Monday, May 27, 2013

Big Bang

One of my favorite shows on television is The Big Bang Theory. I enjoy the mindless humor, mind challenging though it might be. One episode in particular struck home with me, the Halloween episode from this past year, which just re-ran last week. Halloween in May.

Here's a part of the CBS description:

Wolowitz is back from space and won't stop talking about it, which drives his wife and all of his friends crazy. Bernadette confronts him and he gets dejected.

There, did you catch the "won't stop talking about it" comment? He (Howard Wolowitz) lived the experience of soaring into space and could not stop talking about it, in fact, did not want to stop. Further into the episode, Wolowitz connected every statement, every action, every possible hook to "that reminds me, when I was in space..." and off he'd go telling yet another space story.

I feel his pain.

That would be me and the Pilot Mountain School project I lived with for three years. During the interviewing process, the researching, the writing, and especially since it has come out on the market, I could connect everything to the story. Everything. Just like Wolowitz.

Marbles? yes.

Mollypops? of course.

Carrot Cake? yes.

And when the Big Bang friends baited Wolowitz tossing out words to see how he could possibly connect them to his trip in space, he didn't disappoint. That set me to thinking. I grabbed an Our State Down Home in North Carolina magazine, pointed to a word at random, wildlife, and immediately connected it to the school's story. Of course there was wildlife. This was a mountain school, after all, surrounded by wildlife. Plus, there was the recess game, Fox and Hound, where two boys ran so far into the woods from the "hounds" they were late coming back to class.

Next word, furniture. Easy. The furniture was built by the NYA, National Youth Administration boys, who also helped build the school.

Driver? Bus drivers, of course.

Hot dog? The story about the girl who ate her first hot dog ever in the school cafeteria. Thought she'd died and gone to heaven. Her words.

Throne? That one stumped me until I thought of the outhouses behind the school and the first year of the indoor restrooms. Sure, I can connect throne.

Even Big Bang...The day the eighth grade class heard a still blown up by the revenuers and one boy commented, "There goes my family business."

So forgive me in the writing of these blog posts as I go off on tangents. I have too much to share to stop now.

Catch of the day,


Monday, May 20, 2013

Home from Blue Ridge Bookfest

I only have one question after spending two days at a western North Carolina, mountain book event. When can I do this again???

What a cloud nine experience I had.

Oh, yes, believe me, I was in the clouds for two days, literally, with the high elevations and the unforgiving rain. Inside the conference center at Blue Ridge Community College the presenters, the authors and the reader visitors remained dry and entertained, my cloud nine. 

I shared a display table with one of my critique partners, Sandra Warren, and her multiple books.
We filled in for each other, shared each other's books with interested readers. We took notes, collected ideas, and talked out plot lines during the lulls.

On my opposite side, Golden Gate Rabbit Park owner, Loretta Hayward, and her multiple bunny books.

And along the side tables, a fellow SCBWI children's writer, Ann Eisenstein, with her best selling book.
Think we had a great day? You bet. Readers meeting authors, no better way to spend a Friday afternoon or a rainy Saturday.

Lessons Learned held up with the best of them, but the most exciting moment was when a lady bought a copy for the library collection in her bread and breakfast inn. Several visitors to my table were amazed at the concept of a collective memoir, one even wanting to review it for a magazine. I felt like a proud mama standing there beside my book. Mostly I was proud of the community I wrote about, how they endured the struggles and what they had accomplished in the years after the school closed. That's the real meat of the book, the theme, the reason I couldn't wait for people to go home, snuggle in from the dampness outside, and open to page one. 

It's enough to make a mama proud.

Catch of the day,


Monday, May 13, 2013

Where Readers Meet Writers

I have discovered an unanticipated joy of becoming an author...meeting up with fellow readers and fellow writers. Just talking with them is a treat. Since Lessons Learned came out last fall, I've joined other writers in book events and met many people who enjoy reading just for the thrill of it all, my kind of people.

One group I meet with monthly is the Rising Suns of Literary Achievement. We rising suns (I love the name and its connotation) share experiences and ideas on marketing, finding much in common even though we represent a wide range of genres from poetry to nonfiction and every kind of fiction between. We applaud each other's newest releases. We offer suggestions on techniques. In fact, here we are, posing during the event with our books. This also had artists and musicians and a celebratory cake. What a group!!

My inner radar has realigned itself so much that I am finding authors wherever I go. I swapped books with a man at a consignment store at the beach this past week. John Compton's The Spiritual Pilgrimage of John E. Compton, fourth edition. I've not had a chance to read it yet, skimmed through, but not done the in-depth reading it will require. But oh, do I have something precious to look forward to. I hope he finds the same excitement opening the cover to mine.

This coming Friday and Saturday, Lessons Learned and I will be a part of the Blue Ridge Bookfest in Brevard, NC. Any event that has as its slogan, "Where readers meet writers" is my idea of a fun time ahead.

Blue Ridge Bookfest Honorees MontageThis year features author Wiley Cash and his debut novel, A Land More Kind than Home. I just purchased it on my Kindle Fire, downloaded and it's ready for me to read. Come this Friday afternoon, I'll get to meet him, get to express my feelings about his book, ask him questions, soak up his wisdom. I can't wait.

If you are like-minded and anywhere near the western mountains of North Carolina, please join us at the place where readers meet writers.

Catch of the day,


Monday, May 6, 2013

A Sweet Lesson

Talk about Lessons Learned!

This week I discovered that writing about the past often proves to be much easier than writing about the present. The past is set in stone, over with, waiting patiently (sometimes) for the storycatchers of the world to chip away the clutter and find the real story. The present, however, is still the clay waiting not so patiently to be formed and dried into that stone. 

Rambling on...Once a book is written, it changes the present into the past before the ink is yet dried, regardless of any attempt by a well meaning author...As in Lessons Learned, Chapter 13, the Turning Points chapter, where I describe the current Pilot Mountain School facility, where I made a futile attempt at keeping the present frozen in time. When I wrote the book, there was a consignment shop in the facility. Now there's not.

When I wrote the book, the baked goods were part of the coffeeshop. Now they're not. And that is good news, because as of this Thursday, the once upon a time original cafeteria is now a bakery.

What a delicious sounding name! And what delicious looking treats await the visitor to Pilot Mountain School. If you are looking for a good excuse to visit the school, what better time than opening day, this Thursday, May 9. Sweet!!

Catch of the day,