My Dreams as a Writer

I recently read a blog post by one of my writer friends about her dreams as a writer and she has inspired me to post my own blog on my dreams and aspirations as a writer. So many of the things she said about her life paralleled my own life. You would think that would be creepy, but really, it was affirming. I remember as a child – and this is long before Kindergarten and knowing how to read – my parents had a book of fairy tales. It was a huge book and had stories in it like Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, Rapunzel and so on. Before each story began there was a full color frontispiece of a scene from each story and I would look at those pictures and make up stories based on what the scene suggested to me. My early career as a writer? Who knows. A year or two ago, my father gave me an envelope with some things he thought I might want. When I got home and opened the envelope I found a number of things, including my Kindergarten graduation certificate and a short story I wrote in first grade that I actually earned a gold star for. I think it went something like this: Once upon a time there was a lonely pony in a meadow who wished he had a boy to own. One day a lonely boy came along and saw the lonely pony and the two lived happily ever after. Even then, I was a sucker for happy endings. I love to read. I think every writer is a reader first and if they aren’t then I don’t think they’re really serious writers. When I was growing up I went nowhere without a book in my hand. The one complaint that people had about me was, “you’re always reading.” I took it as a compliment. Somewhere around the age of 12 or 13 I decided that I wanted to write. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, a writer. Many would smile indulgently and say things like, “That’s nice,” as if they didn’t really believe me, but that’s what I wanted more than anything. What I lacked in my life was support. My parents are good people, but dreamers they never were. I suppose it comes from being depression era children when dreams were in very short supply and no one could afford them. They never really supported my desire to write, and if they caught me at it, which was often, they would admonish me to go out and find some friends to spend my time with. They never understood that I was with my friends when I had a notebook and a pen in my hand. In high school I took a creative writing class and I was so excited because I felt like I was finally starting my career as a creative writer. What I got was a class in which we had to look up words in the dictionary and define them and then use them in a sentence. We very rarely wrote any stories and I spent a frustrated semester wondering when we were going to write anything. Our last assignment was to write a short story. I wrote mine and she failed it. Ces’t la vie. I was undeterred. When I went to college my mother insisted that I go to get a degree in Education and become a teacher. I didn’t want to be a teacher, but I did what she asked. After my first semester as a student teacher, I went to my Advisor and quit the program. Then I went to my mentor and signed up for a ton of English and History classes. I felt like I was back on track. We wrote so many term papers that when I graduated I found I had lost my creative streak. It took about five years to get that spark back but by then I was married and had two small children. I pushed that spark down and ignored it, but as the years went by I became unhappy and depressed. That’s what happens when you deny who you are. I took it as long as I could and then around 1993 I met a woman who was also a writer and she encouraged me to write again. I did and wrote a novel that I thank the Lord couldn’t get published. It’s trash. But I wrote it. At first my husband wasn’t so supportive of my desire to write, and he did a lot to discourage me from doing it. One day, I walked into a room and saw him reading a part of my manuscript that I had accidentally left out. I turned around and left the room. He said nothing about it, but the next day he came home from work and presented me with a printer. He put it on the kitchen table and said, “If you’re going to write then you need a decent printer.” I’ve been writing ever since. Not for publication, just for me, and not continually but sporadically. Why? Because life has a way of getting in the way of a writer. My kids were growing, my marriage was mostly chaos, and I was busy with a full time job, sometimes two jobs. It left little time to write. I think it was the Lord’s way of saying, “No, not yet,” so sadly I gave up on my wish to write and didn’t do it for about 13 years. In 2009, I became a Christian and when that happened, the floodgates opened. I started working on a new novel, I found the ACFW website, I found the critique group through ACFW and I kept writing. In 2013 the Lord took control of my writing career. That’s the only way I can explain it. I submitted a piece of writing to the critique group and one of the people who critiqued it asked if I was going to the writing conference in Indianapolis. My response was something like – um….yes. I went to the ACFW website and looked up the conference date. It was September 13 through 15. The day AFTER I was to lose my job. I went to my husband and showed him the conference information and carefully and meekly asked if I could go. I fully expected him to say no, but instead he looked at the information, looked at me and said, “Well, you’ve worked hard enough at it, you might as well see if you can publish it.” That was a God moment. No doubt about it. That was my first conference and I learned so much and met so many great people. I made new writer friends who I still keep in touch with. I met with an agent who, though he didn’t choose to represent me in the end, affirmed to me that my writing is good and publish worthy. It was a very affirming experience. I feel like I’m on the road to publication. I don’t know when that will be, but I know that the One who has charge of my life does know and that’s all I need to know. So, for all of my writer friends out there, keep writing. I’m looking forward to reading your books and saying I knew you when. Image

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To Vermont Health Connect. Really?

Here it comes, one more complaint about the Vermont Health Connect. If you follow this blog and you don’t live in the so-called great State of Vermont, then let me enlighten you about the Vermont Health Connect. Throughout history, Vermont has prided itself on always wanting to lead the nation in things like health care, laws, etc. A few years back, I’m thinking like toward the end of President Clinton’s second administration, rumblings began about changing the way health insurance works in this country. Vermont heard the rumors and began formulating their own health care reform. We do like to be first. The result is the Vermont Health Connect. It was unveiled a few months before President Obama unveiled his Obamacare package. If you think Obamacare sucks, then you haven’t seen the Vermont Health Connect.

All Vermonters were required to sign up before the end of 2013, so I dutifully went in just after Thanksgiving when the site went online and registered, got my password and username, and all that stuff done. Then, since my husband and I are both unemployed, I found I was eligible to sign up for VHAP or Vermont Health Access Plan. That’s the state welfare equivalent of Medicaid. I answered the questions, hit enter and waited.

A few weeks later, two cards came in the mail from Green Mountain Care, one of the administrators of the Vermont Health Connect. The cards came attached to those pages that have no writing on them, one had my husband’s name and ID number, and one had mine. I took them off the paper, gave him his and slipped mine into my wallet and thought nothing more of it.

On Tuesday my husband had a doctor’s appointment. We went, he presented his card, and the woman behind the counter looked at it, looked something up on her computer, and then handed the card back and told us we needed to call the administrator of the card, because she suspected it wasn’t a health insurance card. When we got home, he called, and sure enough, what they sent us was a prescription card, not an insurance card. Now, if there had been some identification or some writing on the paper that said this is a prescription card only, then I would have called right away to find out where my health insurance cards were.

Well, I called yesterday to find out where said health insurance cards were. First, I waited 45 minutes on hold before someone finally answered the phone. I called at 10:15 and waited until 11:00 before someone picked up the line. Jim had a job interview at 10:30. I called just as he left the house and was still waiting for a human being when he returned. When Candace did finally pick up, I had to rebuke her a little for the long wait time. I’m sorry, but it felt justified by then.

I explained my predicament and she told me that when I signed up for VHAP they had already made the decision to end VHAP at the end of 2013, but they had to continue to offer it through the end of the year. There was no notification that VHAP was ending. So, as it turns out, I signed up for a health insurance that wasn’t going to be offered in the coming year, so I have been without health insurance coverage since the beginning of 2014. Since I had received cards in the mail with no indicator of what they were, if we hadn’t had a doctor’s appointment so early in the year, we could have potentially gone the entire year thinking we had coverage when we didn’t. Candace then told me I had to go back in and apply again for Medicaid because it is now income related as well as age and disability related. Then I have to call back and get a form to fill out for retroactive coverage so we will be covered from January, otherwise our coverage doesn’t begin until March and Jim has an MRI scheduled in February.

I went back into the Vermont Health Connect site yesterday, or at least I tried to. I had to ask to have my Username sent to me because I couldn’t remember it, then I had to have my password reset because I had forgotten that as well. I went back in, put in my Username. Success. I got to the password page. I put in my password and nothing happened. I put it in again, thinking I might have mistyped it and got a blank page with a message across the bottom that said: Processing Error, Try Again Later. I tried again later, and again later, and again this morning. I can’t get into the site. So frustrating. Last night on the news Mark Larson, the Vermont Health Connect Administrator was on and they were asking him about the myriad problems Vermonters are having with the website and getting coverage, etc. He so carefully picked his words that I knew it wasn’t just me. They don’t know what they’re doing and they also don’t know how to fix this giant problem they created by rushing to be the first to unveil socialist medicine.

I guess I have to call Vermont Health Connect again and wait for another 45 minutes to an hour for someone to answer the phone so I can enroll over the phone because I can’t get into the website. If I had one piece of advice for our lawmakers it would be this: Being first shouldn’t always be more important than being the best. We could have waited a bit longer and made sure that everything worked right before sending this particularly leaky boat out to sea. Just saying.

Promises, Promises…And Winter Storms.

Okay, you can see by my last blog post that I’ve already broken my promise to myself in that I haven’t been on my blog in almost a week when I clearly put in writing that I would be here every day. Oh well, I clearly have commitment issues. What can I say. I’ve had an uneventful week, except for yesterday, something did happen but that’s a story for the next post because it has to be separate. It just does, don’t ask why.

Winter storm Juno blew through New England over the past few days, but I’m lucky enough to live far enough north to have avoided the storm. Thank you, Lord. We had crystal clear blue skies and lots of sunshine. My solar panels were hard at work. We have had brutally cold temps. This morning bottomed out at -30 degrees, I think they said. The high today is supposed to be like -8. Once it hits below zero what difference does it make how far down it goes? It’s just COLD!

I don’t understand why they feel the need to need to name winter storms. I believe it’s a gimmick to get people to watch the Weather Channel. I see nothing wrong with titles like “The Superstorm of ’93” or “The Flood of ’27”. We remember those, and except for a few significant storms in recent years, like Sandy and Irene, do we really remember which hurricane hit where and in what year? No. So, who cares, really? I’m surprised they haven’t started naming tornadoes, but that could be next. I’m sure in some years they’d blow through names in one week. Get it? Blow through names? Sick humor. Time to say good bye!

Blogphobia

I have a confession to make. I am totally intimidated by the idea of blogging each day or even each week. I’m trying to sell a novel, and everywhere I turn, I’m asked if I have a blog post. The answer is – yes and no. You see, I signed up with WordPress.com to start blogging after I went to a writer’s conference and every agent I spoke to HIGHLY recommended that I establish a blog site. So, yes. I have a blog site. The problem is this is about my fifth or sixth post since starting the darn thing in October.

The problem, is me. I am my own worst enemy. As I said above, the idea of blogging intimidates me. I often think, “What do I have to say that could be of possible interest to anyone, especially on a daily basis?” Well, that’s my problem, but I thought I’d put it out there for the world to know. Confess, as it were. We are only a few weeks into the new year and everyone makes New Year’s Resolutions right? Personally, I gave up on those years ago, but I’ll make a promise to me and to my writing career right here and now. I promise that I will make every effort to get on my blog each day. If I have nothing to say, I’ll post that. If I do, I’ll post that too. I figure I have to start somewhere and I can commit to doing that.

 

Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch

I’m a cat lover. An unapologetic cat lover at that. I never used to be. When I was a kid I was allergic to cats and avoided them like the plague. Then, in my early thirties I came upon an abandoned three week old kitten and my heart went out to him. Still, I wasn’t interested in adopting him, so much as helping him find a good home. The funny thing was, he picked me. Cats often do this, though I used to think it was malicious, the way they would pick out the one who was sure to sneeze and break out in hives. No, this guy kept climbing up my leg and sitting on my shoulder until I broke down and took him home with me. From then on I was hooked. You could almost call me a cat lady. I’ve had as many as four cats at one time in my house, something I vowed I would never do. I have a cousin who has always had at least six cats and sometimes three dogs, all at the same time, and I used to think there was something seriously wrong with her. I almost ended being just like her. Scary thought!

Fast forward twenty years and I went from four cats to two. I’m on the attrition plan now. I have one cat, a Bombay, which is a black cat. This species of cat is very affectionate and they love to be touched, which is great because I love to touch. He will sit in my lap for hours if I let him, just petting and touching him. He’s so soft and warm, that even when he comes close to me, I reach out and touch.
I also love the new microfibers for their luxuriant softness. I can’t resist reaching out and just running my fingers through the material. I love the softness of a baby’s newborn skin and the top of an infant’s head. When my children were babies, I would often just hold them and stroke the tops of their heads.
I love a good hug as much as the next person, but give me something soft to snuggle up in and I’m a goner.

 

Angela Moody lives in Vermont with her husband and two children and two cats. She is an unpublished writer of historical fiction.

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Where Did That Word Come From?

Today’s word is: A Capella. Where did that word come from? It’s from the Italian meaning: In the manner of the chapel or choir. The word Cappa is from Latin and means cap or cloak. There was a chapel that kept the cloak of St. Martin and was known as the “capella.” Now the word means to sing without music and gained popularity with the Do Wop bands of the 1950s and Barbershop quartets. To use it in a sentence it would go something like this: My family runs and hides whenever I start singing a capella!

Where Did That Word Come From?

Every once in a while I get a word stuck in my head and I repeat it over and over. Then, I start wondering where it came from and why we use it. So in that vein I’m going to post a different word that has been incorporated into the English Language but came from a foreign one.

 

Today’s word is: A Capella. Where did that word come from? It’s from the Italian meaning: In the manner of the chapel or choir. The word Cappa is from Latin and means cap or cloak. There was a chapel that kept the cloak of St. Martin and was known as the “capella.”

Now the word means to sing without music and gained popularity with the Do Wop bands of the 1950s and Barbershop quartets.

To use it in a sentence it would go something like this: My family runs and hides whenever I start singing a capella!

Daily Prompt: Now You See Me

My fantasies have always been about going back in time to either watch an event unfold that fascinates me, like Gettysburg in July 1863, or to give some valuable “feedback” about what their decisions will culminate in down the road.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about World War I and if I could go back to any time, I think it would be Versailles 1918. I would encourage the victors not to be so hard on the vanquished, that it will only cause conflict that they will have to deal with again 25 years later. I would encourage them to start the League of Nations and not to antagonize Germany and Japan. Would my words have any effect? Probably not, but it would be fun to see what would happen.

My first ever blog.

Okay, everyone this is my first ever blog. I just returned from a writing conference and I was told I need to learn to blog so here goes. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to put on it yet so any suggestions would be appreciated. I thought I’d share recipes and things and perhaps snippits from my book here and there.