Come, wee laddie, come, wee lass,
And I will sing a story
Of noble men who ne'er have been,
Of seas and ships and glory.
A soldier fighting for his king
Arose with dawn a-gloaming,
An angel laughed and crossed his path,
After it he went a-roaming.
The angel led him to a door
Where stood a girl so lovely,
A maiden fair with golden hair,
A smile bright and comely.
The soldier asked her for her hand,
His wife he wished to make her.
She sent him away with the dawning day,
For a soldier would forsake her.
The soldier went down to the sea
And crossed with gold a-laden.
He bought some land and earned the hand
Of his lovely maiden.
So hear, wee laddie and wee lass,
The moral of this story:
The noblest men who e'er have been
Found love their greatest glory.
I'm going to apologize right now if this post seems a bit disjointed. I just woke up from a 90-minute nap and my body is trying to figure out if it's still in the right galaxy.
Anyway. I worked today. I taught science to fifth through eleventh graders, and it went surprisingly well. The kids are super well-behaved, and I love all of them. But there was one thing wrong with my day. Well, not wrong. Just weird.
My tea smelled like soup.
There's a perfectly simple explanation for the whole thing. I own a thermos. It is a lovely pink cylindrical thing that I bought from Dollar General for $5. It's so insanely insulated that my tea is still too hot to drink after my 45 minute commute to work or school. (I somehow manage to land a job about three miles down the road from my university. Go figure.)
Anyway, I had a book signing on Saturday, and I'd like to thank anyone who came out to visit us. And I brought my own lunch to that book signing. I brought soup in that lovely pink thermos.
It was very good soup, if I say so myself. It was a homemade vegetable soup with turkey burger and sweet potatoes and homegrown basil (along with a bunch of other veggies, of course.) I got the recipe out of an Amish cookbook and modified it to work with my family's food allergies and health concerns. Hence the sweet potatoes. My dad can't eat real potatoes.
So I brought soup to my book signing. I brought a bowl and a spoon and two pieces of cornbread, and I ate it in an art gallery/antique store/odds-and-ends shop while dressed like a Viking. As you do.
I made a video and I put it on Facebook, and that video has apparently garnered some attention from my friends and family. I was talking to a friend of mine who said that she made her own soup after watching my video because my soup looked so good. If you'd like to watch this video for yourself, you might possibly be able to watch it by clicking this link: www.facebook.com/100013233754992/videos/1071696323281483/
And if you can't watch the video, it's because I've never tried linking a Facebook video to a post before and I'm sorry.
Is there some sort of moral I can tease out of this story? Probably. But my body is still trying to figure out which galaxy it's from, and I just want to tell you this story because it's the most interesting thing that's happened to me since August.
Well, maybe some dinner will help me wake up. Or maybe I just need to do some push-ups and get my blood flowing. Either way, I hope you have a wonderful day, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
The fridge hums
The dryer rattles
Music dances in my ears
And my fingers dance on the keyboard.
The woods out the window
Are dark hemlock green
And youthful aspen green
And playful goldenrod yellow.
The house is warm
The cups are plastic
All the furniture is wood
**Book signing alert! Join us at Kaboodles in Denison, TX on Saturday the 17th!)**
You'd think that, when you have unlimited access to an all-powerful deity who deeply desires to participate in every area of your life, you'd ask Him for help pretty often. For some reason...no. That's not the case. Prayer, for most people (including myself), is more of a last-ditch effort when nothing else has worked.
I was Swiffering the living room when I finally asked God, "What's up with my writer's block?"
God seemed happy to answer. "You've got the theme of your story wrong," He said. "You're trying to write too much about things you don't know about."
"Alright," I said. "How do I fix that?"
"Make the theme isolation instead of parenting."
"Wow. Thanks, God."
"Glad to help."
(This is about the extent of my prayer life, by the way. With the exception of a Psalm every morning and the occasional intercessory plea for someone I care about, my relationship with God consists of extremely casual conversations. Try it some time. You might like it.)
Editing a rough draft is never an easy task. Editing a rough draft while being a full-time college student with three different odd jobs during a global pandemic is pretty hard. But not impossible. Not impossible for one very important reason.
I like to believe that God's the One who got me started on my writing career. That before I was born, when God was outlining the plot for all of humanity and working on the minor characters, he said, "You know what? Let's take this human being right here and make her an author. Yes. This pleases Me."
And you know what God tends not to do? Drop a calling on someone and then run away. Give someone a responsibility and not give them the grace to fulfil it. Of course, we play a pretty big part in that. God is a gentleman. He doesn't do things we're not comfortable with. And if we don't ask Him for help, He's more than willing to keep to the sidelines.
More often than not, we're like toddlers trying to tie our own shoes, stubbornly insisting, "I do it myself!" when our Heavenly Father is more than willing to help us out. That's part of what childlike faith means. We have to lift our sticky faces and say "Help, please," even when it's embarrassing.
And so, hopefully, this spells the end of my writer's block. I'll give writing a whirl tomorrow (I'm going camping this evening) and see how it goes. In the meantime, dear readers, what has God helped you with? Let me know in the comments below! Have a blessed day, and don't forget to drop by our book signing! It's at Kaboodles in Denison, TX this Saturday the 17th.
"There is no mail today,"
My mother says.
"Today's Columbus Day."
And so it is.
"Today's a holiday,"
My laptop says.
"Indigenous People's Day."
And I'm confused.
So is every country.
Rome and Scandinavia,
For instance, both knew slaves.
So today's a holiday.
What are we celebrating?
There is no mail today.
That's all I know.
Alright. I've got ten minutes before I have to leave for work. So this post might be shorter than normal.
I thought I'd take today to give you some reading recommendations. More specifically, I'm going to recommend that you don't read something.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.
You know what? Read it if you want to.
This is crochet. This is not knit.
I don't like to knit, not one little bit.
Knitting has needles. Crochet has a hook.
They're really quite different, if you will just look.
They both are relaxing. They both use up yarn.
They both use your fingers and tire your arms.
Knitting, though, uses less yarn than crochet.
But it's also slower. It'll take you all day.
Knitting's for sweaters and mittens and hats.
Crochet is for blankets and cute kitchen rags.
Knitting takes patience and counting and sums.
Crochet is creative and bunches more fun.
I've crocheted a blanket. A cardigan, too.
And hot pads and kid's hats and dish rags in blue.
You might like knitting. You might think it's fun.
But I tried it once, and now I am done.
I only knit scarves for Christmas, you see.
For everything else, it's crochet for me!
Imagine, for a moment, that you built a house. You bought a lot in a nice suburban neighborhood, you laid the foundation, you put in all the walls and the plumbing and the electricity. You installed all the hardwood floors and caulked all the baseboards yourself. You even laid sod in the backyard. Since you're working alone and you've got a day job, it takes about three years for you to finish the house.
Finally, the time comes to show the house to a prospective buyer. You hired a realtor and had them show the house to a dozen families. Finally, curious as to why the house hasn't sold yet, you dropped by the house and walked through it.
The house has great curb appeal--as it should, since you did the landscaping yourself. You walked in the front door and were immediately dazzled by a chandelier. There were hardwood floors throughout the living room and kitchen. But then, you arrived in the master bedroom.
And you found your problem.
See, you'd been extra careful and decided to touch up the paint. To do so, you had to take off the outlet covers and light switch plates. And you'd forgotten to put them back on again.
In a similar vein, I just found an error in Where the Clouds Catch Fire.
How no one's pointed it out to me yet, I don't know. I'm quite mad at myself. What happens--and I've done this more than once, unfortunately--is that, in the final surface editing stage of writing, I try to change the sentence structure in a paragraph. And then I decide not to change it, but I've already taken out a word or two and I forget to put them back in. A simple read-through of the book would have fixed things, but reading your own writing is something like hearing your own voice on a recording. It hurts, almost physically. And when Where the Clouds Catch Fire was put on Amazon, I'd been working on the book for something like five years on and off. That's about 20% of my entire life so far. I was ready to be done.
No, there's no excuses. Yes, I'm working on correcting the mistake. And I beg your forgiveness.
Mistakes like this keep me humble. I don't mean to fly too close to the sun. It just happens. One minute, I'm talking about my book at a party, relishing the attention it gets me. The next minute, I'm spiraling down to earth as my waxen wings begin to melt.
But such is life, I suppose. And I know that I'm not the only writer to publish a book with mistakes in it. A couple of years ago, I read a book by Terri Blackstock--a well-known and well-respected author--in which the word "Caucasian" was misspelled. I know there's about a zero percent chance that Terri Blackstock will ever come across my blog, but if she does--thank you. You don't know how encouraging it is to hear that even the best authors make mistakes.
Well, I've got a house to clean. I'm hoping to donate blood tomorrow, and I'll let you know how that goes. God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
I sit by the peaceful light of the television. Music comes from it. It is bright—bright, so that I can study. But it is soft—soft, so that the children can sleep.
Blonde heads. Dark heads. Quilts. Sleeping bags. Some with pillows and some without. All the children are sleeping.
All except for one. She climbs on my lap, as she always does, and I wrap my left arm around her. My right hand writes notes. Big words. Lexicon. Subdialect. Pronunciation. The little girl says she can write her name. I give her my pencil. She writes something that starts with B and ends with something that looks like an uppercase Q.
But we write quietly. The children are sleeping.
A fan is blowing. The music is soft and sweet. It is piano music, worship music, sleeping music. I am relaxed. The little girl is warm in my arms and my chair is comfortable and I wish I could sleep with the children. But there is too much light, and I must study.
The girl gets off my lap. I study harder. A twenty-page PDF turns into a page and a half of notes. I check the time; the head teacher should be here in five minutes. I study another source, this time a shorter one that only needs half a page of notes. The children are still sleeping.
The teacher is late. A fat little boy approaches me and asks to go to the restroom. I let him out the door and watch for his return. His earlobes jiggle when he walks. A little blonde girl asks to go potty. I let her out the door and watch for her return.
Surely the children are used to waking up by now. Their teacher should be back by now. But I will not turn on the light. No. Let the children sleep.
This darn computer. Just deleted. Another. Perfectly. Good. Blog. Post.
I suppose it's okay to be mad.
I'm not sure how to be mad.
"Just let it go."
Why? I'm mad.
"Stop with the attitude."
Oh, yes. I know I'm usually perfect. Forgive my humanity.
"What would Jesus do?"
Flipping tables is a viable option.
And my computer isn't the only thing that messed up within the past hour and a half. My cast iron skillet. My perfectly good cast iron skillet had rust on it. So I scrubbed it off and re-seasoned it and I hope I don't end up ruining the thing because I got it for Christmas almost two years ago and it's serviced the household perfectly well since then.
On the bright side, I got to write this morning. And the weather was nice.
I'm terrified. I'm submitting the first chapter of Book 3 as part of my creative writing college class. I sent in the rough draft and I don't think my teacher likes it very well. I made the rookie mistake of starting the book by introducing too many characters. You'd think that, by Book 3, I'm done making rookie mistakes. Apparently not.
I'm less mad.
Still a little mad.
But less mad.
The skillet's going to be fine. I can always write another blog post. The only thing I can copy verbatim from it is a quote by Dorothy Parker: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
Maybe if I write for a while I won't be angry. Maybe if I listen to music and crochet or play sudoku or do push-ups I won't be angry.
Maybe if I take deep breaths I won't be angry.
Dear readers, I genuinely don't know how to cope with anger. The emotion is new to me. I spent so much time growing up being scared that I forgot to ever feel angry. What am I supposed to do when I'm angry? Please let me know in the comments. Thank you. God bless you. And please, review us on Amazon. We need all the help we can get.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.