Michelangelo’s David graces the diamond

Friday, June 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I’m an artist, but I can’t paint a picture, sculpt a head, or draw a circle. My art is writing, but there’s an art to baseball too. There’s a certain grace to fielding a hard, bouncing ball, delicately capturing it in a leather glove, step, step and hurling it across a diamond as if on a string…yes, there’s beauty there, too.

As with all art, soley depending on the viewer, it is good or it is not good. There is no objective measurement of art. There are as many conflicting views of what constitutes art as there are forms. You know the saying: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It cannot be measured by success or money or admirers. And our definitions of art can change over time. Five years ago, I never would have considered a sport an art form, but when baseball’s played well, it is as beautiful to me as Michelangelo’s David in motion.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Perfection from the dirt of imperfection

Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 7:17 am

Jim Joyce – maybe a name you don’t knew, or perhaps only learned of recently…he’s the umpire who’s incorrect call blew Detroit Tiger’s Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Rather than berate, cajole, spit, kick or punch, Galarraga did the unexpected – he graciously accepted Joyce’s apology without anger or malice. Remind me again, when do you see that in baseball? Uh…almost never…Perfection is so rare in this game, but the record books will never reflect this event. Yet so many of us will. Joyce was quick to apologize, with tears, Galarraga was quick to accept it, and they both conducted themselves like the gentlemen they are. So, then, what was imperfect became perfect after all.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Mental toughness from pen and ink

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 6:23 am

“Stinkin’ thinkin’.” You know just what I’m talking about. For me, it would mean walking onto the tennis court thinking I didn’t have a shot to win. Or my sons walking to the pitchers mound thinking “this guy’s going to jack me.” But for those of you who have quit believing, I have a solution – read a book.

I ordered a couple of books on mental toughness, not for myself because I am, but for the boys to read. One of them is Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence. I had them both read the first four chapters last night, and I won’t soon forget their response: “It’s the best book I’ve ever read” – hearty words from a 12 and 13-year old. Sometimes as parents we don’t know the right words to impart to our kids, or maybe because we’re parents we’re just heard less…So I don’t know that these books will solve their woes of late on the field, but I do know that they’re paying attention to the fact that sports are not just physical tests because until the head is right, the body never will be.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Funerals and their Southern due

Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I was recently playing tennis when we heard a police car’s siren. The officer was leading a funeral procession down the road in front of the courts. All of us women stopped our points and matches, faced the line of cars and politely waited to resume play until all had passed. None of us had to yell down to the other courts to stop; we all did. We’re Southern, and that’s just what we do.

Working as a cop, we led many processions through the streets of my small town. I liked working as the lead car. Once all the traffic at the stoplights were secured, I would race ahead, pull over, and stand at attention, hands behind my back, head held high and give the family, friends and mourners the most dignified send-off I could. It’s a Southern thing, and it’s the least we tennis players and cops can do.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

When relievers just aren’t

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 6:10 am

I watched (sadly) as Joba blew a multi-run lead to the Red Sox last night. The Yankees had the game sewed up, or so I thought. Watching pitchers and as the mother of two, it can be so hard to witness their struggles. I turned off the game – I had seen enough, but as a parent, well – you can’t. You have to sit there, hope for a turnaround, and if there isn’t one, pick up the pieces after quiet tears find you after the game.

My oldest recently announced he didn’t want to pitch anymore. Of course it came on the heels of a defeat and was only true for half an hour or so. Still, I was shocked to hear those words from a boy who loves pitching more than life itself. Maybe experiences like Joba’s show him no one’s perfect, and no one ever will be. Relievers can’t always be a relief and 13-year-olds can’t always rule the world….

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

My kids aren’t writers, and I’m going to have to live with that

Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:12 pm

When you hold that little baby, you expect to see a lot of yourself in them – maybe not in their infancy, but one day…As I was writing even in elementary school, well, I expected that they too…I was wrong. Neither of my middle school boys care one iota about writing, not now anyway. They are scientifically inclined, athletic, and sports enthusiasts like their parents, but writing is not one of their joys. Hurrumph…Naturally, our hope is for them to be their own person, to find their own destiny and not have to follow in anyone’s footsteps…so I know we should be proud. But there is a part of me that hopes one day that they, too, will find another passion communicating as storytellers. But don’t tell them I said so…

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 9:34 am

I watched a high school regional championship baseball game last night. Two powerhouses – both pitchers with ERAs under one. I knew what to expect with the local boy, but was shocked to see the size of his opponent – a 5’9″ bulldog. You wouldn’t expect a kid with a 26-0 win record and .44 ERA to be that size…I admit that…and he taught me and our local team a lesson…

He worked feverishly. No batter had time to take a cleansing breath or maybe even get the bat where he wanted it before the pitch was hurled. He worked confidently. No matter what happened on the field behind him, he took little note and delivered the next pitch. Even when he balked a baserunner over, there was no emotion, no roll of the eyes, no register on the radar. Pure bulldog.

I don’t know what lies ahead for that 5’9″ phenom, but he’s a pitcher’s pitcher, a baseball player with more poise than most men twice his age. He showed me that size matters little. It’s the size of the fight that does.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Computers can’t read or (what!) interpret

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 6:30 am

My 6th-grade son has to write an essay. He writes it online. He submits it to some program. He gets a grade. What? Really? How ridiculous!!

Since when did computers come with the ability to read and interpret creative writing? That would be just before they take over the world. And just to show you how ridiculous that grading system is, you can increase your score by adding exclamation points! Really?? How crazy! His grade still wasn’t high enough with the !! so he added some nonsensical fluff. Eureka! Those sentences give him the A he is seeking!! Yeah!

No computer nor program will ever be a substitute for a teacher of English. Can’t happen. Computer programs are a wonderful tool for the writer, but they can never be the audience.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

OMG! My book is an award winner!

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:00 am

Never really expected it; secretly hoped; utterly taken aback by it! Cold Case in Ellyson won the Commercial Fiction category for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. The word “commercial” really struck me. We all know what that word means, but I looked it up anyway..”suitable or fit for a wide, popular market.” As a writer, you can’t imagine how sweet those words are. People buy my book, people tell me they can’t put it down, but it’s not until an independent organization confirms all I’ve been told do I really, truly believe it.

What will it mean? Who knows, but let me say I just love being commercial…

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

I confess I’m a product of oil

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 6:29 am

That’s right…my dad was (and still is at 82) an oil and gas producer. Some of my childhood was spent in the backwoods of Mississippi and Alabama checking out his wells. He’s proud to tell strangers that he had to change out some equipment on a well and needed just one more hand on the rig. His then seven-year-old daughter volunteered – me. My dad’s geologic endeavors in the business allowed my family to travel the world. But it was boom or bust…still is. I’ve seen my dad rich and I’ve seen him poor. The oil and gas business is a huge gamble, especially for a small producer.

I’ve talked to him about BP’s spill. Like all of us, he hopes the impact remains small. Most producers care a great deal about the environment. But disasters like this give – even the good guys – a black eye.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me