Category Archives: Creative Writing

I Had NO IDEA What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up!

“What did you want to be when you grew up?” was one of the prompts at Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week. I thought I’d throw my two-cents’ worth in, since I’m probably one of the few children to grow up in America with no clue what they wanted to do when they grew up! I was a list-maker and a goal-setter as far back as I can remember. As soon as I could write I insisted on a constant supply of these:
notebooks
I’m not sure how old I was, since Mom dropped me off for kindergarten and I came home on the bus as a first grader. Being one of the youngest in my class was a bit of a bummer, especially the year everyone turned sixteen and got their driver’s license, so I’m grateful Mom didn’t bump me forward another year when they suggested it a few years later.

I thought school was fun, and I always loved going back to school each fall. The only exception was my one experience with bullying, but it was so carefully done I had no idea what had happened to make me lose all my friends until years later. I read constantly, sometimes finishing two books a day in the summer. My dad had his Master’s in Engineering, so he taught me Trigonometry for fun one weekend when I was a little girl. This served me well since it meant I could sleep through first period Trigonometry in high school after being out way too late the night before. I aced the class, so my teacher gave me a pillow on the last day of class – LOL!

But enjoying school isn’t a job skill. If I could have gotten paid to learn things and take tests that would have been awesome! Anyone hiring? And I am probably the clumsiest person ever. Did I mention that I met my husband when I threw open a door and knocked him into a stack of pickle buckets? Or the time I was a salad bar girl and slipped and dropped a gallon of French dressing? I can’t stand the smell of French dressing to this day. And all my activities on the all-important college scholarship application involved only sitting, standing, and speaking. Individually, not at the same time. I’d have loved to be part of the color guard (what we used to call “flag girls”) in the marching band, but I knew full well that a long metal pole was not something I could be trusted to swing around.

I enjoyed cutting animals open in Anatomy and Physiology, and I always liked writing papers in English, but I got my second B in Physics and dropped that sucker like a hot potato, ruling out majors like Pre-Med, Engineering, and Architecture. And yes, my first B was in gym. I got an 11% on the free-throw test. My mom tried to help. She insisted I take a typing class “just in case”. That was more like an acting class since I refused to wear my glasses and Mom hadn’t given in on the contact argument yet. And my fingers are too short to hit the home keys accurately. So I’d hold my glasses up long enough to memorize whatever was on the board, then type away as fast as I could with two fingers of each hand. Thankfully, my teacher had mercy on me and never came to the back row. Cross out all careers involving typing. What’s left? Cutting open animals. So I earned scholarships and checked “Nursing” on the application form at the University of Kentucky. I didn’t know it was a selective college with a waiting list. I didn’t know anyone who was a nurse. I knew for damn sure I wasn’t going to pin on some silly hat to go to work. But I was a nurse, a pretty good one, for twenty years, and I have never had a nursing cap on my head. Now I write. With four fingers.

But lest you think I was drifting through childhood with no goals let me assure you my mom had goals for me. She wanted me to be Miss Kentucky and then become a paramedic, just like Randolph Mantooth on the TV show Emergency. (Randolph was an actor on the show, but was not Miss Kentucky – just to clarify.)The one episode I remember is when they got a call that a lady was in a bubble bath and had gotten her toe stuck in the faucet. I’m not a paramedic for the same reason I was never an ER nurse. There are many situations in which my only possible response is to look a person in the eye, say, “You are a dumbass,” and walk away. That would have made for a very short episode/career.
moms-goals
One of Mom’s proudest moments was when after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a 3.5 GPA, passing my State Boards on the first attempt, and being hired by a critical care unit that hadn’t hired a new grad in a decade, I passed the ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) Exam, which was at that time the tippy-top exam paramedics could take. But the Miss Kentucky thing was simply never gonna happen. I’ve never been able to walk in heels, I have absolutely no talent, and although I don’t mind public speaking I tend to ramble and talk with my hands. No crown for me! But she’s got the cutest little step-grand-daughter with blonde curls and a “take no prisoners” attitude that I think may just pull it off!

WHO Buys Books “By The Foot”?!

I’m a pretty easy-going sort of person. In fact, I saw this post on Facebook, and wanted to share it, be I was trying to be professional (and pretend my new psych drugs were working) that day. So I didn’t. But it’s too good not to share:
nice as fuck
I feel better. Now, let’s move on to the actual post, which can only be thirteen lines long as specified in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. It’s about a site I ran across while looking at color palettes on Pinterest. I was looking for something that would work in my bathroom and look good with black mold in the caulk and gray-ish mildew on the ceiling. I was actually finding some gorgeous palettes for my living room when I came across this picture:
books by the foot
First of all, no book should even be sold “by the foot”. If it was decent enough to be printed, respect it. Don’t sell it for the color of its cover or dust cover (which these all seem to lack), or by topic (such as law, medicine, or religion – all options on this site). That’s right, your lawyer probably bought all those pretty leather books for $80 a foot (3 foot minimum) plus shipping. Your doctor and pastor, too.

Why would anyone remove the dust covers from a book? It’s like skinning a human. That covering is there for protection. DO NOT REMOVE! My best friend once suggested I remove all my dust covers because it would “look prettier”. I was speechless. She reads literary fiction with a lot more patience than I do though, so I gotta cut her some slack.

I realize many people today read ebooks (I read most new books that way myself) or listen to audio-books (which is perfectly acceptable if they are unabridged. If you’re listening to an abridged I sure hope you can return it to the library. If you paid money for it you’re a moron.)

Speaking of morons, has anyone else found themselves unable to converse about literature with other adults? People will even admit it in public.

“Oh, I don’t read. Can’t remember the last time I read a book!” But they know all about every reality TV show. My husband and both of my sons read for enjoyment, have favorite authors, and are excited when a new book comes out in a series they love. If you don’t read something that makes you think your brain is rotting in your skull. Yes, that’s what that smell is.

I can talk to kids about their favorite books, even little ones. Bring up the Pout-Pout Fish, or Llama Llama, or Curious George, or ANY Dr. Seuss  book and we’ve got ourselves a conversation going.

Of course I’ve gone over my 13-line limit (by far), but if you have beautiful bookshelves put BOOKS on them! If you have no intention of reading them buy a backseat full at a yard sale and paint them your perfect accent color or cover them in pretty paper! I won’t fault you for it. Just don’t claim to have read them, because the first one pulled from the shelf will be The Iliad, and I doubt you remember much from that. Even I’m a bit spotty.

So find a genre you like and read more! If you don’t know what genre you’d enjoy (or what a genre is) comment or email me and I’ll suggest a few things. When it comes to literature I’m an omnivore!

Happy to be Sending my Senior Back to School

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

It was a difficult decision John agonized over for months, but it ended up being easy for him to not march his Senior Year.  He’s been able to hold down a part-time job easily while still having plenty of time to boost his GPA. He goes out to dinner with friends, goes bowling, sees movies, hangs out at home on a regular basis, and sleeps eight hours a week. He’ll be able to actually watch entire ballgames, attend school plays and choral concerts, go to school dances, etc.  It’s going to be a great year!
john ksparks

— 2 —

We were slackers over the summer and didn’t get any college visits done, so I think we may pair up with his friends who have similar interests and go together. More fun, and someone may have a question that is not on my three-page list. (Not likely, but possible.)

— 3 —

And here’s the happiest news: When John graduates in May he will be an uncle! That’s right, Catherine and Aaron are expecting!! I’m so excited about becoming a grandmother, just wish we lived closer together. Next door would be good. So depending on how long Catherine keeps her baby boards secret you may well see designs for a Star Trek nursery evolve. We’re calling the baby Little Worf for now, and we can use all the prayers and positive thoughts you have to spare to get this little one to term!! I’m going to be “Nonna” (Italian for grandmother) and Michael will be “Mokey”, a family nickname he’s had since birth.
work paci

— 4 —

I have babies on the brain, and am so thankful I get to help my friend Lisa Tapp (yes, the writer) babysit her grandsons one night a week. I don’t know if it’s the age, the experience, or just the fact that I’m leaving at some point. But something makes the miserable crying of teething or the rain of tears during a tantrum soothing instead of frustrating. It’s so much easier to see the big picture of the little people they are becoming, and to savor the joy of each little milestone!

— 5 —

I have friends who have sent kids and grandkids off to college during the past couple of weeks, and I remember Aaron’s move-in day like it was yesterday. Moving John into a dorm next year will be hard, but I’ve decided to savor the joy. And I’m going to start preparing early so that I can enjoy that time with no distractions. Please send “empty nester” suggestions. I still leave the hall bathroom light on all night.

— 6 —

I love my new moccasins! I had a pair just like this in high school, and I either wore these, my Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandals, or my leather Tretorns. Best Dressed I wasn’t, but always VERY comfy!
mocs

— 7 —

I haven’t hit a lick at a snake the past couple of weeks writing-wise, but I’ve had some new health issues come up. It’s all way too boring to share, but it has kept me from attending my last two chronic pain support group meetings, which I really could have used. They just tend to run long (two hours!) which is an hour and a half longer than I can sit on a good day. And I missed an awesome Nerium regional because I knew for sure that even with breaks I couldn’t make it through that. I’d like to think my pain doesn’t control my life, but in some ways it does 🙁 But I’m starting back writing ASAP, because it’s probably leaking out my ears my brain is so full of plot!

— 8 —

Adding an eighth because I’m also linking up to one of Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop prompts, specifically “8 things I’m dreading / looking forward to about sending the kids back to school”

Gerard the Sock Monkey is a coveted prize in this region of the country. He resides for a year with the winner of each year’s Writing Challenge at Louisville Romance Writers. And no, we don’t all write Romance – at least not entirely. I’m sure he’s disappointed in me because I’ve been slacking off the last week or so. So I adorned him with Olympic literary medals to motivate me. Tonight I shall write!!
gerard

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