Sunday, June 28, 2020

Don't tell me... But let me tell you.

Did you ever go through old computer files or writing folders and uncover a nugget you'd written? Amaze yourself that your writing was not half bad? Realize rejection was not about you personally, and maybe not even about your writing, but maybe not suitable at the time for the publication to which you submitted?

I went to the Dollar Tree today and bought a few packs of Post-It Notes in bright colors. Just a little something to make me happy and inspire me to jot an idea, copy a quote, or write a reminder to take an Ibuprofen for my achy ankle. Sixteen days in a boot has been no fun. Ripping the Velcro closures open during the night scares the poor cat, when I have to get up and back into bed. We will both be relieved when this is over. I can't wait to get back into my flip flops, but it will be a long time before I ever get to a beach with this virus spiking. Stay safe, friends.

I found an essay I had written based on a true story a non-writer friend told me. I changed the names, added imagined dialogue, and submitted it to my critique group, Wild Women Wielding Pens. They are familiar with my writing style, mainly personal essay/creative non fiction.

They commented that my "fiction" was pretty good.

I never considered myself a fiction writer, but this might be a stepping stone to discovering a new writing genre. Sometimes we get locked into one way of thinking. Maybe it's time to broaden horizons.

Have you ever imagined writing one thing and ended up with something all together different?

One of our writing prompts for our next Zoom meeting is to write a story with this opening: Don't tell me... 

There will be many different takes on this. Want to add your two cents, just a sentence or two? Allow your imagination to carry you away. Will one sentence evolve into a paragraph, a short story? A rant? Horror? A thriller? A sob story? A fear? Give it a try.

Give me a sentence? 

If you are a writer here's an added bonus: Erica Verillo has some great news for those of you who have files filled with material. There are many places seeking submissions. This is a goldmine. Enjoy the hunt!


Thursday, June 18, 2020


As if self-quarantine wasn't bad enough, I broke my ankle (twisted it and fell taking a walk last Friday.) I'm out of commission wearing a heavy plastic boot for 6-8 MORE weeks. My mobility is compromised which gives me a deep appreciation for anyone who is physically handicapped or challenged.

On Sunday, I was outside on the patio with my leg elevated, when I heard a car pull in behind
ours. I saw this bouquet of flowers coming toward me, and then I saw my great grandson Liam.
He had been shopping with his mama. When they passed the floral display he mentioned,
"Blue is Nana's favorite color."

You can bet I grabbed my face shield, and then I grabbed my little buddy. He said with SO much emotion, "This is the first time we've MET... (long pause as he calculated the months) in three months!" That was the longest sweetest hug ever! I took off my boot and showed him my boo-boo. He said, "Yeah, Nana! Yeah it IS broken. Look how black and blue and big it is."

                                                                      Yep, it is broken.

I feel like a failed contortionist. It takes me forever to maneuver on a cane or walker. I decide to sit on the couch and elevate my ankle with an ice pack. I tie three throw pillows to the walker, tie my ice pack around my ankle, lift my leg to the pillow... and my ice pack slides. Straighten that... and my pillows slip. Finally get organized, scoot too far back or forward... and have to lift my body weight with one leg elevated. Exhausted, I lie back ready to relax... and realize I have to pee.

                                                               The birthday boy!
Yesterday I decided to  break quarantine. It was Liam's sixth birthday and so we had a picnic  outdoors for him and his family. He played with water balloons, bubbles, squirt guns, and toys in the wading pool.

Liam looks like a meany in the next photo, but he was trying desperately to shoot a bubble at the camera. He is actually very kind, caring, and sweet.

I usually make sheet cakes for all family birthdays. He saw a plate-size muffin decorated with sprinkles and candles and said, "Nana! Why did you make me a small birthday cake? I mean, Nana, THANK YOU for making me that small birthday cake."

I had to squeeze him... and Alex and Charlie, my great grandsons. We've certainly missed one another.

If you are a writer, remember to show not tell.
A dozen writers would describe what is going on in this photo in a dozen ways. 

Truth be told, Liam was merely frustrated and the other two, who look happy-go-lucky, each had big surprises in their diapers. I might look like I'm smiling, but I was holding my breath. 

If a picture tells a story... tell yours with flair, surprise, intrigue. 

Now for MY surprise. I received an acceptance from Guideposts. I've finally broken in.
Do you have any news to share with me?

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Graduation then, graduation now

Commencement means a new beginning. 

When I graduated high school 53 years ago I thought of graduation as an end, but it actually was the beginning of my journey into adulthood.

My mom used to say, "If only I knew then what I know now." Made no sense!

Soren Kierkegaard stated: Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.

Makes sense now. Looking back I can see how my decisions and choices affected my life.
                                         This is a photo of my mom, stepdad, and me at 18.

 I had so many hopes and dreams for my future. Six months after graduation I married the boy I went steady with for three years.  I know!

We could not wait to get away from home. Back then, girls did not strike out on their own.

On our one year anniversary he received his draft notice, and half a year later we were in Alaska where he was stationed with the US Army. About a year after that we had a baby daughter.

I never dreamed I'd be in Alaska, but I always wanted babies. Three years later, back home, we had a son. I loved being a mommy. That was my dream come true!

This is my daughter Tracey on her high school graduation day, a couple weeks before her 18th birthday. She was Grandma Ginny's girl, and we were both so proud of her. Now she's married has a girl and boy and grand kids! Where does time go?

Then it was Jason's turn. He graduated from Naval Junior ROTC Academy with his future bride. He looks like a baby at age 18. Now they have a teen son and daughter. I sure was skinny back then and wore the typical 80's big hair curly perm.

Nicholas, Jason's son, just completed high school and he's enrolled in college for fall.

2020 has been a crazy year. He did not get to celebrate prom, senior days, or graduation ceremony due to Covid-19 pandemic. Is he disappointed? Absolutely, but he's able to accept what he can and let go of what he can't. He's resilient, ambitious and will be a success.  Life is what you make it.

He has a great attitude.

Liam entered kindergarten with a head start. He could read,write, and make up stories. Due to the pandemic, his first year of classroom school ended abruptly in March, but he continued with on line learning. His teacher spoke to her class, posted pictures, promoted him to first grade and announced Liam's name as one of the future class of 2032.

 He did not get to parade with his classmates, tell his teacher good-bye, or wear his little cap and gown, but he said he's okay with that. He received the most creative writing award in his class. 
I am so proud of my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Go forward with confidence. God bless you all.