Please Welcome Contributing Author – Mack Dryden

Mack's Blog Writers Pic

Mack Dryden is a very funny man ! He’s also a double cancer survivor. Born and raised in Mississippi, with a MA degree in creative writing, he decided to spend a little time in Europe before settling into career, and by a strange turn of events, ran head on into a Moroccan prison. After having entirely too much fun there, he came back to the U.S. as a newspaper reporter, won some AP writing awards, and then finally found his calling; as he puts it ” making people laugh until their face hurts “.
He has been on ” The Tonight Show “, with Johnny and Jay, had numerous acting roles, including ” JAG ” and a recurring role on ” The Guardian “, and was hand picked by Bill Maher as a staff writer for ” Politically Incorrect “. To top that off, he’s a black belt Karate champion, and a published author.
He is now based in Louisville, KY, and spends his time writing and traveling the country bringing his special brand of Motivation, Inspiration and Jubilation to thousands each year.
To see more of this very funny mans’ work, visit his website  www.MackDryden.com

So here we go with Mack’s First Article on this site

One-Man Avalanche

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Driving through the Smoky* Mountains recently, I was reminded of the time I kicked off our summer vacation by nearly killing my parents. Now part of family lore, the episode was a knee-buckling example of the adage that God watches over morons. (*Look it up. That’s how they spell it at the park)

I grew up on in a marshy area that was as flat as a mud puddle. We used to go to a construction site and play on a 20-foot-high pile of dirt, which was the highest point of land I’d ever seen until the fifth grade. When I was 12 and my brother 10, our parents took us to the Smoky Mountains. The terrain was as mind-bogglingly alien to us as Jupiter’s moons. We couldn’t process the fact that we could look up and see rocks a half a mile up in the sky. We started begging Dad to let us climb one, and he finally pulled into a rest stop and we sprinted to the base of a mountain and began our assault.

When we got about 60 feet up, Mom took a picture. Fantastic. We’d have photographic evidence to show our fellow swamp rats that we’d climbed a mountain. Finally, my dad yelled, “That’s high enough.” We sat there 100 yards above the parking lot, savoring the moment. Being a boy, savoring got old quickly. I had to do something with the moment. I noticed a roundish rock about the size of a small washtub, so I braced against a tree and shoved with my legs and found I could make it jiggle. I said to my brother, “Let’s see if this rock will make it all the way to the bottom of the hill.”

Understand that this was the first mountain I had ever actually touched, so I knew nothing about the physics involved. Back home, to get something that big and heavy to go anywhere at all was a major project involving men and machinery, and I was a skinny 12-year-old. My brother declined to help, being a future judge with better judgment than I. So I shoved and strained against that brute until it started down the hill, and I immediately saw that it wasn’t just going to make it to the bottom–it might make it to Gatlinburg.

I screamed, “Daddy!” and my poor dad looked up to see a 200 pound battering ram screaming down that mountain like a runaway train, headed for cars, kids, families. He ran around screaming for everybody to get out of the way and then watched helplessly as that rock–now going probably 60 miles per hour– missed our car by about six feet, bounced across the parking lot, and disappeared into the woods on the other side after hitting…nothing. It was a minor miracle. My mom sobbed into her hands. My dad leaned on the car to keep his legs from collapsing under him. I looked at my brother, who was looking at me with an expression that was easy to read: “Dead man walking.”

I knew exactly what was waiting for me. I climbed down very slowly to give my Mom as much time as possible to remind Dad that he had wanted children, and to give Dad some time to cool down so his response would be measured. The belt stung, but he didn’t cross the line into child abuse. He impressed upon me the fact that education doesn’t stop when school is out, and put particular emphasis on a lesson in rock technology that I will never, ever, ever forget.

To see more of this very funny mans’ work, visit his website  www.MackDryden.com

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Wrinkles & Movies

How’s that for a weird title. Let me explain. My husband and I went to the movies this weekend and saw Skyfall. Don’t worry, this is not a movie review. I will say though, it was a very enjoyable movie, and I thought Javier did a very good job at creating an interesting villain. What struck me though were two things, one minor, and one major, very major. Let’s talk about the minor one first. Creating something that is appealing to the mass market is no easy thing, but creating something that appeals to the mass market for 50 years is incredible ! Whoever is responsible for handling the Bond franchise has done a phenomenal job of making sure that it continues to change with the times, while still keeping the brand intact. Wow, that is almost impossible, but they continue to make it work with each film. Kudos !

OK, now for the major one, at least from my viewpoint. We as a nation ( I don’t want to speak for anyone else), have become completely obsessed with the ” appearance ” of youth. In other words, someone that is seventy actually thinks that plastic surgery will make everyone else think that they’re really only twenty. HELLO !  REALLY !  Sorry folks, when what used to be your cheeks, are now sitting somewhere around your hairline, trust me, that’s not what you looked like at twenty.

Ok, let me say right now, I think plastic surgeons are extremely important. There are a great many circumstances where reconstructive surgery is imperative to living a normal life, and that they possess the skills to do that is highly admirable. But in this instance, I’m referring to elective surgery.

Now, going back to where we were. Actors in particular, are under great stress to try and appear youthful. We all know that most moviegoers are young, and therefore most movies are geared toward the young. It’s a simple matter of financial mathematics. So as an actor ages, their source of income continues to diminish, and the need to help sway the hands of time is enormous. The other favorite trick in the movie business for performers of a certain age, is to either avoid ” close ups “, or put on a softening lens that’s as thick as Mr. Magoos’ glasses ( Ok that one really dates me ).

Believe it or not, I’m now going to get to the “major one “.  Skyfall, as in 3 other Bond films, features Dame Judi Dench as ” M ” in all her aging, and wrinkled glory. The director also didn’t shy away from a number of very ” close ups “, and if there was a softening filter used, it wasn’t noticeable. And folks, as far as I’m concerned she was stunning !

What her face showed was the beauty, strength, and determination that is necessary to live a long life. That in itself is quite an accomplishment for all of us. It’s not easy to get into your seventies and beyond, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. Disease, accidents, crime, and natural disasters are all enemies to reaching a ripe old age. Our wrinkles come from laughter that reaches down to our toes, from tears that rip through our heart, from feeling the warmth of the summer sun on our face, or squinting against a freezing rain. Our wrinkles come from all the things that make life special, they are are songs and sonnets, why in the world would we try and hide them. So thank you Dame Judi for allowing the film makers to show your age in all it’s splendor, and thank you to the filmmakers for having the courage to let us see it.

The next time you look in the mirror and see a new wrinkle, rather than cringing, pat yourself on the back, you just earned another badge of honor. Congratulations!

All the Best,

Heather

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We’re Back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

C – A Celebration of Life Trailer

Hello Everyone !

We’re finally back on the air and ” C – A Celebration of Life ” has been completed. The link is to the general trailer for the film. In the next few weeks, you’ll also see individual trailers for each of the featured survivors. We were also truly blessed in getting an interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu about his cancer experience, and an excerpt is included in the film, Yeah.

We have submitted to a number of film festivals across the country in hopes that we can get the film out to as many folks as possible. Remember, this movie is designed to help newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families with the fear of the diagnosis, and features 14 incredible cancer survivors, in all different age groups, with different ethnicities and cancers.

Hopefully, we have done justice to their amazing stories of courage, strength,faith and survival.

All the Best,

Heather

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