Archive for August 2009

Just a Short One

August 30, 2009

Hi folks,

I’m taking a vacation this week.  In my office.  Working on a project.  My only distraction will be Oreo.Oreo at rest

See you next week.  I’m sure I’ll have many words about something in my past once September is officially here.

Produce, Life, and Writing

August 23, 2009

BUS30074I finished my Alaskan mystery on Friday.  Needless to say I felt I’d really accomplished a goal.  I’d wanted to have the work done before the end of August.  I’d been doing major revisions though I’d written it and polished it once a few years ago.  At that time, I thought it was the best it could be.

Never happens that way.  At least for me.  After a bit of time I can always go back and see immediately things I could do better.  But that’s not just true of my writing.  It’s in most anything I do.  Like redecorating a room.  Or putting out Christmas decorations. Playing around with a recipe.  (You know—if it was good this way, maybe if I changed such and so, it would be fantastic)

 So writing and finishing a manuscript is never done.  Just like life.  You work at life until you die.  Always trying to make it and yourself better.CB045259

Well, writers do the same with their work.  Always trying to make it better—at least until they no longer can.  It’s been published—hallelujah—or we’ve finally realized the book really isn’t something we want “out there” but we’ve learned so much about writing in the meantime.  So the time, the energy, the words, the story weren’t a waste.

You might be wondering about now.  Since I’ve been talking about writing, polishing, and striving always for the best my work and I can be, why the photos of produce?

My produce upon return No, I’m not into growing such things, but I love eating them.  And today I got an email photo from a friend who does vegetable gardening.  He’d been away for a week and came home to an abundance of ready crops.  Says he’s learned a lesson and won’t do it again.  So he’s made a revision, of sorts, a gardening revision.

 And being a farmer, a gardener, a writer—all take patience and a plan for the next project the next year’s crops.  Ongoing assessment to make the next project, garden or field more successful.  So I give you produce to view.  And chose those we find abundant in Wisconsin about now.42-15200319

 Why the basket of Bing cherries?  Remember my finishing my Alaskan mystery manuscript?  Well, my dear hubby got me those as a treat for coming in ahead of my deadline.  Yum, yum.  🙂

Memories of a Friend on Her Birthday

August 16, 2009

Lakeshore Stroll

Lakeshore Stroll

One who no longer walks with me.  She was the first friend I ever had who has shared my name.  I never met her until into my thirties and we never lived in the same city. 

 She was a “neighborhood girl” of my hubby’s when he was growing up.  She married his best friend.  Since my hubby’s parents and sister were all deceased when I met him, his taking me “home” to meet these two life-long friends equated to his family.

 We bonded immediately.

Wedding Gift Quilt

Wedding Gift Quilt

 She was a wife, a mother, a daughter, an RN, a friend to many.  Those she loved she generously gave of her talents and she had many.  She baked, cooked, canned, gardened, kept house, sewed, did “handwork,” knitted, crocheted, and quilted.  That I know of.  She likely had other talents as well.

 Like many of us she was always fighting those extra pounds, and losing to that special dessert she just had to make and, then of course, taste.

 She was an avid reader.  When she heard I wanted to get back into writing fiction, she offered to read my work.  Her confidence in my skills bolstered and improved my first efforts.  I’m quite sure she’s one of the reasons I’m persistent to this day in a field that demands that trait and is littered with the skeletons of those who “gave up the fight.”

 I remember a camping trip we were on.  The kids were swimming.  We were watching from the beach and reading, a joy we shared.  Then we started talking about any fantasy we might have. 

 She grinned.  “All the time I want to read and never have to diet again.” I wanted to be published.  I’ll never forget that moment.  Neither did she.

 Several years later, she got her wish.  After battling an aggressive form of breast cancer and going through many difficult treatments, she was cancer-free.  But the treatments had done damage to her lungs and heart.  No longer could she do all the things she had done.  Too weak.  Now she had time to read all she wanted.  She could eat all she wanted, too. 

Cross stitch work in hall

Cross stitch work in hall

She made a quilt for our wedding gift. I see it every day and think of her.  She did a beautiful piece of needlework that hangs outside my office where I see it every day.  She’s no longer here in body, but she’s ever in my thoughts. 

I miss her.  So do all she touched.  I know she’s counting down the weeks until Black Ribbon Affair is released.  She was one of its first readers.

Do-Overs

August 9, 2009

Mini Dahlia

Mini Dahlia

What’s a “do-over”? 

Could be many different things.  For me, it’s what I sometimes refer to a revision, especially when I’m layering in and filling out the personalities, background, quirks, flaws and virtues of my main characters in a manuscript.  

That’s what I’ve been working on in the past few weeks.  And I a thought hit me. 

My characters in this process really get do-overs, not so they’re perfect, but so they work perfectly in the lives I create for them within the pages of the book.

Finding Nemos

Finding Nemos

Darn, wouldn’t we all like that to happen for ourselves at times?  Yeah, we all know about diets, career changes, broken relationships, changing our lifestyles for the better, do-overs of a sort.  But not the same.  People still remember the “old” way we were.  Sometimes they even want that “old” way to return.

 Or how about those times in our lives when we made some really bad choices, humdingers that changed how the rest of our lives and relationships played out?  Honest now, if you’ve been in that kind of do-over situation, got the chance to move on, don’t you wish sometimes deep down, the memories, even the actual facts might really go away?  You know a real do-over, clean slate, hit delete and never retrieve revision of our lives.  

When I considered this concept and thought about those times I really needed a do-over, I realized once again the fiction is what I can create.  Or escape to in a book or movie.  In real life, if we’re lucky, smart, and very strong, we get “moving-ons.” 

Beluga whale

Beluga Whale Tail

You know, pick yourself up, lick whatever “wounds” need tending, figure out what went wrong, determine never to get in that kind of situation again, make a plan, and then work to make sure you accomplish the goal. 

What about those niggling reminders?  Use them, just like the characters in the books.  Keep yourself moving on, not waiting for a “do-over.” 

That only happens in writing—or Witness Protection.  🙂 

What’s your take on this?  I’d like to know.  

See you next week.

A Saturday Wedding

August 2, 2009

 

Lake from from lawn

Lake from from lawn

Summer.

Weddings.

Lakeside.  Historic Home. On the lawn. Happy couple.  Proud parents.  Surrounded by family and friends.  Perfect setting.  Right?

The ceremony

The ceremony

You could feel the love surrounding the young couple.  That emotion billowed outward.  When the ceremony began, ugly clouds threatened rain.  (I had my trusty rain preventer-the umbrella I carry in such situations and then it NEVER rains.) 🙂  When the bridal couple were officially proclaimed husband and wife, the sun broke through the clouds and shoved those nasty clouds  out of the yard and off to the lake.IMG_0468

 Maybe that’s prophetic.  Or maybe it reflects how they met:  in the lighting department of a Home Depot store.  Sounds like a great start for a book, don’t you think?

 I always get choked up at weddings.  Doesn’t matter if the wedding centers on a family member, a friend, or the child of a friend.  They remind me of my wedding day, the vows my dear hubby and I took—in sickness and health, good times or bad—we’ve encountered them all and still enjoy each other and depend on our love for each other. (Happy tears were in abundance at the ceremony.  I wasn’t alone in the emotion.)

A bouquet

A bouquet

That’s always my wish for each couple I watch.  Expect to argue, but making up’s great.  Even better if you do the arguing well, you emerge stronger.  Expect sometimes to shoulder all the burdens and responsibilities; your spouse will have to do the same.  It’s the circle of love. 

Love isn’t easy.  Marriage is tough, but if you choose well, have the right attitude, it’s well worth the ride and all the little love surprises through the years.

So what’s your wish for a married couple?

Table flowers

Table flowers