Monday, September 30, 2013

Chocolate, It's Like...

I was on the phone with a friend and the subject of chocolate came up. She said, “Chocolate. Oh that’s like crack.”

I busted a gut. This friend hasn’t touched a drug in her life… other than something prescribed by a doctor. Her tone was so matter of fact as if she had been a crack addict and undoubtedly knew chocolate and crack were one in the same as far as its addictive qualities and staying away from it.

How do you capture the way someone expresses something in that exact same way? I doubt any of you reading this are going to crack up (oh bad pun) in the same way that I did. Are there some things writing can’t live up to? What do you think?

Writing to me is like chocolate… like crack… can’t get enough. I’ve never touched crack either, but I do understand addiction… especially the chocolate variety.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Strange Folk Festival!

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Don’t forget… Strange Folk Festival this weekend! Saturday, September 28th and Sunday September 29th from 10AM to 6PM. There will be vendors with their handmade items, food, music, activities for kids, a 5K race…

29th at O’Fallon Community Park in O’Fallon, IL – check out the website:


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy 30th Birthday Casey

--> Thirty years ago today I gave birth to my firstborn, my son Casey. I’m in California celebrating, with his two sisters, Rita and Jessica. Casey’s lived here for 10 years, and this is my third visit. Bad mommy.

I was due on September 1st with Casey. That date came and went. After being three weeks past due, my doctor decided to induce labor, so on September 21st I was scheduled. The nurses did their thing hooking me up to whatever it was that induces labor (hey, it’s been 30 years, I can’t remember what it was) and I was happy and on my way. The machine had a needle that indicated how strong the contraction was and when it was all they way at 10 (1 through 10 – and 10 being the strongest), I flapped my jaws wondering what all the fuss was about being in labor. This is a piece of cake. After an entire day, it became clear that inducing wasn’t working, so they took me off the machine. I guess that stuff jacked me up as they had to give me morphine to make me sleep as the baby was stressed or something. They assured me the drug would not harm the baby at all. I had serious doubts. I wanted to go el-naturale. It’s a bit of a blur, but at some point the real contractions took place. When the “one” felt like the previous “ten," I knew I was in trouble. I don’t know how many hours went by before I begged for any kind of drug. I’m pretty sure I told Casey’s dad to get a gun and put me out of my misery if the doctor didn’t give me something!

42 ½ hours later, out came Casey… on his dad’s birthday no less. That’s what I get when I joked to Casey’s dad, “Oh maybe I’ll have the baby on your birthday.” 

When I saw that beautiful baby with a full head of hair and my heart felt love like no other, I knew I’d do it all again, regardless of the pain.

Happy Birthday Casey!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Strange Folk Festival


Looking for some fun and maybe even shop early for Christmas. I know, I know… but just think, a place to get a handmade gift—not the usual mall store-bought stuff. Plus, not only are there a ton of vendors selling their handmade items, but there’s food, and music. They have things going on for kids... projects that they can do. There's a 5K race, Running With Scissors 5K race, if you're into exercise! Grab a friend or two and head on out next weekend… on Saturday, September 28th and 29th at O'Fallon Community Park in O'Fallon, IL. Just 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis!

Stop by Egabrag Crafts—my daughter Rita’s booth, where I’ll be giving her a helping hand.

Check out the website: Strange Folk Festival for all the details.

Here's their press release...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tag I'm It!

I’ve been tagged by two fellow blog writer friends, Sioux and Lisa. I’m to answer a few questions about my writing… then tag someone else.

What are you currently working on?
How long do you have? Too many. I flip-flop back and forth. Currently it’s my fictional epistolary novel, Dear Soldier (until a better name comes up). It’s Young Adult, even though that’s not what I had in mind when I first wrote it. My niece gave me the idea to write epistolary since I’m a handwriting letter freak. “Aunt Lynn, have you considered writing a book in that style?” And an epistolary monster was created. So this story… a teenage girl writes a soldier during the Vietnam war. It’s a one-sided epistolary. She doesn’t realize that her hopes for him are the same for her… to feel loved, accepted and worthy.

The other epistolary fictional novel is The Locked Heart with universal themes of letting go of the past, forgiveness, acceptance, dreams/possibilities and ultimately love.

Then there’s Hidden Treasures, my first NaNoWriMo. I wanted to know more about a great aunt who was institutionalized and came to a dead-end. I decided to tell her story… fiction, of course. Turns out later I discovered some info about her and what I wrote had a hint of truth.

I also work on my memoir that I’m writing for my three children. I would love to have my mother’s memoir and figured my children might like it some day. It’s what drove me to start my blog—Present Letters. Initially the posts started with, Dear Mom…

I also write short pieces because of my critique group—WWWPs (Wild Women Wielding Pens) Beth, Linda, Sioux and Tammy—they put the pressure on. In a good way. They inspire me. One of them shared the call out for Gloria Gaynor’s book, We Will Survive. They encouraged me to send something in due to my... surviving. Thanks to them, I’m in the book. You can pre-order here.

Oh, and then there’s a children’s picture book (Dream Come True) that I wrote many moons ago... err dare I say? 25 years ago! It gets filed away, then pulled out, filed, pulled out. It’s pulled out right now… not for any revision, but for illustration. I originally had visions my son would illustrate this book, but he wasn't interested way back. In its pulled out phases, several other artists attempted... now it's back in my son's hands. It really is a Dream Come True!

Seriously, I flip back and forth on all of these… I have writing ADD.

How does it different from other works in this genre?
I’d have to say because of writing in epistolary style. I mean, epistolary is out there, but...

Why do you write what you do?
Because I love handwriting letters. And if you read the answer to the next question, it explains it even more.

What is the hardest part about writing?
There are two things… both are equally hard for me. One and it’s probably the biggest, is my Inner Critic (IC) who tells me I’m not good enough. To stop writing. To stick with letters… which is why all my stories are epistolary. Can’t beat the IC, so I had to find a way to sort-of join it. Two—revision and sticking with one novel until it’s completed. I tend to fizzle because after a while, I’m tired of it—then the Inner Critic jumps in and assures me, see you can’t do it. So again, rather than let IC beat me, I’ll pick up a different one. Because of being tagged, I realized the other thing that's hard is telling what your story is about in one sentence... I'll be working on that one!

I’m not tagging anyone as I think everyone I know has been tagged. But if you’re a writer and want to play, consider yourself tagged! Then let me know so I can read what you're working on.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures...

Okay, so I have one picture of my big event. An approved picture that was already on Facebook. I'm waiting to make sure all the other pictures are okay to post, so stay tuned. If you are wondering what this picture is about, read my blog posts: YAY, I Survived and I Will Survive Or Will I?

From left to right: Alice Muschany, Linda O'Connell, Gloria Gaynor, me, Cathi LaMarche
Photo taken by Stephanie Gold

Since you were expecting pictures, pictures, pictures... I'm posting some others...

In mid-August, it was my daughter Rita's birthday. She wanted to have a lunch at a tea house. Here's Rita and her boyfriend Terry. He's a trooper for going!

Terry and Rita

In late August, I went to visit my daughter Jessica in Boston. It was a whirlwind visit and we packed in a lot even though we tried to keep it simple as she had just gotten "doored" on her bike and broke her collar bone.

We started off walking down this trail to get to the train.
Before we got on the train, I had to pose for the yarn graffiti.

I can't remember what we did when, but we went to two graveyards. One was the Granary Burial Ground where victims of the Boston Massacre are buried, along with John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and the parents of Benjamin Franklin.

When we passed it after the gate was locked, we spied this crazy looking guy...

One night we went to see Jessica's friends play in a show at Radio. Don't you love how the letters are big Scrabble letters?

The band is called "Eski Esko" and they were really good. Since I've been out of touch with the whole current music scene, I was thinking I wouldn't enjoy it, but they were awesome. I had them sign the CD I purchased... you know they could become big stars some day.

Jessica wanted me to experience the originators of Boston Creme Pie and she wondered why she's never had my Boston Creme Pie... well, I don't know. This was good, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again. The presentation was beautiful, and I think that's why there was a hefty price to go along with it.

Jessica and I strolled along the area by the harbor and we saw these entertaining men... one ended up singing right to me... I was glad that he didn't drag me in as part of the entertainment like they did with some others. I thought they were extremely talented and funny.

Then we sat and watched the sailboats. It started to rain and we got under cover and you can see a rainbow popped out (behind the photo that Jessica is in). Everyone that was there took photos with the rainbow in the background.

We visited Harvard and now I can say, "I went to Harvard!" Here's Jessica and her boyfriend, Ingvar (who really did go to Harvard) standing in front of the library that we were hoping to go into, but it was closed.

And here's Jessica and me at the ceramic studio where Jessica graduated from a program she took there. The place used to be an old theatre. It was super cool.

Then there's the place where Jessica works, where we ate dinner on our last night visiting. The food was awesome and I'd recommend going there if you're in Boston.

On the side alley next to Central Kitchen is a graffiti wall that people are allowed to create -- after business hours.

Here's the little stinker, "Kitty" (Jessica's cat) that I had the privilege of sleeping with. She gives the sweetest kisses.

I'll post some more photos when I get the okay. Thanks for stopping by!