Becoming Real

IMG_20181107_103920387_BURST000_COVERSo in between the constant robo-calls and the ceiling cracks and the flooding on the floor AND the non-stop barking because ringing phones and working folks in the house call for non-stop Libs patrol, I have managed to come up with something over at the Muffin.

And considering that as I’m typing this post, Libs is cowered behind me, in my office chair, because the YARD MAN IS HERE WITH TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION (leaf blower at the moment), it’s kinda amazing.

Um…just to be clear, the blog post itself is not that amazing. It’s just me, speaking my truth in “This I Know 2.0.” But after I read it this morning, I realized that I’d left out something very important that I know. Which is not too surprising, all things considered (see above).

And so I’m glad I have this spot here to add another truth, to share this I know as well:

That writers appreciate their readers. Not because they need reviews or want people to buy their books, though of course, either of those are nice. And not even because of lovely comments or the occasional thank-you note or email, though those are certainly swell, too. But mostly, writers appreciate readers because…well, I guess it’s sort of like this quote from The Velveteen Rabbit:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

Readers give writers validation. Readers make us real. And so thank you to all the readers who make me a real writer. Even when my efforts are less than stellar due to extenuating circumstances (see above).

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Ghost in the House

black-and-white-blur-close-up-237205I’m pretty sure my house is haunted. And I’m pretty sure I know exactly who is haunting it.

As ghosts go, Mister Man is not so bad. He doesn’t move stuff around or make lights flicker on or off. He doesn’t show up very often, and when he does, he’s pretty subtle. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one who hears him.

So last week, I had a flooding-in-the-basement issue. And sure enough, Mister Man started yelling. “Cathy!” he hollered. “It’s time to move! Find a nice, cozy place, okay?”

But when I told the Junior Halls–any Junior Hall, I’m not picky– that I wanted to get a Tiny House and park it in their backyard because their father was haunting me and wanted me to move, they implied that I was crazy. “Besides,” said practical daughter, “a tiny house can still have problems.”

That’s true, I guess, but in a tiny house, I’d know immediately when they happened. Which brings me to my post over at the Muffin, “October Scare (Or Recognizing the Blessing in Disguise).”

Anyway, the basement’s dry now and Mister Man’s gone quiet on getting me to move. So I’ve got a few financial matters I’ve been putting off and it’s time to sit down at the desk and tackle them.  But first, humor me. Am I the only one hearing that yelling?

 

College Confessions

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Present Day confession: I take books to the beach and never get around to reading ’em.

Here’s true confession number one: I was that college student that other college students despised. The one who ruined the curve for everybody else.

Yeah, I’d look around with the rest of the Bio class, grumbling under my breath about that jerk of a student who didn’t miss a single question on the mid-term, knowing that I was that jerk. One has to keep that sort of thing on the down low but here’s confession number two: I had a natural aptitude for memorization. Which unfortunately didn’t help me much when it came to the business classes I had to take.

Sadly, I didn’t know that my super power wouldn’t be much use. I waltzed into a 300 level business course of about 30 guys, thinking no worries. I had mad memory skills, plus I knew a couple of these guys (translation: had dated ’em or were dating ’em) and honestly, I wondered if they’d ever figure out how to run a washing machine much less pass a business class.

So we had to write up these cases. Well, writing was my jam! And we had to apply some kind of business principles to each case. A sort of What Would You Do in the business world. I listened to the lectures, I read the book, I wrote a scathingly brilliant paper.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a C on that paper. And across the aisle, on Jake’s (recall that I “knew” this guy) paper, was an A. And worse, Jake had maybe four sentences on his paper. Thus began my mission to show that professor what was what (or more specifically that I was an “A” student, thank you very much). Except (true confession number three) that try as I might, I could not get any better than a B+ on any case. While Jake sat over there, raking in the As with his pithy paragraphs of a case he wrote on the way to class.

Jake, the business major, just understood business, he said.

Maybe he did. Maybe Jake’s running a conglomerate now. Probably just buys new shirts when he needs something clean.

All this to say that I have rather negative feelings about business or anything business-related. But when I saw Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I thought business be damned (because I could just tell this was some sort of business book without even opening it. It just had that smell about it) because the subtitle read: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.

Okay, then. I started reading it. And if you want to know how it inspired my latest WOW! post at the Muffin, take a look at “On Writing: From Dependence to Interdependence.” I’d give it at least a B+.

The Salt Water Cure

IMG_20171206_104403JUNE? What happened to May?

I have a suspicion what happened to May. The same thing that happens in June. These months are weighed down with a regular smorgasbord of sadness for me…My mom’s birthday is in May and she died just a week later. And Mother’s Day. And I try to stay busy, busy, busy. But then June comes along with reminders of Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday and Mister Man’s entirely inconvenient demise…

I came across this Isak Dinesen quote recently and it stopped me in my tracks:

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

And so I finished up my deadlines, including this for the Muffin: Making Time for Time Off.

I’m where I need to be right now; I can smell the salt water from my porch. And there will probably be a few tears on Father’s Day, and I’ll sweat while taking care of hurricane damage. I may even sweat a bit over a manuscript revision.

Salt water will do its work while I work on the cure for what ails me. (Okay, I probably won’t sweat much, fixing stuff from the hurricane. But I’ll think about painting the flood damaged walls and whatnot and I think that counts.)

If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be Time To Post…

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The snake on my deck, which has NOTHING to do with this post. Except that on top of all this writing I had to do this week, I also had to take care of a snake on my deck.

I don’t have a regular day to post here at Cathy C. Hall. I just post when I’ve got something to say that may or may not be interesting. So I was kinda surprised when this day came along and I was just posting all over the place…

If you’re looking for how I can take one of my favorite sports and connect it to writing, then you’ll want to check out The Muffin and “If You Want To Succeed in Writing, You’ve Got To Play Ball!” I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with my ability to take something that I have frittered away hours and hours upon and make something instructional out of it. Although, it wasn’t really me so much as the quote from…well, just give it a read and then you can let me know whether I struck out or hit a home run. (See what I did there? Lots more where that came from!)

And then writer and author Kathryn Schleich is celebrating National Volunteer Week and asked if she could use one of my Muffin posts on the subject and I was pleased to say yes! So if you want to see which post (hint: it’s about volunteering), head over here and take a look. And tour her site for some wonderful writing resources!

And speaking of volunteering, I manage the SCBWI Southern Breeze blog, sometimes writing posts and sometimes forcing asking very politely for volunteers to write up something. So if you’re in the Southern Breeze region (Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle), go see what’s happening in our region. We’d love for you to join us anywhere in SCBWI but if you’re around here, then we can be new BFs!

Whew! I think that’s enough posting for the day, don’t you?