Ten Years Later

Rutherford B 2012
Rutherford B 2022

I just looked back on this lame blog that was started ten years ago. It has been abysmally neglected in the intervening time. Ten years ago Steady Eddy (I named my family in my first blog post and will stick to those names to protect the innocent) and I were spending a good deal of time as caregivers for our grandson while his mom, our Athena, worked hard to support them. It was our pleasure, our delight, and our privilege. We had a world of fun watching him grow. He is a very bright, very charming person who, even at age three, taught us a lot. Now he is thirteen, on the brink of manhood, taller than his grandmother – but not yet his grandfather. He is still teaching – me about computers, the internet, and, other stuff I didn’t know I needed to know, instead of me teaching him reading and writing. Time doesn’t just fly, it rockets.

Release Date for Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets

Our book Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets will be released on September 6, 2022. It can be pre-ordered at Barnes and Noble in paperback or digital Nook format. The price is $18.99 for paperback and $7.49 for digital.

It is also available for pre-order through Amazon in paperback or Kindle format. The price is $18.99 for paperback and $7.49 for digital.

Our website A Way with Words – A Writers’ Group Blog will go live on July 25th. We will have updates on the writing and publishing process, life observations, and prompts for Writers’ Groups to use to build skills.

Our Book

Our Book – Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets

We finally have the galley print of our book retitled Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets. Sally, Jackie, and I have worked very hard over several years to bring this project to fruition. We three are rereading the book for the umpteenth time. It is a different experience to read it as a book than as a manuscript you imagine as a book. Of course, I see lots of things I would change but it is too late in the process and, for the most part, it looks good. I don’t think a writer ever finishes a piece of writing because word choices and phrases keep popping up in your head even after you have put the piece “to bed.” At some point, you just have to let go and say done.

I am so very grateful for the support we received from the writing community who agreed to read the manuscript and contribute a thumbs up compliments in writing for our book. That includes Meg Files, Sheila Bender, Rita Magdaleno, Janice Eidus, Nancy Turner, and Dina Greenberg who took time from busy schedules to read 310 pages and comment. All three of us were awed by their willingness and responses.

I am even more grateful for the friendship and diligence of my co-authors. We had a few disagreements along the way but for the most part, we were on the same page when issues arose. Each disagreement was confronted directly over multiple zoom calls and amicably resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The absolute trust we have with each other has been forged over more than two decades. Even after Jackie moved to Colorado we were able to keep our writers’ group alive and well thanks to internet connections, some reunion trips, and the commitment we share.

We also give kudos to our spouses who supported us in this project. They encouraged us and reserved space for us to be focused on our project without complaint. Thank you Allen Showalter, Danny Collins, and most of all Ken Kinared.

The publication date is sometime in the future, probably fall 2022, and we still have to meet with the marketing coordinator at Atmosphere Press. I am working on a website we will use to shout out our news. We will all three blog on that website to maintain awareness and hopefully generate sales of the book.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today we celebrate the man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an inspiration to our nation and the world. He came up from the heart of the south, Atlanta, Georgia, to become an international symbol of civil rights done the non-violent way much like his contemporary Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Mandela was jailed for nearly 30 years during the 60’s-80’s, but became President of South Africa when his efforts from jail realized a momentous shift in the political climate of his country.. Unfortunately the non-violent pleas from Dr. King were largely ignored. Violence reigned and Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 so his life was not played out to its fullest. But his legacy is lasting and potent. President Ronald Reagan officially made the third Monday in January, a day to honor the strength and commitment of Dr. King to the objectives of civil rights and harmony for all people.

Dr. King said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a country where they will NOT be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. Why are leaders being chosen now by their skin color or gender instead of their character and credentials? They may have both character and credentials but they are being promoted by attributes they were given at birth instead of attributes they developed over their lifetime and career.

I lived during the turbulent, violent decade of the 60’s when assassination of our best and brightest happened too often. It was a time of “revolution” when the country was divided and hate held the country hostage. I’m seeing so much of the same attitudes prevailing today. Reasons for revolution may differ today, but they are only symptoms of the dis-ease of division. It saddens me that, as a country, we cannot see that we have more in common than we have to divide us. We allow leaders, political and otherwise, to foment division for their own political or economic benefit. Does humanity never learn from our tragic history? President Lincoln, a hero to most people now, was reviled by half of the citizenry in the 1860’s and assassinated by that hate. Are we doomed to repeat those awful decades?

Or IS the learning being done by those who find a way to harness dissention for their own aims? The rest of us are pawns in their machinations.

If words would heal then let Dr. King’s words prevail. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend”.

I don’t pretend to have any answers, just more questions.

Blog reinitiated – October 2020

I found a great reason to initiate or reinitiate my blog. I, along with two friends, have written a book. The name of our book is Telling Lies and Sharing Secrets. It is the story of our writers’ group. Many times we were challenged by teachers and mentors to record the twenty-five year journey as a group. We finally took the challenge and began work a few years ago.

The book has not been published but finishing the manuscript has been a five year endeavor similar to birthing a 15 pound baby in a hurricane with a parachute and army boots on. You get the idea. The book tells how we started and maintain the group and includes short stories, poems, memoir and essays as well as our narrative. Sounds pretty simple and it is an easy read. The collaboration during COVID has been interesting to say the least. Thank you ZOOM. We managed to corral a variety of notebooks, journals, and personal recollections, culling the herd to the most manageable and taming our egos in the process.

We now take on the publishing industry to find a suitable publisher to nurture our baby. In research we discovered this may take another year. More of our journey will be posted on this blog.

Nine Eleven O’One

Billowing palisades, pewter airfall

            Cascade in slow motion

                           Overflowing the fountain of commerce

                                              Graceful to the eye, hideous to the heart

Soft tarnished silver clouds

            Enfold those futures

                        Spewing them into the Manhattan morning

                                    Nine Eleven O One

Elegant grotesque plumes gently tumble one over another

            Carrying tattered remnants of lives

                        Spirits ripped from bodies

                                    Turning the shells to ash

Is there a torture more sublime

            Moment by moment terror

                        Smelling the hot acrid breath of death

                                    As it approaches their prison in the sky?

Does hope flee quickly

            Or does it leak slowing

                        From the corners of their eyes

                                    As the dusk of life turns to night?

written on a plane from Tucson to Seattle 9/21/01.

MARRIAGE

Steady Eddie and I recently took in a movie called Hope Springs.  At times it was like watching someone suffer with an aching tooth remembering that your toothaches too.  Ouch!  It was also a reminder of why we are married.  Not that there is any good reason as reason goes, just that there are emotional connections and shared memories that cannot be compared or duplicated by any other couple.  They make our marriage, ours.  They make the humdrum every day and annoying things bearable.  They make us laugh together, sigh together, sometimes cry together and smile at each other when no one else can understand.  Those private moments and memories are the superglue that holds our ship together in stormy seas.

I don’t think this movie appeals to a wide audience but considering the number of baby boomers, it has a fairly deep pool from which to pull.  A good friend of our daughter, Calliope, set her criteria for movie going to a high standard.  “No old people sex”, Lisa once said.  At the time she defined “old people sex” as any hanky panky on screen by anyone over 30.  This movie would definitely not meet her criteria.  Even though overtly it is about the sex follies of the senior set, it is ultimately about the strong link forged through fire and ice by people over years of married life.

So many times – sometimes daily –  I get annoyed with Steady Eddie like a gnat at a picnic that dives at your eyes, ears and nose.  All I want to do is pinch his head off.  For instance, when he buys the largest container of mayonnaise at Costco that does not fit in our refrigerator without rearranging all the shelves and it is so big we don’t have a spoon or spreader long enough to reach the bottom of the container.  Is that not annoying?  Especially when he defends his choice and says he’ll do it again if left on his own at Costco.  To top it off whenever he goes to the frig to make a sandwich he says,“Where did YOU put the mayonnaise?”  and it is the largest thing in the front on the second shelf.  He says, “It is below my eye level so I couldn’t see it”.  Now how can you NOT want to pinch his head off? Eddie, on the other hand, has no reason to be annoyed with me.   Well, maybe I forget to take the brake off when I drive his truck.  But that is it.

I do admit Eddie has many endearing qualities.  For one he cooks eggs benedict for me every Saturday morning. Then there are the times when he brings home flowers or he touches me gently or remembers a special occasion or lets me know he is thinking about me when I am most vulnerable that makes all that other stuff go away.  I could make long lists of those good moments but they wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else but me.

Anyway, most of the time marriage is great and the rest of the time it teaches patience, tolerance, and restraint – all of which are good skills to have so you don’t go to prison for capital murder and leave the children as orphans.

Oro Valley, our home

I love my adopted “home town”.  I see these beautiful mountains up close from many rooms in my house and our patios. In perusing the internet I came upon our town website which inspired this blog.  I’m not sure who wrote it but I underlined and commented on a couple of things that I find amusing.

 “Close to everything. A world apart.

Oro Valley is a planned community cradled in the shadows of the magnificent Santa Catalina Mountains with hiking trails through Catalina State Park, hiking and bicycle trails throughout the Town, world class golf courses, horseback riding and a long valued cultural tradition, vibrant for over a thousand years*.  *(Comment: Who was documenting the vibrancy of our cultural traditions, golf courses, horseback riding, parks and hiking trails a thousand years ago?)

The Town has been given many accolades through the years, and is proud to be part of the lists below:

     Playful City USA

     Best Places to Live in Arizona

     Best Towns for Families

     Best Places in America to Live and Launch a Small Business

The town is located in the high Sonoran Desert with average high temperatures of 83.4 degrees and average lows of 53.8 degrees and breathtaking beauty. Located just miles north of the Tucson city limits, services like the University of Arizona and Tucson International Airport are just steps away *. *(Comment: It is a 30 to 40 minute drive to either of these services and those would be extremely LONG steps.)

Our schools are the finest in Southern Arizona. Our wild animals are some of the friendliest anywhere*.”  *(Comment:  Yes, indeed, I can attest to our friendly wildlife.  Bobcats regularly stroll through our fenced backyard, hopping over the fence at will.  On one recent morning, a bobcat stopped on the mat outside our sliding glass door and peered in to look at Babbity Bowster who was frozen to his spot inside the door. People are cautioned here to have only “inside” cats.  Cats who roam are tender fodder for the carnivorous critters in our Sonoran Desert.  Babbity Bowster is now seven and he is an “inside-outside” cat who survived a coyote attack on the golf course.  He weathered attacks by a Crips-like gang of Great-tailed Grackles when he had the temerity to intrude on their nesting area. He suffered pecks on the head that bloodied him.  Every time he went outside they swooped down en mass to attack and he soon became very wary of stepping out the door.  After a few weeks they retreated.  He recovered his confidence and continues to prowl the underbrush of the wash and golf course.  He looks quickly about when he hears the call of the grackle but maintains his ground. He brings us gifts of mice, lizards and sometimes baby bunnies or quail all spring and summer. He tries to keep them alive for us to enjoy. He releases them in the family room, kitchen, even bedroom. Occasionally they are not willing to play nice and he holds them too hard in his teeth and can only deliver limp bodies.  Continue reading

Cleaning Day Lament

The washing up was all but done
Her tussle with the mop was won
She sighed and looked the kitchen round
And shook her head, then leaked a sound
 
The sound grew loud, to her dismay
“I’m leaving now – I’ll run away”
“Away to where” a small voice asked
Away to where I have no task
 
The endless days of wash and scrub
That must be done, redone…drub,drub
“And what would satisfy your soul?”
Again, the voice in calm cajole.
 
To ride a horse, to lead a charge
Be bold, be alive, be larger than large
To stand my ground, to make my mark
To be another Joan of Arc
 
Deeds of honor must be done
Heroic songs must be sung.
Another voice piped up to say
“Mom, can you drive to practice today?”
As bubbles dissolved in her soapy pail
The wind escaped from out her sail
To earth she fell. Her reverie
Impaled upon the need to be
….Mom.