2nd US President

Official Presidential Portrait of John Adams (by John Trumbull, circa 1792)  via wiki commons http://www.whitehouseresearch.org/assetbank-whha/action/viewHome

Here in the United States of America, many of us are coming back to work after a three day weekend. We just celebrated our country’s 238th birthday. The day before the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress, John Adams wrote his wife a letter in which he said about that day, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

It is of little matter today that Adams was referring to July 2, the day the declaration was signed, and we celebrate on July 4, the day the declaration was made public to the masses. What is important is that 238 years later, we do celebrate as he envisioned: with parades and picnics, games and fireworks.

Fourth of July

My daughter and I cook over an open flame while my husband and son prep the fireworks.

My family had several events on our calendar this year. We couldn’t make them all. My favorite event, however, was right in our own backyard. We cooked food over a fire, enjoyed the swimming pool, and set off the nicest display of fireworks in the neighborhood. I miss the old tradition of the festival in Pennsylvania and then watching the fireworks with our extended family, but sometimes we have to give up old traditions and make way for new ones. We’ve been celebrating this way for four years now. It’s become our new tradition, and I have to say, it’s really quite nice.

And we have a lot to celebrate. We’re all healthy. I’m starting a new (and wonderful) new job. I just signed a three-book publication deal. We think we finally figured out what was wrong with our dog; he seems to be doing better now. Everything is going well.

And we live in the greatest nation in the world. What more could we ask for?

Oh? The book deal? I’ll be talking to you about it more in the coming months, but for now, I’ll just mention the first release will be here before you know it. It’s scheduled for November. November! It’s a mainstream fiction novel called Type and Cross. But we’ll discuss it later…

For Writers:
When we’re writing our novels, we often include the big holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, maybe Easter or Halloween) if they fall in our timeframe. But seldom do we think about the smaller ones. Look at the calendar and make sure you work them in. They’ll go a long way in helping you set your scene. Another great tip is to look at the nationalities and religions of your characters. There may be holidays that they should be celebrating because of where they come from or because of their faith. Details like these can really enrich your story and help develop your characters. And who knows? As you research these holidays, you may find something interesting that can turn into an interesting plot twist.

For Everyone:
If you live in the States, I hope you enjoyed your holiday. If not, well, I at least hope you had a good weekend. Here’s to all of us having a safe, happy, and productive week. How did you spend your weekend? Anything exciting to share? Any interesting holidays to write about in your WIP? Let’s talk about it.


4 Responses

    • We did have a great holiday. I’m glad you found the reminder helpful. Do you have any holidays where you set off fireworks? I’m sure they’re not in the winter. Or are they?

  1. Sounds like you had an enjoyable holiday. We also cooked outside (on the grill) and later had a fireworks. We also enjoyed seeing our neighbors’ displays, but our dog and cats were terrified.

    I enjoyed reading about the note John Adams wrote to his wife. Did you know that both he and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, within hours, on July 4, 1826?

    Again I want to congratulate you on your new job and the book contract. I look forward to reading Type and Cross.

    • I did know that they both died on the same day. Interesting, isn’t it? Did you know that James Monroe passed away five years later on the same day? That makes three presidents who died on July 4th. One more Presidential Independence Day trivia fact: Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born in Vermont on July 4th, 1872!

      Glad you had a nice evening, Joan, despite the scared pets. We had one scared dog and one thrilled beyond measure!

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