Tag Archives: books

a snippet of my latest

Nothing is quite as intimidating as….

THE BLANK PAGE

It’s there, empty waiting. You can fill it with something great (or a little less than great). It holds all the potential of untold stories, unsaid regrets, proclamations of love and friendship. You name it, it’s all there waiting somewhere.

When I open a new document to start a new book, I stare at the page for a while. It’s a little scary.

It’s white

Clean

Pure

What if I mess it up?

and then I remember, that’s what editing is for.

November is NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month). I know I’ve mentioned it before. Probably numerous times. So far I am on track with my word count. My editing on my other book (I originally thought I’d do both at the same time) is a little behind, however. I didn’t intend to do NaNo this year. But I had an idea and after it rolled around in my brain for a bit I found myself staring at a blank page.

And I jumped.

This came out (see prologue below). It’s not great. It’s not polished (this is a 1st draft after all). But it intrigued and surprised me, and I decided

I want to read this story.

So now, I’m writing it.

It’s been fun to see where it takes me, and I’m excited to see where I end up. I get a little writing intoxicated. It’s hard to put down the book sometimes – which is why I try to only write when the kids are in bed. I think the amazing thing about writing is that it comes from me. It’s something I created. I get a little in awe of that. And what is really neat, is to see my kids start to love writing too. That part is awesome. Probably the most awesome.

Prologue*

I love the ocean. The scent of it, the sound of it, the frothy feel of it, even the tang of salt on my lips. My dad often teased me that mermaids left me on the doorstep. That story ended the day after my fifth birthday when my panicked parents found me at dawn asleep on the beach waiting for the mermaids to claim me. After that we moved to a landlocked state in the middle of the corn belt. I wasn’t even lucky enough to end up near one of the great lakes. Mom was convinced the family curse had found me.

Mother claimed my love for the ocean came because of my great grandfather, Ezekiel Horn. He was captain of the Grey Lady which was lost at sea when he was thirty-seven leaving his wife and six children to fend for themselves. She said the sea cursed our family for his nefarious deeds which is why, until now, we never moved back to the ocean. It took all her fingers and toes to count the family members who died a watery death. And now, I need one of my father’s to count them all. Mom died when I was thirteen, a freak accident plunged her car into a river.

Father doesn’t believe in curses, which is why, when his dream job offer came along he jumped at it, even though it was in the tiny town of Newport, Oregon. I wasn’t thrilled about the move, but a chance to be by the ocean excited me. I never thought the move would force me to face my own watery death. Perhaps I should have believed in curses after all.

*(In general I hate prologues, so imagine my astonishment when I realized I had written one. I was both mortified and intrigued. I suppose prologues aren’t so bad after all… as long as they’re short. ha ha 🙂 )

Oh – and posting this was REALLY scary. I get a little nervous sticking my writing out there for everyone to read. Blog posts are one thing, but books (especially when you aren’t published) are entirely different. I mean, what if it stinks? ha ha. Anyway, to all those who hold back like me – listen to my husband’s very sage advice:

“Post It.”

Take a deep breath, and take the plunge.

No adventures are ever gained if you refuse to step out the door.

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Filed under Writing

Sniffing Books

I pulled into the handicap parking space outside Barnes and Noble while my friend, Betsy, hung the handicap marker on my rearview mirror.

“Do you have your sunglasses?” I asked as I exited the car and came around to her side of the vehicle.

“Yep.” She put them on and accepted my offered arm as she flicked her cane open. “You do realize that with my sunglasses on inside I really will be blind, right?” (She has retinitous pigmentosa and is legally blind – she can see a very little bit in well lit places – in the dark she can’t see a thing.)

“I promise not to steer you into any bookshelves. At least, not on purpose anyway.” We laughed and entered the store.

Just walking into the book store with her without her sunglasses on is entertaining. We get a myriad of strange looks, but with her sunglasses on we got  completely baffled stares as I steered her towards a large display of books right in the middle of the center aisle stretching through the store.

I paused and looked over the books as she stood silently by my side, waiting.  I picked up a large book with a shark on the cover and handed it to her. Her fingers danced across the cover and down the sides. After frowning, she ran them over the title as though it were braille and then lifted the book to her nose. After a long inhale she shook her head no. “This one smells a bit fishy to me.”

I barely smothered my giggles as I took the book back and glanced at a pair of ladies staring at us from across the aisle. I wanted to stare at them full on and really observe their arched eyebrows and puzzled eyes, but I didn’t dare turn my head and contented myself to my peripheral observations. I picked up a second book and handed it too her. “How about this one then?”

She proceeded to do the same as she had previously, pausing after running her hands over the book to flip through the pages and sniff them. “This one, this one smells a bit smokey.”

I glanced briefly at the title and noticed it was some thriller with fire or smoke in the caption and smothered more laughs as I set it down. I watched as the two ladies passed by,  shaking their heads and laughing.  We decided to try a different part of the store and headed to the back corner where there were numerous chairs and tables arranged.

Facing the shelves my back was to our unknowing audience, but I managed to turn my body slightly in order to catch numerous reactions out of the corner of my eye. I snagged the first book I came too and handed it to her. She felt it, smelled it and grinned. “This is a Sue Grafton book, I think I might like it.”

I took the book and looked at it. “You’re right! It is!” I allowed my eyes to dart quickly around me. I saw a pair of raised eyebrows behind a newspaper as a girl ducked her head quickly so as not to be caught spying, a man studiously staring at the book on the table in front of him, and another girl with a furry black hat staring unabashedly at us.

Not wanting to appear as though I was observing them I quickly grabbed the next book my hand fell on and gave it to Betsy. She took longer with this one and smelled numerous times. She opened the book and sniffed the pages, her face becoming more and more puzzled. Finally, she shook her head and handed it back to me. “I don’t think I’d want that one. It smells so strange. Almost foreign.”

I raised my eyebrows and observed the author. It was a struggle not to burst into laughter. “Yeah, it looks like its by some Russion guy.” This time I glanced the eyes and eyebrows pearing at us in blatant curious wonder, the distracted man who quickly shifted his gaze back to his book, and the girl with the furry black hat with her jaw hanging open.

I gripped Betsy’s arm and we shuffled off down the aisles where we could disolve into giddy laughter as she whipped her sunglasses off. “I can’t believe you got me to do that.”

“Me neither!” I broke into a huge grin. “Wasn’t it fun? Next time we need to bring  our entire writing group and have them staked out around the store so we can get better observation of people’s reactions.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Next time?”

“Oh yeah. You so want to do that again. Admit it.”

“Ok, yes I do.”

I need to go practice my poker face now so that I don’t break down in laughter every time she starts sniffing the books.

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Filed under Humor

Awesome Heart Books

While this post may carry little interest to those who are not parents of heart kids, I have been meaning to write it for quite some time.  I have recently read and discovered some fascinating books about those who pioneered heart surgery, etc.

The first book is Partners of the Heart by Vivien Thomas.  Some of you might recognize the name Vivien Thomas because of the extraordinary movie, “Something the Lord Made”.  This is the same Vivien Thomas, and this is his autobiography.  Though at times a bit tough to get through all the medical terms and though it doesn’t carry the charm of being written by a trained author it is incredibly and fascinating to read Thomas’s own words about his experiences with Alfred Blaloc and first surgery on blue babies.  It is an astounding and fascinating read.

I will branch off and talk about the movie, Something the Lord Made.  It is based on Thomas’s autobiography and is absolutely wonderful.  It is quite faithful to the true accounts of the autobiography and does a great job of depicting the drama of the first blue baby surgery.  The auto briography rather glosses the drama over a bit, so I enjoyed the emotion that the movie portrayed, etc.  We own a copy of the movie and I have watched it a couple of times, each time having tears brought to my eyes as I think of all we have to thank these great men for who took such risks.  It is an amazing movie and I recommend it to all heart parents – though maybe not right after or before surgery, that might be a bit much. 🙂

The second book is: King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery by G. Wayne Miller. A biography about Dr. Walt Lillehei who was an amazing man who stopped at nothing and broke all the rules of medicine to be able to find a way to fix the broken heart.  With many side stories about other pioneers such as Dr. Werner Forsmann who performed the first heart catheterization on himself.  The author writes a brilliant and engaging story with a complete bibliography and index.  Dr. Lillehei did not gain the expected nobel prize because of some rather poor personal deicisions (not paying taxes, etc) but his story is an amazing one, as well as all the other doctors involved in his story.  A fantastic read.

Lastly is a book about pediatric cardiac surgeon Roger Mee, Walk On Water: The Miracle of Saving Children’s Lives by Michael Runlman.  A fascinating look into the intense drama of pediatric surgeons and the amazing work they do.  A bit tough to read for me because it hit really  close to the heart, but amazing to share int he stories of this great surgeon and others like him.  The author uses A LOT of profanity and for those who find it offensive, as I do, will find a sharpie useful – It is a great book though – especially without the language.  But for those who don’t mind the language, it will be great no matter what.  The author is very dramatic and he really delves into operating room and the tension and drama – it is almost overbearing and I had to concentrate on not picturing my kid, but I am so glad I read it.

I am always looking for more books and fascinating info on these amazing men who worked at the front of Cardiac Surgery, so if anyone discovers other amazing books or resources, I would love to know about them.  I hope those who dive into these books thoroughly enjoy them.  They are hard to find at libraries and local book stores (thought libraries are more likely than local bookstores), but they can all be found on Amazon.com and a lot of them can be purchased for pennies used – that is how I got my copies.  If you read any of them be sure to let me know, I would love to discuss your thoughts on them.

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Filed under CHD, Heart, TGA

A New Page

I added a new page today titled “Books” (the button for it is up above my profile along with “Home” and “About”). I thought it would be fun to keep track of the books I read and see just how many I usually go through in a year. If you have a book that you absolutely love and think I would love feel free to go on in and recommend it to me. If you want to see what I’m reading and what I think of it you can take a look at that too. I won’t have a long dissertation on each book, just a general yay or nay. If you have a question about a certain book, feel free to ask.

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I couldn’t resist posting this photo of Elizabeth’s surprise as she recieved a new book for Christmas. She has really found a new love for reading. 🙂

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Filed under Children, Lizy, Photography

Book Lover

Paul snuck up on her with a cammera and took the picture before she realized he was there. It was the cutest thing ever! At least our little Em, and all our girls, love to read!

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Filed under Children, Em, Humor, Photography