I’ve completed the novel I started the month of November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and by the time I got to the end, I realized I needed to change the title from “Miss?” (the name I was always called while I taught in the public school system) to Melancholy Mondays.
The story is based on journal entries I wrote during my first year of teaching, and the novel is literary fiction. Many of the events actually happened, and others could have happened. I would call it an expose on the ills of our current public education system, but there is enough humor throughout (I hope) to keep you from wanting to jump out a window.
More on this later! I’m working on my one page synopsis now in preparation for finding the perfect publisher!
Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss*
Everyone remembers their first, right? Mine was David. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was the very model used by Michelangelo for that famous piece, so to speak, that stands contemplatively gazing down the halls of the Loeuvre. He was such a stud muffin that I felt compelled to taste his lips, or any other part of him that might happen my way. And so I set about to hasten the inevitable. As he rode his bike past my house one day, muscles pumping, body glistening in the sweltering August sun, I called him over. He came, hesitantly, and stopped ever so close to me. I could hear his heart beating as he assessed me quizzically. I told him I needed to share a secret, and that he would have to come closer. As his face came closer to mine, I closed my eyes and did it—I planted a big juicy one smack-dab in the middle of his forehead, which sent him careening away on his bike yelling, “Cooties! Cooties! EEEEW, I got cooties!”
So O.K., he wasn’t really the model, I didn’t actually notice the presence of any muscles on his 7 year old body, and I’m quite convinced now that it was my heart beating feverishly in my 4 year old breast; but hey—I knew what I wanted, and I went for it. Had I kept my eyes open, I may have tasted those fresh lips; but clearly, David was not ready for the lusty passion that drove me to my fateful deception that day. Yet despite his clamor, I know that I saw a furtive smile cross his face as he looked back at me standing on the sidewalk (I wasn’t allowed into the street or I may have chased him down) with a smug grin on my red, freckled face. Yes, I had a secret all right—A kiss is a wondrous thing, and ahhh, the spoils of victory are sweet!
Fortunately, subsequent smooching would yield far more favorable reactions from suitors.
I found the following in a very old Word Document I had written back in 1997 when I thought I might start an autobiographical series using the pen name “Ruby Malone.” I’m thinking of continuing what I started, but using my real name this time.
I was christened Ruby Lee Malone by parents who should have known better, who should have known that a child named Ruby would require more than the usual attention. I tell people I got my name because I was born with pouting red lips, but I think it had more to do with the strawberry birthmark by my belly. More likely still, Moe (that would be Dad) took one look at me and thought of all the gems he’d need to feed, clothe, and someday marry off all his girls. I earned my middle name from my Mom, Loretta Lee Malone, who we are all convinced married Dad for the punch-line name she would secure—Letta Malone. Putting the importance of names aside, however, I would be introduced as “daughter number 4” to more people than I care to remember, which I now credit for pushing me into my “look-at-me” life. I probably would have been O.K. had it not been for “daughter number 5,” a blond, blue-eyed, diaphanous creature who came into this world to torment me for my plainness. Alas, I would have to live with, and some day learn how to love the woefully average face that scorned the inventor of mirrors. And I would.
So now I’m inviting you to share some adventures on my quest for the meaning of life, a quest born from a burning desire to find myself (the self behind the face), to figure out what a puny being like me was sent here to accomplish, to become more than just “daughter number 4.” Some adventures will be way cool—others, steamy hot—some more yet, simply life itself. I discover the meaning, the “truth,” the reality, in snippets each day. My truth, of course—my snippets. You may just say “Hogwash!” now, and never return; after all, what can a broad named Ruby teach someone like you? Not much, I would venture to say; so all you hogwash types take a hike now. But do come on back when your curiosity gets the best of you, or when you just need to escape from your own truth for a while.
Come see me weekly for an update on some way cool steamy hot life. Next week I will “tell all” about the power of a kiss. Until then, why not do a bit of your own research on the topic?
. . . about DATING!
The first two books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series are already getting rave reviews from the public! You can order them now through Amazon, or directly from the publishers: www.publishingsyndicate.com
Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman is the first book in the new series, and has a story I wrote called “Battle-Dressed Breasts.”
Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid is my very first co-creation, and is full of zany stories about the youthful capers of people like us!
The next book I’ll be putting together is Not Your Mother’s Book…On Dating, so dig into your past and share your stories of dates gone horribly wrong!
A good friend has been pestering me for months now about this bizarre “NaNoWriMo” event, and I have always had great reasons to tune her out. I AM writing, I tell her. And I am. I’ve been having a wonderful time working with the people at Publishing Syndicate since March, and finally have a non-fiction short story published in the first book of their new series: Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman. My story is called “Battle-Dressed Breasts,” and I think it’s rather funny.
I will also have my name on the cover of Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid which I co-created, and that book is filled with wonderful stories, too! So while I was thinking that it was time to get back to my V-Mail to e-mail book, my pester-friend challenged me with the funny word again…and something “took” in my psyche.
As my husband points out to me (time and time again), I need a specific challenge to fire my engines, and while I was finishing up Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five in bed last night, I felt a spark (but Mike was already asleep!).
Having never written fiction, I wondered what my novel could be about. “Write what you know”–the advice of published sages throughout history–rang through my noggin after I turned out the light. And then the light turned on! Teaching. I know about teaching. And oh, by the way, I journaled almost every day of my very first year of teaching.
So here’s the plan: I will complete my first novel during the month of November. I must write at least 50,000 words in order to be successful at this challenge (according to the rules). Here’s the link to the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) site: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about
Wish me luck!
How I wish I had had my camera at the ready while driving home last evening. Imagine, if you will, a drive-thru window at the local liquor store, with a man sitting upon his great steed waiting to receive his brown paper bag. There. I didn’t really need a camera after all!
When I got home, I finally succumbed to the “Twitter” world @LeadvilleLaurel, and am wondering today how the world would function without technology. The “things” that have been invented to save us all so much time now have us constantly connected . . . perhaps like the single organism Alan Watts prophesied in The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966). Fascinating read, by the way.
Anyway, TODAY bookstores should be able to order the first book in Publishing Syndicate’s new non-fiction series: Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman. I am particularly anxious to get my hands on a copy since I have a short story in it (called “Battle-Dressed Breasts,” in case you’re wondering)! Also, my name will be on the cover of the second book as co-creator of Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid which is full of truly wonderful/silly/crazy stories from people (you just may know some of them) about things they’re ‘fessing up to from their past! These books will make great presents for any occasion, so ask your book stores for them!
My goal after Labor Day in 2011 was to have something “publishable” within a year. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished since then!
The appropriate response is, “No excuse, Ma’am/Sir!”
I started this blog to capture the life of a “new” writer, and since opening up my world to any and all writing possibilities, a gift was dropped into my lap! A friend introduced me to a new publishing company called “Publishing Syndicate,” and they have taken me under their wing and given me lots of work!
These publishers have created a new anthology series called Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on about 40 different topics! The first book in the series (about being a woman) is due for release on October 9th, and I’ll have a story in it (called “Battle-Dressed Breasts)!
But wait! There’s more! I am co-creating the second book in the series: Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Being a Stupid Kid, due for release on October 30th!
So yes, I’ve been very actively working in the field of writing, both as a short story creator (I’ve sent in submissions for many of the titles already . . . and so can YOU) and as an editor.
Here’s the link to the web site where you may submit stories to other titles! The series is non-fiction, 500-2,500 words, and we’re looking for EDGY/funny/different!
May 30, 1943, Sunday
Here’s my usual Sunday letter. It’s quarter after three and in two hours I’m going on guard duty. The weather has been pretty rainy for the past couple of weeks and it’s been coming down steady all day. I don’t envy myself for having guard duty tonite, but there’s nothing to be done about it.
Our camping trip was quite successful and all had a good time. We had a forced march on the way back and we really walked. We got back in record time. I was an advance guard and had to keep well ahead of the company to watch for the enemy, or gas.
Yesterday I was picked for a detail which I really enjoyed. We had to take apart and clean garand rifles. It was quite an experience and I gained some knowledge about them. We’ll probably be issued rifles pretty soon to drill and shoot. That’s the part I’ll like and I hope my marksmanship that I had on the rifle team will come back to me.
We went to the dance at Taylor again last nite and had a pretty good time. I’ve found out that you can’t go to town for less than five dollars, because of car fares & meals, etc. You get pretty restless if you stay in camp all week long so we usually try to go out somewhere every Saturday. Being near the end of the month I’m broke and had to borrow to go out last nite. June 5 is payday so I think I can last till then. I wish we were nearer town so it wouldn’t cost so much. They say that Southern hospitality is unbeatable but give me the north any day.
I got Dad’s letter last week and appreciated the $2. I think I’ll wait for my suit, Dad, so you can forget about it for awhile.
The rain has stopped now. Too bad about Bob MacLean’s mix up. I’ll bet he loves K.P., and Fort Devens it the place where you really get it. He ought to have left there by now, maybe down this way.
Have you heard from Tim yet? I wonder how he is making out? I got a card from Paul but since there’s no return address on it I can’t write to him.
I have to eat early chow so I’ll have to close now, with Love, Moe.
May 26, 1943, Wednesday
Please excuse the pencil as I am now sitting in my tent and forget to bring my pen. We are out on bivouac again, but this time we only hiked about eight miles. This is another all nite affair and we’ll be back to camp sometime tomorrow morning. This state is pretty nice for hiking. Although you sweat quite a bit there is always a good breeze to reward you when you stop. This hiking and camping is good for a fellow. It develops in you a feeling of self security. I like it quite a bit, as you probably know from my days at Westwood. [Okay, Dad, how come you never took Mom and your FIVE daughters camping???!]
Talking about windows, every Friday nite we have to clean all the windows in the barracks for inspection. Besides we have to get down on our hands and knees and scrub the floor. So you see I’ll be quite useful when I get home. If and when I do get home I want you to make me wait outside the kitchen about fifteen minutes before meals, as I might get too lonesome for the army. We have lines for everything, even when we go to town. When I get home I might get too soft if I get right into a movie or can eat immediately. [Fortunately for Dad, that all changed when he met my Mom years later!]
The candy & cookie situation here is quite desperate, as the P.X.s have very little stock and what they have is bought up by fellows leaving for overseas. Any donations will be most gratefully received.
I suppose you’re relieved to get away from the old sermon at St. Margaret’s. How do you like St. Mark’s? Are the priests any better than at St. Margaret’s?
I got a card from Paul but as he put no return address on it, I can’t write back to him. He says he can’t stand the heat and wants to know how I stood it so long. Enough for now. More later. Love, Murray
May 23, 1943, Sunday
Here it is Sunday again and very nice after a heavy rain early in the morning. We’re having some unusual weather here now. Thursday nite was so chilly that during the outdoor movies half the fellows left. I put on my jacket and was still cold. I slept under two blankets and a comforter. We also had about three nites of rain during the week. Anyway it’s a change and we all appreciate it.
I got your letter yesterday with the dollar in it. Thanks a lot. Paydays are few and far between in the army. You seem to think that if I go to school, my permanent address will be changed. This is my address and any mail you send to me will be forwarded to me when I go to school. I’d appreciate a box of cookies and candy, as the P.X.s here are always running out of stock. I’m also dying to know what Dad has for me. Send it along for I’ll always get it.
Haven’t heard any word yet about school. There are two repeater schools, one at Monmouth, and t’other at Crowder. Whichever one is open first, we’ll go to. We all hope it will be Monmouth.
I hope you’re satisfied with the new house, and I like it just from the description. I’ll write again soon, Love, Murray.