Jul 092021
 

July 9, 2021 — We anticipate summer forever and then it seems to rush by. A friend told me that her grandchildren return to school in less than a month.  Returning to school in early August is a silly thing.  Why do children need to spend half their summer in school?  When I was a kid  (there it is, old person lingo) we didn’t go back to school until after Labor Day.  Of course, there was no air conditioning, and that was a big part of it.  Still, on the East Coast, many children do not return to school until mid-September.  This feels right to me.

In truth, it is not summer I highly anticipate.  It is spring.  In southwestern Indiana, summer means ozone days and chunky air. My home sits smack dab in the middle of five coal-fired plants, that are noted for polluting the air.  Combine that with the humidity of the Ohio River Valley, and summer can be daunting.  With my lung disease, I don’t go out much in the summer.

This summer has seemed strange to me,  but not nearly as strange and quiet as the Great Summer of Lockdown 2020, but different.  On one hand, we are delighted that things seem to be opening back up  But everyone seems confused.  On my one trip out of the house since Monday, I went to the local Post Office.  A  small sign on the plastic window  stated, “Masks are required inside the lobby.”  Which lobby?  The outer lobby?  Or this one where the sign is?  Did I miss the sign on the outer door?

I am fully vaccinated.  What should I do?  But I also have several health conditions and I’m not a teenager anymore.  (I’m 37, two years younger than Jack Benny, a name which also dates me.)

Yesterday Pfizer announced that those individuals who received its MRNA vaccine would likely need a booster within six months of their last dose.  Wow.  How will this be managed?  Will folks who received the Moderna jab, also an MRNA vaccine, also get a this shot?  And what about those who received one shot?  What will the tiny sign on the PO window say, “For those of you who have not received your third booster if you had two shots, please mask up.” Huh?

And the Big Elephant in the American room that I’ve not yet mentioned are those people who refuse the shot.  Imagine that all over the world, people are clammering for vaccines.  We’re so fat and sassy in this country that many people are just blowing it off like it is nothing.  I have news for you.  If there’s any virus left anywhere in the world, it is coming for you if we don’t vaccinate.  Remember from the old commercial:  It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature.  And, frankly, you can’t.  You can run but you cannot hide.

So, months into the pandemic, we are still in a holding pattern.  Or are we?  A relative who drove to Indiana from Chicago this morning told me that, “Chicago traffic is back.”  Everyone — it seems — is going everywhere again.  And that’s how the soup was made before.

I will likely wear a mask out in public for the foreseeable future.  We will mostly stay at home, thankful for hobbies than engage our minds and spirits, and be awfully careful. What is your plan?

 

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Jun 292021
 

July 29, 2021 — I’m happy to report at 39 plus many, many years, I can still learn.

The reason I still learn is that I still make mistakes.

AllowSee the source image me to elucidate. That’s a good example. The word elucidate should be avoided at all costs. The phrase avoided at all costs should be avoided at all costs. That’s a cliche.

Allow me to share my idiotic choices that turned into terrible ideas.

  1.  I ordered a giveaway for 100 Kindle books and posted it on social media before the giveaway actually started.  This made people mad because it took them down a broken elevator shaft when they clicked the beautiful button.  Mad people don’t want to buy your book.  Lesson learned:  read the fine print before you start promoting.
  2. I learned mail merge and purchased a list of bookstore owners. The whole experience involved several mistakes.  Lessons learned:  First, vet the list you are buying.  People who own bookstores that are only for children, LGBTQ, or mystery lovers do not want to sell your Midwestern history book. Second, make sure you know how many outgoing emails your e-mail can send at one time.  Hint: It’s not 2900.  Mine is THREE HUNDRED.  Yes, 3-0-0-.  When you start receiving multiple “undeliverable” emails back to your Inbox, congratulations.  You’ve made several Big Boo-Boos and should be thwacked on the head.
  3. For my next mail merge, I decided to test on a certain list of public librarians from out of state.  Lesson learned:  make sure the email is attached to the mail merge or send out something blank. So that’s what I did.  However, the good news is that I accomplished this no-mail merge on the same day as the first mail merge.  (See above.)  So all the librarian emails came back as “undeliverable.”  I doubt if there will be too many Virginia librarians purchasing my book for their collection.
  4. I posted a note on social media noting that the Kindle book is available.  Lessons learned: do not post anything on social media when you are tired.  When I checked it, I found I had posted a picture of the Moen shower head I want to buy for the basement.  I feel very fortunate, however, as we are also getting a new commode for the downstairs bathroom.  Readers probably don’t wish to see either—showerhead above not an actual one, but freebie one from Wikicommons.  

In my late twenties, I worked for a man who graduated from Annapolis.  He would greet us each morning with a Navy saying, “Another day in which to excel.”  So, we will try again tomorrow, one small indie writer against the machine.

Jun 142021
 

Flag Day 2021 — Strange times we’re in: cicadas eating plants, dogs eating cicadas, humans stepping on cicada carcasses, the world seemingly falling apart, the pandemic over or not?  What does one little book matter in the middle of all this?  It matters a great deal.

History is important.  It’s how we learn when we bother to pay attention. Unfortunately, history isn’t in fashion now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I fear that generations of students do not hear about the bondage of Africans in slavery to whites, the Great Depression, the Trail of Tears, the anguish of the Civil War.  Lack of context of our past breeds deniers.

Hear me out: nothing I’ve written is as important as “Centennial Farm Family,” my new book that launches two weeks from today. Why?  Because it records a time long gone, a time many of us shared, and a time from which we can learn.

When my maternal grandmother passed, she left me boxes of information—land deeds from the 19th century, pictures, items, history books, and letters. “Centennial Farm Family” took me 29 months as I looked for more information and validated what I already had.

I found some ugly truths about my family.  My ancestors Henry and Philip Long, owned slaves in Virginia.  I felt sick when I found out, but the story needed to be told. Henry’s son Lewis left Virginia for the free state of Ohio.  How I wish I knew if he was opposed to slavery or just experienced wanderlust.  My family also benefited from the inexpensive, rich land that the federal government usurped from the native Americans.

This is not “Gone with the Wind,” I don’t gloss over the terrible things that happened in the family. The first chapter alone will shock the reader with a mysterious poisoning that has never been solved. A family member died after Vicksburg in the Civil War and was buried 300 miles away from home.   His death changed the course of ownership of the family farm, benefiting me.  I hope you are inspired to tell your own stories to your children or even preserve them somehow.

Read “Centennial Farm Family.” On June 28, it will be available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.  Please write a two-to-three sentence blurb of what you learned, what you liked, and what struck a nerve with you on Amazon or Goodreads.  Indie books fight for recognition, and I need your help.  I’ve been blessed already with several editorial reviews from writers and historians.  But I need your words.  If you’ve been an advanced reader, go to Goodreads or Amazon and placing your short review.  Yes, I’m talking to you. It would mean the world to me, and it would encourage others to read the story.

Don’t get me wrong.  This has never been a money-making adventure.  I am donating many books to historical societies, museums, high schools and universities, and libraries in the coverage age.  I am not as concerned about covering my costs as I am about getting the book into the hands of those who will share their own history.  (As you may know, I’m an eccentric billionaire living on an island in the South Seas.)

In summary:

  1. Ask your local library to buy the book or purchase it yourself.
  2. Please read it.
  3. Write honestly about what your thought and post on Amazon or Goodreads.

(Paperbacks are now available on Amazon, hardcovers in pre-order in/at Barnes and Noble or Amazon, e-book coming June 28. The book is in the Ingram catalog and can be purchased there by any bookstore or library.)

Yes, I’m a brazen hussy, but you are already over it and recovering from dealing with my obnoxious self-promotion.

 

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