The sun’s up, the birds are out, and if you inhale you’ll get a noseful of honeysuckle. And I have my obligatory pitcher of tea for everyone, though I had to go back inside and get Annie a glass without sugar. She’s difficult like that sometimes, but you learn to put up with her. On the plus side, though, Kat’s been kind enough to bring cookies.
Now that everyone’s finally comfortable, where were we?
Tina at The Homestead Heart, who not only has the coolest header picture but also the only blog in the world with my button above Pete Wilson’s, asked, “1) Any fictional stories rattling around in your heart? Have you written any? If so, can we see a chapter from one?2) Favorite summertime drink. Me? Ice water, iced tea, limeade.3) Do you have anything you’d like us to pray for you about?”
I’m in awe of fiction writers. Their ability to conjure people and places amazes me. It’s something I’ve never tried but have seriously considered, but the process seems so overwhelming. As for chapters, though, whenever I get a rejection from an agent or a publisher because “there is no concrete market for your book,” I’ll secretly use a scaled-down chapter as a post to see if that’s true. I’m not sure it is.
Favorite drink? When I was a kid, my grandmother had a small plot of mint growing beside a huge willow tree in her backyard. She’d pick some every time I was over and make the best tea I’ve ever tasted. I’ve tried to duplicate that since but just can’t seem to get it right. That’s okay, though. When I get to heaven, she’ll be waiting there with a glass just for me.
And as for prayers, they would be greatly appreciated. There seems to be a lot going on right now that’s both good and bad and exciting and scary at the same time, and I need all the help I can get.
Denise at A Sacred Longing asked, “Who is the one person that has influenced your writing most and why?”
Without a doubt that would be Judy Hevener, my high school English teacher. I’m not sure what she saw beyond the ripped jeans and Motley Crue t-shirts I used to wear, but she saw something. I was the one who told her writing wasn’t exactly a manly pursuit. She was the one who gave me a copy of The Old Man and the Sea and told me to think again. She became my first audience and my first fan, and I’ll never forget that.
Annie at Hope42day wondered, “What is your favorite word? and When you arrive in heaven, what would you like to hear God say?”
Ironically, Annie, that word is “hope.” There have been many times in my life when I’ve had neither love nor faith and still managed to get by. I’ve only been without hope once and barely made it through and to the other side. That’s a very dark place, and I never want to go back there again.
When I get to heaven, the first words I’d like to hear God say are, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” The second words are, “Ballfield’s over there. The game’s getting ready to start, and we need a shortstop.” I’m not sure yet if I’ll hear the first. Pretty sure I’ll hear the second, though.
RCUBEs at Off The Beaten Trek asked, “Did you take a writing class or everything developed from a deep passion of writing?”
I’ve never taken a writing class, though I suspect I probably should. I was considering going back to college to major in English a few years ago, but an editor warned me it would ruin my “style.” Not sure what she meant by that exactly, but she scared me into taking her advice.
So yes, most of it is just deep passion. I try to write a thousand words a day of something, whether it’s a post, a column, or a manuscript. I do read a lot of books about writing, though. Ralph Keyes has two of the best you could ever read: The Courage to Write, and The Writer’s Book of Hope (yep, there’s that word again).
Mylestones wanted to know, “What is your all time favorite book (or author). Besides the Bible of course.”
Aside from my affinity for children’s books, I think my favorite book was written by my favorite author: Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he says it well. Our writing styles and our outlook on life are similar, and we both like to ponder the Big Things through the lens of the everyday.
I’d really like to have dinner with him once. We could trade stories over a nice bottle of wine and some fine cigars.
Kat at Heart 2 Heart had a great question: “What are three of your favorite smells and why do you like them?”
In no particular order:
1) At the expense of further exposing my redneck tendencies, I love the smell of fresh dirt. Mostly because it usually means the cold has gone, the hot is here, and everything’s going to be okay. But partly because I know I’m about to get filthy. Like I said, redneck tendencies.
2) My wife and I honeymooned in Key West, Florida. We went snorkeling along the reef one afternoon on a catamaran, and I sat with my legs hanging off the bow and watched as two sea turtles swam just ahead of us. Everything was perfect–sun, sails, and sea–and all combined for the sweetest scent I’d ever been privileged to encounter. I’ll never forget that smell.
3) The barbecued chicken at the town carnival. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. The carnies come to town every July and set up shop in the parking lot of the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant. Clanky rides and cotton candy abound. And barbecued chicken. The volunteer fire department makes most of their donations for the year through that chicken, and people come from all over to eat it. Yuppies sit with cowboys, and city folk sit with mountain folk. And every year we all discover the same thing: deep down, none of us are that different at all.
Okay, folks. We’re rolling right along. Meet me back here tomorrow. I’ll fire up the grill!