Chewing the fat with a country girl

Right now, it is early Saturday morning, dark and raining. Daylight is very slow in coming and it is, indeed, a good day to write. So, with coffee in hand, I compose this post.

November was a very interesting month for me and, lucky for you, I feel like telling you all about it!

First, about NaNoWriMo. I did not write the required number of 50,000 words and did not win the coveted prize – the NaNo tee shirt. Believe it or not, I’m okay with that. Without having more than a vague notion on Day 1 of what I wanted to write, I really didn’t expect to accomplish such a lofty goal. As the days progressed and my ideas stagnated, I began to write pure garbage to try to maintain a decent word count. Then, it occurred to me that I was wasting valuable time for nothing. Don’t get me wrong. Out of the 23,706 words I have written, I might could use four or five thousand as a beginning draft to my story. And, that is good! It is a beginning. It is more than I had on October 31. Next, I begin the task of writing each of my possible three plots to see which one works.

Second, I recently received a renewal notice from my web host regarding Wow. That means I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a year now. The notice made me think about my site and how it first got started. In the beginning, I had no idea where it was headed. I thought I’d write more entries than I actually did. I thought I’d write more about aging, and books, and recipes. I thought I’d write more about the lowcountry and events going on in my neck of the woods. Turns out, this blog is not any of those things. It is really just my journal of life. It means that this blog will never get famous or that strangers from the world over will hang on every word I write or that advertisers will clamor for a spot on my site. And, I’m okay with that, too. That one renenwal notice solidified for me what this blog is about.  

But, that revelation made me realize that I want to start another website. My OTHER website. The one where I actually DO write about the people and events in the lowcountry. It will be an on-line magazine. And, it will be the definitive site to visit if you are a local or a visitor to my neck of the woods! And, of course, it will attract both local and web advertisers. Well, that’s my dream, anyway! I have a domain name picked out, but cannot reveal it yet. I wouldn’t want someone else to buy it first!

A third thing that happened to me in November is meeting a writer, Amy Oscar, who is in the process of writing a book about angels. She is looking for angel stories to include in her project and I directed her to two of my stories – “Millie’s Angel” and “Thinking in Threes.”  The exciting news is that she likes one of these stories (“Thinking in Threes”) and is including it in her work! Oh, I don’t get paid for the story or anything like that. Heck, I’m not even sure I will be given credit. She might only use bits and pieces of the story for all I know. But, the thing that is important is that I wrote something that someone else can use. Writing doesn’t get any better than that, me thinks! (I’ve added her personal website, Story, Spirit, Seed to my Sites I Like list located on the left sidebar of this page)

A fourth thing that happened last month is that one of my blog pictures was used on another website and it links to my website!  The picture is one I took this past summer during sister vacation. It is a shot of the front of Phipp’s Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. Go here to see it!

A fifth thing is that I joined Facebook. If any of you would like to friend me there, you can find me by clicking anywhere on my Facebook Profile Badge which is located on the left sidebar of this page (near the very bottom of the page).

Oh, and one other thing that I should have mentioned earlier is that I am going to start writing my cookbook. I had forgotten about my desire to do that until a few days before Thanksgiving. My friend at work, Pat, had found a macaroni and cheese recipe on All Recipes she wanted to use for her big family Thanksgiving reunion. I remembered one that I make that is super easy and super good. It is from “Mrs. Whaley’s Charleston Kitchen.” This is a wonderful little cookbook that is also filled with pearls of wit and wisdom from a very charming and witty Charleston grand dame. I hadn’t had this book out in a while and immediately fell in love with Emily Whaley all over again. Since I am full of advice and opinions and love to cook, I thought that I, too, could become a cookbook author! Maybe I’ll call my cookbook “Chewing the Fat with a Country Girl.” Haha!


An excerpt from The Four Holes

Please don’t be too critical of what you are about to read. At best, this would be considered a first draft. I would waste too much writing time going back and doing some editing right now. The NaNoWriMo project of getting 50,000 words written by November 30 is more important. Happy reading!


Daniel looked down at the dying old man and then looked out the hospital window. It was a dreary day and rain fell in torrents across the window pane. This suited Daniel’s mood.

He wondered why his grandfather had called him here and guessed it had to do with the old man’s imminent death and having no living relatives left to see him off to hell, Daniel thought.

Daniel returned his stare from the window back to the shriveled up old man he had never known. A million questions stirred in his head as he watched the grizzled bearded man breath in and out. Why did he want me to come here? Why did he disown my mother? Why did grandma leave him? “Why are you such a mean wicked man?” he asked out loud and startled himself and his grandfather in the process.

The man’s eyes shot open when he heard Daniel’s voice. He clenched a fist and then opened his mouth and gulped the air.

“Daniel,” he rasped. “You came.”

Daniel didn’t know what to say. To him, the man was a stranger. So, he stayed silent and waited. He had cautioned himself on the trip here to not let anything this man had to say get to him. He tried to think of all the scenarios that might be the reason the old man asked him to come. If it was to apologize for being a nonexistent father and grandfather to his daughter and grandson, to absolve himself before his death, well, he had hung his hopes on the wrong person. Daniel would tell him so, too.

A nurse entered the room to check the man’s vital signs, so Daniel looked away once more to the window and rain and beyond.

He did wonder, really, why he was summoned to the dying man’s bedside. The instructions were quite clear. “I am dying,” his letter had said. “You must come at once, I have something important to tell you. You will find the check enclosed should be sufficient for your traveling expenses.”  It was signed simply, S.P. Rawling.

Daniel felt his grandfather’s eyes boring a hole in the back of his head. When he turned to stare back he saw that the nurse was gone. The old man tried to speak, but his throat was dry. He wished he would die soon, but not before he told his grandson what he had to say.

“Water,” he said. It took a few seconds to register with Daniel what the man had said. He saw his dull eyes look towards the bedside table and he understood. The man would need a drink before Daniel could hear the thing he traveled 2000 miles to hear. The sooner, the better, thought Daniel.

Daniel filled the Styrofoam cup with water and held it for his grandfather to take. He quickly realized that the old man would not be able to sip from that cup without help. He contemplated ringing for the nurse as he just wasn’t sure he could get any closer to help the old man take a drink. He leaned in slightly towards the man face. He could smell the  death and disinfectant that surrounded the man. The man turned his head a little to the side so Daniel could put the straw to his lips. He took the smallest of sips and Daniel could see how difficult it was for the man to swallow it. Daniel felt sorry, then. Sorry for harboring this hatred against someone so helpless. Sorry for his mother, now deceased for five years and never making amends with her father. Sorry for himself for never being able to know the man that his mother once adored.

So, here it is. Even though Daniel didn’t feel like forgiving the man for his cruelty over the years, he knew he felt sorry for him for all the things all of their lives were not. All that, in just one sip of water and Daniel knew he could stand to hear what the old man had to say. He knew he could help make the man’s final arrangements, if that was what he was here to do, and knew he could execute the man’s estate, if there was one, although he didn’t want or need any of the proceeds, and he would probably donate whatever he could to charity.


I need some writing advice, please

So, as you can see by my numbers (to the left, on my sidebar) I have been writing on my NaNoWriMo project. This is getting increasingly difficult as I am running out of steam already and have so many more words to write!

I am discovering that I possess numerous writing deficiencies important to novel writing. My first problem is with character development. My characters are flat and have little personality! My protagonist, for instance, needs at least one good character flaw to make her more human.  Well, she’s perfect! (I did say in a previous post that she was loosely based on me, didn’t I? Ha, ha)

A secondary, but equally important problem is that I have no plot! Sure, my protagonist discovers something huge on that lake bed. But, what, I don’t know. It could be a treasure, human bones, or, or, what? Arrgh!

And, so, I continue to write willy-nilly with no real plan just waiting for that big “Aha!” to hit me.

If any of you have any ideas, please send them to me!

This is a good time for me to take a break and tell you about how I spent the rest of my weekend. We had a good friend come from out of state for a visit. First, I had to clean out the guest bedroom of all the “Sam is not allowed to have this” stuff and find other places to hide store it. We ate dinner at Captain Kirk’s on Friday night and I made stuffed pork chops on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, after our friend had headed home, we got a call from two other good friends, Mac and Karen, from Tennessee, who were passing through Charleston and wanted to meet for dinner. We met them at Hank’s Seafood and had a lovely visit.

Today is Monday and I have the day off from work. I have our clothes washed and hanging on the line, I am writing, writing, writing, and I hope to make lasagna for dinner if my car gets done at the shop today and I can get to the store for ingredients.



Oh, and then there is the new little kitten. We don’t know if all its sisters and brothers were eaten by stray dogs or if its mother deserted it for the good of the litter because of its injured leg, but to our steps it came last weekend. I do not know yet if it is a boy or girl kitty. We named it Charlie, a somewhat gender-neutral name, after Charlie Chaplin. Brian was not going to allow me to bring it into the house, but I don’t think it will survive on its own outside with no mama to train it. So, after a trip to the veterinarian and treatment for ear mites and worms, it just might be allowed to come into the house. I mean, after all, who wouldn’t want four cats and a dog in their little 1500 square foot house?

 Oh, and since I didn’t have enough to do, I started a Facebook account. If you have a Facebook account and want to be my friend, you can find me by searching my name.