Friday, October 31, 2008

Where did the girl go?

It's Halloween. Not much different than any other day. However, I feel like a bit of a Zombie or some sort of Mummy. Or, something. Let me explain.

I have been online with several classmates from my old high school years. We're planning our 40th reunion for homecoming time next year. Because of these conversations I've been teleported down memory lane and into the old photo containers.

Where did the girl I used to be go? The ready smile. The pretty blonde hair. The normal weight. Life without any concerns more serious than whether or not my crush of the week would notice me in the hall or in class.

Some things haven't changed. I'm still talking. Looking at the photos it seems I always had my mouth open. But, the laughter that always accompanied the words isn't so forthcoming these days. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't ostracized either. Kids can be so cruel in every generation. I guess I was part of the "invisible" group. We were there. We were accepted. And, we were happy.

I tell my junior high Sunday school kids, who are all in the popular group, how it feels to be less than popular and how much it means to the invisible or unpopular kids to receive a smile or a greeting from the popular kids.

Funny, though, the lines separating groups diminishes or disappears over the years. This is a good thing. At the reunion in 2002 I got to sit with, dance with and even received a kiss on the cheek from one of the boys I was so in love with back in those days. He remembered me. I was thrilled.

I wish everyone could have had the childhood and high school years I did. I made a major mistake in my senior year by marrying a real jerk without thinking about it. At that time, married girls had to drop out of clubs and other extracurricular activities. Still, I had my friends.

My friends were the best. There were seven of us who spent a lot of time together from our junior high years onward. Go Taylor Junior High School Tigers! We practiced with make-up, talked about boys, planned our futures and vowed never to be separated.

My best friend, Teresa, and I hoped to move to the south and have a horse ranch. That was before I met Mike and she started dating Gary, who she is still married to as I speak. Life gets in the way of those childhood dreams. New dreams take their place.

I was able to visit Lovington in 2002 for an all 60's reunion. Oh, it was fun. I dragged main with my best friend. I stayed at her parent's home with her. Oh boy, memories of slumber parties. I ordered a vanilla cream Dr.Pepper from Ole Jax. I parked in front of the house I lived in during those years. Ate mexican food at a great place in Hobbs I remember from my younger years. Very little has changed. In the New Mexico desert things don't rust and rot as they do in these swamps of Louisiana. I want to be back in the desert . . . I miss being able to look out and see the horizon rather than pine trees. I miss being able to see the lights of neighboring towns from my own front porch.

I'm nervous about this 40th reunion because of the extra weight and the wrinkles. You see, I still see the people of my very happy youth as they looked 40 years ago. I have seen many of them over the years and know this vision isn't real. They've aged just as I have. I want this reunion to be memorable.

I'll be in Lovington, New Mexico next year for homecoming. I'll be loudly supporting the Wildcats at the ball game. I'll probably be wearing blue and white. I'll take my battered and painful body to the receptions and dinners and other festivities and I'll love every minute of it. I will share tears with my classmates when we remember our friends who have died. There are too many of them.

I guess the girl I once was is still in there. She isn't a zombie or a mummy. Her memories still live clear and strong. Her friends still live in her heart. She still hears the noises of a winning football game. She still holds dear the pep rallies held in a hot gym. She can still walk the halls of Lovington High School and see her friends and other classmates. She still wonders what ever happened to the first loves. She is still young at heart and always will be.

The girl that once was is now married with grown sons and a granddaughter.
The computer illiterate woman the girl is today wishes she could figure out how to add more photos to this particular post . . . Technology, ain't it great? When I was in high school the typing lab had only a few electric typewriters. Most were manual. Now, here we are with computers.
Enjoy your memories. Hold them dear.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting into the flow

I finally got into the flow . . .

For weeks I have been struggling with one chapter for my novel, "Rebecca's Journey." The characters, dialogue and scenes were in my head and heart. They just wouldn't come through onto the written page or the computer screen.

My scribblings made little sense. Tidbits of ideas marked margins. Arrows followed sentences from one part of a paragraph to another. I just couldn't figure out what to do, or what was going on. Finally I turned to help from a writer's group I belong to, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I received many replies with many suggestions. The most common suggestion was to just write through it. I couldn't even make complete sentences. I was told outlining would help. I did that. It helped a bit.

How did I manage to get into the flow? Well, it seems silly, but this is it.

I tend to write in a small three ring binder with notebook paper. This binder contains a list of contests and markets I'm interested in along with their deadlines. It has several pockets in it and holds a pencil bag. It includes the untyped interview I did with a man for the newspaper. It contains ideas, dreams, and information about the upcoming conference for my local writer's group. A few articles. In other words, my notebook is full. I would be lost without it.

I was being distracted by the other things in it.

So, I went into the "back room," got a brand spanking new five subject notebook with pockets. I put my character sketches, list of the order the wagons would begin in on this wagon train, the names of the characters I will use, and the first chapters. I tucked those things into the pockets.

Then, I started writing. And, the words flowed. The chapter isn't finished. I usually catch most of the basic problems when I type it. Then more with critiques from my instructor at Long Ridge and friends.

The lesson learned--remove distractions, even if you don't believe they are distractions. The only things that will be allowed in the notebook are things to help me finish my first novel, market it and get it published.

This is the day the Lord has made--and, it's a good one.


Friday, October 10, 2008

It Feels Good!

October 10, 2008

I'm so excited! Wednesday, October 8, I had an article/interview published in the Southwest Daily News Moss Bluff editon. My husband gave me the idea of interviewing Johnny Harper several months ago. I thought it was a good idea since Mr. Harper is such a unique man.

I called him and asked if he would be interested in being interviewed about his business. Sharpening tools of every kind using old-fashioned tools and doing the work his grandfather taught him.

Life kept getting in the way of the interview. I became ill and was hospitalized. It took months to regain my health. I finally got the interview and it turned out to be more than an interview but a story of a boy and his love for his grandfather. It is a love story.

Two months passed before the article could be published due to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

The day finally arrived. I was thrilled! I'm sure people coming out of Market Basket thought I was nuts holding several copies of the small paper to my chest. I was jumping up and down, or trying to at least as much as one with Fibormyalgia can jump. My name was a by-line on the front page!

A small bit of disappointment tinged my happiness. The photo I sent wasn't there. I learned the photos didn't arrive until the day after the publication deadline. I still haven't figured that one out since I sent the photos in plenty of time.

I think I have found a new niche. One I've never considered. I have another interview scheduled all ready. It's with a friend from my local writer's group, Rodney Hennigan, who has a great story to tell about raising seven sons in southwest Louisiana. The Southwest Daily News is interested in more stories as long as they are about people living in southwest Louisiana.

Friends have been sending me possible market sources for stories like the one about Mr. Harper and coming story about Mr. Hennigan. I have discovered I love human interest and memoir style stories.

I'm still excited about this new energy of mine to write. I'm meeting some deadlines. I'm working on more than one project at a time. I feel confident. Oh, no, a bit of fear is trying to sneak into my bubble of excitement. I just don't think I'll let it.

It feels good!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Classy versus Common

As this morning has progressed I've done the usual chores and sat down to write. Looking around I see that my living room still looks common. My house is small. I keep treasures out where I can see them. Photos of my family dominated by photos of Rosalyn, my granddaughter at each stage of her 15 months. Some books on a shelf beneath the television. A set of DVD shelves. Frank's computer desk. The china cabinet, which belonged to Frank's mother. It holds my collection of Seraphim angels, some place settings of my mother-in-law's china, an assortment of small, cherished knick-knacks. More angels adorn the top of the china cabinet. Clutter is the design of my home. But, I don't like it. Do I box my treasures up in an attempt to acheive a noncluttered look?

When I became disabled I built a "nest" around my chair. It keeps my laptop, some writing equipment, address books, phone, medicine, magazines and catalogs close at hand for those days pain keeps me tethered to the chair.

My bedroom is in the midst of a major makeover. We built on a 12X12 closet, which is unfinished. Tools, a stack of flooring, and other out of place things take up more space than my furniture. My bedroom, when it's not a construction zone, is dominated by horses and southwest decor. My bedside table has three stacks of books, all to be read. Plus, a lamp and clock.

Another room is the book room. Full book shelves line three of the four walls. A nice futon on the other. Just now the futon is covered in Bayou Writers Group conference materials. I have a desk in there, which I always planned to use for writing. But, I tend to stay in the living room.

My kitchen is small with little counter space. Enough said.

Deep down everything is clean. It just never looks it. Because of the common clutter I guess. I long for order.

Even I look cluttered.

On the other hand, I have a friend who has a nice home. It is never messy or cluttered. There is a place for everything. It was professionally decorated inside and out. There are few personal items in the open, only one or two photographs. Even her Bible has a drawer of its own in the nightstand. Whatever book she is currently reading is kept in its own drawer of the nightstand when she isn't reading it. Her remote control is kept in a decorative box.

She has a lovely small table in the foyer with a floral arrangement on it which perfectly matches the painting above it. So classy and elegant.

She is classy and elegant. We've been friends for more than 37 years. She always looks perfect. And, classy. We're such opposites.

I admit she has a spacious home with more than enough storage space. Something I don't have.

Her home is classy. So clean and organized. How I wish mine could be so nice.

So, which is best? Common or classy? Neither I suppose. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others. I just wish it didn't matter so much.

Learning to blog

October 6, 2008

I'm an impatient person . . . Yesterday morning I sat down to blog. Couldn't figure out how to even get into the site. Angry, very angry, I sent off e-mails to two friends who are supportive of my writing and blogging attempts. One called me within moments. Her name is Pam Thibodeaux, she spent almost an hour on the phone with me walking me through the basics step by step. I took notes. The kind with a pencil and paper. Old-fashioned in this day and time.

Well, I obviously made it onto the site this morning. I have such grand plans for my blog. I want to do interviews. learn how to put photos on it within the posts I make. Have you seen Jessica Ferguson's blog She recently interviewed Erica Spindler, a great mystery and suspense author. Jess placed photos of Erica's many book covers within the interview. How did she do that? I don't know yet, but I will.

I'm an intelligent person. I made it through nursing school, which is difficult by any standard. I raised two sons. I have a long and happy marriage. I do several things for my church that require organization and thinking. I can write a pretty good story. So, why does a computer and the many options it offers scare me and confuse me? I just hate it when people say, "it's so easy." Of course, that often becomes the case when I learn something new.

My writer's group met Saturday. It was a fantastic meeting. We had a large attendance. Three young writers read their winning stories to the group. My goodness! They have such talent, creativity and promise. I pray they maintain the confidence they have now at such young ages and fulfill their dreams and their capabilities. Their names are Lexis Johnson, Keaghan Kane, and Katie Price.

Lately, I've felt a difference in the way I think about my own writing. I'm taking it seriously. Really, for the first time. I actually have a couple of deadlines. That's the first time I've been able to say that. Erica Spindler, in her interview with Jessica, said she works from 9 to 5 each day. Work for her is writing. I don't have a job outside the home. So, what's my excuse? It has been apathy, lack of self-confidence, and procrastination. I wish I could define that different feeling. For now, I plan to take it as a gift, an answered prayer, and get some work done.

I wonder how many successful authors felt this way and suddenly found the heart to write.

With that thought I'll close this post and get to work. This is the day the Lord has made.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Promise Fulfilled

October 2, 2008. Well, I promised a dear friend that I would attempt to set up a blog. I am more confused than ever . . . Where is the template I chose? How do I add those blogs I wish to follow? Boy, I need a tutorial. Until then, I can write and tell you about myself.

I am a writer. My discipline waxes and wanes with my mood and level of self-confidence. I love to write short stories with a bit of mystery and suspense keeping things alive. But, it seems I do my best writing when I settle down and write memoirs, historical fiction and romance.

My to be read stack of books consists mostly of mystery/suspense. I think there must be 10 or 12 there now. I have recently a non-mystery author who has captured my heart. Her name is Sara Gruen, she is the author of "Riding Lessons," "Flying Changes," and "Water for Elephants." She is a master of characterization, including the animals who are characters in all of her books. As an animal lover I find that irrestible.

One of my lifelines in this world is the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They are a part of my family. They encourage me and support me. They teach me. They are patient. I have learned to believe in the importance of having a support group. Writing may be solitary, but without the support of others it rarely makes it out of the computer.

I can't open my blogging experience without telling everyone about my family. Hubby, Frank, and I have been married for 37 years. Our two sons are healthy, happy and responsibleb young men. The oldest, Erick, is a school teacher in Sherman, Texas. He has some extraordinary writing talent of his own. I think he could become a great author if he chooses. The youngest, Bill, is married to the most wonderful girl in the world. My daughter-in-law, Sierra, is spectacular. And, they have blessed us with a granddaughter, Rosalyn, who is nothing less than magnificent. Rosalyn is 15 months old. Bill is in the Navy and has been since 1994. When he isn't working for the Navy he serves as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic. I also have a dog, Bear. She is half border collie/half lab. I love her and find she is one of the best anti-depressants in the world.

I am a retired (due to a disability) registered nurse. My specialty was mother's and newborns. I loved every year of it. I miss it every day. Writing gradually became my solace after the injury. As I said it has waxed and waned.

I am a 57 year old woman still dreaming of owning a horse. Never outgrew it. It seems silly, but it is as much a part of me as my eye color or size. People gift me often with horse statues, pictures, stationary, mugs, and other things. They all decorate my room, which is currently under construction. I can't imagine ever getting rid of any of them.

More about writing. I want to learn to discipline myself to make a "job" out of it. Any suggetions from the readers out there?

Until I figure this out and set up a proper site good evening and wish me luck. God bless you. And, Jess, I'm trying . . .


The book of James, chapter 1, verses 2,3 tell us to consider it pure joy when we face trials for they give us perserverance.