The Gift


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Gift

By Nandy Ekle

 

I’ve got the characters. I can hear their voices and see their faces. She throws roses into the arena. The bright sunshine glints off the sequins on his suit making him look like a glowing god. He bends down, scoops up one of her roses, and makes a big gesture of smelling it. In the background, the opponent beats against the toril, the gate to the arena. She sucks in a deep breath as the crashing of the monster’s body gets louder.

I have the situation. The female character and the male character are unable to deny their attraction to each other. Their love causes the conflict, and the monster behind the gate raises the stakes, as does the third character, her husband.

I’ve been researching my heart out. I’ve had to learn some history, some new words, a very different culture, and even different names. I’ve had to look up facts, rules, and definitions. And just when I’m ready to start writing, a new question comes up and I go back to Google.

I’ve worked so hard gathering information that I’ve gotten myself extremely excited to get this going. So I open the computer, put my fingers on the keyboard, and . . . . . . . sit there. You see, reality has happened. Overtime on the day job. Laundry piled up. Empty refrigerator. And then, the top of the list, a big time illness pops up.

So I’ve promised myself a gift. This weekend I will take my computer to a quiet little coffee shop and not allow myself to leave until I write the words “The End.”

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Which social media platforms should a writer use?


Which social media platforms should I as a writer, have a presence on?

By Rory C. Keel

roryckeel.com

As we discussed on my blog post last week called Basic Social Media for Writers, that Social media for business has become the norm. For a writer it is no different, you are a business and your customers are your readers.

With literally hundreds of options to choose from such as Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube, it could drive a person mad. Before deciding on which social media venue to have a presence, you need to do your research.

RESEARCH

First, you need to develop a platform of readership. Choose a B2C social media platform. B2C simply means a business–to-customer platform that will allow you as a business, to focus on your genre and connect with your readers, the customers.

Second, understand what the venue is and how it works.

A Blog is a place to publish thoughts, tips, ideas. Regular blogs provide keyword-rich content for search engines and can help create you as an expert in your field.

Facebook, Google +, Myspace and other similar platforms, are used to connect and interact with your audience with personal and/or business pages

Twitter allows you to follow and connect with a target audience.

Tweeting about your writing with excerpts, answering questions, and offering helpful insights can help to build loyal readership.

YouTube is the top site for user generated video content. It’s a place to share your business by how-to videos, video readings, discussions, or simply a video introducing YOU.

Other social media sites use the medium of photos to share ideas and communication, such as Instagram and Pintrest.

Another type of social media platform is a B2B platform. B2B simply refers to a Business-to-Business platform. In another words a wholesaler to you as a business.

As a writer, you need access to editors, publishers, or agents. You might even need connections with an ink cartridge and paper supply company. You as a business can connect with others who offer services you need.

LinkedIN is an example of this type of platform and has a business focus.

Having the proper research and information, you can begin to formulate an idea of which social media platform to focus your attention.

With that in mind, next week we will discuss how to best manage your social media so that you will still have time to write.

 

Which social media platforms should a writer use?


Which social media platforms should I as a writer, have a presence on?

By Rory C. Keel

As we discussed on my blog post last week called Basic Social Media for Writers, that Social media for business has become the norm. For a writer it is no different, you are a business and your customers are your readers.

With literally hundreds of options to choose from such as Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube, it could drive a person mad. Before deciding on which social media venue to have a presence, you need to do your research.

RESEARCH

First, you need to develop a platform of readership. Choose a B2C social media platform. B2C simply means a business–to-customer platform that will allow you as a business, to focus on your genre and connect with your readers, the customers.

Second, understand what the venue is and how it works.

A Blog is a place to publish thoughts, tips, ideas. Regular blogs provide keyword-rich content for search engines and can help create you as an expert in your field.

Facebook, Google +, Myspace and other similar platforms, are used to connect and interact with your audience with personal and/or business pages

Twitter allows you to follow and connect with a target audience.

Tweeting about your writing with excerpts, answering questions, and offering helpful insights can help to build loyal readership.

YouTube is the top site for user generated video content. It’s a place to share your business by how-to videos, video readings, discussions, or simply a video introducing YOU.

Other social media sites use the medium of photos to share ideas and communication, such as Instagram and Pintrest.

Another type of social media platform is a B2B platform. B2B simply refers to a Business-to-Business platform. In another words a wholesaler to you as a business.

As a writer, you need access to editors, publishers, or agents. You might even need connections with an ink cartridge and paper supply company. You as a business can connect with others who offer services you need.

LinkedIN is an example of this type of platform and has a business focus.

Having the proper research and information, you can begin to formulate an idea of which social media platform to focus your attention.

With that in mind, next week we will discuss how to best manage your social media so that you will still have time to write.

 

Which social media platforms should a writer use?


Which social media platforms should I as a writer, have a presence on?

By Rory C. Keel

As we discussed on my blog post last week called Basic Social Media for Writers, that Social media for business has become the norm. For a writer it is no different, you are a business and your customers are your readers.

With literally hundreds of options to choose from such as Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube, it could drive a person mad. Before deciding on which social media venue to have a presence, you need to do your research.

RESEARCH

First, you need to develop a platform of readership. Choose a B2C social media platform. B2C simply means a business–to-customer platform that will allow you as a business, to focus on your genre and connect with your readers, the customers.

Second, understand what the venue is and how it works.

A Blog is a place to publish thoughts, tips, ideas. Regular blogs provide keyword-rich content for search engines and can help create you as an expert in your field.

Facebook, Google +, Myspace and other similar platforms, are used to connect and interact with your audience with personal and/or business pages

Twitter allows you to follow and connect with a target audience.

Tweeting about your writing with excerpts, answering questions, and offering helpful insights can help to build loyal readership.

YouTube is the top site for user generated video content. It’s a place to share your business by how-to videos, video readings, discussions, or simply a video introducing YOU.

Other social media sites use the medium of photos to share ideas and communication, such as Instagram and Pintrest.

Another type of social media platform is a B2B platform. B2B simply refers to a Business-to-Business platform. In another words a wholesaler to you as a business.

As a writer, you need access to editors, publishers, or agents. You might even need connections with an ink cartridge and paper supply company. You as a business can connect with others who offer services you need.

LinkedIN is an example of this type of platform and has a business focus.

Having the proper research and information, you can begin to formulate an idea of which social media platform to focus your attention.

With that in mind, next week we will discuss how to best manage your social media so that you will still have time to write.

 

DISCOVER THE PROMISE


DISCOVER THE PROMISE

by Sharon Stevens

I don’t know what I feel each time I watch the viral video of Karen Klein being bullied on the school bus. There are no words. None! Of course there is disgust and there is anger, and there is dismay, and there is outrage, and there are tears, so many, many tears.

It was so hard to distance myself from the words of horror I had witnessed so I approached it from a different angle. I decided to Google Greece Town New York, the city where the incident occurred. It seemed like such a pleasant place filled with a cross section of humanity. Who knew the town with the motto of “discover the promise” would harbor families that raised such ugliness. Sort of like our own Tulia Texas who faced a tragedy of its own a few years ago.

Still there were no words.

I can only imagine the pain Karen went through listening as they taunted her. What gave her the grace to not lash out at the kids? How many times did she face this in the past? What words did she carry in her heart and soul that brought her peace with each mile she rode?

No one knows, no one can fathom…ever, forever!

And then there is Sandusky!

Everyone needs inspiration! We face unspeakable horrors, pain, and tragedies, but also tremendous joys and celebrations. No matter the media we still need to discover the words that keep us whole and sane and center our soul.

Those of us who love to write try to find words in everything that crosses our path. When I put pen to paper or fingers to computer I want to set down all thoughts and every feeling. It is important for me to make sure each and every person understands what I am trying to say whether they want to or not. I know I need to focus, and tighten. There is no question I have a problem, but I need this. I live for this. I cherish this. In all the terrible destruction in the world with writing I can find a solace in my soul.

And I think this is why attending writing conferences like Frontiers in Writing matter so much to me. As I sit in a room with others I soak up inspiration from not only the speaker, but each person in the room. The questions they ask and even the way they frame their queries gives me a glimmer of hope. At the very least I find a quote phrased in-between the ideas. I can study the characters around me at the same time. Names, plots, settings, emotions, all find their way into my psyche and my notes.

But you don’t always need to share just with written words. Take for example Delbert Trew’s column in the Amarillo Globe News about his family’s mercantile store. When I read the article I knew the words would be perfect for Biffle and Cross Mercantile for the opening of the new Pioneer Town at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. I made copies and carried them over and placed them in the store. On the way back to the Buffalo Bookstore I just had to stop under the shadow of the American and Texas Flag at the entrance to the museum and take pictures of the flowers planted there. Sunflowers are always special as they bring up memories of my daughter. Her words are that you always have to smile whenever you see sunflowers. There are no bad memories associated when you share the beauty of these bright, yellow treasures.

This weekend hosts many different events in our area. The Frontiers in Writing Conference will be held at Amarillo College and sponsored by Panhandle Professional Writers hosted with PPW president Matt Sherley, and chaired by Natalie Bright with guest speakers of Candace Havens, Jodi Thomas, John Erickson, Jeff Campbell, Hilary Sares, Craig and Nancy Keel, Chris Stewart, Mary Lou Cheatham, Joe Trent, and so many others. Jim Gleason at Barnes and Nobles also will give a presentation about publishing.

And the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum will be hosting the grand opening of Pioneer Town-a long awaited celebration. WTAMU will be sharing along with the English Department, The Legacy with selected readings and open mic at the Palace Coffee House on the courthouse square in Canyon Texas.  The musical drama TEXAS continues in Palo Duro Canyon, and Canyon is gearing up for July 4th.

How can anyone choose?

I urge everyone to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities in our community. We have so much facing us in the future and need to take these moments to heart. Don’t miss a single moment to celebrate the rich legacy and heritage that surrounds us. As a writer, Frontiers in Writing meets every need for those who love to write and share.

Just as in the case of Karen Klein, it will help us to find the write words.

Sharon Stevens

Become the Expert


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Become the Expert

I’ve heard many many times that a writer should write what they know. If you know romance, write romance. If you know children, write for children. If you mystery and murder . . .

Well then there’s the other side of the argument which says, “Write outside of the box. Expand your horizons.” Learn space travel. Learn brain surgery or international spying or mystery and murder . . .

The point is this. You can write what you know while you broaden your horizons. The answer is at your local library, or even better, in your computer.

Research.

You have a great idea that screams for attention. But you’ve never been to a fortune teller, or outer space or a battlefield or in a failing love affair. You can learn these things by reading books on the subjects, or “google” them and add a new expertise to your ever growing education.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

Become the Expert


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Become the Expert

I’ve heard many many times that a writer should write what they know. If you know romance, write romance. If you know children, write for children. If you mystery and murder . . .

Well then there’s the other side of the argument which says, “Write outside of the box. Expand your horizons.” Learn space travel. Learn brain surgery or international spying or mystery and murder . . .

The point is this. You can write what you know while you broaden your horizons. The answer is at your local library, or even better, in your computer.

Research.

You have a great idea that screams for attention. But you’ve never been to a fortune teller, or outer space or a battlefield or in a failing love affair. You can learn these things by reading books on the subjects, or “google” them and add a new expertise to your ever growing education.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

 

MYRIAD


MYRIAD

by Sharon Stevens

 In honor, memory and celebration of Anna Corn and James Hartwell

 I’m such a slacker! And I don’t mind admitting that fact. “Hi, my name is Sharon and I am a slacker.”

Let’s face it, here I sit in my jammies nestled in a cocoon of quilts in my favorite chair with the TV remote in my lap, a 32 ounce soft drink by my side with a sack of chips and a bowl of chocolate Kisses within easy reach, working on my weekly blog on the laptop perched on a soft cushion. You can’t get any more slacker than that.

Oh sure, at any given moment I could set my work aside, get up and stretch, put a load of clothes in the washer to wash, or transfer them into the dryer to dry. Or if I so choose I could fold any number waiting in the laundry basket.

While up I just might open up the refrigerator and stand there as long as I like perusing the leftovers contained therein. I could choose out of a myriad of the selection before me to select any number of goodies to microwave. (Note to self-remind me to google “myriad” in the online dictionary and compare it to my 1890s Webster’s)

If I want I might load a sink full of dishes in the dishwasher. I didn’t say I would, I just said I might. On second thought who needs to do dishes with a stack of paper goods on every shelf that will fill any need. Silverware, cups, plates, bowls…it doesn’t matter I’ve got it all.

What about if I wanted to go soak in the tub. My words would still be waiting and with just a gentle touch instantly I could bring them back to life and “home“ or “end“, “page up” or “page down”, delete, or insert, or backspace wherever I pointed the arrows..

Or I might just throw on some clothes, run into town and pick up a burger or pizza or chicken or any other kind of take out anywhere at any time. The grocery store is open twenty four hours a day for whatever my sweet tooth desires. All it takes is my keys, my car, a little gas in the tank and with my garage door opener I am good to go. Wait a minute, who says I need to change clothes. “jammies” are an acceptable choice of apparel now a days.

Yep, there is no other word for it and I give no excuses. I am a slacker through and through and I can only hang my head in shame.

I was slapped in the face with this fact while doing research on Panhandle Professional Writers and their history of dedication to the Panhandle Press Association. Their annual convention was being held in Canyon for the first time in their 102nd history on the campus of WTAMU and also at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. I had come across a reference from the book, “Lone Star Chapters: The Story of Texas Literary Clubs” by Betty Holland Wissepope. In it she writes of the history of PPW and the bylaws for continued membership in the group.

To be an active member you must have sold a book, two articles, a poem, a short story, a scenario, or a play that had been produced by a theatrical company. In addition to presenting proof of publication active members had to demonstrate they were writing 30,000 words a year. Associate members had to write only 15,000. Complimentary memberships were for beginning writers but expired at the end of the year.

I know thirty thousand words a year doesn’t sound like a lot, especially in this day and time with spell checker, Ipads, Facebook, cell phones and the like and the opportunity to blog like on my Wordsmith Six blog site. But lets face it, in the 1920’s when PPW was formed by Phebe Warner and Laura V. Hamner the entire population of women didn’t work outside the home and some still lived in dugouts. Electricity was a luxury and not even in every household and was shut down at night. Refrigerators could not be stocked with a days worth of groceries and microwaves had not even been invented yet. Laundry washing was done by the hand of the washee, and clothes hung on the clothesline outside to dry. Which meant that after they were dry they had to be gathered in to be folded, and/or starched, and/or ironed, and/or hung, and/or put away, stacked on shelves, hung in closets, or heaven forbid, placed on towel rods in the bathroom. Likewise to the dishes in the cubboard, (oops, spell checker alerted me to a mispelled word I need to change.) cupboard. It automatically change my misspell.

Each meal included full courses with accompanying silverware and plates. This meant every pan, every bowl, every napkin used for three meals a day had to be washed, dried, and put away each and every day. And before this everything had to be cooked fresh, not frozen accompanied by homemade biscuits or fresh baked bread made from scratch. And I don’t even want to discuss the meat. Chickens were alive in the morning and fried chicken for supper that night by their own hands no less. As for red meat, “Pink Slime” hadn’t been invented yet which tells you if it hadn’t been bought fresh from the market that day it probably didn’t smell that good.

And as for transportation, husbands were the only ones who held the keys to the car and HE was the one who drove it to and from work and out on the road for the family weekend excursion.

Lets face it, with raising the children, sewing the clothes, cooking the meals, cleaning the house I can’t see how women were able to write a hundred words, much less thirty thousand. In fact, I found a reference to Olive K. Dixon as one of the original members of PPW. Her husband was the one who made the longest shot in history at Adobe Walls. She was very involved with the museum in preserving the history of our area while raising seven children.

And when you think of Phebe Warner. How did she write all those newspaper articles with jotting notes on a piece of paper with just a pencil? When did she find the time to sit down at a typewriter with carbon paper in between, all the while correcting mistakes, polishing the words, and then getting up to find an envelope and a stamp, much less mailing her manuscript to the Amarillo Globe News, Canyon News or to any of the other area newspapers in the surrounding towns.

All the while she was helping to gather stories of the pioneers and helping to build the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum to house them in. She served on committees of various and sundry civic groups while participating in every community, school and church function centered in her town. Phebe not only formed the first federated women’s clubs in the country she helped form libraries all across the panhandle. AND then to be named as a representative for the state park board and to work tirelessly to get Palo Duro Canyon established as a state park was above and beyond. Think of it, as a woman and a mother in the 1920’s while still maintaining a household and supporting her husband’s practice as a small town doctor is a feat many women in this day and time would find at the very least as tiring.

Who knows what she could have done if she had been a suffogete, (oops-spell checker again), suffragette.

Yep, I’m a slacker through and through. I admit it and embrace it. But I think the founders of Panhandle Professional Writers regardless would be proud of me for the efforts I make on their behalf. They might not cut me any slack, but they would still give me kudos for my contribution. My words might not be as significant as theirs but from their vantage point in the heavens above they know the passion hasn’t changed over time.

Oh, and for your information the dictionary definition of the word myriad is a noun meaning a great number. The description said that recent criticism of the use of this word and to paraphrase… “seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective. However the noun is in fact an older form dating back to the 16th century. The noun has appeared in the works of Milton and Thoreau and continues to occur frequently in reputable English. There is no reason to avoid it.”

The winning motto chosen for the founding years of PPW was, “The elevator of success is not running; take the stairs!”

I was just lucky enough to be born in a time where I had the choice to do one or the other, the elevator or the stairs, to slack if I wished to, or to even fly if I wanted.

Just not on Jet Blue.

Sharon Stevens

MYRIAD


MYRIAD

by Sharon Stevens

 In honor, memory and celebration of Anna Corn and James Hartwell

 I’m such a slacker! And I don’t mind admitting that fact. “Hi, my name is Sharon and I am a slacker.”

Let’s face it, here I sit in my jammies nestled in a cocoon of quilts in my favorite chair with the TV remote in my lap, a 32 ounce soft drink by my side with a sack of chips and a bowl of chocolate Kisses within easy reach, working on my weekly blog on the laptop perched on a soft cushion. You can’t get any more slacker than that.

Oh sure, at any given moment I could set my work aside, get up and stretch, put a load of clothes in the washer to wash, or transfer them into the dryer to dry. Or if I so choose I could fold any number waiting in the laundry basket.

While up I just might open up the refrigerator and stand there as long as I like perusing the leftovers contained therein. I could choose out of a myriad of the selection before me to select any number of goodies to microwave. (Note to self-remind me to google “myriad” in the online dictionary and compare it to my 1890s Webster’s)

If I want I might load a sink full of dishes in the dishwasher. I didn’t say I would, I just said I might. On second thought who needs to do dishes with a stack of paper goods on every shelf that will fill any need. Silverware, cups, plates, bowls…it doesn’t matter I’ve got it all.

What about if I wanted to go soak in the tub. My words would still be waiting and with just a gentle touch instantly I could bring them back to life and “home“ or “end“, “page up” or “page down”, delete, or insert, or backspace wherever I pointed the arrows..

Or I might just throw on some clothes, run into town and pick up a burger or pizza or chicken or any other kind of take out anywhere at any time. The grocery store is open twenty four hours a day for whatever my sweet tooth desires. All it takes is my keys, my car, a little gas in the tank and with my garage door opener I am good to go. Wait a minute, who says I need to change clothes. “jammies” are an acceptable choice of apparel now a days.

Yep, there is no other word for it and I give no excuses. I am a slacker through and through and I can only hang my head in shame.

I was slapped in the face with this fact while doing research on Panhandle Professional Writers and their history of dedication to the Panhandle Press Association. Their annual convention was being held in Canyon for the first time in their 102nd history on the campus of WTAMU and also at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. I had come across a reference from the book, “Lone Star Chapters: The Story of Texas Literary Clubs” by Betty Holland Wissepope. In it she writes of the history of PPW and the bylaws for continued membership in the group.

To be an active member you must have sold a book, two articles, a poem, a short story, a scenario, or a play that had been produced by a theatrical company. In addition to presenting proof of publication active members had to demonstrate they were writing 30,000 words a year. Associate members had to write only 15,000. Complimentary memberships were for beginning writers but expired at the end of the year.

I know thirty thousand words a year doesn’t sound like a lot, especially in this day and time with spell checker, Ipads, Facebook, cell phones and the like and the opportunity to blog like on my Wordsmith Six blog site. But lets face it, in the 1920’s when PPW was formed by Phebe Warner and Laura V. Hamner the entire population of women didn’t work outside the home and some still lived in dugouts. Electricity was a luxury and not even in every household and was shut down at night. Refrigerators could not be stocked with a days worth of groceries and microwaves had not even been invented yet. Laundry washing was done by the hand of the washee, and clothes hung on the clothesline outside to dry. Which meant that after they were dry they had to be gathered in to be folded, and/or starched, and/or ironed, and/or hung, and/or put away, stacked on shelves, hung in closets, or heaven forbid, placed on towel rods in the bathroom. Likewise to the dishes in the cubboard, (oops, spell checker alerted me to a mispelled word I need to change.) cupboard. It automatically change my misspell.

Each meal included full courses with accompanying silverware and plates. This meant every pan, every bowl, every napkin used for three meals a day had to be washed, dried, and put away each and every day. And before this everything had to be cooked fresh, not frozen accompanied by homemade biscuits or fresh baked bread made from scratch. And I don’t even want to discuss the meat. Chickens were alive in the morning and fried chicken for supper that night by their own hands no less. As for red meat, “Pink Slime” hadn’t been invented yet which tells you if it hadn’t been bought fresh from the market that day it probably didn’t smell that good.

And as for transportation, husbands were the only ones who held the keys to the car and HE was the one who drove it to and from work and out on the road for the family weekend excursion.

Lets face it, with raising the children, sewing the clothes, cooking the meals, cleaning the house I can’t see how women were able to write a hundred words, much less thirty thousand. In fact, I found a reference to Olive K. Dixon as one of the original members of PPW. Her husband was the one who made the longest shot in history at Adobe Walls. She was very involved with the museum in preserving the history of our area while raising seven children.

And when you think of Phebe Warner. How did she write all those newspaper articles with jotting notes on a piece of paper with just a pencil? When did she find the time to sit down at a typewriter with carbon paper in between, all the while correcting mistakes, polishing the words, and then getting up to find an envelope and a stamp, much less mailing her manuscript to the Amarillo Globe News, Canyon News or to any of the other area newspapers in the surrounding towns.

All the while she was helping to gather stories of the pioneers and helping to build the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum to house them in. She served on committees of various and sundry civic groups while participating in every community, school and church function centered in her town. Phebe not only formed the first federated women’s clubs in the country she helped form libraries all across the panhandle. AND then to be named as a representative for the state park board and to work tirelessly to get Palo Duro Canyon established as a state park was above and beyond. Think of it, as a woman and a mother in the 1920’s while still maintaining a household and supporting her husband’s practice as a small town doctor is a feat many women in this day and time would find at the very least as tiring.

Who knows what she could have done if she had been a suffogete, (oops-spell checker again), suffragette.

Yep, I’m a slacker through and through. I admit it and embrace it. But I think the founders of Panhandle Professional Writers regardless would be proud of me for the efforts I make on their behalf. They might not cut me any slack, but they would still give me kudos for my contribution. My words might not be as significant as theirs but from their vantage point in the heavens above they know the passion hasn’t changed over time.

Oh, and for your information the dictionary definition of the word myriad is a noun meaning a great number. The description said that recent criticism of the use of this word and to paraphrase… “seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective. However the noun is in fact an older form dating back to the 16th century. The noun has appeared in the works of Milton and Thoreau and continues to occur frequently in reputable English. There is no reason to avoid it.”

The winning motto chosen for the founding years of PPW was, “The elevator of success is not running; take the stairs!”

I was just lucky enough to be born in a time where I had the choice to do one or the other, the elevator or the stairs, to slack if I wished to, or to even fly if I wanted.

Just not on Jet Blue.

Sharon Stevens

HAMILTONIAN


HAMILTONIAN

by Sharon Stevens

Author Jennifer Archer encouraged us to celebrate National Book Week by choosing a book close at hand, turning to page 56, reading the fifth sentence, then posting it without listing the title of the book or author.

In an old used paperback I had culled from the shelves, next to my writing space (Natalie Bright, August 8, 2011) I found, “They ain’t nothing but animals, they really ain’t.” (1)

What fun! Intrigued I then took it one step further. My husband and I were stocking college textbooks on the shelves of our Buffalo Bookstore getting ready for the fall semester at WTAMU and I came across the words “In addition, some youngsters got involved painting artistic travel posters to decorate the area.”(2)

In another book I found “As if they were spiritual consumers, young adults are shopping around among a wide range of religious traditions, in the process they are finding new ways to incorporate religion into their daily lives:”(3) Last but not least I read in still another book, “Explain why the tour ABCFECDBA is not a Hamiltonian circuit for the graph below.”(4)

A journalist remarked that of all the generations this was the best time to be a reader, that with libraries, Kindles, Nooks, bookstores as well as Google and Bing you can read any time and any place. Since we own a bookstore filled with used paperbacks, local authors and college textbooks, and with being a living American and breathing free, I wholeheartedly agree! I can go anywhere and pick up whatever suits my fancy at any moment to coincide with my mood at the time. I am then free to put it back down if it doesn’t suit my fancy, (as in studying about the Hamiltonian Circuit) and pursue my passion somewhere else.

Each book to me is a treasure shared from the author directly to my heart. I celebrate each letter, sentence and chapter. Being involved in a writers critique group and a member of Panhandle Professional Writers I know what it takes to put words down on paper and pursue ideas to publication.

I found a chapter on literacy for children, “Many people seem to think that reading is pronouncing the sounds of letters and that writing is about copying print or putting sounds together. These people have forgotten that the purpose of reading is to make meaning.”

And I guess this is what I treasure the most in reading is to “make meaning”. Everything I read connects to some part of my life, my heart, and my soul. I read for pleasure, I read to learn, I read to relish, but I also read to share. What else is a good book for but to pass on to others. On that note, it is amazing how one of my favorite authors always seems to put words together meant just for me, “The silence seemed to stretch miles between them.”(5)

I have a Webster’s Dictionary from 1890, and the fifth sentence down on page 56 is written, “ANTIQUITIES-The remains of ancient times. In this sense it is usually plural.”

The next sentence goes on to relate that “Antiquities comprehend all the remains of ancient times; all the monuments, coins, inscriptions, edifices, history, and fragments of literature, offices, habiliments, weapons, manners, ceremonies; in short whatever respects any of the ancient nations of the earth.”

Thanks Jennifer Archer, as an author, for reminding me to celebrate everything I hold most dear. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

Sharon Stevens

1. Royal Stud, by Stuart Jason

2. Let’s Begin Reading Right,by Marjorie Fields, Lois A. Groth, Katherine L. Spangler

3. Sociology The New Millennium, by Jenifer Kunz & Claudia Stuart professors at WTAMU

4. For All Practical Purposes, Mathematical Literacy in Today’s World by Comap

5. Texas Blue by Jodi Thomas