Update, clients, and more

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.As I said yesterday, my friend and fellow blogger Patty Fletcher​ has hit some rough times. Today, things are looking up. However, she is stepping back for a while as a result of not only technical difficulties but her guide dog’s medical issues as well. Until she’s completely back on her feet, I encourage you to look through posts on her blog by the people she represents and share them in an effort to continue promoting who she calls her totally talented clients. I’ll be doing the same from time to time. I thank you, and Patty thanks you.

via Update, clients, and more

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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My Most Precious Possession


During a memoir writing workshop at the Wyoming Writers conference I attended a couple of weeks ago, one of many story ideas we were given was this. If your house was on fire, and all the people and animals were safe, what would you take with you? This reminded me of a conversation I had with my sister-in-law years ago after they evacuated their home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as a result of a forest fire that threatened the small town. Thankfully, their house remained in tact, but something my sister-in-law said made me want to strangle her.

She explained that since she and my brother didn’t know if their house would survive the fire, they’d crammed as many of their earthly possessions as they could into their mini-van including two small children and two cats. She’d insisted on taking their photo album, although there was little room. I wanted to tell her that more memories can be made and more pictures taken, but you can’t replace yourself or a loved one. Being a mother, she should have focused more on making sure she and her children were safe.

If my house were on fire, I suppose I might try to rescue my tablet and SD card containing some of my writing. Then again, call me vain, and maybe it’s my fear of fire and death that are talking, but my most precious possession is me. Photographs can be re-taken. Computers can be replaced. Writing can be rewritten. You can bake a cake again, even if you don’t have the recipe. Life, on the other hand, is the most precious possession of all.

What about you? If your house caught fire, and all the people and animals were safe, what would you take with you? I hope I’ve convinced you that this is a no-brainer, but if I haven’t, I’d be interested in reading about any treasured items you might try to rescue and the stories behind them. That’s the point of this exercise, anyway. You can share your stories on your own blog with a link here or in the comment field below. In any case, I hope to hear from you.

***

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Scam the Scammer

Abbie-1

Thanks to A. Marie Silver for inspiring another post. For years when I had a landline, I got calls from a gentleman, usually with an accent, claiming to be from Microsoft. He told me he was getting error messages from my computer. The first time he called, my PC wasn’t even on. I hung up, realizing it was probably a scam. Until I had my landline disconnected, he kept calling, and I kept hanging up.

It has since occurred to me that I could have tried to fight fire with fire. Here’s how such a phone call might have gone if I’d been using my head.

***

Me: Hello.

Scammer: Hello, Mrs. Taylor, this is So So from Microsoft. How are you today?

Me: Fine thanks, how about you?

Scammer: I’m great. Thanks for asking. I’m calling today because I’ve been getting error messages from your computer.

Me: Oh really, it’s funny you should call. I heard about your scam, but don’t hang up. I want to help you.

Scammer: Really?

Me: Yes, I’ll give you whatever information you need if you’ll do something for me.

Scammer: Okay, what?

Me: I’m a writer. Surely you’ve heard of me. My last ten books made the New York Times #1 bestseller list.

Scammer: No, I don’t think so.

Me: Well, anyway, I’m writing a book about people like you, social engineers. I need you to tell me about people you’ve successfully scammed and why you did it. This could be another bestseller for me. I could make a lot of money and maybe give you a percentage plus the information you need about my computer.

Scammer: Are you trying to scam me?

Me: Of course I am. How does that make you feel?

Scammer: Well, I’m pissed off. Duh!

Me: All right then, why do you like pissing off other people by scamming them?

Scammer: End call.

***

Now that I just have a cell phone, I don’t receive such calls anymore. I wish I’d thought of the above plan when I had the landline. Oh well, that’s life.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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In the Moment (Fiction)

I sat in the classroom, not knowing what to write. The only sounds were heavy breathing from the guy next to me and the scratch of pencil against paper. The blank sheet stared me in the face.

I stared back, as time dragged on. Another student walked in late, whispering an apology. Footsteps sounded in the hall, as others walked by the open door.

I stared out the open window that overlooked the courtyard. Birds sang. Students laughed, as they passed the building, no inspiration there.

I looked around at other students sitting at tables set up in a u-shape format, the blackboard, the professor’s laptop on the lectern at the front of the room. I turned and stared at the computers lining the wall behind me. At the beginning of class, the instructor said we could use them if we didn’t want to write the old-fashioned way. I stood up and made my way to one of the terminals.

Sitting down, I pushed a button, and the screen came to life with Facebook in all its glory. Without thinking, I typed my log-in information and went straight to my home newsfeed page. There, on my timeline, were his words. “Emma Sawyer, you’re nothing but a goody two-shoes. Go to Hell!”

Others gasped, and a few tittered. I turned to see projected on the screen above the blackboard my Facebook timeline with Jeremy’s ugly words. Other screens were lit up, probably displaying the same information. I opened my mouth but couldn’t say anything.

Someone was shaking me. “Emma, wake up.” It was my roommate Shelley. The bland classroom walls dissolved into the walls of my dorm room, decorated with my photos and Shelley’s rock star posters.

“Oh, what is it?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.

“It’s after nine. Didn’t you hear your alarm? Your creative writing class starts at ten. Oh, and Jeremy called.”

“Shit,” I said, sitting up and reaching for my cell. “You didn’t talk to him, did you?”

”           “Of course not, silly, I just saw who it was on your caller ID. I’m glad you finally got rid of that bozo.”

“Yeah, he’s a real jerk. He’s here on a football scholarship so all he can think about are football, football, and football. He just wants to have fun, and he can’t understand that there are times when I need to study. Oh well….”

I picked up my phone and, with the push of a few buttons, blocked his calls and deleted him from my contacts. I then reached for my lap top.

“Emma, it’s after nine. You’re going to be late,” said Shelley, putting on her coat.

“I know, but if I don’t do this now, he’ll ruin my day.”

“And if you don’t eat breakfast, you’ll ruin your health, but that’s not my problem, is it?” said Shelley, sounding disgusted, as she slung her back pack over her shoulders. “I’m off to the cafeteria and then to my music therapy class. See you later.”

I waited for the computer to boot up, then went straight to Facebook where I un-friended Jeremy and blocked him from contacting me. For good measure, I deleted my Facebook account, figuring I could create another one later. I also blocked him from e-mailing me and removed his address.

I showered, dressed, and dashed to my class, grabbing a Hostess Twinkie and a can of Dr. Pepper on the way. I made it just in time. After roll call, the instructor, a woman who looked to be in her twenties said, “Okay, for the next fifteen minutes, I want you to write about being in the moment.”

THE END

***

The above story appears in the fall/winter issue of Magnets and Ladders at http://www.magnetsandladders.org . It was inspired by a memoir writing workshop I took last fall, held in a classroom similar to that in the story, with computers along the walls that students could use. The instructor, also a young woman in her twenties, gave us a similar prompt, to write about being in the moment.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.

Vote for my new book idea.

Before and After (Poetry)

In the beginning, you knew all about me,

which buttons to push,

how to hook me up,

install programs, fix problems.

Now, you hesitate,

push the wrong buttons.

When I don’t give you the desired response,

you beat my keyboard, proclaim I don’t work.

I needed new parts because I was slow to start.

You had them installed.

Still, you become frustrated

when I don’t perform the desired function.

I wish I could read your thoughts,

still want to please you.

***

This poem appears in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press

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Vote for my new book idea.

Things to Know About Me

Thanks to Jodie Llewellyn at http://www.wordsreadandwritten.com/blogging-2/twenty-things/ for inspiring this. In her post, she answers some questions about herself. A while back, I did a similar post as part of a blog tour where several of us writers provided information about ourselves and our writing. Now, here are some answers to more questions about me.

How tall are you? I wish I could say I’m five foot two with eyes of blue, but I’m not. I’m only five foot one with brown eyes so naturally, I’m not the girl any man in any song would be looking for, but that’s just as well. My late husband Bill was nearly six feet tall, but that didn’t bother me. Before he became paralyzed as a result of two strokes, I loved standing with him while he held me.

Do you have a hidden talent? Yes, I have perfect pitch. I wasn’t born with it, and it’s not related to my visual impairment as a lot of people might think. It was acquired through constant exposure to music when I was a small child.

What is your biggest pet peeve? I really hate it when people ask me to sing a particular note or hit a glass with a spoon and ask me what note it is. People are amazed when they hear about something like this, but for me, after years of dealing with the supposed incredulity, it’s getting pretty old.

What’s your favorite song? I like “Memory” from Cats. I love cats, although I don’t have one, and in the song, an old feline longs for when she was young. When I worked for fifteen years as a registered music therapist in a nursing home, one of the things I did was use music to help residents reflect on their past. To hear me sing the song, go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/memory.mp3 .

What other activities do you like besides writing? I enjoy reading and walking. I also participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA and sing in a women’s group called Just Harmony and go out to eat and to concerts, plays, and other events with friends.

What’s your favorite junk food? I adore chocolate ice cream, pudding, brownies, pie. If it’s chocolate, I’ll eat it. I don’t care too much for candy, though.

Do you have a pet? As I said before, I love cats. I also like dogs, but after caring for my late husband Bill for six years, I’m not ready to take care of another living thing yet. I’ll be content to read and blog about them.

What books do you like to read? I enjoy memoirs, poetry, romance, and some historical fiction. I can do without explicit descriptions of sex and violence.

If you could only drink one beverage besides water for the rest of your life, what would it be? Dr. Pepper.

What kinds of movies do you like to watch? I like comedies and dramas, but I don’t particularly care for violence or sex.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in when you were in high school? I sang in the concert choir, acted in plays, and was on the speech team. I was also in the Spanish and French clubs for a while.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’ve lived in New York, Colorado, Arizona, Montana, and North Dakota, but here in Sheridan, Wyoming, is where I’ll spend the rest of my days.

Do you use a PC or a Mac? I use a PC now, but back in the 1990’s when I first became interested in computing, Dad talked me into getting a Mac. When I married Bill in 2005, I discovered that his PC’s screen reading software was better than that on my Mac. Since my computer was getting old, I decided to switch, much to Dad’s consternation. Fortunately, I waited until Dad finished paying for our wedding so we wouldn’t be left to cover those costs if he disowned me, which of course he didn’t.

Now that you know more about me, I’d like to learn more about you, my readers. If you have a blog, you can answer one or more of these questions on your blog and leave me a link in the comments field. If you don’t have a blog, you can answer any or all of these questions in the comments field. Please feel free to skip, modify, or add questions. Have fun with this. I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, my new poetry collection, That’s Life, is now available from Amazon. If you’ve read it, please go to http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Life-New-Selected-Poems/dp/1622297067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413835674&sr=8-1&keywords=That%27s+Life%3A+New+and+Selected+Poems and leave a review. If not, you can order the book at the above link. You can also order it from Finishing Line Press, using the link below. For those of you like me who prefer it in a specialized format, it’s also available on Bookshare, and you can download a recording of me reading it from my Website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/thatslife.htm .

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order That’s Life from Amazon.

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.