Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ayana

Here's my new baby granddaughter.


video

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Writing Workshop

Have you ever thought about writing? Do you have a story to tell, but you don’t know where to start? Or are you a closet writer? Make plans to bring a friend and attend a free writing workshop given by The Friends Of The Library and writer, Ann Hite on Thursday, October 23, 2008 7 pm to 8 pm or a little later. Some of the topics that will be covered:

1. The importance of writing bad.
2. Keeping a writing notebook.
3. Writing even when you don’t feel the inspiration.
4. READ, READ. READ
5. How many drafts?
6. Listen to others talk. (Making Dialogue Sound True)
7. Novel or short story?
8. How do I get published?
9. How do I find an agent?

And more topics will be touched on within this session.

Ann Hite’s story, The Christmas Tree Hunter, will appear in Christmas Through A Child’s Eyes in bookstores October 17, 2008. Her personal essay, Surviving Mom, was part of Marlo Thomas’ latest collection, The Right Words At The Right Time, Vol., 2, which made number 14 on the New York Times Best Sellers List (May 2006). Her short stories have appeared in numerous publications. The Dead Mule featured 18 selected Black Mountain Stories in their May 2008 Issue. Ann lives with her family in Smyrna, where she has over 1,000 books, a butterfly garden, and her laptop. To find out more, feel free to visit her websites: http://www.freewebs.com/annhite/index.htm and her blog http://womanwriter.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you there for a great night!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Purple Moon Shadows

This is another essay I wrote for my class.

Purple Moon Shadows

When Jeff, my brother, and I were young, we shared a bedroom. Our full-size bed was positioned under a double window. On some nights we would talk and laugh as the moon moved across the sky. Full moons were our favorite. We would watch the shadows and half light stretch across the backyard.

"Purple moon shadows." Jeff would call them.

But brothers grow up and become adults. The change is inevitable. In this growth barriers and differences far to vast may develop. Jeff and I went into our separate lives. As years came and went, so did we until one day we stopped seeing each other at all. Was it my straightforward way of stating my position? Was it his drug use? But through our distance I clung to a belief we were both survivors of a turbulent childhood, connected through moon shadows.

Our mother died on September 27, 2003, throwing us together once again.

"What funeral home will be coming for your mother?" The hospital nurse asked.

I dialed Jeff's cell and went into voice mail. "I chose Crestlawn Funeral Home to pick up mother."

The next morning I still had not heard from Jeff. How does a sister plan a funeral for her mother all alone? At noon I called Crestlawn.

"Your mother's body was picked up by another funeral home this morning at your brother's request."

My heart beat in my chest and my head spun. I left to go to my mother's house in hope to retrieve some clothes for her. I made up excuses for Jeff. He had been out of Mother's life for over two years. He was probably overcompensating for his guilt. I was in denial.

Mother was a self-medicating bipolar and displayed her insanity throughout my childhood and adult years. The products of her existence as a mother was one overachieving, co-dependent daughter and a son who was addicted to both drugs and alcohol. Who could blame how either of us acted?

I slid the key into the lock of mother's front door. It froze and would not turn. On further investigation, I found the side window of the house had been kicked in from the outside. Now a board had been nailed over the opening from the inside.

Jeff had stolen my right to be part of the burial of my mother. I attended the funeral. Still clinging to the idea that all would be good between us, I told myself he just misunderstood. He was in pain. I stared holes into the back of his head, willing him to turn and look. If he could just turn and look at me, then I'd know he believed in what he did. He left the chapel without ever looking my way.

Rage built inside of me. I went to my car and screamed. I screamed at God for ever letting Mother be the mother she was. I screamed just to scream. Finally I screamed that I was all alone. How could one forgive this kind of betrayal? How could one walk through this kind of pain?

Healing was a long slow process, but slowly I worked through my pain one step at a time. And then one day I was able to forgive. It didn't come overnight. But I became aware of it for the first time one night when I watched a lunar eclipse in my front yard and smiled. I enjoyed the memory of a young girl looking out a double window into the night sky.

Jeff appeared in my life two months ago, five years after my mother's death. He was eightenn months clean. I cried for what we never had. Still I searched for purple moon shadows, but the logical part of my mind understood that the shadows were only figments of two children's imaginations. Children who desperately wanted to believe in magic and fairytales. Ah, but I've always been one to follow my heart before my mind.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Book Junkie

The Book Junkie

I have a dark secret. Yes, I am an addict. My addiction takes money out of my grocery budget, and it sure doesn't help that a bookstore is located next where I shop for food.

"Yes, I'm Ann, and I'm a bookoholic."

You think I'm kidding, but I've been known to have several copies of one book, example: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I use this book to lure unsuspecting readers into the hardcore material.

I've been known to have both hardbacks and softbacks of the same title. And--this is even worse: I will purchase a book I own because the cover art changed; case in point, The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

Of course at Christmas and birthdays, I'm an easy present. Just give me a Barnes and Noble gift card. I just love their bargain book selection. Shame on me! That is not how a published author is supposed to act. We're support the industry by paying full price. What can I say? My need outweighs my ethics.

My addiction has worked for me. I have a writing career due to my insatiable desire to do more than just drink in words. I allow sentences, paragraphs, and pages to move through me onto paper. I still write a lot of old fashion longhand, just like I must hold books in my hand, instead of looking on a screen. My writing room's walls are lined with floor to ceiling bookcases and every shelf is full. This leaves my desk to sit in the middle of the room, a queen overseeing her subjects.

My addiction has been widely accepted and even useful. High school and college students will come to me for required reading of the classics. Friends and family now understand they will receive a book for special occasions, whether they want it or not.

I've accepted my need, embraced it. Those closest to me have learned to live with my passion. I am what I am, a book junkie.

Monday, October 13, 2008

When Someone Shows You Who They Are!

Maya Angelou says if a person shows you who they are, then be smart enough to accept it the first time. She also says when you allow a negative person into your space her energy soaks into your walls, sofa, drapes, and then you.


So, I pass on these words of wisdom. Let the negative people in your life go and move forward.

I'm off to do more writing workshop stuff!!! My week long conference is so awesome!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Muscle Ache or A Heart Attack And What This Country Is Coming Too

That is a loaded title. Don't you thing? Let me tell you, readers. You had better have some kind of insurance in this country or friends you headed over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Because the bare facts are this, without insurance, you are a nuisance, a piece of paper, a bad debt. And the truth is the uninsured are soon to become the norm. Of course that's just this writer's opinion, but after a morning in the emergency room, I'm no longer the confident, motivated person.



Now, to be honest the whole situation began before the hospital found out my husband, who is a contractor for the company that employs him--part of the outsourcing trend--didn’t have insurance. We were greeted by a woman who hated her job. The disgust shown in the way she walked into the room.



Assistant: “Why are you here?” She said this as if a child had come to ask for a snack before dinner.



Husband: “I’ve had a dull pain that developed in my left shoulder Friday night and has grown worse over the weekend. I have a history of heart attacks at an early age in my family and I need to know this pain has nothing to do with a heart attack.



Assistant: “Do you have any history of heart attacks in your family?”



Duh?



Husband repeats the above.



Assistant looking over her glasses and down her nose at him: “Did anyone in your family have a heart attack before the age of sixty?”



Husband, who is a saint: “My brother died of a heart attack at 48, my oldest brother died of a blood clot to the brain at twenty-five, my next to oldest brother had a stroke at 52, and my sister had a heart attack at 54.”



Assistant: “Normally pain for heart attacks do not start in your shoulder blade. You would be aware of the pain of a heart attack.” Assistant takes blood pressure it is 181/104.



Now, I’m no dummy. That is HIGH.



Assistant: “It is high due to your pain.” Once again she speaks to my husband as if he is a child in a clipped disgusted tone. Then she says. “We’ll run an ekg just for you, but you’re fine.”



I hoped she was right. But she was really bothered to make sure Husband wasn’t having a heart attack. And then she gave the zinger. “You shouldn’t wait from Friday night until Monday morning to come to the hospital if you think you’re having a heart attack.”All that is true, but gosh if you were going to meet her, would you hurry?



Husband: “I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a warning. I’ve been told that discomfort in the left shoulder that moves around to the chest could be a warning. The pain began to move around to the front of the chest this morning. I came. I’m trying to be careful.”



Assistant sniffs and leads us to a room. Here we are greeted by the nurse, who loved her job, and told Husband that she would do the ekg. This was training morning and an EMT from the fire department was there. He turned out to be the most helpful. When I expressed my concerns about Husband’s blood pressure, he explained the numbers to me and told me it wasn’t unusual to have a higher reading during pain.



Thank goodness it was determined that Husband had a pulled muscle by his shoulder blade and no heart problems. The doctor then wrote out a prescription for—Yes You know what—the dreaded pain pills. Husband explained he could not take them. No way, no how. So instead he wrote out a prescription for a muscle relaxer.



As we were checking out, there were two trainees and a trainer, who obviously wanted to show them she knew her stuff.



Trainer: “Do you have the money for the bill?”



Husband: “How much is it?”



Trainer: “Well, it will be days before we know that?”



Husband: “Why did you ask then?”



Trainer: “Because we want to make sure you can pay.”



Husband: “I can’t decide that until I know my bill. How about sending it to me?”


Trainees step out of room.



Trainer: “We’ll collect if we have to.”



Husband: “I’m sure you will.”



And he left with me not far behind.



This is a scene that is being played out all over America everyday. People are putting off going to the doctor and hospital because they don’t have insurance. These are hardworking people, who pay their bills and taxes. I realize that some people work the system and always will, but the normal citizen without insurance is not about walking away from their obligations.



So, friends, who have insurance, don’t get all warm and cozy. Unless things change more and more workers will lose their benefits, along with their jobs. And those that have it won’t be able to make the deductible when the need arises. We are a nation of excess, but we don't care about the health of our citizens.



What is the answer? I’m not sure. I don’t have it. I only know that each day I get up and come to my paper and write. But I know that something has to change. Each person has to care. What can we do to change the way things are done in this country?



And that’s my two cents worth. J