Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thank You for Helping Me

I meant to come home from today's book reading and to sit down and relax for the rest of the evening. I managed to ignore the dirty (but rinsed) dishes in the sink, and wondered (not much) why the cat went out so early tonight. I realized, you see, that I really should thank the people who helped me get situated today.

Paul Stone picked me up and got my stuff where it was supposed to go. Lynne and Terry watched one side of my table, Nancy and Bob watched the other side while I coped with a bladder infection - I did get my exercise, though.

Come time to pack up the gal I am going to be with tomorrow at Showcase arrived to carry my books, table, chairs and etc.'s -- oh -- and me home.

Were you wondering if I sold any books. Indeed, I did. For some reason, I was reading from my poetry about Harriet Tubman when this small dark woman came and sat down to listen. That made me nervous. I don't always know how people will take something like that.

Why did I write about Harriet Tubman? believe Harriet Tubman did something that made her life as near to immortal as folks can get in this world. I meant what I wrote as a tribute. So ... Yes, I sold a book. The lady came back with her husband he he purchased Runaway Hearts for her and saw it signed. I was honored, so it was an exceptional day. The sun did shine.

To get back to my theme, you don't know how grateful I am for the friends to take care of me as I grow older. I always believed I was an important writer (if only in my own opinion), and I am touched by the kindness in my life.
If I ever do become "wealthyrich and famous" (my little brother made that one up didn't you, Guy?), I hope to repay all the helpers I've met in this life. I really
appreciate all the help, the rides and the kind words. They are a true treasure for this life. Thank you - every one of you, and keep on the sunny side. Terry

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reading My Work

On Saturday I will be at the Hyatt Chesapeake here in Cambridge and I don't know whether to be nervous or to look forward to the experience. Technically, I will be part of an art show offered by the Wednesday Morning Artists. I am a member of that group and do try my hand at various artistic creations, however words are my forte.

And so, on Saturday I will be there reading from my poetry and novels to my fellow artists, and possibly to individuals who are staying at the big hotel for the weekend.

I hope to meet some new friends and to share some of my work. A number of people have purchased my newest novel Drama Queen Rules and I am getting some pretty great feedback on the book. It is the story of a redneck girl who wants to do more with her life - despite the drama queens who say she can't - and thereby hangs a tale.

I really hope those who buy my book go to their account and leave a review on the Drama Queen Rules page. Customer reviews go a long way toward the success of a book, so I hope you will take the time to leave a comment about the book if you can.

Today, I see my doctor and will have lunch with an old friend, so there is no question about staying on the sunny side. Hope yours is great too. Terry

Friday, September 17, 2010

Waiting For My Muse

I finished writing my 17th novel the other day and it has thrown me into a complete funk. A big project is my anchor from week to week, but I go a bit crazy when there is no idea, no focus - there is nothing to do during those cool morning hours when I would normally be blissfully pecking away at the keyboard.

Over the years I have written a lot! Jean Auel, author of a sexy prehistoric series, said one has to write a million words before he or she is competent to tell a proper story. Her Clan of the Cave Bear series sold millions, but it would never have been read of at all if some janitor had not pulled it out of the publisher's slush pile and tugged on an editor's sleeve - or so the story goes. I imagine Raquel Welch or Bo Derek must have been the muse for those books - the heroine succumbs to the powerfully muscled male about every other page.

I quite enjoyed Ms. Auel's prehistoric vistas, but I always felt there was life after romance, and so my books tend to draw the curtain on the love scenes and work a bit harder on the romance of olden times. If I am going to spend a year writing a book, I want it to have a bit more historical meat to the story.

I'm waiting. I have cleaned the floors and refrigerator, and washed down the porch. My muse wasn't there. I have plenty of work to do. I could make something arty - or clean the john - but I want an idea, a theme, a story to return me to my proper
attitude. If you have one, let me know. I know I have written my million words by now and I want another story to tell.

In the meantime, I plan to join my cat just hanging around. Hope your muse is with you and that you walk on the sunny side! Terry


Paint me a picture,
sing me a song,
Shape me a memory
That comes on
So strong
I hold my breath
To ringing truth;
And to my sweet surprise
The moment is truer than
The hour that it passed –
Reborn in the mind’s
Bright looking glass.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Staying Home

I will admit I have traveled about a bit during my life, although I seem to have put down roots here in Cambridge and I love being part of the community here. It is almost as good as growing up here - because the town I did grow up in was about the same size as Cambridge.

When we were kids, we had a lot of freedom. I guess our parents figured we could take care of ourselves, or we might never have been allowed to walk nine miles up LeRoy Mountain to wade in Sunfish Pond. Pop came up after work in that old red and white Chevy wagon with a can of beans some hot dogs and buns - and if we were really good, a box of campfire marshmallows. I know my memory has changed a lot of things over the years, but it seems to me that the marshmallows in the box tasted better. They weren't quite as soft, but they had a powdery goodness that today's marshmallows don't seem to have. We cooked them on a peeled stick and never had the chocolate bars and graham crackers that are all the fad today. Probably couldn't afford them.

But I think we had a good childhood, and if there had been places to work when it was graduation time, I guess I would have stayed there in LeRoy forever. I wonder what that might have been like. Would I still see the classmates who populated my youth? I wonder. I wonder if they wonder what happened to the rest of us too.

I guess it doesn't matter because wherever we go - there we are. I just hope it is on the sunny side! Have a great day and be good to each other. Terry


What is it like to live in one place
For all the seasons of one’s life,
To know the same neighbors,
And walk about at night
With the lights turned off?

What is it like to have a friend
Known through the back yards
Of lazy childhood play
Through daunting death
And drizzling days of rain
Where you were born to live and stay?

What is it like to know the same
Familiar kindly faces for the entire span
Of a life – The librarian, and
The hard-muscled men who
Fix your cars and toilet clogs?
What is it really like?

What is it like to sing the very same hymns
From Sunday School all the way through
Your elder years when
You can comfortably nap
Through the service on responsibility,
And talk to the Master one on one?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Bring Words

On September 25 I will be reading from my poetry and novels at the Hyatt Chesapeake Resort here in Cambridge from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. I will try to read on the hour and share passages from the sixteen books I have published.

The art you see for this blog is the cover to one of my Chesapeake Heritage series - Chesapeake Visions. The book tells the story of Jewel LeCompte, who is born before the Civil War. Of course that world passed, and she soon had to learn to function as so many others did without the help of servants since most southern families after the war were not able to pay for hired help.

The twist in this story is that Jewel is blind. She is modeled on a sweet friend of mine, Jewel Banning, who was blind from birth, who spent her childhood in a school for the blind, and met her husband - Donald is also blind - in a rehab center. Miss Jewel shared her music and her life with joy and enthuasiasm. She passed this past spring, and I miss her presence in the world.

The good thing is that she knew I had written this book and dedicated it to her. Her husband is now reading Chesapeake Visions with a program that translates computer files into human-like speech. It blows my mind.

Which brings me around to words. I seem to have a lot of them and I love sharing. I hope to see you when I read at the Hyatt, and that you enjoy the art the Wednesday Morning Artists will share that day as well. In the meantime, have a great day and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry


I bring the words I collect
From here and there
And put them in boxes
Covered with shells.

I bring words
I find along the street
With lost pennies, clovers
And strange skewed attitudes.

I bring words
To cover my hair with snow
And paint the roots of meaning
A smarter, indelible shade.

I bring whispered words
And look for rainbows
In the giddy thoughts I see
Others fashion from thin air.

I bring words
When the awful thunder speaks
And black storm clouds roil
Over sullen skies of saddest gray.

I bring words of glee
On summer starlit nights
To waltz along the Milky Way
And race the Northern Lights.
Like fireflies at dusk.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remembering the Women Who Came Before Us

I blogged this poem before, but I really loved the comments you all offered this one - I think because it causes all of us to remember the women who made our world better, no matter how hard times were in our youth.

I will be reading from my poetry and my novels at the Hyatt Chesapeake on September 25 on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I hope you can join me and the Wednesday Morning Artists exhibiting that day. In the meantime love one another and keep on the sunny side! Terry


She sits, her hands in her lap at rest,
Fingers bundles of broken twigs,
Brown and knotted, scarred,
Big-knuckled from long hours with the knife
Worrying the sweet meat
From horny red shells that cut to the quick.

Her dress is clean,
Faded at shoulder, breast, and thigh,
Patches over patches
Covered with a familiar apron
Of clean, dim rose print.

Her hair is pulled back each morning
Anchored against the wind –
The constant wind.
Fine lines fan out from
Eyes once as blue as bay and sky,
Now faded into pearly haze.

She was always there
In the house beside the water
Where the fiddler crabs
Clattered their shells
At break of day,
Annoyed at her steps
As she tended the goat,
The chickens, the pig.

She doesn’t need much now.
The neighbors look in on her.
She smiles, says she is fine.
And they leave, shaking their heads
At her presence at all.

Her voice is now an echo
Of the persisting wind
As she whispers her prayers
Over sourdough batter
Started years before and
Stirred with a tarnished spoon.

Her children live on
In faded photographs ranked
By size and age on the mantle shelf
Where the flu is cold
In the summer damp.
They rarely call.

Her man was heavy of hand.
His shoulders as strong as
Trees from the tongs.
She loved him when
The two were young,
But then he lay down to sleep
One night, and did not breathe
In morning’s light.

There was a time she waited
On the bridge near the water’s edge
For the sight of a well known sail;
And now for the Maker’s call …
There’s nothing more.

Her world has passed,
And soon her memories will be
Found only in a tattered book
That once fell into the green water
So that the ink ran
And the tales were lost.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors


Years ago I found a little volume of poetry by Robert W. Service called Songs of a Sourdough.It was worn, cupped to fit the rear pocket of the last owner, and some of the pages were gone. Still, it seemed a precious thing to me for the stories and rhythms of the times – and for the vision of a man who could see the future from the giddy pinnacles of the Alaskan Gold Rush. This is for you, sir:

“It’s all in how you do it, Kid.”
The man told me one day.
“It’s all just smoke and mirrors
And it’s hard to find your way.

"It’s hours you spend in grieving
For love that can not be,
It’s Pine Sol and bubble gum,
The ones you long to see,

"The precious things you know
You’ve got – or lost along the way
It’s freshening winds and
rosined strings
The harps of heaven played.

"The smoke and mirrors stage the
World for lessons yet to come,
You mind the smoke and mirrors, Kid,
The best is yet to come.

"So set your course for heaven, Kid,
That’s all I’ve got to say.”
It’s only smoke and mirrors,
The game of life we play.

"It’s only smoke and mirrors, Kid.

I saw you try, I saw you fail,
I saw you try again.

"But trust the smoke and mirrors, lad,
As you sail against the wind.

I thought you might like to share, hope you enjoyed, and invite you to keep on the Sunny side. Regards, Terry

Friday, September 3, 2010

Anna Ella Carroll's Life to be Illuminated

Something unusual and stunning is scheduled to take place in Cambridge on November 20 at the Hyatt Chesapeake Golf and Conference Center. Would you believe the world premiere of a movie about one of Dorchester County's (and Maryland's) most notable women?

Anna Ella Carrol spent much of her life in Dorchester County after running her father's office - he was a lawyer and Maryland governor - and participating in some of the most momentous incidents our country has ever seen.

Ms. Carroll, better known as Ann to her many friends and admirers, somehow became an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. She had a hand in the framing of the Emancipation Proclamation and created the Tennessee River Plan, a brilliant military strategy that cut off supply routes from the south to battlefields in the north.

All that said, when President Lincoln's cabinet was recognized in a life-sized oil painting, Anna Ella Carroll was painted out - the result of protests by the rest of the nearly all-male cabinet - and jealous outrage expressed by Mary Lincoln, who may not have been entirely sane after the death of her son Tad.

The Victorian attitudes of those times surely had an impact on the lack of the illumination of the useful and helpful life of a mere woman who happened to find herself a pawn in one of history's most dramatic stories.

After President Lincoln was assassinated, Ms. Carroll moved to Dorchester County, MD where she lived out her days quietly in hope she would be recognized by the government and given the same pension the males in Lincoln's cabinet enjoyed throughout their lives. That never happened and she died alone and in poverty.

Bruce Bridegroom, a New Mexico attorney has put his own funds into this film depicting the life of Anna Ella Carroll, a woman history nearly erased from the annals of the state and nation. In addition to the film, the historic painting of Lincoln's Cabinet is being re-created by local artist Laura Era, who places Ms. Carroll in the empty chair of the original art. This painting will also be on display at the film's premiere.

Plan to attend this special event in Cambridge on November 20.

I'm looking forward to going to my very first premiere, and staying dry and on the sunny side while hurricane Earl passes by. Cheers! Terry