Saturday, May 20, 2017

Getting Even

Sometimes you have to be proud of your kids. Especially when they pay your parents back for some evil act of yesteryear.

Case in point: driving with the Mimi.

When I was a lowly teenager, learning to drive at the ripe age of 15 (Texas allowed for younger drivers to get a permit at 15 if a hardship could be proven), my mother was responsible for much of my driving practice.

Before I say more, allow me to paint a picture for you. I always win the ugly car contest. Always. The entire world is under the mistaken impression that their first set of wheels was the worst ever in the history of get the point. Y'all ain't seen nothing!

Picture this (because I sure as hell didn't keep a picture of it): an 1973 ice blue, government surplus, no A/C (this is Texas, remember?), AM radio, AMC Ambassador station wagon. Damn thing was a tank. It is impossible to drive down the road, incognito or otherwise, in that THING.

And it was indestructible, too. I got mad one day and backed into another car. Luckily the other car was a land yacht because it only took a dent to the fender while Old Blue had a shattered tail lamp cover (which mi espouso-then boyfriend repaired with red tape and all was good).

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Mimi decided one day that I would drive her home from the grocery store in Old Blue. I think it was my first or second time behind this particular set of wheels. Did I mention this thing was a TANK? Did I mention my depth perception is pretty crappy? Anyway, I am trying to turn from the parking lot onto a busy street and I hit the curb. We've all done that, right? No biggie.

Not with Mimi in the car. She's screaming. I over-correct and run the tank up onto the curb. I stop before anything gets damaged, but Mimi is still screaming. I don't recall what happened next, but I'm pretty sure harsh words were exchanged and possibly a few tears were shed.

Fast forward to today's text, and I quote: "Child drove down her first mountain with Mimi screaming all the way."

The parties involved include Mimi (of course) and Myrtle the Younger. They are currently touring the southeast part of the US (watch out, y'all have been warned.), with current destination of Monticello. Now I must point out that both Myrtles are excellent drivers and MTY is equally gifted with navigation. I must also note that Mimi has OCD, but let's just say her navigation skills leave a little to be desired. (Ask me about Alabama and live explosives sometime.)

All I can hope for is 1) they were on the right mountain, 2) MTY still has her hearing and will to live, and 3) they are having fun.

Y'all pray for them!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Part of the Beginning

Do you remember having a dream? Something you wanted to accomplish, but only had a vague idea of how to make the fantasy become reality? Or maybe you knew how to get there, but weren't sure if the end result would be what you expected?

I think we all can relate to those desires. At some point we wanted to become a rock star or a famous actor or an astronaut. Some dreams happen magically, others require a ton of work and a little bit of luck, while other fantasies drift off into a mist of "what the hell was I thinking?"

Writing, for me, has been a warped bit of that journey. Did I dream of being an author? Not really. I toyed with the idea once or twice, but there was no burning desire to sit down and write words. In fact, most of the time, I would sit down to write an assigned essay or story and my mind would go totally blank. The same thing happens when I tried to be an artist or a songwriter. Nope. Nada.

Until the day, the story/dream planted its carcass in my pea brain and wouldn't leave until I wrote it down. Then more ideas filled the hole and refused to budge until I shoved and molded that sucker into a book. (Let's not talk about the other five ideas waiting impatiently to take their turn in that hole.) Then my OCD took over and made me organize, edit, and proof until I couldn't see straight.

That's when I decided I needed a cover. I knew what I didn't want (unrealistically depicted 8-packs glistening in the sun with a bulging...well, never mind) but I also didn't know what I wanted. Cue in Myrtle the Younger.

As previously mentioned somewhere in the bowels of this blog, I think I have mentioned maybe once or twice that I have two extremely talented girls, the younger of which desires/fantasizes/dreams and is well on her way to becoming an outstanding artist and animator. As any good and responsible parent, I want to help my child build her self-confidence, soooo...I asked the child to create a book cover.

I can tell you that there is no greater feeling than placing your child's work into their hands as a finished product. The look on MTY's face when I handed her the proof of If You Touch My Mind was overwhelming to say the least. This was more than posting a drawing on the refrigerator door. This was part of her portfolio and resume; a stepping stone to her future.

The same thing happened ten months later when I published Keep Your Eyes On Me. No one can take that experience away from her. Nothing can take those memories from me.

With my third book waiting a cover, I again turned to MTY but with her busy college schedule, she ran into difficulties. What to do? I turned to a the son of a friend. He is about the same age as MTY and is studying graphic design. Over the past few months, he and I have worked back and forth until he delivered cover art which mi esposo could work into the finished cover.

Last night, I placed the proof into this kid's hands. Guess what? I got the same response from him as I got from my own daughter. Overwhelmed. Thrilled. Maybe just a little scared, but that's okay. Yes, there were things he wanted to change. Yes, there were things he and mi esposo need to experiment with, but this young college student has something in his hands which moves him forward in his dream.

Today, his mother shared his Facebook post. He had posted a picture of the proof and summed up his feelings eloquently: "wow".

I may not have birthed this kid, but I am just as proud of him as I am of my own girls. I am thrilled to be part of his beginning.