William Faulkner


“It is the writer’s privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.”

William Faulkner

by Sharon Stevens

 This last August as I was putting books on the shelf for the fall semester at WTAMU I came across the textbook, “History of Women In America” by Janet Coryell, required in Professor Jean Stuntz’s history class. Since it was a used text I thumbed through it and came across the radio speech First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt gave on the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I can only imagine how the speech writers must have scrambled franticly for just the right words that day to set the tone for the wife of the president. How Mrs. Roosevelt herself must have agonized as she trembled within to address all those who would listen to her voice, the emotion she knew she must convey. I wonder as well what copy the sponsor, The Pan American Coffee Bureau, had to toss out in support of the history unfolding that could very well affect relations with South America.

This history book is no longer on the shelf. It had been bought by a college student four months ago. So instead on the anniversary of the “day that would live in infamy” I Googled and read those words again, and listened to a recording of what Mrs. Roosevelt spoke December 7, 1941. She noted her husband was hard at work conferring with his cabinet, the heads of state, and even to the Ambassador to Japan. In so many words she was telling the nation that he had everything well in hand and to leave the worrying to him, a sentiment at the time. But she didn’t discount the fears of the mothers, the young people, the community. She, or her speech writers, knew she only had a few minutes with which to celebrate the strength of our United States built on one hundred and sixty five years of sacrifice on American soil.

The world couldn’t know that seventy years later you just had to touch a screen or keypad to take you anywhere in the universe you wanted to travel. Within seconds I pulled up a transcript of that moment in time. I listened to the cultured voice of the president’s wife, the strong words of an American soldier, and the light copy of the advertising sponsor. But the message will always remain the same. Year after year anyone can research any moment of any time recorded in history.

I treasure the ability to read, to research, to remember, to write, to memorialize. I celebrate that generations yet to be born will for a thousand, no a million years be able to question and argue history as it unfolds, all the while looking back on the past as it impacts our future.

I wonder what key points speech writers will write for the president on that day to commemorate our military and those on the home front at the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. All the while as the American people hold their hands over their hearts as the Star Spangled Banner is played.

The following is an excerpt of Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech.

“…You have friends and families in what has suddenly become a danger zone. You cannot escape anxiety. You cannot escape a clutch of fear at your heart and yet I hope that the certainty of what we have to meet will make you rise above these fears. We must go about our daily business more determined than ever to do the ordinary things as well as we can and when we find a way to do anything more in our communities to help others, to build morale, to give a feeling of security, we must do it. Whatever is asked of us I am sure we can accomplish it.

We are the free and unconquerable people of the United States of America!”

Sharon Stevens

Advertisements

TRANSLATION


TRANSLATION
by Sharon Stevens
Recently a student brought textbooks into our bookstore to sell. None of them were being used for the next semester, and a couple were so damaged we were unable to buy them back. Rather than tossing them into the dumpster they decided to leave them with us after we explained that the Mortarboard at WTAMU had a fundraising project to recycle used books.
After the students left I thumbed through some of them. One was “The Western Heritage” and covered not cowboys or cattle drives, but Greeks, Romans, Thucydides, Aristrophanes, and the like, the very basis of our civilization. All Greek to me. Another of the books was “Searching, Researching Internet and the World Wide Web”. More Greek.
By far the most interesting of those left behind was the ones with a language I couldn’t decipher, unable to make heads nor tails of the titles. One of the books even appeared to be an inspirational day book with an inscription or dedication handwritten in Chinese characters. Thats when I discovered they were written in Korean. Or at least this is what the one page printed in English read.
I would have loved to have known the story of who wrote the words. I wonder if it was given to a student by his or her parents as they prepared to leave their ancestral home to cross the world to study at a foreign university? Could it have been inscribed by a beloved teacher or grandparent and given as a gift to give them strength as they ventured out into the world?
Who would ever know the memories treasured within? Surely not me. I can’t read Korean, and I don’t have friends that can translate either.
This reminded me of a letter I found in Loula Grace Erdman’s scrapbooks housed at the Cornette Library on the campus at WTAMU. Erdman’s publisher R.T Bond with Dodd, Mead & Company Inc. sent a note dated November 14, 1960 concerning her book “Years of the Locust”, informing her that this was to be translated into Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Indonesian. The body of the letter explained, This will pay you only about Sixty dollars-but think of the fun you will have in reading your own writing in Urdu!
Barbara Brannon author and marketing manager for Texas Tech University Press received inspiration from Erdman’s book, The Wind Blows Free for her Christmas greeting with music and verse for “Red Hawk in the Sky/Fe’lark in the Grass, Two Plains Fables for the holiday season 2011”. Brannon will be the guest speaker for the January meeting of Panhandle Professional Writers (PPW) and will be speaking on “Circles of Desire: A Workshop for Refining Your Plot and Synopsis (Fiction or Creative Nonfiction).”
And this is what links me to this blog. You never know where you will find that next bit of trivia that will brighten your story, or even lead it in another direction. A word, phrase or quote can change things in an instant, drag you back to reality, or give your character dimensions you never knew they possessed.
Even though you think a book has no connection to the story you are writing you may find the catalyst to spur it forward. Any genre can benefit with a fresh look from another perspective to keep it bright and alive instead of stale and flat. Reading something outside your focus just might be the ticket to help you break free.
Take for example my last blog about buses. Who knew that it would link to so many memories? And one of the responses from “Neeks” spurred me to share with my writing critique group her idea of using three words and making a story out of it.
To get back on track. Beginning with the January meeting of the Panhandle Professional Writers I am going to set up a table of all sorts of discarded books from our bookstore in hopes that someone might find inspiration within the pages. All proceeds will go to benefit the Frontiers in Writing Conference.
There will also be an extra jar for loose change collected for scholarships for Opportunity Plan Inc., This is one of our pet projects at our Buffalo Bookstore.
On display will be all sorts of books. Some of them on public speaking can help spur you on with how to face an audience at a booksigning or as a guest speaker. We ALL need to be prepared. Government books can direct you to write about politics or political history. What a great time to live in a democracy! It doesn’t have to be just about Freedom or Civil Rights to make a good story. Look at “The Help”. What a tale Kathryn Stockett wove around a period in our history.
And how about a book on marketing to expand your horizons on social media or community projects or marketing in general. Retail, salespeople, customer service can open your eyes to the workplace or writing for business, or even a “Chicken Soup For the Soul”.
What about exercise? These books never go out of date and those used in physical education can be useful when you hit a wall in your writing. It only requires a few moments to get out of your chair and stretch that can brighten your focus to face your worst writers block.
Come see what books you can find to inspire you in your writing. Celebrate the journey, not your destination. You never know where you will find something that will help in the translation.
Loula Grace Erdman’s letter from Dodd, Mead tells her, This is a Franklin Publication and is a part of the American effort to bring the best things in America to the Attention of the World Beyond. Now we will both stand up and face the flag while the Star Spangled Banner is played.”
Please make plans to attend the Panhandle Professional Writers bi-monthly meeting on Saturday January 21, 2012. PPW is a wonderful, active, organization that is doing some great things for all levels of the writing community. The Frontiers in Writing Conference at Amarillo College in June will be an exciting time for any writer. Jodi Thomas’ Writing Academy in July rounds out the summer programs.
PPW’s meeting will be held at the East Campus of St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western, Amarillo. The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is $10 and requires an R.S.V.P. Please call or email Janet Taylor, Hospitality Chair, at 282-1227 or “mailto:ppwlunch@gmail.com” by Tuesday, January 17. There is a $5 program guest fee, which will be deferred if the guest joins PPW that day. PPW dues are $30 annually and renew each January. (That’s this month, folks!) Students with school ID will be charged a $1 guest fee. Our January program, Circles of Desire: A Workshop for Refining Your Plot and Synopsis (Fiction or Creative Nonfiction), will be presented by writer, photographer, musician, artist, and Marketing Manager at Texas Tech University Press, Barbara Brannon. Janet Cooper Taylor 1918 S. Tyler St. Amarillo, TX 79109 806-282-1227
Sharon Stevens

Anthologies a Good Place To Start


Anthologies a Good Place To Start.

by Natalie Bright

While you’re working on the novel have you thought about submitting a few short pieces to build your pub clip file and boost your ego?

Our critique group, WordsmithSix, came together in part from connections made through a local writing organization to combine with an existing group who lost several members, and through long time friends and new neighbors. We’ve been meeting since 2009.

We began with a common goal—get published. We’ve consistently produced, read our work to the group, revised (and revised some more), and submitted. Between us we’re now multi-published across several genres in short stories, inspirational, devotionals, and kid lit. Since 2010 we became active bloggers. Each success motivates us to keep writing. Every meeting inspires us to work harder.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. I’d like to share a few of our recent works with you.

The Least He Could Do And Eleven Other Stories

Featuring Miss Bitsy by Nandy Ekle

From StoneThread Publishing comes an eclectic collection of twelve short stories. At times you’ll laugh out loud, and at times you’ll have to stop reading to let your heart calm down. This edition includes a story from WordsmithSix member Nandy Ekle. Miss Bitsy tells the tale about a kindly neighborhood grandmother who isn’t all she appears to be. This story gave me chills when I first read it in critique group, and I’m thrilled that it’s out there for everyone to enjoy. Way to go Nandy!

The Least He Could Do And Eleven Other Stories 51xt5BNVf3L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers

Featuring The Challenge by Rory C. Keel
Features 101 Motivational Stories for Writers. Sometimes we need to be challenged to write, and this would make a great gift for those special writers in your life. This edition features The Challenge, by WordsmithSix author Rory C. Keel.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writerscss-inspiration-for-writers-2

West Texas Christmas Stories

Featuring A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings by Natalie Bright

An anthology of more than 30 Christmas stories–short and upbeat, set in West Texas or by West Texas writers including Elmer Kelton and John Erickson. You’ll laugh out loud at the clever piece by editor Glenn Dromgoole about a holiday fruitcake, while other stories will evoke warm memories about past holidays.  My story, A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings, was inspired by the cowboys and their families who live and work on Texas cattle ranches. It’s an age old tradition and a proud heritage that continues today.

Texas Christmas Stories west texas christmas stories

Remember, books make great gifts!

www.nataliebright.com

William Faulkner


“It is the writer’s privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.”

William Faulkner

by Sharon Stevens

 This last August as I was putting books on the shelf for the fall semester at WTAMU I came across the textbook, “History of Women In America” by Janet Coryell, required in Professor Jean Stuntz’s history class. Since it was a used text I thumbed through it and came across the radio speech First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt gave on the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I can only imagine how the speech writers must have scrambled franticly for just the right words that day to set the tone for the wife of the president. How Mrs. Roosevelt herself must have agonized as she trembled within to address all those who would listen to her voice, the emotion she knew she must convey. I wonder as well what copy the sponsor, The Pan American Coffee Bureau, had to toss out in support of the history unfolding that could very well affect relations with South America.

This history book is no longer on the shelf. It had been bought by a college student four months ago. So instead on the anniversary of the “day that would live in infamy” I Googled and read those words again, and listened to a recording of what Mrs. Roosevelt spoke December 7, 1941. She noted her husband was hard at work conferring with his cabinet, the heads of state, and even to the Ambassador to Japan. In so many words she was telling the nation that he had everything well in hand and to leave the worrying to him, a sentiment at the time. But she didn’t discount the fears of the mothers, the young people, the community. She, or her speech writers, knew she only had a few minutes with which to celebrate the strength of our United States built on one hundred and sixty five years of sacrifice on American soil.

The world couldn’t know that seventy years later you just had to touch a screen or keypad to take you anywhere in the universe you wanted to travel. Within seconds I pulled up a transcript of that moment in time. I listened to the cultured voice of the president’s wife, the strong words of an American soldier, and the light copy of the advertising sponsor. But the message will always remain the same. Year after year anyone can research any moment of any time recorded in history.

I treasure the ability to read, to research, to remember, to write, to memorialize. I celebrate that generations yet to be born will for a thousand, no a million years be able to question and argue history as it unfolds, all the while looking back on the past as it impacts our future.

I wonder what key points speech writers will write for the president on that day to commemorate our military and those on the home front at the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. All the while as the American people hold their hands over their hearts as the Star Spangled Banner is played.

The following is an excerpt of Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech.

“…You have friends and families in what has suddenly become a danger zone. You cannot escape anxiety. You cannot escape a clutch of fear at your heart and yet I hope that the certainty of what we have to meet will make you rise above these fears. We must go about our daily business more determined than ever to do the ordinary things as well as we can and when we find a way to do anything more in our communities to help others, to build morale, to give a feeling of security, we must do it. Whatever is asked of us I am sure we can accomplish it.

We are the free and unconquerable people of the United States of America!”

Sharon Stevens

BOGGLE


BOGGLE 

“Gather all the witnesses you can…”
Twilight  Breaking Dawn Part 2
 
By Sharon Stevens
 
Years ago our family used to play a word game called “Boggle”. The object was to shake the box with the letter squares, and then turn over the hourglass timer and to try to make words out of the letters. The more letters you formed into words the more points you gained. To our family this was a fun game, noisy but fun.
 
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we have a trillion or more words right at our fingertips?
 
If we are writing a story we can pluck thoughts and ideas out of our hearts, our soul, our minds and our very being. We can take these bits and pieces and shape them into anything we choose. Every genre starts with something this simple.
 
Think of this…pick a word, any word and turn it into horror, romance, fiction, non-fiction, laughter, darkness, pain, or joy. See how easy it is to twist and turn groupings of letters into ideas and dreams.
 
At the end right before the credits of Twilight- Breaking Dawn 2 I witnessed certain words highlighted out of Stephanie Myers book. Words like “forever” came to light and it struck me how these same letters could be linked together in so many ways to convey every feeling humanly possible.
 
And this is my Thanksgiving wish for all. I am most thankful that there are so very many ways to turn the alphabet into wonderful memories. Not only that, to know how great it is to be able to read and write and share with the blessings of our American freedom. To me this is the symbol of a true Thanksgiving.
 
One word at a time!

HEART


HEART 

by Sharon Stevens

A mother and her young son came into our bookstore to price college textbooks. After they found what they were looking for we took a moment to discuss the high price of books, the terribly hot weather, the rising cost of fuel, groceries, school clothes, work clothes, play clothes, cost of living and just life in general. As they were leaving I invited them to rummage through the basket up front that I keep filled with trinkets of stickers, bubbles, necklaces, bracelets, bouncing balls, slinkys and other such odds and ends that find their way into my stash.

The mother declined but encouraged her son to go through and pick something out to take home. After stirring everything up with his fingers he reached in and chose a golden heart bracelet and shared it with his mom. But he didn’t just pass it on to her, he placed it against her chest and told her he chose it special for her because it reminded him of her heart. The look she shared with her son for this wonderful gift I will carry in MY heart forever. What a precious thought from a young man to his mom.

The dictionary definition of heart describes it as a “chambered muscular organ in vertebrates that pumps blood”. I understand that. You have to have a heart to survive. But I also recognize that heart transcends all definitions and connections. Thomas C. Foster mentions in his book “How to Read Literature Like A Professor” that a heart can have so many different meanings. His book reminds me to never look at a heart simply the same way again.

And if I had my druthers I would choose for my definition the verb tense that describes a heart as one that encourages. Even though it is not in general use it fits me to a capital H.

I watched the mother and son leave our store after just heartbeats in time. I wonder how many pulses were exchanged between the three of us not only in that lifespan, but how many hours that moment will sustain us for the future. Who knows.

It wasn’t until after they left that I realized the young man had placed the bracelet heart against the RIGHT side of his mother’s chest instead of the left.

No matter, his mother and I both knew which side her heart was on.

– Sharon Stevens

Click on the author page above to connect with Sharon.

PERSPICACITY


PERSPICACITY

by Sharon Stevens

I just hate research. I hate it, HATE it, HATE IT!! Can I tell you how much I hate it. Let me count the ways.

I just start out with one note, one page, one idea and before you know it I am thrown in a million different directions. Take today for instance. We had a gentleman come into our Buffalo Bookstore. He and his wife are retired professors from Buffalo New York. They were in Ireland visiting the national park of the Adair family. They came across information about the Adairs and the connection to the Goodnights, and then found where they could research at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Voila, they were here.

You cannot imagine the journeys our conversation traveled. We talked about the town, the heritage, books, the community here and there. We discussed their passions, our passions and everything in between and found connections with every connection. Unbelievable!

So this evening I was researching in the book “The Panhandle Plains Historical Society and its Museum” by Joseph Hill and came across the word “perspicacity”. I had never heard or seen this word and had no clue what it pertained to. I read it in the context of the sentence but unsure of the true meaning. So of course I had to look it up. And then I had to look it up with the next definition and the next. You know how they have Wikipedia and free this and free that. Well you know the rest of this story. No one needs a rocket scientist to tell you the name of that tune. This means I had to spend the better part of an hour or more going back and forth searching for the perfect definition for my blog that would make the most sense. I AM a writer you know. Well actually I was working on my story for the Llano Cemetery Walk hosted by the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum on October 19, 2013 from 3-7:30pm, but that’s another story.

Back to my original thought,… nope,… can’t go there yet until I copy, paste, and file away for future reference something interesting that I found in the book that surely I can use someday, somewhere, in my next endeavor. So proud of me. That time it only took thirty minutes out of my lifetime. And if you are really dying to read, this is what I came across. I can’t help but to share. I know you will find it just as interesting as I did. So sad you can’t make it to the library to look it up yourself so I will do it for you. Glad to do it. Ask me anytime. Glad to be of service. This is what I live for. No trouble at all … “And here we have the pattern that really built the institution-a clear vision of the possibilities, a strong conviction as to its merit, unselfish devotion to a challenging undertaking, a good public relations program, a co-operative spirit on the part of all interested people, an annual fellowship meeting around a banquet table, and a sound and aggressive leadership.”

Before I knew it the evening was over and I hadn’t written the body of the text, just the definition at the top of the page. There is nothing I can accomplish with just one word. It takes all of them put together to make a functioning, viable statement. Or so they tell me.

Anyway, back to research. If there is one thing I need to change in my writing career is that I need to take a topic, follow just one thread, or one connection, for a focused amount of time and immediately get back to the basis of the article. I cannot spend all my time with “research” and neglect what brought me to this idea in the first place. Oh well, I’ll try to do better. I just wish DeWanna Pace and Jodi Thomas had shared how to limit my research time years ago when I took creative writing from them. My life would have been so much simpler.

But in all honesty, I so love research. It brings me such joy! I just wish I could control it more.

And the definition of the word perspicacity…you will have to look it up yourself and choose your own definition. I have too much writing to do.

THE DOT


THE DOT

By Sharon Stevens

“But if you really want to read everything, you’ve got to convince them to open up all the way. Not until then will you be able to read the fine print of the soul.” Advice of Mary Grace in THE NOTE by Angela Hunt

Today was a whopper as far as the roller coaster of emotions goes. One minute I was so up, the next slightly down, and the next crashing to the bottom, and the next soaring above the clouds.

Well, of course at first was the grieving as well as the celebration for those lost and honored with 9/11. So many memorials, so many flags. And then there was the worry about Syria, oh and small town politics. Usual run of the mill stuff. Our daughter called and then our other daughter called. One pair close in miles and the other separated by distance but not by love. Oh how it warms my heart and soul when they call if even for just moments. I need that tangible touch even if they really don’t. When they’re finished even though I‘m not …“Got to go mom, really mom, I’ve truly got to go. Please mom, I need to get off the phone. I love you mom, but my husband is on the other line, or a friend, or my boss, or dad. Hate to cut you off but I got to go. Talk to you soon. Bye, bye again, bye-bye again.” Why do cell phones no longer click to announce they are gone. It would be so much easier.

I had just finished reading Angela Hunt’s, “The Note” and was shaken that she got the inspiration for the book about a plane crash in September 2000. Another roller coaster.

This evening I was watching the semi-finals of “America’s Got Talent”. The son of our own home grown Billy and Judy Carpenter Howell is the producer. Houston Howell went to WTAMU and made it across country to New York Radio City Music Hall to produce everything for this event. What a wonderful way to celebrate the pure beauty of those souls and their families from 9/11! Roller coaster!

But in between this morning and this evening I thought I was handling everything fairly well UNTIL. A young girl walked into our bookstore and asked if we had any children’s books. Well, I asked her, why was she asking. She didn’t seem shy, but just hesitant. The ladies down at the Canyon Public Library sent me here when I asked them the same question, she said. But WHY are you asking I asked again. She said she was looking for donations for their business for the kids to set up a little library, and needed books to stock it. But who is it for, I asked.

It’s for the children, she said.

She worked for Specialized Therapy Services in Amarillo where they provide exercise, speech, and therapy for all kinds of needs. They thought it would be wonderful to have a little children’s library for the kids to have books, but also so that they could read to the kids as they underwent their sessions.

“The thing that impresses me the most about our kids is that our kids own that school emotionally. They know they belong here and they are 100 percent accepted and loved and challenged. Loving them is not enough. “Karen Day, Specialized Therapy Services

Overwhelmed with emotions wasn’t the words I was looking for as I stared at her across the counter, but there were no words to do justice either. So I would just have to go with those sounds that tumbled straight out of my mouth. And then I began to gather a book here and a book there. Lynn Brown and her daughter Jamie Allan from the Playhouse Day Care had left off some books, one was even Eric Carle’s, something about Kangaroos I believe. That would do I would think. I told this young girl in front of me that our stock was so low as we had sent so many cases last year donated by Jan Henson Dickerson and her family that were sent down to our daughter, Andrea Keller. She teaches in Irving Texas, and one of their kids at Sally B. Elliott Elementary School had started a program, THE GIFT OF READING, to give every kid in the school three books for Christmas.

As I gathered up the meager hodge-podge of books around our play area I thought and thought. “Do I dare?” My next thought, “Of course”. My final thought. “No question!”

The evening before I had purchased Peter Reynold’s book, “The Dot” from Barnes and Nobles in Amarillo. Andrea had called making sure I was getting ready for International Dot Day on September 15, 2013 and I wanted to be prepared. I had already talked with Lynn at the Playhouse, Nikki and Debbie at Stevens Flowers, the Paper Crane Art Shop just to pass the word so they could be involved as well on dot day. Even though I knew what the book was about I had never seen a copy or read the text. When I bought this book I carried it lovingly in my arms until I got into the truck to have a moment to read to my hearts content. I read it once, another, and yet another, and over and over again. I brushed my hand across the pages, touched the artwork and made my mark. My plans had been to take it by the shops I had listed above so that they could read the book, and pass it on to the next business so we could all celebrate Dot Day in any way we choose or chose. What a grand idea!

But alas, here in front of me was a young girl gathering donations for special kids at her work. No brainer. I retrieved the book from the store bag with the receipt still inside. “The Dot” would have another home. I turned it to her and opened the pages one after the other so she could read the words and see the art and feel the story itself. And when she was finished I slipped my brand spanking new copy inside her bag (the Buffalo Bookstore bag), and told her it was a gift. I shared about Dot Day, and Peter Reynolds, and Andrea Keller, and the Gift of Reading, and how this was the same sort of project my daughter would volunteer for and be involved in God bless her very wonderful and sweet soul. But I had forgotten something. I removed the book again and opened the front page. Such a beautiful, and empty front page. So very many possibilities. I started to write, but my hands were so shaky and my heart was so full I was making a mess. “I couldn’t even draw a straight line with a ruler.”

I turned the book and asked her to “make her mark”. She had such beautiful handwriting. And this is what I inspired her to write, my favorite quote from Helen Hayes, “From your parents you learn love and laughter,” (she wrote it laughter and love, doesn’t make a hill of beans) “and how to put one foot before another, but when books are opened you discover you have wings.” How apropos.

We made our marks in these moments. Her generation and mine. We stood across the counter from each other and shared our passions in one fell swoop. In our family, in our business, in our city, in our university of WTAMU, in our county, in our state (the Great state of Texas I might add), in our country, in our world, internationally, globally, in every way, shape or form we made our mark. And it was pure, it was grand, and it was stupendous! On every level with every emotion we shared, connected, and linked our heritage, our legacies. No stone was left unturned. On this remembrance of 9/11 we remembered and honored in such a way that I knew the Angels in the Heavens above were celebrating. How could they not.

Oh the emotions that were flowing in those moments. She was going to take the books and share the message and tell the story and read to the kids over and over again. But something more important. She would remember how she felt and what she would treasure. She just might carry this in her heart and pass it on at church, or camp, or college or where ever she may travel. If she marries and has children she might buy her own copy to read to her kids or share it with her husband so he can read it as well.

Andrea shared with me that she gave it as a baby shower gift for a good friend that she taught with in Amarillo that was even signed by the author. Now this copy has made it from one side of the nation to the other. What a gift this is now and will be in years to come. And just think when these children are struggling with whatever brings them pain no matter the age, they can bring out this book and remember the love of a parent or a guidance of a teacher to just make their mark and see where it takes them.

Peter and Kerith Buckingham stopped in our bookstore on their journey around the world. This leg was traveling on Route 66 and they dipped down so they could visit the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum and Palo Duro Canyon. They got their latte next door at Vince’s Vinyl, but he didn’t have any “biscuits” (cookies) so they came next door as we always have cookies in the cooky jar. I found out they were from Australia and driving from country to country in their bright, canary yellow MG. Such delightful people they were. They loved book shops which meant they had come to the right place.

I just happened to have a copy of Canyon’s 100th  anniversary Canyon News edition that I slipped into their bag. I had one of Jodi Thomas’ books that found its way into the mix. Jodi is my favorite author and friend celebrating 25 years of writing and 10 years of her fan club. I, along with Connie Hirsch and Natalie Bright are founding members, just so you know.

I had just picked up a book by Elmore Leonard who had passed away that day, and put it into their bag. The book, not Elmore.

As always I made up a bag about our area with the Amarillo Magazine and Texas Highways and Canyon News and everything else. As THEY, Peter and Kerith (Don’t you just love that name?) as they shared of their travels I was reminded of the book, “After You Marco Polo” by Jean Bowie Shor. I dug through my collection (translation-hoarding) of materials until I found a quote from the book about Jean’s travels and slipped it into the bag as well. I then sent them on their way having NO idea where they could put anything more into their tiny car or how, but they made it fit. Thank goodness they weren’t Texas sized people or they would have been in real trouble. I snapped their picture and they were on their way never to be seen again. Well actually, Craig Keel, a fellow blogger spotted them in Colorado at a gas station. He said no one could miss their bright yellow car.

I will be the first to admit I can’t draw. Never have been able to and never want to try. This isn’t my thing. I don’t want to write the great American novel either. I don’t want to hold office or make great speeches. Nope, that isn’t my style. But as a writer of sorts I want to share the stories and remember the memories. Why is that so wrong? I want to see polar bears in snow storms on a blank piece of white paper because the image of a polar bear reminds me of my grandmother and makes me smile, and I want to tell HER story.

But what I truly want to do is to make my mark, and see where it goes, even with something as simple as writing a blog.

Thanks Andrea Keller and Peter Reynolds for making your mark so I could share your story even all the way down to the fine print.

PERSPICACITY


PERSPICACITY

by Sharon Stevens

I just hate research. I hate it, HATE it, HATE IT!! Can I tell you how much I hate it. Let me count the ways.

I just start out with one note, one page, one idea and before you know it I am thrown in a million different directions. Take today for instance. We had a gentleman come into our Buffalo Bookstore. He and his wife are retired professors from Buffalo New York. They were in Ireland visiting the national park of the Adair family. They came across information about the Adairs and the connection to the Goodnights, and then found where they could research at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Voila, they were here.

You cannot imagine the journeys our conversation traveled. We talked about the town, the heritage, books, the community here and there. We discussed their passions, our passions and everything in between and found connections with every connection. Unbelievable!

So this evening I was researching in the book “The Panhandle Plains Historical Society and its Museum” by Joseph Hill and came across the word “perspicacity”. I had never heard or seen this word and had no clue what it pertained to. I read it in the context of the sentence but unsure of the true meaning. So of course I had to look it up. And then I had to look it up with the next definition and the next. You know how they have Wikipedia and free this and free that. Well you know the rest of this story. No one needs a rocket scientist to tell you the name of that tune. This means I had to spend the better part of an hour or more going back and forth searching for the perfect definition for my blog that would make the most sense. I AM a writer you know. Well actually I was working on my story for the Llano Cemetery Walk hosted by the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum on October 19, 2013 from 3-7:30pm, but that’s another story.

Back to my original thought,… nope,… can’t go there yet until I copy, paste, and file away for future reference something interesting that I found in the book that surely I can use someday, somewhere, in my next endeavor. So proud of me. That time it only took thirty minutes out of my lifetime. And if you are really dying to read, this is what I came across. I can’t help but to share. I know you will find it just as interesting as I did. So sad you can’t make it to the library to look it up yourself so I will do it for you. Glad to do it. Ask me anytime. Glad to be of service. This is what I live for. No trouble at all … “And here we have the pattern that really built the institution-a clear vision of the possibilities, a strong conviction as to its merit, unselfish devotion to a challenging undertaking, a good public relations program, a co-operative spirit on the part of all interested people, an annual fellowship meeting around a banquet table, and a sound and aggressive leadership.”

Before I knew it the evening was over and I hadn’t written the body of the text, just the definition at the top of the page. There is nothing I can accomplish with just one word. It takes all of them put together to make a functioning, viable statement. Or so they tell me.

Anyway, back to research. If there is one thing I need to change in my writing career is that I need to take a topic, follow just one thread, or one connection, for a focused amount of time and immediately get back to the basis of the article. I cannot spend all my time with “research” and neglect what brought me to this idea in the first place. Oh well, I’ll try to do better. I just wish DeWanna Pace and Jodi Thomas had shared how to limit my research time years ago when I took creative writing from them. My life would have been so much simpler.

But in all honesty, I so love research. It brings me such joy! I just wish I could control it more.

And the definition of the word perspicacity…you will have to look it up yourself and choose your own definition. I have too much writing to do.

PERSPICACITY


PERSPICACITY

by Sharon Stevens

 

I just hate research. I hate it, HATE it, HATE IT!! Can I tell you how much I hate it. Let me count the ways.

I just start out with one note, one page, one idea and before you know it I am thrown in a million different directions. Take today for instance. We had a gentleman come into our Buffalo Bookstore. He and his wife are retired professors from Buffalo New York. They were in Ireland visiting the national park of the Adair family. They came across information about the Adairs and the connection to the Goodnights, and then found where they could research at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Voila, they were here.

You cannot imagine the journeys our conversation traveled. We talked about the town, the heritage, books, the community here and there. We discussed their passions, our passions and everything in between and found connections with every connection. Unbelievable!

So this evening I was researching in the book “The Panhandle Plains Historical Society and its Museum” by Joseph Hill and came across the word “perspicacity”. I had never heard or seen this word and had no clue what it pertained to. I read it in the context of the sentence but unsure of the true meaning. So of course I had to look it up. And then I had to look it up with the next definition and the next. You know how they have Wikipedia and free this and free that. Well you know the rest of this story. No one needs a rocket scientist to tell you the name of that tune. This means I had to spend the better part of an hour or more going back and forth searching for the perfect definition for my blog that would make the most sense. I AM a writer you know. Well actually I was working on my story for the Llano Cemetery Walk hosted by the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum on October 19, 2013 from 3-7:30pm, but that’s another story.

Back to my original thought,… nope,… can’t go there yet until I copy, paste, and file away for future reference something interesting that I found in the book that surely I can use someday, somewhere, in my next endeavor. So proud of me. That time it only took thirty minutes out of my lifetime. And if you are really dying to read, this is what I came across. I can’t help but to share. I know you will find it just as interesting as I did. So sad you can’t make it to the library to look it up yourself so I will do it for you. Glad to do it. Ask me anytime. Glad to be of service. This is what I live for. No trouble at all … “And here we have the pattern that really built the institution-a clear vision of the possibilities, a strong conviction as to its merit, unselfish devotion to a challenging undertaking, a good public relations program, a co-operative spirit on the part of all interested people, an annual fellowship meeting around a banquet table, and a sound and aggressive leadership.”

Before I knew it the evening was over and I hadn’t written the body of the text, just the definition at the top of the page. There is nothing I can accomplish with just one word. It takes all of them put together to make a functioning, viable statement. Or so they tell me.

Anyway, back to research. If there is one thing I need to change in my writing career is that I need to take a topic, follow just one thread, or one connection, for a focused amount of time and immediately get back to the basis of the article. I cannot spend all my time with “research” and neglect what brought me to this idea in the first place. Oh well, I’ll try to do better. I just wish DeWanna Pace and Jodi Thomas had shared how to limit my research time years ago when I took creative writing from them. My life would have been so much simpler.

But in all honesty, I so love research. It brings me such joy! I just wish I could control it more.

And the definition of the word perspicacity…you will have to look it up yourself and choose your own definition. I have too much writing to do.