Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Showers: The Sweet Rain of Books

Hi, folks. Today I'm putting my writer hat aside, and my creative hat too. I'm placing that reader hat on my head. Here, I'm going to talk about something I don't chat about much. I love to read. I read every day of my life. I mark off the days for books to be published. My life revolves around stories, true and fiction. There is nothing that waters my life more than books. I love the sweet rain of books.

I'm not a highbrow reader.  I occasionally read a book that is called literary fiction, but most of the time, I like children's books and genre fiction, most of all historical, historical romance and science fiction.  I occasionally binge on non-fiction. I have had entire decades devoted to mysteries and thrillers. I never like horror. I like the classics and read one or two a year. I read a few fantasies every year too. Occasionally, I just like an author, and I read everything they have ever written.

In books, I have lived thousands of lives. I have faced thousands of problems. I am more because of books.

I've survived the Battle of Talavera in 1800s Spain, and at the same time, the intrigues of Russian noblemen in the times of Peter the Great. The history of the Netherlands for thousands of years boils in my blood. I've seen the pyramids built and inhabited huts with my fellow slaves. I lived in the bogs of Ireland thousands of years ago struggling against my harsh gods. The stories of ages inhabit my soul.

I've felt Mr. Darcy's pride and Elizabeth Bennet's prejudice. I've been with Jane and heard Edward's mystic cries through time and space.  I've survived bombings while working with my true love.  I've been broken into shards and found love with someone also as broken as me. I've missed huge swaths of life, frozen with fear, and found the fortitude to love again. So many stories.

I've traveled to the far reaches of the galaxy. I've fought aliens, terra-formed planets, and discovered the ruins of ancient species. I've been sold into slavery and been rescued by an intergalactic cop. Apocalyptic nuclear winters, green jungle worlds, the harsh conditions of Mars, I've lived in a myriad of unique environments, survived, thrived and sometimes died. Like the intense electromagnetic radiation of the sun, the heart of all life, speculative stories have transformed me.

I've sat on the bones of dead children waiting for rescue from a white mouse. I've had my memories stolen from me and forged a new life. My puppy fell out of an airplane once! Oh, one of my best friends is a spider, and I might be some pig. I care too much and call it love.  I've opened my heart and believe that someone will come. I am stronger than I think, and I may not belong in the zoo, but there is a place for me. I like your hat, I understand the price and know stories are light in this dark, dark, world.

Books water the soul. They expand horizons and open my eyes to the distance shores.  They encourage me to be more, to accept myself and others and believe in happiness with good things beyond the bright light of last moments on Earth.

Pick up a book and read till your heart is content!

Next week a new series starts. Exciting news! A guest blogger will usher in the month of May with Bloom! Excellent author Alexandria La Faye will be here! If you don't know her books already, please check her out!!! Edith Shay! Strength of Saints!  Strawberry Hill!  So many fab stories.,

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote for your pocket.

Stop being so fruitlessly busy and dream. Use your imagination. Reach out into the unknown and dream of how you can enlarge your experience and improve your mind and your soul and your world. Mary Balogh

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April Showers: Be the Rain

Hi, folks!  Whew, it rained buckets this week. I will have to mow my yard soon. This month I've been writing about what waters my work. I've chatted about longing, forgiveness and simple moments; all water my creative ground. Now, I'm going to talk about something that waters me like nothing else, and that is mentoring.  Be the rain.

I received an email this week that just poured more buckets of water into me than any flood. It was from one of the kids I mentored in my teen writing program last year. The program is called TEENSPublish at the Ringer Library in College Station, TX. (Follow the link for the deets) She thanked me for my efforts to help her become a writer and wanted to know if mayhem was going to happen again this year. She planned to tell ALL her friends.

I said, "Of course, mayhem is happening!"

In June, I will be putting on TEENSPublish at the Ringer Library in College Station, TX.  (Cost: Free!, 2:30-5:00 on Wednesdays, skip July 6)The program is for 7th-12th graders and is all about helping young writers find their voice and share it with the world. Here is the deal, doing this will help me more.

In a rut? Surround yourself will people that beginning their journey. It will transform your life.

Sometimes we don't understand our situation. We long to grow, but instead, we are stagnating. You are no longer the ground. You have become the clouds. Stagnation is about your unwillingness to share the water within. Wring out all that water on dry ground. Let what you know flow from your heart to others.  So creative folk, if you want to water your work go out there and volunteer. Give something of yourself. Be the rain.

You are welcome.

I will be back next week with one more April Showers, and then a new series starts.  Exciting news, a guest blogger is going to usher in the month of May with Bloom!  Excellent author Alexandria La Faye will be here! If you don't know her already, please check her out!!!,

Here is a doodle for you.

Here is a quote for your pocket:
Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. Langston Hughes

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April Showers: Come Rain!

A Texas deluge is coming; that is what Wunderground says.  I sure hope a deluge is coming in my creative life.

This month I'm writing a series called April Showers.  My goal is to write about stuff that waters creative ground.  It's April and inside me, this feels like it should be my time, but so far it has not panned out that way.

What is going on? Hey, I'm not lazing around over here. I write every day, and I'm the mother of four, wife of one, dishwasher, grocery shopper, lawn mower, cat snack feeder, book fan, doodle drawer... I get up early and work hard every day. For years, I've been doing the same thing. I've seen people who have struggled to find their creative way and who, after much effort, found it. I want to throw confetti. I'm so glad when someone's dream comes true. I know what it like to ache for success and not find it. I also have a psychedelic imagination and can imagine finding success after that bad trip. Who wouldn't throw confetti? I'm ready to have my party.

So here it is, my crazy dreaming artists. I'm mundane. The big news in my humdrum days is I saw a weird bug or thought the pink in my amaryllis was sublime. I've written 30+ books and 1000+ articles. $$$ have happened, enough for stacks of blue jeans. Good stuff but I want to rise above commonplace.  I am dreaming of a burst of growth that makes the desert blooming look lame.

Come rain!

I hope rain comes to all of us. I hope rain comes to us all! Thanks for dropping by. More April Showers to come!

Here is a doodle for you;

Quote for your pocket:

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11Follow this link to Janet Lee Carey's blog post, scroll down the page, enter your email and win some books.  

Saturday, April 09, 2016

April Showers: Hacked Leaf Blades

I'm crossposting week. I am a guest at DREAMWALKS a blog by Janet Lee Carey.  We have a conversation about Art and the Crucible that may relate to you.  Please check it out and take advantage of an opportunity to win free signed books from me and Janet.

I'm continuing my series called April Showers, and my post connects with the crucible post.  Last week, I went to a writing conference, and when I got home, I found that youngest son had edged the entire yard. Good stuff, right? It wasn't until the next day that I realized that he had hacked down my almost ready to bloom Louisiana Irises in the backyard.  These flowers grow in a corner along the fence and are one of the big spring shows I look forward to each year.

A gold-green pile of hacked leaf blades and flowers stalks was all that remained. Louisiana Iris have significant meaning for me. My mother was a hybridizer and won national awards for her work.  I also had a stand of Louisiana Iris as a child and traveled yearly to Baton Rouge to international flower shows to compete with my hybrids. I won awards, and it was the corner of loveliness in my childhood.

I stared at the hacked flowers and headed to my bedroom for a good cry.

The crucible of life was heating up, and the pressure was building.  I wanted to rail at my son because he had destroyed something that meant so much to me.  My husband stepped in and let me know that the Jack had asked if he should hack down the green stuff along the fence, and Tim assumed he meant the brush on the other side of the yard.  How could these two guys be so thoughtless?  Have you ever shook inside with anger? That's what I was feeling.

I began to walk the age-old journey of forgiveness.  It works like this for me. The people are more important than all the things, no matter how much the things meant to me. The irises will come up next year. It's a setback, not an ending. Choose love, choose forgiveness, even if no one but God understands how much this hurt. Finally, remember, the stuff that hurts is the water for your work. This kind of crucible moment is the cauldron of story.

Those gold-green hacked leaf blades will inform a story I have yet to write.  I know it.

I hope that this journey helps you on yours. I hope you embrace the water that comes to your life. Let it make you grow. I will be back next week with more April Showers.

Here is a doodle for you: Louisiana Iris.

Quote for your pocket comes from Godspell, "Day by Day,' by Stephen Schwartz.

Day by day, oh, dear
Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day

Sunday, April 03, 2016

April Showers: Water for my creative soul

Hi folks, time for a new series! It's April. Time for water. Time for spring. Time for new beginnings. I will write about the water we need to burst with new life.

This week the post is really short but I hope helpful.  What is water to my creative soul?  Here is a simple list of stuff that makes me bloom.

1. A stroll on a sunny day.

2. A heartfelt conversation with a friend.

3. Kissing my sweetheart.

4. Hugging my purring cat.

5. Listening to an upbeat song.

6. Picking a bouquet of flowers.

7. Forgiving someone.

8. Seeing a need and meeting it.

9. Napping.

10. Stretching with breathing.

Ah, the best things in life are free.  Something to remember when seeking water.  I will be back next week with more water.

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote for your pocket:

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!
Sitting Bull