It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing

4

Taking a Break

Posted by mcm0704 on April 18, 2019 |

Heading into the Easter Weekend that starts with Holy Thursday services tonight, then Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, I thought I’d just sign off the blog for several days. I probably won’t be online a whole lot, either. It’s nice to step away from technology now and then. 🙂

Before I go, I want to share Easter Blessing with all my Christian friends and Spring Blessings for all who are not. There is something so special about the renewal of hope that comes with new growth, pretty flowers, and warm weather. Those of you who read my blog regularly, know how much I enjoy finding the wildflowers along the road when I am walking in the mornings with my dog. They always make me smile.

Whatever your plans are for the holiday weekend, I do hope they come with lots of friends and family and good times. Be safe. Be happy.

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2

Loving The Work

Posted by mcm0704 on April 17, 2019 |

The guys down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop think tank ponder a most important question today, “Do you like the work you do?” While posed with a hint of amusement, that really is an important question for all of us to consider. How many people are ground down in a job they hate just for the paycheck? I think it’s a shame that happens to too many folks. 

I’ve been lucky most of my life to have worked at jobs that were satisfying beyond the Friday paycheck. What about you? Are you in a job now that you’d like to ditch? If so, what would you rather be doing?

As you contemplate your answers, grab a to-go cup of coffee and join the guys at the sale barn. 

But before you go, consider hopping over to Amazon to pre-order Evelyn Evolving, my latest novel. The story is based on my mother’s life, and I’m so happy that Creativia Publishing is releasing the book, first as an ebook for Kindle, with a paperback to follow. Most of my life I wanted to write about my mother’s life-long struggles, and the book finally came together over the past few years. To say it is special to my heart is an understatement. 

Down at the sale barn Saturday, the think tank had coagulated there with coffees to go to celebrate spring. Doc and Dud had their dogs with them, while Bert and Dewey and Steve went stag.

“I thought about it a lot,” Dud said, “and I wondered what the favorite part of my job was, and wondered if you fellas ever gave that any thought, too.”

They nodded. Deeming it by mutual consent a worthy subject.

“With me,” Dud continued, “it wasn’t so much my job as it was my hobby. You know, writing that book. I’m claiming it as the best part of my job, anyway.”

Then Bert picked up the conversation thread. “Of course I’m retired now,” he said, “but when I was running the pawn shop, my favorite part of the job happened when a customer found something in there he really needed and ended up paying much less for it than he thought he’d have to.”

Doc laughed “And you made more on it than you thought you would, too,”

Bert grinned and nodded.

“Yep. That was good too. And you, Dewey?”

Our accident-prone pharaoh of fertilizer got a serious look on his face. He finally said, “The best part of the fertilizer business is seeing the difference it makes in the flower gardens around town. Now maybe it’s just my imagination, but I kinda like to take a little credit for a prettier town.”

“You deserve it, Dewey,” Doc said kindly. “Well now … with me it’s a little different. I have doctoring skills, of course, and it’s good when I can help someone, but these days the most satisfying part of my job is to check someone out thoroughly and find there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. Now that’s special.”

They all looked over at the tall cowboy, Steve.

“Digging post holes,” he said. “That’s the only job a cowboy has where he can start at the top and work down.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Joe Collins, custom woodworker at the Old Mill Store in Wimberley, Texas. Stop in and say hi.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at www.slimrandles.com, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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Book Review – The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Posted by mcm0704 on April 15, 2019 |

The Southern Side of Paradise
Series: The Peachtree Bluff Series (Book 3)
Kristy Woodson Harvey
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (May 7, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1982116625
ISBN-13: 978-1982116620

BOOK BLURB: With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

REVIEW: This is the third and final book in the Peachtree series, and it ties up the stories of the Murphy women quite nicely. When I received the advance review copy to read, I didn’t know this was the final book, and in a way I was disappointed. I’ve enjoyed reading about the lives of the Murphy women, and leaving them will be like leaving good friends.

In addition to the details that brought the setting of the town, the beach, the lake, and Starlite Island alive in all of the books, I appreciated the uniqueness of each of the characters. Through all three books the women had their own very distinct personality that stayed true through each story.

While reading this final book in the series, I really enjoyed seeing all the main players in previous stories take the stage, including Granny who makes an appearance in remembrances by Emerson and Ansley. I always liked Granny’s no-nonsense approach to life and her wonderful philosophy. In a flashback told from Emerson’s point of view, the reader gets a taste of Granny at her best. Emerson is having a serious discussion with Granny and Granny says, “Honey we better hope that God has loopholes. Otherwise we’re all screwed.”

Amen to that!

I enjoy the author’s writing, and I’ve been invested in these characters since the series first started. So even though this last story didn’t have some of the depth of plot issues that the two previous books did, I read on to the end and I am so glad I did. The ending was perfect. It made me smile. One of those smiles you get even though tears are misting your eyes, and I dare you to read the book and not feel the same way.

BUY LINK

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Literature and History

Posted by mcm0704 on April 12, 2019 |

Hello Weekend!

I’ve been taking a series of classes at Grayson Community College through their Center for Workplace Learning. The program is called T.E.A.M.S – Texoma’s Educationally Active Mature Seniors. I qualify on one count because I’m over 60, but some people might question my maturity. LOL

Anyway, the first classes have been on literature, movies and theatre. We read books, discussed them, then watched movies or attended stage-plays based on the stories that included, Rebecca, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Human Stain

A history class on another day is covering the Civil War and here are a few facts that I’d forgotten from my HS and college history classes:

The Civil War started after the southern states seceded from the Union, partially because of slavery, but also because they didn’t think the Federal government should be able to impose limits on states’ rights. The primary “right” in question was the right to have slaves, but the southern states railed against the increasing power of the Federal Government.

Not too far removed from today, is it.

This war led to the most casualties to be lost in a war – foreign or domestic – 620,000, and it was the Vietnam war that brought the number of lives lost in a foreign war higher than the number for the Civil War casualties. The total number of soldiers on both sides: 2 million from the North and 750,000 from the South. The Battle of Antietam in September 1862 was the bloodies in U.S. history, with a loss of 22,717 lives. It ended with General Robert E. Lee pulling back his forces and had the Union General, George McClellan, pursued the Rebels and destroyed Lee’s army the war might have ended there. That McClellan didn’t, was seen as a massive failure.

The story-line of The Red Badge of Courage shows what a young soldier might have experienced in that awful, bloody war, especially early on in his tour of duty.

The Homestead Act of 1862 that gave people 160 acres of land if they improved on it in some way, as well as lived on the property, was very instrumental in the growth of the western states, including Texas. Ex-slaves could not take advantage of the Homestead Act. They were considered property, and as such had no rights. Never mind that some of them joined the armies on both sides. Just like after WWI and WWII, African-Americans struggled for basic rights as human beings back in the 1800s.

Sadly, they are still struggling for equal justice.

Moving on to some useless, or useful – depending on your need for a bit of trivia. In case you’re ever asked about when clay litter was invented for cat litter boxes, I have the answer, thanks to Litter Robot

“In 1947, Michigan businessman Edward Lowe was trying to market granulated clay as a nesting material for chickens. One cold January day, Lowe’s neighbor Kay Draper stopped by to ask if he had any sand available to use as cat litter—she was tired of her cat tracking ashes all over the house. Instead, Lowe handed her a bag of granulated clay and promptly forgot about the exchange.

“Two weeks later, Mrs. Draper showed up asking for more clay—and eventually, so did her friends. The clay minerals were capable of absorbing their weight in water, working far better than sand or ashes. Lowe decided to package and sell the product as Kitty Litter.”

So now you know.

Also from Litter Robot is an interesting article How Smart Are Cats? 

You can click over to read all the scientific stuff about the cortex and cerebral whatevers, but here is the wrap-up that won’t strain a non-scientific mind:

“Just as distinct personality traits run in cats, certain breeds are more recognized for their intelligence. It’s no coincidence that these breeds also tend to be more sociable and interactive with their humans. In no particular order, here are some of the most intelligent cat breeds:

Abyssinian
Balinese
Bengal
Cornish Rex
Javanese
Siamese
Siberian
Turkish Angora/Van

“Of course, that’s not to say your domestic shorthair isn’t as smart as one of these breeds. Every cat is wonderfully unique, and must be appreciated for their distinct qualities. Although there aren’t enough studies to qualify general feline intelligence, one undeniable truth points toward how smart cats are: They’ve managed to completely manipulate us humans!”

So true. I am well and truly manipulated. How about you? That’s all for me folks. Have a wonderful weekend. Be safe. Be happy.

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2

Determination Pays Off

Posted by mcm0704 on April 10, 2019 |

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a fun story about fly fishing and determination. No fish were harmed in the process.

Read on to see what I mean. And have a cookie to go with your morning coffee or morning tea, or whatever you choose to drink in the AM.

 

It was just one of those things. It didn’t really mean Marvin Pincus had lost his mind. Consider this yourself for a minute. Marvin had opened the mail that morning and in it was the Fenwick glass fly rod he’d ordered. Oh, it was used, of course. But there’s a feel to a Fenwick that only a man dedicated to a life of using dry flies can appreciate.

Marvin had broken his ankle the previous week and was temporarily in a wheelchair.

t was his right ankle, so he couldn’t drive down to the creek. And there, in his hands, was the Fenwick. He put it together, attached a reel and some four-weight line and set it on the couch and looked at it.

Marjorie was off visiting her sister, so she couldn’t help him. But there’s a pull, an irresistible draw to a fly rod. He had to cast it. Now.

It took Marvin about 20 minutes to negotiate the front steps with that wheelchair and the Fenwick. Finally, he negotiated the sidewalk and then the edge of the street itself.

Up came the Fenwick. A few swishes in the air told Marvin he’d done the right thing in ordering the rod. So he ran out some line and began casting.

About halfway across the street was a large mulberry leaf. He did a double haul on the line and sent the fly toward the leaf. It took several tries before he hit it, but when he made that cast, you could’ve sold tickets to it. His fly came to rest about three feet above the leaf and then fluttered gently down onto its target.

Marvin’s smile said it all.

Then the school bus came around the corner full of kids heading home, and Marvin realized he was casting a fly rod from a wheelchair onto dry pavement.

“Hi Mr. Pincus!” yelled one of the kids. “Catch anything?”

“A little slow today, Billy,” he yelled back.

“Isn’t it hard to catch fish without water?” Billy yelled.

“It’s okay, son,” Marvin said with a grin. “I’m using a dry fly!”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Brought to you by “Coffee and Conversation.” Start your day right at http://am730kdaz.com/listen-live/

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at www.slimrandles.com, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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0

Monday Morning Musing

Posted by mcm0704 on April 8, 2019 |

On my morning walk, I saw this little blue flower peeking out from a tangle of brush in an empty lot. Getting a good shot was a bit of a challenge as it was fairly deep in the tangle, but I managed and was pleased with the result. As a professional photographer once told me, you take hundreds and hundreds of shots and maybe one of them turns into a terrific photograph. Thank goodness we now have digital, so we don’t have to look through spools and spools of film to find that perfect picture.

If anyone knows the name of this flower please share.

When I was managing editor of the online community magazine, WinnsboroToday.com, one of my Monday morning duties was to check out news headlines and share snippets with our readers. I had world, national, and local news sections, and I liked the idea of letting our readers know what was going on. Some days I feel the urge to do that again, so I’m sharing a brief version of that today.

Sad new out of Louisiana yesterday as Leslie Obregon reported on CBS News about three African American churches burned in a span of 10 days in St. Landry Parish. On Sunday the 145-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas was set ablaze.

St. Mary’s Baptist Church was the first reported church fire on March 26. Then, just 10 miles down the road, Greater Union Baptist Church went up in flames a week later. All three churches were well over a hundred years old.

A 17-foot python was captured in a south Florida national park. It was a female, carrying 73 eggs and weighed 140 pounds. You can see a picture of the snake, if you want to, on the Facebook page for Big Cypress National Preserve .

More unrest in the Middle East as Libya faces a possible full-scale civil war. The conflict centers on fighting between the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, and Fayez Sarraj, who heads the government in the capital city of Tripoli. Hifter launched a surprise offensive against the capital last week, and tensions have escalated, prompting other countries, including the U.S. to pull troops out of the country.

The U.S. troops have been in Libya to help local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.

Now for some personal news. Obviously, I didn’t share personal news on the community magazine. There were professional boundaries that couldn’t be stepped over, but a personal blog is only bounded by good taste and ethics.  🙂

I’m so excited to announce that the novel I wrote about my mother’s life, EVELYN EVOLVING, is now available for pre-order at Amazon. This book was three years in the writing and two years in the marketing, and it finally found a home with a small publisher, Creativia. 

The story is part biography, part historical novel, and very different from the mysteries I’ve written before – closer to mainstream novel than genre.

While my mother was anything but a perfect mother, as I matured, I came to see her as a very strong woman, and for years I wanted to share her story. I had snippets scribbled in various notebooks from the time I first started writing novels, and it all started to come together not long after she died. I’m not sure why it took so long, but it did, and now the story is out there.

The official release date is May 19th, and all the pre-launch orders will help the book rise in the rankings at Amazon, who will then start some promoting. It would be so wonderful if this could happen, so if you have a Kindle or Kindle app, I’d love for  you to order the book and help an author out. Thanks so much in advance.

That’s all for me for today. I have a class in a little while at the local community college, so I need to get out of my pjs and dressed to face the public. Whatever you have on your agenda for today and the rest of the week, I hope they are things that bring you satisfaction and joy. Be safe. Be happy.

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2

Is Constant Optimism Healthy?

Posted by mcm0704 on April 5, 2019 |

Wildflowers have been blooming all over East Texas, and these little white ones have been popping up since late January. Now unmowed yards are full of them, and I’m glad that some folks haven’t cranked up the old mower yet this Spring.

Author Kristen Lamb writes a terrific blog, offering advice, humor, and inspiration to other authors, and I’d noticed her blogs were becoming less frequent of late. I wondered why, and the answer came in this recent post Optimism Overdose: Why It’s Healthy to Say ‘Life Stinks.” Much of the post was about all of the losses and challenges in her life and how she always tried to face them with cheerful optimism. Then she wrote about the most recent challenge that knocked her down and made her rethink the benefits of always staying optimistic. 

I could relate to so much of what she shared and this excerpt from her post really made me stop and think:

Life can stink because we are holding onto dead things.
Dead relationships, dead dreams, dead projects, dead bright ideas, all rotting inside. All the while, our outer self can appear healthy while, in reality, it’s rotting away, getting steadily thinner, frailer, and on the edge of disintegrating (much like my molars).

Speaking as a person of faith, I think we can be particularly guilty of too much optimism. When life sucker punches us, we look to all the scriptures about hope and love and beauty for ashes (sic) which is perfectly fine…though not necessarily balanced.

Too much Vitamin Awesome is unhealthy. We need Vitamin Awesome in the right dosages. Also, we need MORE than just Vitamin Awesome.

We need Vitamin B as in Vitamin (This is) B*%!!$&%*, Vitamin C – Can You Believe They Did That? Maybe some Vitamin D – Don’t Tell Me It’s for the Best, and Vitamin K – Keep Crying it Out.

Optimism isn’t always the best answer when we’re hurting. We might be holding onto so many dead things, we aren’t being optimistic in the right ways. We have to let go, cry, grieve and sort through those emotions. Separate what can be restored and resurrected from those dreams, goals, relationships that are long dead and in need of a proper burial.

Since my move from the country to the city, I’ve not given myself permission to grieve over that loss. I never wanted my kids to think I am unhappy here. They are so good to me and worked so hard to find me this nice little house. And I should be happy, right? 

I’m trying.

I like to hang on to things, people, and places. And unfortunately, I tend to look backward as much as I look forward. Or maybe even more at times, which is not an emotionally healthy thing to do. However, it is equally unhealthy to not look back and grieve over what is lost. So I give myself permission to cry as often as I need to when I’m missing Grandma’s Ranch and my critters there. 

Okay, enough of that downer for today. The folks over at Litter Robot write a blog with interesting facts about cats, and since I’m a cat lover, I always enjoy reading what they have to say. The most recent post was about why cats sit on paper. There are several reasons explained on the blog, starting with this one:

Paper—usually made from trees—must have some insulating properties, right? Leave it to cats to discover that paper = heat, even when it’s not on fire.

This calls to mind an even more important question: Why are cats obsessed with warm spots? There are a couple of reasons:

Cats are desert creatures, so they’re biologically drawn to heat.

Cats’ internal body temperature is a toasty 102 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they have to compensate for greater heat loss than us humans.

So, a piece of paper may well mean the difference between the unacceptably cold floorboards and a comfortable lounging area for your cat. Go figure!

I knew that the normal temperature for a cat is 102, but I didn’t know that they are desert animals. Did you? 

Do you have cats? If so, you can share a picture in a comment if you’d like. I’ll start the pictures with one of Hermione taken a couple of years ago in the sun-room at Grandma’s Ranch. She was staying warm in the sun.

That’s all for me for today, folks. I hope you have a great weekend. Be safe. Be happy. Or cry if you have to. 🙂 

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2

Got a Horse?

Posted by mcm0704 on April 3, 2019 |

Sometimes we all yearn for a simpler life. Okay, maybe you don’t, but there are a lot of us who do, including Steve, one of the guys from the Mule Barn Truck Stop where he hangs out with Slim Randles and friends. I always enjoy spending a bit of time reading the latest from this group.

Grab a cup of coffee and read on…

“Well that about tears it!” said Steve, twitching his walrus mustache. “How do they expect a guy to get by when they tell him what to do and to send money and re-up every dang thing in your billfold. It ain’t right!”

We hadn’t seen our favorite cowboy so worked up over something since the boss made him shoe the neighbor lady’s mule.

He still limps now and then when the weather turns cold.

Steve had been sipping coffee and slitting envelopes as he combined caffeine and mail. As usual.

“Are you going to ask him?” said Doc, turning to Herb.

“You’re closer to him than I am, Doc. I might have to raise my voice. Weakens a guy.”

Doc grinned. “Okay, Steve, what’s the problem?”

“Licenses. Every dang time you turn around some guy behind a counter tells you you have to buy a license. Runs a guy straight into the poorhouse. It does.

“Why, you have to have a license for your pickup, and for your dog, and I’ll bet if a guy got married, he’d need a license for that, too.”

“You got that right,” said Dud.

“Them HAM radio guys gotta have a license, too,” Steve said. “Once you buy a license, they give you all them numbers and letters, so your buddies in Thailand know it’s you. I’m tired of it. We need a simpler way to live.”

“Okay, Steve,” Doc said, “What do you suggest we do?”

Steve grinned. “Everybody get a horse. You don’t need a license for the horse. You can get on him and ride him everywhere you go. Works out just fine, in my thinking.”

I think a horse works just fine, too. I sure miss my Banjo.

Doc smiled. “I have to go to a conference in Boston, Steve. Any suggestions?”

“Well, Doc,” Steve said. “I believe if I were you, I’d saddle up and leave now.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Joe Collins, custom woodworker at the Old Mill Store in Wimberley, Texas. Stop in and say hi.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at www.slimrandles.com, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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2

No April Fools’ Day Jokes

Posted by mcm0704 on April 1, 2019 |

What do you do when you haven’t a single idea of what to write about and it’s time for a blog post? When I was writing my weekly humor column for the Plano Star Courier, I often wondered what I’d do if I ran out of material and was just blank two days before my deadline. That was back when I had to write the column out by hand in brief snatches of time between consoling the wailing child who had an altercation with the back door and tossing the fifth load of laundry into the dryer, while trying to keep the mountain that was the other four loads from flowing off the kitchen table like lava.

Then, if by some miracle, I had my 500 to 700 words in a coherent semblance of order, the clothes folded, the child smiling, I went to my trusty typewriter and typed the column as neatly as I could, considering I was the world’s worst typist.

The timeline of that writing process went something like this:

  • Write the column over the weekend – if I was lucky I might have material for more than one.
  • On Monday, type up said columns and take them to the newspaper. No convenient e-mail back then.
  • The newspaper went to press on Tuesday.
  • On Wednesday, we all eagerly looked for my column – especially the kid who kept track of how many times he was featured as opposed to his siblings.

When I was stuck for something to write about, I could always call my good friend, Cleo, and she’d share some her her family nonsense. I was saved.

Now back to my original question. I sat down at my computer this morning with no idea for a blog post, and even after some free-writing to prime the pump so to speak, there was still no idea. So, I looked back on some older posts and found this one that I thought would be fun for this April Fools’ Day. If you’d like to see some of the best of the 2019 April Fools’ Day pranks, check out this article at The Guardian.

The following blog post ran in 2006.

As we all know, writers are by nature very insecure people, especially in the early years when perhaps the only thing we get published is a letter to the editor and that’s cut from four paragraphs to three lines. In fact, for years basic insecurity was the only thing I had to affirm my credibility as a writer.

But even in my moment of greatest anxiety, I never reached the heights (or should I say the depths) of insecurity as did Glenda Gibberish. She wrote an entire book on squares of toilet tissue and hid each page in an empty roll. When her husband, Harry, asked about all the cardboard cylinders lining the dresser, Glenda told him she was making toys for the gerbils. That worked well until he decided to take an interest in the welfare of the pets. She lost one whole chapter in a single afternoon.

Realizing that would never do, Glenda resorted to stuffing the rolls in her underwear drawer, in the empty cookie jar, and in the springs of the old sofa bed. She figured she was safe – she put her own clothes away and nobody ever bothered with the cookie jar since she never baked. But she forgot about her mother-in-law’s visit. Oddly enough, the other woman said nothing when helping to unfold the sofa bed, but Harry gave her one of those looks that we women enjoy so much. Then he surprised the gerbils with new toys.

This ruse went on for years, and she couldn’t bring herself to tell a soul that she was writing. Then one day she was hit with an overwhelming urge to “out” herself. It was the same compulsion that drives a dieter to a banana split at Dairy Queen, and, try as she might, Glenda couldn’t shake it. So she had lunch with her best friend.

“Oh, no. Is it serious?”

“Not right now, but it could be.”

“How long… I mean, have you been this way forever?”

“Since I was a little girl. But, you know. It isn’t the kind of thing you just drop into casual conversation.”

“Good. Maybe we can keep it from getting around.”

“Don’t worry. I have plenty of editors looking out for me on that count.”

“Have you told Harry yet?”

“No. But he did wonder about the sudden demise of Jake the gerbil. I think he choked on a particularly graphic sex scene.”

“Harry?”

“No. Jake.”

“How have you managed to keep it from Harry?”

“Right now, I tell him I’m going into the closet to straighten up a few things. But that’s not going to last long. Sooner or later he’s going to remember that I don’t like to straighten anything.”

“Don’t worry. You can trust me with your secret.”

“Actually, I wouldn’t mind if you told a few people. My book comes out next month and I need the publicity.”

A question for my writer friends, have you ever been this insecure?

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0

Book Excerpt -Evelyn Evolving

Posted by mcm0704 on March 29, 2019 |

It was five years ago yesterday that my mother, Evelyn, died, and it will be four years ago in June that I started writing the book that has become, Evelyn Evolving. It took almost three years of writing and rewriting to get the story right, then another year for the book to find a publisher. A little over a month ago, I signed with Creativia Publishing to release the book, and we now have a draft of the cover, which I LOVE by the way.

No release date has been set as of yet, so stay tuned for that big announcement.

Yesterday, I spent the day at the Dallas Arboretum, wandering around to absorb the beauty of all the flowers, and couldn’t help but think of how much my mother would have enjoyed seeing them.

I took a ton of pictures and here are just a few. The pansies are for my mother. She loved those little flowers and often commented about their “happy, smiling faces” made her smile. 

 

 

Now I’d like to share another excerpt from Evelyn Evolving. Warning, this scene is about sexual abuse at the orphanage where my mother lived.

Evelyn waited several long minutes after Sister left before pulling her dripping, chilled body out of the bathing tub. She dried quickly and went to the neat pile of clothes on the bench. Sitting on top of her dress was the handkerchief Sister had taken from Evelyn so long ago. The sight stopped Evelyn’s breath in her throat. She had mourned the loss of the handkerchief for several weeks after it had been taken, but in time, she had steeled herself against the pain. Compared to all the other losses in her life, this one had been insignificant.

Still, she reached out and took the soft cloth, holding it against her cheek, and cried for the brief moment of happiness it gave her.

The following week, Sister came into the bathing area again when Evelyn was there. This time, Sister wore a smile that seemed more genuine, and a crazy thought flitted through Evelyn’s mind. Did the smile mean Sister was happy to see her? Did Sister care? Had returning the handkerchief been some sort of gesture of apology for all the horrible treatment over the years Evelyn had been here?

“Thank you for the handkerchief,” Evelyn offered, her voice cracking.

Sister did not respond, she merely motioned for Evelyn to finish undressing.

Apprehension, mixed with an odd sense of expectation, came over Evelyn as the chill in the air raised goosebumps on her bare flesh. The emotions warred with each other as she tried to understand what was happening to her body. Sister reached out a hand and brushed her fingers across Evelyn’s chest. Again, her nipples responded to the touch. It was wrong. Evelyn knew that. But it made her feel warm all over.

Sister stepped closer to cup her hand around the tiny breast, and Evelyn wondered if this is what it felt like to be loved. She had never felt the comfort of resting on a mother’s bosom, or feeling this kind of love, if that’s what it was.

Today, Sister’s touch felt different and it opened a well of yearning deep inside Evelyn. She wanted this comfort. This love. So she closed the short distance between them, reaching out to touch Sister the way she was being touched.

“Stop that,” Sister said, slapping Evelyn away with a bruising blow to one shoulder.

Evelyn staggered back, slipping on the water from so many other baths that had puddled on the floor. She fell hard on her buttocks, causing a sharp pain to shoot up her back.

Sister glared at her. “You may never, ever do that again.”

“But—”

“That is a nasty, sinful thing.”

“But—”

“Do you understand?”

Evelyn didn’t know if the truth would incite even more anger, so she kept quiet. She didn’t understand. None of it. But she thought if she stayed down on the wet floor, perhaps Sister would not hit her again. She gave a brief nod, even though she wanted to shout, ‘why can you touch me, and it not be a sin?’

Evelyn stood, silent, as Sister started to hum and continued to rub Evelyn’s body. There was no surge of heat anymore. Just a cold wave of anger and revulsion that made Evelyn shudder. Sister did not seem to notice. She hummed and rubbed for a few more minutes, then dropped the rag at Evelyn’s feet and walked out.

That’s all for me today folks. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Be safe. Be happy.

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