Monthly Archives: September 2012

What peculiar thing would you buy for yourself?

What peculiar thing would you buy for yourself? If you won the lottery or suddenly inherited a huge amount of money what one peculiar, quirky behavior would you give into?

For me, it’s socks! I can’t wear shoes without socks and I’m very fussy about my socks! I like new socks, if I could only wear socks once or maybe twice, I’d be the happiest person alive! I hate socks that have been washed a lot. They lose their softness, their newness, their fuzziness.

I want a brand new pair of soft socks every day! This isn’t anything new with me. My mom used to embarrass me by telling everyone about my sock thing. When she brought me home from the hospital over 50 years ago, whenever she would give me a bath she couldn’t take my booties off!

She would give me my bath with my booties on, then quickly pull one bootie off wash that foot, put the bootie back on then do the other foot. All the while I would be screaming my head off.

Screaming bloody murder – put my booties back on!

I still hate going barefoot. I want my socks on unless it’s like well over 90 degrees and humid out, then, I might, just might take my socks off

Now I can’t even run around the house with just socks on. A few years ago I was given a cute little orange striped kitten. I like cats but I am actually a dog person. This cat thinks she’s a dog so its working out fine. She gets along great with the lab mix so everything was fine, until . . .

She has a thing for white socks. This cat is unusual because she never uses her claws even though she has four perfectly good sets of claws. She bites, like a dog! It’s not so bad now that’s she’s not a kitten anymore, she knows she can’t bite people  Basically we treated her the same as we would any puppy that bit. It’s just not acceptable.

Which is where the socks come in. The only thing we can’t stop her from biting are feet in white socks, just white socks. She likes to lick bare feet. She totally ignores shoes and colored socks. But just try to walk through the house in white socks! She grabs your foot and chomps down hard on the top of your foot into the white sock. Unfortunately those sharp feline teeth go through the white socks into your foot. Ouch!

My nephews won’t take their shoes off anymore because they all wear white sports socks and the cat likes to chomp on their feet.

Oh, I wish I could win the lottery and have new socks every day, just not white ones!

If you had all the money in the world what peculiar thing would you buy for yourself?

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Caught without a Book!

Saturday I spent the day at a Renaissance Festival. I hadn’t been there in ten years. The Festival was great but for the very first time in my life I went someplace without a book. I take books everywhere! Even if I know I’ll never have a chance to read them or even take them out of my bag. I take books everywhere. They are my security blanket, much like Linus from Peanuts.

My sister had gotten us tickets to go to the Festival on a bus. We live in a very small town so we don’t have public transportation of any kind. This was going to be a fun trip. The Festival is about an hour and a half drive from our meeting point. It was a half hour drive to meet the buses.

The trip to the Festival was quick and fun. It was the anticipation of all the fun we were going to have. It was a long day with a lot of walking, dusty, windy but fun.

Then, at the appointed time we headed back to our bus. We were early, the second people to return. We had almost an hour to wait before leaving! No book! Tired aching feet, nothing to do but sit there and stare at the empty seats around us. We talked a bit, but we had been together for almost 8 hours by then, wasn’t much left to talk about. The time to leave came but there were 3 people still not on the bus. We had to wait longer. They finally came, they had to do a count to make sure everyone was accounted for, so they called off all the names for both buses. Then they had to go to the second bus and do the same thing. Finally, we were rolling.

My sister has the window seat, I am in the seat next to the bathroom. All I have to watch is the steady stream of people going to and from the bathroom. That and try not to breath too much, the bus company had a very strong room freshener that was over powering. We did learn a very valuable lesson, don’t be the last ones to show up for a bus trip. By the time you register, sign in and get on a bus, the only seats left are the ones at the very back next to the bathroom!

Still no book! I look up the aisle and there are books everywhere. Everyone else came prepared for the long, boring, tired trip back. I can’t sleep in moving vehicles. I get car sick if I close my eyes. Years of throwing up in cars, I’ve learned to stay awake and keep the food inside the stomach.

Second lesson learned . . .  no matter how exciting the day might be, you have to travel home and that is a long trip. To me it always seems to take twice as long to get home as it does to get wherever you’re going. Maybe it just seems that way because this time I didn’t have a book of any kind with me. Never leave home without a book!

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Remembering …. the pain never leaves.

 

11 years ago our world changed. I’m sure the feelings we felt on September 11th, 2001 were the same as our parents and Grandparents felt all those years ago when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I’ve always loved history, I know most people don’t think girls, women are interested in history, but many of us are.

When I was in school I loved history, but mostly the time period between the revolutionary war and the civil war. World War 1 and World War II were okay but I wasn’t really into it. I listened to the stories my parents and Grandparents told but it never really hit me that they lived it. They had memories of the horror and fear as they listened to the radio reports of Pearl Harbor. History was that, it was history. A time in the past, to be read about, learned about, but I had no memories of any history.

My older brother fought in Viet Nam. He came back a wounded vet. My most vivid memory of that time was when the Marines sent his helmet home. It had a hole in it. It still didn’t really hit me. My brother was okay. He didn’t even get sent home early. He finished his tour and came home, different but alive. He still doesn’t talk about that time.

9-11 was different. It was our history, our terror, our horror. We lived through those days, weeks, months of fear, terror, uncertainty. We survived, but we changed. I have never been to New York but on that day it felt as if we were all New Yorkers, we all felt their pain as we watched the towers fall. We all cried as we thought of all the lives lost. We were all one, we were all part of New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D. C. We all became one. It didn’t matter where you were or what you did. We all felt the pain.

I spent 9-11 this year watching History Channel. They showed all the same footage, all the same moments that we watched 11 years ago. As I sat watching it, it felt as if it were happening all over again. All the same emotions, pain, fears and worry came back.

11 years later we’re still fighting, still dying, still struggling to come to grips with what had changed our world. Some things have changed for the better, some things unfortunately will never change. There will always be wars. Why? I don’t know. Maybe in time we, as a world, will learn to live in peace. We can only hope and dream that our children and grandchildren will never have to live through a day like Pearl Harbor or Sept. 11.

 

I’ve included a link to another blog that is so worth reading. Hope exists in a tree.

http://nittygrittydirtman.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/lessons-learned-from-a-911-survivor/

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Why do we read?

As a writer I ponder that question often. Why do we read? I read because books are my life, the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer. I read to learn. Unfortunately that all too often is a two edged knife, I read books to learn how to write and then spend far too much time worrying that I’ll never be able to write as well as other writers.

I can’t write like anyone else because I haven’t lived their lives as they haven’t lived mine. I have to write my own stories but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. Which brings me back to why do we read?

I read because I love books. Unlike many readers I seldom remember what I’ve read. I can give you a brief summary of the book years after I’ve read it but I couldn’t tell you the name of the book or the author minutes after I’ve finished reading it. I don’t know if that is because of all the unwritten books I still have living in my brain or if it’s just me. I keep a journal of the books I’ve read, as soon as I finish reading a book I write down the title and author so if I pick it up years later and it sounds familiar I can go back and check.

Yet, I can start a book, lay it down and pick it up years later and start reading right where I left off without any problems. I’ve been trying to read “War and Peace” for the last 20 or more years. Even loaded it onto my kindle and started reading where my book mark is in the book on my shelf.  I know it’s weird but it’s the way I am.

Why do we read? I read mainly for pleasure. I love just about all genre’s of books and seldom read two of the same kind in a row. I like to switch up my reading. I also find that I seldom like books that are on the best seller lists. I don’t know why but I usually can’t get past the first chapter in a book that is highly publicized. It isn’t that they aren’t good books, I’m sure millions of people aren’t wrong. I’ve just never gotten into that peer pressure thing.

Years and years ago when I was a teenager my Mom would take me shopping for clothes, she would try to get me to wear whatever by saying, “Don’t you want these, all your friends are wearing these.” At which point I would usually say, “That”s why I don’t wear them. I don’t want to be like everyone else.”

I might be extremely shy and a loner but I am definitely  myself, I don’t want to dress like everyone else or read what everyone else is reading. I like being somewhat unique. The one really great thing about kindles is that you can find a lot of new authors or authors who would not be published the old way. Many of them are really good books, some even great. I still have over 5000 books, all hardbacks. I’m a book snob. I only read paperbacks when I can’t find a title in hardback. Most of my books are old, from the 50’s and beyond.  I love the feel, smell and content of older books.  My old books are my relaxation, security, and sometimes my escape world. All I need to be totally, completely happy is a good book, my dog and a warm blanket and I am set for life.

Why do you read?

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My reading and writing pet peeves

Well maybe they aren’t exactly pet peeves but they are things I’ve been noticing more and more lately. Things that are beginning to bother me a bit. Not enough to spend sleepless nights worrying about, but enough to inspire me to write about them today. By the way my sleepless nights are spent worrying about my own writing, not anyone else s.

I read a lot, I read just about everything and anything. I’ll try just about any genre, some I like, some I do not, but I will try them at least once. I have an enormous collection of books, possibly over 5000, haven’t counted them lately. I also have a kindle with almost a 1000 books loaded on it. I read a lot.

What has been bugging me lately are the reviews. I don’t really put much stock in them but I do browse through them. And I have been wondering lately, are all reviewers book critics, editors, publishers or just wannabes. Just about every review is about the editing of the books.

As a writer I used to worry about this. Am I editing my stories enough, too much. Do I need a professional to read my stories. I can’t afford a professional. I’ll never be published, I can’t afford it. I can’t self publish everyone will tear it apart, it wasn’t edited right. I have too many spelling mistakes. (which I don’t because I love spell check)

That got me thinking one day, how many of the great classics would be published if they were written now. Dickens? Poe? Melville?

Which sent me looking! I was amazed, I knew Poe published his own because no one would touch his works. I didn’t know Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Beatrix Potter, Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Stephen Crane, Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman and Alexandre Dumas were all self published. Well, I did know Thoreau, Whitman and Franklin published their own stuff but the rest were a surprise.

Even more surprising were the famous authors who were repeatedly rejected before they finally made it. Joseph Heller had 22 rejections before he finally published “Catch-22”.

I think I like the reviewers that simply state. “I didn’t like the book.” rather than the ones who think they have to critic the editing, the story line, the character development, the typos, and everything in between.

It just makes me wonder, are we living in such a time that everything has to be perfect or are we just becoming so critical of everything?

Personally, I prefer a book with a few mistakes, a few typos, a few flaw, after all authors are just human and we all make mistakes. Just my thoughts, now I can go back to worrying about my own writing!

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Most difficult part of writing

I wanted to start a blog as a way to sort of show case my stories. It was a good idea, still is, but I never realized that it would also start me thinking about the actual writing.

I am a procrastinator, I can always find a hundred reasons to do something else even though I love writing. I need to write more than I need to breath or eat. Well, maybe not more but I love writing more than I love eating so that makes it much more important, at least to me. It doesn’t explain why I have such a difficult time sitting down to actually write every day.

It’s not the ideas that are the problem, I have way too many ideas and characters running around inside my head. My biggest problem is that I don’t trust myself, or maybe I just don’t have enough confidence in myself. I write and write and then I read it and all I can think is . . .  it’s not good enough. It’s not as good….. and then every book I have ever read comes back to haunt me.

I have always read. I read everything and anything. Some great, some okay and some not so good, but I still read them. Then I compare myself to them, which is really silly because  everyone has their own stories to tell and no one can tell the ones that live in my brain. That doesn’t stop me from comparing my writing to them. It doesn’t stop me from wondering why my stories aren’t as good as most of the ones I’ve read.

Why? Why do I do this to myself, why do I listen to my lack of self confidence? Why do I sell myself short? I know I can write, at least a part of my brain knows I can write. I’ve been writing most of my life and that ‘s a lot of years. I’ve had poetry published in anthologies. I’ve won poetry contests, well maybe not won, but I’ve gotten honorable mentions, fourth prize and such, so I know I can write poetry. No big deal. I’ve always used the poetry to get through the tough times in my life. Things I can’t talk about I can write about and get through them.

Family and friends that have read my children’s stories say they are good. Most of them like what I write. I write Christmas stories for my family almost every year, writing comes easily when I don’t think about it. So why do I think about it? I really don’t know.

I fill notebooks with writing. I work for weeks, months, sometimes years on a story and then just as I’m about to finish it I start something else. I never go back and finish the stories.

So that brings me full circle back to why I started this blog for my children’s stories. Maybe…. just maybe now that I have an incentive to put them out here and maybe, just maybe someone will actually read them I can find the words and inspiration to actually finish all the stories sitting on my shelf.

Several of them are only a chapter or two away from being finished. Maybe now I can actually finish them, unless I talk myself out of doing it again. I need to finish them, it’s the only way I’ll ever get all those characters out of my head and onto the paper where they belong.

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