Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Set Yourself on Fire

So, my ancestors probably sat around a fire and told tales of yore - myths, mysteries, and (half of my kin were Irish) more lies. I received this lovely fire pit for our patio and I have visions of gazing into the flames seeking truth and depths to characters in my books.
Or, here in Texas, the wind could kick up and it could snow on Christmas Eve Day. So much for roasting marshmellows.

Snow flurries on December 29th did not bode well, but now December 30th it's mid 50s and not too breezy. We'll see what happens for New Year's Eve.
As a child I remember Mom and me begging Dad for a fire in the fireplace. After much grumbling, stacking of firewood, placement of kindling, stuffing of newspaper, lighting of many, many matches, smoke, mild oaths from my father, and more kindling, the fire might be roaring by the time I had to go to bed. Mom and I had long lost interest and retired to the other room to read.
Poor Dad - never a Boy Scout, would fail on Survivor. Mom and I learned to stop asking for fire. And now it is part of my mythology, a tale of old, and perhaps a humorous interlude in an upcoming book. I'll have to work on that chapter by my new fire pit. Thanks, Ray.
Happy New Year and Happy Writing in 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Texas White Christmas

Awoke to 38 degrees and supposed rain today. Christmas Eve Day. Ray and I saw Up in the Air - huge thumbs up. Came out of the theater to SNOW!!!
This is Texas, the Sunbelt...........what is going on? Am I dreaming? Truly all is calm, all is bright...

Great day to finish errands, tuck in under an afghan, watch the snow fall, and read. I finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett - wow, amazing first novel. Another friend said she finished A Graceful Death by Ann Summerville and thoroughly enjoyed her first cozy mystery.

Ready to have a Merry Christmas with family tomorrow. The little pecan pies are baked and now we watch our Christmas lights reflect off the snow. Supposed to dip into the 20s tonight so this snow shall not disappear.
I truly wish for Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men.
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dreaming of a White Christmas

This sled is almost 50 years old. It hangs in my father's garage and was used by all three of the Crowther kids - Joanne, David, and Lori. It dreams of a white Christmas. That's what it's all about - the songs, the stories, the myths.

The white Christmas came early this year. Here's my sister's deck patio in DE. She shoveled 18 inches and groaned all the way. Somehow, as an adult, it's not as glamorous as the myth or movies.

Nonetheless, Lori got an extra two days off for the Christmas holiday. She got her driveway shoveled and could get to a bookstore if she wanted to. At this point Christiana Mall (Newark, DE) is open and praying for customers before Christmas. The perspective between being an adult who has to drive in the darn wet stuff and the kid who's hoping for a sled or coaster or skis or a snowboard is beyond description.
As a transplanted Northeastener, the myth lives. I want to look out the window on Christmas Eve and see snowflakes falling. Then again, we don't own a snow shovel, so there better not be accumulation. Best to read about it in the newspaper.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Destined to Write

The manilla paper is crumbly and the old purple mimegraphed pages are fading, but the collection of Mrs. Baldwin's 2nd Grade Class - Christmas Stories lives on at my home. West Point Elementary School is long gone, but perhaps this booklet was my first taste of seeing my name in print. Sadly I still have POV shift problems. Some things never change. (and repetitive word use, too)
Here's the story. Keep in mind, I was seven years old:
When the Toys Came Alive
It was midnight when the Christmas toys came alive. The drum said, " I'm going to run away from Santa Claus." All the toys decided to run away with the drum except the doll. She said, "Just think of the little children. They won't have any new toys to play with. And just think, Santa won't have any toys to take to the children. He will have to make all new ones and you wouldn't like that.
Then it was quiet and the toys thought a moment. The toy bear said, "I'm not going to run away."
But the drum was still going to run away, so he did. He didn't really like it out in the cold. But he wouldn't go back.
Back at the workshop, Santa was packing the sled. He went to all the houses. Finally the drum decided to come back. But all the other toys were gone. Then he knew where they went. He was sad. Next time he is not going to run away. by Joanne Crowther
Artwork courtesty of seven year old Joanne - left-handed scrawl and all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ornamental Stories

Tell her a story, about traditions and memories and perhaps the time it snowed on Christmas Day.
Tell her a story of lights and snowflakes and magic - good times and bad times, too. There's a lot of sorrow and drama in people's lives no matter the season.

My mother loved Christmas and I enjoy putting out decorations she gave me. She grew up on farms during the Depression and reluctantly told us tales of very lean holiday times. Knowing her history makes me appreciate my childhood Christmases that much more. I can pass on the stories.

Each ornament has a little story, whether it is a souvenir from a trip, or from a fun shopping excursion with friends. My husband treats me to an ornament each year - some are pretty, some are humorous - either way it's a tale. I enjoy small picture frame ornaments that capture a moment. And the best ornament of all is the hand decorated toilet paper roll. I think it was supposed to be a toy soldier and Kevin made it in kindergarten or first grade. He groans when he see it, but it's a part of December history and we'll tell her the story.
I hope you have grand stories to pass on too. First let's heat some hot chocolate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Magic

15 month old Makyla is watching Pop-Pop put up outdoor lights. Getting ready for holiday magic

Busy fingers are tempted by holiday decor.

lights at night. Ready to read "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr.Seuss, "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote, and of course, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Moore. It's never too early for holiday magic.

or you can always chew on a penguin.......

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

December 2nd in Texas and it snowed. I was stuck in traffic on I820, so I did not take a picture. Thus I'm stealing this from Linda T and Cecil - their lovely backyard patio coated in the white stuff. "No accumulation," said the weatherfolks.
Well, expect the unexpected, folks and this applies to writing. As the writer, we need to throw stuff at our readers that makes sense but that they don't anticipate. As a reader, that's the joy - turn the page and go, "Whoa! I didn't expect that."
I started to outline my NaNo novel to see what the heck I wrote in 29 days and if it was coherent after all. I did manage a few surprises and I can see where I should add a few more twists. Plus it's amusing to see where I drifted - names changed or people were in two places at one time without the benefit of time travel.
This is definitely an adventure. Will it snow in August in my book? Hmmm......