Published in the Rains County Leader on August 25, 2022:
One of my favorite aspects of being a writer is the connections I make with people through my columns, my blogs, and my books. Many of the connections come electronically through email or social media, and some even come by snail mail. I’ve also met lots of people at book signings, meet-the-author events, and vendor fairs. In May of last year I wrote a column about some of these connections, but I thought I’d share a few more interesting encounters I’ve experienced
In the previous article I shared about the teacher who used my first novel to get two teenaged non-readers interested in the written word. Several years ago another teacher reached out to me, asking if I would answer a list of ten questions her 5th grade class had about being a writer. It’s interesting how, when you help someone, you sometimes end up helping yourself even more. Answering their questions was fun for me, and their questions were so relevant that I often use them as the basis for my presentation when I’m asked to speak about writing.
Some people, however, are more interested in my subjects than the writing itself. In 2017 I received an email from a lady named Becky who was a devoted Kitty fan. She was 80 years old at the time, and her husband was 82. They had recently lost their beloved cat, and reading about Kitty’s antics was a comfort to them. We continued to correspond occasionally for the next eighteen months, but my last email went unanswered. Maybe she lost interest in my columns when Kitty matured and provided less writing material.
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 17, 2022:
Kitty hasn’t had more than a passing mention this year, mostly because she’s become very settled and sedentary. She did, after all, celebrate her 7th birthday this spring – and in feline years, that’s mid-forties – not a kitten anymore. But she still has that unique Kitty personality, so I thought I’d give her fans a peek at what she’s up to these days.
In her maturity Kitty has become more sociable. She presents herself to David for a thirty-second pet more often and lies in his lap for short periods when he’s lying on the couch watching TV. One day I was sitting next to him on the couch, and she allowed me to pet her. I wondered if she doesn’t come to me more often because the space next to me on the love seat is usually filled with books and papers. I cleared a spot for her – actually, I moved the clutter to the floor – and she visited me once. But most of her one-on-one interaction with me involves sitting on the end table and waving her tail over my cup of coffee. Sometimes she’ll jump up on the TV trays next to my computer stand and stretch out her paw toward me. We’ll hold hands while I surf the Internet until she gets bored or gets a little free with her claws.
She’s also a bit friendlier with our neighbor Perkins. She doesn’t always run and hide under the bed when he comes over. Sometimes she sniffs his feet to see if he’s been anywhere more interesting than where we go, but mostly she ignores him and continues her nap.
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 11, 2022:
There was a time many years ago when making someone eat a bug was a bad thing. In fact, a song by Relient K called I’m Getting Nuttin’ for Christmas outlined reasons why Santa wouldn’t be visiting the singer that year. One of the reasons was because “I made Tommy eat a bug.” But times have changed.
As you may have guessed by the number of times I begin a column this way, I get a lot of my news from YouTube videos that are playing in the living room while I’m working in the kitchen. Last week I heard one in which a reporter was saying that the UK would be adding insects to the lunch menu of school children. I thought it had to be a joke, but I never heard a punch line, so I went to Google to check it out.
Sure enough I found an article on WesternStandard.New titled Insect meals worming their way onto British school kids’ lunch menus. It was written by Amanda Brown on June 7 of this year, and this was how it opened:
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 4, 2022:
David Perkins and I often meet by the water hose early in the morning when I’m watering my skimpy flower beds and he’s giving his very successful garden a drink. Depending on whether we’ve had our coffee or not, we sometimes have some interesting – but not very deep – conversations. One day last week we talked about seating at the Senior Center.
I don’t remember how the conversation began, but we discussed the fact that some people are very territorial about their seats, and as the lunchtime crowds increase, latecomers sometimes find their seat of choice already occupied. This situation is usually met with good-natured joking, but several years ago there was a bit of a conflict.
Two men who shall remain nameless claimed the same seat, and one day the good-natured joking erupted into a not so good-natured argument. The seated man ended by saying, “Well, I don’t see your name on it.” Not to be outdone, the second man arrived extra early the next day and taped his name on the chair. Of course, the label was removed and a more mature compromise was worked out, but people do have strong feelings about where they sit.
The story of a lonely, innocent girl who gets tangled up in the sex trafficking trade in a small Texas town. It’s about her relationship with Eric, a slick suburban pimp; Jesse, a Christian tattoo artist and motorcycle rider; and Mrs. G, a compassionate but tough attorney and foster parent.