Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

IWSG, A New Direction, Being Thankful



Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex CavanaughYOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question is posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience, or a story. The question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey. In fact, you can write about anything at all.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

This month's question is: It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

If you have a lot of family or friends, the holidays can be a difficult time for any creative person who requires time alone to do their thing. If you don't have the warm distraction of people, well then, the holidays can be a lovely time to get some "work" done, or give your muse a rest, or brainstorm ideas. 

***
A New Direction

So, I've been getting a tiny bit of writing done playing around with Dribbles (50 word stories, two of which, so far, have been accepted by Vine Leaves Press) and this has led to the idea of changing my blog a bit. I really haven't put much effort into it for several years, so it's in need of a facelift. I've sort of been slithering along lazily not really saying anything or expressing myself. Playing with Dribbles has caused me, once again, to realize how very much I love words. I think I love words more than I love writing them into sentences. You see every word we use has it's own story. And this fascinates me. So, starting in January 2023, I will highlight a word (or two?) and tell it's story. That's only 12 (or a few more?) words a year if I stick to posting once a month. 

I've also cleaned out and organized my collection of three-ring binders and spiral notebooks, which was quite an undertaking as some of the contents go back to the 1970s. One of the things I've discovered (aside from the goldmine of ideas and... words) is that over the course of my life, I've collected hundreds and hundred (maybe thousands and thousands) of inspirational quotes. They are written down all over the place and I am slowing transferring them into one notebook. (She laughs manically, aware of the delightful insanity of this endeavor.) My intention is to include a quote or two with each post.

If the post isn't too long, because my intention is to keep them short, maybe I'll write a Dribble or a thoughtful sentence or a poem using the word whose story I've told. Or maybe I'll use a quote that has the word in it.

That's my plan, anyway. We'll see how well I stick to it. :D

***
Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for the dribbles of inspirations that have been coming to me. 


Cypress on the River

Along the banks
the towering cypress
                          stretch their branches
                                               toward the sky
                          sink their roots
                                          into
                                               the 
                                                    river bed.
Their small, slender needles
are starting to turn from
                         green to
                                   yellow to
                                               rust to
                                                      brown.
The needles will carpet
                            the paths 
                            and float
                            in mats on the water.
Their fragrance will fill the air.
Fall is quietly approaching,
almost as if trying to
not be seen.
It is playing hide and seek,
a fairy flitting in and out among
the leaves.
                          Teasing. 
(Winter isn't really coming.)

But I have eyes
and will not be fooled.
          



What are you thankful for? Do the holidays hinder or help in your creative endeavors? Are you ready for 2023?

MERRY CHRISTMASHAPPY HOLIDAYS, 
AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
SEE YOU IN JANUARY.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

IWSG, I'm Back-I Hope, and other news about what I've been doing the last eight months, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!

This month's question is:  November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

Yes, I have participated and written full 50,000 word books. And there they sit in their files waiting to be further worked on. Only one of them is really worthy of my time and perhaps next year it will come out of the closet, perhaps not...

***

So, am I back? Did you miss me? My answer to both questions is, I hope so.

At least now I can explain the reason for my absence. My sister, Erva Denham, was in need of a new aortic heart valve. It was up to me to find the right doctors, to make our home ready for her to come up to Texas from the Virgin Islands, and to take her to all her appointments. We didn't know if she was going to require open chest surgery or if they would be able to replace the valve by going up the main arteries in her legs. 

Within two weeks of her arrival in February she saw the first heart doctor and by May she had a new valve implanted. She was eligible for the latter. It was an incredible experience to get her to the hospital one morning and have her discharged the next day in the afternoon. From May until this month she has been in a state of recovery as her heart adjusts to this foreign object in her heart. It is made out of metal and has bovine tissue for the valve cusps. Just last week she was finally released to return home to the islands and she will be leaving next week on the 9th. 

It's been quite a journey and experience. The doctors and the three hospitals involved have been fabulous and we couldn't be happier with the results.

***
In other news, two friends - one of them a high school classmate - have died, which makes me ever more acutely aware of my own mortality and that I'm definitely on the downward side of this journey called life. I'm not particularly anxious or fearful about it, that's just the way it is. But it does make me think about what I want to do with whatever time I have left. 

On that note, I was asked again to contribute an article in the prestigious travel magazine, Destination. My third article for them will be published in January and is called, The Little Pre-Fab that Could.

I have also been writing some dribbles - 50 words short stories. I'm finding them a nice way to ease back into writing.

Here is the first one I wrote.

Hangry

I didn't realize playing with the Conjuring Wheel would cause such torrential rainfalls. Ok, Grammy had warned me, but she was gone now, so it was her fault. That made me angry, which made me hungry.

I wandered into the empty, silent kitchen. Undoing the wheel would have to wait.

I have submitted, so far, two of these dribbles to Vine Leaves Press because...why not? (And as of this morning have learned that my first submission has been accepted!)

***
I've also written my first poem in a gazillion years. It was written in the aftermath of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian and the death of my classmate, Ronnie Lockhart. Ronnie was well loved on St. Thomas, with a wealth of knowledge about the history of the islands and a great sense of humor. He was also very active in Rotary and several other organizations. He will be greatly missed.

Ronnie, as the Candy Man, during Carnival a year or so ago.
On Hurricanes and Death
Flooding emotions -
A torrential rain of tears
                           of fears
                           of years long gone.
Nature does not care about
    what gets in her path
                         her wrath
                         her bath of sorrow.
She is innocent and indifferent.
We are pulled, pushed along
whether we would go or not.
We can, like being caught in an ocean wave,
    fight against being thrown about
    and come away battered
                              bruised
                              dead.
Or...we can relax into the tumbling
emerging from the ocean like Venus
                                                  Radiant
                                                    Glowing
                                                       Alive

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for the excellent doctors, nurses, hospital and office staff who took such good care of my sister and who were always upbeat and positive about her prognosis. 

What are you thankful for? Have you ever participated in National Novel Writing Month? Have you ever written a dribble or a drabble, which is a 100 word story?

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

IWSG, Mom, News

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!

This month's question is: Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?

                                                   2/2/22 
                                    Is this an auspicious day or what?

My sister, Erva, Mom and me,
about the time I wrote my "essay."

Me and Mom.
I was about five
.
Wow. This couldn't be a better question for me right now. Yes, the one person who encouraged, supported, and influenced me and who isn't around anymore, is my mother. Not only did she teach me to read, she homeschooled me for several years and during that time (without knowing the name for the "problem") figured out I wasn't learning things the way my sister did. I'm dyslexic. Because of her patience she figured out that I am an audio/tactile learner. I have never done well with numbers and math. I can fairly easily learn the steps for doing problems but can flip numbers in the middle of the solution and thus get a wrong answer. And, even though I have never been a great speller, my mother saw/recognized that I loved to read (even though I read slowly) and that I could comprehend things beyond my years. (I read Call of the Wild when I was around ten or eleven.) She was also the one who saw that I might have a talent for writing when, at the age of eight, I wrote a three page essay about our family. It is from that essay that my sister, Erva, and I were forever referred to as the grils.

As an adult Mom was once astute and aware enough to notice that I seemed to be "stuck." She gave me the book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. On the flyleaf she wrote, "For Bish, Follow the way, Love Mom." In most everything I have had published, there is a secret three word phrase I use to honor her. Can you guess what that phrase might be?

She lived a long and wonderful 93 years and though she's been gone from this plane of existence for ten years, I still miss her and long to hear her voice, her laughter, and long to feel her hugs. She didn't get to see any of my published books and stories, but she's there, lurking in the pages, peeking out from behind the words and I know she is smiling.
***
And now some news. You know how things change, right? I'm not at liberty just yet to fully explain, but it has to do with health (not my own, I'm fine) and I'm going to be pre-occupied. Because of that, I'm not sure when I'll be posting again. Who knows I might show up next month, but then again it might be several months before you read my glittering words again.

And so, on that note, I bid you adieu for now. 

Take care, everyone. Be safe. Be thankful.

Today I'm thankful for this day. What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

IWSG, News and Onward into the fog...er New Year

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:    Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

This month's question is: What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

The only thing I regret about my "writing career" (if you can call it that) is that I didn't start submitting and looking for an agent when I was younger. Though I've written on and off most of my life, I didn't make the effort to get "mainstream published" until I was much older - I won't say how old because now I'm REALLY old and I don't seem to have the drive to spend hours every day at the computer. 

That said, I'm happy and content with what I've done so far. Maybe some other things will get published, maybe not. Either way, it's okay.

***
On that note I'm pleased to share my article in the travel magazine, Destination: US Virgin Islands. This article is about how my grandparents came to own Trunk Bay, considered to be one of the most beautiful and most photographed beaches in the world, and how my grandmother ran a guest house there for years, without electricity.

So, Happy New Year, to me!!

This is my second article with this travel magazine. You can read my first article from 2020, HERE. The company did not print a magazine for 2021 so it was a pleasant surprise to be invited to write an article for the 2022 issue.








Trunk Bay was my first home. This is 
place where I learned to swim, body serf, and fish off the rocks with a handline.

This is probably explains why you can take the girl out of the islands, but you can't take the islands out of the girl. 





***
Tomorrow is Three Kings Day, a holiday celebrated with much gusto in Puerto Rico. 
My mother was one of those children who put straw and water under her bed for the camels 
only to wake in the morning to find presents.
Happy Three Kings Day to all!

***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful to be here and to have made another revolution around the sun.
There is SO much to thankful for, despite what the news says or what people complain about.

Now it's onward into 2022. Who knows what it will bring? More of the same? 
Something worse? Something better? 
Whatever comes, 
may we all be a calm during the hard times and joyful during the easy times. 

I pass on this Tibetan Buddhist prayer to one and all.
May you be at peace.
May your heart remain open.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature.
May you be healed.
May you be a source of healing for all sentient beings.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!

This month's question is:  In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

I don't know if I'd say it stresses me out, but editing, revising, rewriting are what I least like to do. What delights me the most is an idea that develops into a story or novel. I love the process of research, taking notes, working on my form of a very rough outline and then writing. That other part though? Not so much.

***
Still haven't done any writing (sigh) but I'm just not going to sweat it. I'm enjoying the clouds.

It's hard to believe it's December. For me, this year seems to have gone by much faster than other years. Was it only six months ago I got vaccinated? Yesterday I got the booster. Because I have Crohn's, an autoimmune disease, I got a full dose (didn't know that was going to happen) instead of a half dose. Today my arm is extremely sore, so sore I can hardly move it. But, it's a small price to pay for a little extra protection. 

I leave you today with a selection of unusual Christmas trees. No matter what your religious or non-religious beliefs are, may this month and the New Year bring you peace and joy. May each of us do one something that helps another human being, or that leaves this planet, our only home, a little bit better than it was yesterday. If you're interested here is a list of all the holidays and celebrations that happen in the month of December. So, saying Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings is perfectly appropriate.






I'm fondest of the button tree... Which one do you like?

***

Being Thankful
I would say, right now, that I'm particularly thankful for the much needed positive news from my gut doctor.

What are you thankful for? What delights or stresses you about writing? Planning anything special for Christmas or the Holidays in general? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

IWSG, Being Thankful because it's Thanksgiving After All

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts: Kim Lajevardi,  Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

This month's question is: What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

For me, hands down, writing the blurb is THE hardest thing to write along with the tag line. Titles have always been easy for me. In fact many of my stories, whether they be short or long, have come to me through a title that settled in my head and wouldn't go away. 

***
Well, it's November. Soon enough it will be Thanksgiving. 2021 is almost over. I can't say it's been pleasant, but it hasn't been all that unpleasant either.

Time moves forward and I'm being dragged along in it's wake whether I want to not. One thing I know for sure is I'm homesick for the islands and long to spend time with my sister, cousins, and friends. It's been four years since last I visited all due to hurricanes Irma and Maria and then COVID. 

Maybe sometime next spring. At least, I'm putting the thought out there into the Universe and hoping the wake will carry me in that direction. I'm sorely in need of a sea bath, which is when you wallow in the water, just sort of half sit and half float and soak in the goodness. You can, if you want, take the soft, fine sand and give your skin a gentle scrub. The best exfoliant there is. It's what these people are doing at Linqvist Bay on St. Thomas. (Yes there is a "v" following that "q", it's Danish after all.)




***
Being Thankful

In the mean time, after all, I have SO much to be thankful for, as in:

Washing dishes:
It means
I have food that makes them dirty
I have hands to wash them with
I have running hot and cold water to wash them in
I have money to pay the water and electric bill and buy the soap and food
I have a sink to wash them in
I have a window to look out when I wash the dishes
I have a roof over my head
I have a house with a window
I have a yard with a view


What are you thankful for? Which is harder, coming up with a title or writing the blurb? Have any hopeful "goals" for 2022?



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

IWSG, Being Thankful, Get Together

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

This month's question is: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

This one's easy. For me it's graphic sex, language, violence. Since I mostly write for children and teens I don't see the need to perpetuate the negatives of life. I'm more about passing on a little wonder and magic. Call me old-fashioned, or a hippy, but I'm more about peace and love. Particularly in this day and age, it seems, it's what the world needs more of.  I'll leave the those other topics, and the language that goes with them, to other writers.

On that note I leave you with this song, written in1964 by Dino Valenti who was in the band Quicksilver Messenger Service. It was first recorded by the Kingston Trio that same year. The Youngbloods didn't recorded it until 1966 and released in July of 1967. The summer of '67, was momentous for me, and this is one of the many songs from that time that had an impact on my 17 year-old brain. It not only has a beautiful melody, the words are pure poetry. 

57 years after being written (FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS!!) it is still relevant, still beautiful, and still has meaning.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another 
Right now

Love is but a song to sing Fear's the way we die You can make the mountains ring Or make the angels cry Though the bird is on the wing And you may not know why Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now Some may come and some may go We shall surely pass When the one that left us here Returns for us at last We are but a moment's sunlight Fading in the grass Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now If you hear the song I sing You will understand (listen!) You hold the key to love and fear All in your trembling hand Just one key unlocks them both It's there at you command Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that we've had more rain. Fall is coming. There are morning hints in the coolness of the air and there is the ever so slight fading of green in the leaves.

What are you thankful for? In your writing, is there a line you won't cross? Are there any songs from your childhood/youth that had an impact on you?