Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

I think we’ve often stated how different my life is from that of my sister, she does, after all have a husband, children, and pets, which I don’t have. One of the ways our lives are different is that she ends up making fairly regular trips to the ER.

This has more to do with the number of people in her household than anything else does. There have been months where Konnie has ended up in the ER several times, in just a week. Me, I can tell you where the ER is, but the only time I ever went to the ER more than once in a week’s time was not long before my husband died. He died within a week of my last trip to the ER with him.

Sixteen month before that was our previous trip the ER, and I can’t remember how long ago the visit before that was. Though I do recall that in the decade or so before that trip, my husband had taken two trips to the hospital in an ambulance, and I’d done it once. All three times for accidents, and all three were years apart.

Then came this week. Last Wednesday my doctor ordered some tests to figure out how come I was suddenly having new problems and the results came back that I might have a blood clot. When the doctor saw that, he called me and ordered me to the ER to undergo further tests to figure out if I did indeed have said clot.

You’ll be happy to know that I do not have one. I’m fine and improving, thanks to antibiotics, but I still ended up going back in ER yesterday afternoon. A friend called me, weak and in pain. I hurried to her place and drove her to the ER. And, thankfully, she is fine and on antibiotics, but on the way home she apologized to me for taking up so much of my day, and even said something on the lines of, “I’m glad you didn’t have any plans today.”

The truth was I did, not the least of which needing to write my blog post, but I also had working on my WIP, household chores, and balancing my checkbook on the agenda yesterday. She had in fact interrupted my writing. I didn’t get far.

But it got me thinking about how hard of a time Konnie always has getting any writing done, and I realized sometimes even our best laid plans have to be thrown out the window, there are just more important things. Like trips to the ER, something no one can plan on.

Hopefully today, I’ll manage to add more than 315 words to my WIP, balance my checkbook, do the laundry, and the dishes, and . . . J You get the picture.

Happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Over the last several months I’ve heard more and more stories of people being labeled racist simply because they were born with less pigmentation than others. That’s it. No other reason other than the lack of pigmentation.
Not because they’d done anything mean, illegal or blatantly rude to anyone who happened to have more pigmentation than they did, but simply because of their lack of pigmentation.
In one case a judge told a three year old victim of a crime that the criminal, who happened to have a great deal of pigmentation, didn’t deserve a tough sentence for the crime of terrorizing this little three year old because the three year old was racist. Why? You guessed it. That poor child didn’t have enough pigmentation.
Now I’ve looked up the definition of racist, just to make sure I wasn’t forgetting what I learned all those years ago back in school, but according to racist and or racism means feeling your race is superior to another race.
So the amount of pigmentation someone has cannot possibly determine whether or not they are a racist or not. Their actions and words can, though.
And when I was in school the first thing they taught me to determine a racist is someone who judged someone based solely on the amount of pigmentation they had.
So calling me a racist simply because I lack said pigmentation would make you the racist, not me, because I’m not the one judging you on the amount of pigmentation you have. I’m judging your words and actions.
So everyone out there who are blessed with a great deal of pigmentation, not everyone who unfortunately lacks pigmentation is judging you on your overabundance of it.
We can however judge you on your actions.
If you are going to rob, steal, beat up defenseless women and children, use vulgar and profane language in public, walk around half dressed and your clothes falling off of you, yeah we can judge that. I don’t care how much pigmentation you have.
If you want to be respected as human beings, act like it.
Respect those around you.
Pull up your pants and clean up your language.
Stop blaming the world for your woes and get a job. If there isn’t any where you live, find a way to better your situation, like going to school and making yourself more employable.
There are people of all levels of pigmentation who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made something of themselves without breaking any laws.
I sincerely doubt Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned the world we have today when he declared “I have a dream”.
He didn’t want those with lots of pigmentation turning the table on those with little, he wanted us all to live together as equals.
But that’s never going to happen if we continue to see an issue of pigmentation, something determined by our genes, as something to divide us.
Pigmentation is only skin deep. Underneath that we are all human beings.

When we can remember that, we will finally achieve equality.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


During their school years, I’m sure most kids had a class they didn’t look forward to. Mine changed as I got older, but when I was in grade school, I hated Art class.

I groaned a lot when I saw our teacher, which was a lot because, unfortunately, she was my mother. Despite being her offspring, I can’t draw. Doodle yes; draw no, evident in the fact that I got a D in art.

My mother didn’t give up trying, she even convinced me to take art in seventh grade. Frankly, both of us figured if someone else taught me it would work better.

Well he did give me a C. I guess that’s better, but I still can’t draw. I can barely even tell you what perspective is. And, heck, that’s vocabulary, not art!

I can still see my mother drawing lines at an angle over the paper, and then sketching different things at different spots on the graph she made, as she talked about how to make things larger that are closer and smaller that are further away.

Next to the color wheel, perspective was probably the easiest thing for me to learn. It made sense to me.
Of course, when I gave up on being an artist, I figured I didn’t have to worry about perspective ever again. That is until the other day when it dawned on me I have to deal with it all the time.
POV is perspective!

And boy is there a lot more to perspective when you’re using words rather than drawings. In writing, perspective isn’t affected by how near or far the thing is, its affected by era, upbringing, attitude, experience, and setting.

A character from say the 1830’s is going to have a different attitude, experience, and even upbringing than one from today. They’d use different term too. Of course, characters from the same era can have different attitudes, depending on upbringing or experience. Perspective makes a huge difference.

It can make a difference in how you’d write a scene too.

Is the narration in the narrator’s voice or the character’s voice?
What attitude does the character have? What is the character’s experience? How a character feels about the events around them will affect how they respond to those events and two characters are going to respond alike.

Number one, if they did, it would make for a boring story, and number two, it wouldn’t be realistic. Even Konnie and I don’t respond the same to any given situation; we don’t think alike – most of the time. After all, while our formative vital statics are virtually the same, there’s that little she’s shy I’m not issue that makes a huge difference in how we feel.

Writing perspective isn’t showing the vista from where the character is standing, it’s about attitude since an outdoorsy person would view the same forest differently than a city person making the story different.

And I find it changes everything in the story, when I change the POV. Don’t you?

And it’s time to get back to my writing! Have fun everyone. J

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Name Thing

Not long ago my middle daughter and I were having a conversation and it somehow got on names.
Something prompted me to mention the calendar my father had listing everyone’s birthdays. The calendar had twelve squares, one for each month. In each Dad listed family members birthday by the day they were born, their first name and then the two digit year they were born. However, my middle daughter and my brother’s oldest daughter were born a month and a day apart and have the exact same first name.
 Dad’s solutions was to add their middle initial to the board.
When I saw it, and read the entries for those girls’ birthdays, I had to laugh. “Dad you should have used their last initial.”
This was obvious to me since those are clearly different whereas their middle initials are the same, even if they are different names. The way Dad did it, made it look like he listed two birthdays for one girl.
Anyway that story led me to retell how her cousin hadn’t known, when they were in grade school, that they had the same name. We had as a rule used a common nickname for our daughter but my brother refused to shorten any of his kid’s names. So one day, in my niece’s presence, when I was a bit irked with my own daughter and called her by her full first name, I had to explain that they had the same name.
This discussion led to us talking about how moms call kids full names when they are upset with their kids. I told my daughter that I tend to use my children’s first and middle names when I’m mad, for all but my youngest daughter. I use her first two names when I’m in a good mood.
“That’s not fair. Why do you do that?”
 “You try saying Joy when you’re mad.”
I let her think on that a moment.
I finally pointed out. “When I’m mad at her she gets her full name, not just her first and middle name.”
Truthfully, I have used my other kids full names, but generally the first two are enough for them to know they are in trouble.
But as my youngest daughter read this, she pointed out that I rarely call her by just her first name.
She’s right. I do usually use her first two names. Either that, or her nickname, which I often pair with her middle name anyway.
I really like her middle name.

Can you blame me?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Worst Parenting Advice

The other day I was reading an article online about the worst advice new parents had ever received out of pure curiosity, just to see what some people might say. After all, maybe I could use it in a story someday, and then I came to this little tidbit:

“Twins are easier than one at a time because they have a built-in playmate/friend.”

I cracked up! Spoken like someone who has never had to deal with a couple of toddlers conspiring together to overthrow a safety gate or anything else. Oh, at first it might seem fine.

Our dad insisted that while we were babies and toddlers, before we started talking, we would jabber at each for hours, seemingly having very interesting conversation only we could understand. And it’s not that much harder to change two diapers then to change one, but once twins are mobile – Look out!

I mean let’s get real. All of you parents out there imagine your little one-year-old hellion and times that by two.

Times the un-diapered runaways, the knocked over lamps, the banging pots and pans, and all the other minor disasters one can cause by two, and throw in a dose of they communicate with each before they can actually talk, and believe me, that safety gate will only withstand their assault if its bolted to the wall.

To hear the war stories my parents used to say about my early years, I’m guessing we got all our mischievousness out before we entered school, because I’m telling you our teachers never had that much trouble. Though believe me, we pulled some mighty interesting stunts. And I’ll have to admit we were in grade school for a certain feat we pulled involving a Christmas present, but that did occur at home. Our teachers never had any such problems with us.

(Excluding the one trick where a friend dared us into switching places for April Fool’s day, which would be the only time I have ever pulled an April Fool’s prank, and, as I’ve mentioned before, it didn’t work too well.)

Of course, I don’t have to go with just what they said; I know plenty of other parents of twins. And one theme I’ve noticed is that when in trouble, they run away in opposite directions. And I experienced that as a young woman babysitting a set a twin boys! You aim to grab them, to get them out of trouble, and they’d scamper, giggling, in opposite directions, generally, both finding something else to get into.

I’m telling you once twins are mobile you need to be two people to keep up. And to just plain catch them!

I feel sorry to single parents of twins and for every couple out there with higher order multiples. With my active imagination I can figure out how that would be, and I do not want to go there! Ever. My sympathies to all of you.

But then again, I really ought to work some of this into a story.

Time to get back to my writing! Have fun everyone. J

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Twin Connection

Not too long ago my husband took our daughter and her two fur babies to the vet. While there he saw a woman who looked familiar but clearly didn’t know him.
He asked the woman if he knew her but she said she didn’t think so but then added, “I do have a twin sister though.”
As I wasn’t there, I’m not sure which one brought up the name of our doctor but when he was telling me the story, Jerry made it clear the woman looked a lot like the woman all of us, except my husband, see for medical care, and she did say that our doctor was her twin sister. (He goes to the VA.)
Jerry told me about because he’d been unaware our doctor had a twin.
I knew that, but it was surprising, after all these years, that we’d run into her sister. This is a big city.
Anyway, a few days later I had to take a couple of my kids into the doctor so I asked her, “Have you talked to your sister since Monday night?”
“No. Why?”
I told her about Jerry having to go to the vet and as soon as I named the clinic he went to she started laughing. Though when I explained that Jerry talked to her sister she seemed a bit surprised. She said, “Yeah, if you see me out and about and say hi, but I don’t respond, it’s actually my sister.”
While she didn’t actually say her sister was ‘the shy one’, that was what she implied.
If you’ve ever seen Lily Tomlin and Bette Miller in “Big Business” you’ll see that for both sets of twins, one is considered shy while the other is very much outspoken. This is considered fairly normal among twins.
Bonnie and I have already posted about all the times I didn’t talk to her friends. What I didn’t say is I never had that problem, because she always figured a stranger talking to her must have known me.
What I realized that day in the doctor’s office is that my doctor is the outgoing one like Bonnie is and her twin is the shy one like me.
In the past my doctor and I have also talked about being mirror twin, part of the reason I knew she was a twin. Anyway, because of that I know my doctor is right handed, like Bonnie.
So I actually have more in common with her sister than I do her.
But, you know what? It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is we are both twins and we understand each other on a level that people who aren’t twins can’t.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My ADD Muse

I think the hardest part about writing is when your mind moves faster than your fingers can type, but it’s doubly hard when the story moves on in your head while you’re dreaming, taking your brain further along in the story than where you’ve typed to.

You would think after all these years I would be accustomed to this problem, since, after all, my stories do play out in my mind while I’m doing other things, like chores, or sleeping, and the fact is it usually helps me work out what happens next.

My problem is that sometimes my brain skips way ahead.

I know there are authors who insist they write whatever scene is on their minds then go back in edits to put the scenes in order and fill in the blanks. I’ve tried this. I have several manuscripts with the words “skip ahead,” typed into the manuscript. But each time I reread those manuscripts I’m still drawing a blank as to how to fill in the gap.

In the past week, instead of forcing myself to work on my manuscript I’ve volunteered to chauffeur a friend around, went shopping and out to lunch with a friend, taken my sister-in-law to various appointments, and played countless games on my computer. I’ve also opened my manuscript any number of times, but all I’ve managed is adding a couple paragraphs, and those simple sentences took me most of the day! I’m generally not that slow.

In fact, I have it open right now. But as I know it ends well before the spot running through my head, I can’t bring myself to even look at it.

Why does my brain have to jump ahead?

Well, it needs something to do while I’m doing other things. Let’s face it, I have ADD, my brain goes, period. It doesn’t stop, not even when I’m asleep, since my dreams often give me story ideas, or solve problems I’m having with a plot.

None of which helps me complete another manuscript. I’ve managed it six times, but none since, and I’m starting to feel like I will never manage it again.

I’ve gone to the point of telling myself not to start another one until I finish what I’m working on, but then the story I’m working hits a road block I can’t seem to work out while another story takes over. This has happened many times, and only once have I managed, after almost a year of working on other stories, returned to the interrupted story, when a sudden idea gave me a new path to take.

Then again, I did finish that one, thanks to the inspiration. Maybe I should stop fighting it and just go along with my scatterbrained muse. What do you think?