Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Meeting the Author!

Embedded image permalink I had the pleasure of attending, on personal invitation, a speaking engagement for Jean Flahive, author of Billy Boy, the story of a Berwick, ME civil war soldier. His is the story of a mentally challenged young man who enters the Civil War to avoid being left behind by his friends. He is a true character, from our town, and his grave is local as well. What an engaging woman…I had enjoyed the story so much that I found her personal website and sent an email. She responded within a day, thanking me for taking time to write to her, for sharing my perspective on the story. Her characters were so real, so familiar…last names shared among current Berwickians…roads and intersections I have traveled along many times…and young men similar to those my boys hang out with on a daily basis. Had it been a different century in the same setting, her characters could have held the names of my own boys and their friends, fighting a different war in a different time for a different cause. 

What strikes me most is how down to earth she was, pulling me in for a hug, knowing exactly who I was when I mentioned that we had corresponded via email. She thanked me for coming, so glad to meet me, introduced me to her sister, and to her current writing partner for the story that has just been released and of which I purchased a copy. She also, at the end of the event, told me to keep writing, to find where my heart and mind had time to gather together and create a master piece. Coming from a published writer, the compliment felt and still feels immense and so encouraging. 

As a blossoming writer, her manner of delivery and addressing the group of small town people was wonderful. She recanted the end of the story, sharing the sorrow and losses of that war, the success and great role in history that Maine played. She introduced new characters brought to life in her next book, Railroad to the Moon, and I have to say that I am beyond excited to read it…yeah, you know I bought a signed copy! In the second book is the voice of a man famous to the state of Maine, Orin Cheney, whose roots begin with a home that housed underground railroad members, who grew up knowing Frederick Douglass, and who served his entire life…a great accomplishment being that he is the founder of Bates College, Maine’s mini Ivy League school! I’m absolutely captivated and cannot wait to spend some time digging into this man and his contribution to Maine’s history. She even offered to come back to Berwick and take a group out to Billy’s grave which, as it turns out, is quite difficult to find according to the locals. I have my directions…I’m going on a hunt I think! And the North Berwick Historical Society wants to organize a walk out there as well…one event, so many new connections and friendly local faces, not to mention the honor of meeting Jean!

As my writing demonstrates, I am beyond excited having attended this event. I have my new book which I cannot wait to jump into. I made new friends and have a standing invitation to not only spend more time with the Historical Society but also with Jean, as well as a standing invitation to keep in touch with Jean and to keep writing (her words), even to share some of my pieces with her as my writing and pieces become more focused. My goodness…I could ramble on and on but won’t. My friends, I just wanted to share the story, share my evening, and give voice to the excitement I’m feeling after having attended this gathering. #feelingblessed

DD and the Dead Sea

As a reader, I either choose to connect with a writer and his/her voice or I do not. The same will be true of anything I write. Some folks will see my words as friendly, familiar, credible…and others will wonder who in their right mind ever encouraged me to write. As a reader, I find there are writers that touch the core of who I am: Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, Richard Bach, Joan Anderson, so many others; friends who are writers and poets, Carolee Bennett; and of course blogs that I read that touch me as a parent, woman, travel nut, and encourage a life I want to lead. If I can project even part of that same connection, I am doing something correctly.  There is the voice of my parents constantly encouraging me that I have more to offer this world than my 830-5; the voice of my children who know how valuable writing is to me, supporting me even though they think I’m a little nuts but love me just the same. The voices of my friends send me love and smiles. And the voice of my sister, whose determination to follow her own dreams, though much different than mine, is always there and always on my side.

And that is the way I have decided to approach this pending project. I know that my voice connects with some, and does not connect with others. I know my topics connect with some and not with others. I know my way of speaking connects with some and not with others. I have reached out to many friends, many well connected in the business world, selling my need to write and share and utilize my creative skills, and those friends have been very receptive. And helpful…did I mention helpful? I have my first formal meeting tonight with a friend who has been dropping my name all over and may have some leads to follow up on…my gosh, could this really be happening? Could something as simple as a conversation give my voice a “formal business” credibility? I’m so excited, so looking forward to the conversation and direction this is all taken…and yet there is still something inside me, aching to tap my shoulder, whispering behind that positive direction arrow, “Who cares what you have to say?”

At first, I can admit that sneaky voice was debilitating, the same one that crept up on me as a kid, teen, young adult, first time mother…the one that could convince my heart and brain that despite all the positives in my life that I was not worth the time of day…the voice that could turn a moment of joy into a sense of having failed or having said something wrong or having so many second thoughts that I felt discouraged. It’s still there, that voice in a hushed sketchy whisper but I’ve learned, at some level, to control it, to manage it, and I refuse to let it win or waste any more of my time.  It’s so much easier to believe something negative, give more credibility to my own doubts…but I’m trying, and I’m winning!!!

I do not expect to have fans or groupies, not that I’m opposed to that, but I do hope that my voice finds the right/intended audiences, and helps steer me a word/step closer to my ultimate goal of writing on a more full time basis. Tonight’s meeting will be my second round of selling those skills…

My goal in creating a blog was simple, to give my voice a sense of confidence, to find strength in a voice I had thought was too weak, and to constantly forge ahead moving onward and upward. Despite my inability to regularly write as of late (technical difficulties), the goal and direction has remained intact. Each new word and paragraph bring a sense of accomplishment; I’m getting stronger, braver, more confident…I see that as a win. The confidence is returning and the forward momentum refuses any effort to be pushed back. The blog is serving its purpose and my heart is smiling!

** I had written the above prior to my meeting. Just to follow up, I found a voice so friendly and so encouraging that I am definitely stepping into a new role, branching out into potentially a new business. This voice restored a hope that things will get better, a voice that can help move me forward, a voice that will hold me accountable, a voice that will be my strength if/when I feel weak, a voice of encouragement on my cloudy days.DD is where we had the meeting, and the Dead Sea provided the salt for my super smooth hands ever! More to come!! **

In moments…

It’s in moments of what feels like quiet desperation that my heart and spirit perk up and yell…WRITE! TAKE PICTURES! GET OUT AND MINGLE! Stop doing a job and follow where you truly want to be. I’m happy to report that I have done just that. This week I have applied for three writing positions…none of which I have heard back on but all of which took every ounce of courage to apply for. If I do this, I have to do it all the way…no ifs ands or buts. No half ass attempt or wishy washy stuff. Straight writing, good pics, all heart and effort focused in the direction I want, and often need, to go.

I’ve learned about Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram. I’m learning step by step about linking them together with the use of Widgets (thank you WordPress) and how to integrate elements of all this into my Google+ account as well. While it’s all still in the works, I must admit it has been a crash course in the presentation and practice of various social media aspects. I’m about ready to recruit my niece for this project as she is a genius with all these tools…making me look like a complete amateur. I’m not a pro but I am a week wiser in social media and connecting my various mediums. So many options for sharing my information, not enough hours in the day!

And in moments like this, I know that soon I will no longer be planted behind a desk but rather touring around to various locations, speaking with people, taking pictures, telling stories, and on occasion, possibly finding myself in print somewhere other than my own dreamy little blog. I’m reaching out, taking chances, calling out to old friends who have some excellent networks, hoping that they can assist me in completing the tasks to make this dream reality. I can do this…I can!

 

A Traveling I Need To Go…

Each day, one of my most exciting things to do is sit down and read the travel journals and blogs of folks traveling around. My eyes drink in the photos and my heart envelops the words…I reach across the vast web and visit along with those writers. I hear the waters, hear the birds, smell the flowers, taste the exotic foods, feel the warmth of a campfire, and laugh when what could have been a catastrophe becomes the perfect travel tale. I love that you share so much of yourself…wishing desperately that my tent or car or RV was parked right beside yours! And then I wonder first, how does one afford such an amazing expedition? How much will it cost to do this type of journey? Do the writers travel in cars, RV’s, on planes – a little bit of each? Do the writers and photographers camp out? Stay in hotels? Or, my perfect version, “camp” in an RV? Does each adventure have a theme or is it more of a fly by the seat of your pants approach? And again, how much? (I tend to ask to many questions, do too much planning and research…bear with me)

I could and would gladly pick up and go off on a wild travel adventure…I would love to visit the northwest coast of this country. I’ve seen the East Coast, traveled across the southern US through AL, TX, up into New Mexico. I’ve been to Vegas and California (Disneyland only) and lived in both Hawaii and Las Vegas. I’ve been across the US through Colorado (Aspen is just beautiful), through parts of the Rockie Mountains, Iowa, Illionois, Indiana, Ohio, New York and back country roads bringing me home to Maine. When I say it like that, I have been more places than I realized..but I didn’t actually spend time there, just drove through. The kiddos were little and my budget even smaller!

So I ask the travel writers and photographers out there…how does one plan for an adventure of this sort? I’m ready and willing, happy to save and make the most of it. I have various friends who would gladly make space for me on there couch for a night…I’m not a fan of tents, don’t intend to fly due to cost. Or maybe I bring a tent and face my fear…I just don’t want to cozy up to snakes…that’s why it freaks me out!