Gifts come in different kinds of packaging and this one didn’t come in a box, but in bytes. The delivered present was the culmination of a few weeks of encouragement and cajoling.
“You can do it!” “This is the next step!” And, “If you’re ever going to do it, this is the one - it is all women, it is flat and it won’t be hot.”
With those words, and many more, our younger daughter, Amanda, convinced me to sign up for the “Run Like a Diva” Half-Marathon at the end of April.
Generally, I am what a friend calls “an audio slut,” but I quit two audios in a row.
I had to ask myself, why did the voices of these two audios not work? Curiously, both were written by celebrities and both narrated their own work.
The first was Michael Moore’s autobiography, “Here Comes Trouble” (Hatchett, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hours) and the second is Ron Clark’s “The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck: 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers”, read by the author (Simon and Schuster, unabridged,11 CDs. 12.5 hours).
A while back, I wrote about how it’s important to be nice to fellow human beings on this planet because, you know, it’s the right thing to do, and just in case there IS an angel up there who sits in front of this big book of names and counts up everyone’s good deeds ... well, I want to make sure I’m at least ahead of my sisters.
However, it’s also extremely important to perform these acts of friendship and benevolence in such a way as to be able to withdraw from the scene when necessary. It should be an in-and-out thing.
So, one day last week, I took my pearl-handled pistol (which I keep in a little flowered Clinique makeup bag) and headed off to the local gun emporium to buy some ammo and to have the pistol serviced, because the action on the slide was sticking (you notice how, the minute we’re talking guns, I start talking all tough and NRA-ish?).
Wednesday, America will mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. That colossal mistake -- more than 100,000 killed in a war over nonexistent WMDs -- has cost America dearly: nearly 4,500 troop fatalities, and more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars.
As we celebrate Women’s History month, we should pay homage to a resolute group of women who deserve recognition during Sunshine Week, another March event.
Yesterday, my mother turned 85! I wasn’t going to write a column about her, because I’ve done a couple and, really, what more is there to say? And, then it started coming to me…all the “more there is to say.” Like:
My mom is the laughter I hear in the night as I fall asleep, down in the living room with my Dad, usually talking about us kids; she’s the wave I look for as I leave for school; she’s the proud smile I cling to as I mount the steps to the stage for my piano recital; and, she’s the implacable voice of censure when I’ve done something stupid. Which, honestly, I did a lot.
I’ve recently gotten a new take on the importance of awards as one of the only ways to find quality books in the vast number of those churned out by the children’s book marketplace.
When I write the Wilde Awards every year, my hope is to connect people with the most books. But I also have to admit to a bit of professional twitching.
Every year I worry that I’ll pass up books that are distinguished by the American Library Association, especially when it comes to finding the best young adult novels. This year, I’m grateful for the Printz Award. Otherwise, I would have missed two amazing young adult novels.
This week the red numbers and bold headlines of the March 5 issue of the Daily Tar Heel caught my eye and drew me in. But it was a smaller article below the fold that touched my heart.
It was a warm remembrance by someone who came to know Eve Carson through her legacy of love and service to UNC.
“Eve Carson used to say that she had friends, and she had friends that she had not yet met,” writes DTH editor Chelsey Dulaney. After five long years people are still grieving the murder of the UNC student body president.
But no warmth was evident in the story Dulaney wrote above the fold. It was told with all-capital letters designed to elicit steely fear from readers: MURDERS, RAPES, KIDNAPPINGS, and ROBBERIES. Chapel Hill, beware of Durham.
North Carolinians are considering the pros and cons of fracking. This problem is of major concern, not only in Chatham and Lee Counties, but in large swaths of land across the state.
A fracking bill is now being considered by our legislature.
In Chatham County, they await more scientific evidence on whether fracking will seriously damage the environment.
I entered the emergency room at the little hospital in the mountains at 1:30 p.m. I was told at 3 p.m. that I’d be admitted overnight for shortness of breath, low oxygen level, and a “funky” EKG, even though I insisted to everyone within earshot that my EKG had been funky since I was 17, and my heart is fine!
My friend Holli learned that her aged pony, Dyna, who lives across the state, was having some health issues. Understandably, Holli was upset, but the vet came and thinks that Dyna will be fine for now. I told Holli that Dyna had given her a chance to practice for her death, which will, of course, come eventually.
I have begun a (sort of) strict diet and exercise regimen in the past six months, and have spent a lot of time in the mountains, where I take a water aerobics class. I also lift weights a few times a week, although I’ve tried a Pilates class recently and may substitute that instead because ... well, you don’t have to lift weights in Pilates. You just have to lift yourself, which, please, if God had intended ... never mind. Anyway, it’s supposed to be pretty good for your core, and my core has become somewhat ... uh ... what’s the opposite of core? ... ”peripheral” of late, so I’m giving it a shot.
In 2009, in Kansas, William Marotta, 46, read an item in Craigslist that interested him. A lesbian couple, Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer, wanted a sperm donor so they could have a baby. He thought, “They can’t have children by themselves. Its something I could help them with.”
An author’s choice of specifics is crucial to success. I listen for them in the work of my children’s book students, relentlessly pursue and root out generalities in the memoir I’m writing, and am aware of their power in the children’s books I read and the audios I hear. Specifics anchor and animate and can make even the most tired subject new and fresh again.