“I think I’ll write a book someday,” said the young woman. “It will be poetry, verses about love and longing and the angst of being twenty.” That Christmas she received a suede-covered volume from her beau inscribed ‘Kate’s Scribbles.’ After he left her, she filled the parchment pages with poems and stories of love and heartbreak which were splattered with her tears. When she graduated from college, she clutched her teaching degree to her heart. Her mother’s advice echoed in her ears.
“Teaching is a good profession for a woman. You’ll be home when your children are—and you can always write in the summers when you’re off,” her mother advised.
The suede -covered book stayed on a shelf and the parchment pages remained blank. ***
“I think I’ll write a book,” said the woman.
Her husband laughed. “When will you have time for that?” he asked archly. “We have a child to raise. We can’t take chances like that, not with a mortgage and bills and obligations. Maybe someday—but not now.”
The woman nodded.
Yes, maybe someday she would take a pen in hand and write. She’d tell the story of a young couple, only in their thirties, with a child, finding their way in a sometimes hostile world.
The suede-covered book stayed on a shelf and the parchment pages remained blank.
“I think I’ll write a book someday,” said the forty–something matron. Life’s lessons had etched fine lines around her mouth and eyes, and added streaks of gray to her dark hair. Children were her main concern—her own child who was struggling to find her way and the ones she taught every day. Her marriage was in tatters from the battering of life’s realities: finances, personal problems and dreams that might never be realized. The woman could not remember the last time she had written anything other than a grocery list or a note to a parent. Sometimes, she would pick up a pen and hold it in her hand, hoping that words would flow onto paper. Once in a while they did, but the words spoke of anger and frustration and mostly of lost opportunity. So she hid those words from herself.
Her mother, now dead, had advised her well. Teaching was, after all, a steady, predictable job with an income she could rely on.
The suede -covered book stayed on a shelf and the parchment pages remained blank.
“I think I’ll write a book someday,” the woman said to her friends as they toasted her fiftieth birthday. She thought back to the earlier years, when the desire to write flamed in her heart. Searching everywhere, she finally found the suede bound book with poems so full of young love and loss and promise. Taking it reverently from its shelf, she blew the dust away. That night, she sat and read until her eyes grew heavy and a single tear traced its way down her cheek. And she felt like a part of her was dead.
“I think I’ll write a book,” said the widow, now in her sixties with hair that was more silver than black. Sadness was her daily companion. “I’ll write about loss and loneliness, and trying to make my life new.”
Her career as a teacher was a memory—one that over time had become more distant.
The woman’s child, now grown, lived in the great northwest forest with her beloved. Days were empty and the woman wanted—no—needed to tell her stories.
So, she picked up a pen, and began to write. Words flowed like water breeching a dam. And the woman wrote a book, and another book and another book. The pages were filled with the story of her life: of the things she had put aside, the sacrifices she had made, and the joys and dreams that had been realized. She wrote of the sorrow and the searing pain of loss. As she wrote tears and sometimes even laughter were her companions.
Surveying the shelf crowded now with the suede-covered volume and many others like it, she smiled.
With words as soft as a prayer, she whispered, “Finally, I wrote my book.”
Recently, I was talking to a friend who enjoys reading my blog. She mentioned that it had been a least a month since I updated it. There’s a reason why. When I started this blog, my main goal was to attract a following for my writing. I promised that it would not be political because I subscribed the old fashioned notion of avoiding talking about religion and politics.
But somehow, writing a blog like mine in the midst of mass shootings, including sniper attacks on police officers and the death of Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement seemed frivolous. Every time I thought I had a good topic, another national tragedy would occur—so I decided to wait a week or so. The week turned into a month and threatened to become six months and then a year.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that especially because the news is so grim so much of the time, perhaps a blog entry that brought a smile or a nod of recognition to my followers might be cathartic.
This revelation came to me while I was perusing Face Book after the mass shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, which is the nearest big city to where I live. Even though I personally didn’t know anyone who died that horrible night, I still felt deeply saddened. Face Book was full of memes about “love winning” and posts about the night of terror. The news was brimming with stories about the perpetrator and most importantly, the victims.
Then my brother-in-law died. It was a tsunami of sadness and shared grief.
I found myself seeking out Face Book posts showing pictures of children, dogs and kittens—and gardens, rainbows and waterfalls and—well, you get the picture. I was seeking an antidote to all of the sadness around me.
So, I decided that it was time to get back to the blog and writing about the sometimes silly and quirky observations about my life.
I hope you understand. See you tomorrow.
(And here’s a picture of a waterfall and a rainbow!)
Picture courtesy of Pixabay
Our lives are filled with time saving gadgets. We have dishwashers, washing machines, leaf blowers, lawn mowers we can ride, computers and printers—and my favorite, the DVR. What a great gadget! I wish I could thank the person who invented it personally.
While we’re busy living our lives, doing necessary chores like grocery shopping or more enjoyable things like attending a child’s dance recital or graduation or just hanging out with friends, the DVR is there, making sure that we don’t miss any of our favorite TV programs. It even allows us to watch one show while it dutifully tapes another show that can be accessed later. We can even read the newspaper or a book basking in the glow of the red light that tells us that yes, our beloved TV program will be ready when we are.
I realized how much I like—no love—my DVR recently while watching a playback of a network TV show. First of all, I was able to watch a half hour sit-com (my favorites) in 22 minutes. I was thrilled when I realized how much time I saved! I was able to skim over all of the ads which saved almost 10 minutes. That meant that I could watch almost three sitcoms in the time it would have taken to watch only two. What a time-saver!
But the best part for me was that I was not forced to watch any ads with Matthew Mc Conaguhy driving high-end luxury vehicles while talking to his dogs. That alone made using the DVR worth it.
Yes, The DVR is a great invention—easy to use, convenient and reliable. And it is my all time favorite gadget. It has saved me time and I have been released from the tyranny of Matthew McConaguhy!
Thank you, DVR.
One of the most powerful boosts for many writers is Amazon.com. It provides a platform for unknown authors to bypass the stranglehold traditional publishing houses have on the industry. Services like Book Baby, Create Space and others support the independent writer by providing an accessible and affordable platform to bring their work to life.
There are many reasons why an author may resort to self-publishing. In my case, I made this decision after pitching my book for several years at writer’s conferences (where I paid a fee for the privilege) and sending numerous query letters to agencies. I sent the required three or whatever chapters, synopses of the book, author bio, and cover letters to agents I had investigated.
It was time consuming and ultimately fruitless—although I had at least two agents who would “have loved to promote my book if only…”
So, I turned to a small press publisher who did bring my lifelong dream of being a published author to life.
Then the hardest work began—promoting the book. I am not naturally good at self promotion.
I rely on word of mouth and whatever opportunities come my way to talk about my book and my writing.
But the one thing that all authors—including me—must have to survive is book reviews. And that’s where you, dear reader, come into the picture.
The five or ten minutes it takes you to write a few simple sentences telling other folks that, yes, you enjoyed the book you just finished are the greatest boost you can give to any writer. Just log onto Amazon.com, find the title and author of the book, and choose the option to review the book.
You don’t have to do an in-depth analysis of the plot, the nuances of character development, or compare the book to others in its genre. Just say that you liked it (or not) and why.
And speaking for all struggling authors like me, your review will be deeply appreciated.
It’s hard to chase a dream. Dreams are ephemeral and unpredictable. They’re illogical. They don’t follow the rules of physics.
Dreams can make you feel elated or leave you empty and confused.
When you wake from a dream, it can be a hard landing back to reality.
I feel like I am chasing a dream right now as I face the most difficult part of having my latest book, Elvis Saves a Marriage…published: trying to foster interest in it.
It’s an intricate ballet of pushing the book a little here and there and exhausting people. You don’t want your efforts at promoting the book to feel like forcing people to watch a never-ending telethon.
But it is a necessary step in being an author. Even mid-list authors have to promote their books—through personal appearances, radio interviews, and book signings. The only ones who are somewhat exempt are A-listers who are a sure sell. And they have staffs to plan their promotion campaigns—and get to travel to exciting places and be on TV interview shows.
Writers like me are the author and promoter all wrapped up into one person. It can feel daunting.
From the time I was old enough to envision a future, I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to spend my life writing. I describe myself now as a writer who was disguised as a teacher for many years.
But I am a dream chaser. And no matter how upside down, how illogical, or how difficult it is, I will continue to follow this dream.
Graphic courtesy of Pixabay
I am disorganized. There, I said it. Whew! What a weight off my shoulders.
I’ve spent the better part of the last five decades promising myself that I’ll get organized–only to break that promise thousands of times.
I admire organized people: the ones who always know where stuff is, who clean their files out every year, whose desks are cleared every day. I want to be one of them, to join their club.
I don’t know what it is about me. I set up systems and within days, I’m back to my disorganized ways.
Now, it’s not that I can’t find thing—often I can—especially when I stack them in the same place each time. But too often, I have to tear my files, (such as they are) apart, to locate some important piece of paper.
My late husband was the direct opposite. He filed everything, labeled it, and once a year cleaned out his files. After he passed away, I was so grateful for his organization because it made everything easier for me. Now I worry that when it’s my turn to ascend to the pearly gates, my daughter will go insane trying to find stuff.
So, I think I better try to at least find the urgent stuff, re-file it, and resolve to keep it where it can be found easily.
At least that’s my intention.
Now, where is that list of blog ideas?
Picture courtesy of Pixabay
The developer here in my community continues to build new homes wherever the company can find a space that could accommodate a house, even if it’s a lot no bigger than the proverbial postage stamp.
That’s the price of living in a community that is still actively under construction.
Recently the developer has begun to clear land to build homes along my favorite space here—a linear lake that runs parallel to Solivita Boulevard. I take my dog Sparkle for a walk there, as do many other residents. People also walk and bike along this pathway. The pathway is shaded and the view across the lake is serene and natural with a thick stand of old trees. I often stopped there to meditate.
I don’t know why I was so naive about this area. I thought that it might be a “forever green” space—but, alas, it wasn’t.
The first sign that something was afoot were stakes with red ties on them, obviously marking the boundaries of lots, which popped up one day. When I first saw them, I felt saddened. I love this path and the beautiful view of the water and the woods that frame it. The thought that the woods would be torn apart for more homes was upsetting, especially given the fact that there is plenty of land left to develop. But this particular area would be in high demand. It will command a view of the golf course and the lake.
I cringed at the thought of listening to the bulldozers as they uprooted old trees covered in Spanish moss that went back possibly a hundred years or more. I had seen the bulldozers when another nearby tract was cleared, and the crashing and crunching of trees was sickening.
I wondered if there was some way to stop this development. But I knew it would be a fool’s errand. I imagined lying down in front of the ‘dozers as they rumbled along the road hell-bent on their mission of destruction. Then I imagined myself being scooped up with the tree debris as it was loaded onto a truck and hauled away, or worse, set afire. After all, this is Florida—the land developers dream of because virtually anything goes.
So far the clearing of the lots has been prudent. Many of the older trees have been left standing. But I fear that that can change any day.
A thought occurred to me when Sparkle and I were out for our walk. The neighborhood I live in now probably resembled this particularly beautiful area before homes were built on it. The whole tract of land that our community was built on had been a favorite hunting ground—a virtual wilderness for many generations.
I can imagine the thick groves of trees that populated all of what is now called Rainbow Lakes. And I’m sure that the bulldozers knocked down old tress and displaced all sorts of wildlife to make neat parcels of land. Later, young trees were planted on the plots of land and landscaping was installed. The unnatural replaced the natural.
So, I can hardly criticize the developer.
After all, I was happy to find a nice house in this development. I never gave a thought to what had been here before and the impact that building my home had on the environment.
Still, I can’t help wishing that some areas were “hands off” simply because of their natural beauty. Where the developer sees high priced homes on choice lots, I see a stand of woods bordering a picturesque lake. I keep telling myself to concentrate on the soothing water and the trees that border it still.
But a question keeps intruding into my thoughts.
Is this progress?
I guess it depends on your perspective.
I looked it up on the internet, and I present these typical symptoms:
- I will sit and read for hours at a time, sometimes until my eyes are so tired I can hardly focus on the words on the page.
- There are stacks of books everywhere in my house—on tables, on chairs and footstools and, of course, in bookcases.
- I have been known to not answer the phone if I am in the middle of a chapter that I find fascinating.
- When I finish a book, I am anxious and at loose ends until I start the next one.
- I think about the characters even when I’m not reading the book.
- I have a Kindle and an I Pad with books loaded on them.
- When I read a book for my book club, I can’t wait to discuss it.
- I find it hard to give books away—even ones that I know I will never read again.
- I love libraries and bookstores.
I’ve been like this since I was a child, so I think that my case may be hopeless.
When I was a kid, my sister complained that I read too much and wouldn’t put my book down to play. And one of my teachers thought that I might have read every book in our local library.
Friends have suggested a support group to help me deal with this addiction… but I can’t go anywhere until I’ve finished reading this chapter.
Picture Credit: Kathy Joyce Glascott
I ran into an old friend the other day. After a quick catch-up session, I realized how wonderful it is to see a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.
Old friends have a special place in our lives–or at least in mine. They share a history that newer friends don’t. They remember you when—for better or for worse.
Since my husband died, I cherish those who have memories of Dan— especially of his humor and gentle personality. Most of these friends remember how delighted he was with Sparkle, our dog. In a way, they are a link to him now that he’s gone.
One of the best things about old friends is that you can often just pick up where you left off the last time you were together, even if it was months or years.
Sharing a history gives you a common ground to start from. Even if the first few minutes you spend together centers around asking about family and mutual friends, the familiarity is comforting.
And sometimes that’s all you can talk about. But that’s still okay. Because seeing that person is a reminder of the continuity of life and the connections we share.
When I was a teacher, there was a song I taught my Kindergarten students. It was actually a song I learned in Kindergarten.
“Make new friends, but keep the old/ One is silver and the other gold.”
Words to live by.