Friday, July 13, 2018

Are We?

Thought for the day: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. [author unknown]

Huh! So It's Friday the thirteenth again. Not that any of you guys are superstitious, right?

Me, neither. Actually, I rather like the number thirteen, and the only superstition I harbor is a more personal one: never ever comment about how well the traffic is moving in Atlanta, because believe you me, it will revert to its normal bumper-to-bumper misery before you've even got the words out of your mouth. (It might not even be safe to think about it...)

I guess I could re-run one of my Friday the 13th posts from the past... or I could write about superstitions... but I don't feel particularly motivated to do either. I'm still having some difficulty summoning up my usual enthusiasm for just about anything these days, and as it turns out, my lethargy may be medical in nature. (It's called laziness.) My blood pressure is reeeeally low, for some reason. (Maybe I need to drive through Atlanta traffic a few times...?)

So I'm gonna do something a little different. (Who... moi?) I'm going to share a poem with you. It's one of the ones I wrote for Old Broads Waxing Poetic. 

I can't help but wonder if I'm the only one who feels like this, or if some of you have these same feelings from time to time.

[image: morguefile]

                                                               Am I?

                                                             Is it horrid to be happy
                                                             When so many are so sad;
                                                             And heartless to be filled with peace
                                                             When war’s all some have had?
                                                              Is it wrong to sing a joyful song
                                                             When others live the blues;
                                                             And crass to count sweet blessings
                                                             When some have none to lose?

Is it selfish to eat chocolate cake
[image: wikipedia]
When others have no meal;
And callous to be healthy
When some will never heal?
Is it hateful to be wrapped in love
When some are all alone;
And sinful to leap and pirouette
When others cry and moan?

[image: morguefile]

I lift my arms in gratitude
And admire the morning sun,
Humbled by this gift of life,
Thank God for giving me one!
Yet I know I wield Excalibur
While some hold only air;
Life’s a wondrous miracle,
But it isn’t always fair.

Is it enough to love our fellow man
And do our best to share;
Is it enough to empathize and pray
And to always to show we care?
It is in some ways troubling
And foolish to pretend;
In light of others’ suffering,
I ask of you, my friend ---

                                                  Am I heartless to be filled with peace
                                                  When war's all some have had;
[image: wikipedia]

                                                       And horrid to be happy
                                                       When so many are so sad?

You ever feel guilty about your good fortune? Please tell me I'm not the only one who makes do  rather than buy new, because I don't want to be greedy or self-indulgent. I mean... why replace our nasty-looking well-worn 40+ year old bedroom carpet when there are people in the world who have no carpet at all... or no house. Or am I just nuts...? (Maybe just a little bit.)

                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                          P.S. In case you're interested in some of those superstitions...

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Keep the Change!

Thought for the day: In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirits. [Albert Schweitzer]

Yep, it's that time again. Welcome to this month's edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting... er, virtual meeting, that is. Today, writers all over the world will be posting about the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the ins and outs... of writing. We'll celebrate... we'll complain... we'll commiserate and help rekindle those inner spirits. Whatever we need, this is the place to find it. Humble thanks and a jolly tip of the hat go to Alex Cavanaugh, our fearless ninja leader and the originator of this fine group, and to all of the other fine folks who've worked so hard to make it the huge success it is today. If you'd like to join (It's FREE!) or would like to read some of the other posts, please go HERE

On the writing front, progress has been glacially slow lately. Sales of my new book have been anemic; and reviews, practically non-existent. (sigh) Makes it a tad more difficult to stay focused and maintain enthusiasm about writing books two and three. But fear not. My enthusiasm will return. It always does. Now if only my damned muse would return from vacation...

Let's move right on to this month's question, shall we?

What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

When I was a senior in high school... you know, back in the Dark Ages... I contributed to and helped edit the school's literary magazine. After all these years, I still remember a poem my friend Bruce Troup wrote for it:

Change is never constant;
Constance never changes.
But all things change constantly.

Simple, yet profound, right? I guess that's why it's stuck with me for so long. 

Anyhow, to answer the question, of course my writing goals have changed. I used to think I was destined to be a great writer. Before I learned how to read, I made up the words and pretended to read books out loud. In second grade, a test we took to determine our potential career path (I kid you not!) said I'd be an author... and I believed it. In the summers, I concocted serialized fairy tales, and would sit in the shade of a tree and tell them to a group of neighborhood kids several afternoons a week. In fifth grade, filled with self-confidence, I entered an American Legion essay contest about Brotherhood...

[source: morguefile]

...and I LOST.

Talk about being one deflated puppy. Not even an Honorable Mention! I was crushed, because I'd worked so hard on that essay, and I thought it was so good...

PBBBBT! (That's the sound of my adolescent ego deflating.) Who was I trying to kid? I'd never be a writer.

Then my teacher, Mr. DeGrafft,  who was also one of the judges for the contest, took the time to tell me the judges loved my essay... but it didn't fit within the parameters of what the American Legion was looking for in a winning essay. They wanted rah-rah, Mom and apple pie feel-good declarations about our shared humanity and the inherent kindness of mankind.

 I, on the other hand, wrote about how people seemed to have an us vs. them mentality, so I thought the only thing that would lead to true brotherhood on our planet would be if we discovered a bigger adversary on another one.

Not exactly what they were looking for. But that wonderful teacher... that kind caring man...  rekindled my inner spirit by telling me why my essay didn't do well. He had so much confidence in me, he helped restore some of my confidence in myself. For that, I will always be grateful.

Since then, I've always been involved with some kind of writing, and like everyone else, my confidence levels ebb and flow. (Where's Mr. DeGrafft when ya need him?) Things might be at the ebb level now, but I'm pretty sure the drive will roll back in any day now...

So what's changed? I no longer believe I'm ever going to be a great writer. Nor do I dream about Pulitzer prizes and cheering crowds waiting for me at book signings. I don't expect to be accepted in every anthology I submit to, and I don't expect every story I send to a magazine to be published. Whether or not I ever had any innate talent is immaterial. I'm endlessly grateful for those teachers who instilled confidence in my writing and editing ability, but since I've gotten older, I've adjusted the bar to a more realistic level.

I write because I love to write, and I still love to spin a story. Do I still get discouraged? Sure, I do. But I'm a big girl now, (in more ways than one...) and I don't need affirmation and support like I did as a kid. (But I'd still like it every once in a while...)

That's why reviews matter so much to me. At their best, they show me that I've connected with another human being... and THAT is my overwhelming goal. When I feel a little low, I re-read some of the fantabulous reviews for Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, and I look at some of the wonderful emails readers have sent me...

and I smile with gratitude. Life is good... even if no alien forces have united us yet.

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, June 29, 2018

When One Equals Five Hundred and Seventy-Four

Thought for the day:  A Healthy attitude is contagious, but don't wait to catch it from somebody else. Be a carrier.

image: morguefile

One of the nice things about smiling is... it's free. It doesn't cost a single cent to have a positive attitude, and for the most part, it really is contagious. Try being extra nice to the cashier and bagger at the grocery story, and see how much it's appreciated. Smile and say something nice to the people you meet while waiting in some infernal line, and see how quickly they respond. I think most people would genuinely like to feel connected to other people, but for whatever reason, they hold back. No reason you have to. Go ahead and try to build a bridge, no matter how small it is. What do you have to lose?

So, what's that have to do with the title of this post? Not a darned thing.

What the title's referring to is that this, my 574th post, is actually a lazy-assed re-run of my very first one, originally published on February 25, 2011. Since the IWSG posts will be coming out on Tuesday instead of Wednesday next week, whatever I post today will only be (ahem) new for a few days, so rather than spend all day writing a new post that's doomed to die an early death out of the kindness of my heart, I'm gonna re-share this oldie, but not so goodie.

Remember how scary it was when you dipped your toes into the Blogosphere for the first time? How would anyone find you...? Would anyone ever leave a comment...? Well, the following post marks my first tentative dip, and I've gotta say, it's been a pleasure splashing around with you guys. Special thanks to those of you who've shared much of the journey with me, and a warm welcome to those who are just starting to swim in my humble, rather eclectic, pool. I truly cherish our connections.

Thought for the dayInside of every old person is a young person wondering what happened.

Yay, me. Finally got the gumption to jump into the blogosphere, proving that it IS possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Guess I'll be typing to myself for quite a while, but I sure am looking forward to that glorious sun-drenched day when something other than a sad little goose egg shows up under comments.

In the meantime, I'll entertain myself until you guys join the party.

My name is Susan, and I'm an amateur radio operator. Sounds like a greeting at one of those "addictions anonymous" kinda meetings, doesn't it? Funny you should mention it, because the wife of a ham I know claims that ham radio isn't a hobby...  it's a disease. Addiction, disease. You say tomato, I say to-mah-to.

Okay, so I admit it. Many a ham radio operator has deserted his warm bed in the middle of the night to tiptoe into his shack and fire up the radio. After all, how can he possibly sleep when there might be a pipeline opening to Mongolia, or to some other remote part of the world? And, yeah, a ham might miss a party or wedding every now and then. But only if it conflicts with a worldwide contest, hamfest, or with that once-a-year all-important field day. (He usually makes it to his OWN wedding.)

Writing is the same way. Countless writers crawl out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, because that's when their inconsiderate muses decide to tap them on the shoulder. The words start rolling around in their heads, the voices start talking, and they have no choice but to grab a pad or fire up the computer. It's a passion, and a compulsion. Writers don't always write because they want to write; they write because they HAVE to write. There's simply no peace to be found until they put form to the words churning in their heads.

But it's all good, because it's all about passion, and passion, my friends, keeps the giddyap in our steps.

How about you? What lights a fire in your furnace? Whatever it is, I sincerely hope your significant other shares that passion with you, because that elevates the enjoyment to a whole 'nother level.

And by the way, if you're interested in learning more about amateur radio, check out  It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live, or what you do in life. Amateur radio is FUN, and offers many opportunities to serve your communities.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


Believe it or not, that first sorry post actually garnered a couple of comments. Surprised the heck out of me! Just like you guys do with every one of your funny, entertaining, intelligent posts.

                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.