This doesn’t happen to me very often, but today I’m going to stall, stall, stall. There are too many things to write about and think about. No single idea will rise above the others, regardless of the many inflammatory topics making the rounds on Facebook.
You know what? I’m burned out on inflammatory topics. So instead I made a trip to Prescott, WA (one mile west of home). The birthday card for one of my favorite octogenarians should arrive in time for his 89th on Saturday since I left it at the post office before 2 PM. That’s when the post office (for which I’m extremely thankful) closes. I rejoice to say the post office is open Monday through Friday. In a town of 300+/-, we’re in constant danger of getting our few available services cut.
Our public library (for which I also rejoice) is open 18 hours/week, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, noon to 6 PM. I had to stall a bit to make my trip efficient, hitting town sometime between noon and 2 PM. Success! And not one inflammatory word exchanged. In fact, I had a very pleasant conversation with Shary the librarian. We discussed graphic novels (I had just checked out my first; she is a graphic novel fan) and the writing of Terry Pratchett. I am pro Pratchett, she is anti. I’m working to persuade her to read some of my Pratchett favorites (the ones featuring Tiffany Aching and Samuel Vimes) but she’s allergic to footnotes in fiction so it’s a steep task. I did, however, interest her in a book I just finished, Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay. It’s a young adult novel written in verse and I sincerely hope you’ll give it a try. For the record, I’m not all that fond of verse but this book I couldn’t put down. You can learn more about it here: http://www.sarahtregay.com/loveandleftovers.html
Now, to keep stalling.
Did I mention why I’m reading kids’ books these days? In truth, Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction has a lot to offer in terms of plot, character and excellent writing. But that’s not all: I have an ulterior motive. If you, too, write for publication you may suspect I’m doing research and you’d be right. Yes, I am still wallowing in the trenches of literary representation, slaving away in search of an agent for my Middle Grade historical novel, Mary Benton.
With my workday thoughts deep in children’s literature, I’ve started writing a contemporary novel- – if you count 1971 as contemporary. That’s the year I entered junior high school. At first I’d planned to set the story in the here and now, had planned to survey some seventh grade English students about reading habits, tastes and interests to help me shape the book to contemporary circumstances. I’ll still do a survey and I hope to find some seventh graders to read and comment on the book once I have a workable draft. But I’ve decided to keep the story in the past. I want to plant seeds of knowledge for the future, because you just never know when someone in a position of authority might not realize there was a Vietnam War. I never dreamed so many people in today’s world were ignorant of the lessons of World War II.
I write to tell a story first and foremost, but I can also remind readers that someone came before they did, lots of someones, and that all kinds of people matter in this world. Human existence happens on a continuum. It’s often messy and inconvenient. We need to develop a better appreciation for each other, and for what those before us fought and often died for to ensure the rights, safety and comforts we enjoy today. I refuse to surrender the world to those who remain willfully ignorant of our past.
Done with stalling.
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