Time is flying by if it’s time for another “news” letter. Where did the first month of the year go? As I write this, it is January 22nd which is my mother’s 82nd birthday. I sent her a card and a Valentine cookie and some extra thick socks. I read that socks get lost in the laundry in assisted living/nursing home facilities. Mom always had cold feet. I sent the package to my aunt to take when she visits Mom. I found out if I send things directly to my mother they tend to disappear. Mom is nearly blind from macular degeneration, nearly deaf with or without her hearing aids, and has no idea who anyone is or where she is.
Writing news: THE FIRST TIME AGAIN is done! Oh, the editing, the line editing, the back and forth about the cover, the niggling details to changes in the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). It’s enough to make a writer crazy because I’ve already looked at and edited this manuscript several times before. But here’s the fun part about editing my books: sometimes I get caught up in reading and forget I’m supposed to be editing. I enjoy the stories I write so of course, I hope my readers do as well. I remember reading an interview of Clint Eastwood where he said he likes to make the kind of movies he would want to watch. I write the kind of books I would like to read. Yes, they’re heavy on the romance because I love a happy ending. But there’s enough of “real” life going on, too, because none of us get our happy ending without a few bumps in the road along the way.
Sitting in my e-mail inbox is the contract for “Katy’s Place,” a short story accepted into the 2013 edition of The Novelists, Inc. Anthology.
Meanwhile, I’ve been heavily contemplating a story I started years ago which I take out and peruse and update and think about periodically. The working title is Fantasy Man, but it is turning into a romantic suspense. A manuscript is like a live thing, it moves and shifts and changes direction, sometimes unexpectedly. I’ve agonized over how to make this story work and I think I’ve got it.
Another amusing tidbit, I saw a call for online workshops conducted by published authors so I pitched an idea I’ve had for awhile which is “What NOT to do if you want to be successfully published.” Every time I see writers groups looking for workshop pitches I always think this is what I know best—what NOT to do! This particular site loved the idea, although they may not schedule it until 2014. I’ll keep you posted.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day which made me think about who we honor on national holidays. If you were going to have a holiday named after you, what would it be for? What great, memorable thing have you done with your life?
There is a four-lane road I often travel which intersects another four-lane road a couple of miles from my home. Along the medians of the intersection there are always panhandlers holding signs. “Homeless Need Help” was the one I saw yesterday, held by a guy who looked to be in his early twenties. Most of the other panhandlers I see are older and look beaten up by life. One is a woman with straggly blond hair and weathered skin. One is a shaggy, toothless man. They are on this same corner, walking along the medians, holding their signs day after day after day. Where do they live? In the woods next to the nearby train tracks? Their clothes are not always the same. They don’t appear to be starving. Do they go to a shelter? How did they get to this place in their lives?
I am beyond curious about them but I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to walk up to one of them and ask if I could interview them. There’s a McDonald’s on the corner. Would they talk to me if I bought them a burger and fries? Would they tell me the truth about their circumstances?
My father used to say, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I think of this each time I pass that corner. It’s hard to imagine falling so far although I remember saying to my husband a few years ago how hard it was to imagine losing what we had then. It happens more easily than we think it could.
If I give those panhandlers money, what will they spend it on? Meth? Coke? Alcohol? Am I enabling them? There are shelters in the area. Many churches doing good to help the poor and disenfranchised are constantly featured in the newspaper for one good deed or another. Those people on the corner aren’t without resources. Are they there by choice?
These are the questions I want to know but am afraid to ask. Perhaps because it hits a little too close to home. That could be me one day.
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