Chariots

It’s just an inanimate object. A conglomeration of rubber, pistons, crank shafts, rings, nuts, bolts, cables, wires, leather, cloth, vinyl, and glass, all expertly pieced together to form the perfect form of mobility. But to each of us it’s so much more than just a car, a simple sum of its parts. The relationship between these modern chariots and their owners isn’t something to be taken lightly, just ask Stephen King (Christine). Speak to anyone at length and when the topic eventually rolls around to automobiles, just watch as their eyes light up. Right or wrong, we are defined by what we drive and conversely who we are is expressed in what we choose to be seen in. Everyone has a favorite car they’ve owned, or one they dream about owning someday.

I counted them up, and over the course of my life (so far) I have owned 14 different vehicles. Some of them I scratch my head and wonder what I was thinking, but others were true gems that transported me through wondrous times and ever-lasting memories. I thought I’d tell you the story of four of them today.

Naturally the list has to start off at the beginning. We all remember our first car; it maintains a special place in the heart regardless of how many follow it. For me it was a 1966 green Chevy Van. My uncle worked in the auto shop for Southern Bell in Baton Rouge and was responsible for selling off parts of the fleet that had exceeded mileage limits. He came across this one particular van in excellent shape despite its miles, so he called my Dad and a deal was struck. I took possession of it my sophomore year of high school. When I first laid eyes on it I didn’t see the rust, the dents, and the bland appearance. What I saw was a meek caterpillar, waiting for me to weave a cocoon so it might emerge as a beautiful six-cylinder butterfly. My Dad and I performed the complete makeover together. We carpeted the inside, put in a killer stereo, tinted the windows, and gave it a new coat of paint with stylish pin striping. I learned to drive a standard shift in that van (3 speed with the shifter on the steering column). It was a great first car! That same year the song ‘Chevy Van’ by Sammy Johns played on the radio a lot. Anybody remember it?

The second car on my standout list was the only convertible I owned. It was a red Triumph TR3 two seater (don’t remember the year). That car was so impractical it wasn’t funny, but it was a blast!! The suspension sucked and I was always running out of gas because the gauge kept going on the fritz, but driving the roads on a cool fall day with the top down is a treasured remembrance. I owned the TR3 while I was going to college, but didn’t have it for long. Like I said, impractical.

A 1976 black Trans AM fills the 3rd slot on my list. That car was a monster, and it was FAST!!! It was a four speed (naturally) and had enough horsepower in it even I had a hard time controlling it. My only venture over 100 mph (on a lonely back road) came in that car. Girls were drawn to it and guys drooled over it. The only reason I got rid of it was because I was going back to college full time and I couldn’t afford to keep it. I probably miss that car the most.

The fourth and final car on my list is a 1994 white Ford Mustang. That was the year (1994) of the fourth major redesign of the mustang. Of the 14 cars I have owned, only five of them have been brand new cars. This mustang was one of them. I have always held a special love for the mustangs. The 1966 mustang (the same car driven by Steve McQueen in ‘Bullitt’ or Nicholas Cage in ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’) is my ultimate dream car. When the new body style came out in ’94 and it was a return to the stylish nature of its predecessors, I had to have it. It was a wonderful car that I hand washed every weekend. In the end I had to sell that car to make accommodations for something else precious in my life…the expecting of our 3rd child.

That’s it. Those are my four favorite cars. What about you? What was your favorite car(s)? What made it special to you?

It Never Gets Old

I’m talking about receiving awards, of course.  How can anyone grow tired of them?  Seriously?  Each one is a tiny vote of confidence from a follower, letting the recipient know they’re doing something right.  Just last week in a notification from a fellow blogger she wrote, I know you have a billion of them, but here’s one more anyway.  Be it just one…or a billion and one…each is special and much appreciated.  And it doesn’t matter if I’ve been honored with a specific award already, send it my way anyway if you feel I deserve it.

Be warned though…I’m notorious for breaking the rules that sometimes come attached. 


A new award debuted in the blogosphere in the past several weeks and a whopping nine bloggers all felt I just had to have this award.  It’s the Versatile Blogger award and it was bestowed upon me by Erica Mitchell Spickard @ Chapter by Chapter, Amparo Ortiz @ No Rest for the Lazy, Kelly Dexter @ Nerdville Rhapsody, Clara @ Pinches of Madness…, J. Kaye @ 365 Days of Novel Writing, Peggy Shumway @ Fragrance of Thought, Writing Nut @ Writing in a Nutshell, and Stina Lindenblatt @ Seeing Creative.   Amanda Sablan @ That Unpublished Writer also tapped me for this award…but then she took it back when she noticed one of the others above had already named me for it.  (I’m joking with her here).

Here are the guidelines that come with the award: Share 7 things about yourself ** Give it to 15 people**Let them know in a comment that you have given them this award **.

I’m scratching my head trying to come up with seven things I haven’t discussed on here before, so I apologize if my list seems rather lame.

1.     I just commented on this one at Jen’s blog today, but I have an extreme aversion to watching anyone play with their bellybutton. 
2.     I don’t know how to type (and you call yourself a writer), but I’m the fastest hunt & pecker you’ve ever seen!
3.     The first of many stitches I endured growing up came as a result of me diving head first from our front porch onto the sidewalk.  Why?  I was dared.
4.     I used to own the same model Trans-Am Burt Reynolds drove in Smokey & the Bandit. My younger followers are probably asking who Burt Reynolds is. J
5.     I lived in Atlanta for 9 years and at times my commute to work took an hour, each way.  My commute now…five minutes.
6.     I once wrote an article for my high school newspaper entitled, The Art of Skipping Class.  Everybody hated me for months after that.  The administration because I wouldn’t reveal my sources, and my classmates because I spilled all their tricks.
7.     I was busted once by the LSU campus police for public disturbance.  I had propped my stereo speakers in the window of our 7th floor dormitory room and was blaring “Freebird” for everyone’s enjoyment.

Phew…glad that’s over…now it’s time to re-gift.  Instead of selecting 15 deserving bloggers to impart this to (I told you I wasn’t much for rules), I’m choosing those bloggers that went above and beyond the call of duty with regard to my Blogging Buddies Around the Globe quest (I’m still five states short).  These kind souls took the time to use their blog to spread the word for me and subsequently brought me ever so close to my goal.  They are:

Jemi @ Just Jemi
Jen @ Unedited
Natalie Bahm @ Wife…Mother…Writer
L. Diane Wolfe @ Spunk on a Stick

If you made a mention about my quest on your blog, or specifically sent one of your followers to my site, then please let me know so I can include you in this list.

I received two other awards that I need to recognize, but I only have time today for one.  I’ll save the award that’s more involved for next time and instead focus on the Sugar Doll award presented to me by Erica Mitchell-Spickard.


Personally, I think Erica just laid this one on me because she enjoyed seeing a dude squirm with such a pink, frilly award.  But I laugh defiantly at her assumption and instead embrace the Sugar Doll and all its fabulousness!  :)  There are no rules or hoops to jump through for this award, so I’m simply going to pass it along to six lovely ladies who are most deserving.

Ashley @ Our journey Begins, As The Kings -  I just started following Ashley but I’m already impressed with her vitality and heart.
Nicole @ One Significant Moment at a Time – Nicole is away in France right now and this is my way of letting her know we haven’t forgotten about her.
Carol @ Carol’s Prints – Beauty, brains, and a comical wit that tickles me every time.  I never miss one of her post.
Laura @ Wavy Lines – Not only do I learn a lot at her blog, but she is one of my ‘Like Minded’ that always leaves insightful comments for me.
Tiana Smith – I’ve known Tiana a long time (in blog years) and I’m still enamored by her blog as much as that very first visit.
Lydia @ The Word Is My Oyster – She is proof that blog friends can help each other out in the real world too.

Finally, I wanted to let everyone know about a contest my good friend Kristi Chestnutt is having over at her blog right now.  It’s a real easy contest celebrating…well…really nothing in particular…but she’s giving away some great prizes.  I’m not really sure how long it’s running, so you better hop over there right now.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Group Hug


I'm feeling the blog love especially strong today, so I say a group hug is in order.  Everybody who feels the same should join in below.  Old friend, new friend, east coast, west coast, northern or southern hemisphere, contribute in whatever fashion suits you best.

My wish is that we could do this for real...someday.

I feed off of your energy and grow stronger everday.  You people ROCK!



(((HUG)))

The Safest Place in the World.....

.....has always been right here, next to him.


I love you Dad!  Happy Fathers Day!

Blogging Buddies around the Globe – Epic Fail?

It’s now been six weeks since I started on my quest and it appears that I’m going to come up considerably short. I’ve only picked up a couple new states since my last update and it appears this mission will end up dying on the branch. I knew that obtaining linkage with fellow bloggers in other countries was an extreme long-shot, but I thought for sure I could wrangle representation from within the US. It looks like I’m close to receiving my very first rejection, without even sending a query letter. I’m not giving up yet though, there’s one more push left in me, but I need your help.

I have comments from people representing fourty-three US states and sixteen countries. Overall I amassed 101 responses. Lots of you offered to be counted twice (or more than that) based on where you called home compared to where you lived now, but I was determined to play fair and only use locations where people are currently located. Here’s the final list of states I DO NOT HAVE represented:

Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

If a follower of yours resides in one of these states, could you give them a shout-out for me?

As far as the countries go, it’s still easier to just list the ones I DO HAVE:

Australia, Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zeland, Norway, Serbia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

I’m sure that if I turned to Google Analytics to analyze my site hits, I would see traffic from each of the 50 states. That’s not what I’m after. What can you learn from a site hit? Nothing. Somebody could have been searching for a cheap cruise, or researching the average cruising altitude for jet airplanes and stumbled across my blog accidentally. I desire interaction, active participation, feedback about the words I’m tacking up on this electronic bulletin board. I get that in spades from a significant portion of the ‘Like Minded’ that follow me regularly, but I’m greedy, I want more. A nudge in my direction is all I’m after, I’ll do the rest.

I’ve decided to give this effort another two weeks and then let the sun set. If it doesn’t work out, oh well. Live and learn. I’m won’t be deterred by this setback.

You’ll never be an astronaut unless you look to the stars.

Fluff

Anyone notice that my last couple of posts have been rather somber, reflective, leaning towards the philosophical. I didn’t want to give you the impression that I’m depressed, or all straight-faced and serious, because that’s not the case. To prove it, today I offer… FLUFF.

First off, what do you think of the new site-design? That’s what happens when you’re in a San Antonio hotel room at 6:30 AM waiting for the rest of your family to wake up. I think I finally captured the essence of what I was going after, the same feeling that my blog title is intended to communicate. When I stare at it I feel more sedate, calm. The stress just falls away as I imagine myself soaring at thirty-thousand feet, a gentle breeze in my face and the rhythmic beat of my heart the only sound. *sigh*

How about a lesson? This little short-course will illustrate the differences between male & female’s English use.

WOMEN'S ENGLISH:
1. Yes = No
2. No = Yes
3. Maybe = No
4. We need = I want
5. I am sorry = You'll be sorry
6. We need to talk = You're in trouble
7. Sure, go ahead = You better not
8. Do what you want = You will pay for this later
9. I am not upset = Of course, I am upset, you moron!
10. You're certainly attentive tonight = Is sex all you ever think about?

MEN'S ENGLISH:
1. I am hungry = I am hungry
2. I am sleepy = I am sleepy
3. I am tired = I am tired
4. Nice dress = Nice cleavage!
5. I love you = Let’s have sex now
6. I am bored = Do you want to have sex?
7. May I have this dance? = I'd like to have sex with you.
8. Can I call you sometime? = I'd like to have sex with you.
9. Do you want to go to a movie? = I'd like to have sex with you.
10. Can I take you out to dinner? = I'd like to have sex with you.
11. I don't think those shoes go with that outfit = I'm gay

And finally, I’ve found this beautiful summer poem and thought it might help make your day. It did me, and it's very well written. ENJOY!

"Summer "
a poem by Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre
  
SHIT!
It's Hot !

Before and….still Before?

We’ve all seen those advertisements on TV, in magazines and newspapers – miraculous transformations of some type or another. Weight loss, hair growth, muscle toning, tanning from a bottle, an endless parade of promises so rarely kept. Each one with the obligatory before and after shots. I swear that the pictures in some of those weight loss ads have been purposely reversed, with the after actually taken when the subject was slim & trim, and the before following months of constant gorging.  My question is this...at what point do they really become after?  I mean, if somebody lost 50 pounds with a miracle diet, couldn't they have been successful at 45?  40?

We as writers are striving for our own form of metamorphosis, from fledgling writer to published author. All you need to do is scroll down through your Google Reader or take a stroll through our blogging community to see numerous before pictures. When one of our comrades achieves the dream by landing an agent, their blog will sometimes undergo a face-lift to reflect their new stature, but most of the time it remains the same and we simply view it differently.  The after picture forms in our own mind.

Each one of us realizes the reality...that there are no miracle transformations. Regardless of what you see advertised, it takes a lot of time, hard work and dedication to reach that after picture. There is no book, web-seminar, on-line class, or conference that will turn you from a novice to novelist overnight. All that educational material can help, no doubt, but you have to do the work! Sure there are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions, and they are few and far between. The majority of published writers churn out ream after ream of unrealized material before traction takes hold and they lurch forward to the next step.

The cameraman won’t be looking for my after snapshot anytime soon, but I’m also not the same writer I was when that image slowly developed on my before picture. I’ve wrote, and studied, wrote, and listened, wrote, and edited, wrote, and revised, wrote, and critiqued, wrote, and read, until my eyes have gone cross. When they do eventually take that after picture and hold it up beside the before, I’m going to laugh.  Signing an agent might someday be the event that warrants a picture, but the transformation will have occurred much earlier.

I am so much more than …before.  How about you?

Blog Years

The first official post for my blog was on January 22, 2009.  It was an inauspicious little tale about a neighbor boy and his bike.  My next post didn’t appear until six months later, on July 6th.  After that second post I began updating my blog more regularly, at least a couple articles a week.  Because of the long gap at the beginning, a misstep if you will, I consider July 6th to be the real inception date of my blogs existence.  DL trivia fans now know the whole truth (hint…hint). 

In just four weeks my blog will be celebrating its birthday.  One year, 113 posts (now 114), 7167 site hits, 328 Google friend followers, 17 Networked Blogs followers, dozens of blog awards and thousands of comments later.  This simple communication tool has cut a path through the obscurity forest and led me to this quaint little village filled with acquaintances, friends, dear-friends, collaborators, critique partners, admired role-models, and wide-eyed beginners, all with “like minds”.  So much has happened while building and settling into my cottage, that I’m amazed that it’s only been one year. 

And countless numbers of you have been through the same experience.  So many in fact that I started taking a closer look at the blogs I follow.  It turns out that most of them came into being right about the same time as mine.  The average looked to be about a year old…maybe two.  It makes you wonder…where are the older blogs…the ones that have been around for 5-6 years?  Are there any?  If so, where did they go?

What is the life span of a writer’s blog?  I think a blog doesn’t age the way we normally expect.  Maybe it’s more akin to dog years?  One blog year equates to seven years in the real world.  Think about how fast paced things seem to happen in this community?  As an individual the publication process seems so long and drawn out, but when we look out into the blogosphere something is always happening to somebody.  Drafts started, WIP’s edited, critiques returned, revisions endured, queries offered, rejections suffered, THE CALL celebrated, manuscripts sold, cover-art debated, books launched.  With all that going on it’s easy to see how time feels accelerated.  So, how soon does it take for a blog to reach adulthood, middle-age, the golden years?

Me, I see my blog as just beginning to mature.  I still catch myself making youthful, headstrong, selfish mistakes, but I’m becoming comfortable with my place in this world and the expectations I’ve created.  I’ve gone from crawling in January 2009…to baby-steps in July…to confident strides today.  All in one year.  Like I said…dog years.

What about you?  How old is your blog and where do you fall in the blog aging process?

Blogging Buddies around the Globe – Update #2

It’s now been four weeks since the launch of my audacious quest to link with a follower in every state and country across the globe. Anybody care how it’s going? Great…glad you asked! I’ve now received comments from people representing thirty-five US states and thirteen countries (once again - I’m only using locations where people are currently located…no switch-hitters). Here are the states I DO NOT HAVE represented and need help with:

Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

As far as the countries go, it’s still easier to just list the ones I DO HAVE:

Australia, Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Somebody asked me why I just didn’t check the profiles of my followers and make note of their locations, or utilize Google Analytics to get the information that way. Out of 328 followers surely I had all fifty states covered. I could do that, but I wanted this to be an interactive endeavor with active participation. So I’m only counting the ‘Like Minded’ that post a comment, or e-mailed me directly.

If you’re a follower and currently live in one of the states I don’t have covered, or a country NOT listed above, please leave a comment on my original post here and be counted. If you know a blogger, or a blog reader, who resides in one of these areas, please give them a nudge in my direction.

Hey…even if you’re one of the ‘like-minded’(or would like to become one) who lives in a state or country already represented, go ahead and post a comment anyway. Let me know where you’re from. So far Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are tied for the most Cruising Altitude followers.

Just 15 states and 182 countries to go! Piece of cake! 
 

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