Archive for March, 2015

My local library offered a workshop on blogging. I’d been told this would be offered and the speaker would talk about making a business of one’s blog. I thought this would be something interesting especially for my new SC blog 47parkssc.wordpress.com blog (note how I am shamelessly plugging it). Those in attendance learned quick that making money from a blog is not something that happens often. Even the speaker said she didn’t get much money and didn’t have many hits a month, about 30,000 or so.

However, I’m not going to be talking about blogging. As you can tell that has nothing to do with the title. It’s what happened after that made me write this article. When I got home my mom wanted to know what the session was about. That stumped me cold. How can I explain to a woman who’s never touched a computer, only held a smartphone to look at a picture, and has trouble changing the channel on the TV with the remote what not only blogging is, but what I learned about promoting my blog using facebook, twitter, and instagram? I have to say, this one stumped me. Usually I can draw in an analogy like comparing a blog to a bulletin board where you post notes and essays, but the rest? I finally just said: It was good.

My mom then said she was thinking about getting some technology herself. This got me really interested. What kind of technology was she thinking of getting? A Smartphone? Not likely, but how knows. Maybe she actually wanted to learn how to use a computer?

“I need to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a curling iron.”

Yep, Mama’s going to get herself some technology.


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The Picture Book

I don’t know if it was because of the notepad I made at the library or that I sprained my hand and couldn’t use the computer a few days, but I started my picture book. I had already an idea, a Christmas story I wrote. My notepad has chocolate Santas on it, which makes it perfect.I’d already broken the narration down into picture book pages some time ago. I was good with that. Now I’m working on what will go on each page and that led to a bit of a dilemma. How many pages does a picture book have? Was it really thirty-two?

I went through the picture books I own, a few old and new treasures I can’t bear to part with. There wasn’t one with thirty-two pages. One had less, most had more. So where did I get the thirty-two from? Turns out that is the standard number of pages, but it can depend on the publisher.

I decided on thirty-two pages. But, is that thirty-two pages for the story or thirty-two pages total? That would mean thirty or thirty-one pages, which means I could be in trouble right now because I had to expand one page into three because I was stuffing too many words on one page. But as I’m working on this, I realize that since the pictures are to add to the narration, show what you’re not writing, I can cut down on words. Which I’ve been doing. A lot. Still, I need to do some research on this. For now I will draw a basic sketch for each page. This may not end up a Christmas book and I might have to give up something else, the beginning. We shall see.

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Dad’s gone. Mom’s gone to find him. That means living at Great Aunt Grace’s place. Gag. Treasure does not like her. She’s big, she’s mean, she’s old, and she doesn’t want the two girls, Treasure and her sister staying with her. Black Lake isn’t much either being small town, Virginia. But here is where they have to stay even if Great Aunt Grace’s house does more harm than good to Treasure’s asthma.

Treasure and Tiffany, her younger sister long for Mom to find their father, yearn for them to come home and take them to the perfect place, their forever place. Tiffany just knows when they come back that’s what will happen. Until then it’s Great Aunt Grace and Black Lake.

Funny and touching and it includes a mystery.  There are even deliciously mean bullies who torment Treasure, Jaguar and Pamela. I so wanted so bad to see their comeuppance. I loved how Ms. Harris interwove the mystery inbetween the story, one of longing and hope. Someone is stealing from the townspeople and everyone thinks it’s Great Aunt Grace.

The characters are vivid, Great Aunt Grace, a large black woman, Eunetta, who runs the Camp Jesus Saves, Mr. Shuffles, the cat, and Bryon with his girlfriends. How many did he have? And of course there’s Treasure with her wild hair and Tiffany and her Teddy Bear who had clothes for every day of the week.

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47 Parks SC

I created a new blog, 47parkssc – 47 Parks SC, SC for South Carolina. The idea came about after perusing one to many travel magazines with high priced hotels and exotic resorts. Where were the magazines for the casual and  frugal traveler? Restaurants? I pack my own lunch. Shopping? When I go on a trip the last place you’ll find me is where the shops are although I am fond of the ones in state and national parks. I can go a week without stepping into a Wal-Mart easy.

I first thought to have a blog on travel throughout the U.S. Then I thought, you know, South Carolina has plenty to see. I don’t know how many times I checked out books to find all the nice sites and then drop the matter. This time I’ll see it through. I will daytrip my way through South Carolina and let other people know what I see. There’ll be no shops, no restaurants, no hotels.

The title of the blog came from a ranger hike I took in fall at Sesquicentennial State Park which is in waking distance of where I now live. At one point she told our little group of a program in which, if you travel to all 47 state parks in South Carolina, get a stamp in their special parks booklet for each, you get a t-shirt. Challenge accepted. Not for the t-shirt. It’s like I have to  get all those stamps in the booklet.

But the blog isn’t just going to be state parks. There are national parks, wildlife management areas, wildlife refuges, historical buildings, odd and compelling things to see (the giant peachoid off I85 which resembles a bit of human anatomy) and more.

Every month so far I take a day off from taking care of my mother and head on out. I need to get plenty of material before I may not get to go out anymore. I’ve been on scenic routes, hiking trails, visited state parks, seen churches and plantations. I usually create a route before hand of places I’ve read about and then go changing my route if I feel like it. That served me well two weeks ago. I came around the corner and there was this old, abandoned church. Inside sat a torn up upright piano with a bottle of booze on where the keys used to be. It makes a fantastic picture and a fantastic story.


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Nirvana superfan Sam is angry. It’s been two years since he left Aberdeen, Washington, two years since he told his friends David and Rupe he’d be back in a month, two years since his mother dumped him with her parents and the stupid bird that screams: Good-bye, Sam! Good-bye Sam! Good-bye Sam! Stupid bird reminding him he’s been left behind, over and over and over again.

School’s a drag, but he’s got rule to stay invisible. Then Luis comes. Teachers place him right by Sam. Luis looks tough. He’s a gang banger, Sam knows it. He’s dangerous. Worse, Luis is going to get him noticed. Teachers are going to see him, start asking him questions, start wanting answers back.

The worst teacher? Cassidy. Her and her poetry. Her and the poetry slam.

Good book. I really enjoyed it. Any teachers reading this, your males will get this, particularly the ones in the back with the hoods on their heads, the visible and invisible hoods. The poetry makes one feel what the writer’s saying – I’m here, I’m here, I want to be who I am, not what people think I am. I kind of guessed part of the ending, but I didn’t care. The message came loud and clear. Other parts I didn’t guess and that was good. You don’t always want to know ahead.

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I’ve been thinking of scales lately. Probably since my pants have been telling me their too tight. I need to remedy that. The scales have nothing to do with writing, but they, the ones in my house, may make a cameo in one of my stories.

We have two scales. One is my Mom’s and the other is mine. I could have stuck it in storage with the rest of my things while I live with my Mom, but I kept it thinking it would keep me in check. It didn’t.

We both have fancy scales, but not the so fancy ones that tell you your body mass and whatever you don’t really want to know because it’ll make you feel bad. Ours just give the weight.

Over Christmas my sister used mine and got a shock. “I gained weight!” I explained how mine is a few pounds over. If you wait a few minutes or move it to another place, you’ll get a different reading. If you don’t like what you see, move it around until you do. If you really want to feel good, use my Mom’s scale. That shows a few pounds under. Neither have controls to set it right so I’ve learned to let it go and do the math in head. Or I just go to the nurse in school and use that scale. It’s one of those stand up ones where you move the weights around. I liked it better when it stood in the attendance clerk’s office, a shortcut from the office to the back hall.

I sometimes use the one at my mother’s doctor’s office. Since she goes four times a year, i can check up on my real weight. This one is a pressure weight handy for wheelchairs. I wasn’t happy the last time we went, but then I realized that I wore a heavy coat and the time before that I had short sleeves. My coat weighs a ton since I stick my change in it and never take it out. I had to recently because a hole developed in the pocket and all the change migrated down into the lining. When I puzzled the coins out I was amazed at how light the coat now feels.

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