Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stranded with Nicholas Sparks in a snow storm

You’ve heard the question “If you were on a deserted island and could pick someone to be there with you, whom would you pick” or another question “what three items would you want to have with you?” I’d like to change the scenario to “if there were a big snow storm (can you relate) and you were on the highway and had to be stranded at a nearby exit where there were stores what location would you pick if you knew you had to be there for up to a week?

I would pick the local chain bookstore and can think of a hundred reasons starting with the fact that they usually have a coffee bar. I like my mocha latte but give me a regular coffee with plenty of sugar and cream and I’m good to go. It’s a ritual at my house, nothing starts until hubby and I have our coffee. Most days that means 6 a.m. we’re drinking coffee and watching our favorite news channel. For hunger pains during those stranded days the bookstore café has a selection of sweet breads on hand.

It goes without saying that a bathroom for handling necessities and water to wash when needed is a plus. I’m not above washing my hair in public and somewhere in my bottomless purse there is a shampoo sample and I may even find a toothbrush along with breath mints. Now you know why men want to be stranded with a woman on the island because she has a purse with all the amenities. As far as exercise while I’m cooped up amidst volumes of books there are plenty of aisles to walk while I’m away from the gym. I may choose to clear the children’s storybook corner and start an exercise class with in-store exercise videos or tapes from the music section to relieve everyone’s stress on our island bookstore.

I could spend endless hours in the bookstore because I enjoy so many different types of written works. I love classics by Hemingway, Wolfe, Steinbeck and so many that I have yet to read. And then there are the hundreds of contemporary authors of fiction that I enjoy reading including several Tarheel authors like Charles Frazier, Jan Karon, Kaye Gibbons, Tim McLaurin and a favorite Nicholas Sparks. I’d settle down in one of the cushioned chairs with Nick’s newest release Safe Haven.

And I have a selection of preferred inspirational fiction writers like Janette Oke, Karen Kingsbury, Vonda Skelton, DiAnn Mills, Francine Rivers, Jerry Jenkins, Deborah Raney, Susan May Warren, Denise Hunter, Mary DeMuth, Eva Everson and Yvonne Lehman also a NC author. And this is the short list. So being stranded in the bookstore would not be too bad with these friends to keep me company.

I maintain a bookshelf at home full of books on hand to read and as reference material when doing writing assignments. I just can’t find enough time to read between my responsibilities, writing and other interest. This snow adventure will clear my calendar.

I’d sashay over to the Garden and Landscape section planning out my southern spring garden and dreaming of warmer days. I would search for some invincible plants that the resident deer detest and some project ideas for hubby to add to his ‘to-do list’. And you might find me camped out in the Cookbook aisle with Paula Deen or Rachael Ray until the supply of pastries were emptied from the coffee café. Then I’d steer clear of food pictures.

I would peruse the Historical section for books about the Victorian era, NC history, WW II, the writers of the Constitution, books on famous people like DaVinci, Monet, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Walter Raleigh, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Vanderbilts. And I could spend a few evenings reading the latest magazines like Writer’s Digest, Southern Living, Our State, Salt Water Sportsman and Coastal Living and then stack them for a make-shift pillow as I settle in for the night.

I hope the power stays own. I think I smell the coffee beans brewing now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book of the Year

A new year brings new resolutions and a year of hope. You hope the economy will be better. You hope you’ll graduate. You hope you’ll find a job. You hope your marriage will be better. You hope your loved one will survive cancer. You hope your faith will keep you going. You hope you’ll lose weight. You hope you’ll write that book. You hope you’ll find that special person. The question is in whom do you have hope? If in man, you will be disappointed. But God is the true hope.

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about,heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools” (Psalm 39:6-8 NIV)

“Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:4-6 NIV)

In obedience to God the words of the Bible were written down so that others would know God. There are thousands of books written each year and that may be an understatement. But I can’t think of a book more important to put at the top of your reading list this year than the Bible. It is by far the most published book since Gutenberg invented the printing press. It has been printed in thousands of languages, studied by scholars and those of simple education. People have lost their lives because they value God’s inspired word but many more lives have been saved because of those words.

As a writer it is humbling to think that someone would find value in what you have written. We can only hope that our words are God inspired and do our very best at the craft of writing whether it is fiction, non-fiction, poems, scripts or songs. Quality writing is not meant for the faint of heart or the lazy. And it requires the help of many such as editors, agents, publishers, critique groups, family and friends to get to the point of publication. I say thanks to the writers and those in the industry who have shared their struggles, their knowledge and their faith in helping me to become a better writer.