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Mark Couhig has been a writer for more than 50 years.
His first experience with the written word arrived at a very early age when he was required to painstakingly hand-trace dotted lines in a notebook, a process that led first to a mastery of the straight, purely angular letters of the English alphabet. He soon turned his attention to the curved letters, exhibiting a full proficiency in that skill by the end of his seventh year.
Before another year had passed, Couhig had begun to cluster letters into meaningful compositions, an accomplishment for which he was awarded a coveted gold star, the first-ever public acknowledgement of his extraordinary aptitude with words.
In time he would take these words and strategically create further clusters, which he called “sentences.”
Paragraphs soon followed.
In the third grade Couhig learned the skill of cursive writing, allowing him to greatly expand and accelerate his output.
Over the ensuing months and years Couhig’s now-renown facility for dramatic narrative developed. He was able to work the delicate filigree of fiction — dramatic, purposeful action that engages the reader — to a degree that astonished Ms. Sweeney, his teacher and mentor. Of one of Couhig’s early works, “Run, Tom, Run,” she wrote, “I’m so proud of you.”
As his facility with words grew, so too did his worldview, aided in part by his assiduous readings of “The Weekly Reader,” which he continues to regard as a formative influence in his later, more mature works.
In the fifth grade, Couhig’s repertoire and love of the written word translated to a sterling turn on the stage as Shepherd No. 3 in a new and dynamic dramatic reading of the Gospel According to Luke, a popular work of the time.
Approximately 50 years later Couhig moved to Sequim where he writes a blog.
The upcoming LSU - Alabama football match may not just be the Game of the Century of the Week, it may actually qualify as the Game of the Century of the Year.
I’m a Louisiana man, and therefore an LSU fan, which means I love at the very deepest level of my being the first four notes of “Hold That Tiger.” I also hold in my heart the pre-requisite level of hatred (“Red Hot”) for Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Nay, not in my heart but in my heart of heart. (That’s Shakespeare, y’all.)
My passion is not unusual. This past weekend I spent 24 hours on the road (six spent traveling to and from the Seattle airport) to spend just eight hours at a spectacular party in Louisiana. It was worth it — even the 12 hours of misery endured during my return to Sequim the next day. (To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, “I’m doing okay now, but I tell you, last Sunday was rough.”)
While there I spoke to several old friends who had ponied up $500 each (U.S.!) for tickets to the upcoming game in Tuscaloosa. These were not folks who toss around $500 lightly. Indeed, they were almost certainly spending their children’s legacy (a practice I thoroughly endorse, BTW).
But even they can’t begin to match the fervor expressed by one Will Blackwell, offensive lineman for the Tigers, who was quoted thusly in this morning’s The Advocate, the Baton Rouge daily:
“Guard Will Blackwell took advantage of the free time during the off week to turn his girlfriend, Laura Cummings, into his fiancée.
‘I just got engaged Friday,” Blackwell said. “We got the engagement out the way, and that’s behind me. I’m ready for this week and the test of Alabama. I wanted to do it during the bye week, so I didn’t have any games to worry about or anything like that.’
“Blackwell said he ‘wasn’t too romantic’ when he popped the question. When asked if there was more pressure involved with the engagement or the upcoming game, he said, ‘I would say both. They’re right there on par.’”