The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Blurb Friday #11

      Are you chomping at the bit to write the next great American novel?  You have oodles of talent but not much marketing ability?  Lisa'll take good care of you...

      Go to Lisa Ricard Claro's blog. There's a photo, provided by Lynn Obermoeller (this week), and if you get sucked in, you'll end up writing a book "blurb" in 150 words or less.

      Then, add your link to Mr. Linky (he's one cool cat!), read the other blurbs, stir, and enjoy!

photo by Lynn Obermoeller

      Here's my blurb:

A Mother’s Tale

Everyone knows Stephen King’s “Christine,” the car that came to life. But where was Christine born? What vehicle turned her into the automotive monstrosity she became?

A Mother’s Tale chronicles the life of Christine’s mother. Every pot-hole. Every ditch she veered off into. Every time she had some dolt fumble with her dipstick. It’s all here…

Although she’s now a bit rusty, when this mama was all gleaming chrome and lacquered-up, she was known as a witch on wheels.

Curious minds will find out what her factory-given name was, how her accidents changed her forever, and who abandoned her in the middle of a desert, with no water or oil.

This book will not run out of gas. It runs—full speed ahead—until the end and then it comes to a screeching stop. (137 words)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Who Is That?

photo of an Iwo Jima survivor and veteran by NYCMarines
          Yesterday I was checking my email, and saw a name that sounded familiar...But I couldn't quite place where I had heard it.

          However, when I opened up the message, it hit me. And for me (and you, too) it's wonderful news.

          On my blog right now, I have a couple of jumbo photos of books which include a story of mine. In fact, the pictures are so large, the airport has insisted I put lights on them, in case a plane in distress needs to make an emergency landing.

          The person who sent me the email was Becky Haigler. Silver Boomer Books has accepted the story about my dad's stint in the army. (Read my previous post about writing the story.) This is my first official paid writing gig, so I'm planning on photocopying the check and framing it. (Corny, I know...)

          The anthology is going to be called The Harsh and the Heart---Patriots Dream.

photo by EASTeam

     Okay, Sioux said it was great news for her followers...Explain.

          Perhaps on my blog I need to consider just listing the places where I'm published. It's only three right now, but soon---hopefully---the list was grow.

    That IS good news. We were all getting tired of seeing those enormous pictures. It was like the Goodyear blimp was hovering...hovering...hovering over our computer screens.

      Anyway, thanks to all my blogging friends who regularly post calls for submissions, bloggers who have a submissions "button" and bloggers who inspire me. Because of your support, I'll keep plugging away...


If There's No Chocolate Around, Seduce a Lemon Lozenge

            Recently there was a call for patriotic story submissions. I had two story ideas---my dad, who just missed going to Iwo Jima, and my Ukranian cousin, who spent part of his childhood in a concentration camp.
            I figured, if I sent in two stories, perhaps one would be accepted?  I also knew that my cousin's story was so dramatic, I could really botch it up and the story would still sing...

             Unfortunately, my cousin refuses to talk about that part of his life. So I was left with my father's story, which I pieced together with pictures and interviews with my mom.  (My dad had Alzheimer's for many years, and died this past December.)

            I was not thrilled with the story I had to work with. It was a simple one. I kept kicking myself, thinking 'What if Serhij had agreed to open up?  What a phenomenal story it would have been...' 

photo by .leila

            But I didn't have that story of a boy sneaking into a field and getting the left-over vegetables to feed his family. It wasn't my story to tell. So I worked with the materials I had. I revised and scratched out and rewrote, until my dad's tale was the best it could be.

           If you don't have a decadent truffle...if all you have is a lint-covered lemon lozenge, savor it. Caress it. Finesse it. Seduce it until it's as alluring as you can make it...And if you do it well, everyone's mouth will be watering for your lozenge.

Don't Dip...Dive!

       When I was a kid, I never dipped my toes--timidly and demurely--in the water at the swimming pool. (I must admit, my demeanor ain't never even shook hands with demure.) Never worried about the temperature of the water, I'd always boldly dive right in. Even if the water was a bit cold, that initial blast of cool water was refreshing...

       Often when women surrender to swimsuits that have skirts (personally, I'm on the hunt for one that's formal-length, with a long Princess-Diana-style train), they take less risks. They might wade in the water. They might dangle their legs in the pool as they sit on the edge. But dive right in? Not always...

photo by pjhphotos

       Usually, when I have trouble beginning a piece of writing, it's because I am dangling. And I've developed a habit of dangling for 2-3 days before diving right in.

       When I slice right through the surface, sometimes it's a bit of a shock. I get blasted by a beginning that's not quite ripe. However, I come up for air, and start flailing around as best I can, heading to the other side.

       Just like my swimming is smoother after I get into the groove, so is my writing. And later, I get the chance to clean up the messy bellyflop-of-a-beginning.

       Fellow writers: dive in! I dangled on Monday night and last night. Tonight I need to jump right in...

(Sorry, Hope. There are no evil beavers in this one, but it was the best analogy I could pull off this morning...)


Monday, May 9, 2011

Films Frozen in Time

          (This post was inspired by the movie I woke up to,  after falling asleep----dressed and drooling---on the couch.)

photo by creamos temuco

          Terms of Endearment is a movie I've always enjoyed. Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger are wonderful in it, and there are some unforgettable scenes. (MacClaine having a melt-down over a pain pill for her daughter is one of them.)

           However, it's more the memory of the circumstances surrounding the time I first saw the film---rather than the movie itself---that intrigues me. And I wonder...What memories do we all have that are permanently entangled with a particular movie?

           I was traveling courtesy of a Greyhound bus.  A night spent in Bennington, Vermont was going to end when I caught another bus at some horrendously early hour in the morning---4 or 5, if my memory's not failing me.

            Unfortunately, I did not have an alarm clock (this was decades before cell phones that could fill in as an alarm) and since I was worried I would sleep through a wake-up call and miss my bus, I decided to take a nap at my motel, get up in the middle of the night, go to an all-night theater and just stay awake until I boarded the bus.

            Terms of Endearment was the newly-released movie, I was thoroughly entertained---saw it twice that night---and afterwards, walking the streets to stay awake until Greyhound whooshed me out of town, I replayed the scenes in my head.

            What movies do you have strong ties to? What flick freezes you in time? Share the movie and the memory...  


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

      When my daughter was born, it was December, but unseasonably warm. She arrived, but in a series of false starts. Labor began, everyone was called to the house---except for the doctor---and then labor stopped. My mom, my mother-in-law and my friend Bobbie (a woman I adopted as a grandmother) went home. No baby that night...

      And so I walked the neighborhood. It was so warm, I just wore a long-sleeved sweater, and was quite comfortable. (The 25-pound "oven" attached to the front of me probably helped a bit...)

      The next evening, we waited until we were sure the pains were not going to disappear, and made the call. When the doctor arrived, the evening turned into a concerto of stringed instruments. Everyone moved around calmly, orchestrated by Dr. Duhart, and when the baby was born, we were thrilled. A girl!  It was the happiest moment of my life...

photo by Tara Haire

      Almost nine years later, I was again about to give birth. I was teaching at  a vocational school, and when labor began that afternoon, I told my director, "I won't be here on Monday," and when I told him why, he got hysterical; he wanted me to leave right away--more for his sake than mine, I'm sure. My students had weeks ago given me a shower---they collected money and bought me what every pregnant, fashion-disabled white lady needed: a maternity top made out of snakeskin-styled fabric, in olive-green and black. 

     However, I had another hysterical man to contend with at home. My husband (a new model; the old one had been cast aside) was deadset against a home delivery, but since the baby was going to come out of my chute and not his, he didn't even have a vote in the matter. As a compromise, he wanted an ambulance waiting in front of the house, its engine running, just in case. I vetoed that idea as well...

      When I called Michael at work that evening, to tell him labor had started and reminded him to get film for the camera and Sprite for me (for when I got thirsty during delivery)---the only two things we had left to buy---he went into hyperdrive. In fact, he was so anxious, when I looked out the front door, thinking he had gotten home, I saw he was indeed home. He had driven up into our yard and parked just a few feet from the front door, headlights still on! 

     But after our son was born--the second happiest day of my life--my husband could not stop blathering about how wonderful home deliveries were. Dr. Duhart was so impressive, the delivery was so low-key, and we had cake and coffee afterwards with the doctor, just like we did with my daughter.

photo by Kristen

       I thought nothing would surpass those two moments---joy-wise---yet when my granddaughter was born, it was a hat-trick. Happiness had come full circle.  My daughter and her partner are far better parents than I ever was. They're more patient, more thoughtful, more creative and and more gentle-spirited than I ever was. I am sure I will be in awe of my son's parenting skills if he becomes a father at some point. (But hopefully that won't be for a while...)

       Reading Linda O'Connell's post about Mother's Day  sent me back in time.  I hope that all women have a great Mother's Day today. Whether you gave birth to children, whether you are raising children borne by others, or whether you are kind of filling in as a parent---as a teacher, a social worker, a minister, a neighbor, a friend, an aunt---we all came from a mother. If she is still here with us, celebrate with her.  If not, celebrate her memory today.

       And after you get teary-eyed over her sentimental post, read Linda's earlier one. It's scary. Cellulite takes over the city!  Yikes!  Run for your life!

And welcome to my two newest followers. I'v been following one of Tricia Grissom's blogs for a while. I just found out she has four blogs!  Wow!  I'm impressed. (I can barely keep my one blog going...The other blog is written by my Golden Retriever.) Tricia--thanks. I hope you at least occasionally see something worthwhile here.

And thanks also to The Old Geezer.  He has---as of a few minutes ago---2634 followers. Good grief!  How does he suck up so many followers to his blog?  Let us in on your secret...