LIVING THE DREAM, Part 7: “Wish You Were Here”

12-3-17

Comfort, Texas

Today, October 11, 2017, my interview with my publisher, Michael D. Butler Sr., of Beyond Publishing, appeared in the “videos” link of my fan page, AuthorKimTerry.com.  We had a ball during the interview made possible by Zoom, as he was in his office in Irvine and I, in our RV USA clubhouse and I’m thankful I can direct readers and Facebook friends to the interview. Now, as Jeff and I watch it, this morning, I am beyond thrilled that my Official Launch, of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS will take place online on November 14, 2017.  That’s less than a month away!

But my joy is laced with wistfulness. For years, when my parents were living, I got to call or visit them and share the good things that were happening in my life. After all, they are largely responsible for my love of writing. My mother, Lois Terry, was, in particular.

Besides for her high-school teaching career, from which she retired in May 1986, Mama was an accomplished writer. She wrote articles, short stories, poems, a gift book for brides, and even one-liners. I like to think I benefitted from her writerly DNA.  My journey began with becoming a published poet starting with a simple rhyme I composed at the tender age of five:

“The sky is blue,

The grass is green.

The roof is brown,

How much I seen“.

The profundity of that  verse astounds me. Doesn’t it, you?

*Tongue planted firmly in cheek*

Years later, when I was a teenager, I discovered a marvelous style of poetry: free verse.  Everything I saw, felt, and experienced wound up in my free-verse poetry, particularly  when I was slammed by my first “crush” , a boy I’ll call “Jack” with whom I’d have married, delivered ten kids with.  Poor old “Jack”. Never will he know the excitement he missed out on.

Right.

Anyway, it all began on one January night, when there was nothing appetizing on television except for re-runs.

“Kimmie, I have a better idea. Let’s you and me turn off the tv and write, instead.”

“Sounds good to me,” I said, as I made the trip across the living room to cut off the set. (Yes, back in the 1960s, before some whiz-bang invented a doohickey called a tv remote, we burned a lot of calories by changing channels or turning the set on and off.),

Months later, each of us received surprises in our mail: the poems we penned on that frosty winter night had been published! Mama’s first poem about the magic of poetry, was published in a chap book titled Quicksilver; my poem, “Love Walks Again” was published in the  “Your Lively Arts” page of Ingenue.  Years later, Ingenue published another one of my poems,  “Hope”.

Throughout the years, as my life’s circumstances changed. I fell in love for the first time, married, gave birth to baby boys, suffered heartbreak, survived and recovered from major surgery, and so on. Still, I continued writing my free verse poems and getting them published

When a fellow author emailed me a link to Asahi Network, an online publication featuring haiku, I became fascinated with the form. Fitting a poetic phrase into As an English professor, I was already familiar with the seventeen-syllable structure and its emphasis on nature.

But the themes in my kind of haiku were different:  love, heartache and reunion, healing, and God’s creation and submitted my self-designed haiku. The next thing I knew, the editor was telling me that my haiku, “Listen To The Stream” had been published.

In January 2009, I received an email from my cousin in Port Aransas.

“Hey, cuz,” she began, “There’s a writing workshop coming up on the weekend, here in Port Aransas. Your name is written all over it. Since it’s been thirty years since we’ve seen each other, how about coming down for a visit?”

The Laughing Gull Workshop, held in the Port Aransas High School building, was an informal event that allowed for meeting, sharing, and interaction with other writers plus a light lunch. Please keep in mind that I went, specifically, for the poetry presentations, but when I arrived at the assigned rooms, they were full.

I glanced the itinerary again. Next door, Dr. David Ciambrone, a mystery author, himself, was giving a presentation on writing mystery, including fun-filled exercises that allowed us to summon any inherent mystery-writing talents within us. That night, “Murder 101”, an extended presentation of the genre, took place in a condominium on the beach. Uplifting topics included blood-splatter patterns, bullet speed, undetectable poisons, and other topics, would be presented.

Mystery? Me? What on earth would I find to write about? My life had been relatively low-drama, for the past few years, unless I counted two failed marriages, brain surgery,  caring for my my mother for nine years and her death in 2004. What part of my mundane life could possibly spark a mystery novel? My life, at the time, was far from being glamorous or daring.

But soon after I boarded the American Eagle for DFW International Airport, a “monster” arose in my brain: my caregiving experience took on sinister shapes if I asked myself a simple question: “What if?”

“What if” a caregiver gave her ailing mother a food or medicine that proved deadly to her? And what if she had been harboring resentment of ‘said mother’ for spoiling a long-awaited dream of hers?

After asking an attendant for a pen and some paper, I scribbled as though I were possessed. By the time the pilot announced our descent to DFW, I had sketched out a skeleton plot, even though its bones appeared to be afflicted by osteoporosis. It was down on paper.

Over nine years, BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS took shape, but there were so many ins-and-outs and subplots, that I chose one of those subplots — the one in which the mother, as a teenager in 1950s Lamesa, Texas, gets pregnant and is banished to a Fort Worth maternity home to have the baby and give it up for adoption.

“It’s only right for the baby,” says her mother. But is it, always? Better ask baby Mona Lisa.

On August 8, the prequel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, told,  largely from the viewpoints of Sybil and her baby, Mona Lisa,  appeared on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers worldwide and has earned a number of five-star reviews between Amazon.com and Amazon.ca (Canada).

Dear readers, I encourage those of you who have not picked up a copy of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, yet, to do so. For those of you who are anatomically attached to your Kindles, you can pick up a copy of the ebook for only 99 cents for a limited time before the price goes up. For others who love the smell of ink and dessicated trees, the soft-cover is available, too. If you would like a signed copy mailed to you, email me your address and I will tell you how to pick one up.

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