by The New York Times as “the writer and master of southern humor.” He was a wise man, and many people still quote him. One pearl of wisdom I still hear quoted was “Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” I don’t know if you read Grizzard, Sean, but remind me a little of him. I’m pretty sure he liked smelly dogs too. It’s hard to stay out of his book titles. Oh boy. He died too young. (“They Took Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat”)

    I know you protected his name, but if those books were published, maybe IJDGI will write back and give you names and titles so we could pick them up from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. His writing could probably help people like me.

    I really did try to take the snarky parts out of this, but I probably crossed the line in the previous paragraph. He probably won’t make it this far down anyway. I’m guessing he didn’t read all the places where you have been published, or doesn’t know how impressive some of them are. Or that you have authored seven novels.

    BTW, you are the master of the pithy sentence and short paragraph. I’ve often wondered how long it takes to write one of your stories. Even people who love you may not know that your kind of writing isn’t necessarily easy to do. You have honed your craft. I hope you will keep dreaming big.

    Heart and Passion? For Sure!

    • Janice Barfield - May 21, 2018 5:18 pm

      Right on, Ellen! Yes, Sean does remind me of our beloved Grizzard, who wrote of real people too. I am so honored to read and support both these wonderful men. Makes me a better person.

  182. Lynda from Alaska - May 21, 2018 4:43 pm

    Sean, love your stories. Pay no attention to the “just don’t get it guy” –he is the one missing out. Scratch Thelma Lou’s ears for me, enjoy hearing about her antics too.

  183. Elaine Price - May 21, 2018 4:47 pm

    The letter writer is a pompous, hard hearted, arrogant, clueless individual. Her words are hers. You are an honest-to-goodness human who cares. You are an amazing WRITER because your words come from your heart and touch all of ours. Her words are stones.

    I love both your fur babies, Ellie & Thelma. They are worth more than words.

  184. Sharron Paris - May 21, 2018 4:51 pm

    The first line of his comment shows how insincere this person is. Or maybe he just has a natural talent for being what he claims he is not trying to be. Nonetheless, you sure don’t need his approval to keep on writing.. that being said I sure would miss you and the love you share so freely with the rest of us. And I’ll be that guy has a gerbil – he sure doesn’t have a dog… If he did he would not be so bitter.

  185. Dianne - May 21, 2018 5:00 pm

    Sean, I would rather read your “writing” every day than to have to suffer through one page of that stuffed shirt who doesn’t know anything about writing what appeals to the hearts, minds and souls of people. Keep up your writing…….you’re one of the best!!

  186. Bobbie Epting - May 21, 2018 5:07 pm

    Amen Sean!

  187. Janice Barfield - May 21, 2018 5:11 pm

    Oh Sean! No words. Thank you for always being real and honest and transparent. Writing/publishing books doesn’t make you a writer. Heart connection does. You are way ahead in spades. Love you and all your powerful words. Go gettem buddy. You are beyond awesome!!

  188. Donna - May 21, 2018 5:12 pm

    Prayers for “I don’t get it.” I will pray that one day he will get it. I love you, Sean!

  189. everylittleting - May 21, 2018 5:33 pm

    I want to “suck at writing” like Sean. I want to know that my words and insights made someone see the world in a gentler, more positive way. Sean-you have a gift. A WONDERFUL gift. Never stop.

  190. Lynn - May 21, 2018 5:40 pm

    Sean, your words remind me every day of what’s really important in life….bless your heart ♥️

  191. Stephen - May 21, 2018 5:42 pm

    That jackass needs a healthy dose of reality …

  192. D. White - May 21, 2018 5:52 pm

    I enjoy your stories!!!

  193. Andrea W. Miller - May 21, 2018 5:57 pm

    Arrogance does not make a good writer. That so-called writer needs to … well never mind. And I love reading about Thelma Lou. I share her doings with my dog, Pixie. She loves it too.

  194. Angelicastar - May 21, 2018 6:01 pm

    Sean keep doing what you are doing and make yourself happy. You have bullies every where you go….and those online would never be able to face you and criticize you but online they seem to be stars. Someone is reading what they are saying and they are then somebody. You have those that live everyday of their miserable lives just to hurt someone else. You are so right, you can be whomever and whatever that you want to be and as long as it’s at your satisfaction, that’s what matter. You have those also think they are the smartest person in the world just because they went to college. There are some who went to college and too dumb to accomplish a decent career behind it. Ignore stupidity and keep on doing what you are doing. God love you and I do to…..then to it only matter because you know God love you. Have a great day and keep writing.

  195. janiesjottings - May 21, 2018 6:18 pm

    I’d rather read your writing than any other writer. Everyone does have a story and you’re the best at sharing your story and the stories of others. If you ever quit writing a lot of people will be broken hearted. Thank you Sean for doing what you do. You’re the best!!!

  196. CaroG87 - May 21, 2018 6:24 pm

    I’d say “bless his heart” but it wouldn’t be the kind meaning. But (commence Victoria-Beckham-level-RBF) bless. his. heart. anyway. You keep doing you. I love your writing. It’s hopeful in a world that’s way too short on it.

  197. JanieB - May 21, 2018 6:40 pm

    No, you don’t, and I’m sad for you. Mom always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’m adding a note… Read whatever restores your faith in the goodness of people. I read Sean.

  198. Annie P. - May 21, 2018 6:41 pm

    “Sic” the writer downing you. Guess they learned not to belittle you. Your audience will for sure come at them. Keep on encouraging us to be more grateful, forgiving, humble, generous and loving people. XO to you and yours including the new puppy.

  199. Jones - May 21, 2018 6:47 pm

    I’m proud of you too. You bring happiness to many and I’m glad and honored to be one of them!! And I won’t tire of Thelma Lou!

  200. Queenie - May 21, 2018 6:50 pm

    Bless her heart! That’s the southern saying for: she ain’t right! and shake our head at her lack of knowledge.

    Just so you’ll know… your writing has spoken many words to so many people… who add their own words to the stories you write. So many of us have seen what you have written, lived what you have written…but are too afraid to put it on paper. Education doesn’t make a man acceptable. Wisdom, love, and whole lot of hard history where beauty is made out of ashes… this is is what makes a true man/woman. Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us… and just bless that highly educated woman’s heart because we all could use an extra blessing or two.

  201. Shirley Elskes - May 21, 2018 7:08 pm

    I love your writing and read your stories every day. I look forward to hearing about Thelma Lou and cried the day we lost Ellie Mae. I am proud of you!

  202. Barbara Wilson - May 21, 2018 7:09 pm

    We love your stories! My husband has me read them to him before he goes to work! Keep it up!

  203. Pat - May 21, 2018 7:21 pm

    I have told so many people about your writings. My day starts out by finding your stories on Facebook. I have shared those stories more than once. You make me feel good about humanity. After Facebook I go to my emails so I can get another dose. I am just sorry I didn’t know about you sooner. I know you didn’t share this story to receive praise but by golly you are going to get it anyway. Please please please keep doing what you have been doing. Always going to be ankle biters out there but you cannot let them keep you from using your God-given talent! I am from Missouri but your writings make me want to move to Alabama!!!

  204. andoro16 - May 21, 2018 8:05 pm

    The best part of this post is “Leave my dog out of this.” Thanks Sean.

  205. Charlotte Hollis - May 21, 2018 8:07 pm

    People are so mean….keep writing…..I’m proud of you & I love you….from TN

  206. Lee - May 21, 2018 8:34 pm

    “she don’t get it” doesn’t. Not a problem…

    I look forward to your email every day, and have enjoyed them all, especially Elllie Mae and Thelma, among many others..

  207. Ann Brinkley - May 21, 2018 8:38 pm

    Love it Sean! Keep on writing!

  208. Nancy Abernathy - May 21, 2018 8:39 pm

    My college roommate of 43 years ago introduced me to your WONDERFUL writing. We both cried when your sweet dog died .We both cheered over the new puppy, please ignore the very rude letter, and just” Bless their heart”!

  209. Cindy S - May 21, 2018 8:42 pm

    “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
    I doubt that IG-NO-RAMUS has ever heard these wise words.
    I sure hope you used his email to clean up after Thelma Lou, but only by wiping the floor with it. I’d hate for his dirty words to touch her sweet behind.

  210. Linda Hodges - May 21, 2018 8:47 pm

    “Don’t Get It” really doesn’t “get it”! Too bad they are the type that probably finds fault with everything and everybody – just a miserable soul! Your writings bring happiness every day to all of us! And I for one loved Ellie Mae even though I never laid eyes on her!

  211. Deborah Storin - May 21, 2018 8:48 pm

    You are a gifted writer. Enjoy your stories so much! Something for everyone.

  212. Gwen Goldman - May 21, 2018 8:56 pm

    I look forward to reading your essays or stories every morning. I like to think they lend something good and clean to a wacked out evil world that overloads on the ugly and bad. Thank you for your kindness and your uplifting words. Your writings are special so keep up the good work. And a word to “Don’t Get It” — DON’T READ IT.

  213. Stephanie Smith - May 21, 2018 9:04 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE you and Ellie Mae and Thelma Lou from up here in Yankee-land. ‘Don’t Get It’ is an understatement if ‘it’ means love and life.

    I loved Ellie Mae and I love your heart for others. If becoming a Master of English means one loses his mastery of kindness and compassion then I’ll keep my little old hard-earned-as-a-single-mom-adult BS in Business Management any day.

    Your writings are food for the soul.

  214. Nanette Lynn - May 21, 2018 9:09 pm

    I would say from the number of comments this IDGI idget touched a nerve. I’ve known way too many people with way too many letters after their names who did not have the heart God gave a gnat. You are the very first thing I read every morning and I hope to goodness you continue. It is hard to find someone who can write like you do. Especially since Pat Conroy recently passed.

  215. Lynn Pappas - May 21, 2018 9:13 pm

    LOVE to hear about your dog!!❤

  216. Kathleen Irvin Agnew - May 21, 2018 9:13 pm

    Dear Sean, Writing should I one thing. Stir ones soul. Your writings do that for me so thank you. Thank you for allowing me to see things I may have missed. Thank you for sharing your fur babies with me. Please keep them coming.

  217. Ann Syfert - May 21, 2018 9:45 pm

    Sean, I have just read every comment here and everyone of them feel like I do. You make our day so bright. and us to be more loving to our fellow man. We love your heart, humor and your writing. I would not be the same if I missed a day of your smiles, laughs and tears. We all love Thelma Lou and all your family. God bless you mightily, Sean. Don’t ever, ever question your ability to write. We love you to the moon and back.

  218. Carolyn Huggins - May 21, 2018 10:01 pm

    Well, as we say in the South: To the person sitting so high and mighty on his/her credentials: “Bless your heart!” I wonder if he/she EVER got over 200 positive comments on his/her 3 books? Wonder if he/she has ever come near touching hearts and bringing people to tears with stories that were so very REAL that one would have to be a stone to not be touched by them. Do not EVER pay any attention to anyone who tells you that you are not a “writer;” you, sweet sir, are one of the finest I’ve ever read! Keep on keepin’ on!! (Sumter,S.C.)

  219. Wanda Coleman - May 21, 2018 10:17 pm

    Well, “Don’t Get It” just doesn’t get it! They should really be ashamed! If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all. Mercy, Do Not Change One Thing! Love you and your dog just the way you are.

  220. Linda Bailey - May 21, 2018 10:22 pm

    I hope and pray your style of writing never changes!!! Every word you put on paper is heartfelt and most of all Real!

  221. Judy - May 21, 2018 10:30 pm

    Great come back from a wonderful writer! Keep doing what you are doing. I look forward to your stories daily.

  222. Ronnie - May 21, 2018 10:41 pm

    You are a wonderful writer to all of us who feel as you do about mankind. We love you!

  223. Leo Larkin - May 22, 2018 12:04 am

    She needs to shut up and get a life. And I love your dog stories.

    A fellow (lady) writer

    Leo Larkin

  224. Perri Williamson - May 22, 2018 12:12 am

    Well Sean I’m partial. I want to come to your defense when it just isn’t necessary. I’m sure many of your dog story loving devotees feel the same.

    One day when you’re more bored than you can stand you ought to count up how many folks tell you to keep up your writing—how your writing is the first thing they read each day. Tally it for us. Inquiring minds want to know.

    As much as I ‘d like to be a true believer on your behalf I am questioning the necktie on Levon. But who among us hasn’t strayed from what is sane? The kicker is, even though I’m questioning your judgement, I’d darn sure like to hear the whole story! Maybe throw in something about your pup, too.

    Keep writing Sean. No nincompoops allowed.

  225. Marilyn Jordan - May 22, 2018 12:36 am

    I love your stories. You are my new Lewis Grizzard…also very similar to Rick Bragg. Do not change anything about your writing style…that includes stores about Thelma and your lovely, sweet, supportive wife.

  226. Kimberly - May 22, 2018 12:58 am

    Stop being a crap bird!

  227. J W - May 22, 2018 1:46 am

    As an Auburn graduate (11 total years) I feel qualified to designate you as a POS that is obviously jealous of Sean the writer who communicates with his constituents and states the truth in a very wonderful and intellectual manner. Even an idiot like you can learn from him.

  228. Kim - May 22, 2018 2:41 am

    Love your writing – the beauty is in the simplicity and soul – keep it up. Love all the dog stories, too – looking forward to more. Take care.

  229. judy brand - May 22, 2018 2:44 am

    Dont you pay any attenourtion to I just don’t -Get-it. Snobs never do get it. I like your stuff just fine. I love your stories about your dog. Know just how you feel. Thelma will love you all her life.

  230. Lulu - May 22, 2018 2:59 am

    Just Don’t Get-it has a problem! Your writing is good, soulful and down to earth. Your Dog is a better person than this guy (wanted to use another word).

  231. Donald Haynes - May 22, 2018 3:06 am

    Amen, Sean. I hope to see you on a street in Alabama one day so I can thank you for your writing.

  232. Marty from Alabama - May 22, 2018 3:41 am

    Love it when the REAL writer puts the other writer in line in such a gentle way. You can talk about Thelma all you want. We dog-people love to hear dog-stories. Keep writing, Sean.

  233. Deb Moody - May 22, 2018 4:09 am

    Dear Sean,
    I read your stories every day and look forward to the next one.
    You are a keen observer and an even better story teller. A couple other observers that were great story tellers and WRITERS are Mark Twain and Will Rodgers. I believe you are in good company.
    Much better company than that guy who “Doesn’t Get You”.

  234. Susan - May 22, 2018 10:37 am

    You are the people. You put into words what we can’t. Some won’t get it. We do. Ptttthhhh his pompous arse.

  235. Dey Holmes - May 22, 2018 11:53 am

    Excellent reply to someone who has not yet learned from experience the power of humility. Let’s hope he does one day.

  236. marilynbarnard - May 22, 2018 12:26 pm

    So…he’s written three books. Goodie for him! He doesn’t say what kind, nor does he say they’ve been published! Maybe they are a best-seller and maybe they’re collecting dust! …but that’s all about HIM and has nothing to do with you.

    On the other hand, YOU, sir, are blessed with the archetype of a Storyteller. I believe that you could weave a story around a common, random rock and somehow set it apart from all the others in the rockpile. Everyone/everything has a story and I love how you are able to look beyond first appearances and tell it. Most people are too busy to take note of their surroundings, much less any tale that is also present.
    Personally, I would much rather read about your observances on everyday happenings than some fabricated plot. Fiction merely imitates life. You write about the real deal! Don’t ever stop. Ever.

  237. Connie Havard Ryland - May 22, 2018 1:03 pm

    I write a great response yesterday and couldn’t get it to post. So today, I see that everyone else said it so much better. Your legions of fans don’t care what anybody else thinks. I’m sure you don’t either. Love and hugs. Can’t wait to see you again somewhere near southern Alabama.

    • Marinan Brewer - May 22, 2018 2:15 pm

      Agree with all comments but the one from I DON’T GET IT!
      HE/SHE/IT never will! Need to pray for them

  238. Tom Savage - May 22, 2018 2:59 pm

    Sean. Send that dude (dude is a cuss word in Texas) a chalkenge. Take the number of books he has published. Compare total sales he has with the number of reads you have. Then to be fair, divide your number of reads by, oh I don’t know, say by 1000 or 10,000, just to give him an idea of how your impact on America compares with his.
    Be fair, only include your American reads, not your international reads. Be fair.

  239. Bruce Stover - May 22, 2018 3:11 pm

    I’ve got multiple degrees (Roll Tide) like the jerk who wrote the critique. But unlike him I would like to testify that your media post have brought me great joy, and many of them brought me to tears. You are excellent at what you do. Your style of writing amplifies the human condition from all sides, and that is meaningful. Thank you and please continue I look forward daily to your next story.
    P.S. love your dog too…

  240. Mary Lee - May 22, 2018 3:22 pm

    I think I don’t get never had had it and doesn’t have the capacity to find hoo.

  241. Marsha - May 22, 2018 4:11 pm

    “Don’t get it” certainly does not get “it”. You, Sean, write about what life is all about. The real stuff. Why God put us all on this planet. Love you and kiss your wife and dog.

  242. Deborah Hargis - May 22, 2018 4:57 pm

    Sean, you make my day every time I read your blog. And many times you break my heart. Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt yourself. You are a very talented, soulful writer. Your mama is right, I love Thelma Lou and you!

  243. Barbara Schweck - May 22, 2018 5:11 pm

    Gpd Bless His Heart !! “Don’t Get it”! must have a life filled with the likes of CNN. This person is, however, free to give his opinion but I don’t really care about that opinion. I would love to have the names of the 3 books that you have authored. Be interesting for those of us who care about humanity to review your take on life. By the way, DO NOT EVER gain speak about Thelma Lou like that!!!
    PS He sure does seem to know alot about what you write about. If not impressed by you as a writer, why bother reading your stuff. Maybe Jealous!!

    We love you Sean!!!

    • LARRY WALL - May 22, 2018 10:23 pm

      Uh, that would be 5 books, Barb. You can just google ‘Sean Dietrich’ and find all the info on the books. They are much like the daily posts.

  244. John Delaney - May 22, 2018 7:06 pm

    Sean, I am a university president, a lawyer and a former Mayor of Jacksonville. Two college degrees.
    I love your stuff. Read it every day and have signed up a large circle of friends to read your stuff too. As far as I am concerned, you should win a Pulitzer and Nobel Prize.
    Hope you see this.

  245. LARRY WALL - May 22, 2018 10:16 pm

    Sean, you ‘wascally wabbit’, you shouldn’t make up these little charades of people writing letters being critical of your abilities, which we all know are so varied and to be envied by most all of us readers. It does make for a lot of admiring comments though. But it sure gets your readers’ dander up. 🙂 As for me, I enjoy reading every word and listening to your Saturday radio program. Enough of the accolades though. Get back to work writing the good stuff.

  246. Nedetria Talbot - May 24, 2018 12:27 am

    You are the best darn WORST WRITER, I have ever read. Please keep writing this junk…and DO NOT leave the dog out of it! I hope to see you speaking again soon…best WORST SPEAKER I know too!

  247. Deborah - May 24, 2018 2:17 am

    Im proud of you. You write from the heart and not everyone can do that. You are real, palpable, funny and painfully honest. Not everyone can do that. God gave you a special talent. You are using it. You remind me of my Hero and Idol the late Lewis Grizzard. Would you consider making a book out of your writing? I Think it would sell.

  248. Karen Fluharty - May 24, 2018 12:51 pm

    Sean, the haters gonna hate. You are the south. You are so many of us. We grew up dirt poor, watching our parents work more than they should to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. We grew up though and we are happy and loved. Thank you Sean for taking the time each day to show that there is so much good in the world. And that man has never had a dog. He doesn’t get it and because of that he is missing the finer things in life. Thanks Sean for the happiness and
    Love I feel each day as I read your blog. I Wonder if Mr. English elicits the responses that your writing does. I doubt it. He doesn’t have a dog at his feet.

  249. Carolyn Woods - May 24, 2018 1:27 pm

    Way to go Sean! That lady has never loved a dog! Poor thing. Keep writing because lots of us are still reading!

  250. Teresa - May 24, 2018 4:17 pm

    I love your writing, I cry almost everyday. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  251. Jeanie Crutchfield - May 24, 2018 6:16 pm

    Dear I Just Don’t Get It. To each their own. What makes you think you can tell us what we like to read and what not. You write your stuff and leave Sean of the South alone. We love him and his writings.

    Sean continue to write we love it as can see ourselves in your shoes on some of these wonderful stories.

  252. Deborah Norris - May 24, 2018 6:44 pm

    I love your writings! You keep doing what you’re doing! I read your posts daily. I laugh with you and I cry with you. You help start my day…everyday! Oh! And as far as your dogs go I loved to read about Ellie Mae (so sorry for your loss) and I now love to read about Thelma Lou! Don’t Stop!

  253. Martha M Wilson - May 24, 2018 8:45 pm

    Anyone can put words on a page and claim to be a writer, even the person who sent you the lovely little note. Anyone can publish a book if they really want to, especially if they have enough money. The thing is, there are good writers, bad writers and awesome writers. I wonder how many readers I-Just-Don’t-Get-It has, and how many you have. Sounds like he/she has a major jealousy issue. Keep on writing in your own voice about things that actually matter in the world. It is refreshing to find a positive voice, and just for the record…I would rather spend time with a good dog than with a bitter person.

    Never have been a fan of people who hide behind fake names instead of having the courage to use their own.

  254. Beverly Bartlett - May 24, 2018 9:52 pm

    Your writing moves me, makes me smile, and restores my hope in humanity. What more could you want from a writer? (From someone who is half Yankee and half Southern Mountain. Yes. That combination exists. And both halves love your writing.

  255. kathi hill - May 25, 2018 9:43 pm

    Why, oh why, must people be critical of others in order to make themselves feel bigger? He/she failed. It just made them look small. And your dog? Yeah. Leave the dog out of it. Mine too, while they’re at it.

  256. Karen Ranney Wolkins - May 26, 2018 12:24 am

    Perhaps my Bachelors in English explains it, but with ALL of the material available out there, yours is the ONLY blog I read daily. Your writing is rich and simple all at once. Full of life and love, refreshing humility and delightful humor. I know you don’t need my reassurance, but please, don’t change a thing. KRW. P.S. And I’ll never tire of reading about your dog.

  257. Jan - May 26, 2018 5:35 pm

    Your stories take me home. This Southern Alaskan appreciates every word you type. Your critics can stick it where the sun don’t shine! Keep speaking from your heart. That’s what makes a great writer.

  258. Mary Ellen Hall - May 27, 2018 10:37 pm


  259. Emily - May 30, 2018 4:02 am

    I have just started reading your stories…I love them! They are like a Norman Rockwell painting. Bright, sweet and a very true depiction of life. I live in Alabama, but am originally from up North and my husband even farther up North than myself! Yet, we have never been happier or more at home than down here in Alabama…people can be friendly everywhere, but southern hospitality is no joke!
    How dare he mention your hound!! He must have never been loved by a being that loves to try and smell your smells, and truly thinks that your bed is theirs as well! It is good to have positive and negative critics, but making a rude comment about your pooch, well that’s how someone else looses a fight….any way, thank you for the stories.

  260. Jenny Young - June 1, 2018 8:52 pm

    It sounds like ‘I-just-don’t-get-it’ hasn’t lived long enough. Those who have letters behind their names sometimes have to live longer to realize what real life is all about….sadly some of them never do. The longer you go to school before you enter the real world….the longer it takes you to grow up.
    I’ve been married to a man for 31 years. He has a few letters behind his name but he would say most of those degrees are worthless….especially if it’s from a soft major like English. You can spend so much time in words that you can’t see beyond to what is real.
    I’m also surprised ‘I-just-don’t-get-it’ didn’t use his/her real name? We’d really like to read what a real writer writes? Maybe he/she isn’t old enough yet to deal with a healthy dose of reality but is only old enough to actually speak/write? He/she doesn’t want us critiquing their words?
    I do see the irony in the fact that Sean tells the stories of real people…real lives so it must mean he isn’t a writer? The most powerful words from history & today are the stories of real people. The truth & facts of who they are & what they live. Being able to share true stories that touch the deepest parts of us is a talent that would be ruined by a degree.

  261. Tina - July 7, 2018 9:45 pm

    Sean – Some people have no soul. And no love. Ignore them. You’ve got enough soul & love for all of us. And I’d bet a Chic-Fil-A sandwich you’re writing is better than his. Just sayin’.

  262. Jana - July 20, 2018 9:04 am

    I’m not your Mom but I love you still!

  263. Grant - July 20, 2018 12:50 pm

    Dude! Your writing is great! Rock on! Bugs me when narcissistic sociopaths lash out at folks with true hearts such as yourself.

  264. Barb truex - July 20, 2018 2:17 pm

    Pay no attention to that negative individual. I love your stories. Your words make me see in my mind as clear as can be, the various people you are writing about. (Did you just read that last sentence? It was grammatically incorrect, but it sure did express my feelings!) And isn’t that the purpose of writing? Helping others see what you see?! Keep writing. Keep telling us about your dog, your sweet wife and your thoughts. By the way, I lived in a trailer for a few years, several years ago. It was fun! Nana Barb

  265. De - July 20, 2018 2:30 pm

    I’m reading your work, not his. I can read 100s of books written by arrogant English majors with proper grammar. I could care less. I want to read heart, soul, real life. I want to be moved by what I read. Keep doing you, keep being you. You’re the best at that. And just say bless his heart to that rude man. Because….country roads are much better than slick, super highways. You are the country road that warms my heart & soul.

  266. Elizabeth Shown Mills - July 20, 2018 2:57 pm

    Sean, I’ve written 3 books, too. Plus twelve more. I still envy your talent. No degree teaches the kind of eyes you see with or the heart you feel with. Please keep sharing your insights with us.

  267. Belinda - July 20, 2018 3:38 pm

    I’m so glad you believed your mother. I look forward to your stories everyday and prefer them over CNN. Your writing has inspired me to look for the little things and be grateful. As you’ve shared the way the seemingly little things impact others lives. it has encouraged me to smile more and give more (time, smiles, words, money etc. ). Never ever quit writing about your dog. It makes me love mine even more. You make a difference.

  268. Brenda - July 20, 2018 4:59 pm

    When I read your columns I “see” the countryside you write about. I “feel” when I read your stories. Only a good writer can evoke emotions and feelings. Love your stories. Hope to attend one of your talks one day.

  269. Steve Winfield - July 20, 2018 6:46 pm

    Best one yet. Period.
    From the number of comments here I’m not the only one that thinks so, either.
    God bless you.

  270. Robin - July 20, 2018 7:18 pm

    Sean, if he dislikes your writing so much how come has read it enough to be sick of your dog.

  271. olmyrt51 - July 20, 2018 7:51 pm

    There’s ‘book learning’ type writing, and then there’s writing from the heart. Thanks for having a good heart. <3

  272. pageturners343Pat - July 20, 2018 10:07 pm

    If she doesn’t
    like it don’t read it. Keep writing…I like to read it!

  273. Hollie - July 21, 2018 3:16 am

    I know a lot of people that want to “see the world”. It is a vast place. I, on the other hand, want to KNOW the world. I want to know sweet folks that see things like I do AND differently. I want to visit a place and go OFF the beaten path. On that path, I want to hear others and their stories. My Facebook page is NOT covered with pictures of places I’ve been. But it’s full of pictures of people I love and the time, meals, and laughter we’ve shared together. Press on, brother.


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