Musing-Memorial Day

Does anyone know the roots of Memorial Day? I do. It started when black slaves buried Union soldiers who fought on their behalf to free them. Semantics seem to matter. It isn’t ‘The Civil War’, or the ‘War Between the States,’ the south prefers ‘The War of Northern Aggression.’ Is that important? You tell me. I live a half and hour from Harriet Tubman’s home and my city was a stop on the Underground Railroad. I’m pretty sure if I was around back then I would have been an abolishionist, and my sons might have been any one of the Union soldiers buried that first Memorial Day.

People don’t understand history, and they should. Everybody is in such a hurry to revise, sanitize or otherwise negate what happened. They say the victor gets to write history and before the Information Age i bet that was true. Now nobody knows the truth since everybody believes the version that supports their own viewpoint. I tried to explain to my 17 year old that evolving from one viewpoint to another takes time. I said if my mom married someone of a different race, her parents would’ve disowned her. If I married someone of a different race, Sunday dinners would’ve been pretty chilly but we wouldn’t be disinvited, and if my kids married someone of another race, well, set another place at the table.

So we as a country change history one generation at time. We need to remember to embrace the next generation as the agents of change and pretty much shut up and sit down. Let the youth pursue their vision, and if you can’t support them at least get out of their way.

Happy Memorial to you and yours.

Submission Article #5 the let-down

Whenever you get to end of a manuscript, something odd happens, at least for me. I sent it to a professional editor to polish it up, so I am waiting for her to send it back highlighted in red with more work to do. I am not sure I can revise it any more. This process has exhausted me.

It’s waiting, waiting, waiting, like a little kid waiting to go to the fair. When you get to the fair it’s the same thing thing it was last year. It’s anticlimactic. I thought I’d feel more triumphant. Now I need to start the process of querying. I feel kind of feel bad, perhaps I sent out queries before I should. In my defense it takes up to three months to have your manuscript queried so I’d figured it would be close to finished at this time. Hopefully that will be the case.

Meanwhile, I will wait for her feedback. With dread. What if she tells me I have a ton of work left to do? I’ll go back to the drawing board, I mean the key board and slog away. Wish me luck.

The late, great, Heath Ledger

Musing..Little Things, Big Changes

Today is Friday and as we get ready to relax this weekend, today a couple of little things happened that yielded big results. I finished the revisions to my novel. I have spent so much time looking at this stupid screen my eyes are blurry. I took my best effort and hit ‘send’ to my final editor. I can’t believe i actually obeyed all the rules, correct font and spacing, committed to a story, created it, finished it and sent it out to be professionally polished. This is a huge accomplishment for me. We’ll let history decide if it’s any good or not.

Secondly, i hugged my 92 year old mom. We’ve had a few visits, but no contact in over a year. She’s in a dementia care ward, and COVID-19 precautions put visits to her facility in a position of closed until further notice. But they left us unsupervised and she doesn’t know six feet from six dollars, and she came over and hugged me. Without being asked, unprompted, i saw a glint in her eye that she was going to hug me and damn the rules. So i hugged her back, carefully because she’s so frail.

It was a good day today. Enjoy your weekend.

Like mother, like daughter

Submission Article #4 revise, revise, revise

I’m sort of celebrating a milestone today. I have documented proof that I have written over ONE MILLION words. What this translates is I’ve written five novels, plus something my daughter called Mom’s Monster Document. It’s the first story I ever wrote. Actually, it’s like three books in one, a family saga if you will, that’s a real mess. I could probably cut two thirds and have one decent novel out of it. That means an intense revision, something even I in my ignorance even hesitant to undertake.

I have one I’m working with a personal editor. It’s making progress. Now that I’ve learned how to format a document, the correct font, and some on line grammar courses now I need to work on the plot. I have three additional scenes I need to insert into the story. I have to figure out how to include them seamlessly. Oh, I received two more ‘no thanks.’

I also joined an online forum where you zoom with other writers and spend an hour writing, a fifteen minute pause for discussion, and another hour writing. I have no problem with the writing part (as you can see). These people are real. They publish with traditional book companies. I think if I do that again I need to keep my mouth shut, and keep my inexperience to myself.

Yay me!

Essay – Happy Mothers Day!

This is for all you that have a Mother, which means all of you, unless you climbed out of the primordial soup. I am a mother with two children who went out in the world to find their path. Too bad they are 10 hours away. My own mother is five minutes away in a dedicated memory care facility. She knows my name, and that we are related (the last time I saw her she called me her ‘in-law.’) She is ninety-two. My brothers and I are in limbo. Like many moms, some of yours might have passed on and all you have left is your memories. I grieve our mother’s passing every time I see her. She’s under five tall and weighs 89 lbs, but her heart keeps pumping. I question God’s wisdom. I know I’m not supposed to, but really God, WTF?

Then there is my mother-in-law, who is 91. Her short term memory is shot, she can’t see or hear, but she has an adult son who lives with her. Some one in that house is incontinent. I think it’s the dog. It makes for a short visit. Those beautiful oriental rugs she inherited from her second husband, trashed. Oh well. There’s more to life than nice carpets. Her children are operating on a wait and see plan. She can’t live forever, why not just leave her be? I can think of a lot reasons, but it’s not my call.

This Mother’s Day I miss my mom. I miss my kids. I feel a bit unmoored, as in not connected to this whole mom thing. I am one and have one but it’s just another Sunday. I will remember my mom as the vibrant, loving mom of my youth who appears daily in my thoughts and actions. She lives on, her blood is my blood, and it courses down into my daughters. I hope the lessons she taught me I was able teach them.

So to all the mom’s out there, enjoy your day. You rock. One of the things my mother passed down was her love of Erma Bombeck, who if you don’t know who she you should google her. I leave you with one of Erma’s quotes. “MOTHERHOOD. THE WORLD’S SECOND OLDEST PROFESSION.”

Love you, Momma

Musing…The Power of Words

Just a short post about words. If you want to write, you need them. If you want to speak, you need them. I recently ran the Alpha and Omega gauntlet. Someone part of my extended family died, and that weekend a baby was born. Just the circle of life demonstrated in my small corner of the world. Why is it so hard for people to come up with right words?

I can see in the birth of a child being a momentous occasion. I was in a group text, and everybody that participated said the same exact things, ‘she’s so beautiful/precious/cute’ you must be so “happy/proud/elated.” I happened to actually read the announcement and I commented on her middle name. It’s not common and everyone knows who they honored. Why was I the only one to say something? We all knew the significance of her middle name, yet I was the only say it out loud.

I also went to a funeral. I was very close to the guy the funeral was for, we sat at many a family function together and provided a running commentary of the events; now he was a guy that loved words. We could get a riff going that could last a whole wedding. At the gravesite they asked if anybody wanted to say anything, and crickets. Out of all those people, nobody. So i raised my hand and said three things about him, nothing special. Actually it was special because they were true. And it broke the ice and started the memories flowing.

So the point is, when ever you’re in a situation like either, don’t be afraid to use your words. They mean a lot to the people listening. They may not remember what you said, they’ll remember you said it.

Someday maybe

Essay- Happy Earth Day!

I’d like to go pick up some trash but since we got four inches of snow it’s hard to find. I would like to apologize to my kids and future generations for the state of the world you are going to inherit. I get sad when I see pictures of sea turtles swimming with masks wrapped around their feet. when i see a lonely polar bear sitting on an iceberg. And that island of trash the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean, I’ll cry if I think about that.

Here’s to Greta Thunberg who put all adults and world leaders on blast that we should be ashamed of ourselves. If covid has taught us anything it’s that consuming less makes a difference in the health of our planet. Look in your closet. What do actually wear? How much is stuff waiting for you lose ten pounds for you to fit into? Yet we go buy more.

I recently went on vacation and yes, i bought a few things from that company A*****, all made so cheaply one wash and out they go. I’m mad I’ve been brainwashed that I think I needed this junk. I personally vow to buy only second hand clothes. I found any online thrift store called Goodfair. You buy a bundle and get what you get. I bought a bundle of four flannel shirts and liked them all. And EBay. I have specific brands i like i go there. So that’s my contribution to the planet. I will consume less. You should too.

And to my girl Greta Thunberg, rage on. And to paraphrase Bob Marley ‘one love. One planet.’ That’s it, boys and girls. Rage on.

No global warming here.

Submission Article #3 What’s Wrong with a Happy Ending?

I have recently started this blog, and part of it, if you want to be serious about it, is checking out other blogs. Put a toe in the water as it were, and get the 411. Blogging comes under the heading of social media, something I loathe. I quit FB a few years ago and haven’t missed it. I do Instagram because it’s mostly pictures, although my first reels got over 1k. You would think I’d become obsessed with surpassing that and become addicted to Reelz but my reel was setting fire to a calendar of 2020. I don’t want to relive last year even if it means I forfeit my chance to become a social media influencer.

But as I wander through other peoples blogs I notice more often than not they’re difficult journeys, through disease or illness. People documenting tortuous and tormenting things in the hope of coming out the other side healed or released from something. I wish them well, but I know everybody has a story, and some are more interesting than others, but that’s probably more credit to the teller.

Write what you know they say. I have plenty of misery chick stories I could tell, but much like 2020 I don’t want to go that road again. So I decided ‘Women’s Fiction’. I am a woman who can lie like the best of ‘em. But amidst all the gloom and doom facing our planet and each other, I decided the the one thing I wanted to give other women was a happy ending. Granted, they may have to slog through a whole bunch of s**t to get there, they would ultimately triumph. Which I want for all us bloggers. May you come out bigger, stronger, wiser or whatever you desire when you come to the end of your journey.

This is Niko, a rescue dog. He got his happy ending. May you get yours.

Musing – New Content

To be a blogger you have to make a commitment to write posts. Frequently. Often. You don’t want readers to come and look at your blog and go ‘ah, I already read this.’ They won’t come back if you don’t give them a reason to; you have to keep it fresh. New content. What if you have nothing to say? You say you’re a writer. Make something up.

I recently took a ten hour drive to see my kids. It’s hard on a parent to watch their child struggle. You want to step in and say ‘I’ve made this mistake before. Here’s how you fix it- but you can’t, for two reasons.

One, part of growing up is failure. You learn more from your failures than your successes. They need to learn how to fly, and they also need to crash and burn a few times. It’s hard to watch them rise from the ashes and try again. That in a nutshell is adulthood. You know you did a good job when they have the nerve, the balls, and courage to try again. In my humble opinion, a lot of kids haven’t been allowed to fail enough as children so they can’t handle it as adults. Maybe I shouldn’t be so proud of my kids, but boy, can they fail. I’m even more proud they don’t let it hold them back.

And two, they don’t want to hear it. Butt out, mom, you’re so old things are way different than when you were young. They think I went to my senior prom with Fred Flintstone. Things have changed, and a lot of it not for the better. Our kids are stressed out. Stress we never had to deal with, which raises the stakes for success. It is even more incredible when despite of it all they stand up to try again. And again. God bless them. I don’t have good kids, I have great kids.

When I asked them what they thought of my blog one of them said ‘you have a blog?’ The other said ‘I like your photographs.’ So I guess this whole brand awareness thing is going to be harder than I thought. Here’s a photograph of the wisteria in bloom. It’s so beautiful this picture doesn’t do it justice. I could look at it as I failed to execute my vision communicating how absolutely beautiful it is, but part of failure is accepting good enough. So this is the best I could do. Enjoy. They’re predicting snow this Friday. At least it’s spring somewhere.

Durham, NC

Step Two of Submission

Well, talk about one and done. If you read my prior post you understand I am chartering my progress from a retired housewife to published author. My plan was to enter a fiction contest and take it from there.

Rule #5 get hungry. I have the book written, proofed and polished. I have my synopsis done, a query letter finished. I read the requirements over again and they need pages numbered. Huh? After all this they need the frigging pages numbered. Since i was under a deadline i hired my more computer savvy daughter do it. Once done I went back to register and the contest was full and not accepting any more manuscripts. It opened on Saturday and was full by Monday morning.

I expressed my dismay (Wah!) to my daughter and she laughed and said welcome to the dog eat dog world of publishing. It seems there are a lot of unknown, unsigned, unnoticed, passed over authors of the Next Great American Novel out there. Lesson ‘get hungry’ means get ahead of the game by being ready at the get go. In step one I mentioned formatting. This is why it’s important. I wasn’t ready. I had the book already done, but i didn’t number the pages. The two days it took me to get it done and I missed out on this opportunity.

I guess you need a thick skin and a healthy ego to be a writer. I’m older. I was in medical sales and needed both to succeed, they can’t scare me. Having a rude doctors was the norm, plus i have four brothers, one who tormented me terribly, so like I said, ‘you can’t scare me.’ I am continuing the process by submitting a Query letters to book agents I find online. It’s a one-off process. Instead of having my book in front of a panel of judges, I need to send a ‘pitch’ letter, otherwise know as a Query letter. That’s 250-300 words to convince a book agent to take a closer look at what you’d like to present, your manuscript. Sell it baby. My goal is to go through this list of a thousand agents, read their bios and see if querying them is a good idea. What this means is if they work nonfiction or cookbooks, you might not want to waste your time or theirs with your pitch. I suppose if you pitch the wrong person but they are so impressed with you they pass it along to an agent who can rep you, great. Really great. Good luck like that never blesses me, I’m going to grind it out myself. Stay and watch me wall paper my bathroom with rejection letters. Until next time, welcome to the great unknown.

Original Fluid Art Painting by yours truly