I hope you guys are being cautious, careful not to expose yourself to potential infection by this insidious virus any more than necessary.
It is important to remember that we, as humanity, have endured pandemics before, and we will endure this one. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 is mentioned frequently these days. A short story of mine entitled, “The Spanish Lady” is a fictional account of one family’s encounter with this disease. It was published in the Fall 2005 edition of The MacGuffin.
My mom will be ninety in July. She remembers the polio scare of the early ‘50s, and says this current mindset reminds her of those days. She says people isolated themselves—especially their children, since they seemed especially susceptible to the disease—and all sorts of events and public gatherings were cancelled. She planned to enter me in a “cutest baby” contest (yes, I was a cute baby. I’ve seen pictures. My how I’ve changed!), but the event was called off. My only memory of that time is our trip to the county fairgrounds, where I stood in line to receive—communion-style—that precious sugar cube containing the polio vaccine.
Moving on, here’s a little self-promotion (that’s bragging in disguise). A short story of mine entitled “A Case of Petit Mal” is scheduled to appear in the BewilderingStories.com ezine within the next month or so. “Tea Cakes,” a poem of mine will appear in an upcoming anthology entitled Grandma’s Cookie Jar. The anthology is being edited by Yvonne Lehman.
One of my goals when I started this website was to share something of what I’ve learned during my writing efforts: the craft, the novels that have inspired and/or influenced me, maybe cite some quotations from writers on writing. You can find one of my early essays—entitled, “Letter to a Librarian.” It is under the “Essays” tab on this site and relates a bit about how I first discovered my love of reading.
When I tell someone that I’m writing a book or a story, the first question I’m always asked is, “What is it about?” I had that same approach at first. I thought plot trumped character. As I gained more experience, I learned that a more appropriate question was, “Who is it about?” While plot is important, and necessary, I see it more and more as the result of actions by the characters.
So Gone With the Wind is a novel about Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler, and others and how they faced the challenges of the Civil War and its aftermath.
The Great Gatsby is about Jay Gatsby, and Tom and Daisy Buchanan, and how they dealt with Jay’s obsession with Daisy (not very well, we discover).
And so on.
I also keep a file of quotes from writers as they discuss the craft of writing. I skim through this file from time to time. It refreshes me, much like a cool glass of water does when I’m thirsty.
So I’ll close my first blog post with one such quote:
“But don’t ever promise what you can’t deliver, and don’t initiate conflict that you can’t resolve. Don’t load a gun that you will not fire, or light a fire that you will not put out.” John Dufresne
“Til next time!