Back to Work

In case you didn’t read the blog yesterday, I’m celebrating! I submitted my first chapter from my book, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the Nebraska Writers Guild, and they have judged it suitable for printing. I am over the moon about it, and celebrate over and over in my imagination.

And now, here we are, in the knowledge I’m really going to be a published author, aside from being published on my website. And no, I have no agent, but have a contract with NWG for Chapter One. Baby Steps! To get back in the swing of things, I need to look very carefully at the first six chapters and pick up from there. Glad the NaNoWriMo is coming up, It should be a good catalyst for connecting outline, thoughts, words, and paper. Woo Hoo! Picture me done with it before we know it!

Of course, all things are subject to change. How I know that! Flexibility is important if you want to create, especially during these times. Nothing is normal, you know? It was, then it wasn’t, and now we just aren’t sure. I truly hope our beautiful planet gets another thousand years or so. Maybe a grandchild will get an inspiration to save the planet!

It’s late, and I have no snappy jokes left for the evening. I hope you all are in a good place this evening, and that your tomorrow is wonderful. I’m going to make a priority tomorrow to communicate well. Yes, It’s a long shot, but it needs to be done. It will only do us all good. Ignore the smack about IG and FB behind a bad influence. It’s all crazy! More on that later. Let’s just decide for ourselves, ok? Hoping so, that you’ll think for yourselves. I am all about that. Take care, and know tomorrow is another day. Take care! See you tomorrow!

Good Monday Morning!

Here we are, holding our clean calendars for the month of October. Have you ever considered what possibilities lie in a nearly blank slate? Well, in theory, that is. None of us has a blank, virgin-like month ahead with no mental notes as to what we need to do, do we? Mine isn’t like September was, but it was a good month.

This month, I have a bunch of de-cluttering tasks I’d like to do in the next two days. My mental checklist has now become real. I wrote it down on a note-pad I have notes in for a lot of projects; Moving Veterans Forward Nebraska, Passwords Notes, TO DO Lists, and reviews of albums I’ve written. This one, however, will make the month go much easier. Clutter will be busted (burst?) and I won’t get distracted by my messiness.

I’m proud of the fact I’ve lost 5 more pounds on KETO (actually Dirty, Messy Keto); I now have a large wardrobe of jeans that fit again, and many that are too big. I love that best. I’ve had a battle with myself for my whole life. Now, ego has nothing to do with trying to lose. It has to do with what’s good for my body and (dis)abilities. Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, severe arthritis, severe chronic pain, and asthma are no fun. All that with 35 more pounds is miserable. The cooler air kicked up the asthma and arthritis. I need to dig into my passions (writing, quilting, sewing, learning to paint) to take my mind off all that. At this point, whatever else I can lose will be a bonus. Maybe 25 is a good number.

If you are just starting, don’t give yourself 60 pounds to lose all at once. You’ll get too discouraged and probably quit. It’s all human nature. If we were to give a child 18 years of learning all at once, they would not succeed; it is too much to wrap your head around, no matter how bright they are. If we gave a new music student a classical pianist’s hardest music, they would lose interest, get discouraged, and not want to go on. Set a lower goal – 5 or 10 pounds – and give yourself a lot of wiggle room, say a month. If you lose 15, you’ll be enthused and want to do more. The new tasks you have incorporated into your day will become habits you are dedicated to completing for your day to go well.

Baby steps. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. It’s all about perspective. Looking back, some of the jeans I can wear again were purchased the last time I lost a chunk of weight. It was the early 2000s. Are boot cut jeans back in style yet? Skinny Jeans are still ok, right? I’ll wear whatever I want. As long as they fit, they’re fine in my book. I’ve really come to love leggings and have many pairs. They fit like they should now, and are still serviceable. We’ll visit that again after the next 25 pounds are gone. And since I can sew, I have the fabric already for newer clothes. It’ll work out! If I could use all the fabric I’ve gathered over the years, the Babe would have a heart attack! It still could happen. If you’ve ever known a quilter or seamstress, you’d understand.

This blog # is in the mid 700s. I’m so proud of that, too. You know, for a woman who grew up in the 60s, that’s kind of hard to say out loud. It goes against all we learned as kids; women were supposed to be “meek,” submitting to men in every way, and never calling attention to themselves. Knowing your place was important during that era. But, late bloomer that I am, here we are. It feels good to finally admit you own yourself.

There are many areas I joke and say I lived my life backwards. Graduated, had kids young, went to college, graduated at 44, raised 3 kids alone, bought a house (a house of my own!), and proceeded to get married at 46 (I told the Babe to tell his friends his fiance just graduated from college. Lots of laughs!), and we’ve had a beautiful life together. I’m grateful down to my bones. We’ve survived so much, including each other (some days); Breast Cancer, Ischemic Heart Disease (thank you, Agent Orange), moving, ex’s, loss, gains, and life in general. Nothing’s been better than all of it. It’s called real life. No dysfunction left, it’s the real deal. And I’ll say until my dying day, it’s all been worth it. Every tear, every disagreement, every disclosure to my best friend, every fear shared and conquered.

Folks, have a beautiful day. It’s going to be in the 70s all week, and we’re going to enjoy every moment we can outside. It’s time for those nasty little black bugs you can barely see, but they bite hard. (No-See-Ums, biting midges, their bites are worse than mosquito bites and can last up to two weeks). They drive us inside. Maybe I need to got the deck and patio with something. Google, here I come! Thanks for sharing time today, see you tomorrow!

Sunday, Sunday!

This is a day just for the Babe and me. It’s our 23rd wedding anniversary! He joked for years he should be able to add the years for all his marriages together and have it “count.” I could do that, too, but they were not the happy married years since we were both very young. He had a lot of demons from Vietnam and I didn’t know how to defend myself verbally. I protected my kids, but not myself. I lived on tranquilizers to calm my roiling stomach down. After divorcing, I had no more stomach issues. Or tranquilizers. It was always him, and the uncertainty, coupled with his selfishness.

My first conversation with the Babe was unreal. He admitted his first marriage ended because he drank. His second ended because he quit. She still suffers from addiction problems. I was stunned at the honesty. Just what I was looking for!

It’s been a good mix of love, lessons, compromise, and learning together what’s important in both of our lives; separate identities that meld together nicely. We support each other well. It’s something I needed to become the person I am. He grew into the person he is right along with me. We are separate, yet whole together. I always believed this is how loving another adult person should be. We are lucky to have meshed with each other.

The Bad/Hard things? We are both stubborn. We both want our own way. The good/easier things? We both wonder “Is it really worth arguing over?” We have learned to compromise into a solution that works for us. And we both will yield to each other, despite what the Babe says. He’s a silly man, sometimes. All part of the charm, you know.

Addison had Homecoming over the weekend, and what a smart girl! She wore a dress different than everyone else’s. What class! I think she understands what that is, too. Aunts Sharon and Kathy, along with Grandma Sandy, they all had a lot of class in dressing. All different income levels, and all were classy and appropriate. It means a lot for a young woman to be that way. I’m proud of her.

We are excited we’ll be seeing Grandson Joell over this week. They will be visiting from Wednesday night until Sunday morning, I hear. It’ll be good to see the man he’s grown into. Can’t wait for pictures! Hope it’s a short week.

As we continue to celebrate each other the rest of the day, make sure you enjoy this beautiful day outside, and touch base with someone you enjoy. Celebrate each other, and remember how important they are in your life. I’m making a list of what I need to be thinking about during October. Let’s get busy! Take care, see you tomorrow!

From left, “Where Did The Time Go?”; Kathy & Dan 10-3-1998; “This Day, I Married My Friend”; Grandpa Dan, Addison, Grandma Kathy, last week. What a life we have!

Thoughtful Thursday

I noticed a mistake or two in last night’s late blog. I corrected and re-published. Having the newspaper blood in our veins, my brothers and I don’t like to see typos or obvious errors identifying people in photos. I am not perfect. And I’ll always try to correct my mistakes. We should give ourselves do-overs.

I read another thoughtful meditation this morning. “Would you rather be right or be happy?”

WOAH! What was that again? That could stop any argument in its tracks, wouldn’t it?? The article, written by Michael Easter, and is featured in Medium today. I found it fascinating. Most of the time we’re not right, we just want to “win.” What drives the human mind is odd. He points out time changes our position on ideas and things we “would die to keep.” The next day we could gladly give up what we didn’t die for the day before. It is definitely food for thought.

The Babe and I have a few disagreements now and then, we’re human. We’ve also reached a point in life where we know there are not a lot of things to argue about. We’d rather be happy. It’s something I’d suggest to everyone. You don’t always have to win or lose.

Interestingly enough, the meditation in my book was a quote from Voltaire. “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Instead of praying to God to spare you from pain, ask Him for strength to get through the pain, whatever it is, and to gain a better understanding of our lives.

The sun is finally shining today. It’s chillier than it’s been, but the blue sky is so welcome. I believe it brightens everyone’s mood and helps restore our collective sanity. Doom and gloom hammers away at a person’s mood.  I have to check myself. A little self-care to maintain an even keel is worth it. Awareness is crucial in our world. We don’t live in a vacuum. Our interactions with others, however small they are, affect other people. An unexpected smile is worth a lot. Share one of yours!

Time to work on our VFW Post 2503 website. We had a terrific St. Patrick’s Day Dinner yesterday and a good time was had by all. People enjoy seeing events posted. I’d better get busy so the news is current! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. I’ll see you tomorrow! Be Safe out there. Be Kind. We all need it. And Be Courteous. The world needs it.

But WAIT! There’s MORE . . .

Snow in the forecast today, Thursday, and Sunday. That’s as of this minute. It’ll do what it does. No need to fret about it. Isn’t fret a fabulous word? (My guitar playing friends won’t like this definition of the word.) To fret is to worry.

In contrast, Wikipedia defines it as a guitarist would. Fretting is wear and sometimes corrosion damage at the asperities of contact surfaces. (Yes, that’s what HE said). But to use the old definition of it, worry (fretting) erodes at your happiness and mental health if it goes long enough. I get it. People don’t like the snow, and I’m getting a little tired of it myself. It is a part of our lives in Nebraska. I prefer to concentrate on the beauty rather than the bother involved with it.

Yes, I have shoveled mountains of snow when I was a single mom. We lived on a busy corner, with a bus stop at our front sidewalk. It required extra care. The City trucks always buried us when they went by. I have done my fair share of removal. When my back went bad, the kids were great at helping. Of course we lived at the top of a hill with little snow removal. It made for all kinds of fun. At least my kids all learned a vital skill – driving in snowy Nebraska winters.

I didn’t even notice until this morning yesterday’s blog didn’t publish. I forgot I had to change my Facebook password yesterday. I share the blog to Facebook upon publishing. It didn’t work and held the whole deal up. Sorry about my inattention.

Yesterday about noon my good day derailed, and the result was a poor attitude. I try extra hard when that happens to not be b*% ^. I think I succeeded. And then the e-mail I’ve been waiting for arrived. It’s all good now. I need to remember sooner when I get overwhelmed (and I do it to myself!) with too much to do, too little time, too much to learn, I get stressed. The best cure it to stop working and do something you need. I took a nap. Then I read.

Later in the day, I looked at the reading material I keep next to my recliner. It was all books for learning – there was not one there to read for “fun.” I gathered them all up and put them on my desk extension for later. My brain is tired. It wants to have some fun. So it will have some fun. Timing was right for my latest Amazon order – in the blizzard like conditions of yesterday, they delivered three separate packages!

What a Haul from Amazon Yesterday!

Besides another copy of Corgi’s in the Wild, a children’s book by my friend author Gabbie Weick; Rachael Ray’s small grater; a cheat sheet for using Publisher with a small book of “How to Learn Microsoft Publisher QUICKLY!” (I’ve used Publisher before, but need a refresher and reference); I received new author Joshua Berkov’s two books; The Enlightenment of Angeline, and The Enlightenment of Esther.

Joshua Berkov is a Librarian by day. The rest of his author blurb from the back cover tells of his education, his life with his partner and two cats, and how he loves to make people laugh. Because of the making people laugh, I ordered both books. It’s the balance I need right now. I’ll let you know how they were. I love the description of the principal character; “Angeline Sims is no shrinking violet. She’s tough, opinionated, and bossy, and she’s got a bone to pick with nearly everyone in her life.” She sounds like my mom! And HER Mom! Uh-oh. Don’t let me use that phrase, ever. OK? If you don’t, we can’t be friends.

I Think We’ve All Known Ladies Like These!

With a renewed confidence and a surprise announcement to make soon, I’m going to write in my novel right now. Katie Fitzgibbons has been busy; therefore, I have been, too! I’ll get a good writing session in today. Then, time to watch Patrick Mahomes and his KC Chiefs annihilate Tom Brady and crew. In between, I’ll read about Angeline’s enlightenment. It’s going to be a wonderful Sunday with the Babe and our pups.

Hope your day is fabulous, too. Cozy up with a beverage and snack, it’s that kind of day. Thank you for reading. I welcome you back tomorrow, too. Be Safe. Take Care.

Wednesday, Joell’s Birthday!

How is everyone out there doing tonight? All across America, people are picking up ingredients themselves, ordering online for pickup or delivery, and changing menus accordingly. We’re having our first Thanksgiving in quite a while without family. We usually travel for Thanksgiving/Joell’s Birthday, but this year we’re all being safe. I feel for the young man, we all have so much fun with family and friends together. It just isn’t safe right now. Even when you’re the ripe old age of thirteen, you still look forward to your birthday. I’m a lot older than he is, and I love my birthday. Only one day of 365 is yours. Unless you’re a twin or other multiple; or unless you’re born on the same date, another family member celebrates their birthday. Joell, sorry we have to miss this one, and I hope you’re finding something fun to do today.

Birthdays have always been my favorite. Sure, Christmas is great, but it’s not yours only. And I hear the poor kids unlucky to be born near Christmas get cheated. My dad was born on January 1, 1924. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa could get many gifts during those years, pre and post depression-era. Granddaughter Addison shared birthday’s with her Grandma Sandy. Our family lost her several years ago to lung cancer, but we still remember her in heaven. It was nice to celebrate with both of them.

Joell amazes me every time we are with him. He has a very kind heart, one you do not see often in some kids now. He is polite, walking in crowds, waiting to speak when it’s appropriate, it’s all what kids learn from their parents. The other grandkids are, too, but this is his birthday, and I hope he knows how very special he is. As we looked back on my Facebook photos over the past years, we’ve seen him grow up again, right before our eyes, all in one day. Happy Birthday, Joell! We love you!

So as we go back to figuring out how to make some Keto substitutes for the traditional meal, we’re aware these changes and sacrifices our family is making to keep Covid away will be worth it. We look forward to spending time together again. It may not be as soon as we like, but we will be able to, whenever we all feel safe.

I spent the morning with my Mom, delivering her Mince Pie. To tell the truth, I tried to taste the mince filling. From the smell, I had to pass. Something sweet with apples and raisins should not have beef in it. She was quite excited. The epitome of the times happened between us today. She asked if she could hug me; I said ok. Over and over she told me how much she missed me. Wow. She’s never said that before. The Babe and I quarantined after our friends became ill from Covid. We remained well, but we try not to be around her after being elsewhere. She’s ok with that. It was a pleasant visit, and I was at home in time to bake some Keto Pumpkin Bars, and a loaf of Keto Bread.

We’re not getting too crazy tomorrow, it will be so nice to just sit and drink coffee until we feel like stopping. We rarely have that pleasure anymore. Life goes too quickly and we need these odd days to spend together. I hope you enjoy however you spend your day. I will think about the fun we can have in 2021, at Joell’s fourteenth birthday!

Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous, Be Patient. These times are trying, and I’ve learned myself anyone can snap. Learn to forgive yourself if you do. Apologize and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Focus more on continuing on your journey to finish this life in the best way you can. Be positive. Be Careful. Be Safe.

Thankful Thursday

It’s been pretty busy here at Raabe Ranch today. I had a great book talk with Sam Tyler, my coach this morning. I’m feeling a little sad because we agreed to take December “off,” and resume in January 2021. By now, I feel I’ve learned enough of what I didn’t know before that I can proceed on my own, with good guidance from a couple of books certain authors have written to guide other writers in their trade. Changes are hard, and I know we have become friends along the way. That is the best benefit.

I finished with shopping for the VFW Post donation to the homeless vets being served through Moving Veterans Forward. I’ll accompany the founder and CEO, Ron Hernandez, and a couple other people to deliver the goods where they will do the most good. It will be another lesson in the story of life. Some are sad, some are happy. Some show impressive growth, others bear substantial loss.

I mentioned yesterday about facing mortality, as Michael J Fox talks about his retirement from acting after his last couple of years of struggles with health issues. In the past five to ten years, we have lost a bunch of friends and family, mostly from cancer. As I went through my Facebook friends list, deciding on who to invite to like my author page, I am struck by how many of those people were no longer with us. The old-fashioned address book is even worse.

I think of all the people I’ve loved, liked, and had fun with. Fun friends from school, church, groups we’ve belonged to, and friends of friends. It’s a whole unique group of people you collect throughout your life, and if they’ve been with you for a long time, they really become part of you, and you become part of them. Friends, wonderful friends, are worth so much. It’s a pleasure being a part of their lives, just as it’s a pleasure to have them in your life. The world is so much better with them.

Today, start making the most of however much time you have left on this earth. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 95. You can make the most of the rest of your life by starting now. Start today. Be positive. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Grateful. Always leave home on a pleasant note. You never know how life can change in eight or ten hours. Be free of regrets. It makes a tremendous difference in your life.

Although it is late, I appreciate you reading. Tomorrow’s blog will be later in the day, too. The delivery of goods to homeless shelters for Veterans is going to be quite a story. There, but by the grace of God, go I. See you tomorrow. Stay safe out there.

Woo Hoo, Time Crunch!

First, I need to make a correction. Yesterday I mentioned Detective Herrera was to be buried at the Omaha National Cemetery, I was wrong. He will be buried in Lincoln. He is not only a Lincoln, Nebraska Police Officer, he is also an Army Veteran. This man served us well in many, many ways. Sorry for the confusion on my part.

Today is another rainy, dreary day. I’m starting to get a little down in the dumps, but will make a comeback. It’s going to be better, I just have to make up for lost time and get a some writing done. I’m still working on character origin stories, and so far have Katie’s husband John, her dad, and her mother. In between learning some new things with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and WordPress.

Photo by Ludvig Hedenborg on Pexels.com

Now, it’s time to finish homework today and tomorrow. This work is fun, assigning character traits that are negative yet also thinking of how they could be good under the not so good. People are the model for these behaviors. And we all know how interesting they are!

Photo by Coco Championship on Pexels.com

Do you ever people watch? The Babe does a lot. Sometimes I don’t even notice that he is. He watches interactions between people and is especially honed in on older people and little children. He is always the first one to jump up and help hold the door or otherwise help an older person. He was like this with his mom who had MS. Watching that made me know he’d always look out for me. And he does.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

When he watches little children, babies play hide and seek with him, they smile and wave at him, and play hard to get. Kind of like I did. Haha! They are a joy to watch, and you just hope they have a happy and safe environment to grow up in. Such sweetness is missed when you don’t have babies in close contact with you anymore.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

There is nothing so sweet as a baby just learning to smile and respond to you. The whole world usually takes notice. There are, however, some people who don’t stop and gush (like we do) over a stranger’s baby. And that’s ok. Some people may mistake our interest in a bad way. I usually try to tell them our youngest grandkids live far away, and we just have to share the love. We don’t touch or bother them. It’s pretty sweet, really. Most young parents are open to it. Who doesn’t thing their baby is the cutest, smartest, and best?

I’m going to dig in and accomplish a lot today, not just writing, but around the house too. I plan to spend as much time as possible outside next week. The forecast appears to have every day with a sun icon on it. What IS that strange ball of fire in the sky, anyway? It’s going to be great to see it again.

Take care! Be safe. Let’s do this Saturday up right. I appreciate you spending time with me, and I’ll see you tomorrow! Thanks, let’s go do this!

Magical Monday

Today was bittersweet. Mom asked me to take her to the ENT today. We made a stop at her favorite Half Price Bookstore afterwards. She has terrific trouble with her vision from a stroke several years ago and has extremely poor hearing, even with hearing aids. Either of these things will cause a person to be isolated from the rest of us. She has not wanted to attend the last couple luncheons for the retiree group from my dad’s job at the Omaha World Herald, and has turned down invitations to the two wedding receptions our family is looking forward to. It’s probably part due to her age and infirmary, and part due to more isolation because of COVID-19. Last November, she was not comfortable attending the wedding of a one of her favorite grandsons, because she wouldn’t be able to hear the ceremony.

The Old Days . . . Come and Gone.

I can see a vulnerability in Mom I have not seen before. She is aging, she has taken excellent care of herself, and that can be a double-edged sword. Her independence has been reigned in due to limitations. I’m eternally grateful she quit driving on her own. With her hearing issue, it was easy for her to get rattled in traffic. It was hard at first, but we went on in-town errands and always had lunch. The first Wednesday of the month was always Shopko day. She’d stock up on paper products and what not. We’d ooh and aah at the baby clothes and laugh at goofy things. It was fun. I’m sad Shopko closed, it appears she’s kind of been declining bit by bit since then.

Of course it’s expected, especially at her age. She’ll be 91 later this month, and I’m astonished at that. She hasn’t had an easy life. Our Dad worked nights, and she was in charge 24/7. I was a junior in high school before he transferred to working days. Our two younger brothers had Dad at home while they were in high school. They had different parents than my older brother and I did. It was different at the end of the 1960s when we graduated from high school. Our younger brothers graduated in the mid 1970s, a much different time. A different generation.

We lost Dad in 1988, just after he retired. It was so unfair for him. He worked hard all his life to provide for his family and never got to enjoy retirement. He died six months after he retired. Half of the time he was fighting cancer, the other half, he was home alone while Mom tended to her dying mother with her sisters. Grandma died in September, Dad in December. What a burden on Mom. No time for grieving, there was business to attend to.

Sometimes I think it’s harder for someone to release their independence if they’ve had it for a long period of time. If you’re still independently living in your 80s, it will be hard if you have your wits about you and you need to give some independence up. Many older people don’t get a real choice, some tragic circumstance dictates the end of their driving, or living alone, or walking without assistance. Mom was really brave to give up driving when she did. It could have come sooner in my opinion, because I could see how shook up she would get in traffic.

When the low income high rises were popular in the 1970s, Mom swore if she had to live in one of those, she’d die a slow death, filled with misery. She helped my brother Steve with his South Omaha Sun paper route, and saw the inhabitants of the 10 – 12 story high rises first hand. After her mother died, she swore she would leave her affairs in good order. For that, my brothers and I are grateful. We know she’ll leave us someday. It’s just a matter or when. It will be unexpected, but it will still cause sadness.

But we will celebrate her because she did the darndest things (quote from her mother-in-law). She was a docent at the Zoo for over 25 years. Babysat the baby gorillas and orangutans in the nursery, and was on tiger-birth watch if a female tiger would start labor in the middle of the night. She might call me up and say, “If you call late at night and you can’t reach me, I’ll be at the Zoo, doing . . . .” We’d tease the hell out of her, but were always glad she was so active and out and about.

So yes, we’re grateful. And sad at the same time. She’s having a hard time not being able to go about her life. And we have to be patient even in the worst moments. My two younger brothers are good men and help her out a lot. Taking care of a house is a chore at 91. Heck, it is at 68, too. But at least I have the Babe. Another thing my brothers and I are be blessed with; she has wonderful neighbors, who help her, and who scold her when she’s pulling weeds where she shouldn’t be. Thank you, David _________. We appreciate it!

So as I recall her telling me the ENT’s mother (also in her 90s) was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor before her cleaning lady came over, and how she was scolded by her son the doctor, I will also remember the story of her pulling weeds in an unsafe area. The neighbor simply said, “What do you think you’re doing?” several times, relieved her of her bucket and loppers, and waiting in the driveway until she went inside the house, and say, “You kinda are doing silly things too, that aren’t good for you.” She laughed, and said, “Well, I suppose so.” And all I can say is, “Rosemary; you do the darndest things!”

Tuesday Trifles

Trifles are defined as insignificant, or things that should not considered important. That’s as a noun. As a verb, trifles is showing a sexual attraction to someone just for fun, or spending time in aimless activity. Wasn’t there a Star Trek episode with Trifles? Little furry creatures? Oh no, a quick Google tells me they were Tribbles. We’re safe from them for now.

So much of our language is changing over our lifetimes. My piano teacher spoke with elegance and used the word trifle. I remember her very well, a kindly old lady from the neighborhood. I was so excited to take lessons. I walked across the street and over one house to her home. She wore typical granny-type dresses and shoes, always a dress, wore her hair in a bun. She could play piano quite well. I do wish I would have practiced more, I could have been good. Kids never realize what opportunities they have – or shall I say many kids don’t realize? I didn’t. I did play the organ in Church, though, from sixth grade until eighth grade. Then I just quit.

I hung out with Joyce Zagurski, a girl I rode the bus with, and I also knew her from our neighborhood. I always thought she was an only child, but she did have a brother quite a bit older than she. Her parents were quite a bit older than mine were. Last I heard, she worked selling cars. Kind of a surprise, since she was kind of shy. But then, I was too.

When I first started to dabble (or trifle?) with writing, of course I joined a lot of mailing lists. As I’ve learned to narrow my focus on information, many of these are unsubscribed to right now. The pertinent ones still make it to my writers inbox. I subscribe from Mary Adkins, who is an author and a writing coach. She is offering some good classes on writing, I will sign up for a couple. I printed and kept an article, called “5 Writing Rules I Broke, to Sell My First Novel.”

From my kitchen sink window

Adkins says there are 5 writing myths:

#1 – Write what you know

#2 – All First Drafts are S*&^

#3 – A writer writes every day

#4 – Show, Don’t Tell

#5 – Learn the Rules Before You Break Them

I find this interesting.

Writing what you know should put you at an advantage; writing what you don’t know stretches your knowledge, you expand your thinking, you learn to use imagination. It is frightening yet exhilarating. Your fire is fueled by gaining confidence in a new arena.

All first drafts need to be edited. Over and over. My original book is probably going to be a sequel or two. In the midst of having over 50K words, I reached a point where I decided the backstory was so important the story needed a prequel. I’m sure that original manuscript will be edited within an inch of it’s life, but I would just say it needs improvement.

A writer writes every day. They might. If they have a day job, kids, elderly parents, it would be hard to make the time. I do write every day, even if it’s this blog. And just like writing fiction, some days are good, some are not. I know that, and I hope you all understand. It’s pretty important.

Show, don’t tell. Sometimes, you have to tell. Telling is stating a character’s thoughts and feelings. Showing is describing the character’s actions. Adkins refers to her favorite book on craft, The Making of a Story, has information on doing both. With practice, a writer learns how to do this. I’m practicing every day.

Learning rules before breaking rules? Adkins’ truth is learn the reasoning before taking rules seriously. Use rules as guidelines to make writing easier, not restrictive. This makes sense to me, at this moment in time. I’m looking forward to the workshops, one a month for the next three months.

Thanks for reading today. We’re taking Gavin (grandson) to lunch today, then attending his ball game at 5:30 p.m. Perfect ending to a perfect day! Be kind, wash up, mask up, be thoughtful, and let’s make each others day better. Be safe!