Friday’s Session

It’s 10:26, the breakfast dishes are soaking, I made the bed; the dogs are napping, and I’ve just read through another edit of my Chapters Three and Four. I’ve read it’s best to read out loud when doing that. It’s true, you hear some weird things when you do that. I feel pretty confident about the two chapters. I may get bold and share a part of them on the creative FB groups I belong to. And here, as I become braver. I can tell I’m learning, and that’s a good feeling.

The red pencil needs sharpening. I have to laugh at the Pro Writing Aid software I use. I’ve been happy with it, but lately, I see them suggesting to use, say “beat;” and then you correct it, they tell you “beat ” and you could chase your tail all day long. If you turn off the suggestion, you turn it off not just on that one example, but on all occurrences of it until the end of time! Be careful what you wish for. The thing is, don’t totally rely on the software. Sometimes it makes little sense.

Stories. We all have them. We all tell them. We share some; we keep others hidden away and shout others from the rooftops. How do we decide which ones to share? I believe it may work the same when writing a song, and you need the very best of all words for the perfect song. Lennon and McCartney proved that. Brian Wilson lived that. Bruce Springsteen preaches that. Jon Bon Jovi gets that done in fine fashion. They bless us with rich stories of words and sounds of music which tell our stories better than we could have ever hoped to. How do they know?

They know because they have a gift. They’re aware they need to share the gift with others. How generous! We’ve met some wonderful musicians in the past seven or eight years who are local, some are not. We’ve discovered they are very down to earth for all being geniuses. I believe they are. Their messages are always positive, they are all very grateful people, too. You just don’t hear that from a bean counter, you know? There are difficulties, especially now during the Pandemic. Travel and late night gigs are tough on relationships. They make great sacrifices to share their creations with us. How lucky we are.

Writers? I’m finding out how hard it is to write a novel, not just gush words as we do when speaking. When I was a kid, I had a fantasy of being a reporter for our local newspaper. I wanted to see my name in print. My dad worked there my entire life. I was on our school newspaper for a while, and it was cool to see your name in print. That fantasy remained a fantasy. As I got older, the fantasy morphed into writing a children’s book. I have a few manuscripts, I’m looking for a young artist to help me out. I’m contacting her after Christmas and hoping we can work together. She’s very good, and I know children love whimsical artwork in books.

Words, words, words. It’s hard to choose the right ones from time to time. Other times, they flow like a river. Writing against the tide can be difficult. But going with the flow isn’t always the right thing to do. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading by Carol Gino, “Me and Mario.” It’s about her twenty-year relationship with Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather. Yesterday, as she as describing her learning from him about writing, this phrase struck me: “What you need to learn is the carpentry of writing.” She questioned him further, and he replied, “Writing can’t be taught but it can be learned. Carpentry is the nuts and bolts of writing.” And there you have it. Ms. Gino, if you read this, know I’m fascinated by the advice he gave you. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

One thing our entire family learned from Dad had to do with quality paper. Newsprint has transformed over the years, from 1952 until present day. They have shaved it down, the width is much less than years ago. The thickness of the paper has gone from much thicker to onion skin thin. While the Babe and still took the paper, I remarked the paper itself was so thin you could see through it, making it hard for aging eyes to read. In a bright light, you could see the shadow of the next page interfere with what you were attempting to read. Poor quality.

And don’t get me started about printed books! Oh my gosh, the slick glossy paper is the stuff they make my dreams of. It would be so expensive to have a book printed on that. I’m jealous of the folks that can do that. Maybe someday, I can too. You never know. Thanks, Dad. It’s funny when someone else in our family and I look at a book, we open and feel the pages. “Excellent stuff, Dad would approve.” It’s a warm, wonderful memory. I know, we’re a weird lot.

With that fond memory, it’s time to get back to writing. It’s been a great day so far, and I’m working so it continues. Thank you for reading today, hope you return tomorrow. I’ll be here, as usual. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Let’s all work to make this world a kinder place. Thank you.

Fabulous Friday

Hi, friends!

An overcast, almost chilly day here in Gretna, Nebraska. We are seeing a lot of green things growing here, and the one house in the neighborhood who doesn’t believe in weed control has infected our lawn with the blight of suburbia! Dandelions! I know, we should be all organic about them and let them live, but no, not like he did. No grass at all. Just dandelions. The Babe is on the hunt for them, so watch out!

Already this morning, I’ve gone through a bunch of my book, editing and changing things up. I’m on about page 50, Chapter 10. It’s fun. Changing descriptions to spoken words by the characters is a good way to show, not tell. If someone in the story is relating family stories it’s a lot more interesting than reading words. I learned that in my first submission. Good one, too. It’s important to story telling. Sometimes, I just pick up a book and read. If it piques my interest, I pay attention to the writing. Dialogue from characters? Yes. What a process.

This afternoon, I want to work on my Poppy Quilt. It needs three different boarders on it, then I can select the backing for it, layer it, and add it to the stack that needs quilting. That will be a good bit of work for May. If I could quilt one quilt a week and finish it, it will be a very good month! A challenge since the weather is finally nice, but they need to be done.

Goldie has so much fun fetching in the yard. It’s so nice in the mornings that I can just go out in my pajamas and throw her toy. She has so much energy. She loves her people, too. Has to be with us. Lexie acts as if she could care less, but snuggles in bed every night. She’s on a kick now that she won’t get into bed until I do. Kind of cute, really. But then she gets in my place! Huh. We’ll have to do something about that.

Unrealistic? Uhm, maybe.

It’s about time for lunch now. A quick sandwich then off to finish the Poppy Quilt. Stay tuned for a photo tomorrow. There. Now I have to finish it! Thanks for reading, I hope you have a good day, stay home, wash your hands, straighten out your office, and be kind. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Wednesday & Thursday

The overcase skies yesterday resembled what I would call “snow skies.” It feels dampish, dark, and looks like a snowstorm will happen later. In some ways, I hope it does. I’d love to have to stay home tomorrow. Yesterday was Hamburger Night at the VFW, and our usual gathering time with our friends. Simple enough, yet rich with memories. Good memories of good friends.

It has occurred to me lately how many friends we have lost. I have a number of them from my cell phone contacts and Facebook friends. Many more lie in the pages of my address book. It’s amazing how you just no longer have that person or those people in your life. Friends and family, then a memory. It’s all the more reason to be kind. You never know how long you’ll have these people in your life so make the most of it.

Once the Babe and I do our household tasks, it’s so freeing to decide what we’d like to spend time on the rest of the day. After doing this blog, I think I’ll read more of Margaret Lukas’ River People. It’s about life in Nebraska in the 1890s and are a glimpse into what women endured in that era. Anyone who lived through the hardships the prarie presented to them had a story, that is for sure. We are so fortunate to live in a time of equality. Yes, we still have some wrongs to right, but we are not where we were in the 1890s.

Have you ever watched REELZ channel on Direct TV? They have real life autopsies on celebrities which are kind of interesting. They also have a series called, “I Lived with a Killer.” Today the story is about a mob killer and it’s amazing how deep down evil those guys are. The wife and one daughter of this guy plot to put drugs and poison in his meatloaf to kill him. What a very tangled and messed up life the families had. Psychological abuse is one of the very worst things to inflict upon another person and this man was a master at it.

Evil has existed since the dawn of time. It is an inevitable thing in the world. So many people who couldn’t overcome a bad environment, or who just fell in with the wrong people are victims of themselves often. I find it sad, although many kids come from a terrible environment and somewhere, someone inspires them to break a cycle. Breaking out a cycle of family dysfunction is extremely difficult. Often your family or origin doesn’t see the dysfunction. You may be accused of thinking you’re better than they are. That isn’t the case, you simply want something different for your life. Settling isn’t what you want to do. It is no reflection on them, it’s just not in you to go along to get along.

The dysfunction doesn’t need to be evil. Any change or attempt to improve will boggle the minds of some in your family. Just expect it. If it doesn’t happen, you are fortunate. The dysfunction could be domestic violence. It could be alcoholism. It could be opiod abuse. I am from a family that has many alcoholics on both sides. I don’t think it was uncommon for men returning from WWII and Korea to drink. To drink too much. At that time in our history, men were expected to be “manly.” To not show tenderness, weakness, upset, and not to question what they did during the war. They were soldiers, and they were following orders. My own dad was in the medic corp. He was out running around on the battlefield with another guy and a stretcher to retrieve the wounded. He saw many, many horrors of war. He wasn’t even twenty years old. He returned home for six years, and was called up to do the same thing in Korea. Patching up the wounded, hoping they’d make it home. He did drink when he returned home, but not excessively once he married Mom. They probably couldn’t afford it.

The bad memories didn’t go away, they became part of his normal life. An aunt asked him what the Concentration Camps were like. He said, “I’m not going to talk about it, but here’s a book to read. This will tell you better than I can.” He was awesome taking care of my kids when they were sick and I had to work. He recorded temps, times of medications, etc. It was great. Somehow, he learned to live with his thoughts. Never a teetotaler. He just relaxed if he drank, and was very funny. I’m lucky I didn’t grow up in a home where violence lived.

And by now, it’s Thursday, late morning. I’m working on this blog, then more editing and writing on my book. I’m so glad to have a day at home to try and catch up. We still have some rearranging after the painters finished, and I’m glad that big job is done. It is quite cold outside now, five above zero, and the feels like is -9. Sunny and clear, but wow, It’s cold.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. We returned home a little too late for me to post yesterday, so sorry about that. I’m working on editing again today. It is coming along. We become impatient sometimes while waiting for the process to take care of itself, and yet, here we are, busy everywhere and not having the time to finish a thought. It will even out when Mom’s finished with therapy at the end of April, I’m hoping. I will return tomorrow, this time I’m certain.

Friday Frolics

Here it is, late in the afternoon, and I’m again just starting to blog. It’s been a busy last 24 hours. Mom had PT today. Inspiration hits a writer at the oddest times. This morning, for instance, I was brushing my teeth, getting ready to leave the house to pick up Mom.

And an idea came to me about some brothers I need to add for my novel I’m rewriting. They will fit nicely into the theme of the story which is people can escape family “curses” if they learn there is another way to live. And some of these characters will escape, others will not. Some will not even realize they’re doomed. It mirrors life.

When the therapist came to the lobby for Mom, I pulled out my cell phone and typed as fast as I could. I couldn’t let this idea evaporate into thin air. It happens more than I’d like to admit, so noting it was a good call. I just finished embellishing the notes from this morning onto note cards, one for each of the characters in the novel. They all have their shortcomings. Some over come insurmountable odds to beat, heal, and grow. Some overcome nothing and blame the world for their ills.

And the Nebraska Writers Guild is making a push to get the authors’ books on Pinterest. Apparently the pins will stay fresh for an incredible number of days, while Facebook and Instagram do not. There is a member, Renie Loeffler Rutten, who offered to make board covers for pins for book covers and author blogs. I asked if she do one for me. I think it’s beautiful. Lovely. Here it is:

Look for my Author Blog Board on Pinterest. It will link you here to my website and blog.

I will let you know when any book covers are added. I am nowhere near to being finished with the kids books, but it will happen all at once, I believe. It’s such a neat thing, all of this free exposure for writers, readers, and other creative sorts. What a great time to begin writing!

It was another early to rise morning, and I think this will be it for me today. I am so grateful you visited today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. You know I’ll be here. Thank you!

Story Abstract

My editor friend told me I should set out and re-read my book. I foolishly thought I could sit down and just start writing. Silly Person. Foolish Mortal. Dreamer! I sat down today with a lot to say and do.  I couldn’t get started.  I read my editor’s notes and was clueless.  They weren’t that hard. Why couldn’t I get started? 

Because this is the first time I’ve ever written a book. A novel at that. In looking at the goals I wrote with little hesitation this morning, I saw something that sparked my brain.  A year ago, I purchased a book called Agile Writer Method.  It’s a Kindle version, so I grabbed my Kindle, hoped I had charged the battery, and set off to get a clue on what to do first. Writing an abstract for my story sounds like a good place to start.  

I have done the abstract and now feel like there will be more focus in my work. Whew! I was hoping I wouldn’t freeze, unable to start the edit.  It will just take me a little longer, taking these preliminary steps, then diving in.

Does anyone out there use Pro Writing Aid?  I am using the free version here, and I like it.  Has anyone bought the Lifetime Version?  It seems it might be worth it, but it’s always good to check with users before making a purchase like that. 

My Rough Draft of Goals for 2020

So for this evening, I’ll just keep plugging away. I will reduce my ambitious estimate of editing one chapter daily. That may face further downturns as I work. It’s all an education, my friends.  And a free education at that.  Lucky me!  I am so glad to pursue becoming a published author.  As always, I appreciate you reading today.  I hope you will come back again tomorrow.  I’ll be here, see you then! Thank you for reading!

Finally Friday

I am so blessed. Dan and I have been married for twenty-one years. Prior to that, I was divorced for sixteen years. My ex husband had a huge family, since he was the middle of seven children. We actually babysat some of the older nieces and nephews in our early dating and marriage. Some were in high school when we divorced.

Some of the nieces send us Christmas cards. I feel so lucky to receive this mail from them! I can hardly believe their children are so grown and handsome, and the girls themselves are women of strength and spirit. I thank God for those continued relationships even after all these years. Christmas bears gifts of the type you least expect. And those are the best surprises!

Today was another day working on the quilting project I’m finishing for a friend. The deadline is whenever it’s finished, and that will be before January 1, 2020, so I’m not concerned about anything. It’s good not to be stressed during this busy week.

I’m hoping all of you stay well during the next week, too. I hear the flu is at high in Nebraska, based on the number of prescriptions for flu filled at Walgreens. Isn’t it interesting how data is collected sometimes? I wonder how their figures are broken out by age and sex? Have these people had flu shots?? I hope they all recover with no further complications. Flu can be such a wretched disease. The Babe and I are no longer in the “under 65” age category, so we are in more danger of being very ill. Yes, give us the big flu shot, and the jumbo shingles shot, too. Anything else you have for people of a certain age? Sign us up.

Yes, the time is getting shorter before Christmas. I only have two gifts to wrap, for Gavin, and I hope we have enough wrapping left to do those two gifts. I do wish we had more to wrap, it wasn’t a bad task overall. It used to take me a couple of nights (very late at night) to wrap gifts when the kids were still at home.

If you are driving to where you will be celebrating Christmas, please be careful. In the Omaha, Nebraska area alone, there have been several fatal accidents. Many were folks not wearing seat belts, some were speeding and using alcohol, some were due to weather. Please be careful as you travel, we want you back home safe and sound.

Once again, thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. And I’ll see you back here tomorrow. One day closer! Have a good evening.