I received your email concerning my choice of names for my books. Thank you for bringing to my attention that your project and my series title are almost identical. And I was flattered that you mentioned my books and those of J.K. Rowling in the same sentence. But let me put your worries to rest. If the day should come that my books would approach the popularity of hers, I will make all efforts to keep our paths separate and distinct, allowing you to continue your project for many, many more years.
Beyond that, I was more interested in a question you posed to me early in your email. You asked what the words mean to me. I am not sure why my intentions behind those specific words are cause for concern, but I'm happy to answer your question. I chose the names for each book, and the series as a whole, after planning the entire path that Lucie must take. Like any of us, some days she thinks that she can do it all on her own, without any help. And other days seem impossible, and she wants to stand back and let someone else do the work for her.
Ultimately, Lucie comes to realize that she needs to do a little of both. We all need to do some things on our own, but we need to recognize those times that we truly need help. Occasionally, we get it backward and find ourselves worse off than when we started. But this back and forth, these ups and downs, are what make us the interesting and complicated souls that we are.
Thank you for your email, Thomas. It made me pause and remember my intentions. I hope this explanation has helped you understand my use of these words that you cherish. And I must smile as I think that they did their job -- they brought our souls together for a brief moment.
She loves to go out to eat. But it takes her much longer than everyone else to decide what to order.
She has to consider what she ate yesterday. And what she might eat tomorrow. What she had last time she was out. And what would taste good if she took it home to finish later.
She watches the rest of the table as they chat, their decisions already made.
She looks at the tables nearby. That one looks to her like the salmon special. No fish today - she had fish yesterday. She notices the lady who got the salad with avocado and it's huge! She doesn't want that anymore.
"What are you having?" she asks her daughter.
"The chicken sandwich with potato salad."
She reads the description on the menu. It sounds good, but it has barbeque sauce. She was in the mood for something mild and creamy.
The waiter comes to the table with their drinks. She knows time is short.
"Ready to order?" he asks.
They all look at her. She nods, even though she has no idea. "You go first," she says as she points to her grandson.
Each order sounds more delicious than the last. Each meal is a delight that someone else will get to enjoy.
Her daughter orders the chicken sandwich. Now it's her turn. She flips the pages, pretending to look for the item she wants. Then she closes the menu and looks directly at the waiter.
"I'll have the same," she says. The waiter nods and scribbles on his pad. He takes her menu and walks away.
"What did you order?" her grandson asks.
"What she's having," she says, pointing to her daughter, his mother, as she reaches for the bread basket.
"And what's that?" he asks.
"I don't know, but I'm sure it will be good," she says. He laughs and takes the piece of bread she offers him.
I want to open the door.
I want to go out and see what's inside.
She won't let me. She says it's dangerous.
No it's not, I say. I'll just look.
She says no.
When I went to bed, it wasn't there. My yard was the same as always.
This morning, I jumped up when the sun hit my eyes. I ran to her room. Her curtains were open. Her hands were on her hips. She saw it first.
I want to go out.
No, she says.
I need to go out.
A man walks past the window. His shirt is so bright. Stripes, too. I guess yellow. But not like my yellow.
I need to go out, I say to her.
She doesn't answer.
I grab my dinosaurs and sit at the window. I pretend to play. But I don't care about about dumb dinosaurs.
The doorbell scares us both. I knock down my dinosaurs. She puts her coffee on the counter and walks to the front door.
I wait too long. The lock won't move. I try to run out before it opens and I bump my head.
I'm not crying. My eyes just water sometimes.
I know, she says. Let's have a snack.
Goldfish are boring.
Would you rather have carrots?
She knows I hate carrots. I eat the goldfish. I bite them hard and make pieces fly onto the counter.
That's enough, she says.
I bite another goldfish head off. She takes a sip of her coffee.
Her voice is different when she talks on the phone. She watches me. Even when she's not looking, she's watching.
I stare at it.
I need to see what's inside.
More men in bright shirts go inside.
I wave to them. Take me! Take me!
They don't see me.
I sink. My head smears the glass. My nose makes dots every time I move. I need to see.
I start a list of what's inside.
Gold, for sure.
And snakes. Or lizards.
Or maybe it's a secret door to a place I don't know. Like that movie.
The men walk out. One lights a cigarette and leans on my tree.
I hate him. He knows what's inside. And he's smoking by my tree.
Must be gold.
Put your shoes on. We need to go shopping, she says.
I don't move.
Did you hear me?
I don't blink.
She holds her purse and waits.
Let's go, she says. She walks to the door.
Opens and closes it.
I stay very still. Maybe she'll forget me.
I see her come around the corner of the house. She doesn't get in the car.
She's walking straight to it!
I jump up and bang on the window.
She waves to come out.
I turn and trip on my dinosaurs. I don't care that my knee is burning. I open the door and run.
When I get there, she's already talking to the smoking man.
This is my son, she says.
I don't say hi. I see a man coming out, and I try to look through him. I twist away and look behind him.
I see it.
It's better than gold.
It's a huge hole. Dirt everywhere. Two men are inside the hole. I can only see their hats.
A huge hole. It's in my yard. And it's mine.
I feel like I am stuck. I have my "real writing" and I don't write much beyond that. But I did write an article recently for our local magazine, and I enjoyed it. I remembered how much fun writing can be when I start from nothing and see where it goes.
So I'm starting Photo Stories (PS). It's a new thing I'd like to do a couple of times a month. I'll find a photo in my collection and post a quick story about it. It might not make sense, it might be brilliant. Either way, I'll post it here. I need a fun writing challenge to keep me going.
I'll post the first one tomorrow. Let me know what you think. Do you have writing prompts or exercises that you do on a regular basis to stay sharp?
I like the evenings of vacations. The kids wind down with games and puzzles. The adults do their own thing - either play with the kids or read or relax with a beverage. Most evenings the TV is silent, the living room is quiet, most places are quiet.
I spent one evening taking photos of the moon as it rose over the water. I played with all of the settings on my camera, trying to get the perfect shot.
I don't claim to be a great photographer, but I enjoy it.
I don't claim to be a great writer, but I enjoy that, too. So I'm playing with my writing again, now that vacation is over and we're home. Soon I'll share some writing with you, too.
Every summer, I promise that I will get back to writing. It seems like the perfect time. No school, no schedule.
Every summer, I am so wrong.
There is a schedule, and because there is no school, it is not something that can easily fit on a calendar. We have sleepovers, driveway basketball, music lessons, sport camps and "free time," all trying to fit in one square. I spend more time than I care to admit trying to determine how many minutes I have before I need to get back in the car, either to pick up or drop off or squeeze something in before the next thing.
But hanging over all of this is the shadow of what I want to do.