Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

May the force be with you. Do you think I could leave 2015 without some nod to Star Wars, besides writing "in a galaxy far, far away" too many times? Which sometimes 1977 feels like. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dawns Christmas

 Dawns Christmas
    Mollie Lyon

I'm not having a Martha Christmas time.
But I'm not much of a Mary either.
I'm reminded on a Sunday
God with us, me.
It came upon a Midnight Clear-
the angels I need to hear
In the dark, the plains, the sadness of the earth,
I hear the angels sing.
I'm coming back to the heart of Christmas
I'm sorry for the thing we've made of it.
It's all about You, Jesus.
I feel stripped of all the trappings, the fussing,
the gatherings, the family,
Gone to heaven or far away.
It's down to Jesus.

Dawns Christmas Morn
A Savior is born.
A relief, a breath.
It's done.
Put that pesky John 7:7 away.
A Baby is born today.
The world loves the Babe.
John 7:7 come another day.
Today is peace.
Today is still.
Today the Savior lives in a manger.
                                                                where He  poses no danger.

Tomorrow the trees go down.
Tomorrow we go back to the world
But today, today, we worship
the Lord
The Savior in the manger
Brings peace for a day and
poses no danger.

 New Living Translation
The world can't hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.

December 25, 2015

At the Christmas Eve service I attended last night at Hickory United Methodist Church in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, I heard a sermon "The Danger of the Manger."  The message by Pastor Dave Evans centered around this poem I wrote two years ago. Belief only in the Babe and not His purpose in coming to this world will not save us. We must remember the reason the Babe that is the King came.
 This year, I name it Hope Christmas. I read the posts of friends fighting through hard times and their words were the angels on the dark plains of life. Jesus lives more in my life each year. I went through a Great Sadness, a name I steal from The Shack, for a period of time. But Hope lives and Jesus is the reason for this Hope. I praise my God for loving me enough to die as a Man to cleanse me of my sins.
I pray for my friends, readers and passers-by, a Hope filled Christmas. Jesus came not because God's Hand was forced in a world full of Chaos, but because He is on the throne forever. Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world. He is the only King who became a baby. His purpose always on His mind as He walked this earth. My heart is filled with the wonder of His love. May you accept it and be filled, too. And for those who have loved ones in a far country, who seemed to have walked from their faith, remember our Good Shepherd will not let one be snatched from Him. Jesus loves them more than we can. His love is stronger than a mother's. This is the Hope of Christmas. God always had the plan, outside of time.
                                                                       Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

The sunsets are getting later and a full moon this Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Circumstantial Evidence

Review of Circumstantial Evidence

Finished Frank Secich's memoir last night. This book provided a fun romp through history of power pop rock in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, starts in the 1960's and continues until this year. I had interviewed Frank about his successful band, Blue Ash, beginnings and the definition of Youngstown, Ohio distinctive sound, for our local paper, The Way It Was, so I anticipated hearing more stories of the glory days of bands with talent and guts and a great big belief in themselves.
Reading this book was like sitting down and hearing Frank tell story after story. I am reminded of how different the sixties were from today. The dress codes, the hair, the rebellion for fun's sake and the belief “if I have a guitar life is good.” In our home area of Sharon, Pennsylvania, the goal of staying out of the steel mills drove many dreams. I am just a few years younger, so much of that period, I remember from observing my older siblings, but being a kid, I didn't have those battles. Hearing the local flavor brought memories for me. In fact, many were the same from when I waited for my brother to tell me when he came home from cruising, like the Green Man and the Haunted House.
As any good story teller, Frank tugged at my heart at times, too. His chapter on meeting his wife of over forty years would bring out the romantic in anyone. And the love he has for his son, evidenced by laying up his guitar and the road to raise his pride and joy, keeps with family values and the importance of a strong father. Jake grew into a responsible young man. This may not be the usual rock and roll story.
Frank met many celebrities through his years of performing. I didn't feel though he was name dropping. He encountered and enjoyed the company, just the same as anyone he would have met. Frank loves great times and enjoys jokes. His one band mate, Stiv Bator, did a lot of kooky things. My favorite involved Dick Van Dyke, who recently he celebrated his ninieth birthday. Stiv met him and told him how as watching his TV show as a kid gave him a father figure he lacked in his personal life, so much he was led to his career. Dick asked him what that was. Stiv replied, “A lead singer in a punk band.”
Dick walked away.
My overall impression of Frank's book shows me he had a fun time remembering these times. I detected no bitterness even in recalling the unfairness of major recording companies. He noticed talent that never made it big and felt sad but not for himself. The short chapters created an easy quick read. His life of performing is not over as Dead Beat Poets is his newest band with his own songs, as he always wrote his own songs, unusual when he started Blue Ash. Lyrics of songs are also included in the book. I anticipate

Frank has a lot more in him and his life. This may only be book one. I only hope it is not a back injury to give him time to write more.

Book signing and concert December 12  at Get Hip Records, Pittsburgh, PA

You can buy it at

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Many times we don't have snow at Christmas. This is 1972, I was in sixth grade. We sang a lovely winter song in chorus and I thought this coat with my blue suede boots would be perfect to wear. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

My daughter liked the color of joy

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lives Slip Silently By

Another resident passed away this week. She had so many similarities to my mother, being in one class ahead of her at Sharon. She was one, hard to talk to. Bitterness overcame her and finding or giving peace elusive. She fought her aids and often wailed, "I'm going to die here." I only wish now, I had known what was in the obituary, as another life slips silently by:

Lives Slip Silently By
Mollie Lyon

 Lives slip silently by.
Who knows what's
Behind that hollow eye,
In dark recesses
Lie past successes.
Gray heads bent
Troubles for a time lent.
We can't see them now
Under that vacant brow.
A sketchy obituary
Read in the paper
Tells some of the story,
But then it's late to know.
We can't reach in.
Sometimes we can't begin.
No one around to start the story
And we find out too late
The story trapped
Behind a precious one's fate.

Peace in Chaos

I saw the feed on AOL before I turned my computer off at work. As I flipped through the radio channels and settled on the one with best reception through the city of New Castle, I half took it in. And I fought the thought, another shooting, how much can a heart break?
Traffic, a little heavy for this small city, kept me from waiting to turn left for the interstate. I continued on State Route 18 through the city, past the hospital I went to nursing school, glancing up at my old dorm room and Sandy had her tree up at the house I boarded my second year. I wanted to see the snowflakes lights hanging I heard one of my co-workers talk about that morning, so I didn't turn at the light to get me to the interstate. In Neshanock Township, I decided quickly to rush the yellow light, instead of waiting to turn left. I thought, twilight, I will enjoy the Christmas lights through rural western Pennsylvania.
The pastoral scenes, the Amish boy jaunting to his mail box, and the sheep in another Amish front yard conflicted with the news on the radio. A local reporter, where the shootings occurred, interviewed a father of a woman in the building. Her last tweet, "Pray for us." Oh, how the powers that be want prayer out of public forum, yet when a tragedy occurs, we want prayer. But I felt disconnect gazing at the peaceful countryside on my ride while listening to a father almost in tears.
I felt, maybe because of memories of an old familiar road or hearing that father, I want to see my dad. It seemed natural, I'm alone, I could stop there for dinner. His quiet ways in bad news comfort. He never showed worry, although I knew events affected him. We would be silent together. A meal set peacefully on the table.
Even as I approached West Middlesex, I thought of my dad's comforting way. I turned right at the light as I often do to drive past the house and down Haywood. The house is still for sale and it is dark. I wonder what happened to this widow or is she only working and not home, yet. I look at my friends' houses, now, occupied by others, too. I don't feel sad. I am grateful for what I had in a time where we walked the streets in peace.
My heavenly Father, also, invites me in quiet to His presence in the midst of the turmoil of this world. Like my dad, He sets a table for me. He gives me peace before my enemies, the ones who want to kill, steal and destroy the peace I have with Him. The word picture of this year, "Rest," comes to my mind. I lean into Jesus.
He sets a table before me, offering me rest. My picture for 2015.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

National Novel Writing Month is over. I have settled more in my new job. And I hear more and more stories about child abuse. All break my heart, but as I retold Teddy's story over the holiday to a niece-in-law and other family members, this one chokes my voice. Teddy's story forces me to write about this. The smiling face that refused to tell on his accusers.
I heard another story this morning of another girl who won't reveal more than a punch in her stomach from her step-father, yet his texts appear inappropriate. She won't return to her home, living between her father and grandmother. She is bold enough to remove herself from a situation, but he has no punishment.
Children want to protect the adults. Children tend to look at the best in an adult in their lives. Children also are scared and don't want to tell. Many reasons that abusers get away with their behavior.
Today, I again ask that we pray for children's boldness in speaking up as they are abused. I pray they find the right adult to confide in, teachers, a neighbor, a friend's parent. As cases are reported, I ask that the child protection agency staff have eyes to see, ears to hear, and senses alert to observe what isn't obvious. With their loads lightened, ability with time, they will delve into cases.
And as always, I pray we all remain alert to what doesn't just seem right. And that we are not afraid to speak up. Abuse prevention remains a passion to me and I urge all to look out for our children.

Friday, November 20, 2015


One of the big words in publishing is “Branding.” You must have a brand, a writer is told again and again. At the West Virginia Book Festival, I attended last month, in the self publishing workshop with Jane Friedman, branding crept in to the lecture.
Oh, branding, I have resisted the thought. I don't want to be narrowed down to one thing. I want to be a fiction writer. I pick up a thought from Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales, in his book, Me, Myself and Bob. After losing his dream for a while, he finds he must be like a jelly fish, floating where God leads. Yes, I think, go where God leads me, don't be conformed to a rut, or in the literary world, a brand.
Still, I am a good student, and fight that rebellious spirit. I do want success, of course. I'd be lying to say I wasn't seeking a little bit of fame. I think any writer that pursues this publishing journey has to have a little bit of the dream of success to put oomph behind all that goes into promoting oneself. I won't cast dispersion, but anyone who says otherwise is maybe not telling the truth.
I envisioned with Main Street, my first book I wrote, of financial riches, well, maybe not riches, but more independence. I would write historical fiction only. I chose the pictures of the house I grew up in that my dad took with his Instamatic, as my symbol of Gables and Gingerbread, my first brand, of stories. Houses built with gables, the pitched roofs displaying the intricate designs, called Gingerbread. I thought first, stories about how the families or men who built these kind of houses would be an intriguing series. I drove around eastern Ohio for my job at the time and saw several houses like the one I grew up in, which were not common across the line in Pennsylvania, where mine is.
The Martha and Tom story grew in my imagination. The turn of the last century and its progress blossomed into a story of isolationism, protecting a way of life, and hatred with a worldly and godly sorrow in response to actions. I didn't want to be preachy, but I am a Christian, so my world view is through those eyes. I can't deny my beliefs. An atheist admitted to me, he liked the story, but his life didn't change, yet.
I thought these stories would be my brand, only. I encountered a house south of Fowler, Ohio, that I set my next story in. I haven't finished Country, yet, although I started it for National Novel Writing Month in 2011. I had a strong beginning with low clouds, storms, prodigal daughter and the good daughter, but not haughty. Christina is loving and loves to serve her family and God. I got lost in the historical detail and where the story needed to go. I have a better idea, but I don't feel it is it time, yet.
I chose as my symbol, the Gingerbread house or as I came to find out is really a Carpenter Gothic, like in the painting, American Gothic. We knew that at one time the boards lay up and down, like the house in the background of the farming couple, and you can see the gable, too.
In the year 2012, the seeds for Summer Triangle came to me. At first, I had no idea how personal it would be. No, I didn't become pregnant, but the other underlying theme is a mother's worry about her adult children following the faith in which they were raised. 2012 an abyss opened for me. I wanted my writing to save me from working outside the home. I had too much on my plate and I needed rest.
It didn't come. I left a home health job because the travel became ludicrous, as well as all the preparations for the Affordable Health Care Act. I imagined a steady 7-3 or as it turned out, 3-11, job close to home would ease some of the tension. Nursing home world ended up being one of the most disrespected jobs I ever did. Staff was always suspect and never to be believed. When I heard how much people paid to have a loved one stay there, I almost cried. Short staff is to be expected, but when it was scheduled that way, my mind was blown.
I had many rewards, though, from working there. I adopted mothers when I missed mine so much. One man always had the most beautiful proposals for me. I could only say I'd stay until the wind changed. Another couple adopted me. My residents and families rejoiced with my writing. They returned the love I feel for them.
I surrendered to God's will, that He wanted me there for some reason. Well, I had to do that almost every day. I had to pump myself up in the mirror for the first half year. And I often wanted to run screaming from the building, like Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, the Atlanta hospital scene. The last time I said, “God, You want me here, I will do your will.” I read an ad in the paper for a home health job in New Castle.
I e-mailed my resume and the next morning after I prayed that again about God's will, I read my e-mail, a response to my resume. I knew the director. She remembered me from when I was a co-leader for my oldest daughter's Girl Scout troop. My caring and compassion shown to my daughter let her know she wanted me on staff. I took the job and to borrow from Robert Frost, it has made all the difference.
So back to the branding. Today, I felt I had to put the historical stories, the Gables and Gingerbread stories, on hold. I needed to follow through with the story started in Summer Triangle. But what is my brand, now? I cringe at saying women's fiction, Christian fiction or as the library loves to tag it, inspirational fiction. I write about messy lives. Not everyone follows Jesus. Some die and we don't know. How far does forgiveness or the stubbornness of mankind go in rejecting God's promise of eternal life through His son, Jesus? Theologians have tried to answer that question for centuries.I don't want to speculate.
Of the choices above, I like inspirational. Don't we all want to inspire people? Though, I prefer writer of good stories. Is that a brand?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Veteran's Day
Sharon, Pennsylvania
November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Way It Was - First Wednesday

My article in The Way It Was this month:

Westinghouse Story
Mollie Lyon

We all know people affected by that mile long building along Sharpsville Avenue in Sharon. Right on the sidewalk looming over the car, it seemed to never end, as my dad drove us to my grandmother's. Over fifty acres of industrialization appeared other worldly to a small child. Westinghouse, for over sixty years, 1922-1985, dominated Shenango Valley's economy. My grandfather moved here from Pittsburgh, my first oral history of the plant on that site from my mother's recollections. He worked in the office. What brought him here? What is the real history? The story of Westinghouse coming to Sharon, Pennsylvania called me.
The first factory on this site established in 1867, as Atlantic Irons Works. This plant had several furnaces and six trains of roll. Natural gas fueled production of bar, plate, hoop, rod inn and nails. Ownership passed hands often with names that sprinkled our area yet today, becoming P. I. Kimberly and Company in 1881.
1904, John Stevenson bought out Driggs-Seabury Ordance Corporation of Philadelphia. He erected buildings in Sharon. All the machinery was moved from Philadelphia and installed in the present plant in 1905.
Driggs merged with Savage Arms in 1915, famous for Lewis machine guns in WWI. Before the war, the factory made Vulcan small trucks and the only car from the Shenango Valley, the Twombly. Even then, they searched for economy cars. It was a cross between a car and a cycle that cost about a hundred dollars less than a Model T. The potential of the car killed by Twombly's own personal problems leading to bankruptcy. But cyclecars also proved unreliable, unable to compete with the Model T.
In 1922, Westinghouse acquired the plant from Savage Corporation to settle a debt. Westinghouse also expanded with the new acquisition of KDKA. With the Sharon plant, they experimented with transformer production in 1923, that first year, hiring ten women to wind coils. By December 1923, six hundred seventy called Westinghouse their place of employment. I know my grandfather made the transition by then. My mother was born in Sharon that month.
The area provided employment for two thousand two hundred workers by 1924. The corporation continued to grow through the years. My grandfather remained employed through the Great Depression. At the height of WWII, ten thousand helped the war effort through this plant, alone. Rosie the Riveter campaign coined through Westinghouse. My mother followed her father to the plant, sitting over transformers. She left as soon as my dad came stateside the year of 1944 to the state of Georgia.
Along with the other industries in our area, employment at the Westinghouse put food on tables, cars in garages, clothes on backs and dreams in the next generation. Well paying jobs built the middle class a century ago. That plant on Sharpsville Avenue had many names, even before the settlement of the debt to Westinghouse. Then as a Sharon staple, possessed the formal names of Westinghouse Transformer Division, Westinghouse Transformer Department, and Sharon Transformer Division.  We in the Valley, simply called it, “The Westinghouse.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Taken a few years ago, riding with my daughters toward Mercer on  a July evening. Missing July. And going to Mercer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

A fall picture, but looks tropical.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Can you stand another Buhl Farm Park picture? I loved how the evening sun highlighted that tree.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Trees Grow in Thirty Five Years

The trees grown

The farm

The corn stalks.
I changed courses a month ago. I returned to home health with a slightly different focus. I work with younger, disabled patients. The office locates in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Thirty five years ago, I traveled the road under a different name many times. Then the name was PA 60 and I flew to my nursing school over it. As four lane highways do, large panoramas arose in front of me. An Amish farm showed work horses pulling the plow in the spring, corn growing in the summer and as now, in harvest, the corn stalks crossed into a dry triangle of sorts. In those years, the trees thin and short didn't block the view. Now, I glimpse the corn sheaves between the leaves. I know in just a month, I'll see again easily the farm and the large smoke stack far in the distance out of West Pittsburgh.
Every morning I roll under the bridge of State Route 208 at Pulaski. I remember the clear vista on the other side and now, I see trees. I keep thinking this can be used some way for a post. The farm hasn't changed, it appears. Neighbors, though, have moved in with new shiny houses. More live here as PA 60 turned into I-376, a direct route to Pittsburgh. The area grew into a suburb. Mr. Finney was right, the many years ago when David and I searched for a house. In his real estate office on State Street, he spun the vision of Shenango Valley bustling as people commuted to Pittsburgh.
The area grown some, but not as this realtor saw it. The trees block my sight of the white farm house, with the kerosene lamp glow on early mornings. Yet, in a month, I'm sure I can catch that tranquility as the leaves fall.
I'm glad to be back on the road. Starting in September replays memories of school starting, when I first started home care, twenty three years ago, and the feeling of newness as death stands two months away. September and October mark new season, new fiscal year, new school year and the Jewish New Year, as well as Muslim, I believe.  Clear, crisp days sometimes mixed with damp rainy ones to remind me of the cold to come.
The trees growing so tall and full in these thirty five years remind me that often the familiar routine
comforts, but it is not all the same. Parents gone, kids grown, sisters don't visit as often and friends move away. The seasons roll like my western Pennsylvania hills, the same, yet each one not the same.
I'm happy in this change. The adage, though, even good change is stressful. I had to find my balance and the writing for this blog slithered under a rock for a time. The preparing Outside of Time for publication demanded attention. I realize another deadline will pass, but I'm so much closer than before. I saw the first mock up cover and I love it. The formatting scares me again, but I will approach it tomorrow with freshness.
Even though this is my third book, I haven't formatted, yet. I will conquer this as well. I am excited about this book. I love Amy Wilson so much that I am already planning the sequel. That will be my NaNoWriMo project.
Just as I carry on past the Amish farm every day, I remember the breadth of the view. This month, trees crowd the memory. Like in life, the trees block the view, but they don't change it. My obstacles grow, but the vision on the other side has not altered. I may have to peep around a trunk, but I still see the corn stalks and my writing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Last sunset of summer 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Team Tedddy Tuesday

To remind us there is nothing new under the sun, I'll share a passage from a book I'm reading, Tiger at the Bar. This story is about an attorney, Charles J. Margiotti about one hundred years ago and his cases in and around Punxsutawney, including St. Marys, Johsonburg and Ridgway in the quiet hills of Pennsylvania, we thought. I'm sharing the newspaper clipping about an abuse case in the  Ridgway Record :
Perhaps the most horrible case of brutality in the annals of inhuman treatment, not excepting anything from the most sordid slums of London or New York or heathen Africa, came to light in Ridgway yesterday and will be aired at the next Criminal Court.
After the death of Mr. Hector, about fourteen years ago, the wife was left in rather destitute circumstances with eight small children. All of these children were adopted or taken by families to raise. Among them was a little girl of six years of age named Julia, a bright, handsome, healthful child, who was taken by Mrs. Catherine Georgel, of Boot Jack Road. Relatives have made efforts from time to time to see Julia, but were repulsed on various excuses. Reports were occasionally rife among the neighbors that the child was ill-treated, but nothing was ever known definitely. The child was never permitted to go out or talk to anyone, and was severely punished if she did.
The first that was definitely known of her condition was about Wednesday when the girl, now about twenty years old, suddenly appeared at the jail with not sufficient clothes to cover her, hysterical and screaming for protection, saying that Mrs. Georgel intended to kill her.
Several years ago, the girl's nose was smashed with a club, and was never properly set or treated, so that it is quite flat. Her mouth has been torn at the sides and healed one-sided. Her eyes are battered almost shut. Almost every inch of her body bears scars and welts due to the cuts with knives and burns from scalding water. Her back is a mass of scars and among them are two fresh wounds caused by being stabbed with a pair of shears. Her scalp is covered with scars and two or three vicious lumps are fresh evidence of the use of a club. One ear is torn and horribly disfigured.
Her breasts are just recovering from evidence of severe scalding, the girl alleging that the woman tied her and then poured the boiling water over her. It would be difficult to place two fingers anywhere on her body that does not have a scar. Viewing these things and drawing on the imagination of what the child must have passed through during the past fourteen years, it is little less than a miracle she has any mind left. Brought up in an atmosphere of terror and fear, cowed, bullied, beaten, pounded out of shape with fists and clubs, cut with knives and scalded, and never permitted to go out, and afraid to talk to anyone, always compelled to sleep on the floor, with no treatment for her cuts and bruises and burns, it is a wonder that she even lives.
In fact, according to the girl, Mrs. Georgel declared that she would kill her, and gave her the means to do it herself in the belief that she would do so and end her suffering.
Mrs. Georgel has never figured as a person of refined instincts. The girl says she boasts of Indian blood. It is doubtful, however, if even an Indian of the most savage type ever existed who would inflict such horrible torture on a child, and continue it for years. It is beyond the pale of the most loathsome brute, and how to account for such a beastly streak in a mature woman posing as a human being befogs the reasoning apparatus of a man of the world.
The response to this descriptive and judgmental reporting is the same as today. "In Ridgway that night, there was talk of lynching Mrs. Georgel." If it weren't so true, this would be funny. The no holds barred reporting lives in another time. The trial is interesting. Times have changed in some respects, the abuser spent only a year in jail and  the attorney against her, said later, she turned into a very nice old lady. Her defense was the girl was lazy, ungrateful, and incorrigible, a girl who needed constant discipline.
Ridgway set up a fund for Julia. A plastic surgeon did her work for free. She married and moved away.
This reminded me some of Teddy's case when I read it. Only he didn't survive. The isolation, the threat to not talk to the neighbors, the "discipline" from the mother's boyfriend are similar.
I only pray that even though child abuse is not new, that people will not keep silent. Keep your eyes and ears opened. May we be as shocked still as this reporter in 1920 at the Ridgway Record.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Road Leads

Life spins, sometimes slowly and sometimes fast, or so it seems. I dragged a lot this summer, longing for summer fun. I haven't visited a beach, yet. I don't believe I got to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania last year either. I hate to blame everything on a job, but nursing home world and the afternoon shift and working many weekends began to take its toll. I change jobs the Tuesday after Labor Day. I'm returning to the road of home health.
I started journaling again in April and suddenly the need to write in a blog lessened. I spend too much time on Facebook, as it tends to lull me in a trance, maybe. I love to see what is happening all over the world. I suppose that is the excitement of Facebook. I always thrilled at live TV, too, like the Kentucky Derby, Times Square on New Year's Eve, the parades and the Academy Awards. I feel like I'm part of the action, but on my comfortable seat.
A topic I wanted to write about as I read this summer concerned scenes or words I wish I could use. John Steinbeck wrote of June in The Winter of Our Discontent. The words exactly described the sensation of June I want to convey in Last Free Exit. I giggled that I could just say- read these paragraphs and see how June feels.
I'm still reading Pasadena by David Ebershoff. A scene with a horse could be modified for Main Street, if I told it from the oldest boy, Tommy's point of view. The time setting is the same as Main Street and Country. In fact, Linda, in Pasadena is born the same year as Christina in Country. I love the detail in Pasadena, the long explanations, the history lessons. I read the reviews and some didn't like the “rambling,” felt it lacked a good editor, and was one hundred pages too long. I sensed the long hours of research and crave to have that background in my writing. When I wrote Main Street, just knowing the details, even if I didn't include them in the writing, enabled me to tell the story. I need the background in my head.
I decided to go to the West Virginia Book Festival to hear Homer Hickam speak. One of his interviews, I heard this past winter, lifted me from a slump in my publishing dream. He had a story to tell and then some. He also had to find the seventeen year old boy's voice to tell Rocket Boys. Writing is more than words, it shows a picture with a voice.
As I perused the web site for the festival, I noted the other speakers. Neil Gaiman has a spot on Friday evening. We have a few of his books, as my oldest daughter liked his writing. In preparation for this event in October, I grabbed his anthology, fragile things, from downstairs. I read all the introduction on Sunday and in the back of the paperback, my favorite, the interview. I love to hear about the writing process. My favorite quote makes me want to write short stories, “The joy of the short story for me is you can have an idea and it can fall into place enough that you're excited about beginning it. You can settle down and a few hours later, or a weekend later, or a week later, you're done.”
Now, I think, I need to write short stories. I laugh at how I am influenced by voice. I read the beginning of a few stories in this book and two poems, as I dried after swimming yesterday- oh, remember doing that for hours? Now, just too busy, it seems. As I left the pool, words fell at me, but I recognized them as Neil's. The long wait at Sheetz for all the oil guys to get their food chased those words away, as I stood there in damp outline of my swimsuit on my clothes and flat wet hair, glasses and no makeup. At ninety degree weather, I guess I didn't care. Still I made no eye contact with the head teacher from my daughters' high school as he coolly strove in with his preppy shorts and shirt, in pastel colors.
Yes, I should write short stories, too. But not in anyone's voice, but my own. I remain with the novels, as well. Outside of Time sits under the editor's gaze. I never heard back from the photographer of the picture I would love to use, so I elect another avenue for the cover. To go with my philosophy of using local businesses, I will contact my photographer friend for some pictures for the cover and use another young college grad with a film degree working home repair for my cover design.
Dreams take work and they fail without enterprise.
 I admire some authors or learn from the ones I don't like. Out of all the influences, my voice rises. Sometimes I feel inadequate and other times, superior. But I'm traveling on this road, telling my stories. I only hope you come along wherever the road leads.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Do you get tired of pictures of Lake Julia? Unfortunately, you can't see the full moon in the pale sky. The Swan on the platform for the turtles posed for an interesting shot. Next purchase is a better camera. Maybe some photography classes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

Published by Mollie Lyon · 23 mins ·
Tuesdays have been busy for me, lately. I need to revamp how I do Team Teddy Tuesdays. Like write before Tuesday and push publish on Tuesday. wink emoticon I'm also in transition between jobs. This process drains me more emotionally than I anticipated. I start the new job next Tuesday, so I will work on a post  before Tuesday and push publish next Tuesday. In the mean time, I again remind you to watch the children. Watch our words. And look for clues as a new school year begins for signs of abuse, physical, emotional or mental. New teachers, new caregivers, new kids on the bus can all be sources of turmoil for our children. Pray and watch.
And on a personal note for me as an author, a poem I wrote will be published in The Way It Was coming out this evening and always the first Wednesday of the month at over eighty local businesses in the Shenango Valley.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Sunset heating things up at Waterfire, Sharon, PA August 22, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

Three incidents lately remind me that child abuse aftermaths last a life time. One lady tells me of how her step father beat her, but not her siblings. He singled her out. She sighs, "It kept him off my mother." On the outside, she is coiffed, beautiful- she's beautiful inside as well, lives in luxury now. But fifty years later, even though she was homecoming queen and popular, the emotional scars remind her that somehow she is not worthy. We never knew her pain, then, or even later as an adult with her sparkly eyes and sweet composure. She confided in me only recently.
A comment on my sister's post about missing our dad's hugs from another woman stated her dad never hugged her. I don't know if it were abuse or just some men have problems showing affection. Still, the loss screams in her written word.
A friend today recalls how she was raised in an alcoholic family. The beatings, the screaming, and the abuse sound like too many stories. She affirmed since she met Jesus, she determined it would stop in her generation. Her grandchildren are taught love and acceptance. She doesn't bite the bait her sister throws out to fight anymore. Jesus makes the difference.
These abuses happened long ago. Like my resident, who will be ninety six in October, I wrote about before. The memories don't fade. They haunt in the quiet evening hours, as she sits with her thoughts. I see her head bowed, she's not reading, but she bringing back those hurts, wondering what she did to deserve the emotional neglect. I hug her when I see that hunched, lonely position, if I'm there. A hug brings the smile, but never erases her hurt. I tell her about Jesus. I feel she may slowly be getting it.
When an adult is mean to you, like a clerk in a store, remember she may be hurting, too. Show that little extra kindness. Offer a prayer. Tell her about how Jesus loves you and loves her as well. We may not change the world, but one person may be who we need to love.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Gut Instinct Validated
In my initial feeling stated in That Bastard Cancer, some ways of raising cancer awareness does nothing for the cause. October is one of those months. As it looms on the horizon, I will probably re-post this in that month.
We need to be aware of how we are manipulated. Relay for Life helps the victims of cancer- all cancer. I have a sneaking suspicion that the medical community does not want a cure because, Cancer makes money. Even when I worked home health, the hospice aspect of our company scoured the diagnosis of new home health admissions for a cancer one so they could be on the case. Why? Hospice is covered totally by Medicare and it makes money for the company. I'm not putting down Hospice, it is a wonderful service that is needed, but some days it felt like morbid obsession for a cancer diagnosis.
I hope I'm screaming in your ear- Show me the money. Show me the results. Don't be manipulated by pink or any color, ribbons or sexual innuendo on Facebook. I will put my money where my words are. And as always pray for a cure.