I Formed My Habits; and My Habits Formed My Future. – j.t.

Wow! That must make me accountable for what I’ve done! Well, I guess we all are. Aren’t we? Yes, even before we knew better and learned what NOT to do. The sooner we accept that, the better outcomes we’ll have. After all, our habits, good or bad, are learned in our environment.

When we’re kids, we’re at our parent’s mercy. Really, we are. They can only do as well as they know how to do. And it goes on and on, until someone realizes the habits aren’t healthy and they need something different in their lives. The one who raises issue with “how it’s always been” is usually criticized unmercifully. But then again, they’re kind of used to it. Put downs sting, but you don’t let on people hurt you. You have a quick wit to answer all sorts of accusations. But inside, you’re dying. And it’s your family who can hurt the most. After all, they have the best ammunition to use. Old habits die hard.

Fifty-one years ago, I got married for the first time. He had a low draft number (bad reason to get married!), and it seemed likely he’d go to Vietnam, like every boy from high school who didn’t go to college. Of course, Mom was against it, but we knew better, as every 18 and 19 year old can tell you. Mom was 19 when she married Dad, and he was 25. If she could have explained why “you just shouldn’t,” I may have listened. Or not. She said if I was getting married, she would plan it or it wouldn’t happen. She planned everything. She is a person who must be in control, so she was in her glory.

In 1982, 11 1/2 years later, I told her I was getting a divorce. Her only comment was, “My grandchildren will starve.” I felt surer they wouldn’t. They didn’t. Her habit is controlling, and she reacts with anger when things don’t fall into place. I had one person, my Aunt Carol, who knew why I had to leave. I was becoming an angry person. I didn’t want to be like Mom was. I love her still, and she honed her habits out of survival in the home and environment she grew up in. She can’t help it, and may not want to at this point. I feel sorry for her inasmuch as she holds her anger like a shield, and is constantly in react mode.

The events of the last month have made an impact on her. She is no longer angry and confrontational about using her walker; she sees it as freeing, she can get around better with less physical danger. Finally! Some progress. Her habits can change. And it will impact her future by enabling her to stay in her beloved home longer. How much longer? I’d be foolish to guess, it’s whenever God decides she needs to go somewhere else.

I’ve had a lot of mindsets/habits to change in my life. Equality for women was a big thing I had to recognize and participate in. Luckily, I continued my education while working and entered the I/T field, where you are paid according to your skills. I personally disliked the old wives tale of analysts not being able to communicate effectively, I was able to show our internal customers I could communicate well and participate in problem solving while speaking to them in English, not tech talk.

I raised my kids with encouragement and support. I wanted them to be independent people, they all learned how to clean, do laundry, and cook. They also knew they would be punished if they did things that were wrong. They knew I would trust them until I couldn’t, and that would be on them. I know we were a good family. Now, we’re in three different states and rarely see one another. Sure, I miss them. I also remember I taught them to take care of themselves, and that’s what they’re doing.

What habits do I need to change? Several. We’ll talk about that another day. What habits do you need to change? Are you willing to do the work? It takes consistency towards a new behavior to change a habit. Working out, eating healthy, losing weight, lowering your blood sugar, all take a big effort. You can get there to do anything you decide you can do. Even change your life! I did. I’m so grateful for these last 40 years of not being married to the father of my kids. I would never have made all these good changes with him. He wanted everything to remain exactly the same as it was in 1970. And that just couldn’t be for me.

I’m grateful to those who are in this part of my journey. The Babe is very supportive of my writing. The kids are, too. I’m grateful for that. Yes, everything is going to be ok. I know in my heart it will. Just go to Plan B. I’m going to thrive at this time in life. You can too. Shall we go together? Let’s!

Sharing these books as the ones I want to devour in the next month or so. Women authors, a couple friends, a couple Facebook friends. Supporting each other. I finished Tammy Marshall’s “Ticker Tape,” yesterday. It was great. I’ll go into more detail another day. And I love Rebecca Cooper’s FB shares. So raw. So real. And Carol Gino! She makes me think about things. I love her stories about angels all around us. Joy Johnson Brown’s The BOOB Girls Books! I do believe she may have been my older sister in another life. Go figure! We just need to be aware. Be aware today. Let’s talk about that another day. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Have a beautiful day, see you tomorrow!

My Fall Picks to Read.

“Play Ball!”

Life repeats itself. Since Gavin was born, nearly nine years ago, his sister Addison has competed in dance competitions across the region. This weekend is no exception. Gavin asked if he could hang out with us instead of driving in the van with Addison and her team to Tulsa this weekend. I thought this was fitting.

LEFT: Grandpa giving Gavin his bottle. Note the Baseball!
RIGHT: Gavin having his second bowl of Frosted Flakes. Double header today.


So, eight years later, on the same weekend, we’re hanging out with Gavin. I may work a little around the house, then join the boys after the first game begins. It’ll be a perfect day for it. I get little done when he’s here. I don’t care; what I’m supposed to get done when he’s here is spend the time with him. What a job, I’m lucky to get to do it. Blessings all around.

Last night, he asked me if he could do Word Search on my phone. He’s such a smart kid, it impressed him I was on Level 633. He commented it was harder than it looked. I told him he was solving the grown-up Word Search, not the kid one. He brightened up immediately. I think this game is just as good as reading sometimes. It helps him learn and keeps my brain working. Win/Win for Grandson and Grandma!

I’m a little puzzled by the way I’ve been feeling lately. It appears when I’m in a creative and learning mode, I can have a lot of understanding and enlightenment about my writing, my business, all the marketing involved, and I’m full of energy. I feel like I could slay dragons after those sessions. And then, I may go sit where the heating pad can comfort my twisted muscles and spine. Within twenty minutes or so, I’m exhausted and get nothing done the rest of the day. Do other creatives experience this? If you do, help a girl out and drop me a message or comment here. I’m perplexed why this happens and wonder if it’s from creating?

There is so much talk (and I believe it) creativity is like giving birth. I know that was very tiring and rewarding. I expect publishing my kids’ books will be, too. Right now, I have some house projects that need to be finished. Other things do, too. And yet, I need to have a day or two for a quilt I’m itching to work with. It’ll all work out. It always does.

As I continue along reading the book by musician Ben Folds, “A Dream About Lightning Bugs,” I marvel at the way his creative mind works. He tells of creative visualization and how it resonated with him. Eureka! Maybe that’s what I’m doing. As he says, “results fueled by temporary delusion.” That makes me laugh, but it’s true. He describes visualizing what isn’t currently happening as making you a little crazy. And being crazy zaps energy. Eureka! Could that be why I’m so drained after writing and learning every morning? Working towards what you visualize “scratches the itch.” Makes perfect sense to me. With my birthday in a few weeks, it couldn’t be from age, could it? Hmmmm. Be careful how you answer that!

If you’d like to read Ben Folds’ book, it’s “A Dream About Lightening Bugs,” and is available on Amazon, etc.

As we trek to the ball field again this Saturday, I’m grateful for much warmer weather today. Way better than last week was; no coats today. Shade and sunscreen are the order of the day. Thanks for reading, I hope you have a fabulous day. We will. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Let’s pay things forward or backward. Do something for someone. You’ll feel great. See you tomorrow.

Ideas Explosion

Either it’s the pleasant weather or something is happening in my brain right now. We’re involved with events coming to the VFW Post in the next couple months and beyond, and my writing is waiting, along with my setting out the kids’ book, and I decided I need to make an extensive list. I need to write everything that occurs to me in this flurry of creative ideas. I need to listen to my brain, as it’s speaking what’s in my heart right now. It’s helping to define what I want to do with my life at this point. I love it. I will not question it, just let it flow and simmer.

It was too chilly to sit on the deck in our new chairs last night. Hopefully, we’ll catch some new chair time today. Yes, we’ll make it happen. Today is also another Carol Gino Zoom meeting which I’m going to watch. No title yet, but it’s a series about finding your soul’s purpose. I’m going to take a stab at writing books to help people, kids and adults, deal with life’s hard situations.

The header photo today is the beautiful glass blown work of Dale Chihuly. He is an American sculptor and has a similar display at Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum. I love the color, the light, and everything with it. I could stare at it for a long time. It gives me joy. I wear bright colors most of the time, because they’re happy. I want to spend my life that way. Yes, I have had many losses, grave situations, and a host of terrible events in life. I cannot let them weigh my soul down. God’s been too good to me to not thank him every day for the blessings. To share a friendly attitude with the world. I think my brain, with all of its ideas this week, may even reflect this beautiful photo. I can only hope. Of course I’ll share. We’ll figure it out together.

We had a brief break on the sunny deck in our new rocking chairs. While rocking, my mind went back many, many years. 1971, 1975, and 1979, and rocking my babies. I loved doing that. In the middle of the night, I recall holding them after they were asleep, just listening to them breathe. That is truly a sacred time, between a Mother and child. To think of everything they both go through during pregnancy and childbirth, it’s amazing what God has created. I haven’t had a rocker for years. I plan to spend many hours rocking, reading, doing crafts, and enjoying the scenery. It feels like a vacation when we sit there. God has been so good to us. Yes, we both have done a lifetime of hard work, and we are nothing but grateful.

Enjoy the rest of your day. Get outside if possible. Look at the sky, the wonder of the earth, and feel the sun on your face. We’re lucky to have such a beautiful planet. Full of possibilities. And full of goodness, despite all the bad things that go on. You have to look for it. And create more of it. Create your own. Make it a wonderful world. Thank you for reading, I’m headed to the patio. See you tomorrow!

Thursday Tidbits

I’m sharing a video today of a show from Nebraska News Network, called Quarantine Tonight. Last night, they featured a local band, the Ken Sitler Band. They play Eagles, Pearl Jam, Rock and Roll, and some original songs. Very accomplished musicians. I believe in broadening my musical horizons. It’s a good show, and different from my normal taste. And I like it! You may, too.

Orestes said, “Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live.” How very true that is. Why? When I was young, I thought my only life and goal was to be a wife and mother. I honestly knew in my heart I would die, I would cease to exist if anything happened to my husband or children. God showed me that wasn’t true.

When my oldest son drowned and was revived the summer between kindergarten and first grade, I felt that fact hit me square in the face. My son was in the hospital with possible brain damage, and I was still functioning. I was still taking care of his little brother Nick, I was still pregnant with my daughter, and God sent me many messages that blew my childish beliefs out of the water.

My marriage fell apart, and I didn’t die. Instead, I flourished. God gave me the courage to live, and to make my life so much fuller by leaving. It’s been such a great experience these last nearly 40 years. Sometimes you have to break things apart to make them whole again. I learned. I grew. I flourished. My son was normal, and he’s a very special spirit. I’m sure he saw God that day. He had more things to do. He’s one of the happiest and calmest people I have ever met. I do think my daughter felt my emotional turmoil when the accident happened. I don’t think that can be hidden from a baby growing inside of a mother’s body. I worried she would have issues upon her birth. She didn’t. I was so grateful.

I stood against the destructive patterns I formed and observed growing up. I didn’t treat my kids as I was treated. In doing that, I probably missed giving them what they needed; I gave them what was missing from me. If I could have a re-do, I’d take it. But I can’t. All I can do is ask for forgiveness where it’s appropriate. Create healthier boundaries, guidelines for what I’ll tolerate and what I won’t. Respect demands that of us. We were meant to live bigger than we do. I’m learning some of that with Carol Gino this week. She is a very wise woman about how spirits work in our lives. I’ve had that happen, with my son drowning and when my dad died. It’s quite powerful.

It’s up to us where our lives are headed. Yes, we can choose to be stagnant. Or we can choose to grow and evolve. It’s easy to curl up and want to die. It’s hard to stand and face the fury of life. The strength you can develop is unbelievable at first, until you grow to rely on it. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of what you’ve hidden because God knows why. Don’t hide your light anymore. Show it to the world. Your story could be just what someone needs to hear. Thank you for reading today. Be Kind. Be Courageous. Gain Strength. Gain Resolve. Use your superpowers for good. See you tomorrow. Be Careful out there!

Acceptance

As people living on this earth, we’re never done growing and improving. It doesn’t matter if you’re an addict in recovery or a person simply trying to be a better person. We will never be finished! That is the blessing and the curse of being a person in this imperfect world.

It’s difficult to admit we’re not perfect. But you know what? After you are honest with yourself, it’s quite a load off your mind and soul. Accepting you’re not perfect helps a lot. And God loves us just as we are. He’ll give us every last chance there is, that’s how much he loves us. If nothing gives you goosebumps, that should. We get a lifetime of do-overs. What luck!

As we grow and change, we may or not want what we wanted ten or twenty years ago. That is especially true of things that keep us from achieving what we need to achieve in our lives. I have learned that despite the fact I only ever wanted to be a Mom, there are many, many years beyond being a Grandmother that can yield some awesome things; creations you’ve always dreamed of, getting to do more than you ever thought possible, and learning more than you could imagine.

There is a vitality in learning. In taking risks to do something you’ve never done before. In putting yourself out there for the world to see. Some will love what you do. Some will not. Will that stop you? I think not. As you go along, you have a new community you enter. Other people who love what you do. Others who understand your new found passion. Others who encourage you. It’s grand. Some will not be happy for you. Some will not understand why you want to work so hard when you’re retired. And that’s fine. You remember where you came from. You still love your people. You are not willing to accept the status quo. You want to push your limits, within reason. “Go for it,” I say! Why not?

We’re all born to reach towards love. We all reach towards our needs, in love and in life. Some lessons we learned weren’t universal. We are lovable. We can love. Our ideas aren’t wrong or crazy. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re wrong or crazy. Since I almost always had my own room, I practically lived there while I was growing up. The old Beach Boys song, “In My Room” was one I related to on every level. I drew, designed fashion, wrote plays, and tried to draw. Mom always said, “You should quit trying to draw people. They’re terrible!” Thanks, Mom. I’d like to learn how to someday. My bucket list is long, and has numerous items like learning to paint. Learning to draw. Finish every quilt I’ve ever loved. All creative endeavors. My soul feels so good while I’m writing, learning, sewing, quilting, all the stuff I love to do.

I’m gradually carving more time out for all of this by correcting my bad habits that sabotage me. I’m not scolding myself when I fail. Some days I do. It’s ok. Tomorrow I won’t. Baby steps towards more life in my hours. And being positive. I would have never made it this far if I hadn’t always tried to be positive. So far, it’s worked for me.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, author, nurse, and companion to Mario Puzo, Carol Gino is holding a three day Facebook Challenge about discovering the rest of your soul – and adding a new level of consciousness to your life. I am very interested in this. I believe it will be an asset to me to learn what she has to teach me. Because of certain close calls in life (my son’s drowning, my other son’s ruptured appendix, and things surrounding my dad’s death), I think there is something there, inside of me, that I need to find and release. I believe it should be enlightening. Join us if you’d like. 2 p.m. CDT. Soul Star Academy on FB.

Thanks for reading today. We’ve had three weather changes already today, and it’s only 12:11 p.m. Rain, Sun, Rain while Sunny, and now more sun. Crazy. There’s a closet calling to me. It’s my spot to de-clutter today. Onwards, to better habits, folks! Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be back tomorrow. I know I will. See you then!

Remnants and New Horizons

If you know the Babe and me personally, you know I have supplies for a bunch of hobbies. And I mean a bunch. There is a giant closet full of fabric of all kinds. Partial Bolts, large pieces for specific projects, remnants that go with my stash for quilts and clothing, and fat quarters (no, it’s not a body part), fat eighths, pre-cuts, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Cinnamon Rolls, it all sounds so delicious! Those are all the names of certain cuts of fabrics for quilts. It’s a vast collection. And I swear I have a use for it all. It’s not hurting anyone, and it’s not eating anything, so it’s fine. Of course, when the Babe talks about it, I could mention the barn-shaped shed, the woodworking tools, all that. We won’t go there.

Those remnants and bolts are important to me for future projects. Just as are the manuscripts I looked at yesterday are important to the author’s journey I’m on. It’s gearing up this year. It’s time. Now or never? No, not that extreme. It’s becoming important to move into it. Call it intuition; call it timing; call it what you want. I’m ready. Let’s go!

There are people to contact, questions to ask, formats to learn, photos or drawings?; What font? What do kids like? I feel like I’m on the high dive at the Olympics! Have I mentioned I can’t swim? Terrifying yet exhilarating. Woo hoo. I hope you’ll stay with me. We’ve come this far.

As my new friend Carol Gino taught me in her book, “Me and Mario” (the story of her twenty-year relationship with Mario Puzo, author of the Godfather), Puzo said a story is like making a quilt. (Boy, did this make sense to me!) I can take these parts of a story (pre-cuts, layer cakes, bolts, and so forth) and put them together. Through the magic of ProWritingAid and editing software, I can rearrange the pieces in any order, until it reaches the most pleasing arrangement.

Today is all about a beginning. Keeping parts of what is important. Building on those pieces. Adding more when you see fit. Changing things that don’t work. Being brave to be yourself. Be brave enough to tell your stories. My musician friends have done that very thing all year. Facebook Live got a workout. They established Venmo accounts. Survival is what it’s about now for them. As soon as you can, go see live music again. Please! They need your support now more than ever.

As I write a to-do list for me through the month of January 2021, know how grateful I am for your support all this time. We’ve met nearly 500 times through my blog. Thank you for being here! I’m off to pick up groceries (it saves me so much time!) and stow them. Then write the e-mails, etc. for creating the LLC, contacting the illustrator, all stuff that’s overwhelming and exciting. Who says retirement is boring? Not me, never! Blessings on all of you.

Christmas Eve Day, 2020

Gosh, what to do? I have three songs to talk about and only two blogs. I see some doubling up for today. Another song I love to hear this time of year is another one we sang in Church choir on Christmas Eve. I previously knew it to me as “When Blossoms Flowered Amid the Snow,” And I believe Latin was the language we sang it in back in the day. This is Heidi Joy’s version of Gesu Bambino. I absolutely love her voice. We did not attend this concert at Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center, but we enjoyed her Christmas performances at a Lutheran Church in Papillion, NE. They were wonderful.

As I look out the window and see our modern version of a “White Christmas,” I’m grateful for our lives. I’m grateful I started writing and have made new friends with the same interest. I have new things to explore next year such as; should I form a publishing company, should I print a children’s book in the first quarter of 2021? I know I’d like to, I took December off from writing my novel, now is the time to circle those wagons and dig deep. I’m writing some revealing things and to make those things real to a reader, I have to make sure they love the character and her struggle. I’m hoping they will, and I will reach out again to Carol Gino to ask her a few writer questions. She was great at answering a couple I had before. As I mentioned yesterday, I am totally immersed in her book, “The Nurse’s Story.” I’m standing right next to her in every patient room, feeling the pain she felt for them in her heart. I want to write that way. More practice!

I will get there. And I’d like you to come along on the adventure! In the next week or two, I hope to; contact an artist, contact an attorney about LLC’s, go talk to a local publishing company we work with at the VFW Post. They do marvellous work, and I will learn a lot. It might be a good thing for me to go forward for the children’s book, I’ll have something to show for my hard work. More hard work on the way. I’m ready.

The other Christmas song is another creative one, one that blasts you out of your funk until you realize it’s Christmas! Be Happy! Celebrate our Saviour! All really is right with the world. It’s the Carol of the Bells, complete with pyrotechnics and laser lights of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy a listen! See, you’re fully awake now. I hope you can find at least one thing to celebrate this Christmas season. Music, children, church services, neighbors, or friends. Or all of them.

It’s time for me to go make a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies. We’re giving a dozen to each of five neighbors; and the Babe is home to be my delivery elf. My wish for all of you is a magical Christmas. May you feel the love of God and your families this Christmas Eve, and have a beautiful morning tomorrow. Remember the reason for the season. We’ll see each other tomorrow. I have one more song for you to hear. Be Safe!

Summation Saturday

I’m enjoying music by Ray Scott this morning. The Babe and I saw him briefly about a year ago with our friend Jimmy Weber at a local hole in the wall, Buck’s. It was a fun night, but the Babe was dealing with a wound vac and wasn’t feeling well enough to stay for the entire show. What we heard, we liked. We bought up all the CD’s I could find online. He’s very good. The songs are making me think, which helps me create. Thanks, Ray!

It’s been quite a week. I’ve experienced some weird memories and dreams, when I figure out what they meant, I’ll let you know. Messages come in your dreams, and if you keep your eyes open, you can see them all around you. Mentally, I’m getting more in the Christmas spirit than before. Not sure why, but these holidays can be very tough for some of us. I’ll leave it at that for now. Remember that with your friends and family. Help them get through these days. It’s not all silver bells and tinsel. And now, we get to add in the Covid-19 which just adds to funk and fog. Be gentle with yourself and others.

My Writing Space. I love the laptop stand.

Yesterday, I mentioned this stand I purchased from a small company through Amazon. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made. With the stand all the way down, it raises the Chromebook up about three inches. I am not putting stress on my neck by looking down while writing. I can write longer! It’s a Christmas miracle! Get one for anyone in your life who needs some ergonomics in their life. The company is Lifelong.

Today, I’m going to sift through all the papers and printed things I’ve accumulated during this writing journey we’re on. It’s a good time to keep what I have found useful and toss everything that isn’t helpful. Later, I’m going to mark a quilt for quilting and tomorrow, going to hem a dress for a beautiful young lady. Time will fly by, as always.

Go for a walk today, or just get a little fresh air. From my studio window, I can see a couple houses putting up Christmas lights on their homes. It’s always fun to see them lit at night. If there are sound effects with them the dogs get a little nervous. They’re such cowards when it really gets down to it. They make me laugh out loud!

The last but best happening this week; When I talked about what I learned about writing from Carol Gino, Mario Puzo’s twenty-year companion and fellow writer, she took the time and e-mailed me. I am over the moon! We’ll talk more about that all later. I’m just going to enjoy the orbit I’m in. Thanks for reading, I’m headed out to the deck for a little fresh air. Be Kind. Be Careful. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. Slow down. You’ll get there. Just get there. See you tomorrow!

Summary Sunday

Hi, friends. Another Sunday on the docket, and here we are. Today is the time for making lists of stuff to do, catch up on, and start. That’s a lot! I skipped a couple things I usually do to give me a more positive take on the day (every day), and I’ve learned I shouldn’t skip those routines. Note to self made. To keep me sane, I need those rituals.

I may have shared here I had a free online presentation by Carol Gino. She is a writer, a nurse who has written many books on how nursing needed changing during the last probably twenty or more years. She was a companion of Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather. He also wrote the screenplays for all three movies, although it seemed he was reluctant to do so. The talk was wonderful! Carol spoke with the East Coast-Italian-New York-Jersey accent we’ve all heard. She was very good.

Some tips I loved were these, between both the book and video: Write to your strength. What does that mean? When Mario told Carol theirs was “A love story.” She was a companion to him, and the nurse in her tended to his needs later in his life. He told her he couldn’t portray her in a book. He couldn’t write from a female point of view. He could only write from a male point of view and speak to the characters he does. He writes to the dark side of human nature. (He said their story was was a Neil Simon comedy, not a Romeo and Juliet tragedy.)

This got me to thinking. Maybe my strength is not what I think it is. In a discussion with my book coach, we discussed if I was most interested in writing a fiction story for pleasure, or do I want to write a story to offer hope to people who need to make dramatic, drastic changes in their lives. I’m pondering that greatly this weekend. If I write stories based on anyone’s overcoming a harsh life, meant to be inspiring, will I be pigeon hole myself as a “self-help writer,” “a writer with a depressing view of the world?” My other projects are:

Grandpa’s Gone,” A true story the loss of a grandparent on Christmas Eve;

Bonus Grandma’s,” A story about a little boy with six grandmas, because of blended families;

What Are You Doing Now, Roxie?” A true story about a little boy and his grandparents’ dog, run over by a car after a stranger left their gate open. It deals with loss, and reminds kids to close gates and doors, not leave them open. I present it with kindness and focuses on love. It explains feelings of grief and why we have them.

Please chime in with your opinion. I need to figure this out. I just don’t want to be an author with a dark cloud over my head all the time.

So back to Mario and Carol. This is my absolute FAVORITE. Too bad you never had a quilting class. Writing is just like quilting. You start with one little patch. You add as many details as you can. Patients, miracles, heroes are where you start. Then you keep rewriting it. Writing is simple, and not easy, which is quite different. Being a quilter, this hits home for me in many, many ways.

Autumn Quilt. A favorite of mine.

As with my autumn quilt, I have selected many, many fabrics for many, many quilts. It is fun to think of each of those as a book, with characters and faults, with well structured writing to hold it all together. This quilt does the same. The characters and their faults are all the beautiful fabrics, each selected for this quilt. The construction is a solid structure that holds it all together. The re-writing is like spending time with a seam ripper. Quilters have to adjust their sewing often for precision. The quilting is the finishing touch, which is like an appropriate title and cover. It the project so much better.

This is where I am right now. The person I’m writing about goes through hell until she learns she has some self worth. Her journey towards that understanding is hard. She makes it. This will have a happy ending, folks. Eventually. You only learn to write by writing and rewriting. Use your own voice. A very timid little girl grows up to have a grownup woman’s voice who learns to value herself. Is that it? Opinions? Feedback? She is not playing a victim here. She is speaking her truth.

Other sage advice from the master? Names are important. Not only how they sound, but how they look on the page. They need to be pretty simple, easy to remember. Expert advice, Mario! You need to have some sympathy even for your worst characters. That could be very hard for the bad guy in the story. Every story has a bad guy or antagonist. Understanding helps immensely there.

I was writing another project, “These Walls DO Talk,” and one character is specifically not a good guy in his life at the point we meet him, in his 60s, a scoundrel and a womanizer. When I began the part about these characters at home, as children, I liked this guy, much to my chagrin. Puzo’s statement about having some sympathy for even your worst characters rang so true. It was a gift to hear that, Carol Gino!

The tension between the moral characters and the amoral ones is fascinating. There you may plant “hooks” to keep your reader reading. Most readers who love reading don’t want to read something boring. There are not enough hours in the day.

Thank you for reading today. If Carol Gino reads this, I’m honored you took the time. I plan to finish reading your book later this afternoon. For the others, I appreciate you going on this journey of writing with me. I will be back tomorrow. See you then! Be Kind, Be Courteous, Be Patient, Be Thoughtful. Be Positive. And don’t forget to get your turkey thawing! Ours is. Have a beautiful afternoon.

Friday’s Session

It’s 10:26, the breakfast dishes are soaking, I made the bed; the dogs are napping, and I’ve just read through another edit of my Chapters Three and Four. I’ve read it’s best to read out loud when doing that. It’s true, you hear some weird things when you do that. I feel pretty confident about the two chapters. I may get bold and share a part of them on the creative FB groups I belong to. And here, as I become braver. I can tell I’m learning, and that’s a good feeling.

The red pencil needs sharpening. I have to laugh at the Pro Writing Aid software I use. I’ve been happy with it, but lately, I see them suggesting to use, say “beat;” and then you correct it, they tell you “beat ” and you could chase your tail all day long. If you turn off the suggestion, you turn it off not just on that one example, but on all occurrences of it until the end of time! Be careful what you wish for. The thing is, don’t totally rely on the software. Sometimes it makes little sense.

Stories. We all have them. We all tell them. We share some; we keep others hidden away and shout others from the rooftops. How do we decide which ones to share? I believe it may work the same when writing a song, and you need the very best of all words for the perfect song. Lennon and McCartney proved that. Brian Wilson lived that. Bruce Springsteen preaches that. Jon Bon Jovi gets that done in fine fashion. They bless us with rich stories of words and sounds of music which tell our stories better than we could have ever hoped to. How do they know?

They know because they have a gift. They’re aware they need to share the gift with others. How generous! We’ve met some wonderful musicians in the past seven or eight years who are local, some are not. We’ve discovered they are very down to earth for all being geniuses. I believe they are. Their messages are always positive, they are all very grateful people, too. You just don’t hear that from a bean counter, you know? There are difficulties, especially now during the Pandemic. Travel and late night gigs are tough on relationships. They make great sacrifices to share their creations with us. How lucky we are.

Writers? I’m finding out how hard it is to write a novel, not just gush words as we do when speaking. When I was a kid, I had a fantasy of being a reporter for our local newspaper. I wanted to see my name in print. My dad worked there my entire life. I was on our school newspaper for a while, and it was cool to see your name in print. That fantasy remained a fantasy. As I got older, the fantasy morphed into writing a children’s book. I have a few manuscripts, I’m looking for a young artist to help me out. I’m contacting her after Christmas and hoping we can work together. She’s very good, and I know children love whimsical artwork in books.

Words, words, words. It’s hard to choose the right ones from time to time. Other times, they flow like a river. Writing against the tide can be difficult. But going with the flow isn’t always the right thing to do. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading by Carol Gino, “Me and Mario.” It’s about her twenty-year relationship with Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather. Yesterday, as she as describing her learning from him about writing, this phrase struck me: “What you need to learn is the carpentry of writing.” She questioned him further, and he replied, “Writing can’t be taught but it can be learned. Carpentry is the nuts and bolts of writing.” And there you have it. Ms. Gino, if you read this, know I’m fascinated by the advice he gave you. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

One thing our entire family learned from Dad had to do with quality paper. Newsprint has transformed over the years, from 1952 until present day. They have shaved it down, the width is much less than years ago. The thickness of the paper has gone from much thicker to onion skin thin. While the Babe and still took the paper, I remarked the paper itself was so thin you could see through it, making it hard for aging eyes to read. In a bright light, you could see the shadow of the next page interfere with what you were attempting to read. Poor quality.

And don’t get me started about printed books! Oh my gosh, the slick glossy paper is the stuff they make my dreams of. It would be so expensive to have a book printed on that. I’m jealous of the folks that can do that. Maybe someday, I can too. You never know. Thanks, Dad. It’s funny when someone else in our family and I look at a book, we open and feel the pages. “Excellent stuff, Dad would approve.” It’s a warm, wonderful memory. I know, we’re a weird lot.

With that fond memory, it’s time to get back to writing. It’s been a great day so far, and I’m working so it continues. Thank you for reading today, hope you return tomorrow. I’ll be here, as usual. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Let’s all work to make this world a kinder place. Thank you.