I reviewed this book a couple of years ago when it first came out. Now, it’s available on Audible with a good narrator. I found it well worth the seconcd read.
Grammy Hinkley makes the best oatmeal. It’s even better than Mother’s cream of wheat. In the summer of 1971, at the age of ten, I’m sitting at her round kitchen table with its matching oak chairs, savouring the oatmeal’s sweetness. In Denver, Colorado, the sun is shining, and it streams in through a nearby window, which is open, and I can hear birds singing. Besides the table and chairs, there are countertops, a sink, a stove, an oven, and a refrigerator. Appliances sit on the countertops, but with my limited vision, I can’t make them out. The floor is a brown-checkered linoleum.
Grammy and Granddad are sitting at the table with me. We eat and talk. When all of us have finished, Grammy clears away the dirty dishes and gets out the cribbage set. I watch, fascinated, as she and Granddad perform their morning ritual.
What do you remember about your grandmother’s kitchen? Was there a particular food your grandmother prepared that you liked the best? What other activities did you and your grandmother do in the kitchen?
In case you didn’t find enough quotable quotes in this month’s Reader’s Digest, here are a bunch more. I found one I’ll use in a future post here.
In 1976 when I was in eighth grade, and my family was living in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I’m still living, we moved into a three-story red brick house with an apple tree in the back yard. I’ve never liked the taste of fresh apples, but my parents and younger brother may have picked and eaten them. I don’t remember. Since I didn’t grow up during war time, I didn’t have a sweetheart to tell me not to sit under the apple tree with anyone else until he came marching home.
According to Wikipedia, the song, “Apple Blossom Time,” was published in 1920 and made popular by The Andrews Sisters and other artists. It was one of many songs I sang while working as a registered music therapist in nursing homes and other facilities for senior citizens. Here’s my rendition of a medley of this song and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” also made popular by The Andrews Sisters.
How about you? Did you have an apple tree while you were growing up? Did you sit under the apple tree with a lover or by yourself? Did you make pie, jam, or cider with the apples from your tree?
Happy Memorial Day!
By Jane Cleland
From the award-winning author of the Josie Prescott Antique Mystery series comes a how-to manual on creating gripping stories that leave readers on the edges of their seats. Jane Cleland provides what she calls a road map on working suspense and other elements of fiction into a story. Assuming you’re already working on a novel, each chapter offers an exercise to help you apply what you’ve learned to your own work. At the end, she emphasizes that if you follow her instructions, you’ll write books that sell and are loved.
At first, I was skeptical when one of my writing groups decided to read this book and do the exercises, sharing the fruits of our labors to our email list. I don’t read or write thrillers or mysteries or any kind of book with a lot of suspense. Once I got into it though, to my surprise, I found myself applying what I’d learned to my own novel, The Red Dress, which is now in the hands of the publisher, DLD Books. Jane Cleland’s methods can also be applied to short stories. So, if you like to write fiction and are looking for ways to improve in this genre, I definitely recommend this book.
Ten years ago on May 19th, David Dvorkin was laid off from his job as a senior technical writer at a big company. Little did he know then that in ten years, he and his wife would have a thriving business, a business that has helped me and other authors publish their books.
It’s wrong to ask someone for help.
You should never ever play with matches.
You shouldn’t let people see your underwear.
Don’t spit food out of your mouth.
Don’t throw up all over the floor.
Don’t say, “damn,” “shit,” “fuck,” or “hell.”
Don’t ever drink the water in Mexico.
Now it’s your turn. The above poem contains seven lines, each with seven words and is about seven things I learned not to do when I was growing up. Write your own such poem. It doesn’t have to be about seven deadly sins. It could be about seven favorite foods or songs. Please share your poem on your own blog or in the comment field below. I look forward to reading it.