Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Soldier's Heart & Little Apples

The year was 1957. A 23-year-old young man had just been called to duty, to serve his country as a soldier in the U.S. Army. As fate would have it (or particularly bad-timing) he had also just become engaged to be married to a lovely girl he felt very fortunate to have. Isn't that the way it often goes in life? A body gets torn in more than one direction, rendering a jagged split down the center of a perfectly good heart. This newly-appointed soldier found his sentiments just would not keep still. He needed to find some way to express himself while being away from the girl he loved, a way to start to heal from the inside out. What better plan than to take pen to page? And so he did. Below is a copy of a portion of a letter he wrote and forwarded to the love of his life. So touched was she, that she kept it safe for years and years to come, through a marriage, two children, four grandchildren and a happily-ever after they went on to share.

The author of this letter is my father. (Hope you don't mind my sharing a bit of it, Dad! By the by - you looked quite dashing in your uniform :) When Mom showed me this note she said, "You see? The writing thing - it runs in the family." Yes, as the saying goes, "Apple trees make little apples." The urge to write is a gene, it's part of our creative DNA. I'm so very grateful for that. Perhaps I'll  pass it on, to one of my kids. Perhaps I already have. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Literary Kismet

I've fallen and I can't get up. Okay, not literally. I'm referring to that trance us reader-folks go under when we meet that ONE book that keeps us up salivating way past our bedtime - ultimately leading to a rather groggy, boggy morning. On second thought, perhaps it IS literal after all. There's no secret to the fact that I split my free time between writing and reading. Scribble, scribble, scrawl or more like - type, type,edit,  type, type, edit then page, page, page. Something along those lines. The "Time Spent" pie chart isn't all that evenly divided I'm afraid. Yet, I strive to have my nose in a book at some point every day. Okay now here's where I get really real.

I do not ADORE everything I read.

Shocker, I know.

Yet nine out of ten times I will finish a book that I am less than enthusiastic about out of morbid curiosity. Out of respect for the author. Out of a long-placed, well-ingrained Catholic school  upbringing that taught me to see things through to completion. But there's a difference, isn't there?
There's a uniqueness, a zest, a snap in your step when you are reading something you're positively over the top, off-the-charts excited about as opposed to something that for you is just okay. This is what makes me think that finding your bookmate is a lot like finding that all elusive soulmate. (Do you despise that word or is it me?) We fumble through the likes of B & N, or electronically through the virtual shelves at Amazon until we come across something we think looks interesting, well-dressed, smells nice. After some serious consternation we make a purchase. Perhaps we check the reviews, fully cognizant of the notion that taste is subjective. Maybe we meet our next read at the urgency of a dear friend with the best of intentions. A set-up as it were. A blind date. (Do you despise those things or is it me?) Need I elaborate on the typical end result? A decent meal, a halfway decent conversation, a peck on the cheek, a mock "I'll call you again." A love connection? Not so much.

Although once in that crazy, Azure-colored moon, you strike pay dirt. You discover the story that reaches inside and tips the scales of your soul. And you are helpless, robotic. You  are glued to your chair, sunk in and hunkered down for the long haul. You are reading while simultaneously preparing a four-course meal. Because you absolutely HAVE TO. It's literary kismet.

This is why we bibliophiles exist. This is our nirvana. (Do you love that word or is it me?)
PS _ Congrats to Sheila and Zoe on winning their eCopies of WISHLESS. May it be love at fist sight, ladies.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hopping YA Style

George Bernard Shaw said that youth is wasted on the young. Each year as I creep further and further away from my own teeny-bopper days, I come closer and closer to understanding what he meant by that. It's such a great thing to be young and have so much life ahead of you, so many plans to make, so much energy. So much time.
Of course aging is inevitable. The years have a way of coming at us quickly - like it or not. I suppose that's one of the reasons I like writing in the YA genre. To stay connected to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of way-back-when. Some folks think you have to be a young person to appreciate reading a YA novel. That's simply hogwash. That magical youthful side of ourselves is always there in our hearts, just waiting for us to tap into its giddy glory.
That said, I'm super-excited to participate in Kathy's latest Hop which is all about things YA!
Y'all know that when I'm happy I want to give stuff away. Just enter at the Rafflecopter below (see more) for your chance to win one of TWO WISHLESS e-books! Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fifteen Minutes - Give or Take

One of my fave authors, Laurie Halse Anderson, has initiated her Fifth Annual Write Fifteen Minutes a Day Challenge (see here - I will admit I've never participated in this exercise before. However, I'm intrigued by the notion. For those of you who aren't of the writerly-persuasion, you may be unaware that often times many of us who dare set pen to paper do so in the most disorganized of fashion. An hour here, five minutes there. Three days on, two days off. Unfortunately it's too easy to succumb to life's little distractions. (Oh excuse me, I just got a Words with Friends request.) Now where was I? Right, distractions.
Yes, it's not always easy to remain focused on the blank page. Not with the internet lurking so close by - usually right there at the top of the screen. (Pardon while I see who just DM'd me on Facebook.) Then of course there's the dog needing a walk, the kids needing to be fed, the phone needing to be answered. Just when did everyone become so, well...needy??
Fifteen minutes should not be so hard to spend wisely. According to Yahoo, the average person can accomplish some pretty useful things in that short period of time. Once can empty a bloated inbox, unload the dishwasher, weed your garden, fold the laundry, etc.You get the gist. So it only stands to reason that a writer with a fairly decent supply of creativity should be able to crank out an uninterrupted paragraph or two, in fifteen minutes right?
Or not.
I'm guessing that dear Ms. Anderson hasn't deemed this a "challenge" without good cause. (BRB  - must answer a text.)
Okay, I'm back and I'm ready to rumble. Perhaps this writing challenge is exactly what the doctor ordered to help cure the pitiful writer with a benign case of attention deficit. Thanks, Laurie. I think...;)