My Dad

This morning as the sun tried to make its way through the snowy sky and the birds began their call for Spring, my father called my sister. He had been gone from our home for months. I’m not sure why- that part was a memory from another dream- but he called to tell her he was coming home. I looked through the doorway of whatever room I was in, and there he stood, larger than life, a different, beefier, taller version of the man I love, but somehow my dad. I pulled the blankets closer to my chin and wallowed in the feeling that he was there. I wanted to wrap my father’s arms around me as I did the blanket, savor his strength and love. It has been over ten years since his death, one that still haunts me, and I have missed him every day.

My father was a quiet man. We didn’t talk much- I don’t think he knew how to talk to daughters, and having two wasn’t enough for him to learn. He loved us; he would do anything for us, but he left the rest to my mother- until, of course, our incessant fighting drove her crazy and she sent us to our rooms to ” wait until your father gets home.” When he did, he would ask what happened and that was the end of that. I don’t remember any punishment he ever enacted. We waited. We explained. He smiled and then it was time for dinner.

I learned more about my father from my mother- her stories she had heard somewhere or made up. But she made him out to be our “King” in a sense. We washed out faces for our daddy, put on clean clothes because daddy would be home soon, cooked fried chicken early in the day because daddy only liked it cold.

Now that both my mother and father have passed on, it is my husband who can tell me about my dad. My father loved my husband. I think he was the son my father never had and they formed an unlikely Mutt and Jeff friendship- my father short and impetuous, my husband tall and meticulous. It was my father who taught my husband to do woodworking, to build things, and to smoke cigars. My favorite image is the two of them standing side by side, cigar in hand, a big smile for the camera.

But my father also talked non stop with my husband- things he never told me, he gladly related to my mate, and he swore. I never knew. The worst I ever heard my father say was ” for crying out loud” and for that my mother admonished him, “Jim, not in front of the children.”

My father was not perfect as no one is, but he loved me no matter what and he was always there, no matter what, and I miss him.

A Blank Page

There is nothing more promising than a blank page. There is nothing more frightening than a blank page. Authors say that staring at a blank page offers the challenging task of filling it with something someone else will want to read. It is daunting. I disagree. To me a blank page offers hope, a chance to be creative, a space to unload worries, thoughts and hopes. A blank page is the best friend who knows when to be silent. Of course , a blank page waiting for the story of a lifetime that will change the world and every publisher will fight over the saga that comes from it, would be intimidating. Sad to say, I haven’t experienced that yet. The blank page that fills me with trepidation is the page with nothing, the page where I just wrote my finest prose.The page that devoured my morning, but left me with a sense of accomplishment. An improvement, better, a getting there feeling.A page of delightful phrases that has been replaced with nothingness, daring me to find it. The lost file. The accidental deletion. Those blank pages are my nemesis’s.

WFWA

Women’s Fiction Writing Association. Emma Joy Olson, an instructor for two of the recent writing classes I took, told me about this organization and I signed up immediately. It has provided a wealth of information and support and I strongly advise anyone who writes, to sign up. Through a recent Facebook page begun within the group, I have also been connected with other reputable organizations and writing guidance.

AHHH!

There is no other way to express my feelings right now. While book one awaits my additional Beta reader’s comments, responses from a slur of queries, each personalized for the particular agent, and insights from my writing group, I have started on Book 2, a sequel to Johnny and Evie. I am so excited about it as my main character, Evie, develops into a strong, altruistic woman who helps hundreds of WW2 orphans. Based on research, the book will highlight some of the forgotten or seldom told stories of WW2. My goal is that with Evelyn as the sole narrator, the stories will be woven through her interactions and the people she meets and be interesting without sounding like a history book. I’ve already fallen in love with one of the little boys, Arnold, and am curious to follow the route that led him to Evelyn. And that’s also what I cannot get past!
The novel is outlined, my characters are clearly defined ( for me anyway), and the research is done. But when I put Evelyn and Arnold on a journey to find his past, I get stuck, as if the car they were in has broken down. There is no help, no quick fix and there I am , amidst the rubble of bombed buildings, looking for something clever. I know what I want to say, but when I put it on the page, it is just words, boring words and the aftermath of WW2, Arnold, and Evelyn and Johnny’s love is in no way boring.
So I scream; I go for a walk; I blog; I try to think of a better way.

The Purpose for What I Write

Tossed between writing letters to Congressmen and our local newspapers in this vicious, turbulent era we are bumping through, I always come back to my fiction. My hope is that through my stories and characters, I will allow readers to experience life in a way that will expand them and make them better people. If I can help them connect with a character and the emotions or struggles he or she goes through, maybe I can subtly urge them to see the people in their daily lives differently. It has been said that one of the best ways to teach empathy is through stories. My hope is that my stories achieve this, and in some small way, I help the world be a better place.