I never thought writing would get me talking

Monday, October 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I tell my boys, “Every event changes what comes after.” I want them to understand, in advance, the consequences for what they do or say. I know, however, that it’s something they’ll only learn with experience. And at my age, I’m still not so great at filtering what I think before it tumbles out of my mouth. But I digress…

I never imagined a consequence of writing a book would be having to talk about it. I’ve attended several book club meetings, but lately I’ve given speeches before some larger groups. Talking to people, one on one, is easy for me. I enjoy people. But lump of group of you guys together, and my legs begin to quiver. I hide myself behind the podium so no one will know. Without a glass of water next to me, I would surely die of thirst.

I’m told it will get better, get easier, and I really hope so because I have my biggest audience later this month. If anyone has advice on how to make a writer a talker, I’m all ears.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Meaning what you say, darnit

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 7:05 am

Setting an example – that’s what we parents are supposed to do. Examples articulate in a way words can’t. But setting a good example has gotten me into trouble.

After watching my oldest complete the 7-day Iron Man triathlon challenge, I was so inspired that I declared I was going to run in an upcoming November marathon. Now I’ve run two before, but that was pre-children when I had lots of free time to wander the streets for miles and miles. And those marathons were held in February, which in Florida is pretty chilly, but November? It could be in the 80s and moreover, I’m having to train in the 90s!

Now that I’ve put in three weeks of training, I’ve thought about quitting. It’s taking a ton of time, I’m tired, my body is tired, I’m overheated, but remember…I’m setting an example. If I quit, I give them license to. Every day they come home from middle school and ask, “Did you run today?” They’re into it, and that means come November, I hope to see you at the finish line.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Gridiron maturity at 13

Monday, September 6, 2010 at 9:11 am

I have learned so much from my boys…they’ve introduced me to sports I’ve never noticed, strength I’ve never seen, and love that’s never shaken. And now I have the pleasure of seeing my oldest transform for boy to man…

He played his first football this season, and on the far side of the defensive line, I rarely saw him much less the plays he did or didn’t make. At dinner I asked him how he did in the loss…What was noteworthy was that he talked about the good things he did out there, but he also, and more importantly, talked about the misses he had and how “ticked” he was about not making those tackles. Ahh…beautiful responsibility…lacking in so many young people today. After he got it all off his ever-growing but not yet hairy chest, I told him I was most proud of the fact that he was looking at himself objectively, his awareness of his failures and his determination to improve…yep, he’s learning how to be an adult and reminding me of just what that means.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

My son is an Iron Man

Monday, August 23, 2010 at 10:58 am

Well, he did it. I don’t know quite how or more importantly, why, but he did…My 13-year-old son who doesn’t swim laps and hasn’t had a bike since Hurricane Ivan ruined it in 2004 completed a seven-day Iron Man Triathlon challenge. He biked 112 miles, swam 2.4 miles and ran a marathon in a week at the club where we belong. Now since he’s my oldest, I haven’t witnessed the changes of child to man before, but I feel like it must be beginning. He showed a determination and resolve I’ve never seen in him. My hope is that the confidence he feels now will carry over into his football, baseball and schoolwork. Not that he’s ever been a slouch at any of these, but perhaps he’s approaching, step by step, a new level. All challenges begin with a first step. Some of us forget it’s just that easy…

So why did he do it? He can’t articulate the reason. Not for a chick or to get (more) fit…he doesn’t know why. But the thing is, he doesn’t have to.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

The puzzle of summer (part II)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 6:50 am

Forty-something years removed from puzzle solving, you forget the patience it entails. The boys sometimes worked tirelessly forgoing all their electronic devices in the evening just to get a few more pieces together. Of course you start with the perimeter. We found all but one well into our quest and attributed its loss to the moment we heard our dog chewing something under the table. But days later and with loud jubilation, my youngest found the piece among all the others even though we had collectively spent hours in its hunt. Sweet reward!

As it neared completion, there were thoughts of finality to our little dining room adventure. I was both parts relieved and saddened to finish the project we had started as a family. It reminded me that life is rarely all about the destination: it’s the travelling we most enjoy.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

The puzzle of summer (part I)

Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

My fondest memory of this summer will not be the fabulous trip we did not take, not the idyllic lazy days of pool floating or beach swimming – nope – it will be the summer of the 2,000 piece puzzle. When your son breaks his arm just when summer starts, it changes things, vacation plans, adventures, even simple Florida swimming. Not knowing how to spend all these hot days, I bought a 2,000 piece puzzle featuring the night skyline of Las Vegas. We cleared the dining room table of its formalities and set to work.

Now healthy 13-year-old boys have no time for such childish things, but he, too, was drawn to it. Of course, my one-armed 12-year-old was, too, but what I found most intriguing is that my husband and I spent so much time hunched over with wine glasses celebrating the smallest of finds. An old friend from Finland came to visit us, and amid English curses and giggles, we worked late into the night. (more to come)

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

I sleep well with Vin Scully

Friday, August 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

who is the commentator the Los Angeles Dodgers. Because their home games start so late, I’m often in bed watching and dozing to his rather monotone yet engaging voice. His breadth of knowledge of the game, the players, their histories, their asides is truly amazing. He’s an encyclopedia of all things baseball. And he’s no young bird..he’s in his early 80s. What a mind to be able to recite so many facts about so many men, especially at that age.

I was looking at some quotes by Scully, and one in particular is most memorable: “Good is not good when better is expected.” How much better could we all be if we strove to improve, not to rest and rely on what we have, but to push for something more and greater than we dare dream. That philosophy can be applied to sports, of course, but relationships, jobs, life…

Tonight I hope to have Sculley with me, reminding me by deed that good doesn’t always get noticed, and that is why he is considered so great.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Learning to walk in bigger shoes

Friday, July 16, 2010 at 9:08 am

Someone asked me, why does a fiction writer blog so often about baseball…the answer is elementary…I write what I know and what I see. Yesterday it was baseball, tomorrow it will be football and basketball with tennis sprinkled in between. It’s in my personality – to talk about what moves me, good or bad, and oftentimes what moves me is what I see in competition, mine or my children’s.

My oldest’s hiatus from baseball has taken an intermission. He was asked by another team whom he does not know to play for one more week in an upcoming tournament. After weeks of no ball, he found himself last night scrimmaging with them against an older team. What struck me is how small my son looked. He’s bigger than I am, as big as most of his friends, yet he was downright puny among these man-children. And he played like a child, like a boy I didn’t recognize. Nerves, mental vacation, rusty – I don’t know what it was, but it surely wasn’t pretty… As a rule, I never let my kids quit something once they start. But after the game, I asked him if he wanted to go forward with these people he doesn’t know, recognizing that he had to be embarrassed by his own performance…and he said he wanted to play. It’s what I secretly hoped to hear but wasn’t sure he was big enough to say.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Baseball’s more than a game

Friday, July 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Baseball season has ended for my sons and not on a high note. Both participated in a World Series – my oldest’s team without heart and my youngest’s with soul. As an adult, you can see it – a team that gives up with the first thing goes wrong, a lack of mental toughness to carry them through difficulties – no heart…and a team that is stronger on the field, but lacks a sense of unity with or concern for each other – no soul. I don’t know which is worse…but I don’t think any team can be successful on the playing field without both.

My youngest gets this, without even knowing it…he suffered a season-ending and summer-changing injury on the mound. With a fellow teammate who wasn’t there, he had the following text exchange:

Connor: Did you hear what happened to me?
Friend: Yeah, that suxs.
Connor: Yep, but forget me. We (the team) are doing well…

Yep, there’s no “i” in team.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Book signings and the Southernly sweet

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Today I had my first real book signing…our local Starbucks hosted the event, and it came on the heels of an article in our local paper about me, my book and its award. Those who came to the signing fell into three groups: readers with no relation to me, old family friends, or the people closest to me. Of the strangers, the best were three women from the small town where I was a police officer, about an hour’s drive away. The arrived just before the end, breathless, worried they were too late. They represented three generations and were so Southernly sweet. Of the old family friends, a couple, friends of my parents, shuffled through the door, a small, frail twosome. After exchanging pleasantrles, the wife told me she would have to read the book out loud because her husband could no longer see well enough…so Southernly sweet. And of my closest friends, just taking time out of their day to stop by and check, well, that too, is so Southernly sweet.

I live in the right place, where the old still remember and the new never forget, and they all are truly so Southernly sweet.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me