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Showing posts from January, 2014

Observing People

One of my favorite things to do is observe people.   One of my kids once called it stalking but I prefer to call it “character study.” It’s not like I follow them to their homes or anything.  I just watch people to capture a mannerism, how they dress or talk. Years ago when I first decided to try this “writing thing,” I needed to create a character to play foil to my protagonist.  She needed to be an older, motherly type.  I tried picturing her but with no luck.  I didn’t want to use anyone around me for fear the person would recognize him/herself in my novel, so I had to create her from scratch.  There I was.  At Penney’s looking at dresses.  My three kids in tow, one standing patiently by my side, the other two chasing each other inside the dress racks, when this little, dumpy woman and her younger companion whizzed past me on their way out onto the center court of the mall. She. Was. Perfect. I yelled to my kids to follow and took off after her.  I watched how she walked.

Addicted to Christmas Movies!

Scrooge.  Grinch.  Charlie Brown.  Anything with Dean Cain.  I’m addicted to Christmas movies. Everything I am I learned from them. I love the simplicity of the genre.  It’s not rocket science; it’s not calculus.  It’s enchanting, harmless escapism.  Its childlike innocence and a cup of hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows all rolled into one happy ending. What is there not to love? Miracles happen in Christmas movies at an inversely proportional rate than at any other time of the year.  It reinforces our belief in humankind – the need for hearth and home, honor and fair play, humor and happiness. We get to laugh at ourselves.  We find redemption through a myriad of vicarious, familiar experiences. Everyone ends up happy.  I identify with people who make fools of themselves but learn to laugh at their shortcomings.  People lose their way but rediscover their true selves and the right paths. Good always wins in fair play.  Loneliness hurts more than vulnerabilit

Learning to Date

The first time a boy asked me out on a date I was fourteen years old. My father allowed me to go to a dance with him only if my older brother went with us as a chaperone. The moment I discovered that the boy asked me out because he liked my best friend and he hoped that by hanging out with me, he could get close to her, I lost all interest in him. The date was a dud and I never saw him or heard from him again.   I dated three more times during high school, but only because my mother forced me to go. They were with boys who worked with her and needed dates.  I went to an HEB Christmas party, a wedding, and on a double date because of her. The guys all acted nice around her, but HEB boy stared at my chest all night long, the wedding dude tried to attack me in the front seat of his car, and my half of the double date had sweaty palms and a right leg that shook every time he looked at the hem of my mini dress. My parents were well intentioned but very old fashioned.  They thought who

Wishful Thinking # 1 for 2014 -

I wanted to be a teacher since I was eleven years old.  With that goal in mind I prepared and I studied hard. My family and the girls around me made fun that I preferred books to boys, but I had set my sights on a college education and a teaching degree, two things that no one in my family had ever before achieved. I forced my brother and sister to play school with me.  I even coerced the neighborhood kids to pretend along. I knew what I wanted out of life and I was rehearsing how it would fit. I started looking into colleges when I was in the eighth grade and applied to three or four by the end of my junior year. I got accepted by all of them, but only two offered me a substantial scholarship, so I accepted the one that paid more and I finished college in three and a half years.      I was an educator for thirty-seven years, twenty-five in the classroom and twelve in an administrative position.  In total, I had spent forty-four years of my life pursuing one goal and I d