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#ICYMI, #Memories, Uncategorized

#ICYMI Convergence of Dates

May 13, 2019

This past week has been a convergence of important dates for nearly 40 years.

First, there was my mother’s birthday on May 9. She would have been 97. Every year I would buy two gifts, one for birthday, one for Mother’s Day. I’d buy two cards, different wrapping paper, and different favorite foods. I made sure to celebrate each special day with the importance it deserved. Even when Mom’s birthday fell on Mother’s Day, she had separate cards and gifts, although I sneaked through with only one meal out. She didn’t mind.

Then, thirty-nine years ago on May 11, my best friend, Terry Naylor, became my husband. I couldn’t have been happier when we started our lives together. I can’t be happier that the ride continues, although now without the motorcycle. We hung it up last year. We exchange cards and go out for a special dinner, usually a week after our anniversary to avoid the Mother’s Day crush.

A similar convergence happens again at Christmas. Terry’s birthday is December 19. I make sure his birthday presents are wrapped in birthday paper and NOT placed under the tree. They sit aside in their own place of honor. Christmas presents go under the tree, decorated in red, green, and gold papers, ribbons (if the cat doesn’t play with them first), and a card tucked into the branches of the tree.

Why go to such trouble? It’s a sign of love. It’s a sign of respect.

Why do we tell friends of different faiths good wishes on their holy days? My Jewish friends deserve recognition for their High Holy Days, for Passover. I’ve enjoyed many a Seder dinner with them. My Muslim friends deserve recognition for Ramadan and for Eid, when Ramadan ends and with it the daily fasts. I fast for one day each year to understand what Ramadan means. It’s difficult, but it’s helped me understand Islam better. I’ve celebrated the equinoxes and solstices with my older religion friends.

Why? May I repeat, it’s a sign of love. It’s a show of respect. Care to join me?

#AmWriting, #Memories, #ToadtheDreamer, Uncategorized

Meditations On a Boot

April 16, 2019

Sometimes, life encourages you to rest a bit, slow down a bit, and put your booted foot up on the sofa. That’s me right now. Resting a bit. Slowing down a bit. And putting the boot up a bit.

No, the ankle isn’t broken, just rather spectacularly sprained. I slipped going down to my basement and bent the right ankle backwards. I pretty sure I hadn’t broken it as soon as I was able to assess any damage. Did it hurt? Of course. Did I cry? Nope. Did I try to stand? Of course, again.

So, why am I meditating on a boot? Having to keep a foot elevated is a perfect time to meditate on anything. For me, I chose to assess why I’m so clumsy. I am. No doubt about it. But why? I mean, I hold onto railings when I go up and down stairs. I watch where I put my feet when I’m out taking my daily two-mile walk. I watch for stones, twigs, and anything else that could jump up and grab me. I even avoid wads of gum on sidewalks. You never know when one of those gooey wads will reach up and grab an ankle. So embarrassing to fall because a giant Double-Bubble wad tripped me.

I’m also glad my father wasn’t around when I was born. He and Mom argued about what to name me. He wanted me named after his mother. Mom wanted to name me after her favorite sister. Thanks, Mom. Grace would have opened too many doors for name-calling.

Not being able to rush about gives me time to ponder what is really important. For me, it’s my husband, my best friend, who runs up and down stairs with hot coffee. It’s my kitty, Smokin’ Mocha Java, who enjoys tummy naps when I’m reading or running dialogue in my head. And it’s my writing, my only creative outlet.

I have a new novel due out later this year. I was going to push to get it out in June. Not now. Instead, I’m working on making the story the best I can. I have a series of beta readers lined up to read the advanced reader copy. I have an almost-final cover. Two more tweaks and I’ll share it. It took a long time to get the image right, but I think we have it now.

Oh, yes. You all weighed in on the “desert” book. You offered so many terrific alternatives to Toad the Dreamer and Out of the Desert. When I tallied all the votes, Out of the Desert won. The more I work with it, the better I like it. After all, it’s clear in the series of stories that you can take the main characters out of the desert…

I’m also working on another book, which I planned to have out in the fall. Not gonna happen. I knew it before I sprained my ankle. I could push to get the book out, but I’d rather it be ready and right than ready and right now. You know what I mean. We’ve all read books rushed into print. It’s not that much fun for the reader. So, I’ll put a bit more work into the manuscript. I’ll be asking for suggestions on book titles…

Until I’m more mobile, I may send additional posts. I refuse to be bored. I will try to share what I think you’d like to read. I hope you agree.

And now, the ankle is throbbing and needs to be elevated. Bye for now.

#AmWriting, #Memories

Broken Hearted

April 2, 2019

No, I haven’t experienced a personal loss, disaster, or break up. I’m broken hearted about the number of people who have been killed while at worship.

This isn’t meant to be a political screed, but a personal reflection on what is happening.

Are you old enough to remember places of worship being unlocked throughout the week, all night? No matter what time, you could always find a place of worship open somewhere in a city. Sometimes a priest or minister staffed them. Sometimes they were empty except for the worshippers who tucked in for a bit of quiet contemplation of something greater than themselves.


I’m old enough to remember. In three of the largest cities in the world, I always felt I could find church or temple open to welcome me.

No longer. Too many churches can’t trust people to enter without desecrating the sanctuary. Churches have been robbed. Their treasures have been stolen. Their sanctuaries trashed, furniture broken, hate-speech spray-painted on walls.

And now, the worst descrecration of all: the slaughter of people practicing their faith. Whether it’s a gunman entering a Jewish synagogue, an African-American church, mosques in multiple countries, the end result is a descrecation of ourselves, of our collective souls. Maybe it’s bombs falling into a mosque in a conflict zone, killing helpless women and children. Maybe it was a bomb detonated at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963 and killing four young girls. It doesn’t matter. It’s all hatred.

While we can’t turn back the clock and erase the damage done to our souls, we can look deep inside and see the good in so many of us. We can look beyond the color of someone’s skin and see the dreams and desires within. We can learn from people of different religions. We can accept differences and similarities. We can see people for who they are.

My heart breaks at every death. Some murderers think what they do is righteous. They publish manifestos bragging about why they’ll do something. They want us to remember their names, laud their dedication, understand they are fighting a righteous fight against the government, society, people of different faiths. You get the idea.

I refuse to remember their names. I will remember the horror they inflicted on so many families, so many friends. And my heart will break just a little more the next time it happens.

#AmWriting, #FiveSenses, #Memories, #ToadtheDreamer

Evoking Memories

March 4, 2019

What evokes the most memories for you? Is it the sound of a bird, a person’s voice? Is it the taste of a favorite food, or a not-favorite food? Is it the sight of someone’s hair, a color you wore on a special day? The feel of a favorite book, worn from overreading, that just feels right in your hand?

For me, it’s smell, that most powerful of senses. At Roanoke Regional Writers Conference 2019 at the end of July, three writers offered new ways of looking at the six senses, including the one we keep inside, our sixth sense. I drove home thinking about all the smells of my youth which define special moments.

Marcel Proust may have set the bar for a stream-of-consciousness memory invoked by dipping a small cake into a cup of tea. The resulting reverie is one of the more famous moments in literature. My memories are closer to home.

Home defined two great memories, one of my grandmother, the other of my mother. My grandmother smelled of Evening in Paris cologne. It was her favorite and she wore a drop for special occasions. She also smelled on Ivory soap and bleach, because she was responsible for doing the wash and hanging it out on the line to dry.

Mother smelled of Chanel No. 5, chocolate chip cookies hot from the oven, and, my favorite, chocolate-covered cherries. My mother was hooked on chocolate-covered cherries, the kind you bought in a box at the pharmacy, the kind with milk chocolate outer shells and mareschino cherries and a vanilla filling. God, they were awful. God, we loved them. Mom bought a box at Valentine’s Day every year. Confession: I have a box ready to open next week…

The other smell combines both scent, sight, and texture. It’s my memory. It’s one I’m writing about in my latest novel, Toad the Dreamer. It is sand. All sands are not alike. My two favorites are those of my main character, Todd, aka Toad. One is the scent of desert sands. Dry. Clean. Sun-baked. Filled with tiny pebbles, bits of lava, thorns. Shades of brown. tan, flat green.

Todd’s, and my, other favorite sand is beach sand. Todd has a house near the ocean. Here, the scent is of damp, early morning fog. The scent of red tide and dead fish. White, clean stretches with bits of shell. Sun-baked, salty. Smooth between the toes. A place to lie and nap in the sun.

Both of these memories shape the adult Todd, as the desert shaped the child Toad. It’s fun to write about places and events I lived. I hope I do honor to my memories.

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