Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I am so thankful for my life here in Cambridge, which is an award-winning town with lots going on and people are good to each other.
As you may know, I am a member of the Wednesday Morning Artists, a great group that meets each Wednesday morning at the Creek Deli for coffee and conversation - not to mention planning for lots of good projects under the leadership of Nancy Snyder, who has enough love for everybody! It is a wonderful, supportive group and I know it has made a difference in my life.
For the past several years I have put out a call for members to help me gather gifts for the participants at Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care Center. The response has been overwhelming. My living room is full of wrapped gifts to be delivered.
And so my thanks go out to all of those good people who went out of their way to purchase and wrap gifts. Most of the people I asked brought more than one gift, astonishing when one considers that the people who helped with the project do not know the recipients and that they brought more than one gift!
You are all wonderful! Many thanks to those who donated gifts, transportation and good will. You are my heroes! I wish you the happiest of holidays and that you always walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Thursday, December 1, 2011
This summer I took a trip out to Toddville with my friend Ann Foley. Our objective was to talk with some residents of the area to add to a book we are working on called A Dorchester Scrapbook. I took my camera and snapped some shots of various buildings along the way.
Scattered across the marsh country are any number of small country stores with their doors shut and signs fading into soft pastels. One person Ann talked to said there were six of these little mercantiles in a two-mile area. As such, it became evident that people could walk to the neighborhood store and pick up what they needed. A good many of these little places offered credit - the customer could charge their purchases and settle up the tab on payday.
Today, in our era of technology and instant gratification we have to pay for the goods before we can cart them home. If we don't have the cash, no problem. Simply put the charge on your credit card and you are off! Don't even think about the huge interest the card company will add to balances not paid off each month!
So much has changed from the day of the neighborhood store, and having grown up in a similar community in the Appalachains of Pennsylvania, I think of our little grocery store with nostalgia. I would love to see the place again, to check out the big wheel of cheese near the cash register and the candy counter where dreams were spent and fingerprints were left on the glass barrier between the shopper and the sweet.
The old days have a certain charm, but we have to live in today's world of computers, cell phones, and flat screen TVs. I have an idea all the technology that has blossomed during my life is both good and bad.
Sure, we can get things done in the wink of an eye. Just send an email!
I think we miss the community where people greeted passers-by from porches and husbands went down to the store to discuss cars and ball games around a potbelly
The world is changing - as the world has done and I sometimes wonder if we are not all stuck in the starting position. When it all gets to be too much, I try to get outside and take a walk on the sunny side. I hope you do too! Love, Terry
Sunday, November 20, 2011
What can I do, Lord? The world is a mess. We are bombarded by news of unrest and war, and yet I have the notion that we are being tested – as the children of a benevolent spirit. When I hear of war delivered daily and hourly through advanced technology, I look back through the history of our species and see that evil often triumphs over good and boys scarce out of childhood fight for the ideal of freedom and peace. I cannot help but ask how can this be the path to harmony? We live in a society where it seems evil-doers are blessed with plenty and those born in poverty and despair live day to day in fear for their very existence. And yet it is the poor who work to change the world while many of the well-to-do struggle to protect their precious wealth. We are bombarded by schemes that promise riches beyond counting delivered largely to those who climb on the backs of others in order to increase their supply. How can this be when there are those whole families who sleep homeless on the streets and small children comb the city’s dumps in order to find just one morsel of food, one pair of shoes? Ancient Mayan prophets have written the end of the world next year, but the prophecy remains unclear: Will our race fall to the rage of war? Or will mankind claim peace and harmony and create an entirely new civilization based on love and responsibility? If anyone knows, they aren’t telling. I would like to see the latter. I have come through a lifetime of struggle, a battle that taught me faith and gave me the belief that there is a higher power ready to provide when all seems hopeless. I have known poverty, and the wealth of knowing my needs will be met – even when that end does not seem clear. When I reach the end of my strength, I turn my problems over to that power and offer myself to the resolution. And so, today, looking at the hoards of individuals lobbying for peace in the cities of our land, I see a replay of the unrest the poor have rallied to ask for a more even distribution of not only wealth, but opportunity; and I see this across the world. I have but little in the greater things, but I have this: I can ask what spirit requires of me to tip the balance. What is required of me, one single person in a world of billions of souls? I am not a healer, I deal with words. I am not a lawyer to fiddle with the law, turning it to the protection of the rich and criminal – and sometimes to the woes of the poor – if the settlement looks large enough. I wrestle with ideas. I am not a politician, who promises much and votes for the very thing they promised to protect. I look for truth in the reflections of the past and carry hope for the future. I do not care what god you worship. All gods are good who raise humanity. All I ask is to be given a task, one thing I can do to improve the world …. And one thing more. I ask that each soul in this place ask the same. Just think what millions of good acts could do! What can I do? At the very least Friend, look on the sunny side. You might be surprised in what you see. Love, Terry
Sunday, October 30, 2011
The other day I got a bill for over $200 in the mail for a test to measure my Vitamin D levels. Medicare says the test is medically unnecessary and that I have to pay for it!
Wait a minute! My doctors at the local clinic have always told me my Vitamin D levels were just fine and I take a daily supplement, so I am wondering just why the test was ordered in the first place. I get it that the government has to save money, but not that I should have to foot the bill for unnecessary testing. Surely every doctor in the world got a notice that the test was no longer covered?
Apparently Medicare is weeding out unnecessary testing, and I am fine with that - but it might have been nice if I had been given the information that this test is no longer covered.
I live on a severely restricted budget and paying this bill will be difficult. I am writing my doctor to ask that I no longer have to have this testing done, and hopefully I will remember to remind her not to do it again as I have been tested for various other conditions twice a year. Four hundred dollars is more than my mortgage payment!
I urge others who are on Medicare to talk to their physician about the cost of the tests they order. It is apparent that doctors do not know what costs are incurred and order tests without thought about the impact on the life of the patient.
Just saying - in the meantime, it is a pretty day so take a walk on the sunny side and collect some natural Vitamin D!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Yesterday I joined Ann Foley, Andy Nunez and other local writers for a day at Long Wharf in Cambridge where the Richardson Museum hosted their annual schooner rendevous.
What a beautiful day it was! There was a hint of chill in the air, but it was beautiful in the sun and many came to get a closer look at the tall ships that gathered on the Choptank River to demonstrate our living history.
I always love being able to go out with my books and say howdy to the many friends I have made in the community over the years. It really warms my heart to catch up on news and collect hugs. (I like to gather as many as I can!)
Cambridge is a town with great spirit, and it hosts many gatherings over the course of the year. In addition to the hospitality of the warm-hearted locals, we are seeing an increase in growth in the arts with several galleries open to show off the accomplishments of the art community.
The Cambridge downtown is gradually coming back from the economic decline that it suffered from the early 90s when I first came to the community. That year, almost every store on Race Street closed and it was a sad thing to go downtown - especially during the holiday season. There was even a movement for non-proft groups to decorate the empty windows on Race Street.
But times have changed and despite the slump our country is experiencing Cambridge is coming back! Many of the downtown storefronts are filling up and people are out and about. Much of it is due to the work and dedication of Jim Duffy, who has been thee coordinator for the Main Street project in Cambridge. It is heartwarming to see, so if you are feeling down, take a walk downtown and check out the change. It is definitely a walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Everyone seems to be searching for a place of calm while the world fights the same wars over and over again. It seems as if we all believe in some sort of God, Creator of heaven and earth, or overseer, but it seems like something is getting lost in the translation.
According to the ancient Maya calendar the world will end in the year 2012. Boy! That sure makes it difficult to believe in happily ever after when the ghosts of the French Revolution stalk the shadows of Wall Street bankers. What’s up with that?
I believe poor folks have a point. It is pretty clear that not even one millionaire got there without the sweat and toil of lots and lots of little people who live on the verge of poverty. Again, we can look to history for a parallel – but where is Robin Hood when we need him?
I realize I am spitting into the wind, but what if everyone took a minute to think positive about the proposed world’s end and pondered the great WHAT IF?
What if people started being nice to one another? What if every guy on the street picked up one piece of garbage? What if every mom took a day off to love her child, instead of telling that youngster that he or she is bad, and then skip the yelling because a little milk was spilled. What if everyone turned down the heat a couple of degrees? What if people sat on their porches and passed the time of day? What if everyone with a vacant lot allowed people with no land to plant a garden and grow some of the food they need? What if every employer in the world gave his employees one dollar more each week?
There are so many opportunities for people to do good, one wonders why there is so much strife in the world.
Could it be? Is it possible? What if the end of the world could be the end of the world as we know it? What if the end of the world was the beginning of peace on earth and enough for every child to be fed? I believe it could happen….
If not, take a walk on the sunny side and you might see the possibilities! Love, Terry
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Earlier this week out lovsl TV station ran a story about the United States Postal Service saying that it has reached a $15 billion debt ceiling and that if it cannot come up with a $5 billion payment soon, the United States Postal Service will close its doors this winter.
I am sorry, but who is watching the store? We have an appointed Postmaster General who supposedly watches over the business and has a great deal of freedom in supervising that operation. Or am I wrong? I did a little research.
Supposedly the Postmaster General is appointed by the president to make sure the postal service operates in an appropriate fashion. This person is an employee of the nation with a $263,575 annual paycheck enhanced by another $135,041 in benefits as of the year 2009. No doubt there has been a COLA or two since then, but my question is ‘what do the taxpayers get for all their money? More debt?
Is that right? Think about it.
When I was a little girl trying to sell boxed greeting cards to my neighbors many of the older prospects said that the price of stamps was going up from two to three cents and they couldn’t afford to buy the cards. The price of stamps has gone up every couple of years since then, and while service at the local Post Office (which underwent costly and extensive renovations this past year!) has always been good, one wonders how so much debt has piled up.
Who’s watching the store? And why haven’t the bills been paid all along?
Seeing the state of the nation, which is also deeply in debt, one wonders where accountability has strayed. One wonders how administrators can allow a business to continue to borrow with such ridiculous limits. Who is watching the store?
There are millions of poor folks out here who can’t make house and car payments, who have no insurance or pension plans because there has never been any extra money to save for the future, let alone survive the present. It would seem to me that the government could take a page from the poor individual’s guidebook: cut back, do without, pay your bills.
And walk on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Well, we had an interesting few days in the summer of 2011!
One good thing. Everybody called everybody. They touched bass, they made peace.
It was awesome!
I was pretty much alone while the shaking and rocking went on, if you don’t count the adolescent black cat named Shadow. He’s pretty cool, but when he saw that rain blowing uphill, he let me know that he wasn’t going out in that kaka.
As luck would have it, I happened to be in the middle of some fine copper ombre yarn that had gotten tangled because I couldn’t find the end… sometimes it happens. One thing, I found I didn’t mind something immediate to occupy my hands and the left part of my brain so that I could cope with the flying bricks and a category one hurricane fussing around the door. I untangled that huge knot for hours on end… and now I can make Lisa a shawl.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Being alone in a storm is a good way to take stock of one’s life and the angels who have claimed a dance along the way. Lisa is one of my angels. She has a good and helpful heart and has done me many a good turn.
So, she will get a scarf done in a difficult stitch. It is a good thing to make a shawl for a sister, no matter how long it takes.
Who were the others? Angels – oh, there are always a few more. There was Fred Smith who opened my ears to the miracle of true storytelling. There was Dorothy Morford who believed I could work with my head (even though she warned against starvation in my old age….) She paid me well.
Arline Chase was another angel. She honored my work as a writer. OH… and Jackie Vickers – she kept me employed for as long as I could stay listening to the old folks spin their tales. Who else? Well, Lyle Cameron – village idiot and champion racer… he’ll give you a life saver and remind you to have a good day.
There are so many angels in my life – the gals from the Main Street Gallery and Wednesday Morning Artists… The musicians who let me join the jam….
I could go on and on for there are surely more, but I thought you might want to join the conversation. Tell me about your angels and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Yesterday the Eastern Shore joined the eastern seaboard as we experienced a rare earthquake centered in Virginia. I knew what it was as I had been shaken awake by a similar shake in the Adirondacks. The piano was playing itself and I woke to the jangle of strings.
My piano remained silent yesterday, but it brought back memories of an odd time that culminated in my move to the Eastern Shore. You pretty much know an earthquake once you have lived through one. Of course, the west coast has events like this all the time, but we tend to think the Atlantic seaboard is more or less safe from earthquake, which made this recent occurrance a real shock even though damage was fairly minor.
An odd point is that we are on the cusp of the arrival of a heavy storm coming up from the Caribbean at this point in time. Let's hope that Irene moves out to sea and leaves us alone - or more likely - just waters our gardens.
It may be coincidence, but I wrote the following poem recently. Maybe it was a message... you never know. At any rate, I hope you enjoy and that you keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Earthshake and Rain
There was an earthshake the other day
And that brought on a grief reaction
That reflected our puzzlement and anger
That the planet should do us that way.
We all know perfectly well that
When buildings fall, it is not the fault
Of the sand on which we build ….
Or the men who draw the plans.
The fault is the fault!
A fissure deep in the ground
That moves and turns so
Things go out of plumb and
Building blocks fall like rain.
And then the rain falls three states away
Flooding the flatlands,
Washing away houses and frogs,
Carrying new topsoil to cover
The croplands and meadows
Where the grasses grew for time out of mind
And we try to say that a flood is wrong
When all of this is normal
All day long.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I will admit I have found the view of my world rather unsettling lately. I can’t seem to figure out why there is so much prejudice when it comes to our population and even our decision-making.
A couple of years ago the nation was congratulating itself on electing a president who represented a non-white race. There was a huge infusion of pride and hope for our country. We had cracked the race barrier at last!
Then President Obama went to work on the colossal mess he inherited from past presidents and Congress. He was a man with a plan, and realization of that plan put him squarely in the cross hairs of bigots and nay-sayers who knew without doubt this was an evil man. I do not doubt that prejudice is a heavy hitter in what is going on right now. I hear it every day on the street – and I wonder what sort of public opinion I would hear if our nation’s leader did not also represent another race.
Who, I ask, has the education, courage and stamina to stand up to the problems our president faced from day one? I know for sure I wouldn’t want the job, but if I did have to do it, I would like to hope I would have time to see the plan come to fruition and have the support of the men and women who helped elect him.
I understand that prejudice has a huge role in this drama in which we are enmeshed. And it is a drama that goes back as far as mankind. If someone is different, has a different skin tone, a strange religion or an exotic dietary law, they have to be bad. It is automatic, and cause for discord, disharmony and war.
The real problem is we don’t learn. We didn’t learn from the Holocaust, when millions died simply because they had a different belief system. We didn’t learn from the near-genocide of the American Indians who welcomed European visitors with open hearts and were massacred and pushed aside for their trouble. We don’t learn.
Over time, we have excoriated the Jews, the Irish, the Chinese, and recently Hispanics – pushing them into ghettos and forcing them to work for sub-standard wages – just because we can.
The truth is we are all of us immigrants. I proudly claim a Native American ancestry, and yet when looking back, I see that even they struck out from another continent, walked (it is a theory anyway!) across the Bering Straits and took over a world that may or may not have been empty. Today it is all right (maybe even stylish) to be Native American, but go south a ways and our cousins in Mexico and points south are not all right at all.
If I remember my high school history correctly, we are a country that supposedly endorses that familiar legend on the Statue of Liberty welcoming the poor, the tired, and huddled masses. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
I hope you think about it… and stay on the sunny side!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
When I wake up each morning, I let the cat in for his breakfast, brew a cup of coffee, and crank up the internet in case someone is emailing to say my novel Drama Queen Rules is gonna be made into a movie! Then I switch on the morning show on TV. They have these young folks reading the news so it is usually interesting enough for me to stop fooling around with some computer solitaire in order to see what’s gone wrong in the world while I was asleep. I am often less than pleased with what I hear. There just isn’t that much good news any more, although I sincerely wish there was.
Sometimes I notice things when I’m not up to my ears in the romance of my next book because writing is both compelling and isolating. I have noticed that when people are nice to you (like the waitress out at Kay’s Restaurant over at the airport), you then tend to be nicer to the other people in your world later on. Nice spreads, and isn’t it a blessing?
If you can, do me a favor and please don’t forget to be pleasant to your waitress: her feet hurt, her back is out, the fool she is living one is lazier than a pet cat, and she makes less than a dollar an hour after taxes. She needs the tips, but an encouraging word is priceless.
Another thing I have noticed is that people seem to have too much stuff. Too much stuff isn’t good. For one thing it pretty much screws up your feng shui. For another, stuff isn’t what we are after in the first place. We are looking for something else.
I have an idea that the solution to too much stuff would be to either barter or give it away. Money’s scarce, the government spent it all. The secret is that if you need or want a piece of my stuff, then maybe we could swap – or I could give you a thing that you admire that really doesn’t mean much to me. That sort of transaction doesn’t take any cash money for the government to worry about – and your feng shui gets better.
All the stuff you hate gums up your environment and your peace of mind. Sometimes you just gotta get rid of the what-nots, and old books, and table sweepings from your beading hobby. It is amazing how much good our junk can do if we simply put it out there. Take old cars for instance. How many dead cars are there lurking in back yards or huddled around old barns? Oh, and don’t forget the fenced junk yards. There’s an awful lot of iron out there that could be used for all sorts of things. What if everyone with more than one dead car took it to a recycler and just give it to them? The view of your barn would get better at the very least.
About a year ago my friend Sue gave me a very elegant set of heavy gourmet cooking pots to replace the enamel pans and Farberwear I had collected from here and there over the years. I washed the old cookware and put it out on my stoop knowing that young people walk the street a lot – and that some of them just setting up housekeeping for the first time.
Then I closed the front door.
I love my new kitchenware gift and that is a blessing that keeps on giving because every time I take a pan out of the cupboard I remember the woman who gifted me with such a costly and beautiful gift. Back in Appalachia, they didn’t have nice pans to cook in. All the enamel was chipped and all the pots were burned from sitting on the wood stove before the fire died down.
It seems like the happiest people I know don’t take life too seriously. They learn to laugh early in what some might call difficult lives. They know without a doubt that laughter is indeed good medicine, and they offer it to all comers, understanding the responsibility that comes along with the gift.
I like a good laugh myself. There’s nothing like a one-liner to break up the tension. I think as much of our lives as possible should be spent laughing. For one thing, laughter is much cheaper than all the drugs we are supposed to need in order to live longer than ever before. What on earth are they going to do with all the old farts they keep alive when we live in a world where kids can’t get work and rock and roll reminds us of our tender youth?
Happiness isn’t that hard to get. It comes with an encouraging word, a gift with no strings and a little good news. Hope you have a happy day and keep on the sunny side! Terry
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Last night I happened to check my email and found this wonderful review for Drama Queen Rules by Martha Cheves. Check it out here or at http://marthaskitchenkorner.blogspot.com/)
Drama Queen Rules – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘When I saw Skip wheel out of that parking lot in Paradox, I knew for sure I was going to break up with him. I have known girls who had men in prison and I wasn’t about to spend every Saturday afternoon waiting for a thirty-minute visit with some con. That wasn’t my idea of a good relationship at all. I wanted better, and I had a plan. All I had to do was to save up some money and enroll in the community college over to the county seat and get a degree in social working so I could help people I never should have told anybody about it though. All I got was a hard time. People don’t like to think you are getting too big for your britches, and they won’t hesitate to say so.
“What makes you think you are smart enough to go to college?” Emma Grace sneered and turned up Judge Judy when I told her what I was going to do. “Ain’t you the one who had to do seventh grade twice?” She took a big swig of her diet cola and burped loudly. Emma Grace always thinks she is so smart, but she always acts so ignorant.’
Lainey Cook was just standing in line when the “big robbery” took place at Bailey’s Market in the Adirondack town of Paradox, killing the owner Hop Bailey and the store’s bag boy. Turns out that the customers in the store stuck together and beat the heck out of the robbers by throwing everything from bricks of lard to frozen vegetables at them. This detained them until the police got there, which wasn’t too soon or the robbers just might have been found beaten to death with food. No one seemed to know who these men were nor where they came from but Lainey knew who turned out to be the getaway driver as he steered the car from the back of the store. It was none other than her boyfriend Skip Boyer. That was also the day that Skip became Lainey’s ex-boyfriend. Which was ok too because Skip left town in hopes of avoiding the police and being hauled in for armed robbery and accessory to murder.
Lainey put her foot to the ground and started working even harder on her dream to go to college. She was determined to bring herself out of the trailer park she had lived in her whole life no matter what her sister Emma Grace and their mother might say. And all was going well until Skip showed up, took what little money she had, as well as her car and Lainey herself.
I can describe Drama Queen Rules in two words – seriously funny. The trials and tribulations that Lainey finds herself going through would “seriously” put most of us under or at least make us give up. Lainey, on the other hand, handles her kidnapping by Skip with tolerance and humor. She has a determined mind that won’t give up its dream no matter how hard times become nor what hardships might come her way. Author Terry L. White has a way of telling her story in a style that reminds me of one other writer – Louis Grizzard. She turns a back woods life into a success. I loved every page I turned and when the book ended, I wanted more!
Drama Queen Rules is available from me or at Amazon, etc. See you at the Annie Oakley festival today - keep on the sunny side! Terry
Thursday, August 11, 2011
This Saturday I will be down on Race Street with several local authors. The Annie Oakley Festival has invited the literari and artists to their festivals in Cambridge and I had a great time last year when the event was held at Sailwinds Park.
This year, the festival will take place on Race Street in Cambridge. There will be all sorts of things relating to the Annie Oakley experience. Miss Oakley lived with her husband Frank Butler in Cambridge for several years. Legend has it, she often stood on her porch roof to shoot ducks on the Choptank River. I don't guess they enforced zoning laws so much back then!
At any rate, Mary Handley will be dressed as Annie Oakley and there will be music all day, vendors, food and lots of fun. The weather even promises to be good. I can hardly wait to be there with Ann Foley, Andy Nunez, Joyce Reveal, Diane Marquette! I will have copies of my latest short story collections, as well as the Chesapeake Heritage series.
I understand Seafood Feast-i-val will be busy at Sailwinds Park, and hope that many of the visitors to Cambridge will come downtown to share the fun. I hope you will stop by to see me and my friends in front of the Hunts Insurance building...and that you keep on the sunny side!!! Love, Terry
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Great News! My new short story collection is in print! This is my 19th title, and I am so grateful that my life has allowed me to continue with what has turned out to be my life's work. Random Apples is a collection of short stories based on some of my experiences and offers a series of short reads for the busy reader.
I am looking forward to offering Random Apples at the Annie Oakley Festival in Cambridge, but if you can't wait, you can download the book on your Kindle or Nook.
A dozen years ago, I was just getting into e-books and it was pretty hard to believe a writer would be doing business in that arena, but you know what? It works! Many of my books are avaialable as e-books as well as in print and I am hoping that all you good people who like my work will take advantage of the sustainablity of book files that don't use paper or petroleum products to move information and diversions with the click of a mouse. (I never thought a mouse would be a good thing either.)
At any rate, I am proud of the work, and like the old woman who lived in a shoe, I am looking forward to more blessed literary babies as time goes on.
I hope you like my work and will continue to enjoy the stories I have to tell. The weatherman says it is going to rain, but I hope you walk on the sunny side, Love, Terry
PS: Random Apples is dedicated to my publisher Arline Chase and to the Wednesday Morning Artists for many encouraging words!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
When I was a child, I would read a book and wonder what life was like in the olden days. I wanted to know what it was like to pound clothing on a rock to render it clean. I wanted to know what dimity looked like. I wanted to touch Queen Victoria's garment and see the delicate feather stitching that finished the sober seams of grief. I wanted to know how things used to be.
What was it like, I wondered, to give birth alone, or with just your wide-eyed and frightened husband on hand to cut the baby's cord. What was it like to hear the howling winds of winter come through the chinks of a log house where food was running out and the children stayed under the bearskin and wept for their summer dreams. I wondered what it was like to walk the prarie and hope to reach the promised land before winter turned the world white and the wolves of hunger descended. I wondered.
And I wonder today when I realize that my childish curiosity led me to try to show the olden days to those who would like to who they are. My people left some records and I can pretty much follow their progress into the twenty-first century - a fascinating story indeed! I am doing my best to leave a record of what I have learned in the world and still affirm the goodness in life. If you would like to know what some of the olden days were like, you are sure to find some hints in my stories. You have to remember, though, that our stories go in different directions, follow different stars, and sing different songs. Vive la difference! It all makes for better stories.
Maybe someday you will tell me yours.
Cheers! and walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Saturday, July 30, 2011
A few days ago I accompanied a friend to a doctor's appointment in Washington. Judy drove, and I got the job of navigator. We got to the hospital on time and Judy got good news about her condition with a 'wait and see' prescription from the specialist.
We were pretty happy on the turn-around, but somehow lost the route. Try as we might, we couldn't find the route out of town - although we did see some pretty nifty neighborhoods.
After a while it became clear that we were hopelessly lost. We stopped for directions, and although each person we asked seemed pretty clear about where we had to go, we continued to find new vistas, but no trail to home!
Finally, Judy stopped at a you-pump gas station where she struck up a conversation with a wonderful woman who went out of her way to lead us to the right route! What a relief. Not only was my friend relieved about her health problem, we were on the way back to the Eastern Shore! What a blessing.
It gave me reason to think. A total stranger went out of her way to help us! She must have been an angel for she had been there to help in a city of strangers. God surely blessed us that day! And He kept the promise that we would be safe...
It occurs to me that there are angels among us and that they will appear when trouble threatens. Both Judy and I were so thankful for the woman who helped us and we both wished there was a way to thank her.
I hope you find the angels in your life and that you keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The world of publishing is undergoing the greatest change since Gutenberg devised moveable type. Before that, books were copied by hand - on papyrus scrolls, on animal skins, clay tablets and parchment - often in aid of one religious order or another. Only rich folks could afford books, which helped them to understand what came before and how to wield the power of knowledge over their inferiors.
Once books could be reproduced rapidly, though, more people could afford to purchase and own books - they could even subscribe to newspapers, and the race for understanding was on!
Books were pretty common when I was a kid - my folks belonged to the book-of-the-month-club and they left whatever they were reading lying around for their offspring to pick up if any of us were interested. Dad went way out of pocket to buy the Encyclopedia Brittanica, which I did my best to devour - along with my textbooks, the Saturday Evening Post and the printed matter on catsup bottles and cereal boxes.
As I grew older, I came to see that even the crappiest fiction has a secondary role -the writers of such dreck recorded a huge array of different worlds. Books did, for most of my life, however, remained products made of paper if you don't count radio and movies as forms of literature.
About 20 years ago something astounding happened. Personal computers became commonplace, people from around the world could converse in real time, and whole manuscripts could be forwarded across continents with the press of a key or click of a mouse.
I got dragged into the fray kicking and screaming. Fortunately, I was writing for a little daily newspaper at the time, so there was no way around it! What a revelation. You could write a story and have it on the page in an hour. You could correct your errors as you went along, and so could your copy editor.
You have to know those novels I had been working on at home were suddenly portable. I could approach a publisher and get a rejection slip in only a few days - versus weeks, months, and in some cases as much as a year! You could also produce a clean manuscript as fast as you could write it down.
What to write? Everything. I have come to understand that much of what I write is history - maybe not the sort you find on the evening news, but stories about people, places and things told from my unique perspective. I write my experiences in Appalachia, the days I spent in an antique shop, the hours blessed with music, and the beat I worked, which included everything from boat races to garden club teas.
I try to write a world people can see, and hope the words I find touch your heart. It is hot out there today, so keep cool - and walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Monday, July 18, 2011
In the interests of shameless self promotion I google my own name pretty often. I was surprised to see that the State University of New York had published my biography. Google rocks!
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Terry L. White Submitted by admin on Thu, 2011-02-10 12:17
FM’s Renaissance Woman
Terry L. White had been working as a waitress in the Fultonville truckstops and about to turn 40 when she finally heeded the call for a higher education. Already a folk musician and would-be writer, she sold her kitchen table and chairs to find the funds to send her application to Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Accepted, she found help through grants, the support of her friends, and with a great deal of faith, she completed a course of study resulting in an Associate’s Degree with high honors.
Today Terry has published more than a dozen books. “I remember one of my friends at FM telling me one day over coffee that she had dreamed she would someday have a whole shelf full of my books,” says Terry. “I wanted to believe that dream would come true, but I didn’t have a clue how to make it happen.”
After graduation from FM, Terry wrote a letter to Skidmore College’s University Without Walls, outlining her accomplishments at FM and asking for help in completing her education. She was welcomed with open arms, and the skilled counseling staff at the University Without Walls helped her not only fulfill her goal of earning a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies, but by also giving her experience with local editors who read and critiqued her work.
Upon her graduation at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center along with Lena Spencer, proprietress of the famed Cafe Lena, Terry followed her heart to the International Womens Writing Guild conferences hosted at Skidmore each summer, where she taught a “song as story” workshop for a dozen years, meeting writers and publishers from around the world. It was at the first guild conference she attended that Terry met Arline Chase, her publisher and longtime friend.
“I had collected more than two hundred rejection slips from traditional publishers who were being very careful about supporting the work of new writers when Arline called me and told me about ebooksonthe.net, an Internet publishing company that was distributing books in electronic formats. She said I should submit one of my novels. The idea seemed very risky and foreign, but the editor not only liked my work, she asked for more.”
Terry said she felt a new excitement about her work, even though electronic publishing was still very much a thing of the future. “I burned those rejection slips, though,” she said. “All I needed was a chance to make my dreams a reality.”
Internet publishing has come a long way since then, and Terry’s books are available in both electronic and paper editions, some at Amazon.com and all at ebooksonthe.net, which Mrs. Chase purchased a couple of years ago.
Terry has served as the president of the Adirondack Fiddlers, and on the board of directors of the New York Folklore Society. She has written stories and articles for a number of newspapers and magazines where she earned several writing awards for the excellence of her work. She has also performed at many local events in Cambridge, MD, where she has made her home for the past 16 years. She has been an event organizer for several organizations including the Harriet Tubman Coalition, and creates beautiful jewelry and dolls for the designer market.
“I remember my years at FM as difficult and wonderful,” Terry said. “I had no idea what I could do with my dreams when I started, and a few years later I was doing what I had only dreamed I could do with my life. I can’t thank FM enough.”
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It was a neat thing to see someone noticed my struggle. I appreciate it no end and hope you walk on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Ever since I moved to the Eastern Shore I loved to go out into the country to enjoy the peace and quiet of the farm fields and marshlands.
One feature of the marshes that leaves a lingering sadness in my heart is the decaying hulks of houses that, condemned when environmentalists decreed the ground would not perk and that human wastes had to be processed in above-ground tanks that were often far out of the means of the old folks who lived in those dwellings - even though these hardy folks have lived in good health in those same houses for time out of mind.
I always feel such a sadness when I notice a decaying marsh house. I wonder about who lived there, what children played in the yard, and the face of the bride who came there as a new wife full of hope and love. I especially wonder about the hope - the expectation that a life might be full of the goodness God promised.
Writers have such thoughts.
An amazing thing is that sometimes (but not always) when I see one of those old abandoned houses I find my head swimming with a grand new idea for a story or book.
It is as if I have been given what might be called a cosmic assignment to tell that story as best I can.
Writing is a task I can't seem to put down, although I sometimes feel as if I have perhaps timed out like those sad rotting houses sinking into the marsh. And then the dictation starts in my head and I find myself still at the keyboard writing a history that seems to come from the very heart of love.
I hope that you have found your bliss, and that the world talks to you about beauty, hope and love - and if that isn't enough, I hope you keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Friday, July 15, 2011
I had an email from my publisher at Cambridge Books saying that my new book of short stories called Random Apples is on the cusp of going to the printer.
This will be my 19th book published either in print, as an e-book, or both. You might think the experience would grow old over time, but each of my 'babies' is special to me and I am excited to hold that first copy in my hands. I guess you could say that holding that new book is bliss - and you know what people say about following one's bliss - that goodness will follow.
You might think that such an impressive output might be noticed in the greater scheme of things, but so far the sales have been modest. I was, however, surprised by a young fan Saturday evening at the Taste of Cambridge event, who said she had read all my books and asked to have her photo taken with me! I was touched.
It is small incidents like meeting that young woman that give me that little extra push to keep working - the work is the blessing after all. And yes, I am working on the sixth book for my Chesapeake Heritage series. I'm not talking about it much yet, but it is keeping me grounded in the dream and I am thankful that the stories keep knocking at my door.
I hope you have a dream and are making it come true and that you keep on the sunny side today and throughout your journey. Love, Terry
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Yesterday I was privileged to take part in Cambridge's Taste of Cambridge event. I saw many old friends and had a wonderful time despite the heat, which seemed a bit more than predicted.
All that didn't seem to quench the spirit of community that brought hundreds out to enjoy the best in crab cuisine.
As a writer and historian, I was reminded of the heritage inherent in such a festival. Today there are fewer watermen than ever and we should all take our hats off to these hardy souls who work the local waters.
Also to be congratulated and celebrated are the wonderful women who once waited for their men to come home with their catch, which they cleaned with nimble knives and gospel song. As such, I am including one of my best (I hope!) poems as a gift to everyone who remembers the waterside culture and wonders where it went:
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 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.
I hope you enjoyed the poem and have a wonderful day, and keep on the sunny side!
The poem Mom Mom is found in my book Myth to Me: Songs From the Inner Light.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Later today I will be on Race Street for the huge Taste of Cambridge event. This event has been building for the last couple of years and is growing like the proverbial weed. Congratulations to Jim Duffy and the Main Street board for all their hard work on behalf of the community. They sure have done Cambridge proud.
I will be sharing a booth with the Wednesday Morning Artists and will offer the complete collection of my Chesapeake Heritage books, which are based on the history of the Eastern Shore. The art for the covers are unusual as they were done by Snow Hill artist Dawn Tarr so they are truly a local product.
Starting with the story of Mary, an indentured servant who marries her master in Chesapeake Harvest; the series follows Heron, who is half native; Jane, who waits out the Revolutionary War to find love; Jewel a blind plantation owner at the end of the Civil War; and Mary, who finds herself in peril when a stalker haunts the cannery where she works as World War One ends.
Stop by the Wednesday Morning Artists booth on Race Street during the festival and register for a chance to win a copy of Vienna Pride.
I love to write and feel it is my calling in life. Today, I am waiting for my 19th book to arrive in print and hope to have some copies of the new book of short stories called Random Apples for the Annie Oakley festival on the second Saturday in August. My book of poetry, Runaway Hearts was read on Radio for the Blind and I have been given awards for my poetry, short stories and news articles. Books are available from me, or from Amazon.com and Kindle.com.
Please stop by to see me, Dale Booth, Nancy Snyder, Kay Jones and others near the Hunt Insurance Office on Race Street... and keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Weather permitting, I will join the fun at Taste of Cambridge on July 9 during Main Street's Taste of Cambridge event. I will share the booth along with a number of artists from the Wednesday Morning Artists group and signing books throughout the festival.
To date, I have published 19 e-books and novels. My work is available through Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Bay Country Shop and Write Words Inc. of Cambridge..
My Chesapeake Heritage series is based on the history of this area, beginning with the arrival of an indentured servant who married her master and founded a line of strong women who live on the same plantation during each tale. The series goes through the growing pains of a new nation, poverty, prejudice, slavery, sickness and world wars.
I arrived in Cambridge 18 years ago to write for The Daily Banner and readily admit I fell in love with the area. Over the years I have earned a number awards for my short fiction and journalism. My short stories and poetry were chosen to represent Dorchester County in the Artscape Festival at Baltimore in 1994. My volume of narrative poetry Runaway Hearts was recently read on Radio for the Blind.
Shoppers will have the opportunity to win a copy of Ms.White’s latest novel Vienna Pride, the tale of a cannery girl in peril at the end of the first world war.
Please stop by my booth to say hello and keep on the sunny side! Terry
Thursday, June 30, 2011
A couple of years ago I asked my friend Dawn Tarr if she ever painted angels. She didn't answer, and I quite forgot about asking.
Dawn is a rising young artist who is not taking no for an answer. She's going to paint come hell or high water. You can see her art on the walls of the sets of popular television shows - shows like Bonnie Hunt, Ellen and the Animal Planet star Shorty Rossi!
Ms. Tarr and I met over a chafing dish full of mashed potatoes and we were in the process of feeding a room full of senior citizens at a medical adult day care center. I knew immediately this was a very special person, and as time went on I found this to be true.
Dawn paints with a bold palate and peoples her world with mermaids, male nudes and recently pit bulls! Search Dawn's name and you will find her work across the internet.
It makes me really proud to know Dawn - for her drive and talent stand out wherever she may go. As for the painting you see at the top of this post - this was Dawn's Christmas gift to me that year. Dawn has also painted the art for the covers of my four Chesapeake books, so if you like her art you can purchase a painting, a t-shirt, a mug - or a book with her art!
It is my opinion that Dawn Tarr is a rising star and that we will be seeing lots from her in the future. If you are interested, you can find Dawn on Facebook so look for her there and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Well, the solstice has passed and summer is here! The time has come for vacations, yard work, and time out to read and enjoy a good book on the porch. Some of my readers have indicated that shorter stories might be welcome because they liked to finish a story and put the book down without wondering what would happen next. Keeeping this in mind, so I gathered up some stories I have written over the years and compiled them in a brand new book called Random Apples.
I drew on my childhood for the title of the new book, going back to frosty autumn mornings when Dad would take us to the orchard to pick up drops - apples of every sort that had fallen beneath the trees, perfectly good for canning, baking and munching, but not of all one prefered variety. After the outing, I vividly remember settling in behind the wood cookstove to read surrounded by the heavenly aroma of apple pie.
My father was a very positive person and he taught me to see the good in life no matter how hard life could be for us back there in the mountains. I sometimes wonder if my work is a bit too all-right to be what people want to read these days. I know sex sells, but it is not everything in life or a relationship.
And so, each of my stories contains a bit of wisdom I have learned from an elder, a funny story about work, or a tale of family love. There are stories from other times, scenes that have not seen light of day for decades. They remind me of Dad's apples.
And so, look for the new book please, and look for the sunny side.
Friday, June 17, 2011
A couple of weeks ago Ann Foley and I took a trip to Toddville where I took some photos of the remains of a once-vital industry on the Chesapeake Bay for a history book we are working on. At one time, hundreds of watermen plied the waters of the bay catching fish, crabs and oysters. Some of them built boats and sailed these small crafts out in the small hours of the morning to gather their catch.
If you travel to Toddville, or any one of a dozen or more small communities in the rural areas of Dorchester County, you will find house after house condemned by the government because sewage water has no place to go - the land and the water are one. Small mom and pop stores stand abandoned, their signs stil swinging in the wind. Post offices are closed, and crossroads communities have dwindled to only a few homes that the residents must leave each morning in order to work in town.
As you drive through the remains of these little communities, you may see broken boats parked in weed-choked yards or shifting sadly in the water where they are tied up to long unused piers. Women, who were once traveled to work at the local crab picking houses on boats of their own, grow old, surrounded by restless water and aging cats.
A way of life is dying here on the Chesapeake Bay and Dorchester County and sometimes I wonder what has happened to the beautiful world we were give. The country folks were good husbandmen who kept the land safe for hundreds of years, but those days are gone.Soon every trace of the old ways will be disappear and there will be no more watermen, no more crab pickers, no more homes dotting the marsh It is sad to contemplate.
I cannot save the waterside towns, but I hope that the tales of the brave souls who made their lives on the water will live on in the stories Ann and I find and record. I hope you think to preserve your own stories and keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Thursday, June 16, 2011
About a year ago a friend stopped by and asked me if I wanted to make a book with her. I jumped at the chance. Ann Foley had already done four local history books and was ready to do a fifth. I was cranking out a novel as usual. I will probably never stop that particular activity and I wasn't that enamored with the idea of writing a non-fiction book, but I am always open to new ideas, and so I said yes.
We started out by searching out some Library of Congress photos of cannery workers because Dorchester County just about fed the whole world in WW2. Well, that was really interesting and it woke the inner newspaperwoman who had been sleeping for quite some time!
It just so happened that I was writing a story about a cannery girl in trouble. Check it out in my latest novel Vienna Pride! Just looking at those Depression-era photos taken by government-subsidized photographers supplied detail after detail for my own book.
The next thing I knew, we were interviewing people who had lived and worked in the area for years. There was the farmer who carved world-class decoys. There were ladies who picked crabs down in the necks. There was the entrepeneur who had a half-dozen places of business and held down a full-time job at the DuPont factory just across the state line. There were boat builders and watermen Everywhere we looked, we found photos of the past and stories to go with them.
Are we finished? Not by a long shot, but we are working on the book during weekly meetings when Ann drives the 40 miles from Elliott Island to meet over lunch and scan the images of the past in Dorchester County.
If you have an unusual Dorchester story or a photo you would like to see included in this book tentatively titled Voices From Down Below, please give one of us a yell and please, keep on the sunny side. Terry
PS: This post's photo is of Sam Jones store in Church Creek. This old man's place of business was reputed to be the worst-kept store around, and it is easy to see why.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
This weekend individuals from far and wide will converge on Cambridge to honor the memory and accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, a Dorchester-born slave credited with stealing scores of her fellow slaves and leading them to safety in the North.
Harriet, by all accounts was a small woman, but her portrait (newly repainted and installed in a little park on US 50) seems to show a backbone of steel - which she would have needed to flee the dismal, humid nights of tidewater Maryland and make her way to first Delaware, then Philadelphia with the help of Quakers who fed and clothed the miserable individuals who often walked to freedom under Harriet's guideance.
Harriet, who had been injured as a young woman, suffered from narcolepsy and perhaps strange, prophetic dreams that showed her the journey she must take. Legend has it local slaves sang the gospel favorite "Go Down Moses" when Harriet was in town. The hymn was a signal to those who meant to run away to a free life - first in Philly, and later all the way to Canada when the US Congress decreed that runaway slaves be returned to their owners - even when they were aprehended in free states.
Harriet not only worked what is now called the Underground Railroad, but also worked as a baker, a nurse and a Union spy. Promised a pension for her old age that never appeared Harried lived out her days in Auburn, NY where she kept a home for ancient slaves who remained in her care until they died.
MY poetry Runaway Hearts includes my attempt to tell the story of Harriet's youth. I hope you enjoy it! Have a good day and keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
A FREEDOM DREAM from Runaway Hearts
Harriet Tubman was fine-boned,
She worked in the world like a man.
Her story is here in the marshes
I’ll tell you as much as I can:
Screech owl call on a Bucktown night
Ain’t no moon, ain’t no light.
Child at rest on a corn shuck bed.
Strange dreams fill Mis Hattie’s head!
Seven years old, a runaway twice,
Once, last spring.
Before, there was ice!
There’s a tune that struggles
deep in her soul
Hat’s star points North,
a new life her goal....
Monday, May 30, 2011
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, which evokes many memories from my childhood when all the men were soldiers and every life was a picnic. It is funny, most of those old soldiers are gone, but their memory lingers.
The other day I took some of my handmade dolls downtown to place in Hunt Insurance's office window along with art by a number of members of the Wednesday Morning Artists. The group meets each Wednesday (naturally!) to discuss the arts and to find ways to celebrate the talents we have been given. The window display turned out to be really beautiful and if you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to stop by next time you visit downtown Cambridge. Jim Duffy and the Main Street Committee are really making a wonderful change for Cambridge!
As such, I always try to celebrate on the holiday, and today I am not only flying the flag over my porch, I also have my brother's service flag, earned with 20 years of service in the US Navy in that flag case that makes a place to display my patriotic doll. (I sent him an email as he lives in Rapid City!)
I hope everyone who reads this takes a moment to think of the soldiers who have helped keep America safe. We salute you!
PS: Have a great day, a great picnic and keep on the sunny side! Terry
FLY YOUR FLAG!
I learned to love holidays
From my father
Who loved a party
For any small reason.
The Fourth of July
Is special to me,
Maybe because I love
Our beautiful flag.
Red, white, and blue
Raise my heartbeat
When I see a house
Decked out for the day.
I know who sewed
That first banner,
We have a cherished
But who told Betsy
Where to place the
Stars and stripes?
Was it George? Or…
Did someone else
Stop at her door to
Order a flag so able
To tell our humble history?
I like to think God
Had a hand in the
Design of red and white,
The field of blue.
If you have a flag
It should fly today,
But even more
On the third, or the fifth!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I am watching the weather patterns across the states, and while it is plain that thousands of people are in harm's way as the water rises, this is nothing new. Johnny Cash sang about floods in the 60s, and Noah had him a real time with rising waters long before people could read and write American.
My heart goes out to the displaced families, to those who lost pets and household goods, and lawnmowers and such. No one should have to endure such losses. It has to be heartbreaking.
And yet, as I watch, I am reminded that the stuff we own owns us; that the cars and boats and fancy electronics have little to do with the real life we live - and wonder if these catastrophes don't hold a lesson for us all. Maybe it is time to sit down and think about how we can do with less - instead of more and better clothing, cars and cell phones.
Nearly every house on my street has a porch - an extension of one's living room meant for relaxation and social interaction with the neighbors up and down the street. Today, thanks to the media, a congregation of people on a porch is more likely to signal something illegal underfoot.
I have lived in my home for over seven years and my neighbors barely speak although they are often out there walking the dog and tinkering with their vehicles at the curb. They don't speak - even when I do.
Maybe we need the cleansing waters to come and adjust out thinking about what is valuable and what is not? It is something to think about.
In the meantime, it is supposed to rain this weekend, so I hope you find a way to keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Earthshake and Rain
There was an earthshake the other day
And that brought on a grief reaction
That reflected our puzzlement and anger
That the planet should do us that way.
We all know perfectly well that
When buildings fall, it is not the fault
Of the sand on which we build ….
Or the men who draw the plans.
The fault is the fault!
That fissure deep in the ground
That moves and turns so
Things go out of plumb and
Building blocks fall like rain.
And then the rain falls three states away
Flooding the flatlands,
Washing away houses and frogs,
Carrying new topsoil to cover
The croplands and meadows
Where the grasses grew for time out of mind
And we try to say that a flood is wrong
When all of this is normal
All day long.
Monday, May 2, 2011
As many of you know, I have published 18 books and have a few more projects underway. Writing has been my calling and I have spent more than 40 years with pencil and yellow legal pads, portable typewriter, early computer and a succession of tech-y wonders during my lengthy career.
I need to make it clear I never would have wandered down this path if there were no other choice. I was made to write, and I have done my best to stay true to that call. It wasn't always easy.
What, you may ask, has this to do with those who read my novels and poetry? A lot - perhaps.
Today I am writing to ask that if you have read one of my books that you go to Amazon.com or Kindle (in the case of my e-books) and post a review. It is easy and doesn't cost anything.
As you may know, the last five novels on my list: Chesapeake Harvest, Chesapeake Destiny, Chesapeake Legacy, Chesapeake Visions and Vienna Pride were all novels, but based on the history of the Eastern Shore and Dorchester County. I've done my best to show how people lived - their struggles and joys, their heartaches and hopes, and how they got through the hard times.
If you liked one of my books, please consider posting a review. Thank you, and keep on the sunny side! Terry L. White
Monday, April 25, 2011
Yesterday was Easter and I traveled to see old friends for the holiday. There were children there, playing fashion show, with the littlest sister as mannequin. The food, of course, was indescribably delicious and the conversation quiet and lazy in the heat of the peninsula's warmest day of spring.
The winter has been plagued by bad news from the far corners of the world, so it is no surprise that we are tired. Nor is it a puzzle that we do not understand the wars, the natural disasters, and the need to pump ourselves up each morning just to face the day.
Do you ever wonder why God allows such bad things to happen? No one in their right mind would order up a hurricane, a tornado, or flesh-eating bacteria - but all of these are with us, and the price of gas continue to rise, taking food out of our children's mouths and leaving his parents with the vague sense that they have not done enough to provide a perfect world for their offspring despite the exhaustion that leaves them on the couch.
One thing is for sure: we will always question what the Maker sends our way and hope that we can keep it all on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Sometimes I wonder what is the real news
And what the reporters, trying to keep their jobs,
Have cooked up to go with our morning coffee.
It is all so disturbing – the threats and talk of war,
The disease we bred by hand, irradidated now.
If we don’t watch out, all those old monster
Movies will come to pass and twenty foot lizards
Will lurk in the grass near the birdbath out back
Waiting to eat your cat or to take off your head.
Sometimes I wonder what people think is all right
When the sky is red with volcano dust and the seas
Spit up strange species upon the strand for us to taste –
And the spoiled mouse with two heads is the last one –
And the cow’s milk is gone bad and the meat spoiled.
How can that come to pass when God told us all
That there would always be enough to feed each Mother’s child?
But now we watch the surge of wildest sea and ask
If the children will have a world to run after all.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to our birthright
So that now we find each evening, dark with fear and
Dreams plagued with mud and fire on hill and marsh
Destroying Eden in their miserable march to the leaden sky
When what we crave is a good night’s sleep spooned
With love and trust while the stars waltz about the sky
And the Northern lights track friendly fire from desert bands
Bent on their particular translation of holy word,
And wonder why the Creator allows it all to go on.
Friday, April 22, 2011
One of the best things in my life was listening to the stories people tell me and the best job I ever had was working for the local newspaper where I got to go out into the world and listen to stories. From the number of people who still know my name more than a decade later, I must have done a good job.
I started listening to stories as a child, hanging on the grownups' words until someone hissed, "little pitchers have big ears," and the subject was dropped like a cement balloon. But I knew where the stories were and as an early reader, I had the key to the treasure house where I could hear those stories over and over
It is true I write what is generally referred to as historical fiction, but a famous warrior once said that if the author was not there when the battle was won - the thing he wrote was fiction after all. Writing and telling stories, has been my life, my love and reason to be so if you have a story to share, I would love to hear it.
In the meantime, have a great weekend and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry
Tell Me a Story
Tell me a story I ‘ve not heard before
I promise to listen, and never to snore
To tales out of closets, and cellars and floors,
Tell me a story I’ve not heard before!
I want to see vultures wheel up in the sky,
A kid on a bike as he rolls it on by,
A story of laughter, and heartache, and pie,
Heroes that win and bad guys who die!
Please tell me a story with dark secrets rife,
A story of heaven, a tale of great strife,
A note on a pillow, a history of life,
A story of trapper, and a pioneer wife.
Do offer a memory you keep near your heart,
A yarn about people who act out their part
With verve and with passion, as life doubles art,
With stories of love that was true from the start.
I love to hear stories of people who care,
The legends of teachers who always were there,
Of firemen and doctors, and guys who cut hair,
I see all their faces and feel all their care.
There’s jokes and there’s anecdotes, I love them all,
The stories of children, the colors of fall,
I love to hear rumors, and tales that are tall,
Of monsters and ogres and days at the mall.
Please tell me a story I already know,
Stories, the crop that we nurture and grow
From the seedlings of love, and the seeds that we sow,
In the stories well told before each must go.
If you have a story, please tell me the tale,
Don’t skip any parts or die on the trail,
Weave in the sachem, the goofy, the frail
And tell it quite often – as memory may fail.
Please tell me a story, I ask this of you,
Don’t leave out a thing that goes in the stew,
Don’t leave out your feelings, or anything new –
For the best part of stories is listening to you!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Good Day Friends,
Today I am sharing a poem I wrote called Gaia's Dream. Today we have instant access to every sort of bad news due to the flood of technology that puts the sadness of storm and quake at our morning breakfast table - just as if these stirrings of the earth have not been with us forever and ever since the world was born.
I sometimes wonder if we forget that our souls are safe - no matter what Mother Earth may send to test the limits of our patience and compassion.
Yesterday my friend Lisa and I painted my porch and sealed up a hundred years of cracks and crannies in the ancient wood. The railings are crisply white, the floor a green reminiscent of the army blankets on my childhood bed - itchy wool redeemed by virtue of warmth in winter's gale where all dreams took place under the summer sun.
On the next block are a conversation of cats, stalking one another through the new spring lilies. There are squirrels mining last year's pecans, and puppies with leash in mouth, walking themselves.
The world, you see, turns through no fault of our own. All we have to do is trust. That said, I wish you a beautiful spring day... and a walk on the sunny side.
Humans are so doggoned cockeyed!
We settle on the edge of the fault,
On the banks of the river,
On the cusp of the storm,
And then we wonder why
The basement floods,
The tree falls,
The heart breaks, and
The yard blows away …
And then we wonder just what
We did wrong,
Think of this:
The earth does not move
For love nor money.
She is a beautiful woman
Who turns in her sleep
Warm in the knowledge
Her children will rest
In her bosom
No matter what she dreams.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
From my next book: Gaia's Dream
On the Works of Other Poets
I sometimes sit and read other poets’ verse
And it occurs to me that there are as many
Views of the sunset as there are eyes to see.
I do not speak of the funny lines
That celebrate the child within, but instead of
The daffodil in the forest, a souvenir of
Some pioneer’s woman who wasted space
In the yard for that which her children could not eat.
I do not speak of the alphabet rhymes
Crafted to teach her child his letters one by one,
I do not call up the dance in giddy sunshowers
Waiting for true love to come.
I want the words that carve the stone of poverty,
The rock of war, the pangs of birth
And the joy of watching the sun emerge from
A formless gray blanket of swirling mist.
I want the words that call up the shades of men
Who died to save the world we love.
I want to hear the clang of sledge on iron,
The rasp of saw on hardwood flesh,
The sing of line the fishers cast,
The thespian’s song as he works his art,
The plane in the sky, the cop on his beat,
The cook at the grille, the sweeper of streets,
The cry of the newborn, soon silenced at breast
The secret of love kept deep in your chest,
The hope and the fear and a rest in the shade,
The debt and the prize with taxes prepaid,
The chatter of children, the purring of cats…
I want to hear these in the mind’s ear – and more
Recording our time with the splendor of yore,
A ransom of thought, and a pathway to freedom –
Hard won and hard fought…
I want to feel rainbows that lodge in the heart
The shifting of dreams that leave with no mark
I want to hear giggles of babies at play
The song of a thrush at the cool break of the day.
The masters of verse have harvested these
In a wealth of lost words that leave us a scene,
A look at the world that they so strongly weaved
In a place lost in warstorm, in dismal dark scenes.
I love the old poems, that tell who we are
The ones that inspire to follow love’s star –
The song of the sachem and the prayer feather beat
The march of time that flows down each lonely street,
The clatter of cans on trash pickup day,
The carillion that rings out and calls us to pray,
The teakettle’s whistle, the somber dark hearse
The snips, and the scraps – all the bones of great verse.
I may not be famous, I may not be known
But I will leave words to show how I’ve grown
In a world not always quite gentle or wise
But a place I have seen through the word weaver’s eyes.
The world that that God gives us to save and to mend
In the hope of sweet rest
When it comes to the end.
Makes you think! Keep on the sunny side, folks! Love, Terry
Friday, April 8, 2011
Good Morning to the Land of Pleasant Living. I have been lax about posting about my work until this morning when I read Susan Logan's post on Facebook that says the site is sorting your contacts and if you don't talk to every one of your contacts daily, your posts won't go out to your list. Point taken. Thank you Susan!
Last year, I published either three or four books - depends on how you count... as Vienna Pride didn't see print until just recently. Also published last year was Chesapeake Visions, Drama Queen Rules and Myth to Me.
Myth to Me was a special project in which I brought together a volume of poetry - some collected over the years, others written brand new for a new online friend who also helped subsidize the publishing costs for a print-on-demand publisher. I can't tell you how fulfilling it was to see this book in print and my thanks go out to Bill who encouraged me daily. Thanks as well to Claudia Conlon who took the beautiful cover photo of one of the sea walks at Fire Island.
Myth to Me is a collection of poetry that reaches into the legends we create from out own dreams when nights are long and winds grow cold into the very soul. The inner light reflects love, sorrow, pain and delight, reaching out to touch the searching heart with compassion and understanding. Here's a sample.
I’d nearly forgotten how good morning could taste,
There are birds out there, celebrating – or gossiping!
Or, maybe they just tend to business straightaway
So the rest of their day is free.
To fly would certainly make me lose my concentration!
Hey! Maybe they have the idea they can
Hustle the sun up sooner or something.
But the sun moves by its own lights.
See how gently it handles spring
Coaxing each leaf to unfurl its banner –
Green canapés and coupolas for spring.
It did rain, but it isn’t now.
The car tires shlusch through the puddles --
Where red maple flowers float through the night --
First one, then more,
Armored for the day in steel, on rubber wheels.
I still have time for my rich black cup,
To smell its hot perfume,
And watch the morning waken up –
I had nearly forgotten how good it could taste.
I think you might like the book, and invite you to check it out at ebooktime.com or Amazon and Kindle. In the meantime, keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry
Monday, April 4, 2011
I have been a writer for most of my life and the handwriting is surely on the wall for what we have come to know and love as 'books' will be a thing of the past in some not so distant future. The time has come to welcome e-books to the masses, but will they read our stories?
Today, millions of writers are struggling to get one of thousands of print-on-demand publishers to put their work between shiny paper covers. These publishers will set up your work for any of thousands of book printers scattered across the literary landscape.
But here comes the clincher: After a great deal of research, I have learned that the authors who come out of the pack tend to be those who pay through the nose for publicity packages that get their books noticed at e-book stores and online catalogs. I have an idea that some of these authors may not be too happy about the amount of sales they got for their investment, but at least they were doing something positive.
It seems to me that the problem is no longer learning how to best tell a story - but how to get noticed in the greater scheme of things. We are constantly reminded to find our bliss and the promise is that good fortune will find us, but the queue is getting pretty long and I am getting a bit long in the tooth for fame, so I don't know. The tree has fallen, but is there anyone left in the forest to hear it and read the stories.
If any of you know how to break through the publishing barrier, maybe you can give me a thought... and keep on the sunny side!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I'm writing today to introduce my latest novel Vienna Pride, which is now available at Amazon.com and Kindle, Barnes and Noble, www.writewordsinc.com and other outlets on the Internet.
Vienna Pride visits the new 20th century on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where canned foods from the lush area farms literally fed the world. The history of the area is fascinating and intricate, following indentured servants and German prisoners of war, farmers, trappers, watermen and all of their women. Vienna Pride is the name of a food label that never existed - but which pretty much explain how people felt about their work and what that work produced.
In this story, Mary Elliott, descended from the indentured Mary Charles met in the first of my Chesapeake novels: Chesapeake Harvest, goes to work at a cannery in spite of her parent's protest. Stubborn and set on what she sees as her destiny, Mary inadvertently puts herself in harm's way while a stalker haunts the cannery for his victims.
Set in 1918, the story picks up on world issues such as WW1 and the Spanish Influenza. I hope you like it and that you keep on the sunny side. Thanks,
Terry L. White
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Recently this article about me was in our Cambridge newspaper. Thought you might like to get to know me better.
TERRY L. WHITE
1. Tell us about yourself.
a. Where do you live? I have lived in Cambridge for 18 years.
b. Where are you from? I was born in Schenectady, NY. I was raised in the Appalachian mountains of northern Pennsylvania.
c. Anything noteworthy about your family that we should know? Mom died when I was five and I was the eldest child so I had to grow up fast. My father told me on his deathbed that we were Mohawk Indians. It was a big family secret. The native culture fascinates me, and it may be a factor in my fascination with beads and beading.
d. In what medium do you work? Life. I will try anything. Probably I am best known as a writer, but I have been a musician and worked in string and square dance bands on bass, rhythm guitar and vocalist. I make bead, sea glass and wire jewelry, and soft sculpture dolls. I paint a little.
e. What is important about you that people may not know? I grew up in Appalachia, the eldest of eight children. We were pretty poor and learned not to waste anything that came to hand. I think that sort of situation allows one to see the potentialities in leftovers, throwaways and natural materials. Dad wanted us to succeed – he bought Encyclopedia Britannica when I was about 12. I think I read all of it.
2. Tell us about your work.
a. What brought you to recognize your artistic talent? I found an essay I wrote in my grandfather’s wallet after he died. I believe he wanted me to see that I had some talent for writing. He left me a Hogarth print of a stack of books and a violin, all of which became elements in my life as the years went on – I always thought it was a message. He was a very spiritual person.
b. What were you doing when you first realized that you could paint/sculpt/etc. My father would paste our drawings on masonite board and cut them up into jigsaw puzzles for us to play with. He saw our work as valuable, so it was.
c. What life experience(s) have most affected your art? Everything in my life contributes to my writing. I have supported the craft for many years through various sorts of employment. The rest of my artistic output is busy work: things I do when not working at my writing. I have published 17 books and always have a couple of projects in the works. Everything that happens is interesting. The way people speak is music.
d. Do you still have some early work that you keep as reminders of the past? There are some old manuscripts hanging around. Some of the work was pretty bad, but I guess I got enough encouragement to keep going on. I collected and burned a huge stack of rejection letters and have come to believe they did not mean ‘no.’ They meant ‘not now.’
e. What is your favorite piece and what does it mean to you? I think my Chesapeake Heritage books are my best work to date – there are five novels in the series. They follow the settlement of the Eastern Shore and Dorchester County from colonization to the end of World War 1 – the history of one plantation and the woman who lived on it, offering a more feminine view of the events and people who shaped the Chesapeake area. (Also of note is Runaway Hearts, a series of long poems based on the history of the area in verse. People seem to like that one – even though most will say they don’t like poetry. It was read on Radio for the Blind.)
f. What inspires you? What keeps you motivated? I have no idea. There seem to be triggers that set off a project. I hope I am awake when the call comes and then I just sort of hang on for the ride.
g. How do you see your work in the world around you? I think my novels hold a lot of truth. Most people won’t buy a history book, but they will read novels and they identify with people who struggle for one reason or another. I know I learned a lot about people, history, and life from the novels I read, especially when I was a child.
h. What about your work benefits others? All of my heroines are strong women who did not give up under adverse situations. They all find happy endings, but not until they realize they must shape their own history and world and that the wine and roses scenario is often not what love is in expression.
3. Tell us about the future.
a. What are your artistic goals? I just want to keep writing and see what happens next. Of course, I would like to be noticed, but the world is full of writers hooked into technology. Anyone can get published without doing much work – especially if they have the funds to pay for promotion. “Paying your dues” is a whole new story for the publishing industry these days.
b. What do you expect to be happening in your “art life” x number of years from now? I try to live in the now – the future is a flighty bitch.
c. Tell us about your relationship with your community and/or with other artists? I belong to the Wednesday Morning Artists and have belonged to various writers’ groups, but I am not sure they are helpful. The immortal storytellers pretty much all worked alone.
a. How would you like to see things progress art-wise in Cambridge/Dorchester County? I would like to see the area be a destination where people can come to see and purchase art. I would like to see more diversity in the populations offering art.
b. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists? Do the work! Editors do not check spelling and punctuation these days. There really are not any free rides. Support your art until your art can support you.
d. I have won awards for my journalism and for short fiction, but like any competition, it is not so much the excellence of your game but rather who shows up!
Thanks for reading and keep on the sunny side! Terry