Tuesday Tidbit–Thinking Positive #Memoir

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

It won’t rain,” my friend Rose says when I call to ask her to pick me up for a writing workshop at the local library. I can’t drive, although I can see people and objects up close and read print if it’s large enough. I love to walk but not when storm clouds are gathering in the west, and the wind is picking up.

When I call Rose, she says, “I’m running late. Just start walking. It won’t rain.”

As I return my cell phone to my pocket, I think of my late husband, struck by lightning in a Missouri park years before he met me. He and a friend were lounging after a picnic lunch on a warm afternoon. The thunder clap and lightning bolt came from nowhere. His friend was killed instantly. He was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital and released.

“There’s nothing to do now but go,” I tell myself, as I finish my supper and prepare to leave. I read earlier that if you think something will or won’t happen, it usually does or doesn’t.

“It won’t rain,” I say to the dishes in the sink, as I rinse and put them in the dishwasher. I picture myself hurrying down the street, as ominous black clouds darken the sky. A thunder clap and a blinding light stop me in my tracks. I fall to the ground and am no more.

“It’s not going to rain,” I tell the mirror in the bathroom, as I’m washing my face. I picture heavy sheets of moisture drenching my dead body in the middle of the sidewalk.

It will not rain,” I say to the bureau in my bedroom, as I apply lotion to my face and comb my hair. I think of my brother in Jupiter, Florida, answering his cell phone, hearing news of his sister’s demise, just what he needs after a long day of work.

I keep reassuring myself that I’ll be safe, as I pack everything I’ll need for the workshop: Braille notetaker, water bottle, magnifier, folder with Braille paper, and slate and stylus in case my notetaker’s battery dies. Finally, I can delay no longer. My talking watch tells me it’s six o’clock. I have half an hour to get there. “I’ll be able to take shelter along the way, if necessary,” I tell myself. I sling my backpack over my shoulders, pick up my cane, and step outside.

I look at the sky. To my surprise, I see no dark clouds, only white ones. As I start walking, a gentle breeze stirs the air, and I feel the sun’s warmth on my shoulders.

***

The above appears in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be read here. The workshop was on writing memoir and took place several years ago. The presenter asked us to write something about water. Thus, this piece was born.

Later, when I teased Rose about her ability to predict the weather, she pointed out that the dark clouds I saw were dissipating, and there were white ones right behind them. Why didn’t she tell me that when I called to ask her for a ride? Well, if she had, this memoir wouldn’t have been created.

***

And now, I’m pleased to announce that on Wednesday, July 7th, I’ll be playing the piano and singing in the dining room at The Hub on Smith, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you live in my neck of the woods, the facility is located at 211 Smith Street, and you can come and eat lunch while listening. The event will be broadcast live and recorded. You can click here to visit the event’s Facebook page, where you’ll be able to see the live broadcast.

On Sunday, July 11th, I’ll be participating in a virtual poetry reading, where anyone is welcome to attend and share a poem or two. This will take place at 5 p.m. mountain time on Zoom. You can click here for more information.

Last but not least, throughout the month of July, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available from Smashwords ABSOLUTELY FREE as part of its annual summer/winter sale. You can visit my Smashwords author page to download these books. Happy reading!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Cellist Shares Philosophy of Music and Life #Friday Fun Reads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Beginner’s Mind

by Yo-Yo Ma

Copyright 2021

 

What Audible Says

 

“I realize, perhaps for the first time that I had to learn the cello to become a musician, and that it was only through decades of musical exploration that I came to understand my responsibility as a human being.”

Journey with musical virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma as the iconic performer and global phenomenon delves into the world of self-discovery and our deeply interwoven humanity. This is Beginner’s Mind, Ma’s extraordinary addition to Audible’s Words + Music series, blending vivid personal memoir and breathtaking exclusive performances with indelible lessons gained over a lifetime pursuing meaning, connection, and shared purpose.

Beginner’s Mind continues Ma’s passionate exploration of culture’s role in helping us to imagine and build a better future, asking each of us “to strip away preconceptions and reclaim a beginner’s mind…one open to new questions, new connections, new explorations, and unexpected answers.” As Ma tracks his own profound journey through “four stories of beginnings,” listeners gain insight into his past and discover how the cultural visionary continues to find hope in the endless possibility of human curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.

Beginner’s Mind joins Audible’s ongoing Words + Music series, providing an outlet for musical icons to defy traditional formats with an innovative, and unprecedented approach to musical storytelling and personal expression.

 

My Thoughts

 

As a lover of classical music, I enjoyed Yo-Yo Ma’s narration and the included musical selections. I was fascinated to learn a little about his life growing up and that of his parents plus some of his adventures while traveling with his music.

But I was left wanting more. How did Yo-Yo Ma’s family react when he broke free of their influence, leaving his home in New York and studying at Harvard when he was sixteen? How did he become the musician he is today? One main point I gleamed is this. In life, there are always opportunities to begin again. Hence, the title.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

The Relationship Between Poetry and Living #Friday Fun Reads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir

by Jill Bialosky

What Amazon Says

From a critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author and poet comes “a delightfully hybrid book: part anthology, part critical study, part autobiography” (Chicago Tribune) that is organized around fifty-one remarkable poems by poets such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, and Sylvia Plath.

For Jill Bialosky, certain poems stand out like signposts at pivotal moments in a life: the death of a father, adolescence, first love, leaving home, the suicide of a sister, marriage, the birth of a child, the day in New York City the Twin Towers fell. As Bialosky narrates these moments, she illuminates the ways in which particular poems offered insight, compassion, and connection, and shows how poetry can be a blueprint for living. In Poetry Will Save Your Life, Bialosky recalls when she encountered each formative poem, and how its importance and meaning evolved over time, allowing new insights and perceptions to emerge.

While Bialosky’s personal stories animate each poem, they touch on many universal experiences, from the awkwardness of girlhood, to crises of faith and identity, from braving a new life in a foreign city to enduring the loss of a loved one, from becoming a parent to growing creatively as a poet and artist. Each moment and poem illustrate “not only how to read poetry, but also how to love poetry” (Christian Science Monitor).

“An emotional, sometimes-wrenching account of how lines of poetry can be lifelines” (Kirkus Reviews), Poetry Will Save Your Life is an engaging and entirely original examination of a life while celebrating the enduring value of poetry, not as a purely cerebral activity, but as a means of conveying personal experience and as a source of comfort and intimacy. In doing so the book brilliantly illustrates the ways in which poetry can be an integral part of life itself and can, in fact, save your life.

My Thoughts

I like the way Jill Bialosky connects certain poems to particular aspects of her life such as her father’s death, her mother’s second marriage and subsequent divorce, and her sister’s suicide. I enjoyed rereading old favorites like Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and I discovered poems I hadn’t read before. The author explains each poem, even its structure, so the reader can gain a better understanding of the poem. During this National Poetry Month, I encourage you, even if you don’t think you’re into poetry, to read this book. It might open a new world for you.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books  

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Second Memoir Describes More of Actress’s Whirlwind Career #Friday Fun Reads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Home Work: A Novel of My Hollywood Years

by Julie Andrews

Copyright 2019

 

What Amazon Says

 

In this New York Times bestselling follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Home, Julie Andrews reflects on her astonishing career, including such classics as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.

In Home, the number one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage.

With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films — Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry — from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.

Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.

 

My Thoughts

 

Having read Julie Andrews’ first memoir, Home, I like how her introduction to Home Work quickly fills the reader in on her earlier life. As a child, I enjoyed Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Her descriptions of how these films were made fascinated me. I also enjoyed her accounts of the making of her other movies and television programs, most of which I’d never heard of or seen. Her whirlwind of marriages, filming schedules, family drama, charity work, and traveling made my head spin.

As an author, I can appreciate her explanations of what inspired her to write Mandy and other children’s books. I believe my mother read Mandy to me when I was little.

In 1986, Julie Andrews returned to Broadway with her husband, Blake Edwards, to put together a production of Victor/Victoria. That’s where Home Work ends. I would like to know more about her career after that. I understand she developed some sort of throat problem, which made it difficult or impossible for her to speak. She must have recovered because her narration of the audiobook version of Home Work is exquisite. I hope she’ll write a third memoir.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Hemorrhage #Poetry #Tuesday Tidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Barely coherent, drenched in sweat, he lay on the floor. “What happened?” I asked. His response was unintelligible.

“I don’t need to go to the hospital,” he told the paramedics. “but if my wife wants me to go, I guess I will.”

“The stroke was caused by bleeding on the right side of his brain,” said the doctor. “He may need surgery.”

“In this case, surgery won’t help,” another doctor told us. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“He’s not strong enough to participate in our rehabilitation program,” said the social worker. “He’ll have to go to a nursing home.”

“I don’t know how much you’ll recover or how long it will take,” a third doctor said. “Continue the therapy, and watch your blood pressure.”

“We’ll work on strengthening your legs and try to get you up and moving,” the therapist promised him.

“They’ve given up on me. I don’t think I’ll ever walk again.”

***

The above was recently published in The Writer’s Grapevine, a publication produced by TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD Marketing, containing prose, poetry, and advertisements. To subscribe, send a blank email to:  writersgv+subscribe@groups.io  This poem also appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. You can click the Play button below to hear me read it.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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