Categories
writing

A Writer’s Dilemma

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You have your idea. You have your conflict. You have your characters and you have your story. You start typing and it flows. Until you get about halfway. Now what?

Writers have been facing this dilemma since writing began. That’s why some writers outline their entire novel or work before they even start. It helps them to know where they are going with the story.  Writing an outline has never worked for me. 

I’m what they call in writing circles a “pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. I agree with long-time prolific writer Caleb Pirtle III, author of the Ambrose Lincoln series and the Boomtown Saga.  I like to see where the characters take me. But sometimes they get stuck. Or I become blind or deaf. I can’t tell where they are going and they don’t seem to want to share with me. I’m just the author, after all.

What do I do about this problem? Some people call it writer’s block. I don’t like that term because it suggests that the river of my thoughts and imagination has been dammed up. I still have the river, I just can’t tell where it wants to go.

Take my work in progress, for example. I’ve titled it Keeper III: The Blackout. My characters Emmalee and Elliott have a good thing going. They are attracted to each other, have started dating, and the relationship is beginning to grow.  Emmalee’s old boyfriend Jace has resumed stalking her.  Emmalee’s coworker Gilbert constantly gets on her nerves. The power keeps going off at the zoo and in town.  Now what?  Where do I take the story?

How serious do Emmalee and Elliott become?  Will Jace become violent towards Emmalee?  What will she do about Gilbert?  What is causing the frequent blackouts?

See what I mean?  These are questions I want my reader to ask, but first I have to answer them.  I best get to work.  The solutions seem to flow straight from the seat in the chair to the brain in the head to the fingers on the keyboard.  

Stay tuned. . .

XOXO

Categories
Memoirs

Teacher’s Pet

When I was in second grade, my friends told me I was the teacher’s pet. I didn’t really think of myself as such, but I was the one Mrs. Russell chose to keep in during recess at the end of the day to help her with projects such as putting up bulletin boards, cutting out things, cleaning erasers, or doing errands for her.  



That’s me in the circle and Mrs. Russell with the tall hair standing.

 You can see the book characters on the wall. 

That year we had recess after lunch, and then a quiet time where we would rest our heads on our desks and listen to the teacher read to us.  My favorite book that she read was The Wizard of Oz.  She had put characters from the book on the wall and I would study them every day.  I was so enamored with the story and so eager to know what happened next that I persuaded my parents to buy me a copy of the book. Soon I found myself the proud owner of the Whitman version of the book which I believe I read in one weekend.


Another thing I remember about reading in elementary school was the SRA reading kit.  SRA stands for Science Research Associates.  During SRA time, we would go to the SRA box on the counter in the classroom, pick a folded card with a reading selection and then we would be tested over the reading.  If we scored high enough on the reading test, we could advance to the next color.  If not, we had to select another story in the same color.  Being kind of an overachiever, I would rush through the reading, take the test, and see if I could advance faster than anyone else.  I was in the top reading group, after all.


Back in the 60’s we were all divided into reading groups based on our abilities.  Though the groups were named benignly after birds or colors, there was no doubt in our minds which group was the smartest, which was the middle, and which was the slowest.  And since there were no classroom teacher aides, we were expected to work on an assignment at our desks while the teacher had a reading group at a table in the back of the room.  No one misbehaved during that group time because no one wanted to be the recipient of a swing from the teacher’s paddle or a visit to the principal’s office.  There was real fear in those days.  I think it had something to do with the fact that you would catch it at home as well.


So  I was smart.  Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.  The girl who followed the rules.  The girl who got to stay in from recess and help the teacher.   Teacher’s pet.  What about you?  Were you the teacher’s pet?  

XOXO


Categories
Parkinson's Disease

Thank you, Parkinson’s (with apologies to Jimmy Fallon)

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My husband has Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.  At the same time.  Some people say Alzheimer’s with Parkinsonism.  It doesn’t matter what it’s called.  It sucks.  So I’m coming out of the closet with it.  Maybe this will help someone else.  I’m sorry, kids.

Thank you, Parkinson’s. . .

  • for destroying our dreams of retirement.
  • for changing my sweetheart of 41 years into someone I barely recognize.
  • for making me a caregiver.
  • for taking away my strong man.
  • for taking away my handyman, mechanic, and lover.
  • for changing our family dynamic.
  • for giving me the job of keeping up with six doses of medicines per day.
  • for giving me the job of knowing when the dog is bothering him and keeping her away.
  • for giving me the responsibility of getting someone to take care of the yard and home maintenance and repair.
  • for the obligation of pretending that what he is saying is right when I know it is wrong or untrue.
  • for my new job of cleaning the bathroom every day.
  • for the job of listening to reports of his bodily functions and aches and pains.
  • for changing the way I see myself and my husband and our relationship.
  • for taking away things I enjoy because caregiving is more important.
  • for keeping me home when I want to travel, go camping, or see the grandkids and kids.
  • for the knowledge that it won’t get better.
Yet I must add this.  Thank you, God, for being there through the good times and bad, for your Holy Word and your promises to be with us through it all.  

“Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

XOXO
Categories
home decor

Talk Show Hosting from Home: Decor Ideas

Talk show hosts such as Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have been hosting their shows from their homes.  I have found these glimpses into their homes and the homes of their guests very interesting.  

https://www.adweek.com/tv-video/jimmy-kimmel-and-jimmy-fallon-join-stephen-colbert-in-airing-at-home-monologues/
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Have you noticed the rustic bohemian look of Jimmy Fallon’s home? The kitchen contains what looks like open cabinets made of old wood, while the office/playroom has antique cubbies filled with small antiques, antique toys, and even has an enclosed slide like the ones at McDonald’s Playland that goes from one floor down to the next.  
His interviews with other celebrities have given us a glimpse into their homes as well. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in a room with a scaled down tank in front of a large TV.  And look at the beams on the ceiling!  That gallery wall is impressive as well.


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Kate Hudson appeared in a dark room with wood paneled walls, open shelving, and traditional chairs, probably an office.


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Ben Stiller spoke from a bright neutrally decorated room with neutral furniture and open shelving with black-framed pieces.  It looks like a music room, actually.  


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Ryan Reynolds appeared in a room with rustic wood planked walls, a gallery-look art display, and two different style lamps, very masculine, probably his man cave.

LL Cool J appeared in front of a cool gallery wall of various portraits and emblems.  Behind him is a shelf with a cool TIki-looking jar, a New York graphic sign, and letters spelling COSMIC.
This report may have totally put you to sleep but I thought it was interesting to see where these celebrities came from.  Admittedly, some may have filmed their segments in other places besides their homes, but if you go to the NBC Tonight Show page you can see a lot more celebrities behind the scenes in their own personal spaces.  Seeing their personal spaces tells me a lot more about them than anything they could say or do.  Don’t you agree?

Unbeknownst to me until today, there is a couple who rates the rooms people are in when they Skype or Zoom.  Their comments are original and a bit snarky.  You can check them out here:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/2020/05/18/room-rater-twitter-feed-giving-us-snarky-life-during-quarantine/5218545002/
Here in Texas we are beginning to venture out, keeping social distancing and sanitizing guidelines, of course.  Masks are also strongly advised.  It’s been nice to get out again.  I hope you are safe and well.  
Who is your favorite celebrity?  Maybe we will see them from their own homes on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon!
XOXO
Categories
Memoirs

Open Season for Wasps

When the weather turns warm here in the South the wasps come out.  Here in East Texas we have black wasps, black-winged red wasps, all-red red wasps, yellow and black guinea wasps (we call them yellow jackets), dirt daubers, cicada killers (hornets), bumblebees, wood borers, and honeybees.  We’ve been blessed with quite a variety of stinging, flying insects, and I bet there are a few I haven’t even mentioned. 

Red wasp


You’re mostly safe if you just leave them alone but sometimes paths cross and it can lead to a painful encounter.  Such was the case when I was about six years old.  It was a windy day at the Moseley house and Mama and us four kids were outside by the back door step.  A red wasp landed in Mama’s hair and she shook her head to make it go away.  She was holding my baby sister so that’s about all she could do.  The wasp, angry as red wasps tend to be, saw me and decided–if a bug with only a wad of nerves for a brain can decide–to come after me. 

“Run!” Mama cried, and I ran.  I ran the length of the back of the house and turned the corner.  That’s when I made the fateful decision to stop and turn around.  That evil wasp popped me on the forehead and again on the thumb.  I guess I tried to brush it off my forehead.  I still have the scar where it punctured my forehead.  

You see, the wind carries these insects where they don’t intend to fly, and I believe it makes them madder than usual.  How would you feel if you were headed to Colorado on vacation and a big gust of wind carried you to New York instead?  If there’s a reason to feel sorry for a wasp, then the fact that they have very little control over their destination in windy weather could be it.

Guinea wasp

I didn’t just get one wasp sting during my childhood.  Oh no.  I could count on getting at least one per summer.  There’s the time I was riding my bicycle uphill on the blacktop road and my foot slipped off the pedal.  As I dragged my leg, skinning my knee all the way down to the tops of my toes, my bike and I landed on the side of the road in a blackberry vine patch.  If losing my top layer of skin wasn’t enough, I disturbed a wasp nest and suffered the consequences.  I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to limp the 40 yards (which seemed like a million) back to the house where I thought I would surely die before Mama applied her baking soda paste on the stings and merthiolate on my wounds.  I managed to survive.

Around here you have to check under porch swings, deck chairs, ride-on toys, kids’ swings, tractor fenders and seats, house eaves, propane tank lids, wheelbarrows, and outdoor grills before using them from spring through fall.  I got popped a couple of years ago by an angry wasp because I dared reach over its hidden nest to turn the outdoor faucet off after watering plants.  


Did I mention grabbing a loaf of bread in the grocery store and being rewarded by a honeybee sting in that tender skin between my thumb and forefinger?  It hurt for literally HOURS.  I was wearing a skirt and the silly thing tried to fly under it as well!  

I will do everything in my power to keep from being stung, and when the grandkids are here, I will do even more.  I don’t want to pass on to them my legacy of getting stung every summer.  After all, for wasps and bees, this time of year is open season on humans.  I won’t even mention the new scourge on mankind. . .murder hornets?  Really?  

What about you?  Got a bee or wasp sting story?

Stay safe!

XOXO