MIDDLES

It’s hard to be a middle anything.

Middle names are complete afterthoughts, unless you’re an actor (right, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Sarah Jessica Parker?).

Middle children have it so rough, there’s actually a name for it – “middle child syndrome,” which occurs when the middle child “feels left out and neglected.”

Even the middle finger gets a bad rap.

So it’s no wonder that for most writers – myself included — the middle of the book is the hardest section to write.

Starting a book is easy. Ending a book is harder, but manageable.

But the MIDDLE.

Oh, that ever-lovin’ middle.

So… as fate would have it, I’m working on a book right now… and guess which part I’m trying to write?

You guessed it!

Why do you think I’m procrastinating by writing this blog?

Soooo… just let me know if there’s anything you want to talk about… I got no place to be…

Anything?

Bueller?

Bueller?

Fine, no more procrastinating. Back I go. Wish me luck.

Oh, wait — I forgot to tell you! Guess what kind of book it is?

Middle-grade.

IT’S NOW OR NEVER

My family and I spent July 4th at the 9.11 museum in lower Manhattan.

It was an incredibly powerful and moving reminder about the horrors of that day, and the strength and spirit of our recovery.

In front of the museum, the underground fountains rush in honor the fallen. And behind, the Freedom Tower soars as a symbol of how we’ve risen again.

The museum itself is brilliant, thoughtful and artful.

The experience is in equal measure heartbreaking and healing.

But then, you exit into the city streets, 2014 – and it’s back to business as usual.

Back to who we are today.

Sniping, not soothing.

Grabbing, not giving.

Anger, not empathy.

Hostile disdain, not respectful dissent.

Gun control. Birth control. Border control.

Out of control.

Which begs the question: how can we get back to who we can be?

It shouldn’t take a tragedy for this country to reach its potential. But it may take a memorial to show us what that potential is.

So, yes.

Every American should make a point of visiting this museum, if at all possible.

Schools – take your students.
Companies – take your employees.
Parents – take your children.

You will grieve anew, yes – but you will be heartened by the heroism, strength, courage and cooperation that we are capable of.

And perhaps it can remind us all that when it comes to finding a better way, it’s now or never.

We owe it to those who perished.

Thanks to the Westport School System

Our youngest son, Jack, is graduating from Staples today, and so it seems like a good time to express our thanks.

So thank you to the entire Westport School System, and every teacher, administrator, librarian, custodian, kitchen staff member, counselor, principal and member of the Board of Ed.

Thank you for steering our three children safely through their formative years.

Thank you for guiding them, helping them, praising them, chastising them, coaching them, directing them, comforting them and informing them.

Thank you for giving them the opportunity to run, jump, sing, dance, play, work, act, read, write, add, subtract, make friends and make strides.

Thank you for letting them join teams, casts, groups and clubs.

Thank you for letting them run around at recess, sit around at lunch and hang around during free periods.

Thank you for the kindergarten birthday parties, the eighth grade dances and the Senior Proms.

Thank you for teaching them how to respect others and think for themselves.

Thank you for returning them to us better people.

We will be forever grateful.

Cathy Utz and Tommy Greenwald

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My Books

Jack Strong Takes a Stand Trailer

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading Trailer

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit Trailer