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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Barely Old Enough To Remember

I remember the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. I was only three at the time, but I still remember my mother kept saying, "O my God!" over and over, the look on her face, and asking her "Mommy, what's wrong?" She said, "The Japs just bombed Pearl Harbor." I didn't know what a Jap was or where Pearl Harbor was or why it made my mother so upset, but I learned as I grew older and saw the newsreels in the Linwood Theater across from where we lived on Hudson Street, and saw the war movies that came out showing our troops fighting. And mostly I remember because my Daddy had to go away and get wounded on Iwo Jima. Yes, sadly, I remember. I remember the blackouts, the rationing, Grandmom Schunck saving our cooking grease in a can so it could go into the war effort to be used as a lubricant. I remember the war bond drives, savings stamps, recruiting posters, "Loose lips sink ships" and a lot of other things I would rather not. My sister, Donna, was only six weeks old when it happened, and everyone was already torn up because Grandpop Schunck was in bed paralyzed with a stroke and would die shortly thereafter. Yes, I remember. It was a terrible time, and we have lived with the aftermath all of our lives. It was not until the war was over that the truth about the atrocities committed by the Axis Powers came to full light. The concentration camps, the gassing ovens, the death marches, the true evil and brutality that took place finally showed how much inhumanity could be committed in the name of nationalism. None of us should ever forget or let it happen again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Saga Continues

Good things come to those who work hard to get them. For months now, I have been blowing my own horn to get publicity for my book, "Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row", and attract national attention. I still haven't had complete success, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Baltimore Jewish Times is doing another piece about the book. I don't know what form it is going to take, but if it is in the form of a review, I will be able to post it on Amazon.com's and Barnes and Noble's web sites. The person who was coming out to take my picture didn't know. It is, also, possible that the review will be reprinted in other versions of the Jewish Times in other cities. That would be a coup. The second good thing is that I am going to do a book signing at Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland on December 12 which will give me the chance to sell off a good batch before the Holidays end. Hopefully, this added attention will give me the boost I need to get into the next recognition level. I hope, I hope, I hope!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I can't believe it is over

At long last the big book signing event is over, and I could not be more pleased. It was really neat to have Attman's Delicatessen make up a special sandwich that emulated the one in my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row. Attman's is the oldest surviving remnant of that area of Baltimore's Lombard Street Jewish enclave. Marc Attman, the third generation owner, graciously allowed me to put his store's facade on the coverof the book, then promoted the book with the signing. There was an amazing amount of support by the whole Attman family, many of whom showed up for the event. Elaine Gershberg, who coordinated the affair, is sweet little pixie who apparently can work miracles. She kept everything on track and kept me advised about all of the details. A reporter for the Baltimore Examiner,Tamar Fleishman did a story on the sandwich and the book that appeared the following day.
I had some surprise visitors show who bolstered my state of euphoria. Two of my cousins, Frank and Skip Stovel and their wives, whom I had not seen in nearly two years, and long time friends JoAnn and Wayne Geisbert and their son showed up unexpectedly,as did JoAnn's brother, George Swope. To say that the evening was a success is to understate it. It was one of the events I will never forget. As always, my Darling Judy and our beloved Paul backed me up in every aspect of the evening. Altogether, it was a resounding success, and now everything is anti-climax. Oh, well! On to the next triumph, I hope!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The days are racing by

I have been preparing for a BIG book signing at a historic deli in downtown Baltimore for about a month. The lady who coordinates events there just informed me she sent out over 1100 email invitations to her customer list. When I was ready to publish my book, "Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row," I got permission to put the deli's picture on the front cover. It was only logical that the deli would want to promote the fact. The only trouble is the place where the event is to take place only holds forty-five people. Also, there is a parking problem in the area. I know there is supposed to be no such thing as bad publicity, but I don't want all of the guests griping about the situation in their columns. Did I mention the preponderance of them will be media people: food writers and such, and the deli is going to probably offer them freebies. My book is a novel, not a cookbook! However, one of the characters in it creates a spicy version of the corned beef sandwich, and the deli is going to make one that resembles it as part of the promotion. I can see this being a boon for the deli, but how it will impact sales of my book is questionable. If you are in Baltimore on November 10, 2010, you may want to avoid East Lombard Street from 5 to 7 PM. The traffic may be a problem.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Delivering the goods.

This weekend has been interesting. Judy, my darling better half, and I went into Baltimore to make a couple of deliveries. The first one was to our friend Joann's house to drop off a pair of earrings I made for her from one of her daughter Hilary's old necklaces. It was received with Jo's usual dramatic enthusiasm. If you give her anything, she makes you feel like it is the greatest gift ever from anyone. She is a warm and loving person who finds something to smile about in even the worst situations. I wish I had her upbeat outlook. Her oldest daughter, Maria, was visiting her mom, and as I had not seen her in a number of years was shocked when I did. She was definitely a woman, and not the child I remembered.
The next stop was in downtown Baltimore at Attman's Delicatessen. Judy and I had worked on signs for a book signing there on November 10. This is a really big deal with local media coverage coming in many forms. Having already had a couple of articles written about me, the media has been allerted that this will be a really special event. In my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, I describe a sandwich one of the main characters concocted to bring in new customers to his deli. As part of the book signing event, Attman's is going to produce a special sandwich that follows the formula in the book. In Baltimore, this is a big deal. Attman's is one of the original shops in what once was the heart of the Jewish section of the city: the area was called Corned Beef Row. The novel is not about the area, but it is set in it, and Attman's taking an active part in promoting the book will definitely draw attention. I guess I chose the right place as a setting for my story. I can't wait to get my hands on one of those sandwiches.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing is only part of the process

When I finished writing my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, I thought the hard part was over. Boy, was I wrong! Writing it was the easy part. Getting it into print has consumed a good portion of my life since I finished it. Next came trying to get it published. I sent it to what was supposed to be a traditional publisher, but turned out to be a self publishing outfit that wanted up front cash to start the parade. I couldn't do that at the time because I could not come up with the money. My wife had been unemployed for eight months and we were just getting by. One of the reasons for finishing the book was to make money, something that didn't look like it was going to happen. When I told the people at the "publisher" that I had no bucks, they suggested CreateSpace. com and Lulu.com as an alternative. BTW, the "publisher" had reviewed my book, and said they thought it was probable that I could sell 2500 or more copies, if I was prepared to be active in promoting it. They had all kinds of "plans" of which I could partake, but they, too, cost me. Internet radio, a blog tutor, professional editing, et cetera. What I finally did was put the book out on CreateSpace which is part of Amazon.com in both hard copy and Kindle eBook. I have blown my own horn to get publicity, and so far, have two news articles and a book signing upcoming. I have sent out press releases, and done anything I could to promote it. Slowly, but surely, it is beginning to sell. Buy it, please, I need the money!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Renaissance man or Jack-of-all-trades?

I like to think of myself as a Renaissance man, but fear I fall more into the category of a Jack-of-all-trades. I am an artist who despite colorblindness has several hanging paintings in other than my livingroom. I have designed and built furniture, done block printing, silkscreen, and wood carving. I was, for twenty or so years, a hobby blacksmith. I have done home improvements in the form of tearing out walls and building new replacements, run electrical wiring and plumbed kitchens and baths. I have run a newsletter, written essays, and written a book and sop up all sorts of knowlege like astronomy and physics like a compressed sponge. I have displayed competence in all these things, but excelled in none. I fear my constant turning to the next project before the last one has been finished dooms me to the level of mediocrity, not memorability. What say ye?

Friday, September 3, 2010

A little encouragement goes a long way

Back when I started writing my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, I had the basic concept together and a few chapters finished. However, I was unsure of the caliber of my writing. I asked my cousin, Betty, to give me an opinion of what I had done to that point. The response I got back was more than what I had anticipated by a good margin. She said I should start looking for a publisher, and that it was very good. It was her response and encouragement that set me to working earnestly to complete it. I had gained a reputation in my family as one who starts a project but never finishes it. That included home renovations, hobbies, and other things. When my wife lost her job, I had to try to come up with a way of making money. Writing the book and turning it into a moneymaker was one possible avenue.
I sent Betty subsequent chapters for awhile and she made some suggestions that I took into consideration. When I finished writing it, I sent her the manuscript on a cdrom to hold for me for copyright validation which she, and husband Al, did for me. A gesture I greatly appreciated, to be sure. When the book was finally published, I signed one of the five original proofs and sent it to her. A few weeks later, I emailed her and asked what she thought of the finished product. Once again, her response was glowingly positive. She also told me she was proud of me. That in itself made the whole thing worthwhile. Thank you, Betty Lou, thank you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting it right

Things are progressing faster than I thought they would. My book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, has only been out a couple of weeks and I have already had a magazine article done about how and why I wrote it in Baltimore Jewish Times. I appreciate the publicity it gave me, but the young woman who wrote the article got lots of things wrong. The biggest problem was because she had not read the book before the interview, and probably had not read it afterward either. I asked if she had at the beginning of our conversation, and she said she had glanced through it (which I seriously doubt). If she had, she could not have been so far off track. She wrote it up as being a spy story instead of what it really is: the tale of identical twins separated at birth. She probably got her impression from the synopsis on the back cover. Yes, there is a lot about spies in it, but the point of it is about the families of the children involved, how they grew up, their different career paths, and how they finally re-establish their natural connections. The action in the book is incidental. The thrust of the story is about families and relationships. I hope the next interviewer will at least read a few chapters to get a sense of what it is all about. If the interviewer had read the first twenty pages, her article would have taken a direction that was closer to the real crux of the tale. From her perspective, the story she wrote probably fulfilled her boss's criteria: she interviewed a non-Jew who wrote a book about Jews and published his responses to her questions (which focused on many of the wrong things). From my perspective, she missed the point.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wow! Things are Happening

If I thought I was busy and harried before, I was in for a surprise. Since my last posting, I have had things really start to steamroller. First, my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, has been published and is available on Amazon.com as both a dead tree version and on Kindle. It took a heap of work to get that accomplished, and I am proud of the results. The print version sports a cover of my own design, and looks professionally done. My sister, Donna, who never minces words or says something is good when it isn't, was blown away when she saw it. She said it looked every bit as good as some of the ones in the local bookstore and better than most. Donna has a wonderful sense of humor, and got a charge out of the last two sentences of the story. She had said while I was writing it that the only kind of books she liked were the ones that ended with; "and they lived happily ever after. THE END" Well, that is how I ended my book.
Being the unabashed self promoter that I am, I sent two copies of it to Mr. Neil Rubin, editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times. One was an autographed copy for him to keep and the other was for review, if he chose to do that. Mr. Rubin had been kind enough to direct me to several sources which were valuable in my research. On one hand I was trying to show my gratitude, and on the other to hope for a review. A favorable write up from his paper will be a tremendous publicity boon. I, also, sent press releases to the other local news organizations, and I am attempting to arrange for my first book signing to be at Attman's Deli the picture of which is on the front cover. I want to get media coverage for that so I will be sending out another press release whenever that can be scheduled. More on that later. Do you think I am excited? You betcha!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Aheader I Go; the Behinder I Get

I can't believe it has been nearly a month since my last entry. I have been busy trying to get my book to market and setting up my web site. Both are really time consuming. My darling Judy keeps asking me "When are you going to finish this? You've been working on it FOREVER!" That is exactly what it seems like to me. It seems like I have hit every kind of stumbling block imaginable. Since I am putting it on CreateSpace, I have had to make tons of adjustments. I have had to resize the copy to fit book size paper, change the line spacing, change the fonts for the chapter headings and body text, reset all of the margins, and unify the book into a single file. Gadzooks, what a bunch of chores. Not having the proper software only made these things harder to do. Fortunately, I was able to come up with some suitable work-arounds that let me, finally, finish the job. Or so I thought. As it turned out, I still had to convert the files to Adobe's pdf format before uploading it. Then came doing the cover art. Another nightmare. I had to rework it five times before it was okay for their site. At long last, the ball is in their court and, if no more pitfalls occur, the book will be printed.
I was naive to think that all I would have to do is send the book to a publisher, and they would take it from there. I would get an advance, they would do all of the publicizing and advertising, and all I would have to do is appear on TV talk shows and at book signings. My little book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row, is not an epic. It is a little story about Jewish identical twins separated at birth. It is not the Corsican Brothers or The Man in the Iron Mask. It would have take a miracle for a major publisher to grab it up like that so I am gambling that by self publishing someone might see it. I still hold out hope that fellow Baltimorean Barry Levinson will learn about it and, maybe, take a look at it. That probably falls under the heading of "still dreaming, aren't you?" Well, if the Wright brothers felt that way, my sister, Jane, would not be working for an airline and a trip to Chicago from the East Coast would take a long ride on a train. If I stop dreaming, I may wake up and find the world really sucks. What then?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tied Together

For me, and lots of other folks, two events in June are inexorably connected: Flag Day and Fathers Day. I am reminded on both of my father who was a Marine who fought and was wounded on Iwo Jima during WWII. Although I was only five years old, I remember the image of the raising of the flag on Mt. Surabachi which was in the newspapers and the movie newsreels at the time. We, my mother, my little sister, Donna, and I, did not know my father's fate. When Donna and I knelt down to say our bedtime prayers, "God bless Daddy" was always part of them. The man who returned from the war would not be like the one who departed for it. The war changed him. He did not talk about it, and when he first got home, suffered with nightmares that woke us frequently. I knew he had been wounded, but it was not until I was much older that I realized the wounds were not just physical. He had been hit by mortar fire and lost part of his knee and suffered wounds in his shoulder and back. When he finally came home, he was still on crutches. He was then, and always will be my hero: John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Superman, and Buck Rogers rolled into one. He passed away five years ago, and I wish we had more time together. I never got to tell him enought times how much I loved him. The things I learned from him I will never forget. The most important one being how to be a man. I hope I learned well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I answered my own question

Last post I wondered when I got old. This post I think I can answer it. Last Tuesday was my 71st birthday. I did not celebrate it. Why would anyone celebrate getting old? If I could grow a year younger like Benjamin Button, THAT I WOULD CELEBRATE! The only thing on the plus side was that I received two neat birthday presents: Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Volumes 1&2 from my Darling Judy, and a new digital camera from DDD. DDD is "Daddy's Darling Daughter," a.k.a., Karen. I love both of the gifts, but I love the givers more. My Darling Judy is omnipresent and the woman around whom my life revolves. Sadly, I do not see as much of Karen as I would like. She has her own life, and we only see each other a few times during the year. That's what happens when kids grow up and move away. Especially when there is a forty mile one-way trip to visit each other. I know she loves me, and she knows I love her, and that is what is important. As for the rest, c'est la vie!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When did I get old?

I don't remember it happening, but here I am an old man. Eight months ago, I was riding my Kawasaki Nomad motorcycle with my wife on back as a passenger and back seat driver. I think it might have been when I realized I couldn't do that safely anymore. I couldn't trust my left leg to be able to handle the combined weight of the bike, me, and my darling Judy. It was more fear of what could happen to her in case of my lack of control that made me decide to sell the bike. We both loved it. We had taken trips of 150 or more miles more than once. From about 12 miles south of Baltimore, MD where we live to Ocean City, MD is about that distance. We rode on the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, too!
I knew it had to happen some day, but why did it happen so soon? My mind still feels like it did when I was a teenager. Why doesn't my body? Why does your mind and body have to be so different? All of the knowledge and skills I have gained in my 71 years are trumped by a body that no longer works like it did in days past. I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with my writing and making wire wrapped jewelry. At least I can still do those!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't you just love computers?

I have three computers. One is obsolete in the extreme and only gets used as a word processor for writing my books and checking my emails. One is fairly up to date and runs on Windows XP and is my wife's primary computer. The last one is a shiny new netbook that my wife won in a contest and gave to me. It is the one running on XP that has given me horrors over the past several days. My wife called me into the office and asked why she was getting a message on screen that she could not save a file to the hard disk for lack of space. I had just defragmented it the prior week, and it had a ton of empty file space on it then. When I ran defrag on it this time, it showed only one percent of the disk was available. First thing I figured was, "Uh Oh! It's got a virus." I ran McAfee and an anti-spyware program, rechecked, same result: disk full. I started deleting files, photos, and programs. Even though I had apparently freed up beaucoup disk space, I got the same warning. It appeared that as soon as I freed the space, something wrote in it.
I am not a computer novice. I have built my own PCs, and serviced them when necessary, but this had me stumped. I had to contend for two days with my wife's grumbling while she worked on the old unit. Fortunately, my stepson is a network specialist, and we asked him to try to figure it out, which he did. He had some resources to which I had no access that enabled him to do so. It is running fine now. I am using it for this entry. I guess, like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. When they are working.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tribute to My Mother

My mother, Rena May Battee, hadn't turned 19 when I was born, and the early memories I have of her were ones of a woman who was loving and gentle, but, also, no-nonsense. In a way, she was like an older sister. She and my Dad were young enough to still do things like sledding and roller skating, amusement parks, swimming and playing miniature golf. Mom was strong, too. Not just physically, but emotionally. She didn't fall apart in a crisis. She could do a man's work, if she had to, and that happened often when Dad came home from WWII. They bought a little house in Baltimore that took lots of "fixing up," as they used to say. She had to go to work to help support our growing family. My second sister was born after we moved in there, and Dad's earnings were not enough to feed, clothe and educate in a parochial school three kids.
Above all other attributes, Mom was loving. Her children knew she cared deeply about them and knew she would fight for them, if necessary. I remember one time a grouchy neighbor started hollering at us kids for getting a ball out of her yard by climbing the fence. When she came out of the yard wielding a broom, my mother, like a mama lion, came out and went nose-to-nose with her to straighten her out. She encouraged, nursed, worked to support ,protected and suffered for us.
The greatest blessing I could wish for every child would be that they should have a mother like mine. The jails would be empty and they would all grow to be responsible, caring people.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Silver Lining

Sorry if my last post was a little depressing. I guess disappointment got the best of me. I am not usually a downbeat person. In a way, maybe it is good that things turned out as they did. There are lots of old adages that apply in a situation like this. One of my favorites is: "Every dark cloud has a silver lining." It surely applies in this case. I found, today, that a large number of legitimate publishers would relegate my book to the rejection list because it is too short. Only 52000 words. Having learned this, I am going back to the story and "fleshing it out" to make it more salable. I have eschewed inserting unnecessary verbiage, but it appears I was wrong in assuming that descriptions of decor and things of that sort are undesirable. Trudging forward and continuing to write will be more challenging and I will wax prosaic as best I may. My wife said I should put in some steamy bedroom scenes, but I want to have something that stands out without stooping to the prurient. My book is about Jewish people, and, as a non-Jew, believe they deserve to be portrayed respectfully. It's just the golden rule being applied as it should be.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Will the dream die with me?

Disillusionment has set in. What I believed was a real publisher was actually just a "come on" for one of those self publishing outfits. Whom can you trust? There are so many bogus entities floating around out there in cyberspace. It is difficult to separate the scams and the shams from the legitimate. I guess the old saw about things too good to be true is right. For now, it is back to square one. I believe in my book, "Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row," and I thought the "publisher" did, too. They played me like a Stradivarius. Now, my greatest fear is that I will die before it ever gets into print. It's a story about identical Jewish twins separated at birth and living dramatically different lives. It is the kind of story Barry Levinson would like because it involves a Baltimore landmark, Lombard Street's Corned Beef Row, a deli owner, and spies fighting over a secret weapon stolen from the Israelis. The way things look now, he will never know it exists.
At 71, diabetic, overweight, and arthritic, I am running out of time. It took me two years to finally get my book into what I believed to be really enjoyable reading. Were those years I could have put to better use? I loved/hated the process. Envisioning the story, I loved. All of the editing, and re-rewriting was a chore. Unfortunately, only the reading public will determine if it was a worthwhile endeavor. If that ever happens. Sometimes, life really sucks.

Friday, April 30, 2010

If not NOW, when?

I may be getting in over my head, but I have been looking at the possibility of converting my manuscript to an electronic format and doing an ebook before an ink and paper one gets produced. Is this crazy? Has anyone else ever done something like this? I am in a situation where I am not getting any younger, and I want to see the work of two years out in the public eye.
Writing my book, "Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row," was something I thought of doing Decades ago. Not this particular book, I started a vampire novel thirty years ago, but never finished it. I have mentally kicked my own butt for years for not finishing what I started. There were art projects, too. Not to mention home remodeling and maintenance items than never got finished.
That has been one of my great failings. Not finishing things. Project after project has gone incomplete. I have been guilty of the same failure all of my life. Now, after toughing out the writing, editing, rewriting, reediting that went into the book, I want to see it through and into print. Or, at least in some form, in the hands of others so they can appreciate what I have done.
Am I being conceited in thinking what I wrote is worthy of appreciation? Isn't that what every author believes? What I am considering may constitute literary suicide, but big risks often have big payoffs. And, I don't have forever!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Much ado about money

What do you do when you need money and you are broke? That's the problem I am facing now. I need $1000 and have no way to get it. I have nothing I can think of valuable enough to sell. Without it, my prospects look far more grim than they did only two days ago. Then, I was upbeat, looking to hear from the publisher that they were going to print my book, Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row. Then came the bombshell. They offered me a contract, but with a different slant to it. They want the money to cover "expenses" in setting up and starting production. I would not be self publishing. They say it would be a joint venture, and the royalties would be split 50/50. Have I been hoodwinked by their "acquisitions team," and lead to believe they were going to publish my work only to wind up as a self publisher? Has anyone else experienced the same sort of thing? They have a couple of large websites, so I think they are not a scam, but I am not sure. I need money and answers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To Tea or Not to Tea?????

For the first 40 years of my life, I was a Democrat. I worked to get Nancy Pelosi's father, Thomas D'Alesandro, and her brother, Tommy,Jr., elected as mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. I was a huge supporter of mayor then governor, William Donald Schaeffer. Then I began to see that the Dems had moved away from me. They began looking more and more like the socialists with their policies. I became increasingly disenchanted. I finally realized my views were much more conservative than the right wing of the Democratic Party. One of the things that really upset me was that they resorted to labeling anyone who thought like me as lunatic or weirdo. Anyone who did not buy into the leftist ideology was demonized in the liberally dominated media. With 99% of the media controlled by liberals, they can easily besmirch any conservative as "an extremist," or even worse, as a fool. Look at how the media of every ilk did its best to characterize George W. Bush as a buffoon. Every minor idiosyncrasy was made into a major issue. Demeaning him became a national sport for the media.
Now the same thing is happening with those associated with the Tea Party movement. I am not a Tea Partyer, yet! However, I can empathize with them. My frustration with the rapid plunge toward Socialism the government is bringing about through the machinations of Obama/Pelosi leadership, moves me closer to the realm of the Tea Partyers. Before today my political commentary has been limited to yelling at the television or at the telephone when told to "press 1 for English." I now see myself as a voice crying out in the wilderness, "Watch out for socialism and the death of American Ideals." Heed not my words, and U.S.A., R.I.P..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello, Hollywood??

Have you ever tried to contact a live person at a Hollywood movie studio? I have been trying to get a message through to Barry Levinson, who, like me, grew up in Baltimore. I think he might be interested in my book, "Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row," because it is set in a Baltimore landmark. Mr. L has done several movies with Baltimore themes, and his "Homicide: Life on the Streets," was filmed there, too. The problem I encountered is layer upon layer of firewalls preventing any access. Maybe after the book hits the stores someone will tell him about it. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, April 19, 2010

No Imagination?

My sister and I have a ritual we perform each week. We have a telephone conversation every Tuesday. She called today because she is going on a trip tomorrow. She told me about spending the weekend with her two youngest grandkids. She said after an exhausting day, they wanted her to read them a story at bedtime. The only problem with that is they want to look at pictures while she reads it. She wanted them to go to sleep. Her solution was to TELL them a story which she made up. She had them close their eyes and IMAGINE what she was saying. She started narrating, and one of the first characters in it was a unicorn. When she was ready to finish the story, Aidan, the youngest, said, "Grandmom, I see it!" "What do you see?" she asked. He answered,
"the unicorn." If kids nowadays have no imagination, we can only blame the grown ups who have robbed them of needing one with Xbox, Wii, and TV. Where are we going to get our next generation capable of creative thinking? Creating your own fun out of your imagination is part of growing up. At least it was for me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Make your own luck

I sent an email to a friend on FaceBook who commented on the fact that I had written a book. She said she had several books floating around in her head, and, I got the impression, she was not seriously considering doing anything about it. I told her she needed to write down what was in her head if she is serious about it. I tried to get the point across that I was serious about writing, and had taken nearly two years to do my own little book. I sent her a copy of the synopsis I sent to the literary agent I was trying to get to market my book to publishers. It is not the Great American Novel or an epic like "War and Peace." It is only a little book about Jewish twins separated at birth whose lives took drastically different paths. Its title says a lot about the contents: Double Trouble on Corned Beef Row.
Right now, it is in the hands of a publisher who is reviewing it. I won't know for a couple of weeks if it will pass into print or not, but the point is that I did it. I didn't let it remain just an idea. I put it down in writing. I wrote, and I re-wrote until it was what it is. Finished. An entity held in electronic files, but nevertheless, an entity. It may or may not ever go further than that, but I am glad to say that the satisfaction of finishing the project is its own reward. If there are any aspiring writers out there in blog land, go to it and do it. Make your dream come true. If nothing else, you can enjoy the journey. To paraphrase the old saying, "A book of 1000 pages begins with the first word." Don't wait until you are 70, like me, to start.