Honor the Mental Sacrifice Veterans Have Made

by Bill Brenner November 11, 2013 Gratitude

With another Veterans Day upon us, I want to thank our servicemen and -women for a very specific sacrifice they’ve made. Mental sacrifice is always implied when we thank our veterans for the larger sacrifice of life and limb to protect our freedom. That’s as it should be. Still, as someone who has never seen combat but has struggled with mental illness, I’m especially grateful to troops past and present for carrying the mental burden….  [Read More]

Songs That Mattered After 9-11-01

by Bill Brenner September 7, 2013 Coping tools

Like so many other times in my life, music made the difference between sanity and insanity. I focus a lot on the metal. But in the weeks after 9-11, I turned to a broader group of musicians to help me along. They did their jobs well, helping us all see that it was OK to go on living. Let’s start with Neal Young, whose version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” was both haunting and inspiring: Nothing…  [Read More]

Wherein I Get Another Year Older

by Bill Brenner August 26, 2013 Gratitude

On this, my 43rd birthday, I can’t help but remember what Indiana Jones said in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Grousing about a body beat to hell from a life of adventure, he noted that it’s not the age but the mileage. Mood music: I have to admit, my mileage shows. My beard is getting grayer. My knees aren’t as durable as they used to be. I’ve got sleep apnea and bad vision. But then all…  [Read More]

Good Luck, Gretchen 2.0

by Bill Brenner July 2, 2013 Gratitude

A quick note that long-time friend and former boss Gretchen Putnam is leaving The Eagle-Tribune to pursue new creative opportunities. The news organization won a Pulitzer and many other awards under her leadership as metro editor and managing editor, and her dedication to the communities she covers has been inspiring to watch. Though I left the paper nearly a decade ago, I have memories of working with Gretchen that I’m forever grateful for. I was…  [Read More]

Godspeed, Neil Roiter

by Bill Brenner May 7, 2013 Gratitude

Yesterday I learned that a former colleague, Neil Roiter, passed away on Sunday from an inoperable brain tumor. We worked together at TechTarget for several years, and I’m a richer man for it. Neil was a journalist’s journalist, a stickler for details and truth. As a tech reporter, he didn’t just quote security vendors about what their products did and why they were worth the customer’s money; he made them prove it. He’d put the…  [Read More]

Hearts Bigger Than Boston or Any Bomb

by Bill Brenner April 16, 2013 Gratitude

Whenever we experience the kind of evil we saw in Boston yesterday, pictures emerge to restore some hope in the human race: EMTs, police, firefighters and many bystanders leaping to action, giving victims medical care and getting survivors to safety. As a lifelong Bay Stater who tends to be prideful of my Boston roots, those scenes warmed my heart. But I don’t want to be selfish. What we saw wasn’t merely a Boston thing. It…  [Read More]

Human Tourniquets And Freaks Who Love Them

by Bill Brenner March 29, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

I originally wrote this three years ago. Looking at it again, it’s an important post describing a time when not even best friends were safe from my insanity. I’ve updated it for the present.  Mood music: [spotify:track:2YGwSRjcY4Hjz6fktW9619] You know the type. They hang  out with people who act more like abusive spouses than friends. They are human tourniquets. They absorb the pain of their tormentor daily and without complaint. This is the story of the…  [Read More]

Don’t Go Away Mad

by Bill Brenner March 28, 2013 Gratitude

A funny thing happens when people share stories of the not-so-happy moments of their lives: You walk away thinking they’ve experienced nothing but tragedy. In reality, there are plenty of uneventful pages in between the drama. Mood music: One time I was asked to tell my story at a 12-Step meeting. Under the format, you tell your story for about 15 minutes. The first five cover the speaker’s ugly path to addiction, the second five focuses…  [Read More]

Live Like Renee

by Bill Brenner March 24, 2013 Gratitude

Erin and I attended yesterday’s memorial service for our friend Renee Pelletier Costa, who died a couple weeks ago after a 9-year battle against cancer. The last page of the service program was a copy of a letter she wrote about a year and a half ago. It’s a great testimony about staring down death and learning to live in the moment. Read it and stop sweating the little things. Thank you. May we all…  [Read More]

Dimming The Lights

by Bill Brenner November 29, 2012 Gratitude

I’m taking a break from blogging here until Monday so I can focus on family business — specifically tonight’s wake and tomorrow’s funeral for Nana Ruth. If you knew Ruth Robinson and haven’t yet seen the Facebook page we created for her, please head over and “like” it. Thanks.