A Million Kisses

On this day in 2006, three months after we were married, my husband Bill suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side.  In the evening when I returned home after performing with my singing group, he was lying on the floor, drenched in sweat, with a chair on top of him. This was a night that changed our lives forever. To read more, click here.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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Famous Firsts

Thanks to DB Corey in Writing Wranglers and Warriors for inspiring this post. There’s a first time for everything, and we all remember the first time we did this or that. As parents, we remember our kids’ first steps, first words, first day of school, the first time we let them drive the car solo. As adults, we remember our first love, first apartment, first job interview.

According to my mother, my first word was “ash tray.” My parents smoked so go figure. When Dad got his first computer in the 1980’s while I was in college, the first word my younger brother typed on it was “half-assed.” My first apartment was a ground floor unit in an old house with a Mickey Mouse kitchen and bathroom, expansive living and dining rooms, a front and back door, and no laundry facilities.

My first and only love was my late husband Bill. He was totally blind, and three months after we were married, he suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side. I remember how proud he was when my first book was published. “Let me see it,” he said when copies arrived in the mail.

I placed one in his lap and described the cover, as he fingered it lovingly and smiled. At my first book signing, he was by my side, sitting in his wheelchair with a shit-eating grin. At times, he put his arm around me and rubbed my shoulders. He didn’t care that we were in public. All that mattered to him was that his wife was a published author. I hope he’s smiling down on me from wherever he is, as I continue to write, publish, and sign books.

What firsts do you remember? Please feel free to share them below.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Goals and Affirmations

Last Saturday in my Range Writers monthly meeting, we talked about setting goals and affirmations instead of making New Year’s resolutions. The difference is that a resolution is vague, i.e. I will lose weight. A goal is more specific. For example, you can set a goal to clean out your garage by the end of the month. During our meeting, we each wrote down several goals we want to accomplish during the year. Here’s my list.

  1. In November, I participated in the poem-a-day chapbook challenge on Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides Blog. My chapbook has been assembled, and I already sent it to one publisher. I plan to send it it to as many others as possible by the end of the month.
  2. I’ve also put together a collection of short stories and will have it ready to submit for publication by the end of February.
  3. I’ll send my collection of short stories to as many publishers as possible by the end of March.
  4. I will have written another poetry chapbook by the end of April. I say this because Robert Lee Brewer will have another poem-a-day challenge on his Poetic Asides blog in April, and I will participate in that.
  5. I’ll revise and send my second poetry chapbook to as many publishers as possible by the end of June.

I’ve set other weekly and monthly goals. I’ll post to my blog at least once a week and keep up with other blogs I follow on a regular basis. I’ll write one poem at least once a week. I say this because Robert Lee Brewer posts a poetry prompt every Wednesday on his Poetic Asides Blog so that will give me the inspiration I need. I’ll also try to write at least one short story a month. I also write for a blog called Writing Wraanglers and Warriors, and I’ll post to that once or twice a month as needed.

During the Range Writers meeting after determining our goals, we wrote at least one affirmation. An affirmation is a positive statement pertaiing to a goal. For example, if you set a goal to clean out your garage by the end of the month, one affirmation might be that it would be nice to drive your car into the garage without hitting anything. For my goal of sending my poetry chapbook to as many publishers as possible by the end of the month, my affirmation is that I love the way my chapbook is put together, how the poems seem to flow from one to the next, yet vary in subject matter.

Now it’s your turn. See if you can come up with a list of goals you want to accomplish for the year. Be specific. Set a time frame for each goal as I did above. Then, see if you can come up with an affirmation for each goal. These goals don’t have to be written in stone. If you don’t accomplish what you set out to do by the deadline, it’s no big deal. You can always change them. Please feel free to share your goals and affirmations in the comment box below. I hope you all have a prosperous new year in which all your goals are accomplished.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

No Place Like Home

The Wizard of Oz has always been one of my favorite stories. I’ve read the book at least twice and seen the movie countless times. I recently read the book a third time, and it was just as intriguing.  Besides The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum wrote 13 novel sequels, 9 other fantasy novels, and countless other books. He also wrote 83 short stories, over 200 poems, countless scripts, and many miscellaneous pieces. He made numerous attempts to bring his work to the stage and screen. You can read my Writing Wranglers and Warriors post on Frank Baum and The Wizard of Oz here.

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver