Weekend Coffee Share, Of Anachronisms and Wistful Wishes

Happy birthday, Joan of Arc!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! Pull up a chair and have a cup of whatever appeals to you. On this pleasantly chilly day, I’m brewing warm coffee. This week has held many changes, but one thing remains the safe: COVID is out there and precautions are still very necessary, especially here in the state of Florida.

What does that mean for me? Wearing a mask non-stop while teaching, washing my hands frequently as I look at their rough skin, longing for a paraffin manicure. I am too practical for that, though, yet I may grow really desperate if they look even worse in a few months. COVID is not going away soon enough.

Staying COVID-safe.

This week, I wistfully longed for the confidence to pursue my bucket list. High on the list is a visit to New Orleans for Joan of Arc’s annual birthday parade. I believe they made it virtual this year, which is in no way the same. I am hoping to go in the next 2-3 years, and it is the perfect way, in my opinion, to see New Orleans for the first time. It is not safe right now. Joan’s birthday was January 6th, 1412, and the parade includes the throwing of beads, yet I hear it is not as debauched as Mardi Gras. I shall find out!

Another wistful thought came to mind yesterday morning as I played songs by my favorite Scottish band, Albannach. I had seen them several years in a row at the outdoor Celtic festival in St. Augustine, Florida. I dearly miss outdoor festivals and remembered it would likely take place two months from now as Spring ushers in the pleasant weather. Not this year….well, maybe next.

Changes galore have been happening at my teaching job due to many students coming out of the online schooling option and returning to school. I may even be absolved of teaching an online class now. Instead, I will have a Critical Thinking/Creative Writing class that is an elective. I am used to change; I won’t let it shake me up. I see that next week will bring even more changes and surprises as the COVID teaching landscape forces many new ways of doing things and a huge amount of adapting. I have stepped down from leading a committee and now I’m getting into the start of a News Club. I can only see positives here, except it is another responsibility.

However, I am staying positive since several students seem interested. What does this mean? There are minions! Yes, what a relief. I do have another teacher willing to be a co-sponsor which also makes me feel this idea can be feasible while allowing me not to let it ‘take over.’ It also pleases me to know I can use my gift for writing to share with students and hopefully inspire and teach them more about writing. We will have to plan a way to have an active club while using social distancing. My social life is starved lately due to COVID, but I am surrounded by people as a teacher, and I plan to relate to them all positively.

Being positive with those around me will be possible if I can still have my boundaries and have the time to practice healthy living. This means eating healthy and not on the fly, making time to exercise, and time for appointments that nourish my health and mental health (it takes a village) :). Let’s not forget, being able to get things done but still rest and spend time with my loved ones including my dog, Bixby.

That’s what’s is happening in my corner of the world. Everyone have a great weekend, and stay safe.

Writing our History into our Fiction

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Pixabay photo.

I’ve decided to write COVID-19 into my current fiction work-in-progress. Doing so makes me think of Stephen King’s The Stand with a shudder. Stores closed, streets practically empty. That is, until two weeks ago, when governors started announcing gradual re-openings. I am still playing it safe, though. If you were to write COVID-19 into your current work-in-progress, would you mention toilet-papergate? Stores running out of hand sanitizer? Stores with signs up requiring you to wear a mask? These are unprecedented times, and they are worth remembering and writing about. In my novel, the character will travel to our times from the earlier 2000s and will see some of those things. I do not plan to make it tragic, though. Still, who knew this would become our reality?

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In my most recent work of published fiction, Malachi, Ruse Master, I have written a whole chapter on Sept. 11th, 2001. My character is a young man living alone in the D.C. area. An ordinary day turns into an exercise in fear and uncertainty as news reports come in about the attack on the World Trade Center and the plane that headed for the Pentagon. The emotions were real, I experienced them and recall clearly what 9-11 was like.

I did a little research on what it may have been like for someone living in the D.C. area during 9-11 to get my facts straight. I do not know anyone who lived there at the time. I had lived there as a child, and I’m always reminiscent of the Potamac River and the weather changes. Living in Florida, the seasonal distinctions are not as clear. So, having a character living in that area around that time lent itself to writing that event into the setting. I feel that this is a way to frame the events of a novel, adding something we are all familiar with.

Like my character, Malachi, I did not really have a feeling of community reinforced for me. I just felt more alone. Though, I suppose, that is a result of terror. So why add such a horrible event into the setting? Because it is something we all remember, in many different ways. I also feel it helps us sympathize with the character. The book is considered a young adult novel, but it is not written specifically for young adults. It is something we all can identify with in some way; we’ve been there. My hope is that readers of all ages will find something to identify with in this book. You can learn about or get a copy of Malachi, Ruse Master at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX

As I grow in my writing journey, I am finding the importance of setting in a book, how it makes readers connect to the characters in the events. In a sense, a setting in any book is a character in itself.

What historical event have you lived through, and which fiction books express the experience well for you?

Oct. 29, 1929. #poetry

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Oct. 29, 1929 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

(c) 2018

On this day in 1929,

A crash was felt

to haunt us for all time,

 

For we depend on the paper god.

We are made whole

by what can be bought.

 

People felt it was the end.

No hope remained

and no godsend.

 

Children starving in mothers’ arms

Kids stealing and fighting

before the morning alarm.

 

Did we learn a single thing?

Out of this history,

does awareness ring?

 

Or is it simply a dark blight,

a blimp on our story,

to share on dark nights.

 

For this is the true horror tale,

Leaders, mothers, fathers failed.

and innocence, at once, assailed.

 

We’re all gearing up for Halloween and watching our favorite horror flicks to prepare, but did you know that today, in 1929, the stock market crash occurred that would lead the United States into the Great Depression?  Truly, what could be scarier than imagining what it felt like to be alive that day?  Is it worth remembering, is it a cautionary tale, or am I just obsessing over bygones?  Nonetheless, it is history, our history, and much can be learned from it.  

 

A Matter of Taste and Sensibility? #FFfAW #amwriting

Photo credit, @Goroyboy.

Four ghosts approached a charming, Southern mansion.

“I’m not comfortable with this assignment,” Marv said.

A younger ghost, Jeb, responded, “Really, Marv? My family farmed cotton and it was our livelihood.  I think it’s wonderful.”

“Oh, yeah?  Who actually picked it?”

Jeb shrugged.

“Won’t asking reassignment delay moving on from the “in-between?”  Kat asked.

“Kat, I’ve been ‘in-between’ for a hundred and fifty years.  You get used to it.  Time flies.  This is a matter of principle.  So this is all okay with you?”  Marv gestured to the wreath.

“Well, I’m not sure.  My ancestors were slaves in cotton fields.”

The others looked surprised.

She continued, “I also had ancestors who were farmers and plantation owners.  I’m a product of both sides.  Bygones should be bygones.  Maybe we’re here for that reason.”

“You’re so modern, Miss High and Mighty,” Marv said.  “Okay, What do you think Eskel?”

Eskel tapped his chin, deep in thought.  “I say we move on.  Cotton wreath?”  He chuckled.  “We’re bound to be assigned to someone with better decorative taste.”

copyright, 2018 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

~174 words (without photo credit and title).

*The opinions expressed in this flash fiction are not necessarily the opinions of this author.  Wait, I think I represented every possible opinion.  Did I miss any?  In fact, it was hard to stay within the 150 words +/- 25 rule!  For a description of this writing challenge or to view other entries, visit Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers April 16th   

 

 

I is for Information. #AtoZChallenge

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Free verse by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

(c) 2017

Some 20 to 30 years ago

the Internet exploded into

an infinite system of information.

And I couldn’t think of an I word.  🙂

Available in an instant,

One can know, about life, Science, News,

History, people, me,  you.

Some of it, we don’t need to know.

Can we handle it?

Sometimes, no.  Sometimes, yes.

Who am I to complain?

I have found details of ancestors

from a scattered family tree

and stories to enrich my life.

Information drives this intelligent age.

Use it to your benefit,

and always maintain balance.

After binging on information,

go outside to clear your head.

It’s better for your health.

Don’t trust me?  Google it.

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**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

 

Heroes for a Modern Girl. #Poetry

Heroes for a Modern Girl
by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

The poet Maya Angelou
shared wise words that moved me so.
Songbird Nina Simone
Did not fear walking alone.
Nikki Giovanni
Laid the truth on me.

Mom bravely raised me alone,
in the warmest, loving home.
Simone deBouvaire taught me
women are not property.
Toni Morrison’s Pilate
was free like a wild lilac.

And I thank them all
for helping me stand tall.
Men’s rules, commandments, and laws
once confined us, we felt lost.
But there was no stopping
rebels like Janis Joplin.

I benefit from their stand,
and I’m fed by my own hand.
I thank them all
For helping me stand tall.IMG_0011