Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

I've never had to go to war (though some might argue my childhood WAS a war zone, it's still not the same thing). I haven't lost a family member to war either. I've been lucky that way.

I think too often we've found ourselves in wars that should never have happened. But that doesn't take away from the courage of those who have been sent to fight in them. Today I want to take a moment to salute those who have gone to war—both those who died and those who came back changed because of what they saw and did and what happened to them.

My generation was the last to face the draft. It's hard for me to imagine the courage it took to go to war when there was a draft and the courage to choose to go when one doesn't have to go—as young men and women are doing every day now.

Today I want to honor those who have had the courage to be in the military and do what they can to keep us all safe. And to pray that soon this world finds a way to exist in peace so that no more men and women--of any nation--have to go to war. That we find a way to resolve disputes without fighting.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Time to Think

I know I'm a week late posting my blog. Sometimes I need a little extra time to think. I've been doing that the past couple of weeks—mulling over life, this writing business I'm part of, and the world in general. I don't want to waste your time with words that aren't worth reading.

My son may be going into housing. He lives with my ex-husband and has Down syndrome and is 31. It will be a momentous change for him, for my ex and in some ways for me. I hope that it will lead him to new levels of maturity. I worry he won't be able to adapt or they won't be able to handle him. I think about the extended changes this may create in all our lives. Please keep him in your prayers.

A friend will be undergoing surgery again in June. Her 8th? 9Th? since she was diagnosed with breast cancer close to two years ago. She has no markers for the cancer any more but her body has had a hard time recovering from each surgery. Please keep her in your prayers.

I've finished my most recent online class and will soon be teaching one on public speaking (especially for writers) through the Outreach Chapter of RWA (details to be posted soon). Debora Dale recently had a blog interview with me about Book in a Week at—if anyone is curious what that's like, read it here: How Writers Write - An interview with April Kihlstrom . At any rate, I've been mulling over what other classes I might offer and on what kind of schedule. If you've got a class you'd like to see, please let me know!

My daughter just took her qualifying exams in graduate school. She's brilliant and wonderful and worries about not only succeeding but also making a difference in this world. She will—I have no doubt of that. I also know she needs to know I love and believe in her. And that got me thinking how much we all need to hear that someone loves and believes in us—no matter what. How often do we think to say it to those closest to us? How often do we hear it when we need to most? What difference might it make in our relationships if we heard and said it more?

I've lost my battle to save my zucchini plant. The birds tore it to bits before I realized what was happening. I'm still hoping that at least one of my two tomato plants will produce fruit. And I'm still experimenting and thinking about ways to deal with those pesky fire ants.'s been a week or two of reflection for me. Hope all is well with all of you!

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Power of Storytelling

I'm finishing up teaching my Revisions class online and I find myself thinking again about the profound power of storytelling. It's how human beings have always tried to make sense of the world and the people around them. Stories carry power. Some are true, some are not. It's not always clear to me which matter more.

It's one thing to recite statistics about, say, cancer. It's another to hear the story about the woman who lost her sister to cancer or how the children coped with the loss of their mother. It's one thing to see statistics concerning the massacre in Rwanda and another to hear the personal story of a woman who survived. It's one thing to be told we can be who we want to be and another to read about a woman like us who is true to herself and not only finds someone who accepts her but who loves her BECAUSE she is who she is.

Stories have power. And we writers get to create them. And in our stories, we can make things come out right in the end. Or, wrong in the end, if we want to provide a powerful warning about some danger.

Days like this, I can't imagine anything I'd rather be than a writer.