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My Scattered Thoughts: IWSG page

May 1 Question:
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

I was writing a column for Phi Kappy Phi's Forum, a quarterly magazine at the time, and wanted to use the pendulum as a metaphor for the changes resulting from educational reform in elementary and middle schools. So I contacted the Museum of Science in Boston, where a Foucault Pendulum swings in the foyer. I sent an email to the librarian, but didn't hear back. A week later, I sent a followup, and did get a response. I asked for information regarding their particular pendulum. Within another week, I received an abundance of information from their librarian. 

A month or so later, I went in to the museum with a copy of the magazine, intending to give it to the librarian as a thank you for the help I'd received. I introduced myself, and my husband, and then gave her the magazine. I told her I had used some of the technical information in my column, and could not have done so without the articles sent to me from the museum.

She looked stunned and said in surprise, "You're a woman?" I answered yes, and my husband stepped up to the counter and said hello. 

She apologized then, and said that the spelling of my name made her think I was a male writer for the Forum.  We chuckled and made our way out of the library.  I had wondered why I received such a generous amount of information from the library, and why my being a woman seemed to disappoint her ... but mine is not to question why. 

For reviews of my 'Pendulum' article, click this link:

March 1 Question:
Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I pulled out a really old song that I'd written back when I was nineteen. It was a melancholy poem that I'd put to music using simple C, and G7 chords on my inexpensive nylon-string folk guitar. I'd learned those chords from a friend who had taken formal lessons and then shared what she'd learned at our informal 'hootenanny' meetings.

It is always humbling and enlightening to read old poems written by oneself at a different age; the angst of being a young college students in the mid-sixties - the turbulent times, the political ironies and the economic challenges often resulted in morose lines on my page. When I looked again at that early poem/song, I was struck by the hopelessness that sounded - softly and redundantly - throughout the verses.

I decided then to write additional stanzas, and as the words flew onto the page I was pleased to find room in the message of the original to answer the question raised there. And the answer resonated with confidence, contentment and a rational optimism, reflected my acceptance of retirement and an achieved life of happily ever after. 

The question in the 1969 five stanza, twenty-line poem was "If life is just one endless circle of youth, maturity and age, why am I scared to round the corner ... why do I fear to turn the page?"

For the 2010, six stanza, twenty-four-line sequel that answers this, visit at this page:

February 1 Question: 
How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

As you read the post entries of this blog, ( click on the header of Terry's Thoughts and Threads to reach the home page and posts) you'll note that my book reviews for other authors reflects a change in tone and depth. A few years ago, having recently retired from teaching eighth grade writers, my reviews seemed to reflect an evaluative style. But as the free writing time increased for me, so did my reviewing time, and I began looking beyond the mechanics of the book ... I began commenting more on the character development, the descriptive passages, and the point of view, something I was struggling with myself as a writer.

When I was writing about MS, I was reading about it. When I was writing about small town life, I was reading more character-centered stories, and when I began writing a mystery I read and reviewed many self-published mysteries.

I'm stumped, now, as the main character in my new mystery series, based on my own wonderful husband, is at a fork in the road. My husband passed away recently, unexpectedly, and the premise of my work in this mystery series is suddenly altered ... I began this series as a promise to him and to myself that we would still be enjoying our happily ever after fifteen years from now, in our eighties ... and now he will never reach that decade with me. I am frozen as a writer ... I do not know whether to continue this series, or begin another as a widow rather than the wife of a wonderful husband...

To  read my introduction of this series and the characters it features, click on this link to reach the page I'd written at this blog more than two years ago, when the series was begun. I welcome your suggestions in the comments below. I truly am stuck, presently.

January 4 Question: 
What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

I’ve never met a writing rule I didn’t like. I know that makes me an anomaly among teenagers of the nineteen-sixties, but there it is. Rules are typically easy to follow, predictable in their rewards or consequences, and predominantly fair.

Did I write that? How have I become this complacent, calm, accepting senior citizen?

Have I yielded to age after all, finding comfort in following boundary-reinforcing rules?
  • After the angst of being a college student who was never intended to be such … 
  • after the years of furthering my education while parenting and teaching full time … 
  • after my first meltdown career that preceded my long-term faculty position … 
  • after my reluctant retirement due to a medical condition I have yet to reconcile with my sense of self … 
  • after four years of compliance with a prescription of self injections that I hated, feared and doubted … 
  • after my rebellious rejection of said prescription in the face of self-recrimination for having allowed others to dictate my fate … 
  • after finding a way to self-publish seven books within that first year of retirement … after starting a mystery series with one and one half books completed … 
  • after my manic denial of age and impairment when I opened my own small business …  
  • after investing more money than I ever would have done in my pre-diagnosis life chasing a dream … 
  • after defying the predicted fatigue by spending so much energy developing my quilt shop … 
Nah…. watch me!


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. <3 What a wonderful tribute to your husband and the love and friendship you shared. It must be so hard not to have those years as you'd dreamed of and planned ahead of you. Maybe continuing to write this series will be a way to keep him alive in your heart and bring him to life for many readers. After my mom passed away, I wrote a novel and she makes a cameo appearance as do I. For that moment in the story, she and I will forever be together talking and laughing on that bench I wrote us on. Maybe continuing to write the series will help you to heal and live out some of the adventures you'd hoped to share yet. Blessings, Christy

    1. Thank you for commenting here ... I still have not returned to the mystery series, but maybe the future will bring me some peace in addressing it.

  2. Awesome - I didn't know you were a guitar player and musician. Writing new music from old must be really satisfying.

    1. Good that you used the past tense in the comment, Alex, as my old guitar still sits in a corner of the bedroom, collecting dust, I'm afraid. It's funny - my left fingernails are still shorter than my right hand's ... they had to be for the frets, while the rights had to be longer for the pics ...


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