The month for lightbulbs

I know, long time no post. I did mention back in August (I think) that I wouldn’t be posting
as often because of school and such. Life is still as crazy and busy as ever. However, I thought I would take a moment to let everyone know what I am working on. It is for school but I think it will have added benefits by the time I am done.

I didn’t come to that conclusion by myself, mind you. It took a comment from one of my classmates to make me see the potential. Thanks again Emily.

lights-1088141_640“…You could add links to your possible ideas and rough drafts so others can get an idea of your writing style and interests!”  I read this will drinking coffee
and the thoughts exploded in my brain like Christmas lights coming to life. I’ve had some complaints here and there that I don’t write enough about my writing. There are several reasons for that.

One is because I often use this blog to empty my brain of all the other things that get in the way when I try to write. It is my freedom space. All of those thoughts or ideas that have to go some place usually go here, with exceptions of course. This blog is me talking to myself in a crowded room. Yet, no one looks at me funny because if you are reading this you came here to see me talk to myself.

Now I have to create a new blog for school. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I mean I 6a00d8341c630a53ef013488af5745970c-800wihave this one, amazontwitter, a facebook page, and I have a web page. I don’t update those anywhere near often enough. Why would I want to add one more to the mix? Why would I want to do all of that work for just a grade?

Then Emily commented on my post in our discussion area, (I am going to MTSU online) and it was like the scene from Dead mc2_robinwilliamsPoet’s Society when Robin Williams stands on his desk to gain a different point of view. My eyes were opened to the possibilities. I have needed a place to stash links to things I find online that I want to revisit. I am focusing on History and Literature at school, which is pretty much regular life for a grade and a bit more structured.

(I seriously should get my kids to guest post aboutIMG_20160409_144243004 how many museums and historical sites I drag them to and the documentaries we watch.)

So, coming soon: Back Stories: History in Fiction. It will be on blog spot because I like to spread myself around like that and it is something new to poke at. I will post a link here when I get it up and running.

 

Labor Day

gear-408364_640This Monday begins a new month and also marks a turning point in history. In the United States, during the industrial revolution, work weeks were often 12 hours shifts, 7 days a week. Children, barely more than toddlers, were working in factories and mines instead of playing games. No kindergarten for these kiddies. The whole family had to work to make sure mouths were fed. Working conditions, especially if you were poor or new to the country, surpassed dangerous and sometimes were just plain deadly.

Labor Unions began to form and began protesting the poor working conditions. In 1867 the government signed into effect a law regulating working hours for federal employees and Illinois workers, changing their shifts to an 8 hour day.  May 1, 1886 there was a movement to include the rest of the nation.

The thing is, they never actually enforced the law. A shorter work day and better pay work-384745_640sounded great to overworked, underpaid employees. So union banners were taken up and the peaceful protest marches began.  Some employers feared a “workers revolution” so they quickly signed on for shorter work days.

May 4, 1886 a rally was organized in Haymarket Square to protest the shooting of striking workers by the Chicago police the day before. The turn out was less than what was expected and the speakers either didn’t arrive or were late. Rain began falling toward the end of the rally which sent some of those who had hung around scurrying for home.That was when the police showed up to disperse the rest and chaos erupted. Someone from the crowd threw a bomb, shooting began which led to the deaths of seven policemen and four workers.

No one was sure who brought a bomb to a peaceful rally, but blood had been spilled so someone had to answer for it. Eight men, (*Cough, Cough, scapegoats) were rounded up and charged. Seven of the men were sentenced to death and the last one was give 15 years in prison.

matchstick-20237_640More strikes and more rallies happened over the next eight years, but it wasn’t until the American Railway Union began a boycott of Pullman railway cars and brought the nation to a stand still, that notice was finally taken.  Pullman Palace Car Company, maker of railway cars, had cut hours and fire union representatives. The workers went on strike and the boycott began. Things got so bad, troops had to be brought in. Which, of course, outraged many and started a wave of riots in Chicago.

In 1894 Labor Day became a Federal Holiday.  So now, on the first Monday in September, we sit around the barbeque with our friends and family enjoying the holiday.  Kids don’t have to go to school and the banks are closed so everyone can have a day off.  (If we aren’t scheduled to work.)

 

 

 

 

 

Cat in the freezer

r2d2 lunchThis morning I was packing my son’s lunch when I opened the freezer section of our refrigerator.  I was going for an ice pack, but what I got was the back half of a cat.   Get the gruesome ideas out of your head.  (You can write those thoughts down for later use if you want. I’ll wait.)   It wasn’t a dead mangled cat.

What happened, was at the moment I reached for the door handle our cat, Casper, decided to jump on top of the refrigerator. I opened the door just as his hind refrigeratorlegs came down and completely ruined his landing.   Needless to say we were both surprised.

I was also completely unhelpful as he scrabbled for purchase with cold toes.  I was too busy laughing.  By the time I thought to help, he had made it safely to his original destination.  He had also decided that the top of the refrigerator wasn’t as appealing as he thought and jumped down as soon as I closed the freezer door.

casper napFive minutes later he was in the living room pretending nothing had happened.

Sometimes I feel like that.  I will do something that seemed like a good idea at the time but then I am left wondering “what the heck?” as the world goes unstable under my feet.  Then I am left clawing my way up next to the cereal boxes, waiting for things to settle down so I can go pretend everything is normal.

Life happens like that.

A few posts ago I wrote about the Liebster Award and I cobbled together ten questions for facepalm kittenthose I nominated to answer.  Number 3 was : “What gives you inspiration?”    Now this sounds a lot like “Where do you get your ideas?”    That is a question you never ask a writer.  Writers hate that question.  I hate that question. Ideas are everywhere. Ideas are never the problem.

I know better than to ask this question. So why did I post something so similar to the dreaded “Where do you get your ideas?”.   Well, I meant something else.  Looking at it now, I haven’t the slightest idea what I meant but I know the thought behind the question question_markwas something different.  (I have vague recollections of thinking about taking walks for some reason.  Maybe I meant what do you do to recharge?  I don’t know.)

I was appalled and promptly introduced my head to my desk when I realized how that question sounded.  I had jumped to the refrigerator and landed bottom first into the freezer.  It is too late to take the question back.  There isn’t much I can do except not to repeat that mistake.  (Next time I will have someone else read over questions before I ask them.)vintage_childrens_reading_collection_poster-re1e1e6aba9b4490db9a80226b548ae57_26gc_400

Taking a page from my cat, my cold toes and I are moving on. Lesson Learned.

Treasures

On the bathroom sink I have a small pink box with roses stamped into it.  I think I got as part of some bath gift set one year for Christmas.  I am not sure what its intended purpose was, but right now it holds odds and ends taken out of pockets, ponytail ties, and the occasional comb.

My cat, Panda, thinks it is a treasure box.  She often hops up on the counter and rubs her face along its edge, marking the box as hers.  She thinks I hide toys inside it for her to find.  Often I will be home alone and hear the noise of someone rummaging around in the bathroom.  When I check it out I find Panda posed in front of the mirror with her paw in the box, sorting through it looking for ‘toys’.  She will pick out a ponytail tie, scoop it up with a paw, bring it to her mouth, then hop down with her chosen treasure. (Later I will find it lost or discarded in between the couch cushions, or under the clock.)

I think a lot of writers are like my cat, but instead of random objects in a pink box we have the entire world.  A snippet of conversation exchanged by two strangers while we wait in line at the grocery store,  the way someone walks through the mall, a spilled cup of coffee,or a fairy tale read to our kids at bed time…all of these things make their way into our own treasure boxes and remain there to be pulled out and played with.

To many people these are just common inconsequential things, like ponytail ties and loose change, but to a writer these things inspire ideas.  Ideas build worlds. Our words share these worlds with others.  And others often help provide the treasures that keep our boxes full.

 

 

 

Focus

Focus or the lack there of can kill your book before you’re even finished.  The lure of other ideas can be tempting but if you let yourself be distracted you may never finish what you are currently working on. That amazing brain child will end up still born, never realizing its promise.

As a writer you will have other ideas. It’s a given. That is why a good portion of us write; to rid our brains of the clutter that accumulates. Write down your ideas. Keep a notebook. Just don’t let the idea of something new and shiny lead you away from your current project.