Teeth, Contests, and Confessions

ImageSo I have a bit of a confession today. 

I did not participate in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Fourth of July Contest just because I had to make my own fun. I did have fun–and you know how much I love a good contest–but there was another reason.

I had to distract myself.

I had this major dental appointment today, and really, it wasn’t so much having the work done as it was thinking about the work. Because a vivid imagination might be a wonderful thing when one is writing zany Once upon a times, but when one uses that same imagination to obsess over everything that can go wrong whilst sitting in a dentist’s chair, it’s kinda scary. I mean, I know that all my teeth are not going to fall out. I know that worms can’t possibly exist for 37 years beneath a crowned tooth. That my dentist is NOT going to accidentally cut off half my tongue. I know all that. But still.

Anyway, and happily, four plus hours later in the chair, nothing went wrong. But how was I to know that at T minus 5 days ago?

On the bonus side, the writing output for the last week has been sort of incredible. And I’ve read more books in the last week than you can shake a fist at. Even more happily, participating in the contest gave me the opportunity to find a ton of gifted writers who blog and I hope these writers will come back here again.

And best of all, (besides surviving the dental appointment with my tongue intact and no worms), I found myself as one of the finalists in the Fourth of July Contest! The voting has begun for the prizes and will continue till Thursday, July 11th.

Now of course, I can’t tell you who to vote for. This is America and a 4th of July contest, for cryin’ out loud. But I can tell you that you’ll find my entry, Guessing Game, over at the poll on this post. Also, if you write for children, or love books for children, I can tell you that Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog is lovely and chock full of writing information and her books are wonderful. You will want to follow her blog, and perhaps also follow many of the writers who participated in the contest.

Last confession: As totally fun and immensely distracting as this contest was, I also entered because…I want to win. I want to jump up and down holler, Yippee!

And hopefully, when that day comes, I will be able to feel my lips again. But until then, I’m going to need something else to distract my vivid imagination. Any contest will do.

Finding Fourth of July Fun


There comes a time when one must find one’s own fun.

When I asked the Beneficent Mr. Hall if we’d be doing something thrilling and exciting for 4th of July, he asked what I had in mind.

And I said, “I was thinking of going to the top of the Georgia Aquarium for Red, White and Brew. Great food! Fireworks! And brew!”

And he said, “Is it going to be crowded?”

Ummm…it’s Atlanta. It’s ALWAYS crowded.

Then he asked, “Is it outside? ‘Cause that’s gonna be really hot.”

Ummm…it’s FIREWORKS.

I did not exactly respond to the mister. But I did write a 4th of July story for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Fourth of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest. And you know what? It was a ton of fun (and delightfully cool and uncrowded, now that I think about it).

P.S. Hope your 4th is fun, too! ( And join the writing fun! Come up with a 400 word story and post it on your blog by July 5th!)


He Loved His Country As No Other Man Has Loved Her

Maybe it’s because I’m at the beach this 4th of July, and I’ve been sitting on the sand, watching the ships head out to sea. There is something about ships at sea that always brings to mind “The Man Without a Country,” that classic short story by Edward Everett Hale. I think of Phillip Nolan, the young officer sentenced to sail forever, never hearing a word about his family, his home, his country.

Few stories have had such an impact on me. I read it years ago, in elementary school, and though I know the story well, I still get emotional when I get to certain passages…where Nolan is reading aloud from Walter Drake’s Lay of the Last Minstrel, when Nolan joyfully mans the cannon and is given a sword for his courage in battle, a sword which he wears on formal occasions. And of course, the end, when an officer enters Nolan’s stateroom to find a shrine of sorts, and at long last, Plain Buttons hears news of his beloved United States of America, a country he has prayed for night and day, nigh on fifty years.

Maybe it’s the sea that puts Phillip Nolan in mind. Or maybe it’s the American flag that my father hangs outside his home every morning and takes in every evening at dusk. And maybe it’s the 4th of July celebrations, the fireworks I hear even now, at 11:00 this morning.

But mostly, I think it’s because I’m so very thankful for this country I’m blessed to call home.