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Friday, September 26, 2014

Narrow is the Road

My life, winnowed down to this one existence, panics me some days. Of all the possibilities, life narrowed to this: Wife and mother living in a small rural town working as a freelance writer. Someone in some faraway place occasionally wonders what it must be like to live a romantic, adventurous life like this. She uses her imagination to place herself in my chair.

Meanwhile, across the sea from her, another person sneers at the unoriginal outcome of the choices I’ve made. She wonders why anyone would settle for the commonplace. 

Different genes, different decisions and my life may have thundered along another track. As it is, whittled to this singular experience, I will never wear a high-powered business suit to a job in the New York City financial district. I’ll never join a circus and fly through the air with the greatest of ease. I’ll never herd sheep in Patagonia, sail around Cape Horn, deal in fine art, live on the edge of a desert, paint portraits of royalty, map uninhabitable jungles, or absorb myself completely in any reality other than the one in which I find myself.

What near misses have happened to deliver me to this chair in front of this keyboard with these birds singing in the background! One chance encounter could have altered the outcome. One snap judgment could have changed the course. One wrong turn could have dead-ended or branched or circled back. 

I wonder if Geraldine and Tyler Latham of Guymon, Oklahoma ever think this way. They’ve been married 65 years. Born on the same day delivered by the same doctor in the same town, they have never not known each other. The place where they came into the world will likely be the place where they go out of the world. 

Have they ever questioned what might have been had one or the other of them started on the dusty road leading west and got going with too much momentum to stop? What an indulgence to ponder such things!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Good Fortune of Working from Home

My sister, who teaches at a major research institution I shall not name, received an administratively generated email yesterday afternoon. Its contents included the following: 

· The student in the advisory sent earlier this afternoon about the off-campus incident admitted to investigators that the incident she described did not occur. The investigation into this case has been closed.

· The fire alarm in Presidential Village was due to sensor that was activated by a non-fire event.

· There was no machete with a note on the door of a fraternity.

· No shots were fired at Presidential Village.

· The FBI is not on campus, and did not conduct a raid in Paty Hall.

· No one dressed as the Joker was in Tutwiler or on sorority row.

· There was not a man on sorority row with a box tied to him in a threatening manner.

· No one was shot and no one has been arrested.

· No students were choked on the Quad or anywhere else.

I cannot imagine working in a place where nothing happens, though the attempts by co-workers to tie boxes to themselves in threatening manners has probably been entertaining. 

A later communique advised, "I know you do so in every class, but please wrap your arms around all our students today." The vacuum of activity will soon be replaced by sexual harassment lawsuits.

I am so fortunate to work from home.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dog on the Run Read Aloud

My new children's book captures the fun and playfulness of Dog. Dog runs. Dog gets a big surprise.

For a limited time, you can listen to Dog on the Run for free. After that, it will be available from Dog on the Run is available from and free on Kindle when buying a print version. Kids love to turn pages, but the Kindle version is great when traveling.

Now Available from Audible Audio Books:

The Beast of Blue Mountain, my first children's book (released last year) is also available from (your child can turn the pages while listening) and Get the Kindle version free with the print edition purchase.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dog on the Run

This is Dog. Dog runs. Dog chases things. One day Dog gets a big surprise. What will Dog do next?

Dog on the Run is here! Simple text and full color illustrations prime the minds of preschoolers and primary-schoolers, alike. Repetition, pattern and surprise have children wanting to read Dog on the Run again and again. Enjoy the Kindle edition free with the print edition. The Audible version is coming soon.

Make a kid giggle today!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Sentence Essay

Who needs five paragraphs when the crux can be said in three sentences? Since it's back to school time, I think the appropriate essay prompt is the perennial teacher go-to: Write a theme about your summer.

When 99-degree days wash themselves in summer's humidity, one must sigh and accept her fate. No sooner does she complain about the heat than winter comes whistling under the door. The woman, again, longs for August.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Farewell Until I Stay Forever

This is the Old Spring at High Hampton Inn & Country Club. I apologize for the stick that got in the way when I took the picture. You must understand that I risked contact with poison Ivy, mosquito attacks, and spider web entanglement to get this photo.

The spring is located about 75 yards from the main High Hampton entrance down a steep embankment. It has carved it's way through here for thousands of years. Cherokee Indians traveling the Cherokee Trace Trail 2000 years ago stopped to replenish water supplies and refresh themselves. When this property belonged to General Wade Hampton's family, it was their summer water source.

Legend has it that the spring is haunted. Of course the only thing I ran into today was a spider web, but I'm willing to accept the legend. As the story goes, anyone who drinks from the spring will never leave High Hampton. 

I marvel that folks aren't ordering a glass of it with their evening meal. I should have, because today I have to make my own departure. 

But this is not goodbye. High Hampton and I are only parting until I muster the nerve to sip from the spring. This is only a farewell until I come back to stay forever.

The View from Here

Peering across high Hampton Inn & Country Club's Hampton Lake at Rock Mountain stirs a variety of thoughts. It takes me back to my Camp Chattooga Days in the foothills of the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. The surrounding cabins, the inn, the waterfront, the hiking trails remind me of those carefree days of my youth. They even ring a bell for lunch and dinner.

It also returns me to my late teen years when I spent summers working at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. The warm days and cool evenings, the chilly lake water swallowing me when I dove in, the fresh smell of mountain air, the possibilities ahead in every day leap again in my heart. All those years ago I vowed to someday make Western North Carolina my home. I haven't yet.

Some part of those long ago experiences has stayed with me, though I didn't find a way to stay with them. I grew up. I got married. I had babies who turned into children. I got a job. I got busy. Soon, it was too late to go back.

Too late to go back except in my imagination. Gazing at High Hampton Inn & Country Club's Rock Mountain reminds me that I have gone back and I have taken hundreds of readers back with me. 

The Beast of Blue Mountain: A Campfire Story for the Fearful ( captures and bundles that nostalgia. At the same time, the story takes a twist and presents a surprise that appeal to young readers. It's an absolutely perfect book for a place like this.

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