It’s Monday or as my morning has proven: Three Tylenol and a Tums Day. That is another story for another Monday involving travel and mystery.

Today involves a book review. Don’t worry. It’s not my book. I belong to a book club, Novel Friends. I love the name, members, and the books (most of them).

Last month we read Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. I can remember how to spell that name. Her plot was interesting and her descriptions were healthy, real, spot on. This reader was caught in the beginning as I assume most were. Who set the fire? Ng takes you through the fires within each character and how these hot spots affect others everywhere. An amazing idea, which I wish I had thought of. Most authors explain how main characters interact with others, but she pin points how the actions of one determines the decisions of others.

Mia, a housekeeper, “corralled the crumbs” off the kitchen counter as she listens to her employer’s children. They had dismissed her out of mind. I find that I too, gather our crumbs while I take in others’ conversations, the scenes through the window, and TV news, dismissed by others. Great detective technique.

More importantly, Mia later offers a definition of a child. Hopefully, Ng will forgive this free ad. It’s beautifully written.

“To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once.”

“You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she’d been and the child she’d become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image.”

Now, that’s great writing.

Enough 

 

 

 

 

 

I have written about the church in our backyard, or Back Garden as the British say. It rings the hour (9a, 12p, 3p, 6p) and then plays one verse of a Christian hymn, most of them I either recognize or can sing along, because of my appreciated childhood. This morning it was “This Is My Story”.

“This is my story. This is my song. Praising my savior all the day long.” There’s more, but memory fades somewhat. My point is … that title fits this author and it has kicked my literary backside into gear.  The amount of time I have dedicated to my writing life has been pitiful.

Which brings me to the non-creative side of my business. I am not happy in this part. Procrastination prevails. I need to write a synopsis for each of my six novels if I am to successfully capture an agent of worth.

I am not condensed milk. I do not enjoy condensing my beloved historical characters, and all they have to say, into the present time and delete conversation. It feels as if I have put them in an electric dryer, deflowered them somehow. The plots are similar in difficulty, but not as gut-boiling. The setting, my swamp, hasn’t changed for thousands of years, except for manmade stuff. Still the process is stifling.

I have decided to mix this business around. I’ll do what needs to be done, but work on my WIP on the same day. I need the fluid bit to loosen my joints and enjoy this life.

Enough!

 

I was asked to keep my posts non-political. I do try.

Turn Left. Is this a physical or political command? Perhaps both.

Sunshine, at last! Yes, that is a political exclamation! You see, climate change – too much moisture makes clouds that block the sun for days, quite claustrophobic, but this is a swamp so I should hush right here, but I am not going to do that, nor end a sentence, even a run-on, on an infinitive.

Wind, clean air persistently brushing against my face; resisting my forward progress. Yes, that too is a political sentence.

“Get it? Got it. Good. Keep it.”  From a Danny Kaye movie, a really old one. My nephew would understand. Oh, all right, I’ll explain.

Progressive, resistant, and yet to persist. I did make it home.

During the walk to the left, I avoided judgement on the puddles, the beer cans and Styrofoam plates hidden near a church, and the damages Florence made to various piers, some struggling to reach into the lake. Hurricane Florence is to blame rather than Michael, because of her excessive moisture, again the moisture, a consequence of climate change, no doubt. Michael was more of a big bag of wind.

I that one a gender-biased statement?

Enough!

Not Walking Today

Just Listening

There’s a church behind my home. Do not start judging. I can’t either. I’ve never been inside and I’ve seen the front only once. It appears Christian because it has a steeple and when “Googled”, it reads that it is. I rarely see anyone walking outside, but then I am its backyard or it’s in mine.

Here’s the interesting part:

At 9a, 12p, 3p, and 6pm it correctly announces the hour in a subtle “Westminsterly” manner.

Wait! Here’s the better part:

It plays a hymn, only one verse, but still I find myself addicted. I stop and listen. It makes me wait a bit then I am flooded with memories: my childhood New England churches, my father’s voice, and my mother’s humming. The words often come to me, but not always. Sometimes I try to pick out the notes on my piano, whose lower F is devastatingly ill.

Again, wait! Here’s the Best Part:

It makes me smile.

Enough!

 

 

 

A few weeks ago I caught a short news documentary concerning a public school safety drill. This one was in a fourth grade class and, like a fire drill, everyone knew what to expect. All were rehearsed. With the exceptions of three visiting parents and the film crew, the children and teacher seemed normal.

The difference was the reason.

This was an Active Shooter Drill.

It sent chills to this retired public school teacher. Oh, we had practiced fire, tornado, and  the post 911 era lockdowns, but never because of guns. Since the painful nightmare of Sandy Hook, I wondered what I would do as the teacher, how would I react? Should we, as taxpayers, support police officers on our campuses? Should we arm teachers? That one really worried as I prayed for my precious granddaughters.

Then my antique-collecting memory brought forth a vision of diving beneath my own fourth grade wooden desk and slapping one arm over my eyes and one over my neck. Twisted into a ball, hoping my dress covered my white cotton panties, I waited for the teacher to announce, “You may come up now.” As children we wondered if we were really protected from an atomic bomb. Did our parents wonder why their children were still not safe after they had fought WWII?

Now, I wonder and worry why there’s little to no gun control. Why must our grandchildren learn “An Active Shooter Drill”?  In their future will they wonder what on earth were the adults were thinking?

Enough!

PS: Yes, I am drafting, revising, editing, and searching for an agent. Hopefully, after the midterms, I will be able to think less politically. Silly Me.

 

 

Happy Birthday

This is better late than never.

Today (no, last week) our flexible but fragile US Constitution is 231 years old; strong in ill-wind, but vulnerable to evil manipulations. We are strong and a wealthy nation. This equates to power. That power is converted by the greedy. Through decades of bribes, the gerrymandering of our election districts have managed to tilt the scales of our beloved justice and convinced the majority to ignore issues. Many of us, myself included, were not vigilant; did not listen, read, and research.

Now, our faces have been slapped. This behavior is similar to German history in the 1930’s. At this moment I am in a lovely 1931 home and I realized it was built during the world’s great depression by a wealthy family. The home was far and above the average possibilities. Did they manipulate the numbers or were they wisely informed and flexible?

Strange how our 231 years of constitutional living can be read on both sides of our coins.

Now, Hurricane Florence got the better of my internet; hence I’m late. Yet, my thoughts are recorded on my favorite yellow pads and I have managed to start revisions of my first novel, Swamp Run. I am now agent searching. “Just Sayin’ ”

Enough!

A Warning

For me to switch my reading genre from historical fiction to political non-fiction is shaking my world. I keep a sloppy romance on my phone to grab and re-read if I go into an attack of anxious fits; to escape, quite literally.

I recently read Madelaine Albright’s  Fascism: A Warning because I woke up the day after the last national election in shock.  Yes, I’m slow at reacting. Now, I want to know why. I know why I’m slow, but what happened? Why is the world more anxious than normal? Why are “we” mad at Canada of all places? Why are there border security checks in Maine? Why does this southerner shut her mouth when I want to scream? Why didn’t I see this coming?

Madame Secretary explains fascism through history and how in the past it too surprised the uninformed; the “Oh my God!” types like me. In her last chapter she asked the reader to be aware, to answer a few questions and if the answers were yes then we’re in trouble. Do you look for easy answers even when the problem is serious? Are hoping you will not be asked to give your opinion? Do our leaders value only the strong? Do our leaders claim to speak for everybody?

She pointed out a lesson. President Lincoln never mocked the downtrodden or bragged about his own accomplishments, nor exhibited personal cruelty. He had a “largeness of soul”.

Enough