Dialogue, Disclaimers, and Diarrhea

ForestPathWhat do dialogue, disclaimers, and diarrhea have in common? They’re three of the topics of my most popular blog posts for 2013. Just over half the articles were related to writing, the rest included recipes and one remedy for – yes – diarrhea. If you missed any of these, here are the top ten posts from my blog for last year.

  1. Ten Favorite Country Sayings – Wisdom (or country wisdom, anyway) must have been on many people’s minds this year, evidenced by my No. 1 blog post.
  2. Writing the Memoir: Disclaimers – Most works of fiction include a disclaimer to help ward off potential lawsuits, and it’s even more essential for a memoir. I include examples of different types of disclaimers and a link to where to find disclaimers for many kinds of fiction and nonfiction books.
  3. Writing a Memoir Like a Novel: Dialogue – The fourth post in my Writing a Memoir Like a Novel series discusses how to write natural dialogue.
  4. Free Resources for Writers: The Basics – This is a short list of free foundational resources that continue to help me in my writing journey.
  5. Southwestern Recipe: Green Chile Sausage Gravy – The flavor of green chile is popular both inside and outside of the southwestern United States. Here’s a recipe shared by a New Mexico fireman that never fails to keep the firehouse happy.
  6. Country Remedy: Diarrhea Relief – Who knew this country cure would be so popular, but AJ Jackson says this simple remedy has never failed to provide relief from diarrhea.
  7. Writing a Memoir Like a Novel: Story Arc – The first in the series of Writing a Memoir Like a Novel, this article discusses the beginning-middle-end structure of a memoir.
  8. 5 Tips for Retrieving Memories – An excellent article by Lisa Hase-Jackson (reprinted with permission) originally titled “Five Tips for Retrieving Memories and Developing Your Memoir.”
  9. Country Recipe: Old-Fashioned Tea Biscuits – This is one of AJ Jackson’s favorite family recipes that makes a ton of cookies.
  10. Writing the Memoir: Consider the Consequences – Three important things to think about before deciding to write a memoir.

Country Remedy: Cough Relief

Woman Holding Cup of Water and Lemon(From Vinnie Ann “AJ” Jackson)

This remedy for a cough came from my brother-in-law who grew up in the hills of Alabama. He is now 86 years old. Like most country remedies, I never measure the ingredients for this cough syrup. It’s always been a by-guess-and-by-golly thing, but I’ve given my best guesstimate in the directions below.

Cough Syrup


lemon juice


Take a small juice glass and add about three tablespoons of honey plus just enough lemon juice to thin the honey. Add a tablespoon or two of whiskey to the honey/lemon mixture and stir. Sip it throughout the day or night. It stops the cough for a short time, enough to let you get some sleep at night.

What’s your favorite way to calm a cough?

Country Remedy: Diarrhea Relief

(From Vinnie Ann “AJ” Jackson)

Fifty years ago, my brother-in-law (whose family comes from the hills of Alabama) taught me to make “burnt flour” to stop my baby daughter’s diarrhea. After mixing up the remedy, he heated the end of an ice pick to burn a bigger hole in a bottle’s rubber nipple so the concoction could flow through. I’ve used his recipe time and again over the years, and it’s never failed to work, no matter the age of the one needing relief.

Charlie’s Diarrhea Remedy

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup water

Cook the flour by itself in a hot skillet (we use cast-iron) until dark brown, but not black. Add the “burnt flour” to the water, stir until dissolved, and drink it down.

This remedy gets rid of diarrhea faster than a store-bought solution or a doctor’s prescription. Cheaper, too. And no one’s ever needed a second dose.

Let’s hope you never have to use this remedy, but if you do, let us know how it works.