749  
I was not yet 30 years old and was working as a firefighter in the South Bronx's Engine Co. 82, probably the world's most active firehouse at the time. It was warm and sunny, the kind of leisurely Sunday that brought extra activity to the neighborhood and to its firefighters. We must have had 15 or 20 calls that day, the worst being a garbage fire in the rear of an abandoned building, which required a hard pull of 600 feet of cotton-jacketed hose.
Between alarms I would rush to the company office to read Captain Gray's copy of the Sunday New York Times. It was late in the afternoon when I finally got to the Book Review section. As I read it, my blood began to boil. An article blatantly stated what I took to be a calumny -- that William Butler Yeats, the Nobel Prize-winning light of the Irish Literary Renaissance, had transcended his Irishness and was forever to be known as a universal poet.
There were few things I was more proud of than my Irish heritage, and ever since I first picked up a book of his poems from a barracks shelf when I was in the military, Yeats had been my favorite Irish writer, followed by Sean O'Casey and James Joyce.
My ancestors were Irish farmers, fishermen and blue-collar workers, but as far as I can tell, they all had a feeling for literature. It was passed on to my own mother, a telephone operator(话务员), who hardly ever sat down without a book in her hands. And at that moment my own fingernails might have been soiled with the soot of the day's fires, but I felt as prepared as any Trinity don to stand up in the court of public opinion and protest. Not only that Yeats had lived his life and written his poetry through the very essence of his Irish sensibility, but that it was offensive to think Irishness -- no matter if it was psychological, social or literary -- was something to be transcended.
My stomach was churning, and I determined not to let an idle minute pass. "Hey, Captain Gray. Could I use your typewriter?" I asked.
The typewriter was so old that I had to use just one finger to type, my strongest one, even though I could type with all ten. I grabbed the first piece of clean paper I could find -- one that had the logo of the Fire Department of the City of New York across the top -- and, hoping there would be a break in the alarms for 20 minutes or so, wrote out a four-paragraph letter of indignation to the editor of the Sunday Book Review.
Throughout his poetry, I postulated, Yeats yearned for a messiah to lead Ireland out from under the bondage of English rule, and his view of the world and the people in it was fundamentally Irish.
Just as I addressed the envelope, the final alarm of my tour came in, and as I slid down the long brass pole, I felt unexpectedly calm, as if a great rock had been purged from the bottom of my stomach.
I don't know why I felt it my obligation to safeguard the reputation of the world's greatest poet, at least next to Homer and Shakespeare, or to inscribe an apologia for Irish writing. I just knew that I had to write that letter, in the same way a priest has to pray, or a musician has to play an instrument.
Until that point in my life I had not written much of value -- a few poems and short stories, the beginning of a coming-of-age novel. I knew that my writing was anything but refined. Like a beginning artist who loves to draw, I understood that the more one draws, or writes, or does anything, the better the end result will be, and so I wrote often to better control my writing skills, to master them. I sent some material to various magazines and reviews but found no one willing to publish me.
It was a special and unexpected delight, then, when I learned something I'd written would finally see print. Ironically it wasn't one of my poems or short stories -- it was my letter to the Times. I suppose the editor decided to publish it because he was first attracted by the official nature of my stationery (was his staff taking smoke breaks out on the fire escape?), and then by the incongruity of a ghetto firefighter's using words like messianism, for in the lines below my letter it was announced that I was a New York City firefighter. I'd like to think, though, that the editor silently agreed with my thesis macallan whisky.
I remember receiving through the fire department's address about 20 sympathetic and congratulatory letters from professors around the country. These letters made me feel like I was not only a published writer but an opinion maker. It was as if I was suddenly thrust into being someone whose views mattered.
I also received a letter from True magazine and one from The New Yorker, asking for an interview. It was the latter that proved momentous, for when an article titled "Fireman Smith" appeared in that magazine, I received a telephone call from the editor of a large publishing firm who asked if I might be interested in writing a book about my life Gin Lee.
I had little confidence in my ability to write a whole book, though I did intuit that my work as a firefighter was a worthy subject. And so I wrote Report From Engine Co. 82 in six months, and it went on to sell two million copies and to be translated into 12 languages. In the years that followed, I wrote three more best-sellers, and last year published a memoir, A Song for Mary: An Irish-American Memory.
Being a writer had been far from my expectations; being a best-selling author was almost unfathomable. How had it happened? I often found myself thinking about it, marveling at it, and my thoughts always came back to that letter to the New York Times.
For me, the clearest explanation is that I had found the subject I was searching for, one I felt so strongly about that the writing was a natural consequence of the passion I felt. I was to feel this same kind of passion when I began writing about firefighters and, later, when writing about my mother. These are subjects that, to me, represent the great values of human life -- decency, honesty and fairness -- subjects that burn within me as I write.
Over the years, all five of my children have come to me periodically with one dilemma or another. Should I study English or art? Should I go out for soccer or basketball? Should I take a job with this company or that one?
My answer is always the same, yet they still ask, for reassurance is a good and helpful thing. Think about what you're feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach, I tell them, and measure the heat of the fire there, for that is the passion that will flow through your heart. Your education and your experience will guide you toward making a right decision, but your passion will enable you to make a difference in whatever you do.
That's what I learned the day I stood up for Ireland's greatest poet Active Whiteboard.

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411  
How much more festive can a Christmas cookie get than to speckle it with red, green, and white? That’s what I thought, too, when I found this recipe. I changed it around a bit (just say no to shortening!) and created my own colorful holiday treat Fine Wine.

The cookie base of these is full of brown sugar, which just about always wins over granulated sugar in my book. It’s a nice, thick dough that holds up well to all the nuts and candies. The original recipe suggests making large cookies, but I chose to make smaller, just large than bite-sized cookies. Doing that yielded more than 4 dozen cookies Office chair.

For the red, green, and white, I used Cadbury’s solid milk chocolates with candy shells. These taste a lot like M&Ms, only sweeter. They’re also a bit larger than plain M&Ms. For those of you with access to stores where you can mix and match colors of M&Ms, these would be great cookies year-round just by changing the colors. Whether you make these cookies for this holiday season or any other time of year, they will surely be a hit interactive digital signage.

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427  
Have you ever found a cookie recipe that sounds so good that you decide on the spot not only to make them immediately, but to double the recipe? That’s the position I found myself in when I found this recipe from One Girl Cookies Italian landscapes .

Here’s the breakdown. The cookies are a soft, light, chewy shortbread packed with nuts and flavored with our good friend cream cheese. While the original recipe lists walnuts, I opted for pecans. (Insert your shocked comments here.) If we just stopped there, I would be as happy as could be. These little cookies are so flavorful to have such a short list of ingredients home improvement.


But, we’re not stopping there. Oh, no. Enter another favorite, dulce de leche. That awesome, caramel-y goodness is spread between the cookies to create what is perhaps one of the top five sandwich cookies I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. The big flavor of the dulce de leche doesn’t overwhelm the cookies. Instead, they seem to be a perfect complement to each other.


At One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn, the cookies all have proper names. I’ve had the pleasure of sampling several, including Penelope, Juliette, and a special one-day-only Millie. These shortbread cookies are called Jane. As pointed out in their cookbook, they may be Jane, but they are anything but plain Funeral flowers.

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  • Dec 31 Tue 2013 11:13
  • 歲月

有人說的當一個人真正平靜的面對往事時,那是心態的奇跡,歲月是漫長的,波瀾漸漸平復時,才會找到自己人生的最佳位置。

 

——滴墨成傷

 

歲月的大門,古老滄桑,爬滿了記憶的藤蔓,靠在斑駁的門檻,我的雙手也是如此的乾枯,毫無生機,往事的味道從悠遠處傳來,漸漸入心,好似一

幅泛黃的照片,充滿了憂傷感。伸手觸摸,卻那麼的遙遠。

 

從不敢輕易走進往事,鏽跡斑斑的心窗已經雜草叢生,可是即便已成了枯藤,每扯動一下,還是那麼鑽心的疼,沒有人喜歡守著過期的日曆過日子,

可是那觸目驚心的時間數字,還是會讓人迷失。

 

哪一年似乎成為了含糊的字眼,不管是刻意的含糊還是善意的偽裝,那酸甜苦辣的一幕幕還是會如期上演,任何一個細節也不曾遺漏。歲月的日記就

這麼不差篇幅。

 

從小到大,我總是固執的以為自己的是最堅強的孩子,不哭不鬧,不言語,不躲避,一個人總是喜歡爬上古老的城牆,看著被歷史風化的牆磚,感受

歲月的疼痛和不甘,喜歡牆角開著的不知名的野花,也不止一次的去採摘而失足從城牆上跌落,滿身的灰塵,還竟然不知疼痛的咧著嘴笑。有時在想

,我就是那一朵沉睡在牆縫的小花,渴望為一雙欣賞的眼睛而醒來,風過雨過,年輪移轉,期待那久違的腳步聲響在耳邊,並為我而停下來。

 

那一年我不想說我經歷了什麼,我只是靜靜的站在了護城河邊,也許遠處天邊的灰色讓我有了恍惚的感覺,我不由自主的邁了腳步,我閉著眼睛往下

沉的時候,只是感覺我的發梢在往上飄,那一刻靈魂是不是真的也飄了起來,我已經不在意了,我只是一味的想結束自己,我在河底清楚的看到了自

己的眼睛,恐懼而絕望。

 

時隔二十年了,我至今記得那個過路人的話,他瑟瑟發抖的把我從水中托起,說:“你有勇氣面對這麼髒,這麼涼的河水,為什麼沒有勇氣面對這河

面上暖暖的陽光和新的希望呢?”是呀,這究竟是為了什麼!由此我知道自己不堅強,甚至脆弱的不堪一擊。

 

很多時候,我都想把這些爛在心裏,帶進墳墓裏,不管怎麼說,有了它,也算是完整的人生之旅了。

 

生和死只有看不見的距離,生命的溫度卻不再延續,漸漸冷卻的心,讓人迷離。

 

於是我越發的沉默了,並且不可救藥的愛上了寂寞,很多的話我都對著自己說,自己撫摸著自己的肩膀給心一點溫暖;除了文字,我幾乎不能正確的

用語言表達自己,很多人都說我是會說話的啞巴,也許情感越細膩,就越容易偏激,那脆脆的心弦就越發的容易折斷,時而哭時而笑,時而發狂,時

而沉寂,生活就這麼陪著我磕磕絆絆,跌跌撞撞的一載又一載。

 

幾乎所有的人都相信了我的話,以為我是失足落水,多年後,只有一個人在和我交往了很久後,在一個夜晚,似乎他猶豫了很久,才說出了讓我恐慌

的事,他說:“你那年不是落水,是自殺,對嗎?”我沉寂了那麼多年的謊言登時地動山搖了,我再一次被自己嚇到了,我暈眩了,不知道該怎麼面

對。而那個人卻從那天起,深深地刻在了我的記憶裏。

 

打馬而過喧囂紅塵,一路期盼,一路癡念,終究還是一路心亂!

 

翻越了多少山,跨越了多少坎,人生凝練的還是數不盡的辛酸!

 

一路走,一路略過身邊的風景,有太多的過往都在心裏懸著,有太多的痛苦都在眼裏含著,有太多的坎坷都在腳下丈量著,有太多的日子都在肩上硬

扛著。一路跋涉,一路堅強,直至霜染青絲,不覺中容顏已老,那些輕盈的夢便了無蹤影,現實便是厚重之舉,沉澱了歲月的精華,心也越發的穩重

了。

 

於是渴望找回最真實的自己,即便悲哀,即便清高,即便一無所成!

 

於是我堅強起來,雖然生活對我還是那麼的吝嗇,可是當我的人生路起起伏伏時,我的腳步還是厚重堅實,灑下一路的汗水和淚水,我站的更直;當

我在文學路上遭遇各種非議時,當我一次次成為別人的墊腳石時,我終究報以淡淡一笑,不想分辨什麼,人生不喧嘩,自有聲。

 

我相信我只是一只佛燈前的飛蛾,曾一度的眷戀紅塵,嚮往紅塵,不惜生命撲向火,燃燒自己的那一刻,可有悔意?如若紅塵還有機遇,可還願意重

新來過?

 

揮揮衣袖,擰幾許歲月的心酸,滴幾許無奈的濁淚,飲幾許澀澀的陳酒,伴著風中哀哀的怨曲,就這麼亂了心緒又沉寂,沉寂了又亂,心不甘,夢難

圓,前生今世的糾纏,就這麼苦了自己。

 

站在今日流逝的光陰裏,歲月還是靜靜的走過,而我的日子越來越短,生老病死就像一場電影上演,只有主角自己知道自己的人生有多少淚水,多少

辛酸,靜靜的收場,又有多少觀眾知道帷幕後那濃妝豔抹後的苦笑,又有多少人知道喧囂後的沉寂是多麼的淒涼!

 

所有的波瀾都漸漸沉入穀底,歲月還是日出日落的走過,我還是沉寂在自己的沉默世界裏,數著自己的落寞,隨著鐘錶指針周而復始的輪回,我知道

,一切的一切都是過去,當我平靜的面對蒼山日暮時,我知道我勝了自己。

 

那些不願提起的黑色日記,就任它遠去;那些走過的坎坷足跡,就任它碾壓成泥;那些揮淚如雨的心緒,就任它隨風而去;那些微涼的歲月,我深信

終究會用我的指尖暖熱。

 

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