Monday, April 26, 2010

I'll Give It A Go

I like to think of myself as open-minded and I'll try almost anything once. However, this scenario never once crossed my mind before it presented itself.

I was visiting a wonderful book club a couple of weeks ago and met a woman who is an "animal communicator." Now I've heard of these people, who, like Dr. Dolittle really can talk to the animals. My cousin -- she who cannot say no to a stray of any kind -- has been surprised by the accuracy of an animal communicator she knows. Anyway, this lovely woman at the book club offered to have a little chat with my dog, Bear, and let my readers know what it's like to be the sidekick of an author.

As I said, I'm open minded, so "Sure, I said, let's give it a go."

So here's what my Bear had to say to me through Shannon Gross (, the animal communicator:
--he'd been on his own for a while before he went to the animal shelter
--he knew that I wasn't "looking" for him when I came there, but when I saw him I knew (true) and he was glad because the cats' noises were stressing him out
--Bear says my husband needs to take his mind away from numbers sometimes (true) and that he likes the designing phase of things (ultra true)
--he says that I need to let myself enjoy putting my hands in the earth (gardening) and accept the thoughts that come while I'm working there; don't force my creativity before it's ready
--apparently Bear "sees' my characters while I'm working and says I build the women though a different process than I do the men (true)
--Bear takes his job of helping me find the calm place where the stories come from very seriously

Well, working with me or not, Bear does bring calm to my life, that much I can say is a fact.

For the next two weeks, Bear is open for questions via Shannon. Please post any questions you have for Bear on Facebook and my animal communicator friend will see if he'll share his answers with us. Like I said, I'll try anything once if it can be done without harm or peril!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thinking Time

This past weekend I spent almost every waking hour working in my yard. We've been having an unseasonably warm stretch for April here in Indiana, something I'm certain we'll pay for in May -- probably with snow. Watch it, those of you who were lulled into purchasing flowers!

Anyway, I pruned, fertilized, and edged about a million feet of mulch beds (okay, maybe it was only half a million, but seriously, it takes 16 yards of mulch to cover them). Now it's time to guilt the grown children into helping me move and spread the dump truck load of mulch that will be arriving in my driveway today.

While I was working, I looked up and there were six hawks circling overhead.
They made me think of my dad. He's been gone for nearly 21 years, but some days it seems like only yesterday he was buzzing my house in his plane and scaring my neighbors half to death. I've always thought that if there was anything to receiving your rewards in Heaven, he'd be up there flying like a hawk. He loved the wind in his face, loved flying open cockpit planes and his Piper Cub with the door open -- really low. I truly think he would have been happy as a bird.

He was not only a private pilot (recreational), but he spent endless hours building his own aircraft in our tiny garage. It began by building and flying model planes, but eventually grew into the real thing. Like everything he did, it became a near obsession. I remember hearing him out there at all hours of the night working away (my sleeplessness must be genetic). Here are my children "helping" him.

Unfortunately, he didn't get to finish this plane.

Now back to that obsession thing. He was also infatuated with books and reading -- funny thing for a guy who hated school and joined the Navy long before high school graduation. Unfortunately for me, he died before I even began writing. I often wish he was around to discuss the emotional and psychological aspects of my characters; he was the kind of guy who could see deep inside people.

Being outdoors always helps me think, I figure out lots of plot and character stuff while cutting the grass. But this weekend, working in the yard and seeing those hawks, made me feel close to my dad. And I like to think maybe he helped me just a bit with the story questions I was wrestling while I was out there working.

Thanks, Dad.