“There was”…and “What’s ahead”

It’s already the middle of May, and this is the first piece of writing I will have posted since way back in February. No excuses! No rationalizing! No nothing! I’ve just been totally and completely uninspired to sit myself down in front of my Macbook on a regular basis to crank out words and thoughts. It’s not as though I haven’t had plenty to write about. Quite the opposite.

Since that last post, there was…

…my serving as an election judge here in our county.

…the usual list of mundane duties to attend to right around the old estate.

…a large number of books to read for the two book clubs I’m in.

…a visit to our good friend, the travel agent/coordinator, to book a cruise on Holland America Lines to the Panama Canal next January.

…a White Sox opening week game to attend with my son, as we so often did when he was young and I was younger, too.

…a long weekend trip to Nashville with another couple who had never been there before, and one they thoroughly enjoyed!

…a regular schedule of trips to Ohio to see my mother as she deals with being 89 and the “joys” of health issues surrounding that realm. Now that it’s Mothers Day tomorrow, she is particularly in my thoughts—now, more than ever.

… a celebration of birthdays for family members, and memorials for some friends who have passed. 

What’s ahead for summer?

There are plans for upcoming auto trips to quaint and remote places for Carolyn’s genealogy research and an annual NASCAR “race weekend” over in Michigan in June, the weekend, a day after which I’ll celebrate being another year on this earth!

There is the week in July when Carolyn and I will take the grandsons out to Casper, Wyoming, for a three-day covered wagon adventure on the Oregon Trail. Stay tuned for reports afterwards. There will surely be much to share here on this blog!

So there’s still much ahead, and my desire to once more write and blog and offer up thoughts, perhaps, is slowly re-kindling. I’m hoping it will. In the meantime, to all Moms out there, I hope you have the very best day ever tomorrow—wherever you might be. None of us would be anywhere without you!

Until next time….

A pause in the action…

100_1844.jpgThe pier putting-in of which I wrote about in my last post went very well, even though we soon discovered one of the support pieces had been broken–somehow–during the off season.

Good fortune, though, as I have had an extra one stored under the cottage for the past few years, and with some adjusting and finagling, we made it an almost perfect fit–even better than–the one that had broken.

The weather was ideal, thank you, and we completed the job in just a little under two hours, even with the slight hitch in the process.

Now, I’m busier than ever getting all things ready for the early morning drive back up there this Friday with two loaded cars to “officially” open the cottage. As such, my blogging time and keeping up with my good friends out there is pretty much shot for the next several days.

Once opened and settled in up there by early next week (Memorial Day), I’ll jump back in here and resume my regular posting. And that goes for my weekend feature of One Good Thing as well. Stick with me, folks, I’ll be back.

In the meantime, I wish everyone well during my little respite and look forward to getting this all going again with much to tell you from our little cottage by the lake. Smiles… 🙂

100_5873.jpg
Ready to hit the water for another summer.

 

 

Take a chance and cast your line!

One Good Thing…

It’s time for the weekly  post of a feature I’ve chosen to title “One Good Thing.” Each weekend, I’ll post something about what has been good to—or for—me during the week.

This week…

Back in March, I tried my hand at writing a piece of flash fiction at thestoryshack.com, which features a new writing prompt generator. I had been alerted to this wonderful feature by Luanne over at Writer Site and was eager to try it out.

Story Shack, founded in November 2011, is an on-line literary magazine featuring illustrated flash fiction. Its focus is to bring together the worlds of fiction and illustration by fostering relationships between authors and visual artists.

Using the writing prompt generator, I wrote a story titled “The Baker’s Tale” (apologies to images.jpegMr. Chaucer!) Afterwards, I checked out how to go about submitting the piece and decided I had nothing to lose, so–following the stringent submission guidelines–I sent “The Baker’s Tale” on its merry way for possible future publication in the Story Shack on-line literary magazine.

I didn’t think anything more of it, except to share it with readers in a post I wrote about the experience and how much fun it was to use the generator as a means to kick-start one’s writing, especially on those mornings when nothing seems to be inspirational or the ideas and words just won’t pop.

Fast forward several weeks to this past Tuesday when I received the following e-mail:

TO: Mark Anderson

SUBJECT: Your Story Shack submission

Hi Mark,

Thank you for submitting your story 'The Baker's Tale' 
to The Story Shack. I'm happy to tell you that it has been accepted.

The piece has been scheduled for publication on Monday, August 29, 2016. You will be placed in touch with an illustrator at least three weeks before it is due to go live.

Have a great day!

All the best,

Martin Hooijmans

Editor

https://thestoryshack.com

Needless to say, I was surprised and delighted at this piece of good news and am looking forward to seeing how the whole process plays out. No, I won’t receive any compensation for having it published, but that’s not the important thing here. Instead, I will have the opportunity to work with an artist and, hopefully, gain some valuable exposure “out there!”

It proves once again that if we take a chance and cast our lines, we might really catch IMG_0544.jpgsomething!

And for this week, that’s One Good Thing…

 

 

 

 

I write because…?

Why do I write?

Snoopy-writing-1.jpg
(peanuts.wikia.com)

I write because a very long time ago, I discovered the hidden worlds of stories I’d feign illness to stay home from school to immerse myself in. As I read their words, I wanted to someday be like those authors who took me places I could only imagine existed.

Arthur Conan Doyle, Hammond Innes, Alistair Maclean, Franklin W. Dixon, Clair Bee, and Carolyn Keene were responsible for my faking that sore throat so many times. And I’ve often rationalized my dishonesty by telling myself that I probably learned more at home, cuddled up with a Hardy Boys book, then in that dreaded math class at school!

I write because there has always been a desire within to create some of my own stories—ones that others would like to read. And I would like to think that there might be, somewhere, an impressionable young person who’d rather skip school and stay home because he/she simply couldn’t wait to see how my tale would all turn out!

I write because there’s the need to shape and mold things with this strange and wonderful language of ours. I find many rewards when I’m able to piece together some thoughts that stretch my mind, my memories, and my path ahead.

I write because I also believe that all of the experiences I’ve accumulated through my many years are waiting to be shared through writing about them. For as long as I can remember, I’ve romanticized about sitting at a keyboard and pounding out my thoughts and ideas and bringing to life all of the things I’ve been through—from young days to the present.

I often question just how many of these experiences are of interest only to me, the writer, and not to others out there who couldn’t care less about any of it? I suppose that’s the chance all writers take when they sit down and begin the journey that is writing.

I write because that journey is not an easy one, either, but well worth all of the ups and downs and pitfalls endured along the way once the end is reached.

I doubt, though, that the end is really ever reached. Once we think we’re done, we’re really only beginning. It’s on to the next thing. And because there’s always that chance to start something that will turn out OK, I relish the challenges and the ups and downs and pitfalls once more. I like beginnings!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Many thanks to Amy at Insights from the Edge for nominating Down Many Roads for theversatile_blogger_award.jpg Versatile Blogger Award. I am flattered and happy to participate in this event.

These are the rules:
  1. Thank the person that nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Nominate at least 15 bloggers of your choice. When considering a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, keep in mind the quality of their writing, the uniqueness of their subject matter, and the level of love displayed on the virtual page.
  3. Link your nominees and let them know about their nomination.
  4. Share seven facts about yourself.
7 Facts About Me:
  1. I have been retired from teaching middle school language arts for eight years.
  2. I live in rural northern Illinois.
  3. I have two grandsons, ages 10 and 8.
  4. I have published two books- Black Wolf Lodge (2010), The Good Luck Highway (2014) & two short stories-“Hobo Willie” (2014), “Pinewood Farm” (2014)
  5. I spend my summers in southwestern Michigan in an old cottage on a lake.
  6. Besides writing, I love reading, hockey, baseball, football, and NASCAR.
  7. I am currently working on my third novel, a sequel to Black Wolf Lodge.

Here are the blogs I wish to nominate. I enjoy each for its unique style and quality of writing and/or artistic design and content. Please check them out and enjoy.

  1. Jill Weatherholt
  2. Gwen Hernandez
  3. The Write Transition
  4. Disappearing in Plain Sight
  5. Writer Site
  6. Interesting Literature
  7. Cindy Knoke
  8. Through the Luminary Lens
  9. Writing by Randall
  10. This ‘n That
  11. A Day in the Life
  12. Ramblings of a Writer
  13. A Midnight Rider
  14. Flotsam & Jetsam
  15. Travels in the Middle East and Beyond

Happy reading and blogging, everyone! And thank you Amy. 🙂

Blog on!

IMG_1392.jpgMonday.

The week begins anew. Coffee is hot (and good!).

The birds have emptied the feeders that I just re-filled on Saturday, yet they still hunt and peck about on the ground below in search of overlooked seeds.

Sipping the hot coffee, I read blog posts of those new friends from the Blogging 101 class that wrapped up at the end of last week.

I realize how much good information I took in during the fifteen-day run of the course. Thanks to the tasks and various activities therein, I am wiser and more comfortable in trying new and advanced things on this blog of mine.

To anyone beginning a blog of his or her own, I would offer the following suggestions:

  1. Set a limit to your word count. Brief is usually better!
  2. Pay attention to spelling, usage, and grammar. Personally, I dump out of reading posts full of errors. (No excuses if one is serious about sharing his or her writing with the world!)
  3. Find a theme that fits your style and personality. It will take some time, but there are many from which to choose.
  4. Read other blogs and comment on the posts you read, respectfully and sincerely.
  5. Make your blog pages easy to navigate.
  6. Have an ABOUT page that tells the reader about YOU and why you’re blogging and any other interesting stuff that might entice a reader to want to read more of what you write. (I always look for the location from where the writer is situated and am disappointed when that info is missing.)
  7. Make blogging a fun thing.

OK. Monday crawls onward. The coffee cup is empty (like the bird feeders). Blogging 101 still fresh in my mind, I plan my week and will now spend time scheduling my posts for the week ahead.

Enjoy the journey. Blog onward and upward!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/key-takeaway/”>Key Takeaway</a>

Coming soon: One Good Thing…

100_5400.jpg
What good things await around the bend ahead?

I’ve come to the realization that we’re enveloped in a world swirling with negativity, problems, issues, unhappiness, etc., etc., and, if we’re not careful, we can quickly get eaten up with it all and lose our sense of what is good. At least I know I’ve found myself slipping into that realm, where it’s way too easy to look on the dark side of things, hiding any chance of seeing what is good and decent.

Here at Down Many Roads, every weekend I intend to focus on one good thing that showed itself during the week past. If I’m not careful, I’ll probably have more than one, but there will be at least one about which I’ll post each weekend.

It could be a simple photo. Or a sentence. Or a paragraph. Or a 300-word essay. I won’t know until I get there at week’s end. I do know, however, that my purpose is to promote the good that is in my life–kind of like that old song that told folks to “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…”

Understanding that it will be impossible to rid the world of negativity, I merely want to reaffirm each week that at least one good thing occurred in my life and share it here in the weekly feature I’ll call One Good Thing….

It doesn’t mean I’ll no longer grumble and grouse about things, but I am determined to refocus the light and shine it on the good side of things each weekend. It has been so easy to forget or overlook the good that is often right in front of me! Time to start over and start seeing again.

That said, I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead.  Stay tuned…