With Good Intention

Ah, I had such good intentions of posting more often! Unfortunately, or maybe not so much since it was a paying writing job that kept me from posting on wordpress, time did not permit. First, I open with my usual business observation of the day.

The economy in Florida continues to strengthen as we approach the height of snowbird season. The pessimists among us mutter about the old days, when business activity slowed to a snail’s pace during summer. The optimists are already partying. It’s just too early to tell. Will the unrest in the Mid East affect us? Perhaps, but since most of our oil comes from South America, I don’t see it as being too disruptive.

The uncertainty puts everyone on edge, and we freeze like Meerkats, waiting for news, or panic in large numbers, as if we are lemmings running for the cliff. Perhaps what we should do is learn from this recession and remember that good times do not last forever but neither do bad times. The trick is in being prepared for both.

I continue on with writing copy for an SEO (Search Engine Optimizers) company. The pay isn’t great, but it gives me a start in a writing career. Since I have been occupied with running our construction business (well, the office end of things) and the above mentioned writing, I’ve not followed up on the progress of publication for the DeSoto County Historical Society’s latest book, which contains a couple of my short stories. Since there is a Ford Family reunion next weekend, I’d be thrilled to have it to pass around.

I don’t often offer advice or correct spelling/grammar because, for me, it is the cadence of the words that is of most importance, all else is secondary. Reread that sentence and you will see what I mean. The words rise and fall, a breathing torso. Who am I to correct the minor when the main objective has been achieved? That said, there are times when a spelling error can unintentionally disrupt the flow. Don’t get me wrong. I love and participate in deliberate misspells, but there are two mistakes that never fail to jar.

The first, the misuse of “bear” and “bare”, can be amusing. If for instance, a misguided writer pens the words “please bare with me”, he or she has asked the reader to join in on nudity, rather than extend patience. The word for patience, bear, is derived from the word “forbearance”. And yes, it is also contains the spelling for an animal. Welcome to the English language where every rule has an exception.

Another is the issue of “wreak” and “wreck”. “Wreak” means to cause or inflict…pronounced “reek”, it rhymes with “meek”. “Wreck” means to destroy…pronounced “reck”, it rhymes with “neck”. If you wreck your car by running it into the storefront, you wreak havoc inside the store. The exception to the rule in this case? “Reek” means smelly:

The dump truck reeking with dead fish got into a wreck right next to the Society Ladies Luncheon in the park, wreaking havoc on their festivities.

Thank you for allowing me share those examples. Your forbearance is appreciated. Now if you misuse those words, I’ll know it was deliberate, since you now know the difference.

And, at long last, today’s writing sample:

The garden path grows long now, astonishing even me, awarded far more years than expected. But I am still laying the stepping stones, one by one, asking, “This, Lord? Or here?” and holding faith that He makes all things work together for my good.

I am so grateful for all I’ve been given, understanding that the hurts were the necessary lessons to reach the me that I am now.

They are soon forgotten as I gaze upon the carpet of flowers before me, names that nod their heads in the breeze I make as I pass by: husband first, of course, and the trio of handsome manchilds, their sister of the heart, and the sweethearts, the friends, the children’s friends, the teachers and Rabbis of the world, oh look, there are the children I tutored, their misspelled letters of gratitude I cannot bear to discard, decades old.

I see the family, the ones I could not reach, and the ones who fed my soul. Yes, their names float around me as I walk, one day they will carry me to glory. For now, though, I lay the stepping stones, dropping the seeds nearby, so that others will one day discover the path and continue where I leave off.

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Who, What, When, Where, Why

This is not my first blog, but wordpress seems to be the blogsite of choice and my old place was getting stale and full of spammers. It was time to move, but I resisted for a very long time, simply because the familiar becomes so comfortable. So let’s begin, shall we? Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and join me in conversation.

Our Florida finish trim carpentry business has struggled through the recession, but jobs are finally coming in and it is good to hear ringing phones again. We recently hired one of our three sons back after a very long lay-off. When the housing market collapsed, our eldest son pursued a career in psychology, finally putting his college degree to work. Our youngest son is now in North Carolina, running a car dealership. We hope to hire him back, as well. In the meantime, our middle child is helping us to keep up with the sudden upturn in business. They say that after a recession, rebound is always higher than the previous boom. We shall see. I plan to use the first part of each blog as business commentary.

I am an aspiring writer, looking for an agent to peddle my book A Scent of Oleander, a murder mystery set in a Florida swamp. I’ve finished the manuscript, had it edited, and have received the copyright, a very long process when done correctly. All I need is for someone to take a chance on me.

It tells the story of Annie, a recently divorced mother of an almost grown son, who is trying to regain her balance after her sudden break-up. Annie, sensitive and spunky, has withdrawn from people, or at least she’s tried. Her flamboyant neighbor, Linda, and her older pal at church, Pat, keep knocking on her door for one thing or another. For escape, Annie takes her canoe deep into the swamp that abuts her back yard, and discovers a long-buried treasure, just as her property is threatened by developers.

Annie works to designate her property as protected wetland and fights to keep her property, at least until she can get her discovery out of the swamp and into safe hands. Then Annie discovers deliberate sabotage that sends shivers up her back when she realizes that she might be putting her life on the line. Before it’s over, Annie faces angry alligators, a hurricane and a trial by fire as she and her buddy Luke scramble through the swamp just ahead of a murderer and an approaching storm.

As I search for an agent, I continue to write and am currently working on a novel set in the 1930s, based on my grandmother’s recently discovered letters that tell the story of a dirt poor widow with five children at home as she and the other women in her family try to scratch out a living in rural Florida during the height of the Great Depression.

I also write extensively online, mostly about life in Florida. Two of my stories are soon to be published in the latest edition of the DeSoto County Historical Society’s ongoing book series the chronicles the founding of Arcadia, Florida and surrounding area.

Today’s writing was interrupted as a ruckus erupted in the Live Oak beyond the feeder, The other birds flew away from the uproar playing out, hidden amongst the foliage. The cause of the disturbance finally burst forth: a large hawk with a wingspan of at least three feet. His size was no match for the angry mocking birds riding his back as he tried to escape their wrath.

The mocking birds defended their nest with outraged ferocity, the stark white stripes of the undersides of their tail feathers slashing the air as they stabbed at the hawk’s back with beak and talon. The hawk was chased for miles before the couple returned, full of anxious chattering. The mockingbirds’ bad moods continued throughout the day and they dove and diverted any creature unfortunate enough to violate their unseen boundaries.

A screech of tires and honking horns in the distance indicated another breach of space, the flash of traffic lights apparently not as convincing as the mockingbird’s discipline…

And I, too, turn my attention back to my business obligations, shelving my dreams of becoming an author until I can write again tomorrow. For now, I satisfy myself with “A Good Start”.

Posted in Florida, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | 8 Comments