Archive for June, 2013

VIGNETTES FROM CHILDHOOD

THE ADOPTION

I’m being adopted, but I don’t know that. I’m walking around the table behind the chairs where six big people are sitting. I don’t recognize a very big man. Years later, I find out that he is the attorney. I know something is not right. No one is laughing and it’s quiet except for the sounds coming from the big man I don’t know. Somehow I understand that I always sit at the table when the big people sit there except for now. I get to eat good things that mommy puts on the table. I don’t understand why I’m not sitting at the table or on anyone’s lap. I go get my teddy bear and sit on the floor until my daddy finally comes over and picks me up. Now everyone is laughing and talking.

THE CHOCOLATE CAKE

I’m in the kitchen with the aunt I adore. She’s going to give me a slice of the chocolate cake I’ve been craving all morning–the cake she bakes just for me because she knows it is my favorite. Then I watch as she picks up the whole cake, runs to the door that goes out to the yard, throws the cake and it smashes into the grass. I don’t understand. “I hate those goddam ants,” she yells, but I’m crying too hard to understand why she has thrown my beautiful cake away. I look at her and she’s crying, too. I can’t remember what happened next. I was only five.

Scroll down for another vignette.

MY DOLL

Susanne-doll-baby-doll was a large, soft-body doll with big, round, black eyes that rolled around. She looked the way she was–loved almost to destruction. Susanne-doll-baby-doll, my always-used, complete name for her, was my companion and quite alive to me at the age of four.

My sweet, shy, tiny grandmother lived in another state from mine and once when I was visiting her, she asked me to come with her into her bedroom–the only time I was ever in there, and so it was a little scary to wonder why.

Grandma picked up Susanne-doll-baby-doll’s twin (except for being entirely unmolested) and said she’d take my doll and give me hers. I was horrified. I squeezed Susanne-doll-baby-doll and shook my head, “no,” but I was afraid to move.

Grandma put her doll back on the bed, took my hand and led me to her other private domain, the kitchen, where she gave me two cookies. “One cookie,” she said, “is for Susanne-doll-baby-doll, who is special because you love her so much.” I didn’t understand what she meant, but I knew that for some happy reason, I was getting two cookies and Susanne-doll-baby-doll still belonged to me.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY BOOK

I just realized that i have an anniversary. My book, “Ticked Off And Tickled About It,” was published one year ago today. Good thing I don’t have to quit my day job to celebrate, since I’m retired. I have to be happy that all five people who have read the book gave it a good review.

Well, I’m sitting here with my iced tea (it is really hot in Santa Fe today.) and my half-frozen chocolate chip cookie* and thinking about anniversaries other than for my book. Our 59th wedding anniversary will be in November. Both my parents and my in-laws were married over 50 years. People used to stay married that long. It’s true.

I was going to list some of the wackier anniversaries, at the end of this one-way conversation with you, but in researching, I found that the word anniversary seems to be reserved for only things like weddings and deaths. I found that there are hundreds of “Days” we celebrate, or at least could celebrate.

I’ve listed a few of the special Days below that I found on http://www.holidayinsights.com. It’s a fun site to read. There is a day for most everything, including a Day for you to name a Day
yourself. Mine can be found at the end of this blog.

Fruitcake Toss Day in January (covers my thoughts about fruitcake)
National Nothing Day in January (good for my book, “How To Do Nothin'”)
If Pets Had Thumbs Day in March ( then wouldn’t they be human?)
Rubber Eraser Day in April (must have been invented before computers)
Blah, Blah, Blah Day in April (I can relate to that)
Lumpy Rug Day in April (I’ve got to look this one up)
Ratcatcher’s Day in July (a pest control company???)
Wiggle Your toes Day in August (in other words, go to the beach?)
Moldy Cheese Day (did someone look into my refrigerator?)
AND
Drum roll here, please for the winner, which is:
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED ANYTHING DAY in December

I am naming a day National Eat A Cookie Everyday (and it is to be celebrated daily.)

* Why is her cookie “half frozen”? The answer is that I have to wrap cookies separately and freeze them so that I don’t eat the whole bag at once. I usually fully defrost them in the microwave before eating, but I thought a cold cookie would be nice on this hot day. And,
it was.

COMING NEXT: I haven’t a clue what will be next. I hope you like surprises.

HOW TO SELL A BOOK?

How to sell a book? That is my question. I admit it’s not quite in the same realm with Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be…,” but then, as a writer, I’m more in the rank of the king’s jester.

It’s summer and I’ve munched on my oh-so healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and drank some soothing mint tea. Although the tea doesn’t seem to be making me any more mellow.

The other day, a friend, who is starting her own business out of her home, sent me her first blog. It was very well done but I hope she understands that she’s going to have find readers outside of her best friends and family. Therein lies the problem. That’s the “how to sell a…” question. Hence (very Shakespeare) my question and this blog, which will be read only by my stalwart friends.

That’s not the whole truth. My blog is read by other bloggers who are not interested in buying my books, but in trying to sell something to me. It is exciting to get emails from places like Australia and England, however.

When I decided to self-publish “How To Do Nothin’,” I began researching about what I would need to do to sell without a “real” publisher. Blog! That was the magic word along with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Just join. Get a website and for goodness (and sales) sake, BLOG. So I did. Then I discovered that no one had provided a magic wand that would abracadabra the appearance of readers.

The successful bloggers are those who explain how to blog. Many of those same bloggers are successful authors–of books telling how to sell books by blogging. Their readers are self-published writers.

Some writers worry that “regular” publishers are going belly up. I very much doubt that because their writers get onto shelves in bookstores and into airport gift shops. What authors need to worry about is how to get an agent. They hold the key to the kingdom of the publisher. And if you think Hamlet and Macbeth knew how to get rid of people, you aint seen nothin’ yet! Drop that manuscript into the mailbox and it comes out the other end like a trash shoot.

Self-publishing has given thousands of people the opportunity to put out a book that would never see the light of day otherwise, but it is just a shame that so many of the worthy ones may never have a shot at selling more than a few hundred books, if that. I’ve read that if you sell 200 books on your own you are way ahead of most authors. That’s hardly going to let anyone quit a regular job to become a full-time author.

Of course, there are exceptions and there have been some successful books published without the help of a “regular” publisher. Few of them are fiction.

I’m retired so I don’t need a new career, but I wish I could magically help more self-published authors get their worthy work into bookstores and places like airports I read $2.99 fiction books on Kindle and find that many of the self-published ones are as good as those by better-known authors.

Another question: Would Shakespeare need a literary agent if he was alive today?

COMING NEXT: ?? a blog to be, or maybe not to be…