My Novels

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Been a busy, busy day! Ran errands in town, spent a lot of time at a used paperback bookstore (it's in a huge old southern mansion, with bookshelves in all the rooms to the high-ceilings -- a treasure to explore!), biking, housecleaning, etc. So this is only a brief entry.

I just read an article that is a MUST-READ for anyone interested in journalism and the presidency. Here's a link and excerpt:

Doubting Thomas offers her press veteran’s take on state of presidency

As veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas signed my program Thursday evening at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual awards banquet, I said, “First time I ever asked a reporter for an autograph.”

“Thank you, dear,” she said, patting my arm. “Don’t lose heart.”

Those are words that should be engraved at the bottom of every journalism degree. That’s because I’m not sure that any business can cause a heart to be lost or broken faster than this. And Thomas probably knows this better than anyone because she began reporting in 1943.

.....Odd how the world breathlessly awaits the Golden Globes while honors presented the people who watch the politicians or work for a cancer cure are as obscure as lice. In fact, there’s a joke about the Golden Globes and the foreign press that presents them. It’s said that on ceremony night you can’t find a waiter anywhere in town. Take this from someone who once sat at another banquet with the foreign press — a group composed of a dry cleaner from Pacoima, a large Eastern European woman in a turban and an Egyptian shoe salesman who spent the evening trying to cadge free drinks. Now that I think of it, they aren’t much different from domestic journalists.

......She seemed to have sympathy and affection for everyone but George W. Bush, a man who she said is rising on a wave of 9-11 fear — fear of looking unpatriotic, fear of asking questions, just fear. “We have,” she said, “lost our way.”

Thomas believes we have chosen to promote democracy with bombs instead of largess while Congress “defaults,” Democrats cower and a president controls all three branches of government in the name of corporations and the religious right.

As she signed my program, I joked, “You sound worried.”

“This is the worst president ever,” she said. “He is the worst president in all of American history.”

The woman who has known eight of them wasn’t joking.

Do yourself a favor, go read the entire article.

Monday, January 27, 2003

I've come down with a mild cold. I'm sure I caught it from DH, as he had it for a week or so. I didn't ride my bike yesterday, due to the onset of the cold, although it was a mild, pleasant day. I felt bad about that, and went this morning, even though it was only in the 30s. I bundled up, and don't think it will cause my cold to be any worse.

Yesterday on our usual Sunday afternoon drive, we found some property and a house we might be interested in buying. We called the seller, and learned it is 10 acres and the older, rundown house for $45,000.00 It is only about five miles (or less) from the city, and a fairly good location. That is entirely in our price range (so we could pay cash), but the house needs a great deal of work to make it livable. However, at that price we could buy it and keep our home in the city, stay there on weekends sometimes and work on the house. The land also needs bush-hogging, cleaning up...but it lays well, flat and has two creeks so the horses could get water. There's an old, rotting house on the property and some of the lumber in it could be used for a barn. It all seems so much work though, and we're undecided. At least it is a definite potential though.

What I hate about getting older is that when stuff like this comes along, I always think what we could have done with such a place when we were younger. And though we're both still physically capable and healthy, it just seems a huge chore. Of course when we were younger, we didn't have the kind of funds to buy something like this for cash. Still, we're both more reluctant to take on demanding physical labor these days. We could hire some of the work done, and probably would, but just the minor stuff would be daunting. I have to admit we're just not as energetic OR enthusiastic as we were when younger -- and the loss of that kind of optimism and energy is also discouraging as one ages.

Here's a couple of interesting article links:

The Cyclic Universe
by Paul J. Steinhardt

Is the universe expanding indefinitely--the Big Bang model--or does it go through cycles of expansion and contraction? Paul Steinhardt, who is Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, suggests a cyclic model that could successfully compete with the Big Bang model.

I'm fascinated, obsessed with such theories, and always find it amazing how much humans have learned about the cosmos -- and how much we have yet to discover. Unfortunately in my pessimistic viewpoint, no matter the TIME element, the cosmos (and humans) are all bound for oblivion.

Unless, of course we destroy ourselves first for something, oh say...oil.

US begins secret talks to secure Iraq's oilfields

No excerpt, but an interesting article nevertheless. Here's an excerpt today from a news report regarding what the U.N. Inspectors have not found in Iraq:

....the inspectors had not found evidence of banned activity or production facilities at any of the sites investigated that the United States says exist.

Sort of makes you wonder what the war is going to be about, doesn't it? And I firmly believe there IS going to be a war -- Bushie wants it, ergo, we'll have it.

Not the most inspiring thoughts for today...but so be it.

Friday, January 24, 2003

So far it seems all the strays survived the cold last night. Old fellow (the one who stays here most) was out there this morning, and it was only 8 degrees! He was hungry, so I fed him and then several others came to eat as well. Today it's a brilliant sunshiny day, and the temp has climbed up to about 33, which is not as bad as yesterday. I still didn't bike, but used the ski machine earlier. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will improve, and I can go on my bike ride.

The novel I just finished, A Bigamist's Daugher By Alice McDermott was a good read -- especially since the theme was about fiction writing and writers, editors, vanity publishing, etc. The protagonist is a female editor at a Vanity Press, and makes some wry, accurate comments about most writers, whether they are successful or not.

Here's the few excerpts I liked... Concerning a male writer with whom she later has an affair:
"His questionnaire says he's submitted to all the major houses, the real publishers, and was turned down by each one. It doesn't say why. It says he finally decided to come to Vista because he feels a writer should believe in his work enough to pay to have it published. He also adds that Stephen Crane published his own first works himself, and he's always admired Stephen Crane.

She sits back, lights a cigarette. She recalls having read it all before, just yesterday probably, but it had no meaning then. She reads hundreds of these backgrounds a week, hundreds of letters from people with books that Vista simply must publish, no matter what the cost. Housewives with desks full of poetry, businessmen with exposes they're sure will change the world, old people, so many old people, with memoirs and philosophies they want urgently to be preserved, recorded. So many pathetic people with dreams of immortality and a spot on "The Tonight Show."

She thinks of their books, life stories told again and again, printed on cheap paper, piled in damp stockrooms, returned to sender. She said she didn't blame them for writing the books. Lovers do it for each other. Making sense isn't such a bad dream. It's the clamoring for fame and fortune that makes them ridiculous, the way they blow their material.

I somewhat agree with these passages. I used to write constantly; it became my REASON for existence. I still write, but rarely as much fiction as before. But even when I was writing fiction daily, I never dreamed of being a best-seller or even getting published. I DID want to share my work, and the internet allowed me to do that by posting my work FREELY. In fact, the novels I now have epublished came about because an editor found my website, contacted me and asked to epublish several. I agreed, but still haven't made a lot of money. Fiction writing should NOT be about writing for fame and fortune; it should be something you do for the LOVE of it, and perhaps to make sense, create order out of the random chaos and meaninglessness of human life.

Another insightful excerpt:

He says, "To me art, especially literature, alone is immortal. Nothing else lasts. Even science can become outdated and obselete; even political and social achievements. Even love. To me, " he says, "to stop writing would not only be to admit defeat, it would be to admit death. To say there is no hope for immortality."

I fear that such a motive for creative writing would be an exercise in futility. I mean, how much fiction is immortal? Very little. And even that which is great literature...well, it will perish with the human race. Of course, I sincerely believe the human race is doomed -- it's just a matter of time till all comes to nothing. Either we'll destroy ourselves (I place high bets on this) or the cosmos will cease to exist. There is no such thing as immortality, and chasing after it (though giving an illusion of meaning to some lives) is pointless.

Ah well, that's my own philosophy. And to each their own opinion. Oh, and by the way, if you read some of the reviews at, you'll see that most people can't endure a good dose of grim reality, like this novel delivers.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

It's quite difficult to type around a cat lying in your lap, but that's what I'm doing. I'm using my laptop though, and it's keeping me warm too. Here in Dixie we're having an artic blast, near 5 degrees tonight. Yikkes! My cats are inside, as they are every evening for play and petting/pampering; hence, Buddy is sitting on my lap. There's always a tussle over which one of the 8 cats gets the privilege of sitting on my lap, and he won out tonight.

Back to the weather: we awoke to a light dusting of snow this morning, and temps never made it past 24 degrees. It was sunny but windy, which made me just want to huddle in the house -- and that's exactly what I did. I miss my bike ride, and didn't use the ski machine...but will use it tomorrow. It's only going to be in the 20s again, so I guess I'll stay indoors. Other than going outside to put out food for the stray cats and fill bird feeders, I didn't venture out. The snow all melted, but schools were closed, and will be again tomorrow due to the extremely frigid temperatures. Nothing like living in the South during winter!

My 8 cats stay on a huge sunporch most of the time, but come indoors at night. I have several heat lamps out there, but fear it might be too cold for them tonight, so I will probably let them stay indoors. I worry about the strays, but they usually manage to get under someone's house -- like the one nextdoor that has a couple of places for access and has the central heating/cooling vents under there. I saw several (the usual customers) out there eating today where I keep food, and they all looked fine. I also have an insulated dog house out there, piled with quilts/blankets for stray cats, hay around it where it's up on cement blocks off the ground. Perhaps some strays are staying in that.

I finished the novel I was reading, "The Bigamist's Daughter" and will try to write a detailed review of that tomorrow for this journal.

Guess that's all for tonight.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I went on my bike ride yesterday afternoon, and then early this morning. We're having pleasant temperatures, mild, so it was perfect for riding in the park. I am staying at 90 pounds, just maintaining this current weight. I watch what I eat, and don't overdo it.

I found a few interesting articles, wanted to put links to them here:

10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World


Every year, more than 700,000 patients in the United States undergo joint replacement surgery. The procedure—in which a knee or a hip is replaced with an artificial implant—is highly invasive, and many patients delay the surgery for as long as they can. Jennifer Elisseeff, a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins University, hopes to change that with a treatment that does away with surgery entirely: injectable tissue engineering. She and her colleagues have developed a way to inject joints with specially designed mixtures of polymers, cells, and growth stimulators that solidify and form healthy tissue. “We’re not just trying to improve the current therapy,” says Elisseeff. “We’re really trying to change it completely.”

Well worth the time to read. You can learn something from it, like I did.


'Blog' trend provides virtual soapbox


WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Web logs, or "blogs," are proliferating across the Internet, providing individuals a soapbox on which to sound off on topics ranging from politics to pet care. It is the former topic area -- politics -- where experts say these online diaries are having growing impact.

"You could say Web logs cost Trent Lott his job," said Michael Cornfield, who follows the "blog" trend closely as director of research for George Washington University's Democracy Online Project.

"The mainstream media largely ignored Lott's remarks at Strom Thurmond's birthday party. It was Web logs, both liberal and conservative, that reported the incident and kept it alive," Cornfield said.

Interesting idea, that blogs are influencing anyone anywhere. I'm not so sure myself, but I DO like keeping this online journal, whether I'm ranting against something or musing about my personal life, opinions, etc.

And that's it for today.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Today's writing prompt: Where is your special place? Somewhere you go to feel peaceful, rested. A place that only you know about, where you can go to be alone — to think, to meditate, to pray, to get rejuvenated, or simply to be. Think about that special place for a few minutes. It may be inside - a room in your house, a church, a library, a gym. It may be outside - a forest, a beach, a mountain, a field. Wherever your special place is, imagine it; really see it in your mind's eye.

This is an essay I wrote some time ago, but it still applies to the question above.


It had been another one of those long, hectic mornings, and I was nearly exhausted with my usual routine of household chores, necessary errands -- even managing to squeeze in a short visit to the library for some research. I'd been busy, taken hostage by the frequent and varied demands on my time.

This is to be expected, and while I've never complained, it is always with a sense of joy and relief when at last I can retreat into my special room. You see, this room is my private sanctuary, my personal rendezvous with destiny, with fate. I am in a different world here, and when I walk inside, I find the serenity and solitude necessary for my work: creative writing. This is my artistic haven, the special place I've developed for intense, serious contemplation, meditation and creative work.

It is a simple room, modest-sized, but it holds all I dearly cherish for my own growth and potential as a writer: bookshelves with widely varied books; a desk and computer; reams of paper; bulletin boards with my notes for works-in-progress; file cabinet; and a recliner, so I can sit and read, make notes from research or edit/rewrite manuscripts.

There is no window, there is no scenic view outdoors, nor is there a single picture on the walls -- some might even think it is a distinctly common, messy room, full of clutter scattered around haphazardly. However, for me this is a magical, mystical room where I can always feel an awesome sense of the sacred when I cross the threshold. It is like entering a worshiping place, a mysterious and otherworldly aura within the four walls.

If you found me immersed in a story here, you might think I had been possessed; and to a certain extent, I am as rapturously engrossed in my work as a devoutly religious person in prayer. And it has been every bit as difficult to learn and master my craft as it is for any follower of an austere, arduous spiritual philosophy to overcome the lure of worldly temptations.

It was a long, tedious process with many pitfalls and setbacks, a journey that started when I first put words to paper and began to realize the depth of dedication it would take to develop my talent, not just use it as a hobby. That was when I knew the true meaning of faith --for without faith, I couldn't even begin, or survive the many rejections sure to come my way.

I don't equate success in my creative writing with monetary reward; rather, I feel successful if I've written and posted/published a piece of work that helps another human being learn an important insight, or be able to love others or live a better life -- or simply escape into an imaginary world of fictional enjoyment. Therefore, I also understand the wisdom of the spiritual sages in knowing that pursuing one's higher purpose, even if it does not bring riches, is worth the sacrifices one must make.

Always, when I walk into this room, it *is* a room with a view -- and the view is a window into my imagination, my intellectual pondering, my creativity and my own unique artistic voice which reflects the wisdom, compassion and enlightenment of universal truths.

Friday, January 17, 2003

I really should run some errands in town, but it is soooooo cold out there today. Here in Dixie we're not accustomed to frigid temps, and even though the sun is shining brightly, there's a stiff wind and temps are hovering at 25 degrees. BRRRRR!

We didn't get any snow, and as usual, mass hysteria was whipped up to a frenzy by the local weather forecasters and news media. I suppose there was no 'real' news, so they sent out crews to grocery stores to see why people were buying stuff. One lady said, "I always buy enough fixings so I can bake if I get the urge." I'd rather just look at the snowy landscape than spend it standing over a hot oven. I loathe/hate cooking, and the only interest I have in food is knowing what is healthy and low-calorie -- and quick to prepare.

I didn't bike today, due to the cold. But I did use my ski machine, and hopefully my knees won't suffer from that. Did some housework, and I'm about to work on a writing project the remainder of the afternoon.

And that's all for today.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

A brief entry today. No snow yet, just lots of rain and temps hovering at the freezing point. We'll see if we get any snow/ice...but I wouldn't hold my breath! Did some writing today, and I'm mentally exhausted.

Last night I watched "UpClose" and Gloria Steinem was interviewed. When the interviewer grilled her about not having children, she came out with one of the best quotes I've ever heard for the childfree:

"Because a woman has a womb she no more should have a baby than because we have vocal chords all of us should be opera singers."

Oh. My. God. I couldn't have said it better myself!

Thanks Gloria!

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

A normal day for me. Biking. Housework. Cat-care!

Serious Article Link:

Silly but frank..."Out of the mouth of Babes"

A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand.

"Daddy, what happened to him?"

"He died and went to Heaven, " the dad answered.

The boy thought a moment and then said, "Did God throw him back?"

Isn't it strange how kids seem to instinctively know that God/Religion is a bunch of crap?

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Beautiful day here in Dixie, near 55 and sunny. Unfortunately, we're probably going to get some snow on Thursday night/Friday morning. Actually though, I can't complain; I'd love to see some snow (NOT ice!) and take some digital photos of the landscape. We occasionally do get a few inches of snow here, but due to not being prepared, most schools/businesses, etc close and everyone just stays home. The amusing part is that everytime the weather forecast is for snow, people make a run on bread and milk at the grocery stores -- as if a blizzard is heading our way, when in fact, a couple inches is usually all we get. People panic easily!

And speaking of panic: Here's an interesting news article about the American pilots who dropped bombs and killed some innocent Canadians who were conducting training exercises in Afghanistan. Apparently the pilots were taking speed (amphetamines), which they now claim ALL pilots use at the insistence of the Air Force. Goodness, if that is true, then I see a can of worms opening up: "Hey, I just use speed to stay awake in my car/train/truck when I drive, officer!" This is going to be a real interesting situation, I think.

Here's the article link and an excerpt:

Pills Cited in Mistaken Afghan Bombing
Beck said Tuesday that the amphetamines are given to Air Force pilots to help them stay awake during long missions, and promised to raise the issue of the pills later in the hearing.

"The Air Force has a problem. They have administered 'go pills' to soldiers that the manufacturers have stated affect performance and judgment," Beck said. "Also, when (pilots) come back they are given an anti-depressant. That is the reason we have concern."

I watched Joe Millionaire last night. I like Zora and Sarah; those two ladies are my choices for best demeanor and looks/style. I, however, think he'll choose Melissa -- who I don't think is very attractive, and who also seems to have a 'catty' way about her. It'll be interesting to see how the chosen lady? reacts when she learns the "Joe" is NOT a millionaire. Fun times ahead. As for myself, forget the guy, I'll just take the French Chateau. Next week they're heading to Paris, another place I've always wanted to see. Perhaps the ladies were all just hoping to have fun visiting the foreign places, and don't care really whether the "Joe" chooses them? :-)

I'm reading a very good novel, but won't comment on it till I've finished. The main female character/protagonist is a lady who is editor-in-chief of a Vanity Press...and there's some intriquing, thought-provoking insights into WHY people write, and WHY some shouldn't!

Biked early this morning, did a lot of housework, scrubbed the cat's sunporch and accomplished various tasks outside. The stray cats needed some attending to, and I got that done also. Busy as usual.


Monday, January 13, 2003

I've spent another busy day. Had some early shopping and errands, then back home to go on the bike ride, and clean the house. I'm sort of a neat-freak; I keep a very tidy, clean house. Perhaps this makes up for my hatred of cooking? I hope so! At any rate, I got all that done and it's now nearly 3:00. I wonder how I could ever find time to write fiction; it seems lately I'm lucky to make entries in this journal!

I read a fascinating article early this morning online. I usually eat my bran cereal breakfast while checking my email and the latest news, etc. online. Anyhow, I like to stay updated on what is going on in the field of science and electronics/technology. So many people forget that these two fields have vastly improved our daily lives, all due to human intelligence and dedication. Yet when they need medical help and/or the latest help that science/technology supplies, they sometimes attribute it to 'God.' Oh please!

So here's the link and an excerpt to this interesting article. Check it out yourself, if you have time:

Death is an Outrage by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

What is Nanomedicine

The greatest advances in halting biological aging and preventing natural death are likely to come from the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology. That is, nanomedicine. Nanomedicine is most simply and generally defined as the preservation and improvement of human health, using molecular tools and molecular knowledge of the human body.

In the near term, say, the next 5 years, the molecular tools of nanomedicine will include biologically active materials with well-defined nanoscale structures, such as dendrimer-based organic devices and pharmaceuticals based on fullerenes and organic nanotubes. We should also see genetic therapies and tissue engineering becoming more common in medical practice.

In the mid-term, the next 5 or 10 years or so, knowledge gained from genomics and proteomics will make possible new treatments tailored to specific individuals, new drugs targeting pathogens whose genomes have now been decoded, stem cell treatments to repair damaged tissue, replace missing function, or slow aging, and biological robots made from bacteria and other motile cells that have had their genomes re-engineered and re-programmed. We could also see artificial organic devices that incorporate biological motors or self-assembled DNA-based structures for a variety of useful medical purposes.

And that's it for today. Oh, I'm looking forward to watching "Hunger Point" on Lifetime TV tonight at 8:00 central time zone. I read the book years ago (actually found it at Dollar General for a buck) and liked the insight into anorexia.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Today's prompt: If you found out for certain there is a Heaven and a Hell, how would you change your life?

Now this is indeed thought-provoking. I also find it absurd. I am an agnostic, but let me assume for a second that I could believe Heaven and Hell exist.

Firstly, I'd have to know which version of Heaven and Hell to believe in.

Would it be the Christian Heaven and Hell? If so, couldn't I start to believe in Jesus, be saved, and instantly find entrance into Heaven --regardless of trangressions? Or perhaps I should become a Catholic, confess my sins, repent and then find acceptance into Heaven?

Or should I become a Muslim extremist, make my pilgrimage to Mecca and then enter those Golden Gates? I could crash planes into tall buildings and STILL enter Heaven, eh?

Or should I become a Buddist, raise my spiritual consciousness above all mortal needs/wants and find Nirvana? {This one pleases me somewhat personally.}

Or should I accept Hinduism and hope for a better life in my next reincarnation?

You see the problem, don't you? I've studied ALL world religions/spiritual beliefs, and find that you must eliminate rational thinking in order to believe in any religion. Frankly, how would you choose which one to believe? Or perhaps you shouldn't study them all to begin with? As the saying goes: Ignorance is bliss.

In truth, I would change NOTHING about my life if I believed in ANY religious Heaven and Hell. I think that one should live their lives to be happy HERE and NOW, because we have NO guarantee that such utopias or nightmarish places exist beyond our human realm.

I do believe we humans create our own Heavens and Hells right here on Earth. If you are doubtful, just look around and read the'll have to see what I mean.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Just a quick update this morning. It's a bright (almost glaring!) sunshiny day, and I'd love to go on the bike ride (even though the temp is hovering around 30 degrees) but I have errands to run in town. And it's the dreaded once-monthly Wal-mart trip, nothing I look forward to. However, I buy some things there that I simply can't get elsewhere for a cheaper price: cat food, cat litter and more. It's like going on a long walking expedition in that cavernous building...alas, I will think of it as good exercise. {Still weigh only 90, though I pigged out yesterday and ate way more than usual.}

I find that I'm procrastinating on making the writing prompt entries. Perhaps that will make future ones better? I don't know, but instead of NOT writing in this online journal at all, I decided I'll just write updates until I have plenty of time for thoughtful prompt entries.

CutiePie has improved, but she doesn't seem to have her kittenish spark anymore. I sure hope she's going to be okay, since she's only 8 months old. All the other cats are thriving, and I swear the two black males (Buddy & Blackie) are Rambo in action! :-) Last night I was on the laptop, and Blackie just couldn't stand it, so he ended up squeezing into the space on my lap near the keyboard. Ever type around a cat while on a laptop? Not complaining though, cause I love my cats and sometimes wonder how I could live without at least a few around all the time. The stray cats I feed seem to be doing okay, considering our winter weather (mostly mild, but with an occasional freeze). Most of the strays sleep under the house next door, which has the central heating unit under there, with open access. Of course, they all eat over here at my special 'kitty buffet," always full of plentiful dry food and water.

I'll try to go on the bike ride later today, if I get all the errands finished and the housework completed. Busy, busy day ahead!

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Today is a brisk, cold day, but sunny. I went on my bike ride early, bundled up, and didn't get cold. My fingertips seemed a bit frosty, and I need to get leather gloves, since I only have woolen gloves now. But for some reason, it seemed the whole ride was a difficult effort, whereas I usually enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, being alone in the park amidst the quiet of nature. Today I felt tired, not up to par. Sometimes it's just that way, yet I keep up the routine. Biking helps me spend excess energy, prevent anxiety attacks, and get a good night's sleep. I've always been somewhat anxious, nervous and 'high-strung' and without regular, daily exhaustive exercising, I'm sure I'd be on anti-anxiety medication.

I have started taking Inderal again; my heart rate was becoming too high, even at rest. My blood pressure was too high also, and the exercising does not lower it. I have an abnormally fast heart rate, and had been on Inderal since my late 20s...but recently got off it, and was hoping I could do without it. I hate being on any kind of prescription medication, but it seems I have no choice in this matter. The heart rate and blood pressure problems are genetic, and run in my mother's family. And I sure don't want to risk a heart attack (or needing a pacemaker) or a stroke.

After getting the housework done, I went to the library and found some good fiction. Or at least I HOPE the novels I got will be good. I find it more and more difficult to locate good reads; don't know if this is because I'm a discerning reader, or just that there's so few new novels at the local library, and I've read most of the ones on the stacks. I rarely buy fiction, but will occasionally buy non-fiction.

One of my kittens, CutiePie, had been sick and the vet had given her antibiotics. She is finally back to normal, but I'll finish the round of antibiotics anyway. It's good to see her playing and being a normal mischievous kitten now.

I confess I watched "Joe Millionaire" last night. What a hoot! Reality TV has sunk to new lows. On the other hand, there is something fascinating about watching the girls try to hook the guy they THINK is a millionaire. It will be somewhat amusing to see just HOW they react when they learn he is NOT rich. Also, I found the French Chateau to be absolutely beautiful; it looked like something out of a fairy tale, and I would watch the show just to see that lovely setting.

I've seen Jane Seymour's ancient estate in England which she has restored, and find that such castles make me wish I could someday visit one. If I ever get to travel in Europe, seeing those ancient castles would be my main objective. By the way, Jane Seymour, who is my favorite female actress (and the one lady I'd like to look like, if I could), also allows visitors there who pay for their stay, in order to help with costs of restoration and upkeep of the place. I'm sure it costs a fortune to run such a huge estate!

And that's it for today. Maybe I can find time to answer another writing prompt tomorrow.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Today's prompt: When was your childhood over? Do you agree with the concept of adolescence, or did you go from being a child to being an adult?

This is one of the most simple questions to answer for me. Frankly, I didn't have a childhood. As the eldest of four, having an alcoholic father and enabling mother, I was the one who had to literally "take care of the family" from my earliest childhood memories. In oh-so-many ways this shaped who I am today, influenced my lifestyle, limited many choices I would have had, and to this very day, emotional scars remain from that time.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

A brief entry this late afternoon; see my CR diet blog for what I've been doing all day.

I wanted to say that often people ask me what living childfree is like. If I "regret" not having children. The answer is NO, I don't have any regrets whatsoever. In fact, as a creative writer, I have lots of privacy for my work...instead of arguing, etc. and/or trying to raise good kids.

And what else do I have? I have PEACE. I am sorry to disillusion those who are parents, but it is true that some of us who do not have children actually DO enjoy our lives...and would not change things at all.

I love my life. I love my freedom. I love my time and privacy, my peaceful that I may pour my heart and soul into creative writing.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Today's prompt: What would your motto be for the place you're at in your life right now? Is it different than it would have been five years ago? 10? 20?

Oh my, yes! Yes my motto for the place in my life is vastly different now than even a couple years ago. Isn't that how it is with aging? Every different life stage has a different meaning, a different goal, a different perspective.

I would say my motto now is: Enjoy today, live in the moment, for you never know if tomorrow will come.

I could elaborate on this, but I really think it's clear what I mean. As you age, you realize that THIS moment, THIS very minute may be all you have. As my wonderful grandmother used to say: "No one is promised tomorrow." She lived to be 92, but never stopped living by that motto. So I would have to claim it as mine at this stage of my life.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

In order to keep my New Year's resolution, I'm going to start writing short essays for entries at this online journal, using writing prompts from various sources. I think it will be interesting, and not only help me know myself, but also perhaps give those who are younger than myself a better perspective on aging.

Today's prompt: If you had to remember the moment in your life when you felt the most alone, when would it be?

I chose this question because it was immediately easy to answer, to know exactly the time in my life I felt (and was) most alone.

DH [dear husband] had started a new career; we were both in our late 20s. We'd almost always been together, had never even spent a night apart in our ten year marriage. [We have no children by choice, and this makes us even closer emotionally.) Then suddenly, he was gone nearly all the time, engaged in his new time-consuming career. He often didn't get in until past 8:00 PM, and was away on Saturdays, sometimes Sunday too.

We lived in a rural area of the South, and I was not satisfied there. I didn't like the southern rural people, and had learned over time that gossip and innuendo spread like wildfire. Whatever one did in public (or private) was instantly known, gossiped about and turned into wild tales, becoming more and more fabricated with each telling. I'd become isolated, no likeminded person with whom to talk, (no internet back then, of course) and fell into a depression. I had worked at various part-time jobs since we'd married, mostly clerical office work which I loathed; but I was not employed at that time. I had always wanted to write creatively, but had no confidence in my talent. I had family nearby, and did see them frequently, but I still felt totally alone.

I'll never forget one late afternoon, around the time most families sit down to dinner, when I went outside for a walk along a country road. A beautiful sunset shimmered on the horizon, but it only seemed to make me feel more lonesome. I could see families sitting at dinner tables, glimpsed through windows...and felt like an alien among them. I actually ached, I was so forlorn and miserably lonely. It was one of those agonizing moments that seems to magnify all that you feel, and I wanted so badly to change my life, somehow make it different. And I knew, in one way or another, whatever it took, I would bring about that change.

And I did. Eventually we sold our house there, moved into a city; I worked at a newspaper; I volunteered at the library. But most importantly, I began to write fiction in all my free time. I had friends then too, but the writing is what truly changed my life -- and my perspective. And I must give credit to many of the postal pen friends I had during that period; they were always encouraging me about my writing talent. I took a creative writing course, and then a journalism course -- which led to my position at the newspaper. However, in time I quit that job and concentrated on my creative writing.

In retrospect, I have to admit that the poignancy of the loneliness I felt during that period was life-changing, so it served a purpose. As I've aged though, I've learned NOT to depend on any other human being to prevent loneliness. I have learned I am my own best friend, my own best companion, and I could live alone now and not be unhappy. Yes, I am still married and I do enjoy the companionship with my DH. But I also know that to depend upon any other person to keep loneliness at bay is a mistake. And the truth of this one apt quote: "We are born alone, we live alone and we die alone."

There are worse things than being alone. If you look around at some of the miserable people in destructive relationships, you'll understand the wisdom of that statement.