Dear Readers-Writers:

“Whatever the Cost” was one of twenty winners in a Saturday Evening Post, “Tribute to our Troops,” contest published on August 23, 2013. Limited to 250 words,  it follows:

Saturday Evening Post -Tribute to our Troops Contest


By Gaye Buzzo Dunn

Uncle Albert dived under the table during Sunday dinner when a sudden loud noise blasted through our kitchen window. They called it “shell shock” back then when sudden noises brought back the experienced horrors of war.  Drafted into the army during World War II, he had returned home, stayed with family for a time. Although today, they’ve renamed calamitous post-war experiences, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sudden noises continued to plague our Uncle for many years.

Uncle Joe enlisted in the Navy during a time when our country was at peace. A proud Navy man, he traveled, served his tour of duty, came home and utilized new knowledge, skills, and abilities to land a job in his hometown Locomotive Company.

My deceased husband, Jim, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force; he served overseas and stateside also during a relative peaceful time in our country. I can still hear the Air Force reservist’s trumpet playing Taps from high on the hill when, after a life fully lived, he died.

Today I applaud the many men and women who join our country’s military forces bringing expertise, talent, and commitment at sometimes great personal sacrifice – they serve.


This  article, “What Do You Owe Your Audiences,” was published in Tiny Lights Monthly Writers Exchange-Searchlights and Signal Flares in July 2014.

The Article:



By Gaye Buzzo Dunn

Bravo! Encore!  The audience is on their feet, hands clapping, their faces wreathed in smiles; observable responses to a performance thoroughly enjoyed. The entertainer overwhelmed by this enormous tribute takes a second bow before leaving the stage.  Attendees leave the venue happy and content, still smiling and talking to each other about the experience. What a performance!

Every writer should strive to create that same, all encompassing reaction from their readers. We owe the reading audience what we learned from those first days in grade school—to please others and ourselves by doing our very best work. The optimum reward during those early years was a report card filled with “A and B” grades and if we were lucky, an “Excellent” comment written in the margins by the teachers. Later in life, college academic performances were reflected by achieved Grand Point Average (G.P.A.) and often rewarded with coveted employment opportunities. Again, employers’ expectations were high; they expected all employees to give them their best every day.

Readers’ expectations are also high; they expect great reads from every writer. A book that keeps book lovers up past midnight, is too good to put down until the very end and causes the reader to close the book with ecstatic sighs is the equivalent of a “Bravo! Encore!” performance.

The challenge for writers is that readers are not of “the one size fits all” category. They are a diversified group with different reading tastes and expectations. However, the one thing all readers have in common is the desire to have their expectations met. Writers who evoke emotional responses: Rage, Fear, Thrills, Chills, Controversy, Love, Conflict, Life and Death Trauma, Mystery, Pathos, Mayhem, Tears, Anger, and Sympathy in their readers’ minds and hearts most often keep them rapturously turning the pages until the story’s end. Creativity, a good plot, complex (lovable-hateful) characters, well researched information communicated to the reader in excellent prose are all applause ingredients.

Writers—pick up your pens! Enthrall your readers with virtuoso performances each and every time you write. We owe it to our audiences.

The Article:

Sunday, October 3, 2010                                                                                                                                                             UNWIND -LIFE STORIES


 By Gaye Buzzo Dunn     Special to the Times Union Newspaper

Gone are the days when I was jarred wake by the alarm shrieking at 5:45 a.m. Sneakers, Crocs, jeans and an old Mickey Mouse cap, my favorite comfy clothes, hog closet space. What happened?

I retired. Goodbye to the day job. Tears were shed as I left a well-loved professional career behind.  It seemed like only yesterday I felt like a race-car driver speeding around the track and never winning the race. Work, friends, kids, grandkids, and housework—all balls juggled high in the air and only a few were caught on the way down. Retirement altered the ball flights. The balls fell down and stayed there. Time remained.

And that fickle time was in abundance. New morning routines emerged. The aroma of brewed coffee filled the kitchen. The newspaper Jumble puzzle became the morning brain challenge. Chores long denied beckoned. Junk drawers were cleaned, closets dumped with missing items recovered after years of hiding in limbo land.

Then the supermarket, once a place of harried visits carting home sustenance for a family of five became a place for exploration and rediscovery.  Time, my new friend, allowed me to stroll through the aisles checking out new items and carting them home for untried recipes. Shopping one day I noticed the market had zucchini on sale. Another customer was checking them out. “I’ve never cooked a zucchini. How do you choose them?” I said as I stepped up beside her. “Oh, there’s a lot you can do with a zucchini, she said. Would you like my daughter’s recipe?” “Yes, I would love her recipe if you have the time.” I replied.

Thirty minutes later, after chatting with this new friend, I bought three and walked off with her daughter’s recipe. On the car trip home, I thought to myself, “here I am a retired senior citizen and have never purchased or cooked a zucchini.” Back home after preparing the recipe for dinner, family compliments followed. I was exhilarated, and to think this elation was caused by a zucchini dinner.

This episode was the catalyst that set me on a path of further self-discovery. Understanding career retirement was just another traditional phase in life, I realized there were other zucchini opportunities waiting for me. I reflected on things I enjoyed but never had the time to do before.

I loved to read and always wanted to write. During my career, I loved the writing responsibilities that fell within my various job jars. I took a few golf lessons but never had a chance to play. So, what did I do?

I learned to play golf and play often. I became a freelance writer with my first fiction short story published in August. The grandkids beckon, and I answer the call. I feel great, yet there are days when arthritis and bursitis rear their ugly heads.

But a few balls are flying high in the air again—I smile and catch them all on the way down.




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