TIME

Time

Sunrise,
daylight,
the shimmer
of today.
On again,
off again,
the flood of Time.
Too new,
who knew
what today
might bring?
Days of memory,
emergence,
resurgence,
once,
and then again.


Follow Sharon at:
www.vandermeerbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks
Amazon Author Central


 

DO NOT GET SICK OR HURT!

Smile away the bluesCOVID-19 has become painfully personal. No, I don’t have it, and neither does my husband Bob, but he did fall and break his left femur and consequently ended up in Santa Fe at Presbyterian where he is – as I write this – in surgery. It is, a doctor friend tells me, a short and straightforward surgery, one he has had before on the other side. The personal part of this is that I cannot be with him or see him after surgery. Strict rules regarding patient safety in the age of COVID-19 prevents family members from seeing or being with their loved ones while they are hospitalized.

I’ve read about other people going through this, but you don’t “get it” until it happens to you.

The surgery is the first step. Following that he will have PT. The last time this happened three years ago, he was away from home for nearly six weeks, but I could be with him during the day and keep him supplied with newspapers for reading and Starbucks from Charlie’s to make him smile. Can’t do that this time!

Frustrating? Yes! There must be a better way. And yet, I know because of the precautions the local re-hab/nursing home has taken, it has had no cases of COVID-19. So, if Bob has to be in re-hab, I would hope he could do it in Las Vegas where I could at least wave at him through the window.

I believe hospitals are doing the right thing to protect patients and the public, but that doesn’t make it easier. Please keep my dear one and me in your prayers. And to all our friends and neighbors who have been through – or are going through – similar circumstances, prayers lifted for you all! I no longer simply sympathize, I understand.

Oh, crap! An update. Bob’s surgery was supposed to be at 3 o’clock this afternoon; now postponed by a day because they couldn’t get him into the surgery schedule! This means at least another day added to the estimated 4-day hospital stay. AAAAARRRRGH!

One day at a time, Sweet Jesus, one day at a time.


I am an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. I frequently write about my town, Las Vegas, N.M. Occasionally I use interesting and helpful content from other sources. I also invite guest posts. If you have a topic you would like to share, send to fsharon@msn. com.


 

My Town – Las Vegas, NM

Eighth Street - Las Vegas, NM

So, what would you like to share about Las Vegas – NM that is? I’ve decided to be more intentional about posting information about my home town, a little community with amazing potential. In the middle of a pandemic, people stepped up to help each other, to make masks, to encourage one another, to make the most of a bad situation. Now we’re getting back to business and hopefully on the road to normal as defined post-COVID-19. I’m a one-person operation, so I rely on you to contact me if you would like your story posted here.

Here are links to articles posted so far:

The Las Vegas Economy: MSLV Initiatives Attack the Virus
Tortillas, donuts and more, Oh My!
Skillet Casting its Culinary Magic
Las Vegas NM Community Foundation
Small business, big heart: Unikat Fine Jewelry
Semilla Natural Foods, a nurturing environment

I welcome you to be a part of this series. Articles will be posted as responses to questions are received. Reserve your spot now. I’m looking forward to sharing news about you and your business, nonprofit or organization.

There is a mix of content on this site. I am, after all, a writer, so you will continue to see poetry, essays, short stories and whatever else I decide to post. If you have a Las Vegas, NM, article idea, share it with me at fsharon@msn.com and I will follow up.


Please become a follower to receive updates when new content is posted. Thanks for reading, liking and sharing this post.


 

Small business, big heart: Unikat Fine Jewelry

Jeweler Andrea GotschalkUnikat Fine Jewelry opened its doors in Las Vegas, N.M., in May of 1998. Owner Andrea Gottschalk has been a self-employed jeweler since 1988 and subcontracted with many jewelry stores in the Santa Fe and Las Vegas area prior to opening her own gallery. Her store at 160 Bridge St., provides space for seven large showcases and plenty of room for paintings, Navajo rugs and other wall art.

Andrea studied to become a jeweler in Germany, her home country. Most of her skills stem from hands-on training with various master jewelers around the globe. She traveled to countries around the world from 1985 to 1987, seeking out jewelers to teach her new skills. In this way, she became versatile in technique and skill level. It is her strong suit as she moves into an uncertain new normal.

“I offer custom design, repairs, watch services, and ear-piercing. I have showcases filled with jewelry from many local artisans and of course, my own designs,” Andrea said. Unikat Fine Jewelry sells wedding sets, antique jewelry, men’s and children’s jewelry. Items are available in gold, silver, copper, titanium, stainless steel and just about every precious and semi-precious gem stone set in jewelry. If Andrea doesn’t have what you’re looking for, she will order it, or make it for you.

Andrea made Las Vegas her home in 1996. “I’m happy to have been able to maintain my store here for 22 years.”

As with many stores deemed non-essential in the early days of COVID-19, Andrea had to close her doors to the public in mid-March.

“There was no guarantee of re-opening. I remained closed until June 15, three months of no business,” Andrea said. “I am open by appointment and at reduced hours because business has been slow and spotty.” She encourages customers to call ahead (contact information below) to make sure the doors are open.

As a self-employed owner-entrepreneur, Andrea used a strategic approach to keep her business as financially secure as possible, while accessing much-needed income. She received money from an emergency relief fund through the Small Business Development Center and state unemployment when it became available for those who are self-employed.

“Without that I would have had to consider closing for good should the pandemic and resulting restrictions to small businesses continue for many more months,” she said.

Andrea’s other “job”, albeit a volunteer position, continues to further the support efforts of the Las Vegas First Independent Business Association (LVFIBA). As its president, Andrea coordinated weekly Zoom (virtual) meetings of the association.

“LVF has been a good source of information on what financial assistance people can apply for since they stay in close contact with the small business administration office up at Luna, and were always able to update business owners on what help is available,” Andrea said.

Zoom meetings helped LVF members stay connected, supported, and sometimes acted as a place to share grief and anxiety during COVID-19’s uncertain times.

“It’s also nice to be able to join a meeting wherever you are in the moment. That has attracted more members to participate and bring in leaders from other organizations,” Andrea said. “This way we were always able to share helpful information with each other and every organization, and City of Las Vegas staff Through Zoom, we were able to provide guidance and help to each other.”

With positive energy running through her comments, Andrea notes that she is current on ALL her repairs and custom-orders. That means that turn-around time for pick-up is minimal.

“My customers will be most happy to hear this news, since in very busy times waiting has been as long as six weeks!”

The common challenge for owner-operators of small businesses going forward is having revenue coming in the door. Andrea feels it deeply for herself and others who are in the same financial boat.

“Once you go over the amount of your base unemployment, you get thrown out of the system. You make some money now, but still not enough to cover your expenses, and then unemployment runs out. It could take months for businesses to return to normal and be financially stable,” she said.

Andrea encourages everyone to engage in the MainsStreet de Las Vegas shopping experience Cash Mob, an online live shopping event held every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Local stores will be featured each week.

“The first one with New Moon Fashion was an incredible success,” Andrea said. “Items for sale are presented by a host and viewers on Facebook reserve the item they want to buy, then pick up and pay for the item in the store the next day.

“It’s a great way to avoid crowds and still support your local economy! All store owners who are interested will get a turn. Contact mainstreetdelasvegas@gmail.com for more information and to sign up.”

Andrea continues to be a strong advocate for small businesses and expressed deep appreciation for the small town she chose as her home 24 years ago.

“I appreciate all my customers who give me so much positive feedback all the time, but especially now for hanging in there. I love this little town and have made the most precious connections and friends out of my client base,” Andrea said.

“I am planning to be open full time soon, but for now I appreciate the patience and understanding for limited hours and calls for appointments until the crisis has stabilized.”


Unikat Fine Jewelry
160 Bridge St.
Las Vegas NM 87701
Phone: 505-425-6113
Cell: 505-617-6113


 

Semilla Natural Foods, a nurturing environment

Semilla Natural Foods

At age 17, Jane Lumsden opened Semilla Natural Foods in 1971 with her boyfriend at the time.

“We were excited about the natural foods and healthy lifestyle movement that was happening in the ‘70s. We left Santa Monica, Calif., and found Las Vegas, N.M. We decided this would be the perfect spot to open a natural foods store. Over the years as the natural foods movement grew, so did our store. Eventually, I became the sole owner and continued to expand and serve the community.”

Semilla’s growing clientele is a testament to Jane’s determination to bring a unique and much-needed shopping experience to the area. When COVID-19 forced closure of many businesses in March, Semilla Natural Foods remained open because as a grocery store, it was considered essential. Little did Jane and her staff know what an impact that would have.

“When restaurants closed and people were ordered to stay home, widespread panic about food and supplies shortages had people running in to buy as much groceries as their pantries and monies allowed,” Jane said. “Our business and our demand grew exponentially overnight. Myself and my employees had to put in more time and effort for the increased demand. Our store became a place where people needed to feel hopeful. On top of being able to provide the increasing grocery needs within our community, we also had to provide emotional and mental encouragement to our patrons.”

Semilla’s clientele grew as regular customers continued to come in to do their shopping, and new customers began to arrive from surrounding areas, people who didn’t want to be exposed to big cities like Santa Fe where they would usually do their shopping.

“We even had new customers from within our city come to us because they didn’t want to risk exposure at the big chain stores,” Jane said. “Our orders increased by three times and we also became a designated donation drop-off location for several groups that worked towards providing food to community members and to our local animal shelter. Our community stepped up in a huge way and the response to helping those in need was incredible. We donated cases of food ourselves.”

Jane said Semilla has a large elderly customer base so her priority was to make the store a safe space for them and consequently for all patrons and employees.

“We could not afford to have a single employee get sick and we were all working overtime. We had regular employee staff meetings to check in and make sure everyone felt safe coming to work as the rest of the country was staying home.

“I reiterated that anyone who felt uncomfortable coming to work or felt sick could stay home with pay. Not one employee hesitated about continuing to work, and I am so grateful to all of them,” Jane said.

Communication about safety continues to be a constant among staff. During store hours, masks are required for employees and customers, and social distancing is encouraged and adhered to as much as possible. For a time during heightened awareness of possible COVID-19 spread, Jane and her staff were required to limit the number of patrons allowed in the store.

“We began offering free curbside pick-up and at home delivery within city limits for patrons who didn’t want to risk exposure. Overall, our customers have been incredibly gracious and patient with us and our new policies,” Jane said.

With the state opening more and more, Semilla follows the state and city-mandated recommendations requiring customers and staff to wear masks.

“We’ve been able to team up with the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center to provide masks to people who do not have one. We want to continue to be as safe as we can for our patrons. We all dislike having to wear our masks, but fully believe that it protects our customers. We will continue to honor what science tells us works.”

SemillaBusiness for Semilla increased because of the pandemic, but Jane’s concerns for her staff remained. “I wanted to make sure my employees were going to be taken care of in the long run. I applied for the PPP loan (Payroll Protection Program), and the SBA loan, mainly because I had no idea what the future was going to hold.

“Our application was not accepted during the first round of the PPP, but our bank, Community First, worked diligently to ensure that we were on the list for the second round. Las Vegas First IBA (Independent Business Alliance) and Luna Community College offered information and support during this time as requirements were continually changing. Thankfully, I had someone in-house who could navigate through this complicated process. The SBA loan took months to come in.”

As Jane reflects on COVID-19 and its lingering presence in a time of uncertainty, she is grateful.

“If I could say anything about these past few months, it’s that Semilla cares. My employees did an incredible job to make sure our community knew Semilla was a safe and welcoming space for all. We worked hard to keep our shelves stocked and adapt to people’s new shopping habits. We all came up with innovative ways to give back to our small community and we ensured everyone had access to fresh and healthy food.

“As people resume their previous shopping habits and begin to eat out, we have no idea what the future will bring for Semilla. Hopefully people will realize the importance of shopping locally, supporting local businesses so Las Vegas can once again pick up where we left off; at a time of exciting growth and recognition. We need to stick together. This is a great community,” Jane said.

“As things begin to open back up, COVID-19 is still a huge concern and we are going to continue to practice safe policies. Semilla will continue to offer the best in natural, wholesome foods and products for individual health and the health of our planet,” Jane said.


Images: Courtesy Semilla


Semilla Natural Foods
510 University Ave.
Las Vegas, NM
(505) 425-8139
http://www.semillanaturalfoods.com
https://www.facebook.com/SemillaNaturalFoods/


NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email fsharon@msn.com for more information.


 

Tortillas, donuts and more, Oh My!

Charlie SandovalCharlie’s Spic and Span Bakery and Café is an established eatery owned by only three people during its more than 60-year history. Founded in the early 1950s, its primary offerings were chile and tamales. Carmen Fernandez expanded the bakery and added breakfast and lunch. In 1998 Charlie and Elizabeth Sandoval acquired the Spic & Span and have added fresh-made tortillas and increased the menu items. Its core reason for being is to serve customers Northern New Mexico cuisine and good old-fashioned comfort foods in a friendly atmosphere. Generous portions, fresh ingredients and friendly service are the standard.

COVID-19 brought everything to a screeching halt on March 15. Charlie’s, and many other businesses deemed non-essential, closed and their owners wondered what to do next, and what to do now that restrictions have been partially lifted.

Charlie, his trademark smile and optimism firmly in place despite what his business has been through, said, “I’m a lot slower, now. By 50 percent!”

That is somewhat a consequence of restrictions that limit restaurants to half their capacity, plus reluctance by some long-time customers to venture out.

Charlie’s was closed for two months, time spent on ongoing repair and maintenance and some sprucing up. He opted to start curbside pick-up service on May 15 and in-house dining on June 1.

Signs of the times
The sign on the left reads: STOP We wear our masks to protect you and your family. Please wear your mask to protect us and our families. Thank you, Charlie’s crew.

As a customer, you’re required to wear a mask to enter, sign in with your name and phone number, and wash your hands with a sanitizing solution. Of course, you can take off your mask once you sit down. Servers, however, must keep theirs on. If you’re ordering to-go, you’re asked to keep your mask on and observe social distancing (six feet apart).

 

Although Charlie’s Bakery and Café is now open for in-restaurant dining, the café is operating on reduced hours, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. “It’s been a slow start. I guess a little revenue is better than nothing. I’m trying to make good business decisions to benefit my employees and my operation.”

Donuts and moreOne program that has been of great help to the restaurant is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). “This program has really saved my business,” Charlie said.

“I want to thank my friends, customers and family for all their support and ask that they please bear with us on all these new changes. I have a lot of good customers and a lot of them are my good friends now. I hope one day we can be normal and operate freely like before, without so many restrictions.”

Charlie’s Bakery and Cafe continues to serve a full menu, has fresh tortillas daily, and dessert favorites like apple fritters, donuts, sugar cookies, biscochitos, cream puffs and more.


Charlie’s Bakery and Café
715 Douglas Ave.
505-426-1921


NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email fsharon@msn.com for more information.


 

Skillet Casting its Culinary Magic

From the Skillet website: Sometime in 2012, Isaac Sandoval was challenged to design and build the world’s largest cast iron skillet. The skillet itself didn’t break any world records but people loved the unique menus and crowd-pleasers cooked in the giant skillet. Thus, began the journey into food and pure wonderment of all things culinary. Isaac and Shawna set up shop in Vegas (NM) as a food truck, and two years ago went full brick and mortar in a historic building downtown. Skillet today is an immersive art, food, and drink experience.

How did they navigate the restrictions imposed by COVID-19? Below are Shawna’s responses to questions about the virus and its impact.

Artfully designed
The foodie entrepreneurs have not been idle during their down time. The Zen pool and new artwork are just some of the additions to the patio. That’s Shawna in the background.

“We were forced to close our doors March 15,” Shawna said. “Ourselves and our employees all went on unemployment directly after. Although the government left opportunity for restaurants to serve takeout, we made the decision that our efforts were best placed elsewhere.”

The fan-favorite foodie-friendly restaurant was closed for two and one-half months, reopening on June 1.

Shawna said the Skillet is reopened at 50 percent capacity because of mandates from health officials. “Our business hours are basically the same as before. We decided to cut our late-night menu for the time being, which so far gets us home earlier on the weekends.”

Looking to the future early on in the shutdown, the Sandovals set about making changes designed to add and enhance seating, and expand food options.

“We expanded our patio seating during the quarantine knowing that outdoor dining is considered substantially safer than indoor dining. Skillet has a large outdoor patio and our outdoor occupancy at 50 percent is 100 people. With the recent beautiful weather, Pizza anyonewe’ve been serving more customers outside, which was made possible because of the expansion. Our order-at-the-counter service is actually conducive to the “contactless” approach. We eliminated all duplicate menus and have just one menu for customers to see without touching, and our servers still bring all food and beverage to the customer. We have security staff for busy nights who remind people to sign our book at the door for the required contact tracing. Recently we’ve implemented digital temperature readings for all customers entering the restaurant. Employees that are in direct contact with the public are required to wear masks at all times.”

Like many businesses, the Skillet has taken advantage of stimulus programs geared toward small businesses.

“Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we are able to rehire and pay all our employees who went on unemployment for the quarantine. The grant portion of the loan will assist with our payroll while the business is getting back on its feet. This is particularly beneficial for restaurants such as ours as we employ around 20 people, a significant proportion of our operational costs.”

Operations day-to-day requires attention to detail and a willingness to work toward specific goals. Shawna and Isaac want to return to – and continue – the ambiance and atmosphere the Skillet has become known for. The young entrepreneurs are equally concerned about their business friends and neighbors.

Art Installation“In spite of uncertain times, we fully intend to provide the same fun and safe environment as we always have,” Shawna said.

“Please continue to spend money at local businesses in our community; our friends and neighbors have been more than gracious and we need to do everything in our power to make sure Las Vegas continues to thrive.”

Isaac and Shawna aren’t worried about the future so much as ready for new challenges. “As a relatively new business we are already accustomed to constantly evolving and changing things in our business per the market and trends. The COVID restrictions are just another hurdle to jump for us, although this is a difficult time for everyone, our newness works to our advantage.

“It’s one day at a time for now,” Shawna said. “This will most certainly change us and all restaurants in small ways forever, however, I remain optimistic with regards to the outcome.”

For more information about the Skillet, go to giant-skillet.com


Courtesy Photos: The Skillet


NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email fsharon@msn.com for more information.


 

Las Vegas NM Community Foundation

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about how businesses, nonprofits and event planners are navigating the future post-COVID 19. Partial reopening is a first step, and there is no predicting the future should there be a resurgence of corona virus. Responses to these questions are from Elmo Baca, president of the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation.


Community Foundation

The Foundation and Its Mission

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation was founded in January 2017 by Bob Mishler along with founding board members Felix Alderete, Elmo Baca, Cindy Collins, Doyle Daves, Bill Hendrickson, Donna Rivas, Jennifer Sanchez and Max Trujillo. Founding volunteer Jean Hill assisted with non-profit by laws and designation. The Las Vegas Foundation is a 501©(3) charitable organization created to support philanthropic giving for non-profit organizations in Las Vegas and the immediate region, including Mora County. The Las Vegas Foundation is an affiliate and partner of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, where Las Vegas Community Foundation funds are currently invested, ensuring the highest fiscal and programmatic integrity to its work. The mission of the Las Vegas Foundation is simply “Help Las Vegas Thrive.”

How has COVID-19 had an impact on the Foundation?

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact in a few critical ways. After the state effectively closed businesses and other public venues in late March, the Board of Directors decided to postpone the “Chili Challenge” annual fundraising reception which was scheduled for April 30. Last year the Chili Challenge (so called because a chili pepper icon is used as a measuring gauge for donations) was well-attended by community members and raised over $17,000 to benefit the community. At this date the Chili Challenge event has not been rescheduled due to the continuing restrictions on public gatherings in New Mexico. After the serious economic impacts of the pandemic have mounted, the Foundation created an Emergency Grant Fund to provide support to local humanitarian nonprofit organizations, such as soup kitchens, health and community centers, and family assistance groups. The Las Vegas Foundation has had two rounds of grant making since April funding a dozen local non-profit organizations in Las Vegas, Mora and Villanueva with $10,125 in grants. The Foundation is prepared to consider future rounds of emergency grants as the pandemic continues to impact the community.

Bob Mishler’s Legacy

Bob MishlerThe sudden passing of founder Bob Mishler on May 24 was a tragic event that has affected the entire community, as Bob was involved in many projects and organizations. Bob had a great interest in people, their histories and social fabric. He was involved in historic preservation projects for nearly 50 years after his family moved here from Colorado in the late 1970s. He served for many years as Chairman of the City’s Design Review Board, Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the Las Vegas Museum. Bob saw the need for Las Vegas to have a community foundation that could create an endowment for Las Vegas to support the vital work of nonprofit organizations and also collaborate with city and county governments on essential community projects. Bob worked tirelessly to attract volunteers and board members to the Foundation, raise funds, and provide its guiding vision. He was active in a review of an Emergency grant application on the day of his passing.

Eligible Grantees

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation provides modest grants to local nonprofit organizations in good standing (properly filed corporate reports and tax forms). Eligible nonprofit organizations must serve the people of San Miguel and Mora Counties, be nondiscriminatory in staffing and services, and be at least one year old. The Foundation can’t contribute to capital campaigns or endowments, individuals, private school tuition assistance, religious projects or scholarships. The funding categories include Arts and Culture, Community Development, Cultural and Historic Preservation, Education, Health Care and Natural Conservation.

Application Process

The Las Vegas NM Community Foundation has offered grants to nonprofits for the past two years and is expecting its third annual cycle beginning in September with a public announcement of grant availability. Grant applications are available by emailing info@lvnmcf.org . We also notify nonprofit organizations directly via email of our grants program. Grant applications are due in mid-October, with announcement of awards in December. Funds are provided in early January. Also, as noted above, the Foundation may create emergency or project grant cycles at its discretion. Interested groups may see our website at www.lvnmcf.com, contact a Board Member or contact our Administrative Coordinator Linda Anderle at info@lvnmcf.org. Correspondence and donations may also be mailed to LVNMCF, P.O. Box 1002, Las Vegas NM 87701.

Fund Raising Campaigns

With Bob Mishler’s sudden passing on May 24, the Board of Directors has established two Bob Mishler Memorial Funds in his memory. The Bob Mishler Memorial Fund is a general donation fund with a primary purpose of building the endowment, as Bob had wished. The second fund is called the Bob Mishler Memorial Clock Fund. Bob rescued the historic Gordon’s Jewelers cast iron street clock, which stood on Douglas Avenue near the corner of Sixth Street for decades. After the passing of longtime owner Calvin Baker, the iconic street clock fell into disrepair. Bob bought the clock with the intention of restoring it. Bob had nearly finished the project when he passed. The Board of Directors have recognized the clock project as a fitting symbol for Bob’s community service and his philanthropy. The Clock Fund will provide the financial support to restore the clock and reinstall it. The Clock Fund will also create a “Pillars of the Community” Award program to honor deserving individuals who have made significant contributions to the community.

The Board of Directors is also considering Donor advised funds whereby generous individuals or families may support projects and programs of particular interest such as the arts or health care for example. Legacy gifts of property, financial equities, and other items of value to benefit the community are also encouraged. Donations may be made at www.lvnmcf.com and also through the Santa Fe Community Foundation by inquiring about the Greater Las Vegas Fund.


NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email fsharon@msn.com for more information.


 

And now for the next adventure

Yes or No

I’m in that battling through ideas stage, wondering what thread of excitement engages me enough to begin story development. It sounds easier than it is. Some ideas will be best expressed as poetry, others as a short story and others in a novel.

How does one get past the muddled mess and move forward? Here are five questions to help you determine how you want your inner storyteller to tell the tale.

Is this a story with interwoven plots and subplots?

  • Complex stories can be told in any form, including poetry. Think of The Iliad by Homer, a marathon Greek poem about the Trojan war, or Caged Bird, by Maya Angelou, a story about freedom. Could these tales have been told in a different way? Probably, but not as poignantly. That said, if you have a story that’s deep and wide, consider writing a novel, or at the very least, a novella. You have more time and space for compelling characters and intriguing plots.

Is this story a shovel or a knife?

  • A shovel digs deep and uncovers what is hidden; a knife is more precise and goes to the central theme without a lot of lead in. Deep is best handled in a novel; precision in a short story or poem. O. Henry was the master of short form writing with satisfying – often unexpected – endings. Remember The Gift of the Magi?

What audience is the story geared toward?

  • I don’t like to bring it up, but yes, you do need an audience for your work, no matter what you write. Children’s books are written in a certain way for very good reasons. Consider carefully the profile of your reader and forge ahead accordingly. One of my favorite authors is David Baldacci.  This is a writer who knows his audience and creates powerful characters in compelling situations. His novels sell worldwide and have been translated into many languages.

How much do you love your idea?

  • Writing a story is a process. The seed is just that, a seed. For it to grow into something that will inform and entertain requires nurture (creativity), weeding (editing), and feeding (revising).

But – as writer and literary agent Lisa Cron would ask – how much do you know about your  character before you push him or her onto page one of your novel?

  • Cron, the author of “Wired for Story” encourages writers to understand their protagonists’ deeply and well before proceeding. This isn’t pre-writing; it’s exploring the lead characters backstory so, as the author, you know going in the “inside intel” that drives the character and mucks up his or her life as they make their way forward. It sounds easy, does it not? Well, it isn’t. It is probably the most difficult thing a writer must do. Is it worth the effort? Cron says, yes, citing authors in her acquaintance who – by way of this process – went from rejection to seven-figure book sales.

My stumbling block is focus. To write, one needs to set everything else aside an focus on the goal, and be willing to do the work.

Back to basics. Who is my story about? What does she want? What does she fear that will keep her from achieving that goal? How can she overcome her fear and succeed? Therein lies – THE STORY.

Wish me luck!


I am an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central



 

KINDNESS

Be Kind

 

In an unsettled and unsettling time,
when life’s surprises can turn on a dime,
we look to each other for reasons to smile,
to leave fretting and worry behind for a while.

Tomorrow has never been certain;
it hides behind Future’s opaque curtain.
Be thankful you have this day,
to be kind to others along life’s way.

Give when you can in this murky rift,
to help those who are suddenly adrift,
cast into the darkness of what’s next,
their hearts and minds equally vexed.

Kindness does not resolve fears;
it can wipe away worried tears,
giving for a moment, a little relief,
restoring, hope, trust and belief.

In an unsettled and unsettling time,
when life’s surprises can turn on a dime,
we look to each other for reasons to smile,
to leave fretting and worry behind for a while.


Follow Sharon at:
www.vandermeerbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks
Amazon Author Central