Thursday, January 24, 2019

Katz un Hund un Gehss

This is a long, sisterly, Deitsch conversation involving animals and quite a few mentions of our brother Fred.

For more Deitsch conversations, subscribe to my Youtube channel here.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mrs. Smucker Considers the Possibilities

"Did it really take up that much time?" someone asked me about writing for the Register-Guard every month.
"No...." I said. "I mean, maybe four or five hours, and then the time I spent emailing it out after it appeared in print, answering responses, and putting it on social media."
"Maybe it took more brain space than time," they said.
"Yes!" That was it exactly.

I have two bullet journals going for 2019. My friend and honorary niece Dolly Smucker gave me one. I use it for all the general goings-on of my life--schedule, sewing, cleaning, travel, books to read.

I've always made lists, but I think the index is the significant key in keeping my brain on track.

The other journal was a Christmas gift from Steven, and I use it only for my writing goals. Suddenly a tsunami of ideas is rushing into that free space where my column used to be. Fiction! Tuesday Teas in the Sparrow Nest! Writing workshops! A better website!

My list of goals and projects is up to 28.

Here are a few things I'm pondering or pursuing. I'm open to your ideas and suggestions on any of these, or others I haven't considered.

1. Fiction. I joined a Christian fiction writing group in Springfield. There are five of us. Two of the five already have 3-book deals from publishers, so they are good at what they do. But they are ok with me being a floundering beginner. One other member of the group is also transitioning from newspaper writing to fiction.

Obviously I'm not a beginner with writing in general, and it's so interesting to discover which skills work with both fiction and non. Someone told me it's like you learn to cook American food and then you switch to Japanese. You know how to grill hamburgers, bake bread, mash potatoes, and make a good white sauce. Then you switch to Japanese cooking and it's all different foods, yet it's still about feeding hungry people, chopping vegetables, using a stove, and getting three different dishes to the table at the same time.

I've written about five chapters of a novel, but I'm telling myself it's a throwaway novel, just to free up my creativity. So I won't have a book ready for a publisher for a long time.

2. Mentoring. This past week I spoke to or heard from four different people who have great ideas for a book or story but don't know where or how to begin. I don't have time to coach them all. I'm wondering: what do they really need, and how can I make it happen without doing it all myself?

3. Non-fiction on parenting. Now that our kids have reached adulthood and still like to talk to us, I'm tempted to write a book on parenting adults, since parenting books are always written by people whose kids were relatively easy and trouble-free.

Someone in my life said, "No no--you need to write about parenting younger kids and talk about everything that went wrong."

I have an increasing "burden," as my mom used to say, for young moms. Mothering little children is always a challenging job, but it seems to me that every generation has a harder task. We had pressure from our peers, to some degree, and also from career-oriented mothering magazines that made you feel silly and useless for staying at home. So I deliberately quit reading those magazines.

But the current generation has thousands of beautiful hyper-achieving moms at their fingertips. They also have an online community that will rip them to shreds for choosing to vaccinate, or not, or for letting the kids have lollipops.

Most of my reading and speaking demographic is older women, which is wonderful, but I've been wondering how to tap into that younger generation. I don't see them as a market, necessarily. It's more that I'd like to be a voice to them that I needed at their stage.

At the annual library fundraiser sale in December a young mom came to my table. She said her grandma introduced her to my books, and she follows me on Instagram. I was so happy. Then when I spoke at the seniors' group at First Baptist in Eugene on January 10th, two young moms showed up!

So I will see where God leads me with this "passion," as they like to say in counseling circles. It means pretty much the same as Mom's "burden."

4-28: Other ideas include having people in for tea in my Sparrow Nest, getting a real website, and redoing one of my e-books. And I want to pick up where I left off on my Pennsylvania German videos. 

So many possibilities.

Again, I'll listen to all your suggestions.