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/

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Procrastination

I have to be the best procrastinator. I can always find a dozen new things to start so that I never get back to projects I should be finishing. I’ve been trying to get things made to list in my online store before Christmas is over. Again lots of ideas, probably too many ideas to get done on time and I have a hard time not starting new ideas. Which is probably why I have dozens of stories started and only a few actually finished.

I haven’t been adding to this blog like I had planned. Everytime I sit down to add a post or a new story page I find myself distracted by something else. Most days it doesn’t take much to distract me, but I will be adding a longer story in a few days, I promise. I am still doing some editing to it but the story is actually done. It is a 10 chapter Christmas story for kids.

Starting in December I plan on posting the letters I’ve been writing for the last six years for my great nephew. At least they started for him and within a few months I was sending them to a dozen kids. Co-workers kids, boss’s grand kids,etc. Now most of those kids are 10 years old and too old for the letters. I have a few new kids that I still send them to, but I decided to post them here.

My little great nephew when he was in kindergarten had a great teacher who made a big deal over leprechauns on St. Patrick’s day. While the kids were out playing the leprechauns threw papers and things all around the room. He really got into leprechauns. My niece (his mother) asked if I could write him a letter from a leprechaun. It was so much fun that I got out a calendar and ended up writing a letter a month from a different “holiday keeper”.

Now six years later I have six years of letters from the keepers at End of the Rainbow. I started with a leprechaun but then went back and sent him letters for January (Father Time) and February (Cupid) so he would have a full year of letters.

I will be posting each letter the month ahead of the holiday they are for. I hope you and your children will enjoy the letters as much as my family and friends have.

Now I have to get started on my Christmas booklets, as I mentioned in an earlier post. This year I think I will try a round robin story again. Did it several years ago and it was fun. I start a story, usually just a few paragraphs and then send it round to every member of the family to add to it. It’s always fun to see where it ends ups.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Early Christmas ideas

I know it’s early to be thinking of Christmas, yet sometimes the best ideas take time to do and the earlier you start the better. Every year I make Christmas booklets for every member of the family the comes for Christmas Eve.  They are simple to make yet every year on Christmas Eve I start thinking about the next booklet.

This all started years ago when my nieces and nephews were still very little. Now they are all adults and I have great nieces and nephews and am still making booklets for every Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve everyone showed up at our house like usual. The poor Christmas tree was almost buried beneath packages. We ate, the adults chatted, the kids waited impatiently to open their presents. We opened the mound of packages and then I heard a small voice say. “I’m bored, can we go home now?” It was 7:00 on Christmas Eve and Christmas was over. I vowed to myself that I would never hear another kid say they were bored on a holiday as long as I could do something about it. It took me months to come up with the idea of the booklets. Since then I have never missed making them for a Christmas and I have never duplicated them. It’s been over 20 years now and I still love making them.

I make roughly between 30 and 35 booklets every year. Everyone from the youngest to the oldest gets one. Every year the younger kids get to hand them out. I also find different Christmas themed pens or pencils to go with them each year. Each year I come up with a theme for the booklets, last year’s booklet was Christmas songs. I’ve repeated some themes but usually far enough apart that no one remembers, besides some themes like Christmas songs have enough material to come up with a ton of questions.

The only real rule is to make the booklets for the youngest member of your family. Older kids and adults can easily answer easy question, do simple puzzles but younger ones can NOT do questions and things geared for older kids. Then the book will not be a success because if they can’t participate they will be bored.

My earliest booklets were mainly pictures ripped out of coloring books. I didn’t have a computer, internet or printer at that time. I would find a half dozen or so pictures that I liked, some simple activities and then I would go to one of the stores that offered a copier. When I started you could make 2 copies for .10.

After I got my first computer and printer it was much easier, I still used pictures from coloring books for the pictures but I started adding a few questions as the kids got older. At first they were simple questions with no right or wrong answers. The first themes were also simple, SAnta, Snowmen, etc. with questions like “What color are Santa’s eyes?”  As the kids got older the questions became more difficult yet still age appropriate for the youngest ones.

Last year I actually, for the first time made two different booklets. The main one had about 15 pages of questions and only a few coloring pictures. The other booklet had more pictures, some simple Christmas themed word searches and other simple games like that. With the internet it so easy to find tons of questions, word games, crossword puzzles and coloring pictures all free to print for personal use. Makes making the booklets a lot more simpler now. The reason I did two booklets this year is because the age range is now so far apart that it is harder to make one booklet. The youngest of my great nieces and nephews is 3 years old and all my nieces and nephews are in their late 20’s and early 30’s so it made more since to do two, but I made them connected by using some of the coloring pictures and a few of the word games in the adult pictures. I just added more pictures to the little kids books and none of the questions.

The booklets run anywhere from 8 to at the most 20 pages. I make my original book, get the pages in the order I want then make enough copies of all the pages for each person coming on Christmas eve. I make a front cover either using clip art pictures and typing each person’s name and the year on them. Sometimes I use a coloring picture for the front cover or something that works for the theme. I always personalize each book so they are very special, everyone gets their own booklet. Putting the year on them is a must, especially once it becomes a family tradition. Some of my family have every one of their books since I started making them. Lately because everyone is older and no longer bored many of them wait until they get home to actually do the booklets. I also include all the answers to the questions at the back of the booklet. When the questions were for the little kids and didn’t have a definite answer, the answer pages weren’t so important. After I started using question that had answers I use to make seperate pages with the answer but I always forgot to give them out as everyone was leaving. After a few years  of getting phone calls from each family wondering about answers to some of the question I started including the answers with each booklet.

When I have all the pages copied out I punch holes in all the pages. The best thing I ever bought myself was a three hole puncher where you just press the handle and it makes all the holes at once. I started out using a hand punch and my hand would ache for days after doing all the booklets. After the holes are punched I tie them with Christmas colored yarn.

After I got a printer and several card making programs it has been much more fun making the booklets each year. Also the internet is a great help, no matter what time of the year it is you can find all sorts of fun free Christmas questions, coloring pages, children’s word games, crossword puzzles on just about any theme you want.

I hope you like my idea of a Christmas booklet, you can personalized them any way you want to fit into your family. Several years ago I decided to quit making them because all my nieces and nephews were getting older and there weren’t any new little ones so I thought it was a perfect time to stop making them. All I heard from the college aged ones was “You can’t stop, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the booklets!” So after all the whining I continued making them. I still have fun doing them. I usually start thinking about the next one on Christmas morning. I make notes, write down different themes, ideas whatever. Then usually in July or early August I start printing up the different pages that I like. I usually end up 3 or 4 times more pages than I need. Then I start weeding through all the stuff and narrowing down to what I want to include. After that I make all the copies that I need and get them in the order I want. Then it’s just a matter of tying them together and hiding them until Christmas Eve.

I don’t let anyone see them until Christmas Eve but you could make doing them a family project or keep them a surpise.

You can personalize them any way you want to fit your family’s Christmas. You can include a poem, a story, write your own story, make them just coloring books, or all questions. The booklets are a fun tradition that I hope your family will enjoy as much as mine does.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hello world!

 

Welcome to lazycritterstories. I have been writing poetry and children’s stories for most of my life. My plan for this blog is to share my stories and poetry. I will be adding pages on a weekly basis. I hope you enjoy the stories. Many of the stories are available in zine form in my Etsy store.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LazyCritterCrafts

In case you aren’t familiar with what a zine is, it is a small booklet. Mine are printed on my printer and folded like a quarter fold card. I also include paper characters that I have drawn of all the main characters of the story when you purchase a booklet. The characters are printed on cardstock and come with drawn clothes. The clothes can be colored by you and your child. They can also be used as a reading aid to keep the characters straight or as a book mark.

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized