June’s Highs and Lows

June was a month of many miles: physical and emotional. A wedding, a funeral. Harsh realities and re-envisioned dreams. First times, and also, some repeat situations.

I’d like to revisit some of June’s milestones in the next few posts and I’ll begin with a geek moment.
On June 14th I took my eldest child (son with autism) to Springfield, Illinois to see the Dana-Thomas House. No, we didn’t travel all the way up from the Gulf Coast to visit the house—we were only an hour and a half away staying with family—though I would if I could for Frank Lloyd Wright. This was my son’s favorite spot, the Lego model of the home in the carriage house. 100_3029

It was my first time in a Frank Lloyd Wright residence. I was able to go to the Guggenheim Museum when I was in NYC last year, so that was my first FLW building, but his homes! I’ve been collecting books about and drooling over them for years. 100_3052

The home was everything I expected and more. My favorite rooms were the library and concert hall, both in The Gallery wing. The built-ins in the master bedroom and dining room were gorgeous and the bowling lane in the basement wasn’t too shabby either. 100_3044

If you want to learn more about this historical home (with a great gift shop) visit http://www.dana-thomas.org for more information.

P.S.
Remember, you can find a featured story or essay on my “SHORTS” page. The current one is “Midsummer Ado”, a historical fiction piece perfect for this time of year.

Photographic Evidence

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I’ve been playing hooky
Running away from stress
Enjoying the weather
And forgetting my whole mess

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I’ve been playing hooky
And seeking out beauty
That comes this time of year
While running after cuties

I’ve been playing hooky
I have my proof, you see
All that I’ve been doing
Is inspiration for me
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A Month, Revisited

The past few weeks have been filled with home, family, friends, and literary adventures. Just like Mary Weber, the main character of Corroded, I’ve been expanding my comfort zone by participating in new experiences. And with each new merit badge of life I earn, the anxiety over the unknown lessens.
Examples—aren’t you curious to see what I consider adventurous? Probably second hand to most people, but for this anxiety-prone wallflower these things are a big deal:
My first belly flop! A diving board was NOT part of it, but it counts, right? And the fact that I was standing in an above-ground pool… but it was a big one… Hey, this is from the girl that could never do a Slip-N-Slide because I couldn’t make myself fall down!
Taking all three kids downtown for a field trip. Yes, I did meet a friend and her three kids at the museum, but I had to park and walk the block to the entrance alone with my kids. We even crossed streets twice—one of them Government Blvd—to look at cannons and read their historical markers.
Creating a public “fan” page on Facebook for me/my writing. Might be premature, but some of you out there care enough to “like” me. 🙂
Conducting my first public meeting for the Mobile Writers Guild. Me. Public. Speaking. Those that know me from church have witnessed my teaching and speaking engagements before. Get me in front of a group of kids and I’m fine. Add more than half a dozen adults to the mix and I turn blotchy red. I pace, wring my hands, and my nose sweats. But this went better than I expected. Yes, I fumbled over words, my eye-contact could have been better, and my nose still sweated. But I wasn’t red (or purple or splotchy) and no one ran from the room screaming. Not even me.
Sharing Corroded with family members. Yes, I’m finished! Just waiting for two more critique group sessions for the group to finish it before sending it off to Laurie Halse Anderson for a critique. I first offered the manuscript to my sister-in-law, then my eldest sister, and finally my mother. They are all avid readers. I’ve heard back form my s-i-l that the first two chapters already had her sucked in. And, of course my mother thought it was “really good” (she read it all yesterday afternoon) but she immediately wanted to know how much of it was true. Yes, it was inspired heavily by my own junior year in high school, but it is not an autobiography.
And, of course, I’ve been reading. This is my list from the past month:
A Joan Bauer kick. I read Hope was Here about a year ago and loved it. Found these books on the bargain tables at Books-A-Million over the past several months and decided to read them all back-to-back. Her books are thoughtful, beautifully simple coming of age novels. Everything I hope my own stories can be.

Then I moved on to a new writer friend’s debut novel. I met Israel through a neighbor of his who I’m friends with when she sent him in the direction of the Mobile Writers Guild. The Anne Marie is a great story for readers, especially dog-lovers, ages ten and up.

Yesterday I finished another MWG member’s book. It’s out of my normal reading genre—adult romantic comedy—but the characters were multidimensional and the information about trichotillomania was interesting. Joyceand I have been in critique groups together the past two years, so I’ve read her WIPs as well as one of her other published novels. Write on, Comma Queen!