Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Hope that all of you lovely Hooksters had a peaceful and relaxing holiday weekend. It was a scorcher here where I vacillated between (sweating) enjoying the great and toasty outdoors and the cool, climate controlled indoors. Spent time with the family. There's nothing like an afternoon of fun and games with those you love best to remind you that, in spite of the fact you manipulate words on a daily basis, you pretty much stink at spelling. Our game of choice: Bananagrams. If you aren't familiar with it, it's kind of like Scrabble (which I also stink at) but with your own little board and a time constraint. The catch-phrase of this particular form of recreation in our house is usually one of two well-worn questions. 1) Is this a word? 2) How do you spell _____? (fill in the blank)
While I won't speak for the abilities of the others, I will venture to say I'm not sure when it was that I forgot how to string letters together to form more complicated words than: he, she, cat, dog, love, star, etc. I mean, it makes no sense. When I write I spend hours on end carefully selecting and savoring the most verbose of terms, the most unique coinage, often effortlessly. However, apparently I am struck inept at accomplishing this when faced with 15 or 20 tiny lettered squares.
While the weight of this contradiction seems to escape the other players, deep down I'm baffled. Is it possible I'm not the crafty wordsmith I believe myself to be? Perhaps I'm simply a little spellbound. Yeah, that's probably it.
Whichever the case, I may have to consider adding a new game to our family-time repertoire. Maybe Hangman is more my speed. Or Pictionary. Then again, drawing isn't my strong suit.
Hop Scotch anyone?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Of Decades Down

It's one thing to turn a year older when you're still hovering somewhere in the middle of something - i.e. your teens, twenties, thirties, forties, etc. It's quite another to cling desperately to that last twelve months of 19, 29, 39 and upwards. This my dear friends, is the gruesomest of birthdays. You smile for all the pictures pretending it's just another cake, another set of wishes you may not ever see come true. But deep down you're thinking, "Crap. Another decade down. Crap."

We've all heard the cliches meant to make us feel better about the whole situation- "Age is just a number." "You're only as old as you feel." These aren't nearly as lethal as the dreaded, "You look great for your age." Ugh.
Truth is, the clock is ticking, the sand is cascading through the hourglass and we are helpless to do anything to turn it back or even slow it down. For each decade that rushes by another waits to welcome us, to coax us into believing that this will the THE very best one yet. I still recall the 30's as they wooed me, "Come on over to our side, sweetie. We'll make you smarter than you were in your 20's. We'll teach you how to be a mommy, balance your checkbook the right way and roast the hell out of a chicken." Tempting? Perhaps. But why fight it? There's really no refusing anyway.

Naturally this whole topic comes up because I'm about to celebrate the anniversary of the day my Mama had her first child. I'm being forced to say goodbye to a decade that promised it wouldn't break the sound barrier as it sped past.
Guess what? It lied.

So...how old is this blogger, you may ponder? Well, Robert Frost said it best...

"Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty."

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Ghostest with The Mostest

She's surely not a ghost. In fact she's as alive as she can be. But something strange happens when she purses her lips -the spirits come calling. And she answers. Big time.If you don't know her by now...well then you might want to peek out from under that rock. TLC's Theresa Caputo, also known as The Long Island Medium, has hit the airwaves with such a splash I'm literally still mopping up the floors around here. She's a home-grown hit. A psychic sensation. And it isn't much of a stretch to say that we're practically neighbors - as she hails from Hicksville, NY and this little ole' blogger lives just two shakes from there.

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at a local event where Ms. Caputo was appearing. In her lovely, lively manner she filled two hours reuniting families with their dearly departed. I make no bones about the fact that I'm a believer. The nay-sayers can nay all they want to. I've experienced this gift first-hand and I know. It's like air. You can't see it, but you know it exists. It's about faith. About trusting that there's more to this life than just what we can touch and taste, smell and hear. To witness Ms. Caputo in action is really a thing of beauty. She bridges the deep emotional divide left behind when our loved ones are called home. And as if that isn't enough - she's funny as hell. As a writer, I'm always on the lookout for a fresh source of inspiration. Watching these stories of love that has been lost and found again if only for a moment, brings that and more. It's refreshing entertainment with a side order of Kleenex. I'm "hooked."
Uh...pardon the pun ;)

PS - Here is a photo of the handsome and kind, Mr. Larry Caputo, with my mother, who has now decided that tattoos are very sexy...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Making Up is Hard To Do

I ran into an old friend at the dairy-mart the other day. We caught up in that way you do when you try cramming ten years of living into a fifteen minute window - covering the typical mini-topics: marriage, divorce, kids, school, work and the weather. "So you write fiction?" she said, only half a question. I heard her turning it over in her mind. And I knew what she was thinking. Loosely translated, what she meant to say was,
"So you earn a living making things up?"
Well, technically speaking - yes. And no.
Fiction is the land of make believe. This no writer can deny. But it's grounded in reality, in the life experiences of ourselves and others, seasoned with a generous portion of creative license. You have to be well-organized to be a fiction writer. Note cards help. It can be tough to keep the facts straight when they aren't actually facts. The trick is to convince yourself that your story isn't make believe at all. It's as real as pretend can ever be. Even if you're writing fantasy, dystopian, vampires and/or zombies. If your goal is to have your reader become fully engaged... then they're all real. Easy, right? Not so much. My dear old friend went on,
"Aren't all the original ideas already taken?"
Well, technically speaking - yes and no. I mean, sure its been said that there are only seven basic story plots in literature. But every writer worth his salt will take one of those plot lines and twist the beejeezus out of it until it smacks of originality. Easy right?
Not so much. Yet it's this challenge that drives us, that keeps the whole ball of wax stuck together. Like any good modern relationship - it's a love-hate thing. Like breaking up and making up. It's a living.

PS - Congrats to our two latest winners - Michael and Mary who received e-copies of WISHLESS. Please, please stick around. More contests are just around the bend.