A sad state of affairs

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I can’t say I’m entirely surprised by the news from this article. It’s a fact that reading actual books in the US is on the decline, and has been for a long time.

As a writer, struggling, hoping, dreaming of being published, of course, this is sad news to me. For every resounding success like the recent Harry Potter series, there are plenty like me, lying like rubble in the street, lost to the big machine that is today’s publishing industry.

My most recent and most disheartening rejection to date came last year. I wrote a book I’m really proud of, edited the hell out of it, made it right and submitted it to a well known local agent. To my utter joy, the agent asked for a copy of the entire manuscript. This was really something heady! The farthest I’d ever gotten with an agent! Only to be told that despite the fact that she loved the characters and enjoyed the story, she didn’t think there was a wide enough audience for my book.

*sigh*

I know that agents have to do this, right? They have to find something that one of the big conglomerates will love enough to put some dollars behind. Something that will have a mass appeal, and will sell. Preferably something written by an author who already has proven success. A simple fictional baseball book isn’t going to get ‘er done. (so I turned to the rocky road of self-publishing)

And why? Because people aren’t reading like they used to. I was taught how to read by my grandmother, an amazing woman by all accounts. A feminist before her time, and a teacher in heart, mind and by career. I was young, maybe three or four and she taught me to read, and I’ve not stopped my love of words and books since. And because I love books so much, it saddens me to read the article I mentioned above.

“One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday”

Ugh. None? No? Zero? It makes my eyes water a bit, like the sting of a strong, cold, bitter wind smacking me upside the face. Awakening, sharply to the reality that my chosen path of creativity, the way The Muse flows through me isn’t necessarily the most popularly consumed art form.

Nobody ever said being an artist was going to be easy. It’s the old saying, well-trod but apropos at this moment, a chiding reminder from my incredibly multi-talented cousin, “you don’t write because you want to, you write because you have to”.

I take solace in the fact that my goddaughter, all of seven, reads voraciously (and at a level much higher than her years). Her mother, a good English teacher, made sure both she and her sister learned to love books.

So there’s hope yet. Maybe for every kid who grows up not reading books there are a few like my precious girl who read plenty. And maybe Nina Karen can one day find a “real” publisher to take a chance on me.

Until then, I’ll write because I have to. Because it compels me. Because it’s who I am.

The embodiment of one of my worst fears EVER

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As a kid, we used to go camping a lot. I loved camping, still do. But as my family slept there in the Apache pop up trailer, I was always SCARED TO DEATH of bears. I mean, as a kid in New Mexico, you know bears are out there. You hear about them on the news, the hungry creature who wanders into civilization for some garbage can treats.

And then there’s waking up in the morning to find your campsite trashed….that a bear was THERE while you slept.

The Apache trailer at least offered a bit of safety. The big plastic box and where I slept was at least up off the ground.

Then there are the times I’ve slept in a tent. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE camping. But I always have those “what if” moments when in a tent.

Well, poor Bill Thorp of Las Cruces has now lived one of my top ten worst fears.

He was in his tent. He heard a rustling. He shut the tent flap and lay back down. Then he got bit. ON THE BUTT. Through the tent.

Brother man was having a nice campout and got chomped on the arse.

That ain’t right.

Sleeping in a tent with my face by a thin layer of fabric, I’ve ALWAYS had terror of being bit through the tent by a bear.

Not only this guy lived it, so did a teen near Raton. He felt a poking at the side of the tent and thinking it was one of his family members playing a joke, he slapped at it. The bear took this none too kindly and bit him on the arm.

Waa! Is this skeeve out Karen week!?? First spiny caterpillars and now this!?! I may not sleep right for *days*!

source

Heh

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Yeah, I know most people around the world would probably read this article in the ABQjournal with a mixture of confusion and distaste.

“How dare they?!” or “How rude?!” or even “How ridiculous!”

Me, I read it with pride. I love that places like Madrid, New Mexico still exist.

It’s been well known and well documented in books like “Milagro Beanfield War” and “Red Sky at Morning” that folks in Northern New Mexico don’t take well to outsiders. Never have.

I dig that people have taken to vandalizing and protesting. I also love that the article features quotes from two different gentlemen found sitting on the porch at the local mercantile.

That ol’ boy from the East Coast is going to press ahead with his plans….I figure he’ll probably regret it.

A tip of the cap to Madrid, and yet another reason why I love New Mexico.

(this is getting to be a theme, isn’t it?)

Enjoy the weekend…I’m still wobbly on my feet, but making it work.

Delirious musings

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Stayed home from work today. Was tired, dizzy and recovering from a wicked bout of either stomach flu or some tainted eats. Either way, I wasn’t in a good place.

As I lay on the couch, moaning and sweating in the near 100 degree heat (I have no air conditioner, you know…..ugh!), I flipped through the TV channels and paused momentarily on a syndicated episode of “What I Like About You”, you know, that sort of short lived UPN show that starred Jenny Garth (just looked it up on IMDB, it ran four seasons…wow, I never knew it had lasted that long).

In the episode the lead character played by Garth was flipping out about making wedding plans. She encounters another woman who is considerably less wealthy, and the girl was waxing philosophic about how she wasn’t uptight about her wedding because she felt her fiancĂ© was perfect. To describe how perfect, she likened him to chocolate chip cheesecake with chocolate drizzle on top. To her that was utter perfection. I found that bit kind of cute.

Later in the day, I was at the grocery in line behind a couple. Two women who had that knowing look with each other, that look that lets you know those two have spent some years loving each other dearly. They were so calm, easily in love and gentle with each other. Since my own loving partner went out of town this morning, seeing the love between the two gave me pangs of longing.

As I walked to car I remembered the “chocolate chip cheesecake with chocolate drizzle” bit and realized that doesn’t describe my man. So I actually put some thought into it. What describes the perfection of my own partner?

Pancakes. Golden brown Sunday morning pancakes slathered in butter and covered with maple syrup. The real kind, not that fakey Mrs. Butterworths, no, the kind tapped out of a real maple tree, collected by some New Englander and warmed up in a small pitcher then drizzled on my beautifully fluffy pancakes. He’s a Sunday morning smile, warmth from the sun, and delicious, heavenly pancakes.

I’m a lucky girl to have a man as lovely as perfect pancakes to share my life. And sometimes it’s good to show a little gratitude. I miss you, love, and thank whatever powers that reign that I found you…….come home soon, ok?

Ok, now that’s kind of cool

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I weary of all the death, terror and destruction in the news these days. In fact, I don’t really read newspapers. I glance at them online, skip the bad stuff and look for interesting opinion pieces, celeb trash or “feel good” stories.

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle has one of them thar “feel good” stories today.

Let me break it down.

It’s 1976. Palo Alto, California. A guy named Ronald Leung owns a car repair business. And he owns a sweet 1956 Ford Thunderbird with just 24,979 on the odometer.

Some yo-yo steals it. He files the report. No luck, it’s gone.

In the time since it’s been stolen, he’s had a couple kids, worked a job, retired and often thought about his car.

Fast forward to this week. Ronald gets a call yesterday. They found his car. And he gets to have it back!

Whoa.

Long story short, a lady in Ventura bought it on eBay and when she tried to register it, they found the true VIN and linked it back to Ronald, a car enthusiast, who filed all the right reports some 31 years ago.

Dude gets to go to So. Cal this weekend to get it. And it’s been fully restored and is in *cherry* condition.

What a fine drive home that’s going to be!

Yeah! That ROCKS! Getting to drive a machine like that makes even the nasty Grapevine seem like a lot of fun.

Enjoy the ride, Ronald!

To everyone else, have a great weekend!

(it’s a beaut)