Freedoms often collide, creating accidental martyrs in modern American

Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Lanis Rossi, used with permission.

Readers please note: this fictional story includes a description of sexual assault.

The kids were returning to school when we heard the news. The Philadelphia Inquirer called him Socrates of Rittenhouse Square. For us, that front-page story has been our everyday story. Much of what you may have read came from me — and the others who were questioned and interviewed, both by the police and by the media, like the cellist from Curtis and the congregates from the church.

Newspaper articles are tossed as quickly as they are composed, useful, of course, like toilet paper, but I pray this…

Never listen to rock and roll lyrics

Photo by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

I did everything to impress women except speaking to them. Between the ages of 3 and 24, I was a disaster with women. Why should such disasters still haunt me now at 51?

There was one girl who lived around the corner. Let’s call her Juliet. I don’t know what it was about her. As an immature, pimply adolescent, I guess it was more about the “Jordache” than her Inner Light.

Her long curly brown reminded me of Yeats’ I am looped in the loops of her hair. But back then, famous Irish poets eluded me. Juliet was at my…

The Appeal and the Tragedy of the South

The Sinking of The Sir Walter Scott represents a way of life that was based on medieval myths.

What makes the South so fond of its past?

To understand a Southerner’s fondness for monuments and say, the rebel flag, it is essential to understand its culture through its rich literary history. Leafing through such pages will not excuse racism or intolerance or xenophobia, but at least it may help us understand.

Every September in AP Language and Composition, we tackle Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” a scathing satire so essential on race relations that it’s essentially absent in high schools.

One of my questions leads into rather good discussion. What’s the significance of Twain calling the wreck on the Mississippi The Sir Walter Scott? Is…

The difference can be the distinction of what Twain called “lightning” and “the lightning bug”

Westminster Abbey. Link.

Okay — why should you take advice for me, right?

In an essay of mine originally called ‘Destination Known,’ I wrote about how I realized I was going to become a writer and a teacher of English. I won a thousand dollars for this essay in a national contest. The full version is here on Medium. I’ve also been writing for forty years, published in forty publications, and I’ve been teaching Rhetoric and Composition at the college and high school level for twenty-five years. I’m also tried to be receptive to the World and the Word for two and fifty years.

First — a title — or a headline is essential

The title — and a subtitle — even a…

Let’s reconsider, for a moment, about real heroes this Mother’s Day

My brother Dave, sister Noelle, and my mom at the Grand Canyon in 1989. She was forty. I was twenty.

A mom is not, by definition, a hero. A mom may not slay dragons, like St. George, or defend a kingdom against monsters, like Beowulf.

But — she might, you know — because dragons and monsters come in many shapes and disguises — real and imagined. Mom’s fight more than we know — even battles within we do not understand.

Think of that hero’s journey through the birth canal. Think of the pain for both woman and child — and the joyful suffering of giving birth. Or that sudden rapture of light — from a dark world to one of…

How Was Your Stay?

I just wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to Walter the Busboy

Graphic by Mary Jane Murphy-Bowne on PowerPoint. Link.

Dear Management of The Holiday Inn,

I just wanted to express my gratitude to one of your stellar employees, Walter the busboy. My husband Harold and I were traveling from South Carolina for the entire day, and your location at Exit 3 of the New Jersey Turnpike was the perfect place to rest our wearied bones. Did we expect to meet such a wonderful young man as Walter Bowne?

Not only did he consistently and politely refresh our water glasses without spilling, but we didn’t need to ask for a fresh cup of decaf coffee. It was as if he…

23 songs in 61 minutes vanish with these quicky jams

The Bowne Family won the Billboard contest in 2013 sponsored by the classic rock station 102.9 in Philly. Does this establish our rock credibility? We wanted to emulate for the holidays The Who’s “The Kids are Alright.”

Sometimes when I’m working on projects, or mowing the lawn, or tending the garden, or taking a walk, I tell my wife Mary Jane that “I’ll be right back.”

Two hours later, or three hours, later, I’m either tied up in tomatoes or swallowed whole while walking to a Moby Dick Mix — diving forty fathoms into a Sea of Sound.

Then, I’m like, “Sorry, babe! The jams kept me moving!”

The solution? Create a playlist of songs that start fast and end fast — and just totally rock — the way Jack Black would insist as the teacher in…

Salvage Your Writing from The Wrath of Readers and Editors

There are so many books and online guides to help improve our English grammar. Photo by author.

Hey writers! Walter Bowne. For this rainy Tuesday afternoon, I have 16 quick grammar tips that may be useful. So get your handy-dandy, “Blues Clues” notebook out. How many mistakes may you be making? We’re all at different stages of grammar when it comes to the English language, right?

So you’ve entered the No Judgement Zone.

Travel. Western Europe. Northern England

Confronting Grey Mr. Death on a coastal town in Northern England.

South Shields Beach. Photo by Chris Geatch. Link. Spotify link to the story.

I didn’t really know the music of Morrissey and The Smiths. This was in 1990. I was studying English and history in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North of England. Before arriving in The United Kingdom, the only British music I knew was the best type of British music: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin — and even Gerry and the Pacemakers. I was also from New Jersey. I was just getting into Bruce Springsteen.

Now, whenever I play The Smith’s, especially Morrissey’s solo song “Everyday is Like Sunday,” I recall walking the wet promenade, alone, of the seaside…

Walter Bowne

Walter Bowne writes humor and some serious stuff on family, education, gardening, literature, and craft beer. His work has appeared in over forty publications.

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