Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

Write from the Gut with No Fear

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Because I Had To starts with a punch. No wimpy description here, the reader sees the young lady's pain from the first pages. I can't help it, I'm engaged in this story.
The author shows this story from points of view of different first person narratives. The story of adoption, rejection and finding peace comes to life in present and flashback tales of the two characters. I see a daughter's pain; and middle age search for relevance and return to the joy of a career. As with many stories sometimes, I feel I have walked down these streets on my journey, too, and maybe feel them a little too deeply. This novel has that sign of good fiction, when truth is told.
As with life's journeys, no cozy tidying up at the end. If this novel starts with a punch, it ends with an upward kick into my sternum. I was glad to get a hug from my husband when I closed the book and turned out the light.
I recommend this novel to anyone with children, anyone doubting their choice of careers, anyone with parents as well as close older friends like an aunt or uncle, or anyone with a heart. This novel helped me process some memories, putting to words feelings I suppressed. I felt David Bulitt wrote from his gut with no fear. We often made choices because we had to.

My review on Goodreads and Amazon for David Bulitt's second novel.
I found this author on the Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes fan page. His first novel, Card Game, caught my attention. The story was about guys my same age and he loves Jukes music. Sounded like a great combination and it was. I enjoyed this first book. Sometimes, I thought, he didn't go there, but he did. But under the raucousness, a deep thread of human struggle wove the words. The main character, JB,  deals with the first of his buddies dying, the second novel takes up a year after the friend, Tom, dies, with JB and Jess, Tom's troubled adoptive daughter.
These books don't follow how I write in the faith department. Yet under all the drinking, swearing, and sex, the rawness of human nature pulses in these novels. I believe fiction that connects the writer and reader in some way moves the soul. This author and I have much in common I found through his writing, on the level of parenting, long marriage, dealing with depression in others, and writing; as well as love for some great music.
I push this year to write more from the gut. I protect sometimes, imaging people will think they see themselves in my characters. I want to write this year without fear. I want to explore areas I shied from before. Since the beginning I desire to touch people's souls, reaching an area where a writer and reader share in imagination.
The best way to do this is to continue to write. I pray for reviews. I see my words hanging in the air, wondering are they touching anyone? Even negative reviews help me sharpen thoughts. This past year especially has been the proverbial roller coaster year.
About this time of six o'clock in the evening, a year ago, I told my husband, he needs to take me to urgi care, the doctor promptly sent me to ER. By nine thirty that night, January Second, 2016, I peered at people in OR masks with a black mask covering my mouth and nose, as emergency surgery commenced. I vowed a week later, as I realized how close Death stalked me that night, 2016 would be a year of fun.
Tiredness and responsibilities kept me many times from that vow. As I filled in constantly for quitting staff, I never knew when a day off would be. Then the old school that housed my office had no air conditioning in a relentlessly hot summer. I struggled through this new role and never felt my footing. It wasn't a good fit and they told me good bye the week before Christmas. I was relieved and I still am.
The tiredness of recovery and work, also seemed to keep me from writing. In my search for a new job, I plan to write as much as I can, too. The rawness of this past year and the many twists in history we couldn't foresee seemed to write a novel. I have a few scenes written, but not sure, yet, how they will work together into something. Being a worker and not a quitter, though, I will finish Walking With Eternity, first.
I still toy with putting together my poems in a small book. I will use pictures I took where they seem to fit. This also takes time and planning. I dream for 2017 and the work awaits, writing from a deeper place.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 Word Picture Reveal

Every year since I started blogging, I have a picture for the year with word or thought to go with it. The first one was Jesus yoke. I needed to be yoked with Jesus, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I had a problem finding the actual picture of an old yoke in the snow with the morning sun shining behind it, as I envisioned my picture. I finally found it, but with no snow. I photographed an antique yoke at the Munnel Run Farm Museum outside of Mercer in late August or early September. I knew I had to go there, but as with so many plans made the last week of December, it got lost in the calender of other obligations.
The next year as I prayed, the picture came easier. I hadn't published any novels, yet, but I had two completed. I forged ahead with saying “I am a writer,” instead of “I want to write.” In this new world of writing, I needed 'courage,' which I found in a stylistic new sculpture at Buhl Farm Park on an early winter walk, a lion, the symbol for courage. That lion often reminded me as I walked to keep my courage in this publishing world.
The next year, 'abundance' in a lush Pennsylvania summer, the picture came to me. I prayed for abundance in all my endeavors, but mostly for my writing. The next year 2015, the picture came again in warmer weather as I was down town Sharon. 'Rest,' at a green bistro set, welcoming me to sit down with Jesus.
Last year, two doors representing 'hope' were my pictures. The first door at the Hermitage Historical Society home was my wallpaper until I found the second one. The door at the When Words Count Writers Retreat in April gave me hope for my writing. This reminded me of my hope in Jesus and my writing as a vocation.
Which has lead me to my word picture for 2017. As I gazed at my books on the shelf at the Barnes and Noble last week, I remember when writing was a dream. I walked into this Barnes and Noble many years ago, struck with the dread of even if I published a book, how would it compete with all these books? I couldn't give up, but I didn't dream that day.
I snapped pictures with my phone of my books pointing out where they were in the store. I saw a nurse I had worked with before. I admire her. I fought with her image during The View controversy staged by Joy Behair's insult to Miss Colorado and all nurses last September. The nurse I know, works hard, has three children and continues her education. I may have inspired her in a small way, when I visited her grandmother for wound care many years ago.
My careers collided that day in Barnes and Noble. I inspired a girl to be a nurse, as I, now try to escape nursing. She congratulated me on my novels and took my picture with them. She wished me luck in both endeavors.
I found my word and my picture. 'Dream.' I keep up the dream of writing. In this case, dream is not passive. Work accompanies the dream. I can only see the dream when I work.
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Dream
As my daughter said at Christmas, “They told our generation, 'You can be anything.' They needed to add, 'If you work hard at it.'” I believe in my dream, but I know work is involved. 2017 will see an increase in the work as well advertizing. I will dream, but much work is also required. Dream on.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

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Last week's winter solstice sunset

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Scene with the Wilson's

From the Outside of Time:

Christmas was approaching. Barry grew restless. He decorated their home. Amy shrugged, “It’s pretty. Kind of a waste of money and time, but I guess we have to do it for Allen.” 

“Oh, Amy, come on.” 

“Well, it is a lot of work. Christmas is just commercialism for the capitalists, as much as you try to say it is religious or how do you say it? ‘The birth of your God.’ What do pine trees, snow and bells have to do with it? And Santa Claus, whoa, there is confusion.” 
“Allen will know the meaning of Christmas. See, I have this Advent calendar with Bible verses my mom sent us.” 

“Yeah and chocolate. Hmm, sweeten the deal, huh?” 

Barry waved his hand, “Speaking of Mom. She wants us to come for Christmas Eve. She thought since you probably didn’t have any traditions.” 

“You mean religious traditions. My family celebrates. They would love to see Allen, too.” 

“Well, we kind of did your family thing last year and it would be boring for Allen.” 

“I can see right through you, Barry Wilson,” Amy stomped her foot. 

“Getting drunk and champagne breakfast is hardly any way to celebrate a child’s holiday.” 

“I suppose. Still, stuffing their heads with baby stories and a fat guy in a red suit is kind of cross purposing, isn’t it?” 

“Amy, please, this year, can we please go to my parents’? Next year, we can go after Christmas. We will have to start making our own traditions. You know if I keep taking Allen to Sunday school, he’ll be involved in Christmas programs.” 

Amy sighed, “Ugh, I can’t wait ‘til January second. Ruin a good break from school. You know how much writing I can do on break?” 
“It’s a two-hour drive. We’ll spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Mom and Dad. Allison comes home. Amber will be there.” 

Allen woke from his nap, toddling into the study, rubbing his eyes. His curls bounced, “Aunt Amber? See Aunt Amber?” 

Amy’s heart melted. Amber did delight her son and that delighted her. Amber’s joy shown through and she had no judgment of Amy. She was modern enough to think nothing of Barry shouldering most of the child care and household chores. She hadn’t channeled into role expectations. 

“Yes, we’ll see Aunt Amber on Christmas Eve and Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s house,” Amy hugged her boy, as she smiled at Barry. 

Barry beamed back, “Just this year. I promise. We’ll make our traditions.” 
Amy nodded. 

They both got out of school on December twenty third. Last minute shopping, they divided. Barry didn’t cook that night, as they ate at a favorite restaurant. December twenty fourth, they managed to sleep in. Allen seemed to be just as exhausted as they were with the end of year running and Christmas excitement. 

“Mom would like us there for supper before the church service. I thought we’d leave around two.” 

“I guess. Allen should sleep in the car for the two-hour ride. Hope that snow holds off.” 

“It will. Mom tapped into that higher source. She always does for the holidays. Allison got in yesterday. She drove straight from work again. I do worry about her five-hour drive from Ocean City, through those mountains.” 
“Yeah, we just have flat roads.” 
“Good thing about Ohio, huh?” 
“Unless, you’re from the south near West Virginia.” 

“Kind of glad we’re not going there. Hope the weather holds out ‘til next week when we visit your folks down there.” 

“Well, don’t worry. They’ll be fine. They will understand if we have to cancel,” the unspoken words, ‘not like your mother,’ hung in the air between them. 

Barry jumped up and rinsed their breakfast dishes and coffee mugs. He plugged them into the dishwasher and set it on light load, so it would run before they left. 

Amy hugged Allen out of his high chair, “I’ll take my shower first, okay?” 

“Ah, yeah, sure,” Barry didn’t look from the sink, as he wiped it down. 

“Hey, I’ll be good, I promise, Santa,” Amy had let Allen run into his bedroom and now, hugged Barry from behind. Barry turned around with a grin on his face and kissed her. 

“Unless, you want me to be naughty, Santa Baby,” Amy coyly asked as she returned the kiss. 
“Mm, we’ll see how Allen sleeps.” 
“He’s playing now, want to try a few things before the trip?” 

Barry raised one side of his face in a conspiratorial grin, “Maybe a few.” 

“What toys you got in your bag, Santa?”  Amy snaked up to Barry and felt in his pajama bottoms. 

“Don’t you want to know?” Barry grinned, and bent his back toward the sink. Amy kissed his neck, chest, and continued. 

“Mm,” Barry moaned, “preview, Amy, just a preview. Allen can walk in any second.” 

Amy threw her head up wickedly, “Yes, let’s do this at your mother’s.” 

“Um, Mom and Dad are not prudes. They are still very much in love.” 

“Yeah, I know,” Amy put on a pouty voice, “but I still want to do the ‘nasty’ under the tree.” 
“In my bedroom. We’ll pay Amber to play with Allen tomorrow afternoon.” 
“Oh, Amber won’t take any money,” Amy flirted away. 
“Okay, we’ll take her to a movie,” Barry shouted after her. 
“I’m not a cheap date.” 

Barry ran after her and tackled her around her waist, “No, you cost me dearly,” he growled as he tried to give her a hickey on her neck. 
Allen trotted down the hall, “Mommy and Daddy playing?” 
Amy laughed as she grabbed her robe around her tighter, “Yeah, Allen, we’re playing. We’re excited about going to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, aren’t you?” 

“Oh, yeah, Amy, get him antsy, well you take your shower. I have to pack the car yet.” 

“I think both my boys are a little excited,” Amy smirked, “I’ll be quick, then I’ll read a story to Allen while you pack the car and get ready. How much packing do you have to do? Seems you have been packing all week.” 

“Just hiding some things,” Barry raised his left eyebrow. 

“Hide and seek” Allen jumped up and down. 

“I like that game,” Amy mocked in a Mae West voice. 

“Like that game,” Allen nodded enthusiastically. 

“Get in the shower, woman,” Barry faked exasperation. He loved when Amy played. She usually put herself under such pressure with working and writing. Her neck would be so tense in the evening, as she tried to relax, with too much wine, he thought, as soon as she quit breastfeeding, but he never said anything. He only tried to make her life easier. She had agreed to taking the two days off from writing. Yes, she deserved the holiday, she agreed. 

Happy and safe traveling to those who are. Have grace in your preparations for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

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War on Christmas.
What does that mean to you?