Bright Idea: Lighten Up—Let the Sunshine In
By PatZi (with a Z!)
Florida has been known as “The Sunshine State” since 1970 when the
legislature in Tallahassee voted to make that simple (yet effective) three-word phrase the official state nickname.
Sadly, Louisiana State Legislature decreed "You Are My Sunshine" as
its state song. That would have been the perfect choice for Florida,
which in 1935 picked "Old Folks at Home," also known as “Swanee
“You Are my Sunshine” is a popular tune having been translated into at
least 30 languages and recorded by more 350 artists, including Gene
Autry, Ray Charles, and Johnny Cash.
The Beatles have their own bright ditty titled “Good Day Sunshine” that
includes the line, “I need to laugh and when the sun is out I’ve got something I can laugh about.”
If it ever drops “ Swanee River,” perhaps Florida can have the last laugh
on Louisiana by switching to the Fab Four’s lively upbeat jingle.
Speaking of “Good Day Sunshine,” did you know that since 1910
St. Petersburg has been known as “The Sunshine City”? That’s when news-
paperman Lew Brown, editor of The Evening Independent, started a
promotion in which he offered a free newspaper to “everybody every
day the sun does not shine on St Petersburg.”
That free paper promotion lasted 76 years—until The Evening
Independent closed down in 1986. During that time, the popular
afternoon newspaper made good on its offer 296 times.
One final tidbit: The Tampa Bay area used to have a newspaper called
“The Clearwater Sun”—talk about a bright idea.
I am now happy to carry on the tradition of newspaper writing – and
want to thank Kevin Leonard and CVA Tampa Bay for the
opportunity to share my column, AfterWords, with all of you. My goal is to
amuse you, inspire you, and mostly to encourage you to find the JOY
With AfterWords I will be able to share lessons I have learned during
the past seven years since Joy on Paper premiered on TanTalk Radio
Network in Clearwater, Florida. In that time, I have had interviewed
eleven Mystery Writer of America Grand Masters, over 250 New York
Times bestselling authors – and even the US Poet Laureate.
They have inspired me – and I hope that AfterWords will inspire you to write your own story.
People always ask me how they can become better writers. My
suggestion is to read poetry. You learn how valuable each word is when
you read – or better yet – write poetry. I would like to leave you with
this poem from one of my favorite poets: