Friday, March 16, 2012

My Contest (re: the last post)

Well, after I thought I'd give a heads up about my contest on Facebook this morning, my aunt read the FB post and answered EVERY question right in her comment! Yes, she posted all the answers on Facebook. God love her! (Yes, I do too!) If you're curious as to the answers, go to my FB page and you'll see them.

So, for anyone who read my last blog and are getting your answers ready for Monday, I know you're all jumping right on it, please stop. The contest is officially cancelled.  Sorry!

I'll revamp it and do another contest later.

Thanks again to all who were even thinking about it.

A Short 12-Day Contest

Piece it Together
a Short 12-day Contest

Okay, something fun and different.  It’s a contest with free books as prizes! (Not the books listed. These are some of my faves and I’m not parting with them. ha ha)

Rules:  Just match the letters in the column on the right to the numbers in the column on the left. You must leave your answers as a comment on this blog. The person(s) with the most correct matches wins. Start thinking (or researching) now.

Contest opens Mon, March 19th and ends at midnight, Fri, Mar 30th.
Winners announced on March 31st!

1. The Scarlet Letter                     A. Four generations of women from Louisiana.
    by Nathaniel Hawthorne                   
2. Day out of Days                        B. This author also wrote “Angela’s Ashes."
    by Sam Shepard                             

3. The Outsiders                           C. Where Big Sam is the plantation foreman.
    by S.E. Hinton                                  

4. Pictures at a Revolution            D. An in depth look into the life of a rebel from Indiana.
    by Mark Harris

5. Teacher Man                            E. A family of men named Adam, Cal, and Aaron.
     by Frank McCourt                          

6. Slingblade, a Screenplay          F. The main character is Ponyboy Curtis.
    by Billy Bob Thornton

7. East of Eden                            G. A detailed comparison of five films.
    by John Steinbeck                           

8. Cane River                               H. Hester Prynne defies Colonial America.
     by Lalita Tademy

9. Gone With the Wind                 I. Carl kills Doyle to protect Frank.
     by Margaret Mitchell

10. James Dean, a biography       J. A collection of short stories and poetry.
      by Val Holley

Thanks in advance for playing!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In Remembrance of Mr. Bill Kushner

Today I had the privilege to experience something extraordinary. It wasn’t a celebrity encounter, and I didn't win the lottery (because I don’t play). I didn’t witness a miracle, or maybe I did. Yes, now that I think of it I will call it a miracle. People inspire and touch our lives daily, some intentionally and others accidentally. I said people and didn’t specify those living because what I experienced today happened at a funeral, and furthermore by the deceased.

Many people of Lake Charles knew Mr. Bill Kushner. I should rephrase and say many folks in the music and arts knew him, since he was the Conductor of the Lake Charles Symphony for years according to yesterday’s Lake Charles American Press. Not only was today his birthday, but it was also his funeral. “What is extraordinary about a funeral?” you may be thinking.

Although a few strangers sat several feet to my right, I felt alone and somewhat out of place at the end of the pew. Yet, as Rabbi Barry Weinstein began the service, my feelings of being alone and awkwardness quickly disappeared and were replaced by wings of comfort, inspiration, encouragement, sincerity, humility, and love which enveloped me.

For the first time in my life, I heard Hebrew spoken live (not on television or radio), followed by Dr. Charles Isbell singing in Hebrew. The language is beautiful even though I did not understand their words at times. Mayor Randy Roach quoted yesterday’s newspaper headline by saying, “Kushner ‘made Lake Charles a better place.’” His eloquent words of comfort, sympathy, and genuine concern came from his heart. Then, Mark Harris read words from William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize speech and made the attendees laugh despite heavy hearts. Following Mark Harris was Charles St. Dizier, who added to the Mayor’s remarks and ended by saying, “Bill not only made Lake Charles a better place, he made his friends better people.” What a testimony to someone’s life.

His son Eric Kushner delivered the eulogy. As Eric spoke for his brother, sister, and himself, my heart went out to him. He had an enormous load to carry and he carried out his task with perfection, humility, comedy, and compassion. Although others spoke and we heard beautiful, moving music by Mozart and Beethoven, a simple wooden casket stood at the front of the chapel while hundreds sat in quiet respect. What a sign of humility. Simplicity may be part of the Jewish religion I don’t know. What I do know is how viewing it as it passed down the aisle touched me. My heart cried out to hear him answer the phone one last time, with his distinct “HELLOOO!”

As I returned to work, I told my co-workers, “it was the most perfect service I had ever been to.” Sadly, I never knew Mr. Bill professionally or personally, and only saw a glimmer of what others spoke about in his life. Luckily, I still saw the glimmer, the sheen, the fine mist that surrounded him. I wish I could have met him before May 2011 when I was a guest in his home, but am so proud I met him when I did. He was a sweet man. After hearing stories of his life, education, career, causes, feelings, family, and inspirations, he makes me want to be a better person. That is the miracle and I am so glad I experienced it. Thank you, Mr. Bill for touching me beyond the grave. I won’t forget you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"What's imagination?" she asked.

     Today while my husband was at work, I took my stepdaughter, and her friend who's spending the weekend with her, to the Chinese restaurant in DeRidder for lunch. The girls finished eating before me, imagine that - teenage picky eaters that don't eat their $10 worth at a buffet! Go figure. As they broke open their fortune cookies, my stepdaughter's friend read her fortune aloud. It had something to do with imagination.
     She looked at me and asked, "What's imagination?"
     My heart sank. I couldn't believe it. Not wanting to embarrass her or my stepdaughter, I thought of a simple description and left it at that. Just now when I told my husband, he said. "Poor girl." My thoughts exactly.
     It's one thing when a child asks that question, but if a teenager were to ask you, "What's imagination?", what would you say?

Jess Got Me (Tagged I Mean)!

      Okay, now that I've been tagged by Jess Ferguson, I'll play along. This seems fun. The format is a little off because I had to cut and paste since I don't really know how to get the questions. 
        1. What is the one book you couldn’t live without? Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind or maybe John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath
     2. What can you see out your window at the moment? Don't have a window in my bedroom
     3 . What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Dried squid while stationed in Korea, and boiled squid at the Panda restaurant in Lake Charles. Cannot say I liked either, but at least I tried it. I was tempted to try the octopus at Panda, but am not that brave just yet.
     4. What fictional character would you most like to marry?   Emily Bronte's Heathcliff, or Lord Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings! (Just had to throw that in there - read my post and you'll see why.) Or, Inman from Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain.
     5. If ever a fictional villain was going to win, who would you want it to be?   I'd have to go with Rhett Butler. Although I don't think of him as a villain but he plays excellent opposite Scarlett.  OR Mr. Hyde.

6. How many types of cheese can you name off the top of your head? Just a few, maybe six or so. By the way, how DO you spell Roakford? or Arugula?  Not a cheese expert, but like Jess love to eat it.

7. If you didn’t want to be a writer, what would you want to be? An archaeologist digging for fossils in Ancient Egypt. Or maybe a medical examiner to dissect expired bodies in an autopsy. Yeah, morbid I know but the science of it blows me away.
  8. Can you play a musical instrument?   No
  9. Do you own a Kindle or a Nook or any sort of e-reader?   No
  10. If you do, how many books do you have on it?   
  11. You just got published. In a glowing review, someone calls you “the next [insert famous author name here]”. Which famous author has to watch their back now you’re on the scene?  Nicholas Sparks

  Not tagging anybody only because I don't know how.  Is that sad or what?

Friday, March 9, 2012

When You Don't Have Anything to Write About...

     Good old Friday night. After reading the blogs I follow, which aren't that many, I realized it's been a month since I've posted to my own blog.  A month? Dang!  Lazy? No way! Busy is more like it.  So, as I'm typing these words to take up space, my mind is swirling - desperate for a topic. The same old question that plagues us all, "What do I write about?" is flashing like a neon sign above my head. Advice? Not in a position to give it.  Really I'm not, but some think I am. Submission opportunities? Maybe, I have a few. Format? Nah, not in a serious mood.  After all, my husband is in the next room watching an old KISS concert and all I can hear is "You wanted the best, you got the best..." Blah, blah, blah...Don't get me wrong, I liked KISS - when I was 12! We're all different, I know, but come on.  We actually went to a KISS concert about ten years ago and YES IT WAS AWESOME! See, I'm rambling with no focus, just typing words.
     Wait!  Yeah, I have an idea. Check this out...

     Since I don't want to give advice or discuss formatting, spelling, or grammar right now, or anything else  along those lines I'll fill you in on a secret.  Well, it's not really a secret, more like something INCREDIBLE that recently happened to me. Whatever you do, be sure to subscribe to Southern Writers magazine. Yes, it's $10 a copy, but hopefully in the next issue you'll see an interview by me with actor, poet, painter, photographer, and writer Viggo Mortensen. Yes, the actor from "The Lord of the Rings" movies, and "A History of Violence," "Hildalgo," and "The Road," to name a few of his films. Shameless promotion I know, but what the hey - told you my mind is grasping at anything to write about right now. So, I'll let you in on what I told my writing group. No, I didn't meet the man. It was all through email through his manager but it's still an interview. And yes, I received permission from Mr. Mortensen to pitch it. What started out as an email, resulted in an interview.  How about them apples?  Yeah for me!!!

P.S. Sorry for the ramblings, even I get writer's block.