Memoir

What I read: This author’s early literary influences

Someone asked me the other day what books I read growing up, and for some reason I struggled to come up with an acceptable answer. All that came to mind while I was under that spotlight was the boxes of trashy romance novels I used to get from my maternal grandmother. My high school best friend and I used to devour those novels, often reading together and stopping occasionally for one of us to read aloud to the other a particularly cheesy passage while giggling uncontrollably. While those were good times, my romance novel stage barely scratches the surface of the richness of literature I was exposed to in my early reading years.

51ELXj6i-tL._SL500_
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is one of my all-time favorite novels.

As a child growing up in a rural area with no access to a library, the books I read were  limited to whatever I could get my hands on. I loved reading Richard Scary, the Sweet Pickle books, and Dr. Seuss at the doctor’s office. I don’t remember if we had any picture books at home before I started kindergarten and gained access to the Scholastic Book Club. If we did, they were few and far between. I think we had three of the Sweet Pickle books, but I’m not sure where they came from. At some point in my early years, my dad invested in a full set of encyclopedias, and that’s what I remember him reading to me in the beginning. Continue reading “What I read: This author’s early literary influences”

Domestic Violence, Essays, Memoir

Single, Never Married

I’m a dedicated Swagbucks addict, which means I participate in online surveys on practically a daily basis. As most surveys do, these usually collect your typical demographic data, such as sex, race, gross annual income, and marital status. These should be relatively easy questions to answer, but I’ve often hesitated when I came upon the marital status question. I know what the technical answer is, but I have strong feelings regarding what I feel is my “real” answer.

The marital status question typically gives the survey respondent the options of married, divorced, something regarding living with someone you’re not married to, and single/never married. Technically, I was legally married at one time, and I was then legally divorced after about ten years of said legal marriage. However, when I look back upon that marriage, I don’t feel as though I was ever actually “married.” Continue reading “Single, Never Married”

Memoir

Exploring my writing roots at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning

A picture of my Grandma Webster
I dug all through my digital photo albums looking for a picture of Grandma Webster, and this is the only one I could find. I need to remedy that!

Have I ever told you about my writing roots? I feel like I haven’t, and that’s odd, because you would think that would be a natural topic of discussion on a writing blog, right? At any rate, storytelling seems to be embedded in my genes, as much as my early graying hair and the extra fat that I tend to carry around in my gut. Those are a few of the things I get from my mom’s side (along with some good things, too, don’t get me wrong.) But, the storytelling gene runs strong on my dad’s side of the family.

My dad’s paternal grandfather – my great grandfather – Ralph Webster, is a bit of a legend in our family. It is said that he could pick up any musical instrument and hear any song one time and play the song on that instrument. The accordion was his chosen instrument, but his voice was a major talent as well; one that he often put to good use spinning yarns for anyone who cared to listen.

Oral storytelling is a popular pastime in that branch of my family tree. My father is no exception. Many a family wedding photo has captured my dad gesticulating largely as he tells one of his stories that never fail to hold his audience in thrall. Not only does he tell fabulous stories of the hilarity that seems to ensue in his daily life, but he is also a connoisseur of family history. His brain is a magical treasure trove of stories that beg to be written down for posterity, but he’s not one to spend time sitting down to write. Continue reading “Exploring my writing roots at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning”

Domestic Violence, Memes, Memoir

I have a stalker

I don’t particularly enjoy airing my dirty laundry in public. But as I am often fond of saying, you can’t fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it. Sometimes you have to expose a problem to deal with it. So, that’s why I’m here today, writing to you about my stalker.

You can't fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it.
You can’t fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it.

A few years ago, I made the mistake of dating someone who lived in the same apartment complex that I lived in. It was a relationship of convenience. I had no money to pay my heat bill, and his house was always warm. The guy was a good cook, and I like to eat. I had no cable, but he did. So, the long weekends spent getting used to not having my kids with me every other weekend while they were at their dad’s went a little bit faster. Besides, the whole thing really pissed my ex off, which was a huge plus. In fact, I probably would have broken it off with this dumbass a lot sooner than I did if my ex-husband had just minded his own business. Continue reading “I have a stalker”

Crafting and Hobbies, Memoir

At some point, you just have to start writing again

I’ve been trying to pick up my writing practice again since I brought my son home from the hospital a few weeks ago. The day of Corbin’s accident, my writing activities came to a screeching halt. For the first week or so after the accident, I was in complete shock. I could barely function, and I couldn’t think past the “right now.” I lived in the moment in a way that I don’t remember ever doing before. Family members brought me books to read, coloring books to scribble in, and yarn to crochet with. I couldn’t concentrate on any of it.

After that first week, my brain began to thaw, but I still couldn’t concentrate on anything important. I picked up a crochet hook and some of the yarn that my aunt sent and got my hands busy. Crocheting is good for my anxiety. My favorite pattern involves counting to ten over and over and over again, and I find it strangely soothing. Maybe it’s my OCD.

crochet afghan
This is the afghan I started crocheting while we were in the hospital. I finished it a few days ago.

I tried to at least pick up my journal to chronical the days during our five weeks in the hospital, but even that couldn’t hold my attention for more than a minute here and there. Most days, I would spend my mornings waiting for the doctors to do their rounds so I could listen in when they got to Corbin. In the afternoon, I would lay down and take a nap. My days revolved around catching the doctors on rounds, ordering room service, and counting down the hours until naptime and bedtime. (It’s no wonder I gained ten pounds while we were living in the hospital!) Continue reading “At some point, you just have to start writing again”

Corbin, Memoir

An update on my “semi-famous” son

My son and I were invited to attend the Homecoming kickoff assembly at his high school Monday morning. While he’s not officially back to school yet (It will be another month before we find out when the doctor will release him to return to class,) he enjoyed stopping by the school and soaking up his fifteen minutes of celebrity status in front of the entire student body. Here’s a video:

Continue reading “An update on my “semi-famous” son”

Corbin, Memoir

Before and after life turns on a dime

before the accident
My handsome son before the accident.

It’s true what they say about life and dimes. Two weeks ago, plus one day, my life was turned into a violent tailspin when my sixteen-year-old son was hit by a semi-truck while riding his bike.

So many things went right that morning, despite the great and horrible wrong that landed us where we are today. The driver of the truck stopped and helped my son rather than hitting him and driving away. Local first responders arrived on the scene in record time and rushed my son to the closest emergency room. A helicopter crew then took my son quickly to another hospital in a nearby city where a first-rate neurosurgeon literally saved his life.

I was later told that my son would be dead if everyone hadn’t reacted so swiftly. If even one person had faltered that day, I might be in mourning right now rather than living in a hospital, watching my son make miniscule yet amazing improvements each and every day. Continue reading “Before and after life turns on a dime”

Creative Nonfiction, Memoir

Creative nonfiction writing exercise: Your name

As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to be doing a lot of writing this semester in my creative nonfiction course. I am working my way through my first reading assignment and am already coming across small writing exercises that I would like to share with you. This post might turn into a series!

This is my sisters and me. I'm the oldest.
This is my sisters and me. I’m the oldest.

Writing Exercise

For today’s creative nonfiction writing exercise, you will write two paragraphs about your name. The first paragraph should be strictly objective, while the second should be more subjective. In other words, the first paragraph will contain facts about your name. The second will tell what it is like to be YOU while wearing the mantel of your particular name. Here’s an example from Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction: Continue reading “Creative nonfiction writing exercise: Your name”

Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Uncategorized

School is back in session: Creative Nonfiction

It’s that time of year again, folks. Time to go back to school. I don’t know about you, but I would be perfectly happy not to send my kids back to school. I’m going to have plenty of homework of my own! I just downloaded my syllabus for the creative nonfiction course I’ll be taking this fall, and it looks like I am going to be doing a LOT of writing. That’s a good thing though, right?


Embed from Getty Images

I have started reading the “recommended text,” In Fact, which the professor mentioned we might like to look at. I already have a list of ideas for topics that I have been meaning to write about. I am excited to have deadlines in place to force me to put the pen to the paper and get the words out of my head already! I’ll be sharing my work (and probably griping a bit here and there too, if I know me!) throughout the semester. It will be a lot of work, but I am excited to get started! Continue reading “School is back in session: Creative Nonfiction”

Memoir

I dreamed I rode my horse

English: Eye of horse.
English: Eye of horse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, I dreamed I was riding my old horse, Ruby, who’s been gone now for at least a decade. She’s a flighty old nag even in my dreams. Ruby had this annoying habit of flopping her head backward constantly, which always left me with the fear of being head-butted as I rode her. Once her son, Stormy, was old enough, I usually chose to ride him instead when I had the option.

In my dream, I was riding Ruby along a country road, and she kept throwing her head back at me as she always did. Up ahead, several other horses milled about on either side of the road. They perked their ears up as we drew closer, and Ruby grew increasingly agitated. Unfamiliar horses always made her nervous. I too grew anxious, clamping my fists around the reins in an effort to maneuver her past the other horses without incident. Continue reading “I dreamed I rode my horse”