Tuesday, February 7, 2017


After this blog post, I'm using different blog software to do my biweekly posts and more easily tie them into my website at www.rayflynt.com. If you previously signed up to receive notifications about my blog, they will STOP after this post. On my new website blog, you can "subscribe" for future updates from me, which won't necessarily be for every blog post, but when I have news about new stories or novels. Thanks for your interest and I regret any inconvenience to those who have relied on the biweekly notifications. 


I'm fascinated by the ads that offer to determine your ancestry by testing your DNA. If I ever get extra money, I may invest in such a test.

Based on what I know of my grandparents, my ancestry is firmly in the British Isles. Flynt is a Welsh name (the spelling has varied, and there is a county in Wales named Flint). My mother's maiden name is McBride. My great grandmother emigrated from Ireland (her family name was Kelly) and she married a McBride. Doesn't get much more Irish than Kelly/McBride.

When I look at other grandparents, I find the names Haines and Kirkwood, both decidedly English in origin. Another great grandparent had the surname of Yohe, also English, though there may be Germanic roots to that family as well.

As the saying goes, we all came from somewhere. The Flynt family arrived in America in the 1600s - no, not on the Mayflower, but not long after. While my Irish great grandmother arrived in about 1860. When I first heard about Ellis Island, I pictured my great grandmother arriving there along with her parents, but when I finally got a chance to visit Ellis Island, realized it hadn't even been built at that point.

In my opinion, it is great to celebrate our heritage, and to realize that all of us came from a diverse background/ethnic heritage.

As a writer, I know that having diverse characters strengthens a story (we wouldn't want everyone to talk or act the same, would we?), the same is true for our communities.

It is what helps make Life a Mystery.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit

I'm still reflecting on my recent experience doing my one-man play based on Ben Franklin, thus the title of this post.

One of the things that has struck me as I read Franklin's words is how much he talked about happiness and pleasure. He was the man responsible for adding the words, "Pursuit of Happiness" to our Declaration of Independence. For Franklin, happiness wasn't just idle carelessness. He remained engaged all of his life, in support of his business, his family, scientific and civic causes.

We all go through stages in our lives. As I've gotten older, I find that pursuing happiness is a worthy enterprise. I don't know how many years I'll have left on this earth (although a recent interaction with my investment brokerage firm suggests that actuarial tables give me 26 and a half more years on this planet. I figure I better make the most of it.

Remember the words of that old song, "Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative?" That's what I'm trying to do with my life.

Which brings me to Facebook. I feel as if I'm having a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I once enjoyed hearing what far flung friends were up to... new children or grandchildren in their lives, career change, a birthday or anniversary celebration, the publishing of a new book or work in a play. Lately, Facebook seems a place to argue about politics.

I have friends (and even relatives) of all political stripes. I appreciate the diversity of opinion among my friends. I'm just not sure I want to face it a couple of times a day when I log on - hoping to see what people are up to. Stay tuned. Life's a Mystery, right?

And what does this post have to do with being Irish? Like I said, stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Q & A with Ben Franklin

On January 12 - 15, I will be performing my one-man play BEN FRANKLIN: AN INGENIOUS LIFE at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Orlando, FL. You can find more information and purchase tickets at http://benfranklin.eventbrite.com

I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A with Ben to get his perspectives on modern American life.

Q: Wondering what you think about our members of Congress?

Ben: Well, I don't know any of them, but if they are the way they were back in my day, I know that when we assemble representatives for the benefit of their joint wisdom, we inevitably invite all their prejudices, their passions, errors of opinion, local interests, and selfish views. How can a perfect product be expected?

Q: I understand that you only had two years of formal education, is that correct.

Ben: Yes, my parents were hoping to fit me for the ministry. It was not a good fit. I learned mostly from reading - every book I could get my hands on.

Q: Do you think education is still important?

Ben: The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.

Q: When you were flying that kite, weren't you worried you might get electrocuted?

(Franklin gives me a bemused look.)

Ben: Not with the proper precautions. The kite was out there in the storm. I was safely inside a doorway.

Q: Do you have any words of advice?

Ben: Perhaps the words of Alexander Pope, "Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed." (Franklin laughs) Actually, the best advice I can offer you is, "Well done is better than well said."