Plethora of Promising Projects

write and ideas

Last night, I started having the desire to write something new… a new story. I had an idea of one I’d thought of several months ago in which I wrote a couple pages of notes. I actually wrote an opening, full page, but since then, it’s sunk to the bottom of the trash bin of writing ideas and mediocre beginnings that have turned into dust bunnies.

Then I told myself I have so many stories I’ve written that needed to be revised, rewritten, strengthened, tightened, and polished, so I don’t need to worry about another story at this time. Truly, I have several stories written from 2014 to 2019 that I believe have the potential to be transformed into real gems.

Two novels:

Passage of Promise — Took me four and a half years to write, revise, rewrite, and edit. It’s still in the hands of the publisher I queried. Waiting to see if they accept my manuscript.

What She Didn’t Know — my most recent finished draft as of the summer of 2019. Took me a year and a half to write it. It is the longest novel I’ve ever written. At present, it is going through my online critique group. It’s my most complex and profound book I’ve written so far–three broken sisters, their encounters with relationships and life events.

Novella:

Mourning Dove — I ran it through my critique group a year or so ago. After running it through, I made the suggested changes, and I also added new scenes to make the story more comprehensive and complete. Gabby, a young widow, tries to help her deceased husband’s homeless cousin back on his feet, but a messy run in with another homeless man brings violent retaliatory behavior upon the cousin and envelopes Gabby into the vortex of that violence. I plan to run it back through my group after What She Didn’t Know is finished in the critique queue.

Novelette:

The Rocky Retreat — I’ve only run this story halfway through my critique group a couple of years ago. It’s a controversial piece having to do with contention between environmentalists and 2nd Amendment activists set in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is satire and supposed to be more humor than reality. I have some questions on its plot–if it’s strong enough. Even though it’s supposed to be fun and entertaining, the plot needs to be there and concrete. Therefore, I’ll be running the whole story through the critique queue probably after Mourning Dove.

Short Stories:

Incident at Coral Canyon — a middle school/children’s book on bullying encountering mysticism. It was the first story I picked up a pencil and wrote on paper in 2014 after nearly eighteen years of treading in the writing desert. Last month, I worked on revising this from third person omniscient to close third person point of view, as well as overall revising, cleaning up some of the syntax and word usages. This is further back on the shelf of works to complete and introduce to my critique group.

Remember the Daisies — A touching story of an elderly woman’s memories and loss. This story was inspired by a real-life event in my neighborhood back in Lancaster, PA, that I used loosely to create a unique story for my fiction writing class in college at the time. I ran it through my critique group after I’d written up the first draft and got great responses, most of which were how touching it was and how much they liked the story, more than critiques on anything regarding plot, character, or tightening of sentences. I will run this back through my critique group sometime after the others.

 

As you can see, I really have no reason to start another story at this time. I’m thinking, when the time is right, a new, brilliant idea and storyline will come to me, and I think it’ll be after a few of the projects I mentioned above are done and published. God willing!

A whole stack of stories to work on. What could be better? Life is good.

What writing projects are you working on?

 

 

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Required Reading

classic books in book shelf

The other day, my younger son, who’s in high school, informed me that he’d be reading the Hunger Games for his English class. Last semester he read In Cold Blood by Capote.

Times have changed, or it may have, depending on the school.

I’ll tell you the books I had to read (I hated reading when I was in school at any time from 1st-12th grade), but was pleasantly surprised, when I actually did read some of them. I actually liked them very much. Here are some that I had to read from junior high through high school and which ones I actually read (the ones I truly read are bolded):

The Hobbit

Call of the Wild

Romeo and Juliet

The Merchant of Venice (read in class)

For Whom the Bells Toll (didn’t get past the first page. Didn’t care for Hemingway’s simplistic writing)

Huckleberry Finn

A Tale of Two Cities

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Great Gatsby

The Scarlet Letter

Out of the ones I read, the only one I didn’t care for was The Scarlet Letter. I really like detailed descriptions, but Hawthorne took it to the nth degree, and there were portions where he’d go off on tangents, and I’d forget where the characters were and where the scene was taking place.

But as for the others, I loved A Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbit, Huckleberry Finn, and The Great Gatsby.

In college, I had the good fortunate to be able to read all kinds of wonderful classics and interesting literature as well:

The Yellow Wallpaper

Frankenstein 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (portions)

Metamorphosis

Pride and Prejudice

Lady Susan 

Othello

The Last Man (portions)

Things Fall Apart (portions)

Twelfth Night

Taming of the Shrew

Beowulf (sorry, didn’t like this one!)

And other books from other countries, like the Thirteenth Night.

Lots of great stories. I especially loved The Yellow Wallpaper, Twelfth Night, Metamorphosis, The Last Man, and Frankenstein.

The portions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were brilliantly written. Stevenson’s words are like reading a psalm. Beautiful.

Mary Shelley’s writing is similar in that regard, as well. Poetic and stunning.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird on my own back in 2010 just because I wanted to. Great book.

So, I’m wondering when my son will be reading any of these or other classics. Perhaps I’m a literature snob, but the classics are incomparable and vital reading material for teens, in my opinion.

I wrote my son’s English teacher to see if he had a list of the books the students would be reading the rest of the semester. I’d like to see if there are any really good books on the list–classics, I mean. I’ve not gotten an email back as of yet. Hopefully, I will.

The previous private Christian school my sons were in in Lancaster, PA, had amazing reading lists with some of the books I mentioned above.

My older son took British Literature and World Literature his junior and senior years, and he read Fahrenheit 451, Wuthering Heights, Things Fall Apart, The Kite Runner, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, to name a few.

Am I being too picky? A literature or book snob? Do public schools not offer the classics anymore? Are In Cold Blood and The Hunger Games considered “classics” now? If the old classics aren’t being offered in English classes anymore, that’s a big disappointment to me.

I may have my son read Frankenstein on his free time over the summer. It’s a short book, and it’s awesome, with lots of important messages.

 

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Most Popular Christmas Gifts Over the Past 70 Years

retro toys

Do you remember what you desperately wanted for Christmas when you were a child? Were they toys that were the “In” thing?

For fun, I put together some data on popular toys kids wanted for Christmas through the decades.

Let’s start with the 1950s.

Children then seemed eager for such toys as that ol’ rubber guy, Gumby, the bouncy Pogo Stick, and the timeless Play-Doh. And what kid could go without the corn popper? I think many didn’t!

Gumby            pogo stick

corn popper toy

I actually had all of those, except Gumby, but I had them later on in my childhood era. 🙂

 

1960s

Little girls were gaga over the Chatty Cathy doll and the amazing Easy-Bake Oven.

chatty cathy doll     easy bake oven toy

While boys found an interest in GI Joe action figures and Hot Wheels. Well…I would say both sexes were interested in these and other toys throughout these eras.

GI Joe toy        hot wheels 1968

 

1970s

In this decade, kids were fascinated with the first foam Nerf ball, and the flexibility and durability of Stretch Armstrong. I remember the latter very well. A few of my friends had this elasticized dude, and it was wildly fun pulling him yards apart and watching him slide back into a normal-sized guy once we tired of torturing him. Haha.

nerf ball        stretch armstrong

And the cool Evil Knievel Stunt Cycle was all the roar in the early 1970s.

Evil Knievel stunt cycle

Also, a huge invention: the Atari video game system came out in this decade. The first game, I remember, was Pong. Haha. But later on, we enjoyed Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Astroids, Centipede, Pit Fall, and others!

The View Master was big then too. I had several slides from the Scooby-Doo show when I was a kid. Christmas was complete when kids got these fun toys in the 1970s.

view master

 

1980s

How could anyone around that time forget about the fights on Black Fridays over the Cabbage Patch Kids? Goodness. The scrambling across the slippery toy stores, and the unbelievable tug-o-war over the last couple of dolls was both astonishing and insane. Those certainly were a HUGE want for lots of children in the 1980s.

cabbage patch kids 1

Then, for the more nerdy kids, the Rubik’s Cube came out and teased and worked kids’ brains in a good way. I mean, who didn’t have a Rubik’s Cube then? We were all cool nerds! What fun that was!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This was also the decade when the Nintendo video game system came out! My sons are loyal Nintendo fans.

 

1990s

Goodness. Do you remember all the hubbub over the Tickle Me Elmo doll? I do. Although I was in my twenties then, I still remember the craze over his giggling. And then there was the bizarre-looking Furby dolls. Many parents scrambled for these dolls during Christmastime.

tickle me elmo        Furby doll

And don’t forget the Beanie Babies! Believe it or not, they started off in McDonalds’ Happy Meals but caught on like wildfire, becoming one of the most wanted and collected items in the decade.

beanie babies

 

2000s

Looks like Zhu Zhu Pets came out in this time period, as well as those ugly…er, I mean, nice dolls, the Bratz. My sons actually each had a Zhu Zhu Pet. They were hamsters. The Razor Scooter was a biggie in the early 2000s.

zhu zhu pets               razor scooter

 

My Christmas toy memories

Some of the most awesome toys I got for Christmas in the late 1970s and 1980s were the Barbie Dream House and several of the Muppets characters. They were puppets where you stuck your hand in and could move their mouths, but in the case of the character, Animal, I could move his eyebrows too. What fun those were!

barbie dream house    Muppets

 

What were special gifts you loved when you were growing up?

 

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