Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Are the Angels?

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

Wha... Happened?

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.
Consider this:
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

What Shade Democracy?

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

Where Can You Get Some Happiness?

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

A Good Review!

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!

155 pages

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

Festival's Coming

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

Random Apples

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

What Was it Like?

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