Don’t Be a Spectator in Your Life

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian Author (The Medium is the Message), Philosopher, and his studies formed the cornerstone of media theory. He died in 1980. One of his concerns was the electronic marvel of television. He thought it would become less than marvelous for human development. I wonder what he would think of our Smartphones and their capabilities? One of the effects of television he predicted was the spawning of voyeurs. People who would rather watch than participate. Oh my goodness. Tik Tok is making him roll over in his grave.

We were meant for connection. Not artificial, like through electronics, but through face to face, sitting together over a meal, or attending an event in person. Don’t get me wrong. During the Pandemic, I have used electronics heavily through my studies during the past year for writing, establishing my LLC, and connecting with my artist who will illustrate my children’s book. Those connections have been both electronic and in person, and they have each served the purpose. I’m lucky to have made friends through media and joined groups with similar interest.

In doing those things, I am participating in my life. I’m following my plan, which has changed substantially since working with my book coach, Sam Tyler. I had nearly 80K words of a very complicated story, with lots of human growth, lots of dysfunctional characters, and several antagonists. Sam helped me realize one character and her growth could stand alone as a novel. It can, quite well. I went from being a pantster (writing by the seat of my pants, whatever spoke to me at the moment,) to being a planner, (lists, decisions, groups of scenes to play out). It changed everything. Thanks again, Sam. Get in touch with her. You’ll be glad you did.

Sure, I could have quit and sunk into the couch, giving up. I could continue reading other people’s books. I could shirk making decisions and taking risks to do something I’ve dreamed of doing forever. Living vicariously through others won’t do it for me. While I still read, a lot, now I do it through the eyes of a writer. It’s totally different. “Wow, I like how he described this.” or “She did a great job setting this scene up.” Good stuff. Real stuff is in the trenches, writing and learning. Real action is not passive. I can’t fully experience it through other authors. Years from now, will I look back and see I played the game, or that I played it safe.

It takes courage to be involved in your own drama (I don’t mean hyped up stuff, I mean the details of your life. Living your story.”). I thank God I wake up every day and get to decide how to spend my day. I’m learning to put the least favorite thing first (housework, laundry). I split up tasks and do them different days. The days we vacuum and dust, the Babe helps, which I need due to the condition my spine is in. I’m so grateful his Mama raised him to own cleaning up and cooking. He’s the best!

Keep Dreaming. And Start Doing! You can do it! It’s exhilarating! Take baby steps if you must. You get more comfortable with it. You’ll be surprised. Get over not wanting to look foolish. You can and you will before you’re done. It doesn’t matter. Really. At least you tried. And you learned what to do and what not to do next time. Failure leads to success. Just don’t give up. Live your life as a participant, not a spectator.

Thanks for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. Today, there will be more Kid-Lit videos to watch, and some domestic tasks. Once we get more organized, life will be easier. I’m so glad I started this un-cluttering and organizing things I have a long way to go, but life will flow better. Proud I attacked the job of Income Taxes earlier. I suppose I should check on our refunds and stimulus money. My share is going into the Jewell Publishing, LLC checking account. How exciting! Stay safe out there. Be Adventurous! Be Brave! Take a calculated risk! We can all do better in living our stories. Begin Today.

Suddenly Saturday Again!

There is a lot going on here at the Home Office at Raabe Ranch. I need to make a list about making a list, and categorizing everything we need to do in the next week. Not only are there blogs to write, I vow to begin again on my novel, The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.

I know the story will come back to me, after all, I lived with it the whole time I learned to craft the chapters, scenes, character development, and all sorts of things. Sam Tyler is not only my friend, but I hired her last summer and fall as my book coach. She does a marvelous job. I learned so much from her about good writing. She is tough, but very respectful about it. She won’t dash your hopes; to the contrary, she will encourage them along with your confidence. It’s worth the fee. We met at a Nebraska Writers Guild Conference over a year ago. That was before COVID. Here is her contact info if you would like to learn more about her. After an intense summer and fall of hard work, I took one month off (December) and somehow it extended into January, 2021. That’s OK.

I have a 2 p.m. Masterclass today about “The Build a Better Brand Method.” I need to update my “About Me” information. It’s necessary to build a community and a following. I’ve experimented with Tags and Categories, and since I started to blog about being on the Keto Diet, I’ve gained a lot of followers just on that point alone. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. I have nearly 300 followers for the blog alone. I’m happy with that, since I started at zero nearly two years ago.

Any part of life is dynamic, you never reach a static existence except maybe in death. Nothing happens much after that on this earth. We must change with the times about some things. Communication, actions, networking. All of the brand building is simply 2021 talk for marketing. So there we go. No one talks marketing any more, although that is what we do. I’m interested in finding out how to do that. Since I’m an Indie Author, I need to learn about all of these things. I would learn about them even if I had an agent and a publishing company interested in me. I may look one once I publish a couple books on my own, but I do enjoy this whole process.

The future is ahead of all of us. From this point on, I believe I can pick and choose where this career will take me. The opportunities are about the best they’ve ever been, and the authors I’ve met are all generous people who seem to genuinely want to help each other. Many creatives are like this. They are particular about their circle of people, and will help in any way they can. It amazes me.

How are you spending your present and your future? Are you thrilled to wake every day and do something you love? I’m there, and it’s just too bad I can’t be at a desk, sewing machine, or an easel for longer periods of time. I’d probably be a creating machine! It’s ok, we all can only do what wee do. At any moment, a person my age could have a stroke or another medical mishap and not be able to create anymore. That would seriously hurt me no end. I’m praying for good health and longevity together. Hope springs eternal.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading today. I hope it’s a beautiful day for you. Be kind, be safe, be on the lookout. Help someone out. See you tomorrow!

Thoughtful, Full Thursday

After the day at the VFW Post 2503 yesterday, I am so happy to know those good men, women, members, friends, and the public who stopped out. The dinner was exceptional, and the clothing drive was an enormous success. The Babe and I have Honda Pilot and a Honda Passport, two fairly good sized SUV’s. From behind the driver’s seat clear to the back hatchback, we stuffed our vehicles with coats, boots, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, hats, scarves, and other items for our homeless vets in the Omaha Nebraska area. Ron Hernandez from Moving Veterans Forward will distribute to the homeless he deals with every day, as they wait for their housing to open up. We are beyond happy about the success of the drive, and the generosity of the people who donated. It restores hope in humanity, and we sincerely thank everyone involved.

On another note, it’s amazing how much writing changes. Certain rules used to dictate “Said is dead,” meaning you should not use the word “said” to show – well, that someone said something. It was a fad. The directions now are to use action beats. What is a beat, exactly? It keeps you from info-dumps. Info-dumps are backstory in excess, which don’t add to the story. Action beats break up dialogue and are useful in revealing information about your characters. They can show body language, emotion, and other useful things. After setting out to add some to two chapters I already wrote, I like my story better. Amazing. Now, I need to reduce the number of “he said, she said.” Action beats also convey setting, or build a world.

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I tried a different writing schedule today, as you may tell, since this is so late tonight. I wrote my novel chapter when I was freshest this morning. It was good for a couple thousand words. I remember when I was just throwing out words, there could be 4K in a morning. And I’d have to edit them laboriously. (Word of the day?) I like not proceeding until I’m happy with the elements of my writing. It may seem to take longer, but I will bet over all, it takes less time. I’ll take copious notes and let you know my findings.

Wow! This Writing Stuff IS Complicated!

The meme above is a brief glimpse into how complicated it really IS to write a novel. And not only do you have to be the writer and a character, you must be all the characters! And reading as a writer is wayyyyy different from reading as a reader. Sam, it’s beginning to make sense! Clear as MUD!

Maybe I should take up drawing? Go back to quilting? After I finish out this month. Not before. I’m kind of on a roll which I think will take us through the next few chapters right up to the defining moment. My character has a huge life event happen. She must decide what to do to keep her children safe. And it’s not a normal defining moment. I’m eager to see where we go. Stay tuned!

This evening, maybe some reading by the fireplace while the Babe takes in yet another football game. How many can you guys watch, after all? I know as many as we can. You have to love those men when they hone in on something like a sport. It always amazes me when they can recite sports stats from thirty years ago, yet they quickly forget something simple like a gallon of milk. I know I do too. It’s still pretty amazing.

Have a beautiful evening, dark as it is and only 6 p.m. Dinner is ready, and I believe we’ll have a slice of cheesecake tonight. The nicest gesture, our new neighbors brought a cheesecake over for the Babe, to thank him for his military service. How very thoughtful! Although it’s not KETO, we had to eat a piece. It’s glorious! Thank you, sweet neighbors. We’re so happy you’re here.

Off to do some more reading. Feeling good after having a good day writing. Now to figure out a way to get a bunch of blogs written, then publish them later. Might be worth it. That’s a decision for tomorrow. Blessings on all of you and have a good night. See you tomorrow. Be safe. Be kind. Be courteous.

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Monday Morning, Beautiful Day

As I’m listening to Steven Van Sant and the (also a member of the E Street Band!) Disciples of Soul, I’m feeling pepped up. It could be the coffee, but I just feel energized and good. That’s a glorious thing on a Monday when the week and our souls are still fresh from the weekend. The Babe finished carpet cleaning with his new gadget. It looks great, and the dogs are glad we’re moving the furniture back where it rightfully belongs. They don’t like disruptions in their world.

This CD has it all. Party Mambo reminds me of our beautiful daughter-in-law, Monica. She is Puerto Rican and really has the beat going on. She taught Blake to salsa dance. I wish we had a dancing family, my people didn’t do that. Except for wedding receptions. We weren’t Polish, but all weddings had Polka music, and at a certain point in the night, they attempted the Flying Dutchman. Chaos ensued. The more alcohol consumed, the more chaos. It always looked liked people had such fun.

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If you’ve been a reader for a year, you may remember I entered NaNoWriMo last year. At first I thought I would not enter this year, but I decided why not? I’m writing anyway. Some very prolific writers from the Nebraska Writers Guild are journaling about the pandemic, and about the political climate. I might do some of that, and I want to do something meaningful to me. Last year’s project finished at over 50K words, and I was glad. It requires editing, and I had a couple people read it. It was pretty raw in its writing. It needs polish and perhaps a different point of view. The proposal is good; the execution needs work.

While I ponder this, I think I need to take some notes, they just may spark some ideas. Any written, typed, and scribbled words “count.” You don’t want to vomit words all over the page. You want some purpose, some intent behind them. I’ll be looking for people to BETA read for me. I’m still pretty green on what that entails some folks saw my criteria last year and complained they “weren’t being paid to edit,” and I excused them from volunteering. Note to self: Clarify EVERY task needing people’s input for. Beta read, Edit, Copy Edit, etc.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

If you’re an author, you probably love words. You love putting them together to create scenes in your head. If you have too many words, you may defeat your own purpose. I’ve done this. Put way too much detailed description where I think it’s necessary, only to find out it’s unnecessary. It’s something you learn. The work I’ve done with Sam has been so worth it. If you might work with a book coach, try it for a month or two. I’ve learned so much more than I thought possible. New things, Baby steps, you’ll get there nicely.

One year ago, I foolishly thought I could just publish what I had. I thought I was “done.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. I worked like a Pantster. A Pantster wings it. No outline, no character development on paper, no scene construction, no checking anything over. Just do it, like Nike says.

I am now planning what to say, write, and do next. This is working much better. I am focusing on exactly what belongs in every scene and on every page. Nothing else. It has reduced some stress I was feeling. Self-induced, really. Not that it won’t happen again. Humans are hard to break bad habits, you know. And writers are probably worse!

Have a beautiful day and thank you for reading. I appreciate it. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here again. Don’t forget to vote, deliver your ballot properly to a ballot collection box. I do not care who your candidate is, just vote. It will make a difference. Every vote counts. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Patriotic.

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Monday Morning

What a beautiful sight outside! I still love fluffy snow. It looks wonderful, magical, and almost romantic. The wonders of nature amaze me every day. Every day I live, I try to find something that is wondrous, beautiful, and majestic. My God is that way.

Later today, we’re going to our daughter’s home for dinner with family. Our son from DC will be in town, it’ll be nice to see him. It’s been over a year since we saw him and his family. They will remain home, quarantining and distance learning. President Trump will do a stopover at the airport tomorrow, so they must prepare things for him. He won’t stay long, just speak and leave. That’s fine. Unsure if Blake will leave tomorrow or Wednesday. Family is everything, and we make the most of the times like these. Sending hugs to those who couldn’t be here.

I’m really dug into reading Kaye Gibbons’ book, Emma Foster. It’s a sad but very good story. A young girl overcomes terrible circumstances to rise above her plight in life. Her father, a terrible alcoholic, her mother dies, the estranged grandmother interferes every way she can, and the little girl, Emma, matter-of-factly handles everything. She is brutally honest. It is amazing how mature she is. She has to be. It speaks to how people can rise above their circumstances. Something told this little girl how to stay safe from her father. He was a beast. She often wished him dead. She thought of killing him, as if that were her only way out of this terrible situation. It resolved itself, thanks to her teachers noticing how Emma came to school after her mother’s death. She had bruises on her, and she told exactly how they happened. She hid from her father often and had little to eat.

The story takes place in the South, and the usual white attitudes exist in her mind about “colored” people. She questions the segregation, as her best friend is a black girl. The girls’ family is kind to her. She wonders why she shouldn’t “mix” with them. They are good people. I hope to finish it this afternoon and start its sequel, “All the Life Around Me, by Ellen Foster.” The writing takes you away. I want to learn how to do that. Excellent advice from Sam, my writing coach.

Only one of my to be read piles

Over the winter, I hope to find some bookcases I like for our family room. I have not unpacked my books from the move four years ago. I will donate many, such as quilt books I’ll never use, novels I doubt I’d read again. Even donating things like these will free up space and make me more settled. We rarely use the boxes of toys for the grandkids. They’re all outgrown.

I have a mat for the floor, which looks like a little town. Kayla will receive that, and I’ll probably send her a few little cars for it. Gavin used to set it on our coffee table, and pay with it. Roxie used to steal a car from it and run. Gavin called her SWIPER. He laughed once he decided he couldn’t get her to stop. She let him have the car. She just wanted a little adventure, I guess.

Yes, time is fleeing too quickly. One personal mission is for me to make more time in the day. I need to find time to get more things accomplished. Most people waste some time. The mindset is, “I can do whatever I want, I’m retired.” True, but will you finish things you want to? Will you explore all the nooks and crannies of the earth you want to see? If not, better get started. I’d hate to have you miss it, too. Let’s move forward, even if we are retired!

Thank you for reading today. There will be more tales tomorrow, and I hope to see you here then. Don’t eat any yellow snow! Just be careful out there. Don’t break anything. Please. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful.

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Snowy Sunday

We’ve been out for a little today. The Babe has me copy spreadsheets over to use for subsequent months. I know Excel better than he does, so it’s maybe 1/2 hour at the most. I like to help him out so he doesn’t have to be away from home long. It may be a selfish motive, but I hate to see him struggle with something that wouldn’t take me too long. We’ve done a lot of those days together. One of our old friends from the VFW Post mentioned one time the Quartermaster job “takes a lot of time, and it helps that your wife is helping with other things, instead of complaining you’re gone all the time.” Bless your heart, Bob Fenton, you were a man among men, and I miss you terribly.

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The Kansas City – Denver football game today is sort of fun to watch. It’s snowing in Denver. They allowed seven and a half percent of capacity for a crowd today. Will the cold kill the virus? Not sure, but it looks cold. Hoping they enjoy themselves. And drinking beer in a snowstorm? Never tried it, but at least there shouldn’t be a terribly long line for the ladies’ room. What a plus!

Our deck is looking shiny, and the wrought-iron fence has ice on it. I don’t think it will be too long before it is snowing flakes. We are snuggly with the fireplace ablaze. How I love a gas fireplace! Whatever the weather does, it’ll get warm again anyhow. Not too big of a deal. Complaining won’t change it. This (below) is nice for a stock photo.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Tomorrow, it’s back to working in the mornings, and reading/relaxing in the afternoon. I don’t care for working so late in my day. I have another deadline one week from today. I’m rapidly approaching the end of my time with Sam, my book coach, for this year. Only two or three more sessions, then we take December off. It’s been money well spent. I need to branch out and see how I can do fewer sessions and hope to remember what I’ve learned.

Yes, that’s a plan for 2021. If we plan for it, it means we still have spirit and determination to face whatever happens next in this soap opera of a life we’ve had this year. As I review what I believed what I would do with my writing career this year, I see by now I thought I’d have a novel published and two or three children’s books printed. Lots of things occurred this year that were unforeseen. I like my novel more, since it’s a distinct part of the story of Katie Fitzgibbons. It’s backstory to what comes in “These Walls Do Talk.” Backstory can be too heavy to share while a different story is going on. Yes, it’s nice to know the who, what, when, where, and why characters are as they are while a plot thickens. Sometimes, it has nothing at all to do with the story being told. That’s when it needs to go. And mine needed to go. I’m glad it did, I’m doing much better work than before.

I hope you have a nice evening, at least what we have left of it. It’s been very restful. How nice! Hope yours was, too. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Safe out there. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Understanding of others. We’re all living a very different life than we thought would be a year ago. Wear your mask, stay well.

Thursday Thoughts

One of the most impactful things Dad ever taught me is to look at things from every different angle you can before deciding on something. In most things, it is prudent to do so. I like that he would tell me to think of where the other person may come from. It has always served me well. As young kids, they expected us to think things through. They, meaning the parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Maybe we didn’t have a stress-free life as kids, but I think we all can operate as reasonably intelligent adults.

Sometimes, someone may remark, “Gee, I didn’t think of it that way.” That’s a clue you may have opened their eyes to a fresh way of thinking. It’s easier if they’re open to changing their way of doing things. If they’re not, it’s much harder. Consensus is easier to achieve with more open-minded people. Face it. Change is hard. People resist as long as they can.

It gets frustrating when someone digs in and belittles your decision or choice and later claims they supported you all the way. The excuse is “Well, things were different.” With some people, it’s just not worth being right. It’s best to know you are and move on. I’ve had to do that a lot about a lot of things in my life. Moving away to a different neighborhood is a big deal in my family. No more, because I’ve done it. Three times. Mom still lives in the same house she and Dad purchased in 1949. That’s seventy-two years in the same house. It has to be some kind of record.

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We have to learn to be comfortable with our decisions. We need to accept full responsibility for the consequences of our actions. All of them. We have a responsibility to admit if we do something bad. Or good. We sometimes learn more from the poor decisions than the good ones. It’s possible. A balanced person never forgets the lessons they learn from the poor ones. And they know not to beat themselves up over them.

I had another Zoom call with Sam, my book coach today. I’m eager to add more description to my second chapter and flesh out the first scene of the third chapter. Slow and steady wins the race. I read something a couple days ago stating it takes three years to write a book. At first I scoffed at that. *Word of the Day – Scoffed! When I think of starting a year ago, January 2019, it’s not so off the mark. That’s about what I’m looking at now, at the current rate. I do like having smaller sections to rewrite.

I have about 40K written in my first book, These Walls Do Talk. I want to finish it someday I see it as a part of a trilogy. It’s not lost work it was good practice. I think back to a conversation Sam and I had once that touched on having manuscripts that will not be the ones to publish. It’s a very common occurrence among writers. That does not surprise me. Among quilters, there are many projects that never see the quilting and binding added. I have a beautiful example of one. I did not finish the first quilt ever made. I kept it as a reminder of how it was to just start learning the craft. The most important thing I learned was the famous quarter inch seams are to be critical. Otherwise, nothing will align properly. I have some rows that look terrible. You can fudge on a seam while dressmaking (I have frequently), but in quilting its unforgiving. Come to think of it, I should put a binding on it and drape it on my studio chair right here. It will remind me there is a learning curve with everything creative. And to be humble.

Goldie Could Enjoy My “Humility” Quilt.

I think I should dig that quilt out and finish it. Just because. I can look at as a failure. I don’t like the colors. It was a practice piece. I can also use it to help me see how much I’ve learned. All the quilting skills I have are self-taught. There were a few classes I took, but most of it is self-taught. With lots of books and magazines.

I’m glad to know how to look at things differently. It’s helped me be grateful, despite having a body ravaged by some weird ailments. I could have become bitter about what I lost at age 44, but I am grateful for what I can still do independently. I am grateful to have a husband who tells me, “whatever you want to do, honey,” when I have an idea for another quilt, blog, or project. We work well together, he encourages me. It stifles a lot of women to have little support for their creativity. My only problem is finding the time to do all the things I’d like to do!

Have a beautiful day. Enjoy the precipitation we’re having in Gretna, NE. I wish those fires in Colorado would have a gully washer fall on them. The destruction is terrible. Be Open. Think Differently. Love Without Restriction. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Careful.

Simple Saturday

Many things are swirling around in my head this morning. Lots has occurred in the last 24 hours. First thing I’m thinking of my cousin Mike and how grateful they must be to have pulled off two wedding receptions in August and early September now that COVID is peaking again in Nebraska. Rules for bars are again, mask to enter building and leave, and mask to walk around in building.No more standing room only events. Events must drop to below 50% capacity. I would not be surprised if the bars and schools be closed again before Thanksgiving to slow the spread again. Our hospitals are nearing a much higher capacity than they want. I just pray to God we can get the election done, in the books, and move on to whatever is next.

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Second, I’m thinking about Estes Park. It is one of our favorite places to make a destination. We love the nature, beauty, scenery, and people. Always something interesting going on. Flood visited there a few years ago, and now a two month old wildfire is calling for evacuations. Prayers for those folks, their families, property, and the wildlife. It all suffers during events like this.

Third, we had a great Post and Auxiliary meeting last week. Ron Hernandez, the founder of Moving Veterans Forward in the Omaha/Papillion area spoke to us about the Victory Apartments, and the other opportunities that are available for the Post to help him get off the ground that will serve Veterans locally. I see a lot of opportunity here for us and I’m excited about it.

I have some things to update for our Post website, and need some lessons from our Web Host, Image Masters. Luckily, the host with the most is my brother in law, Brad Shuck, and he’s always willing to teach me more about how the website works and can work. Great guy. Great photographer, too. He’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Check out his work.

Today is the day to make good on my intentions to bring in any plant that will perish with a frost. We’re due anytime, and I have some succulents that will be great inside the house. I don’t want to lose them. That’s for a little later on, and I might let them sit after spraying them for bugs to see what comes out, if anything. Then the transplanting can happen.

Even if we’re quarantined again it won’t be so bad. I’m already looking at grocery delivery, that’s the one thing I’m no longer crazy about doing. It’s kind of a hassle, and hard for me to carry a lot in from the car, after picking it up to put it in the cart, unloading cart, reloading cart with bags, putting bags in the car, that’s a lot of lifting and moving the same stuff to get home. I need to consult with our daughter Tracy to see how we can get started. She’s on to all the shopping stuff. Bless her!

Gavin Has Been Such a Blessing For Our Pups. And Organic Bones.

I’m organizing all my social media marketing information today, too. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are both used by the Post and by me as an Author. I’m starting up on both of them, so I figure planning them side by side should work. They are both meant to give exposure to the target audience. The Facebook is pretty well established for the Post, and my author page could use some boosting. I still have some online training to review and add to the plans, so that will be some good stuff to sit by the fire and do while the Babe watches football. This is what life is meant for. Being together and getting things accomplished. I’m grateful.

The second chapter seems to be pretty good so far. It’s about 1900 words, which is pretty fair. I don’t want to get hung up on word count, so I’m planning a little ahead. I don’t want to go much further than Chapter 3 before next Sunday night when I send Sam Tyler, my Book Coach, the updated versions for her feedback. I’ve mentioned before, if I’m way off track, I’d rather have just a chapter or two to rewrite than the whole book. Makes sense.

The Babe made some stellar Beef Vegetable Soup late yesterday. It’s reheating now in a great big soup pan. Tis the season for good stuff like that. It’ll be ready after a bit, and will be a welcome break from the morning. Of course, now that it’s afternoon, it’s time to get those plants inside. Life can be mundane, yet accomplishing those tasks gets things done, and you can move on to other tasks and relax. Ahhh. Saturdays. Even retired Saturdays are good.

Thank you for reading, it’s something else I’m eternally grateful for. We’ll meet you again tomorrow, with more tales of marketing myself, the Post, and being an author. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Patient. I’ll try to be, too.

Winning Wednesday

My world was restored yesterday. We picked up Addison after school. It’s been a quarter of the year since we last did, since she ran Cross Country during that time, and it’s after school. She placed quite well for being a first timer. She is in incredible physical condition due to about twelve years of dance. She is probably more fit than many football players are. Gosh, I love that young lady. She’s smart, kind, thoughtful, funny, and beautiful.

What Toby Mac Writes, I Live! How Does He Know Me? He Knows LIFE. In That, He Knows Me.

My writing was productive yesterday. I fleshed out at least three scenes for the second chapter. The scenes are important to the story, they help with character definition and telling important history. The feat for the writer is to keep out anything that doesn’t further the story, that isn’t important, and isn’t pertinent. You don’t need to know how mean Katie’s kindergarten teacher was about nap time in 1957. Maybe the teacher didn’t help Katie’s fears, you just don’t need that bit of trivia in the story.

By writing an outline, I know where the story is going. Sometimes while writing, the story decides on it’s own to take a twist you hadn’t planned. And if it fits with the scene, it’s great. If not, you write the notes out to add in an appropriate place or simply put it on the shelf for another story. That can happen. This is certainly better than wandering around, clueless. Unless you’re a person who can do that, become clueful, then write a NYT bestseller! They do exist. My thought is they have more structure to their writing than they care to admit.

I just searched my free photo library for “words.” Sad to say, I had to page down four times to get to something other than “Black Friday” sayings. Isn’t that sad? I seldom care about Black Friday, even less this year, whatever date is is. If there were a time to make heartfelt gifts, homemade creations, works of our art for our family, it’s right now, during this Pandemic.

A special drawing from a grandchild, a photograph by an amateur neighbor kid, a baked goody from a car pool family can all lighten a heart during these times. We used to make time for these things every holiday season. I love when someone takes the time. They don’t have to. But they do. And that’s why it’s special. Make time for someone today. Before you can’t anymore.

I’m having another good writing opportunity today. The dogs are asleep for awhile, and I have on music I haven’t heard in awhile. Dayna Jones is another musician from South Dakota. She has a lovely, strong voice. Her lyrics are so telling. Maybe that’s why I enjoy music so much, and always hear the lyrics. It is storytelling at it’s finest. Putting impactful words to music. How much better can it get? Check Dayna Jones out wherever you secure your music. She even has CD’s for old folks like us!

Dayna Jones, Leaves. Get It Today!

As part of my research, I’m going to read “From Generation to Generation,” it is a memoir and a workbook in one. “Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling” takes us to a second generation Holocaust Survivor. Serious traumas can be passed generation to generation even though the events are unspoken. Types of behavior reflect that trauma, and are passed, unknowingly, to the next and subsequent generations.

Of course, the Holocaust is an extreme, terrible event to survive. My traumas and your traumas will not be so dramatic. Ours are lesser, yet they are extreme, terrible events to our grandparents, parents, us, and our children. Do not minimize your trauma. Do not ignore it. It affects you. And your children.

Illness and addiction affect many generations in families. Coping behaviors become something to survive in and of themselves. It is amazing how the human mind protects itself, and the body that goes with it. Flight of Fight. Adrenaline Rushes. Amnesia of traumatic events. Thank God for creating us as He did. We’d never make it without these safety features.

That said, lingering below the hard, crusty surface of any Veteran I know, there are war stories too terrible for them to repeat out loud. There are things a regular person back home could not think of doing. Those same things are what we expect of our combat veterans and others. Male or female. Young and Older. It happens to everyone in some way. Self medicating is not the answer. Help is available, and it can stay off your record. Contact Moving Veterans Forward for a conversation that can save your life. 1-402-301-6300.

It’s time for me to switch the thinking and expand on my scenes to make the chapter I’m working on. Sam Tyler, Book Coach, you’re making my life easier. I’m hoping yours gets easier with this work I’m doing. Lol. I appreciate what you’ve taught me.

Thanks to all of you for your time. I appreciate it and plan to see you all tomorrow! It’s going to be a windy day today, so it’s a good day to write. Be safe out there. Be calm out there. Be courteous out there. We’ll get through this. I know we will. You will, too. Hang on. Hang in.

Thursday Zoomies

No, it’s not about Goldie or Lexie running around the living room chasing each other. I’ve decided to use the term to describe my talk with Sam Tyler, Book Coach, this morning.

Where did the word Zoomie come from? It’s referring to FRAP’s, Frenetic Random Activity Periods that dogs have once in awhile. They just are overcome with a huge amount of energy and for a short period of time, they run laps, circle quickly, whatever activity they choose to do. It releases the energy, and stops as soon as the energy is expended. Wish people would/could get them. There is no cause for alarm in dogs, as long as they can zoom around without hurting themselves. People, too.

I’m calling the Zoom Meetings we have as my Zoomies. I get so inspired when we talk, and I just want to dig in and write more. Today, however, I am going to follow her non-writing advice first. I’m not reading enough. I know I’m not. I need to read at least thirty minutes a day. No excuses. It doesn’t mean read Facebook, or Twitter, or look at Instagram photos, or reading technical stuff about writing. I need to read fiction with characters, scenes, character and scene development. I need to leave out the narrator intrusion I’m becoming (in)famous for. It’s not good, yet, unbridled, I can’t seem to stop it. I need to rein it in, and keep it in check.

Since all of my books still reside in boxes, it would take some time and help moving heavy boxes for me to find my Elm Creek Quilters series of books (very good scenes and character development), I’ve opted for a couple in my to be read pile. And I mean pile – a full tote bag, a stack on the nightstand, a stack on the old sewing machine, and a shelf on a corner cabinet. I’ve found “Charms for the Easy Life,” by Kaye Gibbons; and “The Whistling Season,” by Ivan Doig. I plan to spend some time on the deck, reading. As long as those pesky no see ums don’t bother me. What are they? Those tiny black bugs you can barely see but who bite with a vengeance.

I think I’ll start with “Charms for the Easy Life.” This book is about a family without men. All females, living in the backwoods of North Carolina during a sad and singular era, according to a review I read. It should be a good read, at least I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon with these ladies. How about you? Assuming you can dodge the no-see-ums what do you plan for outside on this beautiful day?

Thanks for stopping your day to read. Hope to see you tomorrow, too. Take care of each other out there. Be safe.