Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Rewrite

I just finished the rewrites of my last two stories in my Tommy Two Shoes series. Who would have thought that a simple challenge to write a detective story would have stirred me to write so much? Before the project to write a story of a detective on vacation, I had no desire to delve into that genre.
Once I started, the words flowed and I had the basic first story written and typed within twenty-four hours. The character grew on me and stories evolved from the introduction of Tommy Two Shoes, retired Pittsburgh cop.
The strength of Tommy and the other characters grew as I became familiar with them, what they would say and what they would do. Some stories drew them together, while others were forced apart. Tommy and his mystery solving aptitude are at the center of each plot. He is assisted by the spirit of his deceased uncle Aidan LeClerc.
Aidan slips Tommy oblique clues that connect at the end of the story. By collecting them, the reader can foresee the ending. Words can be misspelled, but are clues none-the-less. Tommy knows when Aidan arrives because of the fumes from various cleaning supplies. When he was alive, Aidan was a fastidious bachelor and that ad carried over into the afterlife.
The editing has to be a huge burden for my editor. She has to have the patience of Job. I write a great story, but my phrasing and my punctuation would make my English teachers cry. Sorry. I was always interested in the words and not so much with the periods and commas.
I have always liked to play with words, most of all the ones with a hidden meaning or a double-entendre.
Well, the rewrites are over, unless she finds other faults as she goes over the manuscripts with her fine tooth comb. She tells me if all progresses well, the second Tommy Two Shoes should start to be available just before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thunder and Lightning

His rudeness was monumental. It was harsher, coarser, and more grating than a bastard rasp. His tongue was as sharp as a freshly stropped straight razor. The worst of his special talent appeared when he was driving his car. When the term was coined for “road rage,” he was the poster boy. The fact that he was driving an old clunker, a 1962 Chrysler didn’t boost his feelings of well being.  It was little more than patches of rust held together by putty and paint. The engine just turned over 200,000 miles and had been rebuilt twice.
His vile attitude cost several well paying jobs. He now flipped burgers in a small diner. His work station was the narrow kitchen, hovering over a hot grill. The heat did little to mellow his attitude. He worked alone, other than a mute dishwasher. The deaf man was the only person who could stand to be in the same room as him. He was a great cook and the smallest complaint felt like an unpardonable insult to him.
“I need another burger,” the waitress called. “I got a customer who said she found a hair in her burger and that it wasn’t seasoned enough.”
The hurled spatula barely missed the waitress as she ducked. A string of curses filled the kitchen. He ripped off his apron and stomped on it. The swinging door flew open with a loud bang, almost popping off its hinges. Dishes stacked on nearby shelves rattled.
The waitress cringed behind the counter, holding her breath and waiting for the obvious and inevitable confrontation.
The frail, gray haired lady sat with her back turned toward the approaching storm. Her head was bent over as though she was saying grace.
The thundercloud hovered over her, then rumbled, “What do you mean, coming in here and….”
A withered face looked up at him with tender eyes.
The lightning bolt fizzled, then went out. “Hi, Mom. What can I do for you?”


Monday, November 17, 2014

Out to Lunch

The Mount Pleasant Library has been very good to our writers group. The librarian has allowed us to use one of their areas for our meetings. It has been a real joy to gather there and I believe it has been mutually beneficial. We have done several writing projects that have drawn publicity from the local newspaper and it has drawn more visitors the library to read out stories. I’ve met quite a few people that have become more than acquaintances, if not friends.
I was unaware of the group and their purpose until I joined a newly formed group of writers. Slowly, over the past year, I learned of the Friends existence and their purpose. I have met and talked to many of the members. They are good and unselfish people. I got a closer feel for them and got to know several more at the used book sale at the library.
Arriving early as usual for the writers meeting, I began to help them sort and display the books for the sale in ways that might be more easily seen by the shoppers. Although my knees were sore when I stopped, I had a great time with these charming and gracious people.
Last evening, I attended a buffet that was sponsored by the Friends of the Mount Pleasant Public Library. It was my first time at such an event. The men and women Friends have dedicated themselves to the sole purpose of increasing literacy in the area.
The funds that they have raised over their five years of existence have gone to modernize the infrastructure of the library and have provided monies to purchase new books. Most of what is done by these individuals is a behind-the-scenes type of work. They volunteer, donating so much of themselves to this cause.

The food at Nino’s was delicious and plentiful and I was wondering where Nino got the vast array of cookies that filled two tables. I didn’t ask, but later at the end of the meal, I found out. When the speaker for the Friends was sharing the names of officers and board members, she was thanking them and the others who had worked so diligently to make the buffet a success. She also announced that the cookies were baked and donated by many of the Friend members. All in all, it was a special event and something that I will add to my storehouse of memories.

Thank you, Friends of the Mount Pleasant Library, for all of your hard work.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Shed of It

I am so glad that I finished the major part of my shed yesterday. I only have some pieces of trim left to put on it. I finished the last few pieces of the siding and hanging the door. It is a homemade door of two by fours, aluminum pieces to strengthen the corners, and covered with a sheet of the siding. The door is heavy, fits well, and has a coincidental advantage. It closes by itself. Unless it is propped open, it shuts on its own with no need for a piston or spring.
The cold, snow, and wind would make it very uncomfortable to work outside. I am a couch potato by choice. Working outside is a “do only when necessary” for me. Mowing, weeding and gardening used to be something that I enjoyed, now, not so much.
My shed was made with scraps from pallets and leftovers that I’ve had around the house. The base and flooring were two pallets four foot by six foot, placed end to end, they made a shed four foot by twelve feet. My kids call it a corn crib, but it is a place to store shovels, rakes, and hoes in the off season. I don’t plan on storing power tools or anything expensive inside. Too many people think that what others own, belongs to them and are willing to take it.
The framing for the walls were made by using deconstructed pallets and nails pulled from them. Building with used nails is nothing new to me. I think that I was almost a teen before I knew that nails came from the store straight and shiny. All we had ever used were rusty, straightened nails.
I had windows in the basement given to me by my dad and they were the ones I used to light the shed. Other than time and electricity for the power tools, the only costs were for a roll of felt paper, a bundle of shingles, some galvanized nails, two hinges, a lock hasp, and eight sheets of T 1 11 exterior siding.
My progress has been slow. I tear apart a few pallets and plan how and where to use the lumber. At first the framing was wobbly, even after I put on the roof. The roof was made from plywood covered two by sixes and very heavy. Angled braces nailed to the outside helped to steady it until I was able to apply the T 1 11.
I am the reason that the T.V. cartoon character is called Builder Bob and not Builder Tom, but for less than $350.00. I was able to put together a solid, snug shed. It isn’t the most beautiful, but it was built for utility.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Stroke of Love

The small clapboard building was the center of the community, located at the head of a valley in the backwoods of Tennessee. The families could only reach their homesteads by foot or riding their mules or horses. Single file trails were the passages through the mountains. Their running water came from springs or streams and indoor plumbing was nonexistent.
The building was a church on Sunday and a schoolhouse on weekdays. Pews were backless, plank benches. They had no preacher, so elder Harden ministered to the rural community. His messages were always Hell-fire and brimstone. Each sermon spoke of an angry God who wanted to punish sinners. He preached of a harsh and judgmental Father.
In the school were eight children in five grades, taught by a single teacher. Chance was an outstanding pupil and read every book that he could lay his hands on. When he read every book in the community, he walked nearly six miles to borrow books from another town’s library. His appetite for knowledge earned him a reputation and a scholarship to a Bible college.

After years of sermons on an angry God, Chance discovered the attributes of a loving Father. He learned that God sent his Son, Jesus, to die as a ransom for man’s sin debt. Chance graduated, carrying the message of God’s love in his heart and to his community.
Back home, Chance found that Harden was still preaching on a wrathful God.  Chance attempted to breach the walls of a vengeful God, but Harden fought back.
“If you’re going to try to teach that love foolishness in my church, I will throw you out!” Then he addressed the rest of the congregation, “Listen to him and you can leave the church as well.”
Chance countered, “Brother Harden, 1 John chapter four reads ‘God is love.’ It doesn’t just say, God loves, it says God is love. He sent his Son, Jesus to die for our sins. That’s a Father’s love, not someone who hates mankind.”

“Out! Out!” Harden screamed. Spittle flew from his lips.
Chance turned to leave when Haden collapsed. He helped the other men of the church carry Harden home. Chance stayed by Harden’s side.
The stroke left Harden weak. Chance worked Harden’s farm and his own, often eighteen hours each day. After many weeks, Harden was able with help, walk to church.
As he entered the building, a hush fell over the congregation. A fly could be heard buzzing overhead.  Harden shuffled to the pulpit.
Pulling himself erect, he said, “God is love.” Turning, he stepped away from the pulpit and took a seat on the plank bench.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Who Would Have Thought

I was just reading a post on Face Book about chronic pain and ways other than medication to relieve and lessen the discomfort. Some I could have predicted, but one I was surprised to see, pleasantly surprised.
The first of the tips was to use Tiger Balm for topical application. It was said that it stimulates circulation and helps joint flexibility. It suggests that it eases headaches, brain fog, and stress. I hadn’t heard of this unguent, but it was described as having a hot/cold sensation. I wonder if it is similar to the analgesic effect from the menthol Bio-gel that therapists use. I will have to check this out.
The second and third sort of run hand in hand, Yoga and meditation. Yoga is to allow body, mind, and spirit to connect, while meditation allows you to face the pain and see it in a different aspect. People tell us that the brain is more powerful than we now know and that can help the body to relax and heal.
The fourth is good old Epsom salts. Soaking in the warm brine increases circulation, relax the nervous system, soothe muscle and joint pain, draws toxins from the body, and even strengthens the walls of the digestive tract. Soaking for about twelve minutes is optimal.
The fifth of the recipes for lessening pain was to watch your diet. Certain foodstuffs are hard to digest and are inflammatory, while others allow healing and are easier to digest. Think of mealtimes as heal times. The article suggests we refrain for dairy products, refined sugar, processed grain products, alcohol, and vegetable oils. It suggests that we eat avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, pastured eggs, brightly colored vegetables, and spices like ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric.
The sixth was the one that surprised me as a writer. It suggests journaling. List pain management attempts and how well that they work, it may allow you to find the triggers for your pain and that will allow you to avoid those pain inducing ingredients. Not only will journaling allow you pinpoint the things in the environment, but will give a sense of empowerment to you so that it becomes easier to face and deal with your discomfort.
I think that writing in general, not just journaling helps the person in pain by drawing attention from the cycle of distress and to concentrate on the ideas that a person wants to express. Writing can take the author to other worlds and other times. It frees the spirit to share with others your thoughts and viewpoints. There is power in words and a writer can use that power in a multitude of ways

Friday, November 7, 2014

I must apologize for my last poor post. I was under the weather and not thinking well. I knew that I needed to share something and I think that I did. What it was, I don't think well when I am ailing. Again, so very sorry.
Super-dooper Pooper Stories
A friend posted on Facebook an article about the fifteen worst poop stories. Accidental evacuations to super clogged waste receptacles. My family would have some to add, including a few of my own. Let’s go back a few generations. I got a call from my mom asking me to give an enema to my grandfather, Beck. He hadn’t gone and me, being a nurse, was the prime candidate to complete this task. I fortunately escaped. While I was donning garb to make the trek, Mom called back, saying, “Your grandfather called. He had a ‘wonderful passage’.”
Now, to the other side, Granddad miner had come to the house for lunch, after being in the barn. We always wanted to sit beside him at the table. When my sister pulled her stepstool chair away from him, Grandma asked her “why?” Kathy said, “He don’t smell like no gardenia.”
My dad always had loose bowels and carried a wad of toilet paper in his back pocket for any type of emergency runs. When we hunted, my brother Ken commented, “I know that dad was here. There are shit-cicles on the bush over there.
My mom was the opposite and had to struggle to have a passage. She often told the story about the constipated mathematician, who worked it out with a pencil. It almost seemed apropos for to like this joke.
I take after both, fluctuating between the firm and the fluid. The need to go has struck in the most inappropriate places. Once in an under-construction building, it was necessary to unload. Another when I climbed to the top of a tree. The moon came out and my grandmother’s neighbor told her that she’d seen it all.
Many times, I have had to do the boot and scoot shuffle, with cheeks puckered tightly trying to make the marathon run to the toilet goal line. The hardest thing about this test of endurance is when I encounter a Mt. Everest of stairs. It is an almost unachievable roadblock, an insurmountable challenge.
My sister never speaks of her tragic waste removal other than her need to empty her bladder. It is often as formidable as the need for me to find a bathroom. Her husband often presses the issue by driving slowly, using the window washer and wipers, or just talking about consuming huge quantities of liquid.
To hear my brother speak, he only passes flatus and he is proud of that accomplishment. He doesn’t care who knows, he flaunts that it was him. It doesn’t matter whether it is ranked by a thunderous clap of noise or whether Saddam Hussein would have bottled the odorous detonation for use in biological warfare; he throws out his chest and claims it as his own.
I was a nurse for over thirty-five years and did a stint a corpsman and a nursing student before that. I have many more stool samples to share, butt not about my family, lest all of our secrets are made bare to the light.