A musing on aging gratefully

Yesterday I turned 75. Turned 75. That’s like referring to oneself as if you’re a tuna casserole that’s gone off.

I don’t feel a day over 75 – oh, right, I am a day over 75. I don’t think of myself as being old-ish. Okay, okay! Old! Even in middle age – 45 or so – I thought anything over 50 was ancient. The older I get, of course, the older young becomes.

Once, when told she didn’t look 40, Gloria Steinem reportedly said, “This is what 40 looks like.” This is what 75 looks like, wrinkled, a touch pudgy, and grey-haired.

I prefer to think of my hair as snowy, shot through with silver, but what do I know? I’ve never been one to gloss over reality, but I did go through the coloring my hair phase to take a few years off my appearance. Why? God knows. It was a pain in the butt and dried out my already-thin hair unmercifully. Plus – get real – my skin still looked papery and wrinkled.

I like being a grey goddess, a woman of a certain age who isn’t taken with the idea of forever young. I know, I can hear you laughing. A goddess I have never been. Wrinkles and grey hair don’t bother me. Not having something worthwhile to do bothers me. I want to be productive. I want to interact with others, not just my generation, but every generation. I still have lots to learn, and I even have a few things to teach.

Life is about the things you can do; it is not about the things you can’t. I will never be the great American novelist. I have neither the discipline for the talent. That doesn’t keep me from writing. It doesn’t keep me from sending in freelance articles for publication in hopes of being paid. It doesn’t stop the flow of words that demand to be put into a story.

Age does not stop us from wanting approval and feeling sad and rejected when we don’t get it. It must never stop us from loving what we do enough to get it out there and do it. Einstein didn’t stop because he got old; he stopped because he died.

Studies show that people who stay active doing the things they enjoy, live longer and are healthier than those who sit on the sidelines waiting for the next thing to happen, and expecting whatever it is, to be bad.

Life does get harder for many of us as we age, no doubt. Overcoming that isn’t easy, but making the effort is the difference between a life well-lived and one of despondency and loneliness. You don’t have to be the life of the party, just show up and participate. You have something to contribute. We all do. Getting old is not a card any of us should play to get out of living our best life now. Stephen Hawking didn’t and neither should we.

I am grateful for every day I’ve lived, even the ones that brought me to my knees, where I learned to lean on the Great Comforter and on my friends. I count every day a blessing, a gift, something to be opened with joy and anticipation. Seventy-five and counting! Thank you, Lord.


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.


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Amazon Author Central

Author Profile: Carmen Baca

From Carmen’s Amazon Author Page: Hello! I’m Carmen. As if 36 years in the classroom weren’t enough, I now “teach” from home, helping aspiring authors with their own manuscripts, researching marketing strategies, and working on my next book. You can find me in the mountains of northern New Mexico where my husband and I enjoy a peaceful, quiet life caring for our animal family and any stray that happens to stop by.

Below are Carmen’s responses to a Q&A interview about her work as a writer and published author.

Carmen BacaQ. What genre do you work in?
A. The majority of my works are literary regionalism with a touch of magical realism. My first book, El Hermano, is a historical fiction based on my father’s induction and subsequent rise to leadership of our community’s brotherhood of Hermanos Penitentes. My second book, Las Mujeres Misteriosas, is a ghost story mystery, which pits La Muerte against la Llorona in a fight over the soul of a young woman. My third book, Cuentos del Cañón, is a short story collection. It’s a companion book to the first because it’s comprised of the backstories of characters featured in the first book. My fourth, Viajes con Fantasmas, is a sequel to the second, which will publish this summer. My fifth, a short story cycle, is called La Quinceañera. It’s a parallel narrative of three plots which intertwine in 12 separate short stories. It is currently in the editing stage. I have also published 17 short pieces, fiction and non-fiction, in online literary magazines since 2017.

Q. Why that genre?
A. I found my voice in the first book and discovered that my readers appreciate both the stories I tell and the style I use to tell them. The realization that I could be a small voice whereby I could inform, educate, and entertain those who are interested in my culture is why I love writing regionalistic literature. It’s what I know, what I love, and what I want to leave behind as my legacy to New Mexico’s literature. We New Mexico Hispanics have a rich history, but we are not well-known. We are distinct from Latinos of other countries, and I want to tell everyone I can reach about our uniqueness.

El HermanoQ. What inspires you?
A. A locked wooden box, which revealed the secrets of los Hermanos’ brotherhood, inspired my first book. I was disappointed with the way their religious practices were sensationalized in other publications. I wanted my book to show readers that the brotherhood is so much more than what people think. That box gave me the historical information I needed to set the record straight – so to speak – without revealing private information none of us has to know, since we are not of them. Now, I’m inspired by elements of my culture in addition to religion: dying traditions and customs, superstitions, folklore, and beliefs, lifestyle, dialect — all of which I include in most of my works to show younger generations how our ancestors lived, to remind those my age and older of the old days we share, and to preserve the past. I’m inspired by life and death, real human struggles, my career — so many themes in life to write about. I’m also inspired by a variety of writing genres. This allows me to experiment in writing.

Q. What is your preferred work environment as a writer?
A. I worked as a teacher for 36 years, leaving my beautiful home built by my husband on the land of my ancestors. I retired in 2014 and am living the life of my dreams: working from the comfort of my home surrounded by mountains and meadows. Several times already I have caught a movement in the reflection of my PC, which turns out to be elk or deer peering in the window next to me. There is nowhere I’d rather be.

Q. Who do you most admire and in what ways were you influenced by this individual?
A. That’s a hard one. I can’t focus on anyone, other than Jesus Christ. I admire those who persevere, who are honest, and humble, and who attain their goals through willpower and courage — too many to name individually.

Q. Where can your work be purchased?
A. All my books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and Goodreads; they can also be found on a variety of other websites as well as local venues: Tome on the Range in Las Vegas, Op.cit in Taos, Bookworks in Albuquerque and several other locations.

Follow Carmen on Facebook


For Writers

Thunder Prime Hunter's Light

Sitting in the eye of the storm,
in front of a handful of skeptics.
Will it be an epic fail,
or an open door to converts?
Readings are a test of a writer’s mettle,
something you must do… and do again.
Writing is but half the battle,
sales and reviews become your goal.
The fun is over. Now the work begins.


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


 

PAD – April 2019

Poetry

I am participating in the Poetic Asides annual Poem a Day challenge. I’ve done it in the past, but for some reason, skipped last year. It’s great writing exercise and gives me food for thought about poetry in general, and my engagement in particular. I’ve published two chap books of poetry, some of which have shown up on this site, as well as several brand new poems as time and the tides of life inspire me. Below are the poems I’ve posted on the PAD site thus far. The poems are based on writing prompts from Robert Lee Brewer, senior content editor of the Writer’s Digest writing community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He is a poet and writer (yes, I know, a poet IS a writer, but for some reason the two disciplines seem to be taken as separate children of the pen), and is the catalyst for me to be as much a poet as I am a writer.

DAY 1: A morning poem

GOOD MORNING
Morning bursts over the horizon,
joy-filled with bright bunches of red
shot through with gold
tinged with orange sherbet,
infused with soft yellow cream.

Silhouettes of trees
outlined in stark relief
against this burst of color
a dance of nature in the raw
making a statement about God’s creation.

There is no power
like the power of daybreak,
streaking across the sky,
tendrils of light bringing anticipation,
charged with hope.


Day 2: Worst case / best case poem

FRAMED
My life is framed by you.
Is that a good thing, yes or no?
I have no life outside the boundaries
of who we are together,
no activities, associations, plans…
It’s all about us, we, together forever.
Am I comfortable in these confines?
Are you? Do you just want to hide sometimes?
I do, but there is nowhere to go beyond the frame.

FRAMED 2
I am framed by your love,
enclosed in the warmth of
who you are, who we are together.
You are my heart, my joy in life,
my today and my tomorrow.
I can think of no better place to be
than inside this frame, with you.


Day 3: An animal poem

PANDA
Panda black and white
eating bamboo bright and green
rain falls crystal light.


Day 4: An artist poem

JACKSON POLLACK
splatter and spatter, drizzle and drip
down a canvas awaiting the tip
of an artist’s endeavor to astound

the public perception
of artistic perfection
can be nowhere found

in Jackson Pollock’s
thousand-dollar frolics
in which mockery resound

did he question our sanity
as we peruse Pollack inanity
or was it simply ego unbound


Day 5 – A stolen poem

THE WRITER
Sometimes – not often,
but sometimes – I feel as
though writing fiction
is stealing from real life,
but I do it anyway
because as a writer
what I’m putting on the page
is – for that span of time –
more real than real life
will ever be. The woman
on the page is who I want to be,
vibrant and sassy, brave and constant,
controllable in the way the real me
can never, ever be,
until suddenly
the protagonist asserts her personality,
and my momentary control
is stolen, just – like – that!
Ah, the joy of writing fiction
and the conundrum of what is real
and what is the woven web
of the writer’s imagination!


Day 6 – An after poem

AFTER THE STORM
So it is written
in the loopy tendrils of
greening vines, life is.


My chap books of poetry are available online or at sharon@vandermeerbooks.com.
Type Poetry Book in the subject line. Read more here about the chap books of poetry.


 

Monday Musings

Easter Morning

 

BRIGHT IDEAS
My bright ideas
are in stacks of notebooks.
Articles, stories, essays…
 begun but never finished.
Now it’s doc after doc
in a folder called “works in progress,”
yet they never do,
progress, I mean.
Why do I hold onto these tarnished gems?
Beats me.
Perhaps they are like children,
waiting to grow up
and go out on their own.


 

PICKING UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF
What did you start,
but never finish?
What did you say
you wish you could say
in a different way?
Can you walk off –
give your hat a doff –
and come back
another day
to pick up,
where you left off?
Is going back
possible?
Doable?
Advisable?
What detritus was left
in your wake
what mistakes did you make?
Can you – I – pick up
where we left off?


Line, Poetry in Notion

Why the English language is hard to learn

Learning curveEditor’s Note: This came to me through Alan Guy, a frequent contributor when I had Happenstance, an online magazine. I Googled the content and found it in a couple of places, so as a disclaimer, neither Alan nor I wrote it, but it is worth looking at. These 21 reasons why English is hard to learn, also apply to writing. If you’re not on your toes you can easily misuse a word simply because your computer autocorrects what you’ve written, or you allowed spell check to make a decision for you. For instance – there, their and they’re are said in the same way, but have distinctive meanings. To, too and two? Same thing. There are lots of examples of words that sound alike but have different meanings. Read the list, and if you have time, in the comments section, send in your samples – in a sentence – of words that sound the same, but have different meanings, or sound the same, but are spelled differently, or can be used in different ways, or are spelled the same but sound different. Hmmm…. now I’m confused.

I’m not sure all the lines below are grammatically correct, but they are fun to read.

• The bandage was wound around the wound.
• The farm land was used to produce produce.
• The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
• We must polish the Polish furniture.
• He could lead if he would get the lead out.
• The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
• Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
• A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
• When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
• I did not object to the object.
• The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
• There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
• They were too close to the door to close it.
• The buck does funny things when the does are present.
• A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
• To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
• The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
• After a number of injections, my jaw got number.
• Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
• I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
• How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Now it’s your turn. Send in your sentences that contain homonyms, homophones, or homographs. And a bonus to the FIRST person who can tell me the difference between homonyms, homophones, and homographs :). The gift? Your choice of a subscription to Hunter’s Light, Pella’s Quest or a copy of my latest novel, Blind Curve.


Please Follow, Like, Comment and Share this post. Your feedback is important. Thanks for reading One Roof Publishing. Contact Sharon by e-mail at sharon@oneroofpublish.com.

Review: Seven Wings to Glory

Seven Wings to GloryIn Seven Wings to Glory, author Kathleen M. Rodgers tells a layered story of life as we know it. It’s rarely simple and often riddled with secrets and surprises. Rodgers’ latest book explores loss, racism, forgiveness, and hope.

Protagonist Johnnie Kitchen uses her dream job as a newspaper columnist to bring to light long buried racially charged secrets, including the lynching of an innocent black man. She tells hauntingly and beautifully about the spirit of forgiveness as seen through the lingering presence of victims who died tragically in a long-ago fire that an all-white fire department refused to respond to.

When prejudice again rears its ugly head in Johnnie’s small home town of Portion, Texas, she is appalled and infuriated. Despite worries about her soldier son in Afghanistan, she sets out to right the wrongs of a brutally insensitive teen with an attitude. What she finds is the troubling reality of his life as a neglected and emotionally troubled victim of family dysfunction. With compassion and determination, Johnnie teams up with others to help reshape the life of someone who grew up in a hateful and mean environment.

In Seven Wings to Glory Johnnie frets about her absent son and the dangers he faces; learns surprising news about her life, withheld by people trying to do what they considered at time to be “the right thing;” and endures pain upon the tragic death of a beloved four-legged family member.

Surrounded by people whose love is sure, if sometimes imperfect, Johnnie navigates life with determination and steadfast hope.

Praise for Seven Wings to Glory:

Seven Wings to Glory “masterfully weaves the story of the Kitchen family, capturing a vivid snapshot of the American South.” – Eastern New Mexico News

A nuanced portrayal of military connectedness… Rodgers writes convincingly of relationships, foibles and struggles. Johnnie’s worry over her son is particularly tangible, informed by Rodgers’ experiences as the mother of a deployed soldier. – Stars and Stripes

Rodgers’ first Johnnie Kitchen book, Johnnie Come Lately, received First Place in Women’s Fiction for 2016 Texas Association of Authors Best Book Award Contest, a gold medal in the Military Writers Society of America 2015 Book Awards, and a bronze medal in the Readers’ Favorite 2015 Book Awards–Women’s Fiction Category.

The author lives in a suburb in North Texas with her husband, a retired fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot. Her youngest son is a former Army officer who deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Her first novel, The Final Salute, takes place on an air force base.

Seven Wings to Glory, $15.95, is a work of women’s contemporary fiction available online and in bookstores. For more information about the author go to www.kathleenmrodgers.com .

 

Book Review: Song of the Lion

Song of the LionIn author Anne Hillerman’s latest book, Song of the Lion, Bernadette Manuelito emerges as a savvy heroine who does her job with intelligence and wit while stoically ignoring the irritation of not being respected by a fellow officer. It is not luck or pride that motivates Manuelito, it’s doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, including trusting her instincts in a life-threatening moment of peril.

Manuelito and her husband Jim Chee, work for the Navajo Tribal Police where facts and evidence add up to answers. That doesn’t discourage Manuelito from using her intuition and connection with old ways, or Chee from showing respect for honored traditions.

Put that cultural identity and awareness into play when the two unofficially work a case, and the result is a compelling story. A car bombing outside a school gymnasium that kills an unidentified young man sets the story in motion. Add in the complication of developers wanting to make dramatic changes on tribal lands and the groups for and against the proposal. Mix in a little sabotage designed to sideline the negotiations. Season with a surprising connection between the case and Manuelito’s friend and mentor, Joe Leaphorn. What you have are all the ingredients for a fast-paced story featuring familiar characters doing what they do best. Manuelito proves to be a dedicated law enforcement officer with an unbeatable spirit.

I recommend Song of the Lion to anyone who likes a good tale woven throughout with interesting, well-drawn characters.

Praise for Song the Lion from Booklist: “Hillerman seamlessly blends tribal lore and custom into a well-directed plot, continuing in the spirit of her late father, Tony, by keeping his characters in the mix, but still establishing Manuelito as the main player in what has become a fine legacy series.”

Hillerman is an award-winning reporter, the author of several non-fiction books, and the daughter of New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman. She lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Title: Song of the Lion
Type: Novel
Author: Anne Hillerman
Publisher: Harper Hardcover
Publication date: April 11, 2017
Price: $27.99

Blog Recognition: Thanks a Bunch!

My sister blogger, Aiming Flamingo, has nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. Thank you so much Aiming Flamingo! Readers and followers are essential elements of the conversation that happens in the blogosphere. I very much appreciate your support.

blogger-recognition-award

I’ve been blogging for several years, had a website, and created a web zine. It was driving me crazy trying to keep up with four blogs, a website and the zine. I decided a little over a year ago to put everything under “one roof,” hence the title of my blog, One Roof Publishing.

I cover a lot of territory in the blog, writing Q&A posts about events and people, posting inspirational essays, writing about health and wellness, and anything else I can think of, including occasional short fiction. I welcome Followers and am always looking for new essay and article ideas. If you would like to guest post on my site, send your query to fsharon@msn.com.

I am a writer through and through. I have indie published several books and am close to publishing a new novel. I also do writing for hire through my business, Write Stuff Writing Services.

I’m not much for handing out advice, but that’s part of the process of passing the Blogger Recognition Award around. So here goes: My two pieces of advice for new bloggers – your best shot at getting readers is to know who you want your readers to be (target marketing), and posting regularly.

Below are the sites I’m recognizing. It is indeed an eclectic mix that shares one thing in common and only one: these are all folks who have a passion for something. I find that admirable and inspiring. Passion puts the pizzazz in life.

1eclecticwriter
Dr. K. L. Register, The Ninth Life
Edge of Humanity Magazine
Momentary Lapse of Sanity
Windy Lynn Harris
Success Inspirers World
Gabriella Clark
Kate  Barnwell Poetry
Haddon Musings
Kathleen Rodgers
saneteachers
Sarah Flores Blog
Be Inspired!
Charles French
Author Kristen Lamb

 

Now it’s your turn. The rules are simple.
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to his or her blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created

I hope you can make the time to join in the support and recognition of other bloggers.

Happy Halloween

Joy Riding

Hootie tunes and shrieking screams
scary thingies in your dreams.
On this haunted, hunted night
what next on tap will give you fright?
Creeping, leaping, jumping, sneaking
is that a ghost at whom you’re peeking?
Tiptoe back, slither down the hall
when spooky phantoms on you call.
Get into a warm and comfy bed,
pull the covers o’er your head.
Sweet visions conjure into being,
ignore the specter on the ceiling.
Come out and play, he moans,
Halloween lasts but a day, he groans.
Laugh, laugh away your silly fear,
the pumpkin grin will bring you cheer.
Gliding ghouls are hosts to you
waiting, waiting, and then – BOO!

_____________

Except for the photo, this is a retread from last year. The picture was taken at a hotel in Albuquerque where the employees were having a contest for the best carved pumpkin. They were all good, but this was a stand out. It’s the one we voted for :). Have a safe Halloween.