Archive for July, 2009

The Best One Ever

By Kathy NickersonJuly 29th, 2009family, writing4 Comments

I’m on the last few chapters of my current work-in-progress, and the emotions I’m experiencing are strange. It is a little like the way I felt before one of our children got married or before the next grandchild was born. But there is also a tinge of the exhaustion that comes from remodeling a house or returning from long trip. I find myself avoiding the writing desk somedays, because I’m not quite ready to let these characters go. And every hour of writing brings their story closer to an end.

Some of them will reappear, of course, in other books already semi-plotted in my drawer. But others have fulfilled their destiny and will never return again to any of my printed pages. If you aren’t a writer, everything I just said will sound irrational and possibly even demented. But, if you are a writer, or a reader, I’m sure I’ve made perfect sense.
It is always a little hard for me to make transitions in real life, too. I tend to be nostalgic and to look back on other seasons of life, remembering only the good parts, and longing just a little for them to return. My mother has set a grand example, though, of seizing every season of life and calling it The Best. She started with Christmas trees when we were little. No matter how lopsided or scraggly the fir tree might be, she always stood back once the lights were on and declared, “It is the prettiest one we’ve ever had.”
And so I’m determined to face life that way. Today, Thirty Days to Glory is the best book I’ve ever written. Tomorrow…

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My Other Mother

By Kathy NickersonJuly 27th, 2009family2 Comments

My eighty-nine year old mother-in-law is visiting us for two weeks, and she is such a joy. She is content to spend the day working her jigsaw puzzle but always ready to jump in the car and go out for lunch. Well, she jumps pretty slowly, but she is always interested in whatever we want to do. Earlier in the week, she taught some of the great-grandchildren the wonder of word search puzzles. Even the kindergartner who can’t actually read yet mastered the art of the hidden word. Both she and Grandma-Great were excited.

Today, I drove her back to the town where we all once lived, and we attended services at her familiar methodist church. The congregation smothered her with kisses, and we both enjoyed celebrity status. We even won the loaf of homemade bread reserved for visitors!
I know these days are a treasure, and I’m determined not to take them for granted. I want to enjoy every moment and soak up every hour with this lady who gave birth to one of the greatest gifts in my life. Is is a privilege to count her both my mother-in-law and my friend.
Note to Andrea: I know this post will make you homesick for your mother. I’m sending you a hug as I write.

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The Real Hero

By Kathy NickersonJuly 21st, 2009family, happy endings5 Comments

Forty years ago, a man walked on the moon. It was truly incredible. Families everywhere gathered around their television sets to watch one giant step for mankind. And our dad missed the whole show.

We lived on a farm where television reception was spotty. We could usually watch one of three channels, but to do so meant going outside and twisting the iron pipe connected to the antena anchored on our roof. That night, the antena refused to stay stay put. It kept twisting back just a notch every time our dad let go of the pipe. Then the fuzzy, gray picture evaporated into pure, white snow.

So, while the rest of our family sat in awe watching pictures from the moon, our dad stood outside holding the antena.

When I go back to that evening in my mind, the memory of the moon walk is pretty much as fuzzy as the original picture. But the memory of my dad making it happen? Captured in HD.

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Revising Life

By Kathy NickersonJuly 17th, 2009Friendship, happy endings, writing3 Comments

I rewrote Chapter 24 of my work-in-progress last night because it was too sad. Actually, the story was probably fine, but life is feeling a little too sad right now. One of our good friends is critically ill. Another is fighting breast cancer. Two others are investigating suspicious spots. (Did I mention I hate cancer?) And a couple of relationship issues feel kind of wobbly, too. I simply could not leave my heroine sick in bed during one of the most important evenings of her year. I could not bear for her to miss it.

So, I got her up out of bed and helped her press through the pain. I’m pretty sure she will be glad when she wakes up tomorrow in Chapter 25.
If you follow my blog, you probably know rewriting the bad parts of life is one of my coping techniques. I agree with Felicity that trials are important and even helpful for our growth in God. But, even so, I sometimes wish I could edit just a little.
Since I can’t revise, I’ll face and embrace whatever God brings for me or my friends the best I possibly can. But don’t expect me to leave my fictional friends in despair!!

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Green and Full of Sap

By Kathy NickersonJuly 10th, 2009happy endings, The Bible, writing5 Comments

We’re having an unusually green July around here. Usually the lawns without sprinkler systems are already turning brown and crunchy this time of year. Instead, they are thick and green. Foliage is lush beside the country roads and everything looks more like spring than mid-summer. It’s because of the rain, of course. Lots and lots and lots of rain. Too much rain, actually, for the farmers trying to plant crops. But that is another story.

Today’s story is about being green. Not the composting-your-garbage and recycling-your-milk-cartons kind of green. Rather, it is the green of healthy plants, sucking nutrients from the soil and spreading out leaves, branches, and fruit to shelter and feed the world.The kind of green that reminds me of Psalm 92:
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Now that I have passed the age of fifty, I’m greatly reassured by this passage. I’ve kind of expected life to get brown and wiry from here on out. I’ve worried a little that my best days are behind me and I’ll never have a real writing career or impact another generation for God.

This scripture tells me otherwise. Like the unseasonably green July of 2009, I can stay green and full of sap even into old age. All I need is a little rain.

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Reuben Goes to New York

By Kathy NickersonJuly 9th, 2009writing3 Comments

So, I’ve sent Reuben to New York. It was a rather alarming thing to do. He has spent nearly twenty years dawdling around in my office, so this was one big step. I first started writing his story on a manual typewriter with carbon copies for my file. The second draft was done on a magical Selectra with automatic white-out tape for mistakes.

When we graduated to a huge apple computer and five inch floppy discs, I discovered the keyboard was too sensitive for my fingers. The rough draft I eventually showed a kind editor had a lot of extra “j’s” in the text. My index finger automatically tapped the “j” anytime I started a new word. Even so, the kind editor dug through Rueben’s story (his name was Jonas at the time) and guided me through two more revisions.
Reuben’s story has passed through three or four more text-conversions since then. And multiple author’s revisions. Surely he is ready after all that to face the bright lights of the city. Surely he can stand to be scrutinized and categorized and market-analyzed by the best.
And, no matter what comes of this little jaunt, I’ll be glad I sent him out. It’s been a great journey so far.

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Why I Love BlogWorld

By Kathy NickersonJuly 8th, 2009writing4 Comments

Writing is hard work. If we bloggers aren’t careful, we might be fooled into thinking otherwise. I’ve been writing for nearly thirty years, and the stack of rejection slips in my file drawer is much thicker than the stack of deposit slips from my bank.

I waited a long time to start blogging, because it seemed like such a fad. Everybody has one. Some people have three, each representing another aspect of their fascinating lives. These blogs can be informative, inspiring, encouraging, hilarious, or challenging. And sometimes, they reveal things better tucked into the pages of a diary and locked with a little key we keep in our jewelry box drawer.

Blogs, by their nature, require us to write in the immediate. They encourage us to spill our witty thoughts and to explore our emotional depths. All in four paragraphs, five times a week, between the day jobs. Then BlueHairFromSidney or WriterBoyExtraordinaire assures us in the comments section that our writing is brilliant, even in rough draft form.

Ahhhhhhh. BlogWorld is wonderful. Unless I also want to be published by someone who edits my work and doesn’t think my repetitive use of a three item series is particularly cool, gripping, or even well-done.

Even so, I’ll keep blogging. And revising. And waiting for BlueHair and friends to give me the applause my fragile writer-ego rarely receives from people who actually send me checks for my work.

Bring it on. (the applause…and the checks)

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Musings on Mud

By Kathy NickersonJuly 6th, 2009Friendship7 Comments

It rained on Saturday. Actually, the rain started Friday night, and it turned our lovely, thirty-acre picnic field into a soppy, soupy mess. We workers arrived early, half expecting the day would be called due to rain. But the cowboys were already saddling their horses beside the rodeo corral. And the air-show pilots were scanning the radar for a break in the storm. And the grill cooks were stoking the fires for another day of free food for our guests.

I was pretty sure I would have stayed home on a such a day if I’d had a choice. I would have celebrated my Fourth of July tucked warmly in my dry home with a good book and a soft blankie. 5000 people had a different plan.
That is the estimate of how many people trudged through the mud together all day to eat and sing, to laugh and cheer, to remember and to worship. I looked around at one point in the fairly miserable afternoon and marveled at the size of the crowd. My mother was sitting beside me and I said to her, “This is a mess. Why don’t people just go home?”
She shrugged her shoulder and said, “Oh, it’s not so bad. It’s better than just sitting home alone.”
And there you have it. We are creatures designed for community. We are made in the likeness of a Three-in-One-God, and our hunger for relationship will never be called on account of a little rain.

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Still Proud to be an American

By Kathy NickersonJuly 1st, 2009Uncategorized4 Comments

I’ll be watching fireworks on Saturday night and ooohing and ahhhing with the best of them. And, deep inside I’ll be thanking God that the bombs bursting in air are make-believe.

Independence Day reminds me of the people who have made real sacrifices so I can picnic in peace. The celebration also humbles me. It makes me grateful for women like Abigail Adams who endured years of separation so her husband could help frame our nation.
And for women like Crystin Rutherford who married her Prince Charming last year knowing he would soon march off to war to protect that nation.
God bless America and all who serve her so well.

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