Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.
Three times a month, I’ll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you’ll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you’ll enjoy re-reading it months–and years–down the road.
Also: Every three months, I’ll accept submissions and choose a few pieces to post for LM readers to enjoy.
When my kids were young, the parade was the highpoint of their Fourth of July celebration — the candy, the horses, the Shriners and their go-karts, and of course, the fire trucks. After the parade, and dressed in as much red, white, and blue as they could find, they marched around the front yard, waving miniature flags and singing “Yankee Doodle” and “God Bless America” to the best of their ability. But it was the marches of John Phillip Sousa keeping the beat to the bursts of the evening’s fireworks that transformed their sugar-induced euphoria into a patriotic experience.
“I can feel the beat in my heart and all the way down to my stomach,” I remember my four-year-old yelling to me over the ka-booms. “It’s hot, and it feels like it’s going to jump out of me!”
Sousa marches have the same effect on me, so, today, I post a brief biography of “The March King” and encourage you to tap your foot to the beat.
John Phillip Sousa grew up around military band music. Beginning at the age of six, he studied voice, violin, piano, flute, cornet, baritone, trombone, and alto horn. His father played trombone in the United States Marine Band and enlisted him in the Marines at age 13 as an apprentice after he attempted to run away to join a circus band.
Sousa conducted the US Marine Band, also known as “The President’s Own,” from 1880-1892 and under four presidents (Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, Arthur, and Harrison). From 1900-1910, he led The Sousa Band, a civilian concert band, on three European tours and one world tour. After World War I, he lobbied for music education and composers’ rights.
All together, he wrote 136 marches, including Semper Fidelis, the Official March of the United States Marine Corps, and The Stars and Stripes Forever, the Official March of the United States. Listen to more John Phillip Sousa marches, performed by the United States Marine Band, here.
Journal Entry: What makes patriotism “hot” for you and your family? What makes your heart beat faster; what brings your hand to your heart and tears to your eyes?