Saturday, August 13, 2011

You Should Write a Book!

"You're such a good writer. You should write a book!"

I've heard that many times over the years, mostly from someone I've written a newspaper or magazine article about. Yeah, yeah...right. What would I write a book about? For ten years I've been writing magazine, newspaper and business journal articles. I've written articles for a technology magazine where I had to learn what I could about a difficult subject, then "dumb it down" for the average reader--someone like myself. I've written articles on interesting people doing interesting things, business profiles, articles about homes and other places, events, the arts and more. I know a little bit about a lot of things, which makes for great cocktail party conversation. Once I share what I know on a topic (generally 600-1200 words worth) I retreat for another glass of wine.

I was one of those people who could pull out a term paper at the last minute in college and make a decent grade. Research and writing made sense to me. It came naturally, thanks to some really good high school English teachers. I also had a good typing teacher (I think they call it "keyboarding" now). I used my writing skills to land my first job out of college. I was a copywriter at WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, MS, where I wrote and produced television commercials for local businesses. That was the beginning of a long career in advertising and marketing at television stations, a department store, an advertising agency and a shopping mall. I wrote commercials, print advertisements, brochures, annual reports and press releases. When I left the corporate world to make it on my own, I began writing articles for several local publications. That's when folks started telling me that I should write a book, which I had NO desire whatsoever to do. I'm an instant-gratification kind of gal, so article-writing suits me just fine.

But then a BIG STORY fell in my lap. Or rather, fell six stories off a building in New York. When you get a call from a New York Police Department detective saying that your daughter has been found on the ground outside her apartment building, life turns upside down. Three years and alot of prayer, surgery, therapy, tears, laughter, blessings and friends later, a book is born.

I spent the month of May hunkered down in a cottage in Maine working on Nicole's story, but from my perspective. I don't have a title yet. From a spiritual standpoint, I've examined "Every Step of the Way," because we feel that God was with us all throughout the ordeal. And of course, Nicole had to take her "first steps" for the second time in her life while at Methodist Rehab. I am also toying with "The Fall and Rise of Nicole Marquez," although I doubt that will fly. I'm hoping a publisher takes interest soon and will have some sage suggestions.

I'm sending ten pages of the manuscript to Susan Cushman soon. Susan is the workshop director for the  Memphis Creative Nonfiction Writer's Workshop in September, which I'll be attending and will have the opportunity to have my manuscript reviewed, as well as an opportunity to pitch the book to literary agents during the "pitch fest."

Now the polite remark made by well-meaning people has become my daily mantra. "You're such a good writer. You should write a book." O.K. I'm doing it.

Blessings to all who read this!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riding into the Sunset...

It's been awhile since my last post. Too long. But I left the last post up for over a month so that folks could not only get easy step-by-step directions on how to vote for Blake Edward Thomas to have his car made over by Patty Peck Honda, but to tell why he deserved it. I believed from the day I first heard the commercial on the radio that Blake could, and should, win. He has a 1994 Honda that has seen better days, and he drives Nicole around in it, day after day, to the doctor, to therapy, to wherever she needs to go.

The exciting news is that **BLAKE WON**!! (That's a link, by the way, to their winning video!) Ahhh...the power of the internet! I must have sent out a bazillion emails, made an obnoxious number of Facebook and Twitter posts, and asked everyone I know to vote for him. Blake and Nic made daily videos that kept everyone who saw them entertained for a month. Thanks to all who responded. Now Blake's Honda is getting a full-out redo by the incredible folks at Patty Peck Honda! It's there now getting a fabulous "Pimp My Ride" experience, which will be unveiled Labor Day weekend. In the meantime, he's driving a loaner car they provided for him.

I wanted the car makeover for for Blake, but I really wanted it for Nicole, too, because she can't drive, and she is forced to depend on others to get where she needs to go. Luckily, she is approved by the Dept. of Rehab to have an assistant, and for several months now, Blake has been the one to help her do the things she is unable to do on her own. But all good things have to come to an end, and Blake is moving on to a higher paying job--one that is more in line with what he wants to do with his life. I can't blame him, but it's sad none-the-less. He's been very intuitive about Nicole's needs, and he has encouraged her and pushed her and she is in better shape now than she was when he started working with her. He's been a great friend to Nicole, and Larry and I have enjoyed getting to know him. He's a fine young man.
Blake is now training a few hours a week for his new job, and will start full time the first of November. At least Nicole will be able to enjoy his fabulous new ride for a couple of months. In the meantime, she will once again be looking for the person who will spend eight hours a day, five days a week with her. Know anyone? And if so, will they have a ride as cool as the one Blake will soon have?

Blessings to all who read this!