Monday, September 22, 2008

OK, so I'm a bookworm. As a kid, I'd regularly escape into my stories ~ to the point of bringing a book to the dining room table, or a flashlight to illumin the bedcovers. (Brat, ya.)

Nowdays I'm fortunate, in that my hubby is similarly smitten. It's not unusual for us to spend a good part of our weekends, each lost in the far-away. Worlds away, yet together.

As I've grown and evolved, so have my preferences in authors and genres. (Well, duh!) While hubby has a naturally curious mind, he can thoroughly enjoy both a weepy Nicolas Sparks tome as well as hard-bitten Clive Cussler. On the other hand, if I can't visualize it ... can't feel it ... no thank you very much. In other words, I want my stories here-and-now; i.e., the last 25-30 years, set in the good old U S of A. (Narrow minded? Ya.) Could be why I never fathomed the necessity of history class?

Around, about my Danielle Steele phase, network television thought it a cute idea to produce made-for-TV movies based on several of her best sellers. Bleah. Then, color me DISAPPOINTED when the actor/actress in no way resembled the character I'd imagined. For example: Have you ever listened to a stranger via the telephone or radio, then been shocked when you saw them in person?

Of course, Hollywood got into the act, turning prose into worthy films. While I am not a big filmgoer, I've seen my share and, more often than not, wondered if the book's author felt raped. When succumbing to whatever carrots Hollywood dangled, did they ever consider (that) producers would take such liberties with their original content? (Think, "The Notebook.") If they didn't, well I felt righteously indignant on their behalf. Hrmph!

Some years ago, I discovered a sure-fire way to fall asleep quickly, sans sleep-aids. This works particularly well if I am in the midst of an enjoyable read. Once comfortable, I mentally return to the page ~ only this time I hold the film rights and it's my turn to cast the players. Based solely on my interpretations, I might contract the memory of an old classmate's face .... a co-worker ... even a bona-fide star. Nothing's impossible in fantasy-land!

OK, I'll give you a for instance. This one was easy ~ his face sprang to mind before I'd finished my first Jonathan Kellerman novel (the Alex Delaware series). Introducing ... Tommy Lee Jones as Milo Sturgis! (Hey, works for me!) Fast-forward a few years, I still haven't been able to conjure a suitable Alex Delaware.

... but I'm working on it. Sweet dreams, ya'all!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good morning!

As part of its Service Standards, our company embraces the "Ten-Foot Rule." In other words, when finding oneself within 10 feet of another, we are expected to smile and offer a pleasant "Good morning/afternoon."

Having spent many years in West Texas, this mandate struck me as somewhat curious. Shouldn't such actions be instinctive?

I've fond memories of one elderly gentleman who lived on Barrow Street in Abilene during the 1970's: Steadying himself on an aluminum walker in his front yard, he would cheerfully wave to commuters each early morning. I'm ashamed to admit that I never took the time to stop and say, "thank you." Nor did I learn his story.

Family and careers forced our relocation more than 1,000 miles away, to an eastern metropolis where unsolicited greetings were viewed with surprise, then suspicion. In little time, I learned to stifle (or at least limit) my congeniality.

These days - blessedly settled in the Southwest -- I find it easier to smile at a stranger, or once in a while, wave at a pedestrian along my commute. I'm trying to accept that some startled glances or averted eyes does not make them awful human beings; that I shouldn't make judgments.

Still, more often than not, I wonder what ever became of Abilene's cheerful herald.

Friday, September 12, 2008

While going through the family archives, I recently discovered a horde of neatly-banded greeting cards, some dating back to the early 1900's. Since I'm really "craft challenged" they remain as I found them. Perhaps, one of these days a few will enjoy new life as part of a shadowbox or an accompaniment to a scrapbook.

Pre-cyberspace, the sight of a Hallmark envelope in the mail was a Big, Happy deal! Remember during the holiday season when it was considered a sacrilege to merely sign one's name? (The term "uppity" comes to mind.) At the very least, adding a few handwritten lines was common courtesy ... guaranteed to kindle warm fuzzy feelings.

Don't get me wrong. Today's selections are so stinkin' funny (or perfectly poignant), I could easily spend hours in our local Hallmark. Really!
Still, I wonder who actually hangs onto their cards anymore? (Excluding, of course, those priceless mementos bearing crude childhood inscriptions to "mommy"!)

Recently I happened on the following entry in a deceased's on-line Guest Book. A retelling, if you will, of sage advice in how to save money:

"He relates how you never bought Valentine Day cards. Rather, you both took the time together to select cards off the rack, showed them to one another, kissed, wished each other 'Happy Valentines Day', placed the cards back in the rack and continued to go about your business. Hallmark must have hated him!"

Isn't that a grand idea!?!