Dear Sean

That’s what I’ve always believed good writing feels like. Like it was written by a nice person.

DEAR SEAN:

I started reading your blog last month because some of my students follow you on Instagram and said you were “cool,” but honestly, sir, you disappoint me somewhat.

Some of your writing is nothing but flippance and poor attempts at humor that is sometimes inappropriate, and even sacreligious…

The purpose of this email is to encourage you to abandon irreverence and cheap teenage humor, and stop using fragment sentences!

Do yourself proud, Sean. Emulate the great American authors of our time, and really put yourself into it. And just like I tell my students, “If you continue to work hard, you might even get a book published.”

I’m sorry if this offends you, but I tell the truth for a living,

ENGLISH-TEACHER-IN-AUSTIN

DEAR ENGLISH:

I’m afraid you’re right about me, ma’am. I’ll admit, I’m not much of a role model. But I’d like to think I’m a nice guy. And maybe that counts for something.

You’re not alone in how you feel about me. I have a long track record of disappointing teachers.

Once, my kindergarten teacher was leading the class in singing “America the Beautiful,” and my bladder was suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit.

I raised my hand.

My teacher said, “You’re gonna have to hold it.”

So I squeezed my thighs together and prayed. But by the time our class had started singing “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” I had already made a peaceful river all over the floor.

There’s more.

When I was in fifth grade, my teacher told me I was a hopeless writer. I won’t go into details because they don’t matter. She suggested I give up the craft altogether. So, I followed her suggestion.

I believed this woman’s opinion of me. That’s part of the unspoken agreement between educators and students—students trust those who stand before chalkboards.

And when an educator tells you that you are not enough, it does something to you.

By my teenage years, after my father had died, I was an aimless kid. I felt like an orphan. Money was tight. I had already dropped out of school—blah, blah, blah. It’s a long story.

Anyway, I hung out at the library a lot because I liked to read. And I will never forget the day a volunteer librarian approached me. I was seated at a long desk. She handed me a book by Lewis Grizzard and said, “This made me think of you, Sean.”

I read the book in three hours. Then, I went back to the library and checked out the rest of his books. I read everything he ever wrote. A hundred times over and again. He was my hero.

And more than that, he was my people. He was funny. He was irreverent. He was serious. He was honest. He was smart. He wrote short sentences. He was clever. He talked like I did. And above all, he seemed like a nice guy.

That’s what I’ve always believed good writing feels like. Like it was written by a nice person.

When I tried to return the books, the librarian wouldn’t accept them. She winked at me and said:

“Why don’t you just hold onto them? I can always order new ones.”

Those books changed the trajectory of my life. And I still own them today. In fact, I am looking at them right now, on my bookshelf.

So maybe I’m not a writer, ma’am. But then, I never claimed to be. The truth is, I know I’ll never impress anyone who is accomplished in their field, and I know I’ll never win a journalism prize. But that’s okay with me.

Because when I write, I write to an unseen fifteen-year-old in a library. A kid who needs someone to be his friend. I write to the boy without a father, who just needs a few laughs. And to the kid who still misses the dog he buried. To the person who needs to know that someone out there talks like they do—and ain’t at all ashamed of it, neither.

I’ll admit, I don’t have anything profound to say. I am not a profound man.

But Lord willing, if I do things right, my friends will have something to read when they need it. In hospital waiting rooms. On lunch breaks. After a rough day at school. Late at night, when they are exhausted from parenting. Early mornings, before getting showered for work.

I’m not a brilliant mind, I’m a terrible student, and I use sentence fragments. So you’re right about me. I am all the things you say, and more. I wish I could prove you wrong, but I can’t.

Even so, despite all my shortcomings, I do try very hard to be a nice guy.

You might try that sometime, too.

Tell your students I said “Hello.”

202 comments

  1. Pat McRee - November 13, 2018 6:41 am

    Amen, Sean.

    Reply
    • Beverly Wynn Bua - November 14, 2018 3:57 am

      Tell Mr or Ms Teacher that It’s not Sacreligious…?the word is spelled, sacrilegious…. just saying…

      Reply
  2. Katie Gentile - November 13, 2018 6:45 am

    Dammit, man! Stay true to your beautiful self! I’m 59 years old and have been told my whole life I was wrong and not good enough. Don’t know what I am yet, but I don’t rely on anyone else’s opinion anymore. Thank you for speaking to a spirit like mine… it matters more than you’ll ever know ! Thank you, Sean ! ❤

    Reply
  3. Julie - November 13, 2018 6:52 am

    I believe Mr. Sean HAS published, sweet reader. But he didn’t flaunt that to his detractor. This guy has class.

    Reply
    • Sandra Binford - November 13, 2018 7:44 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking!

      Reply
  4. Carol Stern - November 13, 2018 6:54 am

    Keep being you. That’s all we need❤️

    Reply
  5. Don Warrick - November 13, 2018 7:00 am

    Lol …..Sean, I like you more and more here lately !

    Reply
  6. Betsy Tucker - November 13, 2018 7:12 am

    I wondered why I liked your work so much. It is because Lewis Grizzard is my favorite and you are so like him.

    Reply
  7. Marian D Alday - November 13, 2018 7:13 am

    Dear Sean, as my grandmother used to say ” don’t you pay them no never mind, honey, they don’t amount to a hill of beans no how.” You stay true to yourself and don’t you pay” them no never mind”. We like you just the way you are !

    Reply
  8. Marthajane Cassidey - November 13, 2018 7:13 am

    You are a miracle, Sean, and your stories makes me feel like one, too.

    Reply
  9. Laurie P - November 13, 2018 7:18 am

    Well, as I have purchased and read (and thoroughly enjoyed) all of your books —- you know, that thing you might publish if you work hard — I’d say this teacher couldn’t spot a writer if he stood right in front of her.

    Reply
  10. Robert L Ray - November 13, 2018 7:22 am

    Anybody who likes Lewis Grizzard can’t be all bad. He never got a Pulitzer either but he made life a little better for many of us.

    Reply
  11. C.E. HARBIN - November 13, 2018 7:28 am

    I do not know what ‘great American authors’ of our time this teacher reads but it seems to me that none of them use complete sentences anymore.
    You connect with people, Sean, and encourage them which is very important in a society where everyone seems to want to take issue over every little thing.
    I have laughed, snickered. choked, and cried so hard I had to go get a wet cloth while reading your articles.
    Don’t shut down your gift because some people don’t appreciate your value.
    Teachers could do so much to encourage their students but sadly, I never met any until I went to college the second time.
    You are a great encourager.

    Reply
  12. Sonya - November 13, 2018 8:06 am

    F yah! Scuse my French. I always felt like such a disappointment compared to my brilliant smart brother who was number one in his class from 4th grade up. Let me tell ya Sean. There are WAY MORE “normal” people out there than the brilliant and we have the best social skills EVER! I can totally work a crowd and find out what makes people tick but I suck at writing/grammar/punctuation etc.
    I always thought I was stupid because I flunked 3rd grade(we moved and I was an August bday) but that failure made me so much better, so much more humble and so much more compassionate and smart. Failure is amazing. There’s so much to learn from it. Sean you are truely amazing because you make me laugh and cry in your short email every single night. You bring out the humanity in all of us which is a massive gift from God and better than any English teacher can give you. Keep on writing because you have a huge fan base waiting to read your daily posts.

    Reply
  13. Elizabeth Lee - November 13, 2018 8:14 am

    Sean, you have reached your audience and we are truly thankful for you. I usually read you at 5am before my shower to start my day off on the right foot. Today I’m reading at 2:30 because my children can’t sleep and now I’m wide awake. You definitely nailed it!

    Thank you for being kind. It’s what I like most about you. The kindness radiates from your work. It has encouraged me to be kinder, too. Instead of being frustrated by the quirks of life, you have taught me to smile and enjoy them. Life is much better when looked at through your eyes. The best part is, my children are picking up on it and are becoming kinder, too.

    You do not need to impress scholars. In time, they will recognize your talent–likely after your death, because that’s how these things seem to work! In the mean time, you have made a positive difference in at least six lives right here. How many can say that?

    PS– Today I’m headed to the library to look up Lewis Grizzard. If you don’t already know him, you remind me of Ferrol Sams. I love his Porter Osborn trilogy. I think you might, too.

    Reply
  14. Debra GAMBLE - November 13, 2018 8:34 am

    Right on, Sean!

    Reply
  15. congersinlondon - November 13, 2018 8:51 am

    I read your blog every day, and I appreciate the simplicity and wisdom of your writing. Keep it up!

    Reply
    • Eleanor - November 13, 2018 3:22 pm

      Ditto!!

      Reply
      • Sue Ellen Terrell - November 13, 2018 3:32 pm

        Ditto ditto!! Sean your writing touches my heart.
        Don’t ever stop

        Reply
  16. John - November 13, 2018 9:01 am

    So, English, byte me.
    I’m not usually rude. I’m sure you mean well. But why not just Sean do what he does? Except fer your own proudness, you can just keep quiet. Ok?

    Reply
  17. Cheryl Clem - November 13, 2018 9:01 am

    We love you Sean and your short sentences. Keep it up.

    Reply
  18. Debbie Smith - November 13, 2018 9:24 am

    Hello Nice guy! Your writing has certainly made my day and many others! Thanks for the great reads! Old retired school teacher myself….A rule I always tried to live by was…Do No Harm! I am afraid the teacher who wrote you did not pass the test! You, however, aced it!

    Reply
  19. Amy - November 13, 2018 9:32 am

    I’m glad you didn’t take this teacher too seriously. Folks in Austin have a higher opinion of themselves than anyone else does.

    I loved Lewis Grizzard and was heartbroken at his death. I really enjoyed reading about Catfish and the doggie antics of eating everything nailed down or not! LOL!

    I think I can speak for all your fans when I say that you brighten our days. You cheer us up and most importantly, IMHO, you shine a light on those among us who deserve at least 15 minutes of fame. You give credit to folks who silently make tremendous sacrifices that literally keep the world spinning and without you their stories of heroism would go unnoticed. You tell about nurses and veterans and little girls who are beautiful inside and out. You tell about the ones who succeed with tremendous burdens, despite incredible opposition. You regale us with tales to keep us humble and remind us to look at, and love, our fellow human being whether he’s an Episcopalian priest or an elderly Baptist lady washing dishes after a potluck or a husband trying to make ends meet. You have invited me to see the mom with autistic kids, the young men who will set the world on fire and that red lipstick and pearls are the hallmark of the Southern ladies you love so much. You have helped me see into the lives of suicide victims and their families.

    I hope you never write like anyone else. Please always be Sean. I want to see these people you call our attention to and sometimes, like teachers from Austin, I need to be reminded that those people are out there and they deserve our love and respect and our attention.

    God bless and give our love to Mrs. South.

    Reply
  20. Rick - November 13, 2018 9:42 am

    Sean, you nailed it!

    Reply
  21. Rick - November 13, 2018 9:48 am

    I wonder if this teacher would denigrate James Joyce for the way he wrote Ulysses too 😉

    Reply
  22. Kelly - November 13, 2018 10:03 am

    Dear Sean, keep writing just as your are. I look forward to your email every morning with my coffee before my shower. I hope this teacher doesn’t talk down to her students like she wrote to you. My kindergarten teacher, Miss Miller, instilled a love of books and reading in me just like your librarian did. Thank God for these smart and good hearted women. Have a beautiful day😊

    Reply
  23. Keith - November 13, 2018 10:17 am

    Had to laugh, My Dean of Boys in High School told my mother one time during a conference that I wasn’t collage material. I guess he was right, cause it took 14yrs at night to get my degree in professional aeronatic’s.

    I wonder if people like this seek the good….

    Reply
  24. Marlene T - November 13, 2018 10:23 am

    As a teacher I’m sure her job is to teach ‘how’ to write. YOUR job is ‘what’ to write about and you do not disappoint. I’m proud of you for being patient and kind about her letter. My immediate response was to be defensive for you and I felt my hair bristle a bit. Being my favorite Chip Monk you responded as I would have expected, much kinder and gentler than I might have. We followers are much more interested in reading short sentences that have heart and see what we often times miss, than long run on sentences like this one that run on and on and miss the whole point. As Edna B says ‘You have a nice day’ and hugs from ALL of us to you, Jamie and your puppy dogs too!! We are proud of you and like you just the way you are. Marlene T

    Reply
  25. Mary - November 13, 2018 10:28 am

    I like how your writing comes from the heart. It makes me feel warmth, joy and sometimes sadness. It makes me smile too. You connect with us with your heart and kindness and you’re a shining example of just being you. And good. Thank you from the heart.

    Reply
  26. Nancy Rogers - November 13, 2018 10:35 am

    As an educator, I must apologize, she was oh so wrong ( we are sometimes!) as I lay here reading at 5:35 am before I shower to go to work. Keep on writing Sean. There are plenty of 15 year olds that need you (and veteran teachers too!)

    Reply
  27. Lacie Maynard - November 13, 2018 10:39 am

    Beautiful response. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  28. Pat Patton - November 13, 2018 10:50 am

    That was a perfect answer to your letter. I like the way you write just like thousands more so never change!

    Reply
  29. Dermot Gibney - November 13, 2018 10:56 am

    Thank you Sean for being you, seriously. I wish I could convey to you how much your sharing has brought joy to many people (me in particular) in my world. Just know that we love you too mate!
    Dermot

    Reply
  30. Mike - November 13, 2018 10:56 am

    Dear English,

    Who asked you for your “truthful” opinion?

    Reply
  31. Nancy - November 13, 2018 10:58 am

    You are truly a gentleman the way you responded to English. You don’t need her to approve of your blog – your thousands of readers already do that. She needs to read your blog and books because she just might learn how to be kind. Love you and will always be your Constant Reader.

    Reply
  32. Jean - November 13, 2018 10:59 am

    I have figured out in this life that you will never please everybody and there are those who feel that must put you down at every turn. I love how and what you write. I look forward to it every day and forward them to my friends who also love your writings. Lewis Grizzard…loved that old boy….miss him…..and I read all his stuff too. Just keep on keeping on Sean….I love you.

    Reply
  33. Pam Speer - November 13, 2018 11:18 am

    Sean, when I was young I used to stay with my grandparents on their dairy farm. Grandpa and I went to Marshfield, Mo. to do the grocery shopping for my Grandma and a fellow dairyman stopped Grandpa and went to jawing. He used the word ain’t about a hundred times in the course of a ten minute conversation. When the conversation was over I said to Grandpa, “He isn’t very smart, Grandpa, he used the word ain’t.” Grandpa looked at me and said, “Little Darlin’, you’ve got to listen to what people say to you, not the words they use to say it with.” I was embarrassed because I knew he was right and have not judged anyone in that way since. I love the words you use and I know that I am wrong to judge others, but Grandpa also said that if you positively have to judge someone you must judge them by their “willingness to be kind.” The teacher was incorrect in a number of ways. I love to come to work and read your words to begin my day. You have helped to keep me going.

    All best,
    P. Speer

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - November 13, 2018 9:06 pm

      Pam, loved your story and your Grandpa’s wisdom! Thanks for sharing it!

      Reply
  34. natalierimel - November 13, 2018 11:24 am

    So, glad you didn’t let one opinion change you. You have lots more people, like me, who love to read what you write. Thank you for being a nice guy and teaching others, don’t change due to a negative opinion.
    P.S. I still think you should have told her you have written a book but I guess that wouldn’t have been nice.
    Glad she wasn’t mine or my kids teacher, sounds like she needs a new attitude and “her truth” isn’t really the truth, just another opinion in this big world.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Clark - November 13, 2018 11:31 am

      Best nice guy, ever!
      You warm my heart, tickle my fancy and make me cry and smile, often.

      Reply
  35. Elizabeth Edens - November 13, 2018 11:30 am

    Some of the stupid things people say! I want to reach through my phone and slap an educator but since I can’t, bless her heart! I feel sorry for her students! I sure hope Sean reads his comments because there is a lot of love, respect, and admiration for him and his work!!!!

    Reply
  36. Terri Donovan - November 13, 2018 11:36 am

    Oh my. Once again you have done it with straight talk. I love your brand of straight talk. When I was a 17 year old scared-to-death freshman at the University of Tennessee, my fall semester Journalism professor took me aside to suggest that maybe writing is something I ought to give up and try something else. A lifetime later, I have two degrees in writing, a successful career in writing behind me, and I’m going to be teaching it to students at Middle Tennessee State University starting in January. Like you said, she ought to try being a nice person sometimes.

    Reply
  37. Julie - November 13, 2018 11:42 am

    Seriously? This English teacher is certainly full of herself- as most are. Keep doing what you do. It’s perfect. Short sentences make a big impact! God bless!

    Reply
  38. JBrooks - November 13, 2018 11:42 am

    English teacher may be a transplant from California

    Reply
  39. Camille Atkins - November 13, 2018 11:44 am

    Your “flippant, poor attempts at humor that are sometimes inappropriate, and even sacreligious” have inspired teenagers in Austin to READ and not only that..they think you are COOL! There is no higher compliment!

    Reply
  40. kyra - November 13, 2018 11:52 am

    I hardly need to comment, since so many said what I am thinking. But as a retired educator( 45 years in the business), I can only reiterate–encourage, encourage, encourage! Works for kids. Works for adults!
    Thank you, Sean, for your thoughtful and honest answer to an educator that needed your encouragement.

    Reply
  41. Dennis Lowery - November 13, 2018 11:52 am

    Been there too. Had an english teacher in high school tell me I wasn’t good enough/smart enough to be in high school. Called her a name at graduation which no 17 year old boy should ever call a woman. Anyway, made it though college and graduate school. Hurtful comments can last a lifetime.

    Reply
  42. Susan Self - November 13, 2018 11:57 am

    I know you will never let foolish “smart” people change you. You are Sean. You can not be or do anything else. I’m so thankful that the good Lord knew we needed Sean. You are a teacher. You teach us to allow people to be people. Supposed defections and all. Mark, Will and Lewis all did that too, just in different ways. Pretty good bunch to be compared to and included in.

    Reply
  43. Jim Spalding - November 13, 2018 12:00 pm

    Thank you for the reminder of Lewis Grizzard! He has always been one of my favorites as well! Thank you for being a nice person! We sure need more in the world!

    Reply
  44. Elizabeth Edens - November 13, 2018 12:09 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this more and two thoughts keep coming up. 1.) I’ll giver her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she hit “send” before she really thought about what she was saying. 2.) Has the women never read Mark Twain (I almost need a translator for some of his work) and the flip side Moby Dick (need a synopsis for his work)! There are tons of different kinds of writers, some use big words, some use little words, some use short sentences, some use long long long sentences. And regional writers that write in the language of their people, Catherine Marshall, Bill Bryson, Steinbeck for goodness sake! Come on teacher, use your head! Writers are communicators and there are 1000’s of ways to communicate. Unfortunately it sounds like she is institutionalized into teaching/communicating in only one way which terribly sad for her students that don’t communicate the same way she does. Shame on her for poo-poo on any one who reaches out to communicate with people, openly and honestly. Sean, she is Wrong! Keep up the good work and don’t listen to the dark voice she is using.

    Reply
  45. Phyllis Bryant - November 13, 2018 12:13 pm

    Well done! As a former high school educator, I want to say you reach a group of people who desperately need reaching. I am glad that teacher was not mine in school. She doesn’t get it, and it is sad. Keep writing, Sir. You are making a difference. And though I do not know you personally, I have no doubt you are a really nice guy.

    Reply
  46. Jan - November 13, 2018 12:18 pm

    What you write matters, Sean. It matters because it is written about real life people and for real life people. Your care and concern for people comes through every time. We need more of that in this world and less educators who are so full of themselves that they can’t see anything or anyone else. Keep up the good work, Sean. You make my day start off right each and every morning!

    Reply
  47. C.F. David - November 13, 2018 12:25 pm

    Ben Franklin wrote about passing gas.
    Mark Twain was known to be irreverant.
    Then there in s Texas’ Kinky Friedman….
    I think you are in fantastic comoany.

    Reply
  48. Annak - November 13, 2018 12:26 pm

    I have missed Lewis Grizzard ever since his last word was written, many years ago. You have always reminded me of him, and your true, honest voice is treasured just as his was. Please never let anyone’s self-righteous opinion make the least bit of difference in your writing nor your opinion of yourself.

    Reply
  49. Rick - November 13, 2018 12:27 pm

    I enjoy reading your message each day before I go to work at the SCHOOL DISTRICT! It puts a smile on my face and we are kindred souls! Bless you, Sean.

    Reply
  50. Howard Humphreys - November 13, 2018 12:29 pm

    Two words—Nice reply

    Reply
  51. Joy Johnson - November 13, 2018 12:36 pm

    The first thing I do is pour my coffee and read your email and word for the day from Jesus Calling. Your words start my day with a smile so never stop!

    Reply
  52. Brenda McLaine - November 13, 2018 12:41 pm

    Kudos’s.

    Reply
  53. Maria Linkhart - November 13, 2018 12:45 pm

    Bravo Sean… If People like that would keep their pompous comments to themselves the world would be a better place. Every day you give me hope, love a good husband, a good friend a good start. There are so many human beings out there that love you for all their own reasons and it would break our hearts if you changed to be so hurtful as to tell someone that is loved by so many that they have to change to please people that no one can ever make happy. So Sean, know that you are loved and don’t stop being the nice guy that you are.

    Reply
  54. Jo Ann - November 13, 2018 12:47 pm

    Sean, you are what you are & write what you are. We love you for it-please pay no attention to the grumblers & keep on doing what you’ve been doing.

    Reply
  55. Janet Holliday - November 13, 2018 12:47 pm

    Right on Sean! I enjoy your daily stories so much…you say it like it is. English is too uptight, judgemental n I am sooo glad she isn’t my teacher;-) (i am 70 so no way could she be my teacher….lol)

    Reply
  56. Bess - November 13, 2018 12:48 pm

    You’re on point about teachers. When they’re good they’re very good and when they’re bad they are horrid!
    Some folks take life too seriously…humor would be their best medicine and helps to cure lots of ills. Of course not laughing at others, but laughing mostly at ourselves and with others.
    Keep on keeping on!

    Reply
  57. Kathy Daum - November 13, 2018 12:48 pm

    You are successful at being a nice guy. Your writing does what you hope. It inspires me, and I’m a 66-year-old woman.

    Reply
  58. Pam Mullin - November 13, 2018 12:50 pm

    Hi Sean, I have to say I just recently discovered you in the middle of a real estate magazine I picked up in Seaside. I read your article “Rain” and I was hooked. I tore out the article and recycled the magazine. I now look forward to your writing of the South and your life. And it makes me smile. I write too, in a Blog, and I don’t really care about my sentence structure but I do try to make sure I get the message delivered to my family and friends. I haven’t written in a long time and it is like exercising a muscle that hasn’t been used in a long time. But I am sure I will get better as time passes. Keep up the work. Everyday life needs to be written about as people try to make life too hard to live and impossible to maintain. Keep it going ‘Sean of the South”.

    Reply
  59. Doyt J. Richardson - November 13, 2018 12:51 pm

    That teacher don’t write good.

    Reply
  60. Darlyn Goude - November 13, 2018 12:56 pm

    Welł spoken Sean,
    Thank the Good Lord for that librarian who saw all that was in you and spoke the words of life. I wonder how many dreams have been crushed by that teacher by not seeing into the hearts of her students.
    Don’t change, we love you just the way you are. My son works for Dave Ramsey and he introduced me to your post about a year ago.

    Reply
  61. Debbie - November 13, 2018 12:59 pm

    I, too, loved the late Lewis Grizzard’s writing. He started his career, I believe, as a sports writer for the Athens (Georgia) Banner Herald. I have a letter I wrote to him in response to his column ridiculing girls’ basketball teams. I was amazed when it was published, and our basketball coach punished me by making me run extra laps around the basketball court!

    Your humor in your writing does remind me of his, and I just might have to pull out one of his books to re-read! Keep on writing, Sean.

    Reply
  62. Alice - November 13, 2018 1:00 pm

    You are right , I looked forward to reading your Missives through the six months that I spent caring for my husband who had cancer and was in hospice. You helped make my day a little better. Keep writing. You are an inspiration to many of us

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  63. Clara Martin - November 13, 2018 1:01 pm

    If you aspire to be like the late, great Lewis Grizzard then you are doing fine! He was a terrifically funny writer who wrote about what he knew best and I think you two are a lot alike in a personal level from what I have read in your daily writings and in his books. There are some folks who try to be a lifter and some who insist on dragging others down with their remarks. So glad you and Lewis are/were lifters!

    Reply
  64. Jen - November 13, 2018 1:04 pm

    You, Sean, are an inspiration in so many ways. There is no other writer like you! You are brilliant and have a gift like no other.

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  65. Gary Woods - November 13, 2018 1:05 pm

    Two things, mean teachers serve a purpose in live too, their idiotic statements spur some kids to prove them wrong, I listen to singer/songwriter tell her true story in the song “not bad for a girl going nowhere” about her teacher that used those words on her. Of course she is singing these words from the Grand Old Opry Stage. Sadly, for most they just quit. Dang, I wrote a short sentence. Your writing reminds of another “Great American Author” that Ms. English would not approve of, Patrick F. McManus. Good company.

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  66. Phil - November 13, 2018 1:10 pm

    I love it when someone purporting to be an authority on writing makes a critique that contains grammatical errors, as does this teacher.

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  67. Vanessa - November 13, 2018 1:11 pm

    Sean, I found your blog about a month ago and you have been brightening my morning every day since. Last week I shared one of your pieces with a friend and I said, “His writing reminds me of one of my all-time favorite writers, Lewis Grizzard.” I sure miss his writing but I am blessed by yours! Keep on doing what you are doing. Sentence fragments and all!

    Reply
  68. Susie Hardin - November 13, 2018 1:12 pm

    YAY! I LOVE YOUR WRITING!

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  69. Ella Herlihy - November 13, 2018 1:13 pm

    Well, I guess that teacher is the only one in the whole wide world who feels that way about your writing. Because as far as I can tell from reading all the comments from the people who wake up way too early, you are a hit all around. I just found you this fall, and I feel like I have known you all my life – or that you have known my small-town Baptist upbringing, field trip going, Waffle House eating self the whole time. You connect with each of us because you are a noticer. You see what is and what others don’t see and then point it out to those of us who are too busy to see. Through your beautifully simple writing (which the teacher may note is much more difficult to do well than “fancy pants” writing), we all see the better part of humanity. It makes us want to do better, be better, and love more. You are helping me slow down and notice the people who I otherwise may miss. And we all need to be noticed. Noticing and connecting with other people is what solves all political, racial, and prejudice problems. Whomever said “walk a mile in his moccasins” was right – and you show us what that looks like without preaching or judging. You have a wonderful gift and I am so grateful you use it for good. Well done, good and faithful servant.

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  70. Gary Woods - November 13, 2018 1:13 pm

    The songwriter is Ashely Mcbride

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  71. David Dunn - November 13, 2018 1:15 pm

    Sean , I am 64 years old and live in ValP. You have “written” to me a few times and I am a better person for it . Lewis would be proud of you.

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  72. Barbara - November 13, 2018 1:18 pm

    Love your writing. You’re my kind of friend. Love ya!

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  73. Margaret Byrd - November 13, 2018 1:21 pm

    I’m a retired southern teacher with a masters degree and I read your writings every day. Great response to someone who must be a very uptight teacher. I would hate to be in her classroom! The same shoe doesn’t fit every foot and it’s the same for literary work. Keep writing words that inspire and often lift the fallen. I forward your writing to four every morning after I finished reading

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  74. Becky Hanks, Birmingham, AL - November 13, 2018 1:24 pm

    My mother corrected my grammar as long as she was my mama. As a student in a Catholic grammar school, I had very strict English teachers – they taught me the importance of learning and speaking proper grammar. But the best teachers I ever had also said “Learn the rules, obey the rules. Then you will know when it is time to break the rules.” They were most excellent teachers of grammar and life! You da bomb!

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  75. margefromnaturesgift - November 13, 2018 1:29 pm

    Dear Sean… please continue being not a writer and not a good example. This grandmother treasures your snippets every morning.

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  76. Ashlee - November 13, 2018 1:29 pm

    Well, I’m a teacher, and my opinion is quite different. She writes, “I tell the truth for a living”–what an ugly philosophy for a teacher. In a harsh world, sometimes our kids (and fellow man) need a little less truth and a little more love. A teacher wraps the truth in encouragement and praise. A teacher softens the truth and shines the light on the good. In a world of hard truths, a teacher redirects the conversation to the good and the hopeful and the tiny victories. Much like you do. Keep writing. It is yours and ours, and we love it and you, just the way you are.

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  77. Michael Seifert - November 13, 2018 1:32 pm

    English Teacher In Austin must be a Trump supporter-Keep up the great work Sean, I put you up there with Rick Bragg

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  78. Cathi - November 13, 2018 1:32 pm

    English Teacher in Austin, bless your heart. I think you’re woefully under qualified for what you’re supposed to be…a encourager of dreams and ideas. And Sean, we know who you are and we love you.

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  79. Naomi - November 13, 2018 1:33 pm

    Well written, Sean. What teachers tell their students can affect them for life, whether it’s something negative or positive. I’m from Birmingham, AL, the daughter of immigrants. In 1950, the summer I turned 6, I had polio and was in the hospital and the crippled children’s clinic for 3 months until I was able to walk again. In B’ham at that time, the schools had 1/2 years so you could enroll in Sep.t or Jan. I started in Jan., 1951, but I already was ahead of the other 1st graders because my mother read to me every day. I actually skipped a year of school and was a straight A student, that is until I took home economics in the 8th grade. My home ech teacher took an immediate disliking to me. All of the 8th grade girls in home ech catered a tea for their mothers before graduation, all of them except me. She didn’t think that I would “fit” in with the rest of the girls. I grew up poor and did not have the pretty dresses that all of the other girls had. I was also the only Jewish girl in the class. I never really knew why she didn’t like me. All of the other teachers liked me. I guess, in spite of her, I got married, had two children, got a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. I am in a second marriage to a Southern Baptist preacher; in Jan., we will have been married 39 years. That said, I cooked dinner at church for 10 years and even catered my daughter’s wedding reception. Other people even asked me to help at their children’s weddings. My husband and I conducted a Passover service at our church and other churches for over 20 years and I did all of the cooking, with help of course. We had 250 people at one of our services and I taught the other women who were helping me how to prepare a Passover meal. Your article brought back the memory of my 8th-grade home economics teacher. Oh, one other thing that she insisted on is that all young ladies should wear girdles, which I had no intention of doing (because I liked to breathe). I hope my home economics teacher’s girdle popped, if she is still living, which I doubt, because I am 74 years old. (By the way, I am a Lewis Grizzard fan; I’ve read all of his books.)

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  80. Granny - November 13, 2018 1:34 pm

    I too am a big fan of Lewis Grizzard….also I say “cuss words” but add “slang”…..works for me ….

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  81. Julie Monetta - November 13, 2018 1:36 pm

    As a teacher and a literacy specialist, I discourage teacher bashing. It’s a hard job, and one that leaves plenty of room for life-long learning and growth. That said, I strongly disagree with everything “English Teacher in Austin” said about your writing. She(?) is entirely too hung up on correctness and precision-something NCTE warns against.
    Sean, your writing is REAL and relatable. It has voice, depth, humor, and “sentence fluency”. I often recommend your writing to be used for mentor texts for students because it is so often an excellent example of real writing.
    I’m thankful for you that you had people in your life who helped you find your way, both as a man and as a writer. Please don’t stop sharing your stories, experiences, and hard-won wisdom.
    Teachers: remember the power you have to inspire and lift, or to unintentionally hurt your students. Choose your words wisely.

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  82. Jeanie C. - November 13, 2018 1:42 pm

    Always tell it like it is. I enjoy your writings because I can relate to them. My favorite saying is I am what I am. So just keep on keeping on with your writing style.

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  83. Mary Collett - November 13, 2018 1:43 pm

    Sean, keep on writing your way. This so called teacher is wrong. You are what I look forward to reading every morning and I am 80 years old, read quite a lot and you make my day, as they say. Keep writing your way.

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  84. Linda Anderson - November 13, 2018 1:44 pm

    You inspire me every morning! Don’t listen to those stuffy academics! You are a nice guy and I am thankful for you!

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  85. Roxanne - November 13, 2018 1:44 pm

    I often find that people “tell the truth” of others’ inadequacies to cover their own. Also, I have EVERY ONE OF YOUR PUBLISHED BOOKS ON MY PHONE. Evidently those who tell the truth for a living are so busy doing so that they can’t fully research the size of the foot which they will need to insert in their own mouths.

    You are a better man than me (I’m not a man by the way) for not mentioning those books.

    I have taught since 1991. I, too, have to correct students’ writings, but in writing, even more important than all the rules of grammar, is VOICE. Your voice, sir, carries a long, long way.

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  86. Toni Marshall - November 13, 2018 1:46 pm

    Bravo Sean! You are a nice guy and that English teacher in Austin could learn a thing or two from you!

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  87. Keloth Anne - November 13, 2018 1:52 pm

    Write on, Sean♥️♥️
    You are such an encourager and loved by so many😊😊

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  88. Michael Bishop - November 13, 2018 1:52 pm

    I am allegedly a “writer.” And I admire you enormously, not only for your nice-guyness, but also for your turns of phrase, your wit, your grasp of what matters to “ordinary” people (although like you I believe that “ordinary” people are extraordinary in ways that some people cannot or will not see, a problem that you do not have), and your dedication to the act of writing, which in countless ways is greater than my own, an admission I hesitate to make, even though it’s true. (By the way, a “teacher” who doesn’t know that a well-placed, well-phrased fragment is a vital tool in a “real” writer’s toolkit, has almost no right to the name of teacher, especially a teacher of writing.)

    Finally, I read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for years, until the paper stopped delivering in our part of Georgia, and when Lewis Grizzard did not have a column, and he wrote one no more than four times a week, I was disappointed. So I am amazed that you produce entertaining, uplifting work almost every day of the week, an accomplishment in which you clearly exceed that of your personal icon. In short, you have every right to be proud of what you do. And this is a thank-you from both my wife and me for doing it and doing it so well.

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  89. thoughtsfrommybedroomwindow - November 13, 2018 1:55 pm

    Writing like you write and like I write is, I think, a different animal from penning the great “literary” masterpiece. It is more what I call heart writing or maybe stream of consciousness writing (that’s what a guy who judges writing contests once called it). It flows from the heart to the page, to the reader’s heart. And sometimes the heart speaks in fragments and even run on sentences. It doesn’t worry as much about the correctness as the connection.
    This teacher is apparently a grammar person and that’s ok. We need to learn that and I’m grateful for the teachers who taught me sentence structure. However, we also need teachers to fan the flames of creativity, teachers who see past the grammar to the spark that makes writing touch people.
    Maybe what we see in this person is a little jealousy too. Perhaps the teacher would like to stop being the grammar police for a while and set words free to spin themselves into new ways of being. Alas, it’s difficult to step out of our constraints and sometimes when we see someone who has dared to simply be who they are, fragmented sentences and all, it reminds us of our up-tightness.
    You know now that I think on it a while, any writing that touches hearts, makes people laugh and feel — IS a literary masterpiece😀

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  90. Sara - November 13, 2018 1:55 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for allowing me into your thoughts and heart every morning. And even into the hearts of your dogs. This teacher is sad that the “teacher” who wrote you can’t enjoy and appreciate the way you choose to share your gift of writing.

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  91. Rhea Wynn - November 13, 2018 1:59 pm

    I, too, am an English teacher and a creative writing teacher. I am so glad you are a writer. I read your blog every day. Your stories fills my heart with joy, sadness, peace, hope, fun, etc. The mark of a good writer is to make the reader’s feel what you feel, see what you see, hope what you hope; you get the idea. You are a good writer. Sometimes, grammar just takes a backseat. As a teacher, I teach grammar and sentence structure, but most importantly, I teach students. P.S. Lewis Grizzard is one of my favorites, too.

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  92. Marinan Brewer - November 13, 2018 2:00 pm

    Keep up the super duper work,Sean

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  93. Nancy Lane - November 13, 2018 2:01 pm

    I love, love love this! Keep writing and sharing.

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  94. Melanie Mills - November 13, 2018 2:04 pm

    Perfect response. Keep up the good (encouraging) work!

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  95. Connie Havard Ryland - November 13, 2018 2:04 pm

    Okay. I’m not a college educated person. I was born and raised in the South and I’m proud of it. I am, however, well read and mostly literate, and I enjoy reading you every day. I’m sure that you won’t let what that “teacher” said bother you, but what bothers me is that she is shaping young minds, and probably making them feel small, because they can’t measure up to her expectations. In my opinion, she’s doing a disservice to her students and disgracing teachers everywhere. Teachers need to encourage, not break down, and kindness is definitely a virtue. God bless. Love and hugs from Alabama.

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  96. Allen Berry - November 13, 2018 2:05 pm

    Dear Sean,

    I’m an English professor at a university in the great state of Georgia. Not that I’m one for making petty comparisons or playing “My degree is better than your degree” but in this case I will. I got a PhD in creative in the great state of Mississippi (I’m from the great state of Alabama). There is not a thing in the world wrong with your writing (sure you make the occasional typo, but once in grad school I misspelled the name of the author throughout an entire paper, so I don’t have much room to criticize).

    Maybe this “English Teacher” has never read the work of Mississippi Author Larry Brown, or William Faulkner, or Miss Eudora Welty. Maybe colloquial speech is a technique that has eluded her. Maybe the approaches writing with a slide rule or a book on grammar. Maybe, and I think this is the case, at some point she was told that what makes for good writing is the high brow, snapped to attention diction and grammar of the King’s English… but I have to ask myself, who would want to read that? Additionally, as a prof, I make my students do their research. Apparently she didn’t do hers, otherwise, she would’a known you already have a book… more than one!

    One thing that she either forgot or never knew is that writing and story telling is the art of the people. From the first days, long before TV and the often times arbitrary rules of grammar, people sat around the communal fire at night and told stories to pass the time. Not only did the stories entertain, but they warned, enlightened, and taught. They made the people better people, and that’s what you do.

    You write things here and share with us, you see people who blend in, and thanks to you, we see them too. You uplift, you enlighten, you entertain, and in the end, we’re better people for having read your work. Good lit speaks the language of the common folk. Tells us who we are, good or ill, and by looking into that mirror, we see what we need to fix. That’s what you do and if that isn’t profound, I don’t what the word means.

    Best,

    Allen

    P.S. I loved Lewis Grizzard. Still do.

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  97. Rhonda H - November 13, 2018 2:13 pm

    Sean,
    I wondered about writing a response. There are so many here lifting you up you don’t need me. But I did have just a couple of things to say. You did something I couldn’t have done right now. You were kind to someone who was mean. I never thought the world could be as hateful as it is right now. Loving them anyway is not working. They see it as approval of their behavior.

    I heard my son crying in his room one night and when I asked what was wrong. He said “I am so stupid. I can’t do anything.” (Second grade) I asked “Why do you say that?” Then he told me what his teacher had said to him. I was in the office the next morning and demanded he be removed from her class. I won’t tell you what I said she could do with her Corvette. But my son never got over it. He failed that year and struggled the rest of his school years. I am sorry but she needs to “set straight” before she hurts another child.

    Its more than stories of perseverance (big word). Folks that suffer, struggle and make it through. The really important ears are the ones that didn’t win their fight. The ones that got no reward at the end. The ones that are alone. The ones who didn’t have a mama that loved them like your mama did. The ones that hurt so deep inside that they have no hope anymore. They are often silent and invisible. Theres no one to tell and they wouldn’t care any way.

    These words from you are sometimes the only salve they have for heart wounds. Its safe. From a distance they can’t hurt you as bad. Your words sound like someone who cares. And having someone to care is as important as breathing.

    Its often one single phrase or sentence in your writing that stays with me all day. Like one writers grandfather said. “Listen to what they are telling you, not what they are saying.”

    Love ya man.
    Mean it.
    R

    Reply
  98. Wanda Willis - November 13, 2018 2:16 pm

    You have a gift that has been given to you by God, Sean. I wish I could open my eyes to see people like you do. The world would be a “kinder, gentler” place if we all did. God bless you.

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  99. Jack Darnell - November 13, 2018 2:19 pm

    Allen is a smart Alec. LOL Also pretty smart. He stole my ‘I like Lewis too’ comment. ‘Imma son of a gun!’
    any way everyone should try to be a ‘nice guy’, at least sometimes. Enjoyed the read.
    I never will forget the public comment on my BEST selling book, “The AT”, First line, “The worst book I ever read.” Made me feel great! hahahahahahaha

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  100. Marcia Zuhlke - November 13, 2018 2:21 pm

    Love your reply Sean!! You are indeed a writer. I look forward to you waiting in my e mail every morning. Always entertaining, insightful, thoughtful. Your words will evoke an emotion in me that carries throughout the day. Teachers you have a hard job we know, but be careful that you don’t condemn a kid with a negative stamp. It can last a lifetime

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  101. Cathy Moss - November 13, 2018 2:23 pm

    My son introduced me to you several weeks ago and I was blown away. I enjoyed sharing your words with many friends and family members. Just know that at the tender age of seventy, I am looking for all the positive and uplifting words I can find and could not care less abt. Your sentence structure. I have been thinking a lot lately abt. A song from the sixties sung by Dionne Warwick. What the world needs now is love , sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. Sorry, I ended that sentence with a preposition. Teachers, pls. Forgive me! Bring it on Sean . I think you having a positive effect on our broken world. Just keep writing. I think you are wonderful. Cathy Moss

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  102. Ronnie - November 13, 2018 2:23 pm

    It is refreshing to hear about people and places that you touch and share with us. If I wanted correct writing and proper language, there are places I can get that. But you can’t feel the thrill of the tug of a fish you just hooked unless you have done that nor can you write about it. Keep casting, bro.

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  103. Donna R. - November 13, 2018 2:24 pm

    You’re a very smart man about the twists and turns of life and THAT is what the world needs more of these days. I do read you every morning before my shower and heading off to work and I can honestly say it keeps my head above water more days than I can count. Love your writing and love you Sean!!!

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  104. Mary Lee Hardy - November 13, 2018 2:24 pm

    Dear Sean
    Don’t you listen to that English teacher. You are only second to the Lord in my morning readings. I love the way you write and tell a story. You make me feel I am right there in the middle of the story. You have made me laugh and made me cry. I love the way you talk about the South and tradition. You remind me of my favorite…..Lewis Grizzard. You keep doing you!!! I know you are a good soul.

    Kindest Regards
    Mary Lee Hardy

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  105. Gordon - November 13, 2018 2:24 pm

    To me, Sean you write perfectly! I enjoy your writings; many thousands enjoy your writings. Keep writing from your very heart and soul because you touch so many. By the way, I always enjoyed Lewis’ writings, also.

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  106. BJean - November 13, 2018 2:25 pm

    Just keep writing what you see, Sean. We understand you just fine. I sometimes wish I could lift some of the sadness from your memories, but only God can do that. I will continue to enjoy reading your empathetic observations. I do appreciate your vulnerability. Keep up the good work!

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  107. Matthew Therrell - November 13, 2018 2:27 pm

    You’re the best!

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  108. Carol - November 13, 2018 2:27 pm

    Dear Sean , Your the BESTEST GUY!
    I can’t wait for your stories every day , right after I read my Devotional Jesus Calling. Your next. !!
    I can’t imagine anyone waiting to read her! She doesn’t sound like a nice person! But I’ll bet you she’ll be stuck on you now!!Haha !!
    I loved Lewis Gizzard too and there’s Rick Bragg too , You and him sound like you know the same people?
    I bet you do !!
    You keep writing ✍️ cause I need to hear from you !
    Love ya!

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  109. kay - November 13, 2018 2:32 pm

    It is a wonderful thing that you are not writing to impress English teachers…the most sanctimonious and unforgiving people on the planet! I got a good belly laugh from her letter. She obviously doesn’t get it and I’m a little sorry for her.

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  110. 4Dees - November 13, 2018 2:33 pm

    Great response, Sean. You just keep being you……………that’s why we all love you!!!

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  111. Charles Mathers - November 13, 2018 2:33 pm

    Dear “teacher” in Austin,
    Sean has succeeded where you have failed. Those student teenagers you referred to spontaneously read Sean of the South because they want to. You, on the other hand, have to order them to read your lesson material. A love of reading is hard to teach, but occasionally it can be a gift. By the way, you might take a long look at another of America’s story tellers, Samuel Clemons, aka Mark Twain.

    Sincerely,
    “Sorry for your students”

    Reply
    • 4Dees - November 13, 2018 2:36 pm

      I agree with you totally. A love of reading can’t be taught, but my mother taught me. Reading opens up wonderful worlds, teaches us to use our imagination, and on and on. I love books of all kinds, but I especially love starting my day with Sean and with quiet time with God. A great combination.

      Reply
  112. Joyce Bacon - November 13, 2018 2:43 pm

    Like they say on Family Feud, good answer!

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  113. Craig - November 13, 2018 2:56 pm

    Writing is about making an impact on another. Someone enjoyed you’re writing enough to share it. That’s what writing is all about.

    Keep writin’, smilin’ and makun is happy. To the “teacher” in Austin, my folks always said if you can’t say something nice……

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  114. Amelia Chatham - November 13, 2018 2:59 pm

    Just because she says she is a teacher does not mean she is a good one.
    Keep on keeping on we love you.

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  115. paula jones - November 13, 2018 3:00 pm

    Bravo! I’m a 66 year-old with a doctorate in linguistics, and I didn’t get hooked on reading until a friend gave me a DC Comic when I was in 8th grade (and there were very few complete sentences in those things). I eventually moved on from there to the likes of Harper Lee, Alexander Dumas, and John Steinbeck, but Lewis Grizzard will always be a favorite of mine because he’s my people too––and he was a nice guy. Almost anything that gets a kid reading is pure gold and you, my friend, are Fort Knox.

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  116. Jane Vaught - November 13, 2018 3:01 pm

    Don’t change a thing! Lewis Grizzard was my hero too and I own all his books 😊 I love the way you write, it’s from your heart

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  117. Tracy - November 13, 2018 3:05 pm

    I read your writings because they make me feel good; and that is a greater accomplishment than any kind of empty perfection.

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  118. hislifethroughus - November 13, 2018 3:05 pm

    Sean, I couldn’t help but wonder how this so called teacher makes his/her students feel on a daily basis. Does she encourage them to be who they were created to be or to fit into someone’s idea of who they should be? Does she shame them for their mistakes or praise them for their attempts? I wonder how many of this teacher’s students will forsake the love of reading and/or writing because he/she made them feel small and unworthy. I love you Sean. You are amazing. You’re words speak to my soul. And isn’t that what we all need? Someone to see into the deepest parts of us? Thank you for what you do. You are amazing. Yes, I said it twice. Sorry, not sorry. 🙂

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  119. Joyce Eiland - November 13, 2018 3:06 pm

    Sean, I enjoy your writings!

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  120. Karen Cockrell - November 13, 2018 3:13 pm

    Wow Sean I loved your response to that holier than though teacher. Don’t you dislike those people? I do! I read your blog every single day and I love it! You are a warm, witty, speaks from the heart writer and a truly nice guy. Keep up the great work.

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  121. Helen Trammell - November 13, 2018 3:15 pm

    Hoping Ms Heard, the teacher who called me a “cows tail” in front of the class as I struggled to diagram a sentence on the blackboard, reads this! Being nice, kind counts for far more than many may ever know.

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  122. Judy - November 13, 2018 3:20 pm

    Your response is golden. You are a writer – a very good writer. You put life and encouraging thoughts into words on paper. And people love to read your words – the words you put on paper – and the way you put your words on paper. Don’t change a thing because it is working for so many of us that read at least one of your blogs a day. I wonder how many people read what that English teacher writes…or does she even write…

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  123. C Johnson - November 13, 2018 3:30 pm

    English meant well but she has blinders on. She failed to see that your audience is looking for plain speaking. We,your audience, enjoy the style you employ and are not put off by the fragments or your folksy style. That is what makes it so comfortable and honest for us. It feels like a conversation, so please don’t change.

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  124. jw - November 13, 2018 3:33 pm

    ENGLISH-TEACHER-IN-AUSTIN needs to be cool, get off her high horse and realize that her “truths” are not everyone else’s truths – as seen in all your readers comments.

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  125. Shelton Armour - November 13, 2018 3:35 pm

    Excellent reply. No offence, but I have found you to be quite profound (more than a couple of times, too). Some people seek perfection and never bother with the content. I feel sorry for that teacher.

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  126. Cindy - November 13, 2018 3:49 pm

    What a well-written reply to a small-minded teacher! Don’t stop! Your stories always brighten my day and remind me what’s really important. Thank you!

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  127. Bob Winnop - November 13, 2018 3:54 pm

    I faithfully read what you write, but have only responded once before. However, today’s words compelled me to let you know that poetic license counts more than proper sentence structure! ….and I’m a retired teacher.

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  128. Lynn Plagens - November 13, 2018 3:55 pm

    And I am ashamed for Texas! Please do not take to heart one thing that so-called teacher said in her letter. Another jealous-hearted attempt to belittle someone just because she thinks her teacher status makes her “somebody”. Your writing is a gift to so many and apparently all of us love your fragmented sentences, your stories, and your kindness. Keep writing, Sean. Never mind the bullies!

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  129. Wells - November 13, 2018 4:00 pm

    Sean, you are awesome. Loved reading this. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face everyday.

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  130. Robert - November 13, 2018 4:01 pm

    Unfortunately “some” teachers like to tear down others because of their own inadequacies. If your words provide pleasure, confidence, peace, courage, kindness, etc. to your readers, you are a GREAT writer. God Bless. rsk

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  131. Kay Keel - November 13, 2018 4:15 pm

    Sean, I sincerely hope that “teacher” reads this column AND all the comments from the people who truly love you and every word you write because your words speak to our hearts. You encourage us when we are low and make us laugh while you do it. Thank you!

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  132. Sharron Paris - November 13, 2018 4:20 pm

    This teacher could certainly learn some discernment from her students. Your response is, yet again, one of the reasons I love you…. you respond with kid gloves when I want to hit her with a set of Rocky’s practice gloves. You are a kind gentle person and this “teacher” could learn a lot from your fragments…. I especially loved the response from P. Speer and Rhonda H as we have had similar experiences…

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  133. Linda Lou - November 13, 2018 4:26 pm

    We love you, Sean! Keep the good words coming!

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  134. Peggy Savage - November 13, 2018 4:27 pm

    I feel sorry for ‘Englush Teacher.’ I am a retired English teacher and teacher of students with special needs. I feel sorry for your critic because this person has missed the beautiful experience of seeing the unique potential of each student. Students don’t fit into a box. They are uniquely one of a kind. The beauty and joy is found in celebrating those differences. I celebrate and thoroughly enjoy your unique style of writing. You have brought joy, tears, awareness and beauty to your readers. You just kept doing what you are doing, and let the Lord take you where He will. Love you , Sean.

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  135. Scott Mangrum - November 13, 2018 4:27 pm

    English in Austin, as my kids say “you do you”

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  136. Sue - November 13, 2018 4:31 pm

    I don’t care if you don’t do everything right according to an English teacher, but I enjoy your writing and I think a lot of others do also. Keep doing what you are doing and to the English teacher, go read something else. We like it.

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  137. Ronnie - November 13, 2018 4:33 pm

    To the most of us, Sean, you re a great writer. Keep up the good work!

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  138. Minnie Bourque - November 13, 2018 4:36 pm

    Sean, please, please, please disregard this thoughtless, insecure, offensive “teacher’s” comments. I take offense at her taking the title of “teacher” in demeaning some of the most thoughtful, creative, meaningful writings that I enjoy daily. Please file her comments away in the “trash” folder! As a former teacher, I am ashamed at her behavior and I feel terrible for all the students who are in and have passed through her classroom.
    Continue your love of writing and sharing it with the public. it always brightens my day.
    Much love an continued happiness, Sean!

    Reply
  139. Karen - November 13, 2018 5:02 pm

    Storytelling is a gift. You have it.
    I love the writings of Lewis Grizzard and Kurt Vonnegut. You are an amazing writer because you connect to us all and encourage us.
    I can’t understand why any teacher would intentionally discourage anyone.
    Please continue to gift us with your words that touch our hearts and souls. We love you. ❤️

    Reply
  140. Lee in MS - November 13, 2018 5:03 pm

    Sean, English in Austin is so correct, he cannot be heard (or read). I winced when I read his post.
    Like him, I teach. Like you, I write. So, I understand his point.
    I confess that when I read your blogs I occasionally want to edit, a bad habit that irritates colleagues. Then, I am quickly transformed into your language, your scenery, your transparency and your soul.
    Thank you for being exactly who you are, for being comfortable in your skin and for sharing your life with your readers and those you encounter. You are a great example of kindness and love for your fellow man/woman/canines. By the way, I am a dog-lover and as a friend says, “never trust someone who doesn’t like dogs”.
    Keep on, Sean. Write as you see fit. You have a key place in American lexicon, especially since your mentor, Lewis, is no longer with us on earth.
    Write on!

    Reply
  141. Don - November 13, 2018 5:06 pm

    Right On, Sean!

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  142. Randall Baikey - November 13, 2018 5:07 pm

    Lewis Grizzard lost me when he started to disrespect President Clinton with such venom I thought it was a jr hi girls’ food fight. I’ve never found youbto be anything other than respectful, entertaining, and as you say, nice.

    Reply
  143. Don - November 13, 2018 5:08 pm

    Maybe I should have said “Write On, Sean!”

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  144. Brenda - November 13, 2018 5:09 pm

    To quote the late Merle Haggard, this teacher is walking on the fighting side of me.

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  145. Edna B. - November 13, 2018 5:14 pm

    Wow, I’ve enjoyed reading all these comments. Sean, you have a gift that brings so many of us joy. I love your down to earth style of writing, or rather chatting, with us. God Bless you and you have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  146. Lynnis - November 13, 2018 5:21 pm

    Oh Sean, THAT was the epitome of the southern “bless your heart”! I’ll just add my own…’I’ll say a prayer for you” to the Austin “teacher”.

    Reply
  147. wandajb - November 13, 2018 5:31 pm

    I’ve been writing all my life just because I love writing. You’re words are a blessing. I read them every chance I get, and I want to be just like you when I grow up. Oh yeah, I am grown up… and over the hill!
    Thank you for being a nice guy.❤️

    Reply
  148. Joan Busby - November 13, 2018 5:32 pm

    Sean: I still miss Lewis Grizzard. So glad you are here filling my days with good, kind, thoughts and some hearty laughs. I’m stil tickled with this one of yours – “And on the eighth day God created Nick Sabin.” Remember Lewis’ devotion to the Georgia Bulldogs?

    Reply
  149. Earl Culver - November 13, 2018 5:49 pm

    She was offensive and hurt your feelings so I don’t blame you for chapping her a little at the end of your column. Her panties are just in a perpetual superiority wad. That’s a painful chronic condition, so “Bless her heart”.

    Reply
  150. Alice Grimes - November 13, 2018 6:31 pm

    This person certainly was not “called” to teaching- in the wrong profession! Shame on you “educator”! No class at all-full of jealousy!!!!!

    Reply
  151. Susan - November 13, 2018 7:11 pm

    Your friends have said it all. You are a terrific storyteller. It isn’t easy, and requires understanding dialect and culture in a special way. I love that you meet and listen to folks everywhere you go. You share their stories beautifully. We get to know people through you. I am thankful every day when I read your stories, and you instill in me a desire to know people better. I hope to understand better what folks lives are like, and hopefully be thankful that my trials aren’t so great. Please keep telling stories of common folk. Folk stories are the best stories!

    Reply
  152. Cindy W - November 13, 2018 7:12 pm

    Sean, this blog is BRILLIANT. Keep on….you are a huge encouragement to me! In my experience, a lot of teachers are just plain self-righteous.

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  153. Donna - November 13, 2018 7:17 pm

    Sean, you were very nice to that teacher in Austin. Nice is good. It would have been nice to mention that you do have your work publshed, in books, and that you make living at your craft, and that many of your legion of followers find your work filled with art and great compassion. Keep up the good work! — peace, dc

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  154. Debbie - November 13, 2018 7:21 pm

    Lewis Grizzard was always one of my favorites…. and now you are too!!

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  155. Patrick - November 13, 2018 7:26 pm

    I live in Austin and would have to say that this English teacher doesn’t speak for me.

    Carry on, sir.

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  156. Beth - November 13, 2018 7:27 pm

    I always enjoyed Lewis Gizzard and still
    miss him. America can relate to your writings, it is real. I am always touched! Shame on the English teacher. She certainly has no heart. Who is she to tell you how to write when you are speaking true Americana. Thank you!

    Reply
  157. Kathyleen Padgett - November 13, 2018 7:36 pm

    We, your followers, love you. So sorry she missed the hold lesson…. Not much of a teacher.

    Reply
  158. Pamela McEachern - November 13, 2018 8:13 pm

    Well quite a storm, I keep on hearing the “Wicked Witch of the West.” I bet alot of her students do too. There are no limits to the fact that you and your writings are loved. Just be you Sean, that is all we want.

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  159. Bobbie - November 13, 2018 8:38 pm

    Obviously you were raised to have manners, Sean, while some were not. Your fans(me being one of many) love you and thank God for your down to earth style. Keep up the good work!!

    Reply
  160. Joe Vanden Heuvel - November 13, 2018 8:55 pm

    Sean, Please don’t change the tiniest of things, because of what this person said. Your writings have been a very positive and enjoyable part of my day. Joe

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  161. Jack Quanstrum - November 13, 2018 8:57 pm

    Good response to his pridefulness. I certainly would not want to read his stuff. Your the best!

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  162. Dennise Romine - November 13, 2018 9:30 pm

    Great response to the snarky educator! You writing touches my heart daily in some aspect. You are relatable, honest and a good person from what I can tell! Continue with your humor so that our days can be lightened from having to please snarky people like the educator!

    Reply
  163. Janet Mary Lee - November 13, 2018 9:36 pm

    I am in awe of all that was said by your faithful readers. I am one. too! This has been the longest list of comments, (and adoration!), I have seen in the comment section of any of your stories, and I have been reading and loving them for a while. This alone tells you of how many souls you touch. I am guessing this teacher has a big hole in her soul somewhere that needs filling. Hopefully, she will get what she is missing. I often feel I have not done as much as I could have with my life, especially when I look around at some extraordinary people and their lives. But I did produce two very wonderful English teachers who recognize love and need and acceptance in their students and always have an open heart for them and their uniqueness.So my heart overflows with gratitude for them, for your reader, and you!! NEVER stop writing!

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - November 13, 2018 9:40 pm

      Darn auto correct! Replace the she with the teacher! (who wrote to you!).It changed it after correction, lol….

      Reply
  164. Linda Youmans - November 13, 2018 10:33 pm

    Dear Sean!

    May God Bless you and your teenage humor, fragmented sentences and irreverance! All I can say is you have made me both cry and laugh so hard that I need a mop! Sometimes all in the same article.

    Love and Prayers from this 66 year old Granny that reads everything she can get her hands on and you sit right there beside all the most revered authors of all times.

    Reply
  165. Ann Kennamer Landers - November 13, 2018 10:37 pm

    English teachers ……… Who died and made her the boss. Your writing is perfect. If you don’t have the guts to sign your name (Teacher in Austin) keep your mouth shut! Sean your writing is exactly what it should be. I hate everything Shakespeare but love every word you write.

    Reply
  166. Fairy Sutherland - November 13, 2018 10:43 pm

    The world needs your humor. Our young students also need teachers that are supportive and encouraging.

    Reply
  167. Robyn Norman - November 13, 2018 10:59 pm

    We love you just the way you are!

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  168. Deb Gillingham - November 13, 2018 11:01 pm

    You remind me of Lewis Grizzard, Sean. He was downhome brilliant. When he died..i died a little too. I always wondered if i’d ever find another Lewis. A man who kept me up all night reading and And laughing till the waterbed shook. Then i found you. I grew up not far from your stomping grounds. We know the same kind of people. Write on.

    Reply
  169. Ted - November 13, 2018 11:59 pm

    I was you…were you….awe shoot! We’re alike!

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  170. Lisa Yelverton - November 14, 2018 12:03 am

    Dear Sean,
    Please keep up the great work!
    Not all of us “everyday people” expect perfect grammar or sentence composition!
    It’s a matter of being able to relate to you that makes us feel like real people & that we are right there in the story with you!
    Thank you for everything you see & write about so that we “everyday people” may live vicariously through you!!!
    You are greatly appreciated in South AL… also known as LA- Lower Alabama. To be more specific Enterprise!!!
    Thank you again!!!
    Sincerely,
    Lisa Yelverton

    Reply
  171. Bill Johander - November 14, 2018 12:39 am

    Right om, Sean, Love your writing even though you fragment sentences!

    Reply
  172. Cathy Wilson - November 14, 2018 2:08 am

    Sean, It will take a week to read all the wonderful things everyone has said about you. You are a very nice guy. Your parents taught you manners, just to bad the English teacher failed to learn their manners. I agree with all the comments above. I have saved your writings in a folder marked “Sean the writer”, and have been doing it for over a year. Thank you for writing.

    Reply
  173. Wadena - November 14, 2018 2:43 am

    Love this! Also love ‘real’ people, flaws and all!

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  174. Michael Hawke - November 14, 2018 3:49 am

    Love it.

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  175. Margaret - November 14, 2018 3:56 am

    Oh, Sean, please tell us that was not a real email from a real English teacher. As a retired English teacher myself, I cringe to think I may have thwarted a budding author by such thoughtless and unmerited comments, but I hope not. For the record, your writing excels in fluency, tone, organization, and interest. (And you’re grammer ain’t all that bad neither!) I wish I were that talented. Thank for being a bright spot in my day.

    Reply
  176. Kristine Wehrheim - November 14, 2018 11:10 am

    Well don’t that beat all!

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  177. Sandra Smith - November 14, 2018 2:14 pm

    B.R.A.V.O !!!
    I LOVE the way you write.
    Please continue !
    ❤❤❤❤

    Reply
  178. Don Helton - November 14, 2018 4:06 pm

    For credentials: I have a Masters Degree from a Big Ten school, which is rated as one of the top business schools in the country and consider myself as well-educated as your critic. The sole purpose of writing is to clearly communicate the writer’s thoughts. If it does this, it is good writing, and by this measure you should have no critics. When I recommend your writings to friends I compare them to that of not only Lewis Grizzard, but also Dave Barry. Obviously, I’m a big fan…if you were to change, it would a loss.

    Reply
  179. Marcia MacLean, Lynn Haven - November 14, 2018 5:01 pm

    You told her….and in such a nice way! I remember where I was and what I was doing when I got the news of Lewis Grizzard passing away. Such a loss.

    Reply
  180. Lee Taylor - November 14, 2018 5:09 pm

    A M E N Sean!!! PS enjoyed your program in Gardendale. I was the guy who always laughed too loud.

    Reply
  181. Jean tidwell - November 14, 2018 7:16 pm

    Sean, as always, you gave the perfect response. You are so classy. Kindness always wins. And you show that. Don’t give that teacher another thought. She is obviously a negative person with a miserable life. Keep doing what you’re doing. Thank you!

    Reply
  182. Bob Hubbard - November 14, 2018 9:14 pm

    I had the good fortuneto meet Lewis Grizzard at his next to last book signing in Atlanta. Like you, i always enjoyed his work, as it seemed to be an endless commentary on what it was to be born and grow up “Southern”. Like you, I seem to have all his books, and they are carefully arranged in one place under G for Lewis. I’ll reommend another Southerner for you = Ludlow Porch. Grizzard seemed to think Porch was his mentor.

    Don’t you think you are mentoring some 15 year old kid in God Knows Where, Alabama or Scratch Ankle, Mississippi or Last Chance Georgia. I suspect you are. Keep it up.

    Reply
  183. Ellen - November 15, 2018 4:40 am

    I knew there was a reason you sounded like Lewis Grizzard!

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  184. Debbie - November 15, 2018 12:55 pm

    Keep doing it just like you’re doing … ❤️

    Reply
  185. Lisa Perkins - November 15, 2018 1:40 pm

    I loved your response to her Sean! Teachers don’t realize that only a few criticisms can have a profound effect on future of their students. I have a degree, but it was a struggle since I have detested reading since I was a kid. However, I LOVE reading your emails and look forward to reading them!! I have forwarded some to my brothers who are shocked that I actually ENJOY reading something! Keep writing and making sooooo many people start their days with a smile 😃💗

    Reply
  186. Anne Godwin - November 15, 2018 5:41 pm

    Bless her heart!

    I’ve been reading books, dated 1896-1920s, that belonged to my grandparents. This quote, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Familiar Studies (1911), speaking of Walt Whitman, reminded me of you: “Takes ordinary and even commonplace circumstances; throws them out, by a happy turn of thinking, into significance and something like beauty’ and tacks a hopeful moral lesson to the end.”

    Thank you for sharing your observations with us.

    Reply
  187. Susan - November 16, 2018 1:57 am

    Exactly why I love your work. You write what I need to hear. That I am worth something in my own unique and quirky way, and I may not be Picasso or Ansel Adams but my art and my photography connect me to people in a way I am comfortable with… I am an introvert. I prefer to not “people” in crowds… It wears me out and overwhelms me. It took me a long time to believe in myself and now there is no going backwards! That English teacher was rude!!!

    Reply
  188. Cheryl Eggart - November 16, 2018 2:01 pm

    I am a retired teacher/school counselor and it was wrong of that teacher to say those things to you or anyone. A teacher is an encourager. I do not think she is that at all. You should keep writing just like you do. I have always loved your writing. I am from Brewton, Alabama and live in Pace, Florida now. I will be coming to your event in Milton, Florida in December ad m looking forward to hearing you in person.

    Reply
  189. Judy - November 16, 2018 4:21 pm

    Interesting that the English teacher used incorrect grammar. Beginning a sentence with “and” is not proper, and use of the word “like” was incorrect, as well. The sentence should read, “As I tell my students…” Sometimes it’s wise to remember that old adage about living in glass houses and throwing stones, English-Teacher-In-Austin.

    Reply
  190. Steve Winfield - November 19, 2018 4:28 am

    And a 58 yr old who so misses his dog he buried 2 yrs ago. Also a big Grizzard fan. A neighbor gave me his trilogy 20 yrs ago. Read it so many times. His favorite place to eat a t-bone was Waffle House. Not because the steak was that good but because no one minded if you gnawed the bone. Love you from historic Shannon, Alabama. (Ore mine from 1890-1927)

    Reply
  191. Cay Weaver - November 26, 2018 3:55 am

    I knew there was a reason I like your blog so much!! You do bring that wonderful writer, Lewis Grizzard, back to my mind. And to my heart. And a bit of a tear to my eye. I read his column for years in the Atlanta Journal. I lived in Connecticut when he died and didn’t hear the news for several weeks. I remember calling my cousin in McDonough, tearfully asking, “Why didn’t somebody call me? Didn’t you think I would want to know?” as if Lewis was a member of the family. Because that’s the way he made you feel. Like he understood the trials and tribulations you too were experiencing along this journey we call life. Like he knew how you felt. And like he cared how you felt. Sorta the way I feel when I read your blog, Sean. Don’t listen to all those English teachers out there. The educational system has already beat all the creativity and compassion outta those poor souls. So please keep at it. I need all the help I can get!

    Reply
  192. Rosie Preston - December 7, 2018 5:53 pm

    Dear Sean, I have just read what the ‘teacher’ said about your ability to be considered a ‘great author’. I also read Lewis Grizzard and have a box of his books. The same with Erma Bombeck. They shaped my writing style, also. I have been writing in my home town since 1998. I live in Attalla, AL My article is titled: Keep Smilin’ with Rosie. I have many fans and I am blessed. I have a blog site where I post my articles after they are published in a local, weekly newspaper, The Messenger Newspaper which covers Etowah County, AL We also have a mail out which cost only $25.00 a year. My blog site is: http://www.life101rosie.comj
    I would love for you to check it out and anyway that you could help me, or give advice,it would be greatly appreciatedl
    Keep writin’,
    Rosie Preston

    Reply
    • Rosie Preston - December 7, 2018 6:14 pm

      Edited reply. Please delete the first one!

      Rosie Preston – December 7, 2018 5:53 pm

      Dear Sean,
      I have just read what the ‘teacher’ said about your ability to be considered a ‘great author’. Everything you write is so touching and my best friend introduced me to your writing (she is a retired teacher). Please know I am looking forward to readng more. My friend’s son in Texas sends your articles to her and she forwards it to me. I enjoy that you write about everyday situations such as your family, pets, and experiences.
      I also read Lewis Grizzard and have a box of his books. The same with Erma Bombeck. They shaped my writing style, also. I have been writing in my home town since 1998. I live in Attalla, AL and write for a weekly publication. My article is titled: Keep Smilin’ with Rosie. I have many fans and am blessed. I have a blog site: http://www.life101rosie.com
      The delete key is my best friend. I would love for you to check it out and anyway you could help me, or give advice,it would be greatly appreciatedl
      Keep writin’,
      Rosie Preston

      Reply
  193. Marsha Hagin - May 3, 2019 3:46 pm

    I am attempting to subscribe via email, but your system doesn’t recognize the numeral 1 and instead inserts the letter “i” when I attempt to enter my address. I’m getting errors on each attempt. It entered correctly below, but not in the “subscribe” info.
    Thank you.

    Reply

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