Writing

Almost Halloween, 2018

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I loved dressing up and being someone else but had to be me, unfortunately, when I went to two book festivals this fall. I brought my daughter to one, and the other my granddaughter. I needed them both, especially my daughter for the first one.

This Indy author stuff is a straight uphill learning curve for me. The good thing about getting older is knowing the twists and turns waiting for me when I try something new. Like terror. Luckily, I have a daughter and a granddaughter.

Like most things I’ve been terrified of, the book festivals turned out great.  I met a bunch of bookworms precisely like me, met other authors as nice as those bookworms,  had interesting discussions about all sorts of things, not only books, and it took me a full day to recover from each of them.

Facing your own demons (fear of crowds, of being in charge, making mistakes) is never a fun activity for me. I was the kind of kid who passed out before getting a shot, but to all those I met – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I mean it. Meeting you made it all worthwhile.

Labor Day, 2018

I’ve been working on re-writes for the past year on all my books. What an exercise in humility, uncomfortable at times, but I’ve learned I’m not as great as I’d thought, and not as bad as I feared. I’m sure most authors, when re-visiting older work, experience the same.

The only new writing I’ve done was in a workshop at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with Douglas Jones. It’s an activity I encourage any writer to try. I’ll share this one.

The very first time I got a message I couldn’t deny coming from another realm was when I was eight and at Girl Scout camp. This occurred nearly a year after my father’s stroke. After month’s of hospitalization he came home a stranger wearing my father’s skin.
No one noticed me shutting down. My parents fought constantly. My world disintegrated to a gray place and I didn’t know why.
Outside of craft time, camp was never much fun, and that year was especially miserable. I hadn’t made many friends. It rained a lot. I’d read all my books. I was unhappy as hell and felt like the unluckiest girl there.
A tradition at the camp was to give each other nicknames. That year mine was “P.D.” and I don’t remember what it stood for. One afternoon, slogging through mud and rain to the mess hall, I was overcome by a compulsion to pick up a rock. Not an unusual one, it was one of thousands littering the red earth, and newly uncovered by rain.
I turned it over and in bright blue letters saw, “P.D.”
I was shocked. Thrilled. I could hardly believe it was real. I kept it in my suitcase under my cot and pull it out and look at it a few times every day to make sure the letters hadn’t faded. That it wasn’t a dream.
I still have it, in a glass box on top of my dresser. It was a promise of some kind. Someone, or something, had noticed me at last.