The funny thing is that even though my life is my canvas when I write, I hate talking about myself to other people. My story and my thoughts aren’t usually things I like to talk about. What I’d rather discuss are yours.
Which is why I thought answering a few of your questions might be pretty difficult. Turns out that hasn’t been the case. You see, I forgot the fact that I would be getting questions from friends rather than strangers. What began as a sit-down on the porch has turned into a full blown party. This is a good thing. Of course, while I’m answering the rest of these questions I’ll also be grilling steaks (medium well for Kelly) and catfish, fetching Annie and Candace more unsweetened tea (with extra lemons), trying to figure out how to make Hungarian goulash for Helen, and telling Katdish where I want my mural of Yankee Stadium.
So let’s run through what I think is the last of the questions (and if I’ve somehow left you out, don’t hesitate to holler at me).
Steven at Gotta Have Faith said, “My question is how far are you from where you live in the mountains to the coast and where you are going on vacation?”
From where I’m standing at work right now, I can see the Allegheny Mountains out of one window and the Blue Ridge out of another. The ocean is about three hours on the other side of the Blue Ridge. In between are corn fields, tobacco farms, and the occasional ugly city. So it’s just far enough away for me to listen to some Jimmy Buffett and make sure I’m in the proper mindset.
Bradley at Shrinking the Camel said, “…how do you find so much blogging/writing time when you work and also have a family to spend time with?”
Easy. I have Stephen King-like nightmares, so I don’t sleep. You can get a lot done with a pot of coffee and a twenty-one-hour day.
Beth at I AM HEADING TOWARDS MY DESTINY thinks I should do a vlog. I gotta say, I’m laughing as I type this. Because if there’s anything in the world you folks absolutely do not need, it’s the sound of me slipping in and out of my Virginia accent. Maybe one of these days, Beth. I’m working myself up to it. Slowly.
got2havefaith wants to know about my come-to-Jesus moment, too. And I’ll her her. Saturday.
Chatty Kelly wondered about my day job here at the college, and also, “where you’ve been published and what are your writing goals (fiction, non-fiction, NY Times best-seller, etc).”
Right now and aside from my blog, I’m published in the Staunton News Leader, Open Roads magazine, and I’m a syndicated writer for Churchmouse Publications (just like Chatty Kelly, by the way).
As far as goals go, I just simply want to be a writer. Published writer, preferably (and bestseller doesn’t sound too shabby, either). But honestly, as long as I know that what I write makes someone somewhere smile or sigh, I’m good with that.
Caroline asked, “What is the most important advice you could give to someone who has a passion to write and would love to write a book but has never written one?”
The most important advice I could give is this: be prepared to suffer. Writing is excruciating for me. It’s painful and lonely and fills me with fear and doubt to the point where I’ve tried to stop all together just so I wouldn’t have to see another rejection letter. But I can’t, because I believe writing is why God put me here.
But there is also no better feeling in the world than knowing you’ve gotten a story just right, and that you’ve managed to brighten someone’s day. There is not a more powerful weapon in the world than words on a page. I sincerely believe that.
Tamela at Tamela’s Place asked me a great question: “What is your greatest heart’s desire?”
…filled with so much love that the windows burst.
Michelle at Psalm 104:24 asked, “sweet or salty? If you were an ice cream flavor….what kind and why? ultimate vacation?….expense not an option.”
Sweet. It’s an iced tea thing. And for ice cream I’m going to go with Funfetti, just because that’s why my daughter suggested.
Ultimate vacation? Here:
At the Amoco gas station in our town. She was working her way through college, and I was trying to put my life back together. Our boss introduced us. And was also an usher in our wedding.
Sarah at God’s Not Finished With Us Yet asked, “Well, my main question is do you create your stories, or are these stories of fact? Stories that actually occurred?”
To me, a good story is a puzzle that you have to put together. They’re factual in the sense that they actually occurred. They’re not in the sense that I’ll change names or situations. Who and What and How will always take second place to Why. It’s the Why that interests me.
Carol at Choose Joy asked, “Do you always wear a hat??? Do you ever run out of profound material?”
Country boys love their hats. Country boys who used to be ballplayers really love their hats. So yeah, I usually have one on. But not always. And I always mind my manners and take it off when I go indoors.
The Reluctant Homefront asked, “What is your favorite trait in your children? If you could wish one thing in their future spouse, besides faith, what would it be?”
My daughter has an amazing heart for God that humbles me. She’s had her share of suffering in her young life, but she’s turned that into good, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. And my son has the greatest sense of humor you’d ever see. As for one thing in their future spouses, I’d have to say I’d like them to have the ability to sincerely appreciate all the little things my kids will do for them.
And folks, you all should really stop by Homefront’s blog and sit on her porch for a while, too. Her husband’s in Iraq fighting for all of us, and I’m sure she’d appreciate the company.
And then there’s Sherri at Matter of Fact, who went whole-hog on me:
Folgers or Starbucks? Starbucks. Cardinals or Cubs? My heart’s always with the little guy, so I have to say Cubs. Stilettos or flip flops? (not on you silly) Oh. Stilettos then. Morning person or night owl? Definitely night owl. Meat and potatoes or casseroles? Meat and potatoes. Mountains or Beach? That’s not a fair question. Mountains with a beach. Movies or music? Movies. Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan? Dylan. Bargains or name brand? Name brand. Cats or Dogs? Dogs. Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors. Saver or spender? Um…spender. Lover or fighter? A lover who likes a good fight. Coke or Pepsi? Coke (and ask Annie what we think of Pepsi around here).
Wow. I’m tired now.
I saved April at Straight From The Heart for last because I borrowed this whole idea from her: When was the last time you cried? What made you cry and how did you resolve it? What do you like AND dislike the most about where you live? When you get to Heaven, what is the first thing you’d like to ask God?
The last time I cried was two days ago, when my daughter’s diabetes sunk her sugar down to 40 after it had climbed to over 200 the night before. The only thing worse than watching your child suffer is knowing you can’t fix it. That’s not resolved, but I pray that one day it will be.
I love my town because the pace is slow, the scenery will take your breath away, and there’s an almost palpable sense of friendliness. But I sometimes dislike the fact that more and more people are arriving here in search of those same things. I fear my small town won’t be so small much longer.
When I get to heaven, I want to ask God why He sometimes said no when all I wanted was a yes, and why He sometimes said yes when all I wanted was a no. Then, finally, I’ll understand.
Well folks, I think that’s it. If I’ve left something out, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll answer in the comments. The only thing left is tomorrow’s post, so come on back then. Or even later, if you’d like.
I’ll leave the porchlight on.