I received an email sent in by a reader. Well, actually, I don’t know if you’d call him a reader. I should probably just call him “Bill.”
Bill wrote: “My sister sent me some of your blog entries and I liked them initially, but I began to lose interest quickly…
“Your work is often full of indecorous humor… You’re sometimes trying too hard to be folksy…
“Before you get upset with me, Sean, I do not wish to disrespect you. I have been teaching college English for a long time.”
Well, Bill, I’m embarrassed to say that when this email showed up I was watching “The Golden Girls.” I should be humiliated to admit that I was not reading heavyweight literature like T.S. Eliot or Melville. Because I’ve pretty much proven your point. Even though I’m not sure what your point was exactly.
Anyway, in this particular “Golden Girls” episode Burt Reynolds was a guest star. And since this is a family column, I won’t share every indecorous detail of the episode because, for starters, I don’t technically know what indecorous means.
What I will tell you, however, is that Burt Reynolds came bursting into the room and the scene went like this:
(Studio audience applause—also a few cat calls.)
BLANCHE: My God, you’re Mister Burt Reynolds!
BURT REYNOLDS: I hope so, or else I’ve got the wrong underwear on.
(More cat calls.)
The thing is, I’m not claiming to be a true writer. Real writers wouldn’t draw inspiration from “The Golden Girls.” Real authors draw inspiration from Bach preludes, and they smoke fine cigars.
A few months ago, my friend Robert organized a meeting with a well-known author like this. Robert and I arrived at a large estate in Central Florida. A woman invited us into a mahogany study.
On the walls were pictures of this writer, gracing magazine covers, playing golf with celebrities, shaking hands with high-ranking officials, rescuing children from grizzly bears.
When the author joined us, he poured drinks from a decanter and presented a small humidor box to Robert and said, “Cuban?”
Robert said, “No, Scotch-Irish on my mother’s side.”
And I felt silly. I’m nothing like that author. Oh sure, I took a few community college English classes, but big deal, even plumbers, waitresses, and electricians take college classes.
As a matter of fact, at one point I thought I would become an electrician. I even did a short stint as an electrician’s assistant.
Electricians made decent money, so since I had no high school education I was thinking to myself, “Hey, this is a great gig, I’ll be an electrician!”
Then one day my friend was wiring a large condominium panel, but he was not wearing high-voltage hand protection. He got shocked so bad it knocked him back ten feet. He peed his pants and forgot his name for a solid hour. I looked at my friend lying in that puddle and I decided to pursue a career in fast food.
It was around that time I had one of the first writing jobs I ever had. It was a tiny publication that covered a regional beat. I’ll never forget when the editor read a few of my writing samples and announced that she would hire me for two hundred dollars.
“Two hundred bucks?” I said.
“That’s right,” the editor said. “I accept cash or personal checks, you can pay my secretary.”
I always wanted to be the kind of writer which I imagine you probably are, Bill. A writer’s writer. Once, I wanted to backpack the Appalachian Trail with nothing but a typewriter and a roll of toilet paper tucked in my backpack. I wanted to make a grand commentary on what it means to be human.
But then, I’m lazy. And how would I watch “The Golden Girls” on the Appalachian Trail? Answer me that.
So I don’t need help feeling crummy about myself, I have felt that way for long enough. Over the years I’ve had plenty of reminders. Sometimes, I’ve wondered why I kept trying.
Well, I have figured out why I keep trying. I figured it out a few nights ago.
I was in Pintlala, Alabama, a town so small they have both city-limits signs on the same post. I was doing a show there. Afterward, I was shaking hands with a few people when I met a young man.
He must have been mid-twenties. Reddish hair. It was like looking at a picture of my younger self.
His name was Jason. He said, “I like that you use a lot of commas, even though it’s against the rules. My teacher once criticized me for using too many commas.”
I asked him if he was a writer. And I saw that look on his face. It’s the same look I wore when I read your email. A little embarrassment.
“A writer?” Jason said. “No, not really. I mean, maybe I am…”
I mean this with the utmost respect, Mister English teacher, Bill, sir:
That young man is a writer, no matter what anyone says. One day he is going to realize this, and I hope he feels so fulfilled that buckets of self-worth start oozing out of his ears. Maybe then you can send indecorous emails to him like the one you sent me.
Now if you’ll pardon me, “The Golden Girls” is back on.
Charles Branch - September 20, 2019 7:15 am
Sean, for a non-writer, you certainly have a lot of people who wait up for your blog to appear in their gmail 🙂 Me, me, me! You speak to my heart with your words and I really want to meet you sometime. I would love to send you a book but do not know your address. How can I find it?
Charles Branch - September 20, 2019 7:18 am
For some reason I do not know, my husband’s name appeared on my comment. Sorry about that! This is Tana –not Charles.
Karen Greatrix - September 20, 2019 7:29 am
You are a writer, you just don’t write what Bill likes to read. He is the one losing out and I am very glad that you keep writing I like to hear the good stories about everyday people.
AL SMOLKO - September 20, 2019 9:15 am
I WOULD NOT BE TOO CONCERNED ABOUT ANYONE WHO USE THE WORD “INDECOROUS”.
SOME HOW THAT SEEM A BIT TOO OMINOUS AND THAT IS ABOUT ALL THE BIG WORDS THAT I KNOW!
Dwayne Pantle - September 20, 2019 8:58 am
I have 3 favorite writers: Anne Tyler, Erich Segal, and Sean Dietrich.
George Thomas Jones - September 20, 2019 9:21 am
Sean: I have been reading your columns for quite some time. I feel like we have some things in common. I have been attempting to write a weekly column in our local weekly newspaper for the past 22-years. like you, I never took journalism classes in college—like you writing was not my initial vocation. I sold my business of 44-years in 1994 and retired at the age of 74. I flunked retirement and started writing. Now, as you admitted, I don’t know the meaning of indecorous—and that doesn’t phase me at all–like you said of yourself, I am no O. Henry, but I have a stack of complimentary cards and letters thanking me for efforts, because like you, I tell their story in a complimentary manner. You do the same but with one step further–you are a tremendous encourager. So what I am trying to say here is that your success is not dependent on winning press awards, which relieves you of the burden of achieving a Pulitzer Prize.
Mary - September 20, 2019 9:26 am
Well done response without being unkind. It’s disappointing how some folks feel they need to “help” with their criticism, as if their opinion is so worthy that you’d never become your best without hearing it. I love how you keep being YOU anyway. I love how you’ve learned YOU are your best gift to share.
Thanks for brightening so many lives with your writing everyday, even if it isn’t for everyone. We know that’s OK.
lisaweldon - September 20, 2019 9:39 am
I told a friend just last week, “I want to write like Sean of the South.” I guess I’m indecorous, too. Whatever that means.
Russell Jones - September 20, 2019 9:46 am
Right on, Sean!
Karen - September 20, 2019 9:57 am
I don’t know why people feel the need to criticize others. You are a profound writer. Love you.
Suzanne - September 20, 2019 10:02 am
I love your indecorous writing. I love your folksy writing. I love that you live in the south like me. I love that Bill’s opinion of you is really none of your business.
Chris - September 20, 2019 10:21 am
I was indecorus one time. Well, actually, I tried out to be indecorus but, alas, I was told I was too folksy for such a prestigious order.
Suzanne - September 20, 2019 10:24 am
I love your writing! It’s full of wonderful surprises!
Jean - September 20, 2019 10:33 am
There is always some critic out there that feels the need to try and put somebody down. You have a legion of fans who love reading everything you write. I am one of them.
Ron B. - September 20, 2019 10:44 am
adj. Lacking propriety or decorum. synonym: unseemly.
Not decorous; violating propriety or the accepted rules of conduct; unseemly.
Synonyms Unbecoming, unseemly, improper, rude, unmannerly.
It strikes me that Bill’s self-aggrandizing and spiteful criticism appears to be a better example of indecorousness than anything you’ve ever written, Sean! “Folksy” is good, and I find it refreshing and comforting, entertaining and embraceable!! Please ignore Bill, and his ilk, and keep sharing your impressions and insights with us!
Gloria - September 20, 2019 10:48 am
My Daddy and Granddaddy owned a seafood market when we were growing up. One day a customer who happened to be a professor at one of the universities in town came in to purchase some fish. He used some “big” words to impress everyone in the market. As he was leaving, one of Daddy’s long-time friend and employee, Bee, remarked “Hunh, I knows some big words too.. elephant, hippopotamus”. Ever since then, when someone tries to impress us, I think about Bee’s response and giggle to myself.
Please don’t change a thing about how or what you write! Now I’m fixing to look up that big word Bill used.😀
Naomi - September 20, 2019 11:02 am
It’s not just the ability to write that I have had to deal with, it’s so-called “friends” who want to make me over. I have had friends who want me to get a different hair style, dress differently, change the style of my glasses, redecorate my house and on and on. I didn’t pay any attention to them. I have learned to be content with myself, unlike my so-called “friends” who are never content.
Warren Evans - September 20, 2019 11:08 am
Today’s column is priceless. Thanks for being you!
Cameron Pendergraft - September 20, 2019 11:37 am
Perfect with a capitol P!
Camille - September 20, 2019 11:40 am
When I have to spend all of my time looking up words like “indecorous,” I lose interest in what I am reading. Thank you Sean for having the ability to hold my attention from start to finish, in this “blog” and in your books!
John - September 20, 2019 11:49 am
If you don’t hold his attention, his students don’t hold his attention. He may be in the wrong profession.
Susan McCall - September 20, 2019 11:49 am
Bravo for this reply! A true teacher would applaud your work and effort!
Myra G. - September 20, 2019 11:53 am
Sympathies to Bill’s sister ….. as well as his students. Please don’t change a thing, Sean. We love you!
GaryD - September 20, 2019 12:03 pm
You’re not a crummy writer. I don’t believe that for one second. I’d much rather read your column than anything Bill could ever write.
Wanda L Smith - September 20, 2019 12:11 pm
Your column is a must every morning. It always makes me smile and sometimes even a belly laugh. Often it beings tears of joy. However, the best ones are those that take me back to my childhood of growing up in Northeast Florida. I was fortunate to be able to teach high school history for 35 years in several small towns in Florida and that experience exposed me to the worst of writing. You could never equal some of the writing that I graded. Most of all for a few minutes each day, I am able to forget all the aches and pains of old age and go to a happy place. That, my dear Sean, is the epitome of what a writer can achieve. Yes, Virginia, Sean is a true writer.
Vanessa - September 20, 2019 12:11 pm
Sean— you are such a bad writer that reading your article is the first thing I do each morning. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now! Please keep starting my days off right!
Clark Hining - September 20, 2019 12:11 pm
Terri - September 20, 2019 12:31 pm
I’m not so sure of how “Bill” wants you to feel over his condescending email, but I certainly know how your writing makes me feel. It makes me like in this world of bad news and violence, there are still good people and values that I recall from my childhood. I read your “column” every morning and it begins my day in a positive way. Love it, and love you much Sean.
Brenda G Phipps - September 20, 2019 12:35 pm
A rose by any name is still a rose!
Trilby Devine - September 20, 2019 12:35 pm
You are perfect and I love your work and read it every day because it reminds me how precious humanity is.
Susie - September 20, 2019 12:52 pm
Thank you Mr Sean, for being you.
Lynn Riggs Reese - September 20, 2019 12:54 pm
I, too, am an English teacher. Or was before I retired. And I know I just broke a couple of rules. I was introduced to your blog by two teachers, one an outstanding retired English teacher and the other the chair of the chemistry department at a very well-respected college here. Just to make it clear, YOU ARE A WRITER and I pray that you keep encouraging other writers! Keep reminding us, also, to take the time to SEE those around us and hear their stories and to be kind. Thank you for your folksy, indecorous humor!
Deborah - September 20, 2019 1:06 pm
You go Sean. Love your writing!
Jan - September 20, 2019 1:09 pm
Love it! Also love you and your writing, Mr Sean, Writer Sir!
Phil S, Montgomery, AL - September 20, 2019 1:11 pm
Sean, being rather ignorant myself, I had to look up indecorous. As I suspected, in short it means improper. Therefore, i strongly suggest you stay on your indecorous writing trail.The Appalachian might be a bit much for you, although if taken in small portions, it is rather enjoyable. Try the Blood Mountain section near Dahlonega, GA. It’s challenging, but scenic. I spent a month there one weekend when our son was in Boy Scouts. My pack felt like it had a typewriter and a TV with a complete set of the Golden Girls tapes.
Where was i? Oh, yeah, stay indecorous.
Joe Patterson - September 20, 2019 1:11 pm
I don’t understand why folks who are supposed to be intelligent feel it is their job in life to criticize and demean others .Keep writing we enjoy your column to hell with intellectual critics.
Caleb Halstead - September 20, 2019 1:13 pm
I realize you may not post this comment, but it’s how I feel. Your critic, Bill, is nothing more than an over-educated, self-satisfied, self-important, grandiose butt-hole. I’m not a writer, either, Sean, but I know the things I enjoy reading and your work is right up at the top of the list.
Bill - September 20, 2019 1:26 pm
Sean, my experience with college English teachers is they try to find several levels of deeper meaning to every sentence and/or paragraph of every writer’s work. I find lots of life as we live it, written with humor, wit, compassion and understanding in your writing. Hope you don’t have much deeper meaning intended cause I missed it. I just find your writing sometimes brings tears, lots of laughs, and great reminders of the good in ordinary people. I eagerly look forward to your column each day. Ignore that Bill. Listen to this Bill.
Kathleen - September 20, 2019 1:27 pm
💕 “… a town so small they have both city-limits signs on the same post.” That phrasing got me laughing out loud! Thank you, Sean! We love your writing so keep ‘em coming ! 💕 Please consider visiting the Apalachin, NY area !
Sara Shaver - September 20, 2019 1:29 pm
My momma would say about Bill “he has no soul” not a theological comment but meaning he just doesn’t get the goodness of life. I am grateful that you do and that you remind us of that goodness daily
Mary - September 20, 2019 1:30 pm
I often wonder what makes folks think that other people NEED their derogatory opinion. (I looked that one up!). Maybe he thinks he could improve on what you’re writing? If so, he is sadly mistaken. Keep on doing YOU, Sean.
Tim Peace - September 20, 2019 1:32 pm
Poor, poor Bill. How utterly miserable he must be. Preach on, brother!
Ginger Smith - September 20, 2019 1:34 pm
Sounds like Bill doesn’t have enough to do. Maybe a hobby would be just the thing? AT, anyone?
MermaidGrammy - September 20, 2019 1:44 pm
I will never understand why some people feel it’s their right/responsibility/call in life to criticize other people. Poor ol lonely Bill
Connie Havard Ryland - September 20, 2019 1:45 pm
I can’t say anything that everyone else hasn’t said. I’m glad every day that I happened across your column one day. I always loved Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard and your writing reminds me so much of their style. I look forward to reading you every morning. You start my day with a smile or a tear and always with feeling. That’s what a writer does. Love and hugs.
Brenda - September 20, 2019 1:51 pm
Well, I have never heard of Mr. Bill, I ask all my friends, and none of them knew of Mr. Bill. But, I’ve heard of Sean Dietrich, and all my friends have also. Seems people who are not at peace with themselves, don’t want anyone else to be. You bring us joy and peace.
So long Mr. BIll
Yvonne Callison - September 20, 2019 1:53 pm
Let’s hope Bill stays out of the rain as he would surely drown with his nose stuck up to the sky!!! Don’t change a thing Sean. You are loved because of who you are!!!
Betty - September 20, 2019 1:57 pm
Too bad Bill didn’t take the time to read the comments section of your blog. He would have seen how much we enjoy your indecorous (I had to look it up) humor. Also, you don’t try to be “folksy. you are folksy & we love it. You are one of us. I’m sure glad I don’t have to read anything Bill has written if he has even written anything. I’d have to keep a dictionary close by.
Carol (Bobbee) Heidbreder - September 20, 2019 1:59 pm
I am late reading you today and I cant add to previous readers. They have said it all and I totally agree. This Bill person is really something. As southern ladies say when being sweetly snide, ” my goodness, Bill. That’s just so nice”. Now you have to use just the right tone(cane syrup sweet) and a bit of a caricature smile. In southernese you have just told him he is a pompous ass and to go sit down somewhere away from the rest of us. Sean, you are over the moon awesome mot just so nice.😉 Keep right on doing what you are doing! Don’t change a thing! You touch the hearts, minds and souls of so many and we dont need a dictionary by our side to read you beautiful words! I look for you every morning! Makes my day!
Leslie - September 20, 2019 2:00 pm
Here is what I have to say to Bill:
1) If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep reading it.
2) If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. My Mama taught me that.
Sean, keep doing what you do. We laugh with you, we cry with you, we love you. You are the best.
Dianne Houtz - September 20, 2019 2:06 pm
G e n u i n e. Heartfelt. So ‘us’………the regular ? people.
Now that I’ve found you, I wake up eager to read your musings with my coffee, reading at night to catch up….part of my JoY! You make ME want to write as I’ve considered so often. And thanks for your high brow indecorous 🤔 humor. Thank you Sean, for Not being that ‘other kind of writer’. We have enough of those. Not enough Seans. 🌻
Magoo Hamilton - September 20, 2019 2:06 pm
Way to go, Sean!!! You have been my favorite writer for some time now and you just rose up several notches for speaking the truth again… and because you watch The Golden Girls!!!!
Liz Watkins - September 20, 2019 2:27 pm
My comment is Why in the Hell do people feel they need to critique people! I could’ve gone my whole life not hearing from “Bill!” Geez Louise- this world needs so much help- Maybe this made “Bill” feel better about himself by putting you down! Oh and how many followers does “Bill” have?
Keep writing Sean- and keep putting idiots like “Bill” in their place!
Grand Isle, La
One day come down to GI- it’s at the end of LA-1- BP oil spill territory- you’d have stories to write for weeks to come!!
JO - September 20, 2019 2:36 pm
It’s sad that Bill advertised his ignorance in one word ” indecorous”. I have a friend like him and he is painful to talk too.
Write on Sean !!
Billy Joe Bowling Jr. - September 20, 2019 2:43 pm
It do not know why today’s column set me off. But, as any literature should, it prompted considerable thought. Without knowing for sure, I must simply jump to conclude Bill is actually a “William” and from Boston. It probably took him three hours to work the word indecorous into his criticism and the concept of Southern wit totally evades him. To quote a famous American philosopher, (Bugs Bunny) “What a maroon”
Pam - September 20, 2019 2:44 pm
Shelton A. - September 20, 2019 2:47 pm
Nice response. Sean. You are a writer and some people (particularly English professors/teachers) who don’t get your audience. Lewis Grizzard would say you a mighty fine writer and so do I.
George - September 20, 2019 2:50 pm
Since Bill sent you an email you should have been indecorous and included his first name, last name, and email address so we could all thank him for his self-aggrandizing commentary.
The only point I would agree we, and you, know you are a writer. Folksy, commas, and all.
Jo - September 20, 2019 3:00 pm
Remember, insecure people have to put others down to make them feel better.
Bill is obviously very insecure (and jealous of your talent and many followers.).
I am a retired English teacher and I love your writing in all forms.
Carol - September 20, 2019 3:17 pm
It only took a few words and sentences to put that flake in his place!!
WOW !! Your a Wonderful writer!! You get the message over and it is so great how you do it while kicking his $&@!!
Your a wonderful caring writer. Don’t you ever stop !!
I wish I knew when and where to use comas that’s the hardest think for me but then that’s how I talk too
Andy - September 20, 2019 3:34 pm
Amen and amen!!! I have NO idea why people feel they have the right or the need to share their unsolicited criticism. I read your column every day and I love it. Whether you are “a writer” or not, NEVER STOP “writing”
Mark E Adamson - September 20, 2019 3:43 pm
Linda Moon - September 20, 2019 3:45 pm
Lots of good comments prior to mine, so I’ll just say you were worth the drive to Pintlala, Alabama, and I’m glad you met Jason, but more importantly, I’m glad he met you, and I might drive somewhere to see you again, Sean Dietrich, and Jamie, too!! (did you notice all these commas from a former English teacher??)
Wayne Conrad - September 20, 2019 4:10 pm
Your story reminds me of an episode when I was teenager working at a local fruit stand. I saw on a can of cane syrup that is was Pure Unadulterated Syrup. I asked an customer what that meant and he explained: “In that past they used mules to grind the cane for making syrup. As they walked around, they would adulterate in the syrup juice. Now that it is done by machines, it is unadulterated.” Im 76 now and have never forgotten that incident. Thank you for your writing. I am not a writer but an avid reader and lover of words.
Becky - September 20, 2019 4:14 pm
Love this! So very true.
Punctuation and word usage are important, but sometimes it takes common words and phrases to get the point across, especially in humorous conversation and writing.
And good manners, even from an educator, are always a must.
Carol Folsom - September 20, 2019 4:34 pm
You have the gifts of humor, compassion, and humility. Keep on keeping on!
Elizabeth - September 20, 2019 4:39 pm
“No, Scotch-Irish on my mother’s side.” funniest thing I’ve read!!! Keep it up!
“a town so small they have both city-limits signs on the same post.” Hysterical!
Anne Parrish - September 20, 2019 4:52 pm
Sean, you’re coming to speak in my town soon. I hope to be there to see you. Did you ever think seeing you would be on someone’s bucket list?
I hope to say “check” next week.
Ann Bird - September 20, 2019 5:01 pm
Mary Jeffers - September 20, 2019 5:04 pm
Keep writing Sean. Enjoy your writings.
David P B Feder - September 20, 2019 5:23 pm
Sean, your first clue as to what a Class A, certified Craftsman tool this guy was could be found in the line, “I have been teaching college English for a long time.”
I was once a teacher and come from a family of teachers. While I always cringed at the saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach, and those who can’t teach teach the teachers,” I met too many who fit that description to a “t.” That’s “t” as in tool. As in this guy.
I’ve been a professional journalist for 32 years. I do not have a journalism degree or even an English degree. I was a chef who was asked by local papers to write about food and turned out to be so good at it that it eventually became my full-time career — and a much lower paying one at that, let me tell you!
If Mr. Tool the Teacher signed his name, Google him. My bet is you will find far fewer publications by him than by your own indecorous self. And on the very off chance he actually is a well-published author such as yourself, I am at least certain you will find heavy over-usage of words such as indecorous.*
*I think the definition has something to do with music: “I don’t sing solo in the choir but I’m indecorous.”
Ala Red Clay Girl - September 20, 2019 6:18 pm
I’m not sure of the definition of a “real” writer, but in my eyes you are a real writer….and a real good one at that. I love the way you handle your critics.
J. James Rooks, JR MD - September 20, 2019 9:47 pm
I, too, am one of your many, many, admirers and fans. I love your writings and start my day with your column. “Bill” is the type of college English Professor who couldn’t recognize the writing genius of William Faulkner or Mark Twain, and obviously cannot possibly appreciate a creative writer and thinker like you!
Patricia Gibson - September 20, 2019 9:58 pm
I think it is just something English teachers can’t help. They have to correct folks but trust me Sean you are an author and writer of the highest caliber. You communicate and that is what is important and for anyone that gives a rip, I have a Masters in Education with a specialization in English. Love you Sean
Cassie - September 20, 2019 11:49 pm
He probably doesn’t appreciate Hank Williams or any other country music either.
Susan Kennedy - September 21, 2019 12:01 am
Don’t stop, don’t change. You’re amazing. 💙
That's jack - September 21, 2019 1:51 am
I will say to anyone listening (reading) When you are paying the utilities, rent or house payment and putting gas in your truck from the signings, talks and books you are a writer. Heck about 50 people think I am a writer and my royalties at times exceed $5 a month. LOL I write because I enjoy it. I have enough sense I amnot a real writer, but I write. LOL’
Enjoyed the read my friend. I must ask, “Is this Bill real? or did you make that up? If the dude is real he ain’t right! If he ain’t I am sure he is out there under another name. LOL
Sherry & jack
Jan Chapman - September 21, 2019 2:50 am
You are so much more than just a writer. So. Much. More. Since I’m not a writer I can’t articulate my feelings but all your fans know what I’m trying to say. My best to you and yours and…thank you.
Sandi. - September 21, 2019 11:03 am
Sean, I know you’ve already written at least ten delightful books, all of which are listed for sale on Amazon. Wonder how many books that Bill character has authored? My guess is one or less.
Fran Decker - September 21, 2019 8:49 pm
Can I be indecorous too? I’ve already been called a hillbilly (I’m from a Philadelphia suburb) and I’ve been told I can be disingenous (whatever that means) and I am known among many circuits as deplorable. I think indecorous would be a terrific addition? Whaddya say? Can I?
Susan Tolley - September 23, 2019 10:05 am
I’m glad Bill knows a big word. I know a bunch but they only come out when I’m really angry. It’s like “mad tourette syndrome.” I’m also glad the world has you. Your writing has brought me to tears many times and made me want to be a kinder person. You’ve made me look at strangers in a different way and realize everyone has a story, maybe just no one to share it with. Like the waitress at Cracker Barrel who’s sister went missing. I sat and listened while she poured out her heart and cried with her. I have you to thank for giving me the patience and compassion to hear her story. You are a blessing to so many, Bill on the other hand is missing out on so much by being a judgmental, pompous weinie.
Kathi Harper Hill - September 23, 2019 2:20 pm
I can see those kind of folk coming a mile off. Their condescending smiles in place, ready to kindly set me straight about my writing. Or my singing. Or my clothing. Or my etc. Ask me if I care? No. I begin to plot. Act innocent. Then intellectually grab ’em by the throat until they thank me for telling them off. Bless their hearts. Indeed. Because I couldn’t possibly know much, I’m from the south.
Allen Berry - September 23, 2019 4:13 pm
I hope you will forgive me for being so indecorous (sheesh, what a five dollar word. I know of at least one English Prof who would have blasted him for its use when a perfectly good simple word would do) as to correct something you have stated, but you ARE a writer. You are a FINE writer.
The trouble with so many college English Professors is that they are frustrated writers. It frosts my derriere that so many of these snotty academics seem to take issue with what you write. Writing is not mathematics. It is not exact, and it’s greatest impact is the effect it has on the reader.
It might help your feelings a bit to know that as a college professor myself, I have used your essay “Why I Love Baseball” to teach my students how to do a proper memoir. There were several examples I offered them, but yours was the far and away the best of the bunch.
Such criticism from a pipe smoke blowing bean counter like Bill is (to use a five dollar word) preposterous!
Martee Rodi - Momoirist - September 24, 2019 12:37 am
I think I love you
Tracy T Thurman - September 24, 2019 3:27 am
I know you get tons of responses. I imagine most of them are very positive. I know it only takes one to over salt the hour though. You’re one of the best writers of our time. A little Mark Twain, a little Charles Dickens, a little Dave Berry, and a dash of Abigail Van Buren. Throw in dog eared copies of Reader’s Digest, Field and Stream, and Southern Living scattered on a side table in a small town barbershop, and you got Sean of the South. Please keep doing what you’re doing. The rest of us readers and struggling writers gather inspiration from what you write. God Bless you sir. Stay the course!
johnallenberry - September 24, 2019 2:06 pm
A more apt description you will not find. Although, if you’ll forgive my impertinence, you should add Lewis Grizzard to that list of luminaries.
Mary Ellen Hall - September 27, 2019 12:25 am
GOOD FOR YOU SEAN!!👍👏You’re an EXCELLANT WRITER!!
Joyce Anne Bacon - September 28, 2019 9:06 pm
When I was a young girl my Granny would always say, “Pretty is, is pretty does.” Let me change that around “Writer is…is writer writes.” I used to tell my son when he showed an interest in writing, every word that can be read someone had to write it…even matchbook covers. So keep writing what you write. It is entertaining…sometimes sad….sometimes funny…sometimes silly….but enjoyable.
Sarah Sadler - October 13, 2019 5:35 am
What a bore “Bill” is (which I would be remiss to not point out is the indecorous abbreviation of “William”). He really went soft with the self-preserving statement of not wishing to disrespect you (Dammit Man! Commit to your accusations like a real foot soldier of literary martryrdom!). There’s always a Bill somewhere–lurking around corners, red-penning Reader’s Digest for errors (delighting in them on the lucky occasion he finds one), using five dollar words in an audience of children, completly missing the point of everything. I warn my son about the Bills of our world; the idee fixe perfectionists editing out all of the spirit from the thing and killing all of the darlings (not just some). I do not care for propriety if it lacks in heart, and I very much so do not care for self-important bureaucrats like Bill. I am also an “uneducated” writer. And I know plenty of “educated” writers. And here’s the difference: Bill has what CAN be taught: formula. But you have the thing that CAN’T be taught: everything else.
Steve W. - October 13, 2019 9:11 am
You’re doing exactly what you love to do & it seems to come natural to you. You have a plethora of fans that love you. I’m gonna go out on a limb & assume it more than pays the bills too. I think you’re about as real as they come. You have that killer marriage too. These dorks that write negative things to you & about you are most likely just jealous.
I, and so many others, really appreciate you. Like so many have said already, I like waking at 3 AM & realizing there’s a new email from you. I so enjoy your books & wish you could turn out more than you already do.
You got it going on Sean & I’m happy for you. You’ve become a part of my life & I love sharing you with others. So far they’ve all really appreciated it when I do. I love your dog stories & wish you’d write more. Give ’em a hug & a treat from me. Love, Steve.
Donnie - October 13, 2019 1:50 pm
I love commas, they help me say, “what I think”, my underwear say “jockey” but that is neither my name nor my occupation, you are a writer and so is “Don Gaskin”………
Mary Ann Massey - October 13, 2019 2:13 pm
WHAT THEY ⬆️ said!!!
We love you just the way you are😘
Clonnie Kujawa - October 13, 2019 9:36 pm
The first time I read one of your stories I thought of Lewis Grizzard. In my book that makes you a fine writer!
Mary Hicks - October 14, 2019 12:53 am
Sean, you and your stories are an inspiration to me. These kind of people are jealous and educated beyond their means and our understanding! You keep making our day with your wonderful stories. Love and prayers for you and Jamie.