We’re writing a book together and just want to have fun writing and sharing our background thoughts. We want you to have fun following both the story’s development and our journey of deepening friendship.  Follow us! Join us! Thanks!

Hobbies….

whittling

I recently discussed on my talk show that I’ve never had a hobby. It’s not that I don’t have interests/passions, but I’ve never had an activity that I did regularly that made me feel relaxed/inspired/creative. Others always had hobbies, and would anticipate and relish the time spent on them. Cooking, gardening, crafts, learning languages, volunteering…so many options. None of which resonated or “spoke” to me.

Many years ago, I had begun a quest to find a hobby. Friends would suggest possibilities…the list seemed endless. Still…nah, wasn’t feeling any of them. Then, one day, while visiting my Mom, I mentioned my quest, and that I just wasn’t excited about anything to the point of declaring it a hobby. My Mom, in her sweet, loving tone, said, “Oh, Mary…I just don’t think you are a hobby kind of person.”

With that, I took a deep breath, and for the first time in years, felt relaxed on the subject. While I didn’t, and still don’t, know exactly what she meant by it, it gave me permission to halt my constant search, and….just be me. I will forever be indebted to her for that comment.

Now, many years later, I have discovered a hobby. Something that I look forward to doing, and that I wish I had more time for. Writing our novel. Me? A hobby? Wow…it still hasn’t sunk in. This is a first.

Mary

Photo: Erica Minton on Flickr.

Summer, We Hardly Knew Ye…

Summer2013It has been the strangest of summers, it seems, for so many of us.  Drenching rains in June, tropical heat in July, the briefest of pleasant weather days in August.  And now…..it’s gone.

3friends met once again this past week-end after what was at first a planned, and then gradually an unplanned (and longer than initially intended) summer break. I am a big believer in breaks.  Rest is as important, in my mind, as exercise in the development of the mind, body and spirit.  We laughed, we chatted about our summer activities and then we bit the bullet and planned our first fall writing day!

I am looking forward to “picking up the pen” so to speak, and resuming my novel writing.  I’m not so worried about us taking a longer break than expected.  Indeed, I take great satisfaction in reading how many writers worked on their novels for years before finishing them!  (Oh please, not us, dear Lord….)

We’re easing back into things and I for one am looking forward to resuming the flow of creative juices. Hope you all got what you needed from this summer.

Fall, here we come!

Karen

Photo credit:  Gail  Rosenfeld

Out on a limb

high wire

We feel so vulnerable! This is the first time we are posting a bit of the story! Input is welcome…please be gentle!

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“I really need this run today” thought Gina as she looked out the window of the tiny bedroom. She was seated at the edge of the bed and could feel her stomach tighten as she shuffled her feet to locate her slippers. Last night around the fire pit had felt so warm and relaxing. But Gina had learned that these periods of calm were infrequent and short.

“Breathe slowly,” she reminded herself. She watched the mallards swim below the tree limb hanging by a few sinews to its trunk. “What a winter,” she mumbled as she pushed herself out of bed.

In the galley kitchen, Terri was spooning out their typical Saturday morning breakfast of chia seeds soaked in almond milk. Gina rolled her eyes as she thought of the sort of breakfast she would prefer…cheese omelet with spinach and rye toast. “If I decide to keep this old cabin, job one will be upgrading the electrical…really need a stove and oven,” she murmured under her breath. “I can’t stand eating this healthy crap anymore.”

“Good morning, ladies!” smiled Susan as she emerged from the bathroom, wet towel wrapped tightly around her red tresses. She was sporting her favorite leopard print pajamas and fluffy orange slippers.

“You are way too bright in the morning, Susan,” chided Gina. “Before you say anything more, let me run out to the Jeep and get my sunglasses.”

“And you are way too grumpy!” shouted Terri from the kitchen. “I’ve put something extra special in your bowl this morning, Gina. Let me know how it works for you.” Terri turned the corner from the kitchen and approached Gina with the bowl and a grin.

“Better be gin,” smirked Gina as she took the bowl from Terri.

The three friends padded out to the porch and each slid into her usual Adirondack chair. They ate in silence, scrunching their eyes against the rising sun and stopping frequently to observe the mallards. One particularly beautiful male with a brilliant green head and shimmering purple feathers was shooing away the competition by lifting himself from the water and flapping his wings wildly. His mate then dutifully followed in his wake.

“Lots of puffing, even in the ducky community,” observed Gina. Terri and Susan chuckled and nodded in agreement.

“I think I’m going to try and challenge myself on the run this morning, girls” announced Gina. “I’m thinking that I can push out another mile or two. My endurance has improved a lot over the last few weeks. Rather than run to the end of the lake road and back, I’m going to try to loop the lake this time.”

“Gina, that’s just foolish. You know that’s private property where the lake road ends. And you’ve never even walked that property before. Not a good idea to run it ‘til you’ve walked it first,” warned Susan.

“Sound advice…on so many levels,” added Terri. “Stick to what you know. If you really need to challenge yourself today, why don’t you run out to the end of the lake road, double back, and do a little extra around here. That’ll work just as well.”

Gina nodded as she thought about how best to navigate the double wire fence at the end of the lake road. She’d belly crawl under the lower wire rather than try and squeeze between the two wires…less chance of snagging her running clothes, she thought.

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Jean

Photo – Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection, State Library and Archives of Florida, via flickr

An idea….

Document14

I haven’t blogged in two weeks. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking
about/working on our book. It does mean the activities of the summer were
front-and-center in my life, and by that I mean, I was on vacation. But, still
thinking about our book.

And, I came up with an idea. I haven’t even mentioned it to Jean or Karen yet.
(Our weekly writing sessions have also been on vacation for a couple of weeks.
Ahhh….summer!)

My idea has to do with a new character making what will seem like random
appearances throughout the story line. Each of our characters will see him/her
(building suspense here!!) in the background, not interacting with, or having
direct contact. And, it won’t be until the women happen to casually mention
having seen the same man/woman that they will be aware of the curious
“coincidences”.

What is it that’s said about “coincidences”??? Mostly, that they usually
aren’t….

I should email Jean and Karen about this…..

Mary

Summertime…..and the Writin’s Easy…

Lab photo

Ah, the writing has been easy this summer. (Thanks for the inspiration, George Gershwin.) Articles, essays, op-ed pieces and blogs have trickled from my fingertips down onto the keys like hot molasses drippin’ into batter.

Makes you want to lick the spoon.

Poor Terri, however, has been languishing alone in the background of my brain. As I was formulating this post, I checked in on my mental image of her. She was exactly where I left here, standing on the tree-lined mountain path where she gets left behind by Gina and Susan….but, oops, haven’t told y’all about that yet.

So there she stands, glaring at me, arms folded akimbo, tapping her foot impatiently. No words required, as the message is clear.

“Come on already! I’m waiting here, for Pete’s sake!”

Tap, tap, tap goes her foot. (Her dog, Tuna Fish, appears to have gotten bored and wandered off.)

Sigh. I feel slightly guilty leaving here there but she is just going to have to wait. First of all, I still have all these articles and blogs and such clamoring for front row seats. (Advocacy for adoptee rights is proving to be a rather impatient task mistress.)

Second, it’s summertime! Time to chat with my girl friends. Time to go to the lake, to the pool, to the beach, or to the puddle for heaven’s sake! Time to sip cold, hard cider from the local mill (save a case for me on Saturday!) with cold shrimp and fresh fruit.

Hang in there, Terri. I’ll be back soon. And I’ll bring you a cold one.

Karen

Photo: Kim Olson Photography via flickr

My Buried Sense of Humor

3585331105_877fb62eb3_mI think Mary and Karen and I have agreed that we need to maintain our senses of humor while writing this book.  (We each try to maintain our sense of humor through life, really.)  I personally am much more emotionally upbeat when I can laugh at something I’ve done or something that has been done unto me.  And the more upbeat and clear-headed I am, the better I write.

That’s kind of what we do for each other when we get together on the weekend.  We talk about our week… we try to put everything into perspective… we tease and cajole each other…in effect, we pull each other’s best self out and frontward.  Then, our best selves out front, we conspire about plot, character and dialogue.

Poor Mary and Karen have their work cut out for them this weekend.  My best self is buried… buried under boxes and boxes of poorly packed household items, pots, pans and knick knacks…under way too much furniture that lays resting in non-upright pose, under coats and jackets that have long since gone out of style and boots and shoes I have never worn.

Yup.  I am moving. ..moving during the hottest week in recorded history…while trying to practice law…while struggling to keep up with meetings, conferences and other commitments.

So…Mary and Karen. ..Here is your challenge for the weekend.  Unbury my sense of humor and convince me this is funny.

Yesterday, I left the office in the mid-afternoon heat to go home and pack up my kitchen.  But I didn’t start there.  Instead, I lifted and heaved into the rented dumpster old wood Adirondack chairs, patio furniture, old tools, boxes and boxes of “stuff.”  Then I tackled the kitchen (gratefully, with the help of my good friend Mary Ann), dividing all the 17 years of accumulated crap into boxes that we either lifted into the dumpster or placed in my Jeep.

By the time my dear Frank came home from golf, we were soaked through, achy, grimy and lightheaded.  But I was so proud of our effort.

Whereupon, Frank peered into the dumpster, a huge dumpster now half full with stuff, and, with laser vision, spotted a single yellow screwdriver.  “You threw away a perfectly good screwdriver,” says he.

So, my friends…you have a lot of work to do…unbury my sense of humor, please.

Hey, here’s an idea.   One of our characters, Gina, has to resolve some issues with men.   I think she’ll have a screwdriver story in her past.

Jean

About My Hat

7145123361_e4ef986e22_mI’ve always been rather fond of the expression that someone is “wearing more than one hat” or “wearing different hats”.  It refers, of course, to the differing roles and functions we all assume in our lives.  We may be a mother one moment, an accountant the next, and a friend in the third.

And just like when we actually wear different hats, our perspectives, moods and attitudes change when we shift from one to another.  We might feel exasperated as a mother, logical as an accountant, and supportive as a friend.  All in regard to the same situation.

The idea is that we are all (somewhat) different people, or put forth (somewhat) different aspects of our personality, depending upon which perspective we adopt in any particular moment.

My character Terri is adopted.  And now that we’ve learned we need to be torturing our characters (Ha!), she is actually going to be “adopted on steroids”.  Read:  She’ll have some serious unresolved emotional issues, at least a whiff of abuse in her childhood, and be projecting her pain on her friends, etc.  So her adopted status informs some of her central challenges in the book.

And I got to thinking the other day about how Terri has become one of my “hats”.  I am adopted. I advocate for an adoptee rights organization.  I am a psychotherapist, a lawyer, a horse-back rider, an animal lover, a wife, an aunt, a niece, a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law, a cousin, a blogger, an author-to-be, an advocate, a birth relative (to so many types of other birth relatives I won’t bother to enumerate them here), a divorcee, a survivor of abuse and a writer.

Hats, upon hats, upon hats, upon more hats.

I got this image the other day of all my hats piled on top of my head at once.  Then they started morphing and collapsing into each other and interweaving and I thought, “Darn, it’s just one big hat now!”

Sometimes I rotate my hat.  Tilt it so it is jaunty.  Pull it down over my ears so I can hide behind it.  Stand it up straight and wear it tall and proud.  But I think, perhaps, I no longer wear different hats.  I wear one hat.

I like my hat.

Karen

Photo credit:  Flickr via Mammaoca2008