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Archive for July, 2014

On Editing

As I edit two of my stories, readying them to be critiqued, I often think of my kids at school, how they sit slumped in front of the computer, book on their lap (if they’re not finding what they need on the Internet), and typing their ‘A’ paper in one fifty-minute period. Edit? Picture blank faces here. Why edit? While I grouse at the kids I think more it’s the teachers who are at fault. Haven’t they put steps in place to prevent this? Don’t they make the kids take notes on index cards, write outlines, turn in rough drafts? Seriously?
I collaborated with a teacher on short stories one year. The kids went through all the steps for publishing a story beginning at brainstorming for an idea. At the end I published them using blurb. It was like trying to pull teeth to get them to edit it. When a fellow student critiqued it they never saw anything wrong. Sigh. Maybe it’s just my kids.
Back to my stories. My mom is hinting she’d like to read them and why hasn’t she read them already? Because it takes time. The versions on my computer are the second and fifth draft. In case you’re wondering why I’m editing two at the same time, it’s because if I stick on one too long, I start missing errors, get bored, or get hungry. And no, I don’t think my stories are boring, it’s that digging in, examining every sentence, tires my brain. Since I last edited these I’ve learned so much and whole sentences are being rewritten, taken out, or expanded on. I hope to learn more since I moved as the library offers two writing related get-togethers. One is for writers to get and read their work and the other is on writing family history.

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In May I packed my father’s books into boxes. The shelves looked strange, bare, even though I knew I’d be filling them up again. It wouldn’t be the same. It’s amazing how many boxes I needed. A nearby liquor store offered a few boxes. I have to say the bottles they sell are bigger now. Before a box was the right size for books. You knew if you filled one, you could still pick it up. I couldn’t do that now.
Box after box transferred into the garage where I’d set up a table. When no more boxes could fit, I used folding chairs, the idea being that I wouldn’t have to do a dead lift.
Finally the day came for me to take the books away, travel ninety miles to a rest stop where I’d meet my ‘contact’. I didn’t mind the drive. For one it passed by an Ikea and I would have Swedish meatballs for lunch. As it turned out I also passed an inexpensive gas station that not only offered fuel, but a chance to fill my ‘Roo’ cup. For a quarter I could fill up my cup with a variety of soda or slushie in a cup I purchased earlier in May for $6.00. Knowing I’d be driving a lot, in the heat, I thought that a good deal for this summer.
Not being able to read Czech, I hadn’t a clue what kind of books my father owned. A few were comedies, a few war stories. The rest, who knew. Arriving at the rest stop, I found the gentleman already waiting. He dug into the collection with relish. What I thought might be light novels turned out to be classics. He was thrilled with the books. I was thrilled he was thrilled. They would fill their collection nicely even if they had younger editions.
In the later weeks, I got e-mails from the man telling me an further idea of what kind of books my dad owned. One female author was valuable to scholars as she wrote in the dialect of the people then and described what they wore and did. Bound magazines offered a glimpse into the turn of the century. It makes me feel good to know that my father’s books will be enjoyed and used. I’m sure he’d be happy as well.

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Mockingbird Mafia

Walking along the road, I spotted two Mockingbirds spiraling down at a crow forcing it to land. As I passed, another Mockingbird joined. One of them glared at me and I could almost see the tip of a wing curl into a fist. ‘Whatchu looking at? You want some of the same?’ I hurried on. The crow stiff walked over the road, not wishing to fly. The Mafia owned the air this morning. Today, another Mockingbird followed me, first alighting on a sign, then a tree. The Mockingbird Mafia at work.
To be fair they are only protecting their young. I think. I didn’t see any youngsters, but they may have been hidden.
Mockingbirds don’t care how big you are. I’ve seen them dive bomb hawks, cats, and people. Yep, including me. I hustled out of the area as quick as I could. If s/he wanted to, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been fast enough. I avoided that area for the rest of the summer. Long ago I watched as one charged a cat down the street, the cat running for its life. He’ll think twice about going after a Mockingbird. Their mafia is tough.

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Today is Learn Freely Day at the library. Now that I have moved in with my mom to help her, I can do ‘stuff’! This is the first thing I’m doing and so far I have gone to the genealogy session. While it only concentrated on getting information from South Carolina, I found it interesting. In twenty minutes I’ll attend the Day Trips in SC. I’m hoping that once a month I can go out and make a trip.
I thought this place will be packed with the activities going on, but no. Most people are using the computer and complaining when the announcements for the sessions are aired. They are probably fuming about the harmonizing going on downstairs. I think it sounds nice. It’s another Learn Freely session. As I can’t sing and am not interested, I opted to write this instead. Other sessions include scrapbooking, origami, and tying a bowtie among others. Scrapbooking is the same time as Day Trips in SC so I’ll miss that not that I’m going to go out and start scrapbooking. I’m just interested.
Learn Freely is part of the summer events such as Summer reading. They have that for adults too. For every thirty minutes you read or event you attend you can color in a circle. Which reminds me, I need to sign up to win the IPad mini. Which I will do. Right now.

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Moved

(Big sigh here)
Yesterday I drove my last car load of ‘stuff’ away. As I rode out of Hampton, I yelled goodbyes to all the landmarks. Strangely I didn’t feel all that sad. I really haven’t felt sad about leaving any place except Heidelberg, Germany. I just haven’t found my home yet I guess.
I grossly underestimated the time it would take me to move. I also found that moving by oneself is pretty much impossible. In the end my sister came and helped me out. I have to remember to send her a Thank You note because moving makes one hyper, panicky, and crazy. There’s so much to do and there’s more lurking around the corner, in the corners, and everywhere. When you think you have it all, something pops out and snaps at you. Like the day before yesterday when I forgot to give insurance information to the storage place. The manager called me up while I was ferrying things to the car, stuffing it to the brim. Monday. I’ll do it Monday.
As I write this I find I’ve forgotten a cat clock above a door. I am not driving ninety miles to get it. I am so over driving ninety miles one way along 321. Even blasting music loud and sipping the beverage of the day (root beer or slushie or lemonade) wasn’t helping much anymore. How people can do this everything I don’t know. It’s not for me. Once a week, fine. Every day, not fine.

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