Have you ever wanted to write–or actually written–a piece of fiction that featured characters based on actual people you know? Now, granted–even when we create our characters “out of thin air,” there are elements of people we know in them. Or, sometimes, a composite of several people’s characteristics rolled into one. This may be on a subconscious level–you’re not necessarily trying to base your characters on anyone. But it’s inevitable that traits from some people you know (or you. yourself, as the author) will find their way into some of your characters.
However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is . . . you know Jane from across the hall in your apartment complex, and you want to create a character “based” on her. Or perhaps someone from school–a bully, your best friend, a teacher, a nerd–whoever it is. You want to feature them in…
The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.
~Doris Lessing, 1992
Yes, it does! The quote above made my day. Referring to the first sentence, I’m so much younger in my mind than in my chronological age. However, I have changed. Haven’t you?
So, this all came about after I wrote a line in a book from a character who said he had ‘good genes.’ Finding another way to procrastinate, I thought about inheriting good genes and ancestral health issues. Oh, procrastination didn’t stop there. Next, I found a way for my thoughts to drift to life-long learning and other musings.
As a young person, I wondered who I’d be when I aged.
Do/ did you wonder too?
Would I still be able to write? To be creative? Type? So far so good there (minus the procrastination phases). My paternal grandmother had arthritis in her hands to the point of deformity. She could still lift a cast iron skillet with two gnarled hands and cook her favorite recipes.
My mother had arthritis in her hands, and her knuckles showed early signs of what would come. Arthritis caused both of them a lot of pain. When I started writing full time, I truly worried about inheriting arthritis in my hands and fingers. One of my fingers feels stiff now like arthritis is setting in. Instead of having it in all of my fingers like them, I have it in my big toe joints and knees, which hurts something awful and limits physical activity, though I push myself through the pain when taking walks and carrying groceries and laundry up a flight of stairs.
My paternal grandmother had a good amount of dark hair when she passed away in her eighties. My dad had more natural color than gray, and so did one of his brothers, while another of his brothers had a full head of white hair.
My dad and mom never looked their ages even in their seventies and beyond. Her hair had turned gray. They both had nice skin without a lot of wrinkles. I wondered if I’d take after my mother and not show my age? Hmm. Now that I’m there, the jury is still out on that one. I have a feeling when my youngest son and daughter-in-law visited, my son saw his grandmother instead of me. Oh, my!
All of my grandparents, and parents, had sound minds and a good outlook on life. I try to stay upbeat and nurture my creativity both in writing and photography. My dad had a creative mind. After retirement, he walked and read daily even through chemotherapy. Later in life, my mom walked over a mile each day, even during radiation treatment for breast cancer. She read magazines where my dad read the newspaper and a handful of magazines. I guess I have good genes, too, but my family has had a lot of health issues to keep in the forefront of my mind.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at 20 or at 80. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable, regardless of physical capacity.
~Henry Ford, 1929
Don’t we all want to keep learning no matter our age? Am I right? Last night while watching a show on TV, I learned something new about bees, and for the first time, I saw a baby bee hatch!
Is there something new you’d like to try or have already?
Since I’m a writer, I’ll use this as an example: Many of us have been writers our entire lives. Even before we knew what it meant to be a writer in the true sense. A self-publishing writing career is constantly changing, as I assume is the same with hybrid and traditional publishing. It doesn’t matter if we’re twenty or ninety, we have to continue learning all the new ways of writing and publishing. If we don’t, we will soon get lost. Is it no different in other careers and hobbies?
Wouldn’t it be easy to give up? Throw in the towel so to speak. Who of us wants to give up on our dreams? So, we keep learning. As my life goes on, I’d like to learn new things like how to paint and write calligraphy.
During lock down my son and daughter-in-law took an online painting class. My youngest son sent me the picture he painted, and my daughter-in-law sent hers to her mom. (My daughter-in-law painted a cow in her way and colors she chose to use.) I never thought I’d love a cow so much, other than the cattle my fictional cowboys raise, but I sure do love this one.
One year for my birthday, the same son sent me a beginners guide kit to learn how to do calligraphy. He remembered after many years that I had always wanted to learn how. However, I’ve never taken the time to teach myself. YET. Two reasons: I don’t have the dexterity I used to have. My handwriting now proves it. In addition, my eyesight isn’t good for up-close work. New glasses should do the trick.
Never say never, huh? One day I’ll give calligraphy and painting a try. After all, I’ll have to find something to do when I choose to retire from publishing books.
No matter what happens from here on out, I hope I’ve inherited more of the good genes than the bad ones, so I can continue to feel young, if only in my mind. How about you?
Hey, all. I’ve been absent here, but I’m still alive. I guess I ran out of things to say. 🤔 These images are from one of my “up north” cousins and used with his permission. Next week I’ll try to post ice sculpture pictures I took a couple of weeks ago. By the way, if the fountain is familiar, it’s because I posted a similar picture of it last winter.
I hope you’re all having fun. Apologies for neglecting your blogs, too. Stay safe. Thanks for visiting.
January flew by with lots of blogging and reading (and no writing). February should prove more productive, but the reading paid off. I have some great books to share with you.
January book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of a sci-fi time-loop thriller, a YA magical coming of age story, a horror novelette, lots of fantasy, a thriller, and several variations on romance. Something for everyone!
Click on the covers for Amazon global links.
The South Tower by Alex Canna
Phew, what a story! I wasn’t sure about reading this book after being traumatized by the actual events of September 11th. That was a horrifying day, and I was afraid the book would stir up a lot of feelings. Instead, the story is a sci-fi thriller and page-turner, and I read it in one sitting, totally enthralled.
If you’re still in the mood to read a holiday romance, this heartwarming two-hour read is now in Kindle Unlimited. This is my second ever book in KU.
Why does a stroke of bad luck happen now while on her way to Mackinaw City, Michigan on a blustery weekend? Two days before Christmas, Terra Westbrook and her young daughter have nowhere to stay. How can she convince her child that Santa will find her while sleeping in their car in a gas station parking lot—if they don’t die from hypothermia first? For her child’s sake, she accepts an invitation of a warm home from a resident in the village, but Terra soon learns, the kind person had no right to offer. However, she never expects the homeowner to be a lonely widower who hides tenderness and a big secret under his hard-hearted exterior.
Jude Overton isn’t interested in a relationship let alone a wife. He tried marriage once. Sometimes his heart still aches. Now, if only his sister would get the message to stop matchmaking him with single women. His life is complete raising his daughter. He’s doing the best he can to make her happy. Jude accepts this as enough until he gazes into a stranger’s melancholy eyes that hold an unspoken yearning. As the big day rolls around, he expects it’ll be just another day like the past five Christmases as a single dad, but maybe this year, it’s a good thing his sister chooses to ignore his wishes.
Secret Santa’s Rundown Sleigh
This is different from the other books I write. For example:
It’s shorter–the low end of novella size. Two-hour read.
It isn’t a western romance. Don’t worry, I gave my hero horses!
It takes place in Northern Lower Michigan, my home state, and where, as a child, I used to spend time with my grandmother, aunt and uncle, and six cousins, and even more cousins and aunts and uncles when all of our families congregated there. Four of my cousins and their families still live “up north.”
It’s toned down in the heat department. Not steamy like my other books.
I must share this #WordlessWednesday post with words.
I posted this on Facebook yesterday, so maybe you saw it. A couple feet of snow are expected over the next two days. I only needed a few items at the store yesterday because I recently shopped but if snowed in, it’s things I’d want. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot around ten-thirty a.m., I knew I should have arrived earlier. Time went by fast, and at one point, a new lane must’ve opened because we moved up about five people. Here are some things I heard referring to the long lines while waiting in a long line:
Thank God for the snow (meant to be snarky).
What a day!
Honey, it’s the first of the month.
Excuse me, but the line starts back there!
Everybody seemed patient and friendly. The gas station wasn’t much better on my way to the store. I had a half tank, so I wasn’t desperate. On the way home, I pulled up to one of two empty pumps and filled my tank. My son told me it looks like old times when people rushed out at the last minute before a storm. It’s true, but mainly the stores are short of help.
Of course, I’m not comparing this to the bomb cyclone that dropped thirty inches in Massachusetts over the weekend. I’m just stating that we’re next to get a major winter storm according to state police and local forecasters.
Oh, I love writing “The End” sometimes, but it’s bittersweet today. Time has flown by since I signed up for WordPress Bloganuary on January 15th and published my first post on January 16th. I’m glad I participated, even for only half of the month. For those of you who read the post I wrote after signing up, I’m proud to say that, yes, I did post my blog links on the #daily-prompt page for all to see.
I found it easy to fall into the routine of posting over fifteen days. With that said, since today is the end of the month, I’ll miss reading posts by other participants while I’m drinking coffee each morning. This brings us to the last January Bloganuary prompt:
How do you feel when you look at the stars?
Looking at the night sky has always been a favorite pastime of mine. Memories of sitting and watching the stars… Wait. “Watching the stars” sounds weird, but that’s exactly what we do, isn’t it? But yes, I have many memories of sitting outside at night taking in every bit of the sky.
Being at peace and feeling small in a big world is how I feel when looking at a star-studded sky, but I also feel lucky to know what a sky filled with stars looks like. If I ever lose my eyesight, I hope I can hold the sight in my memories.
I’m almost certain at least one of my characters in each book makes a comment on the night sky. I’ve always pointed out stars and planets to my boys. Now they both use star apps on their phones.
Living in an apartment complex like I do, it isn’t dark enough to see many stars. I feel like I’m missing out. It’s been a habit for years to look for the Big and Little Dippers and Polaris. I’ve never been able to find the many other constellations within our viewing range. I’ve found satellites, though.
I guess this is where I’ll end this post and say farewell to Bloganuary and to the other participants. I don’t know if this is the first Bloganuary, but I’ll likely participate next year, too, if it comes to pass.
Well… I chuckled when I first read this #daily-prompt for #BloganuaryDay30. Me? A tree? After reading one of the quotes I posted below, I’d call myself a willow tree.
Looking back at my life, I guess this prompt has a simple answer. The quotes I posted sums it up for me, but most importantly, I learned that:
I’m a willow tree. I’ll withstand bending instead of breaking when faced with difficulties, changes, and challenges.
One can only hope, right?
I can relate to the following quotes for a description of me as a tree:
Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing. Joanne Raptis
Adapt yourself to change as the willow tree adapts itself to the weather. When the harsh winds of circumstance sweep across the landscape of your life, bow gracefully, bend gently, adapt graciously. You are wise to study well the ways of the willow. In the face of change, in the throes of adversity, in the midst of conflict and crisis, the willow willingly bends its branches, but refuses to release its roots. ~William Arthur Ward, “The Wisdom of Adapting Yourself”
In the springtime, leaves unfolding,
Growing, growing one by one,
In the summer, always giving
Cool, green shade to every one;
In the autumn, tall and stately,
Dressed in yellow, red and brown,
In the winter, sleeping, sleeping,
While the snow comes softly down…
~Charlotte Lay Dewey, “A Song of the Trees,” in Kindergarten Review (Springfield, Mass.), October 1906
Have a great day. Stay warm and safe. ~MJ
Featured Image: Willow Tree: Image by Dalibor Smolik from Pixabay
This is Day 29 for Bloganuary. I can’t believe there are only two days left both in January and Bloganuary. Today’s prompt is:
How are you changing the world?
Let’s face it… On a planet of billions, little old me trying to change this big old world is beyond my limitations. If I can change someone’s day, human (or animal), with an act of kindness or a smile behind my face mask, I’ll be happy to lift their spirit the best way I know how.
How about this? In a grocery store, if someone stops their shopping cart to let me pass in front of them, I’ll say, “Thank you! I’m smiling behind my mask.” I see their eyes brighten and can tell they’re smiling, too. That’s a simple act, but kindness is remembered.
When I have to throw away the drink carrier plastic we find on a four, six, or eight pack of bottles, I cut it into pieces so it doesn’t become a problem for wildlife like in this video. Recycling would, of course, be better if I lived closer to a recycling facility.
In addition, I like to think that after all the years I taught children life skills and how to read, I had a part in giving them tools to contribute to changing their little part of the world, too, but who knows if one day they’ll want to take on a larger piece of the world.
Shopping at smile.amazon.com helps to support a charity you care about. At this point, my charity is Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. In the past, it was Make a Wish Foundation and will be again one day.
I didn’t expect to write this much, but here it is. Today’s prompt wasn’t easy for me to answer until I broke it down into simple things that can be done to change the world, even if only through one small act at a time.
Have a wonderful night. ~MJ
Featured Image Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels
What is on all of my playlists? Country is my preferred genre. If I had music on now, it’d be Clay Walker since he heads my Pandora playlist. The reason I chose him is because I like to hear voices similar to his. I added an “s” to playlist because I have different playlists for different reasons and moods. Don’t a lot of us listen to a variety of music? For part of last month, I listened to Christmas music.
Gravelly, crackling voices like Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, and Gary Allan send a shiver down my spine in a good way. Others on the list are George Strait, Brett Young, Luke Bryan, *Jimmy Wayne, and last but not least Alan Jackson, my all-time favorite male country singer.
You’ll find Carly Pearce, Miranda, Mickey Guyton, Maren Morris plus a lot of female country singers from my past, like Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, and Reba McEntire, to name a few.
One of my favorites by Dierks Bentley called “Five.”
For quiet moods I like Pavarotti, Vittorio Grigolo, and Andrea Andrea Bocelli.
Bob Seger will always be a favorite, as will Adele, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Enya, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and more. These days I listen to music more in my car than at home. It used to be I could listen while writing, but now I prefer no music unless it’s at a low volume in the background.
This prompt makes me want to turn on my music and relax. Maybe this weekend. How about you? Are you listening to music right now?
Have a nice weekend! Thanks for dropping in. ~MJ
*Remember Jimmy Wayne from Dancing with the Stars?
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