Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wrong Word

I misuse a lot of words.  Not a particularly great trait for a writer. 
For instance.  The word lightening.  Well, see, for years I used this word to describe those bolts of electricity that flash across a dark sky.  But that word is actually 'lightning'.  Lightening is what you do when you add white to navy to produce robin's egg blue.  My bad.  I still get confused occasionlly.  Then I just write something like 'A flash of light lit up the night sky.'  I think I learned this trick from my mother.  A letter from her came the other day and she'd crossed through physician four times and finally wrote 'doctor'. 
An edit of Bigfoot Blues came back the last time I read at The NW Arkansas Writer's Group and four people had circled hyperthermia.  Evidently I meant to write hypothermia.  Huh.  I learn something at every one of those sessions.
The reason this contemplation of words came to mind is that I got an email from Ozark Writer's League asking for a form to be filled out in order to be listed in their quarterly magazine for having had a book, Redneck Goddess, published and a short story, Ozark Child, included in an anthology.  Well, this is all good and I'll eventually fill out the paperwork.  But the form is labeled Kudos and I'm easily distracted.  So I got thinking. 
See, I always thought kudos meant thank you.  Which, I now understand, it most certainly does not. It means congratulations.  So, all this time I've been using the word incorrectly.
So, when a friend went to the trouble to bake me a cake for my birthday, presented it to me with a smile and said "I baked you a cake!"  and I said, "Well.  Kudos to you."  I wasn't actually saying thank you, I was being an accidentl wise-ass. 
I get a number of expressions wrong too.  Like 'It's a doggie dog world."  That's not right, is it? 
Or, "I need that like I need a hole in my head."  Well,  I actually have a hole in my head.  Several of them.  The expression is supposed to be 'like I need another hole in my head.'  I'm pretty sure that's right.
The other day I told my husband it was raining cops and robbers.  Even I know that's not right. 
This kind of thing runs in our family.  My sister, atleast once in every phone call, tells me something is 'atypical' when what she means is 'it happens all the time.'  I find this hillarious because I love to laugh at others when I catch them in a mistake that I myself make a dozen times a day without realizing it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rain and Death

It's probably just me.  Usually it is.  But the timing was perfect and this image flashed into my brain. I 've learned to keep most of these little inside-my-head scenes to myself, but this one I'm going to share with you.
Our neck of the woods has had nothing but heat-washed blue skies for weeks.  A desolate, weak breeze occasionally rattles drooping leaves, birds hang their heads and pant through parted beaks, farmers pray for rain and cuss the local weather man.  In the city, lawns brown, air-conditioning units hum like giant cicadas, yard birds huddle dazed around dead, leaf-clouded bird baths.  No relief in sight.  We were hopeful for a time, expected relief any day.  Then we gave up all belief in rain, accepted our lot, taught ourselves to breathe shallowly and hug the shade.
This morning I'm on my way to the funeral of a friend's mother.  The lady was in her late eighties, and by all accounts, lived her life as fully as most of us.  This isn't a memorial to tragedy I'll be attending.  Still, her daughter, husband, friends will mourn.  They'll open thier eyes to morning light forgetful of their loss and be hit with the knowledge of her death again at full awakening.  They'll turn toward the phone to tell her some tidbit of trivia and realize, mid-stride, that she's gone.  Grief will overtake them for long, dark moments.
It rained last night.  Not the tease of a drop or two that evaporates before it can properly kiss the parched dirt.  No.  This was real, wind shaking the trees, moon racing black scrimmed clouds - rain.  Life giving water softening, penetrating, nourishing the good earth.
Pay attention.  Here's the tiny ephiphany for the day.
Might not death be to life, what that rain was to our thirsty land?  Is it possible that we go, day by day, year by year, until we grow accustomed to the hardship, until the longing for relief feels like foolish belief in a child's fairy tale?  Is not faith, whether in God, or rain, or Bigfoot - is not all faith - a choice we cling to, glory in, regardless of the last time our faces were kissed by proof?
I have a picture in my head of my friend's mother.  She's holding hands with Jesus, dancing on strong limbs in the warm rain, yearnings and hopes long forgotten, satisfied and fulfilled.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I'm not good with change.  It seems that, with each passing year, I am worse.  With is unfortunate since the world is changing faster than ever before.  Or maybe life is like that calculus class that you get behind in for just one week and are, thus, lost forever unless you can double up and figure out that one equation the whole rest of the class seems to depend upon. 

But, probably I'm just getting old.

Most of you know by now that a month ago my first novel, Redneck Goddess, was published.  Go to www.authorpamelafoster.com for a gander at this humourous look at the struggles of  good, loving people to respond to change.

Lots of change in the world in general of course, and in my life in particular.  First, of course, there's the book.  I'm now doing book signings at retirement homes, libraries, the homes of lovely, generous friends - pretty near anywhere I can get people to stand still long enough for me to read to them for three minutes.  My husband is my secret weapon in selling Redneck Goddess.  So, that's good, I guess.  Though I am already nostalgic for the time when I could sneak to the store for a twenty pack of fudge bars, or wolf down a Braum's burger without him dragging people over to meet me and get my autograph on the book he just sold them.

More good change in my life.  I have a new grandson in whom I am falling more in love each day.  Y'all are lucky I don't believe in giving out personal information of any kind about my children on the internet.  Otherwise you'd already be looking at baby pictures.  He is beautiful and watching my son adore this child is an unexpected joy that I am lapping up with a spoon.  Of course, new love means new fears.  It's been a while since I've let myself be this vulnerable to loss.

So, this morning as I sip my coffee and pray the air conditioner keeps winning its struggle with this heat, I thank God for change and pray earnestly that He grants me the strength to enjoy every minute of it and not succumb to the desire to hide my head under the covers and pretend the world is today exactly the way it was yesterday.