I’m Still Here

And I find myself attempting to write poetry.

Window poem

A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW
It is raining outside my window.
Climate scientists predict New England will be a tropical rain forest in the future.
It’s not hard to imagine.
Average rainfall in Vermont is 36.7 inches.
Days w/ precipitation – 151.

Fog enveloped many of our days this year.
Literally.
And existentially.

It is 4 days to the midterm elections.
My younger daughter in Montana sends a text.
“If we don’t win the House we’re fucked.”
Indeed.
That is not exaggeration.

I light a fire in the wood stove.
And gaze out the window
Where the leaves have dropped and the rain pours down.
A stained glass piece made by a friend in Rhode Island hangs in the window.
Its prism captures rainbows.
When the sun shines.

Pheasant feathers to the right were given to me by my friend’s daughter when I visited South Dakota.
The turkey feather to the left was found in our backyard.
A local artist made the vase.

I brought the pine cone home from Colorado where my oldest daughter now lives.
I don’t know why I carried it home from the Rocky Mountains to the Green Mountains.
There are plenty of pine cones in my Vermont yard.
To the left of the pheasant feathers is a piece of wood Rich found in our yard in New Hampshire.
Where we once lived and raised our daughters.
He thought it looked like a bird.
It does.
If you have the ability to form new ideas.
To ask Why Not.

This found treasure came with us to Florida where we also once lived.
Then moved to the B&B in Connecticut where we worked as innkeepers.
There’s a long skinny piece of wood you can’t make out.
Below the crank that opens the window.
Discovered on a hike in Lake Tahoe when our peripatetic eldest child lived there.
We all agree it looks like a snake.

The views out my windows hold stories of our life and of a country we were once proud to call home.

I am older now.
My life savings won’t cover an exodus.
My daughters are here.
Out West.
Across the Great Divide.

I don’t know what the future holds.
I long to be home.
With a still life of a window
In a country I once knew.

Advertisements

More From The National Civil Rights Museum

When we left the National Civil Rights Museum my husband and I were deeply moved. He said, “Every American needs to visit this place.” And he’s right.

View this post on Instagram

THE LORRAINE HOTEL: MEMPHIS, TN Rich and I were deeply moved by our visit to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. My husband is not a very sentimental guy or at least he’s not very good at expressing emotions. He was brought up in a family of nine, seven of them boys. Some of his older brothers were exposed to the problems within the Catholic church. I don’t talk about it often, it’s their story to tell and some of them have shared it with the Boston Globe. That’s Rich’s reflection in the window looking into the hotel room were Martin Luther King Jr. was staying the night before he was assassinated. From the time you enter the museum and travel through 500 years of slavery and through The Reformation, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, then the hotel room where you leave the building and cross the street to the warehouse where the sniper took aim, it is impossible to not leave here without being deeply moved. As Rich said when we left, “Every American needs to visit this place.” “And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” – Martin Luther King Let’s make that happen in our lifetime, please. It’s shameful how things are moving backwards. #nationalcivilrightsmuseum #mlkquote #blacklivesmatter #messagesfromamerica #refectionsinawindow #untiltheroadends

A post shared by Sheila Blanchette (@sheilablanchett) on

View this post on Instagram

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM – MEMPHIS, TN A visit to this interactive museum impresses upon the participant the power and necessity of protest and speaking up in a democracy run by We The People. From Rosa Parks to the diners that had “No Coloreds Allowed” signs on the door, acts of civil disobedience required bravery to make a difference. We need to be reminded of this every once in awhile when times of complacency and apathy set in. The Days of Trump were not an overnight occurrence. It was a decades long disaster in the making. #wethepeople #thislandisyourland #civildisobedience #teachyourchildrenwell #historymatters #blacklivesmatter #visitamuseum #blueridgeadventurevehicles #messagesfromamerica #untiltheroadends #thedaysoftrump

A post shared by Sheila Blanchette (@sheilablanchett) on

If you enjoy the stories you’ll love the books. Under The Same has received wonderful reviews. I am deeply humbled and hope this book can reach more people because it’s message is so very important.

And I’m not sure what’s going on with my second novel, Take Me Home, but it’s having a resurgence of sales and picking up more reviews. So thank you to everyone who’s reading and reviewing.

bit.ly/sheilablanchetteauthor

 

A Visit to the National Civil Rights Museum – Part One

I’m sharing Stories From the Road over on my Instagram account and will start sharing them here too. I love using pictures and words to tell a story and it’s easier to post a short story over on Instagram, hit the Facebook and Twitter buttons, and get a one stop shop for social media advertising.

Typos are a problem because my old 2002 Subaru bounces along the highways and scenic byways. Late at night in a timeshare or hotel room I find myself lying in bed editing. I am the queen of typos even without the potholes and sudden stop and go of heavy traffic.

One of the highlights of our trip has been the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Here are the pictures and words:

View this post on Instagram

FROM THE ROAD: LOVIN’ MEMPHIS We were on the road from Asheville to Memphis for 8 hours. The air conditioning wasn’t working and Rich was cranky. We were trying to make it by 3 o’ clock because the National Civil Rights Museum closes at five. I don’t know where to begin with this story of Memphis. This city stole our hearts and if you’ve read my books you know I have a hard time telling a story in a straight line. But I’ll start at the beginning when we got to the museum at 4:15 and stood outside the Lorraine Hotel. My eyes teared up. We both felt we were walking into history. What a special, sacred place this is. It tells the story from slavery to civil rights. A complicated, sad, often shameful piece of history. It broke our hearts and as Rich said, “Every American needs to visit this place.” I took so many photos and I’ll share them but I’m going to start with this little girl, Sheila Malone, who spoke to Sheila Blanchette née McGowan and gave me hope to keep my chin up and keep fighting for what is right and just. This is what little Sheila Malone said the day she started 1st grade at one of the 13 Memphis schools to integrate: “I said, ‘If he calls me a nigger again I’m going to hit him.’ And when he got ready to say it, I hit him in the mouth…An he started to holler, ‘She hit me, she hit me!’ And the policeman said, ‘Well you shouldn’t have called her a nigger.” More stories to come from Memphis but right now I’m tired and deeply moved by this amazing American city. #storiesfromtheroad #memphisblues #americancities #blacklivesmatter #speakup #bebrave #teachyourchildrenwell #civilrightsmuseum #resist #historymatters #messagesfromamerica

A post shared by Sheila Blanchette (@sheilablanchett) on

I’m Still Here. I’m Still Writing.

And I’m still learning how to master social media. I’ve watched the amazing young people from Parkland, Florida speak up and harness the power of this sometimes perplexing, confusing, and occasionally harmful medium.

We use social media to share stories of hope.  With its power to reach millions of people we have the ability to inspire movements. We sell books, jewelry, fitness programs, and a growing number of people are even selling sobriety.  We keep in touch with friends, reconnect with people we’ve lost touch with, and make new friends.

And we can also fall prey to fake news that can sway elections and harm our democracy.

I use it to keep in touch with friends and family and to sell books. And sometimes I sell them at Hometown Book Pop-ups that are held in pubs and restaurants that have cozy nooks in the bar where I meet readers, sell books, sign copies of my books, answer questions, and share glasses of wine or mugs of locally brewed beer. I find Facebook helps me reach more people who show up at these Pop-Ups and become new friends.

I used to blog here a lot but I began to question whether or not blogs sold books.  I also struggled with how to get people to comment and join the dialogue. I have very lively conversations on my Facebook pages. Yes, I have more than one, there’s my personal page and my author page.  But more on that later.

I’d love to hear from other bloggers about their experience selling books and blogging. Do you think blogs are passé’? Have you cut back on your blogging? Does a blog sell books? How do you know if it’s working?

In September, I  published my fourth novel, Under The Same Sun. I blogged a bit in the beginning but felt Facebook and Instagram were far more effective tools. I am also currently using Ereader News Today – advertising all four of my books with a monthly email promo. Life Is All This will be on sale this month. I haven’t received a date yet but I’ll let you know when I do.

Some of you mentioned you had been enjoying my blogs for quite some time – I started blogging five years ago – but you hadn’t bought any of the books and thought it was high time you checked them out. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

Being an Indie author is lonely sometimes. You don’t have a literary agent to cheer you on. You don’t have a publisher promoting your books. But I don’t mind doing all the work and  I love hearing directly from readers. I’d just like to know what it is that is actually working.

How did you find me? What made you buy the book?

As you can see I use Instagram a lot. It’s a one stop shop. I post short stories or excerpts from my books that include photos from my travels that inspired various scenes in the books. I have received so much advice regarding the American attention span. “Your blogs are too long.” “People only read 1000 words, if that.” I don’t know what the truth is. When I do sit down to write a blog it’s still too long.

Pictures and short stories do seem to grab people’s attention but my favorite feature on Instagram are the share buttons. I can click on Facebook and Twitter and hit up three social media sites with one post, then get back to writing the next novel.

Of course I don’t know if these Instagram posts sell books either, unless I hear from readers. I’d love it if Amazon shared data the way WordPress does. Where do my buyers come from? What links brought them to my Amazon page? If WordPress can do this, you know Amazon can. Why don’t they? If I can effectively sell more books isn’t that to Amazon’s benefit?

If you know a way to get this information, please let know.

A fifth novel is percolating. I intentionally spent less time writing and a lot of time promoting Under The Same Sun this winter. It has paid off and also increased interest in the three previous books. Things are happening, slow but steady.  Sales are up for all four books and they’re all getting good reviews. Under The Same Sun, a timely novel, is being well received and the reviews give me hope that America is a place that cares.

 

View this post on Instagram

Trains are always nearby out West, crossing the plains, hugging the mountainside, boxcars filled with tales of new places, adventure, hobos, and romantic trysts. From The Reverse Commute: “We were on a train with a couple from Ireland, a young boy and his girlfriend. The boy was quite a storyteller. In Spain somewhere, the Pyrenees I think, the train traveled through a series of tunnels carved into the mountains. The lights would flicker and leave us in total darkness. The boy was a chain smoker and used his hands when he told his stories. The light at the tip of his cigarette swirled and made mesmerizing circles in the dark. His stories were tales of his everyday life, but they were fascinating. It was the first time I realized anyone’s life could be interesting if they told the story right, even the boring parts.” bit.ly/buythereversecommute #traintracks #thereversecommute #writinginspiration #lonesomewhistle #everydaylife

A post shared by Sheila Blanchette (@sheilablanchett) on

Rich and I are heading out on another road trip soon to visit our daughters who live in Colorado and Montana. The road is calling. It’s where the inspiration comes from and it is where I am happiest. I will be posting stories on IG and when a really good story comes my way – a story of a thousand words or more – I’ll share it here.

I do miss blogging but I have bills to pay and books to write. I’ve spent the winter cleaning ski condos, painting with Rich, and editing The Reverse Commute, my first novel. There are only so many hours in a day and I put a lot of time and effort into these blogs.

I’ll be traveling to Asheville, Memphis, Arkansas, Wichita, Colorado, Park City, Montana, South Dakota and back to Vermont. If you’re somewhere along the route and would like to host a Hometown Book Pop-Up or belong to a book club that would like to have the author join them, message me. I could try to arrange something. And most of the time I am always available throughout New England and  New York.

In the meantime, I invite you to follow me on Instagram where there are Stories From Higley Hill at least once a day.

P.S. I managed to keep this  blog to just under a thousand words. 979 to be exact.

On Writing Take Me Home

Take Me Home is a straightforward love story of finding love late in life. It travels from Rhode Island to Florida then across the country to Idaho and back east to the North Fork of Long Island – all in chronological order. It is a knee jerk reaction to some of the reviews of The Reverse Commute. I didn’t want to confuse the linear readers.

Josie Wolcott has lived a different life than I have. She was an unwed mother, a single mom, a divorcée. However, Josie and I do share a common profession and a restless need to wander. We also both possess a not always rational belief that life might be better somewhere else. Josie puts it this way:

“Oh, I’m very familiar with that struggle. When things go wrong, I tend to run, as if life will be better in a new place. The problem is, the place may be new, but I brought myself along on the journey. I still have to deal with her, the restless eternal wanderer.”

After I wrote Take Me Home I didn’t spend a lot of time promoting it. Two months later, Life Is All This came knocking on the door. Florida had a fertile sense of place. The sights, the sounds, the lifestyle.

Recently reading this book and re-editing a bit, I have once again fallen in love with the story I wrote. Josie is an extremely thoughtful character. She has a lot of insights I still find to be true.

After Rich and I sold the house in New Hampshire, I left for Florida and he stayed behind for two months to finish a job he was working on. He was offered a housesitting opportunity at a large old farmhouse with an apartment above the barn. It was directly across the Squamscott River from our old house. A very good friend of mine from Rhode Island joined me on my road trip to the Sunshine State.

When I arrived in Florida, I stayed with another friend for almost a month. She had offered me lodging until Rich arrived but it didn’t work out as expected. There were numerous complications I won’t get into. By the first of March, I found myself alone in an apartment that was not quite what I had imagined my Florida life to be like.

I had started a new novel shortly after I arrived in Florida but I was constantly being offered advice on writing a sequel to The Reverse Commute. I wasn’t sure how that story would lend itself to a sequel. It made no sense to me. I was just beginning to live my real life sequel to the story. I had no idea how the Florida experiment would work out. Should I write about Ray and Sophie running a B&B? Rich and Sheila would run a B&B but that was two years off in the future.

So I started a story about the young girl and the Best Boy living in Los Angeles. It was a mess. My sister basically told me to trash it. “You’re not in the right environment. This story makes no sense,” she told me.

Alone in my apartment, some random stand alone scenes came to me.

The apartment was dark and stuffy. She stroked her hand along the kitchen wall until she felt the light switch. The room looked empty and forlorn. Who lives in a place like this, she asked herself, looking at the two folding chairs and the bare walls with no pictures.

sports chairs

Who was this woman? What was she doing in Florida? I had no idea, but I kept writing. I was experiencing single life for the first time in years. I was far from home, alone, thinking about what it would be like to be divorced or widowed.

I wrote down the story of the scary mammogram I had back in New Hampshire.

There was an insomniac living above me, opening and closing the deck door all night long. I wrote that down, too. At the time it was just She. Josie hadn’t fully formed yet. Her son, Luke, did not exist.

  Despite being exhausted, Josie had a hard time falling asleep. The apartment didn’t feel like home. Luke’s presence didn’t change the feeling of dislocation she often felt. She closed her eyes, listening to the peepers.

  The sound of the sliding door opening to the deck above jolted her out of an uneasy sleep. Rolling along the track, the sound rumbled through the apartment as the door slid shut with a thud. Every few minutes it happened again, and again, and again. She mumbled, “Goddamn it.” The door slid shut, punctuating her thought. They must be crack addicts, cokeheads, neurotic chain smokers. Some nights it went on until three, starting up again at five in the morning. She turned on the light, stacked her pillows, and picked up a book by the side of her bed.

I took more notes on observations I made and people I met. The exchange between Josie and the Middle Eastern woman, regarding Josie’s parking skills, did happen to me one morning when I was leaving for work.

When Rich arrived, we did enjoy the Florida bar scene at first, but it quickly became old and expensive. We started to take day trips, sightseeing and walking the beach or the Great Florida Birding Trails. Wakadatchatchie became a favorite bird watching excursion several nights a week. I spent a year blogging about my Florida walks. The pleasure of walking made its way into the book. So did the bar scene with its two-for-one happy hours.

Josie’s boss in Florida was based on a man I worked for in Exeter, NH when I was temping during a fourteen month lay-off. I have had so many temp jobs and worked with so many clients when I ran my own bookkeeping business I have been able to accumulate an entire library of characters.

The idea to make Andy Radcliffe an optometrist came to me when I talked to an old friend at a funeral we attended back in New England. His optical shop was struggling due to competition from Walmart and Lenscrafters. When his son thought he might like to take over the business, our friend advised against it. It was a side of the changing economy I had often thought about. A friend of mine’s first husband owned a local hardware store and he too had to sell his business because of the competition from Home Depot and Lowe’s. I’m always aware of the zeitgeist and these observations make their way into my stories. I’m writing about the times I live in and how ordinary lives are effected by circumstances beyond our control. It relates to a topic I’ve been posting about on Facebook; a topic you never hear politicians talk about. One of the many reasons why so many Americans don’t have sufficient retirement savings.

While I was still alone in Florida, I watched the Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day parade from a bar stool on Atlantic Avenue. Bar stools are fertile ground for collecting stories. A man from Chicago who once played the saxophone for a living and belonged to the musician’s union told me his story and it ended up in the chapter when Josie goes boating on the Intracoastal.

“So what do you do, Josie?”
  “I’m an office manager for a builder. How about you?”
  “I manage a golf course, but in my heart I am still a saxophonist. I used to work in a band, playing nightclubs, weddings, bar mitzvahs, all over Chicago. We marched in parades, too. I did that until I was in my early thirties, back when the musicians’ union had a lock on the jobs. You couldn’t march in the St. Paddy’s Day Parade unless you were a union band. But that all ended, they busted the unions, so I moved on to golf course management. I got a job as a superintendent at a country club outside Chicago then the recession came along and hit the golf industry hard. I lost that job, too. So, Florida’s the place to be if you work on a golf course, right? I moved down here five years ago and I love it.”

Jacob may be entirely fictional but his dialogue comes from stories Rich shared with me after his long days working construction in the hot Florida sun. My husband is the one who taught me about cracking foundations and rebar. He also told me a second-hand story of a plumber who pissed in the kitchen sink of a mansion on the beach.

From a drywall contractor in Pompano Beach to another temp job during my year of unemployment during the Great Recession, I myself have done bookkeeping for many guys in the building industry. In Hampton, NH there was a wonderful guy who kept beers in his fridge for his crew to drink at the end of the day.  Jacob is a compilation of many men I have known.

  “Hey.” He pointed to a guy at a table to the left of them. “Doesn’t that guy look like Alec Baldwin?”
  “No way. Alec Baldwin is much better looking. That guy’s nose is hideous.” Josie laughed.
  The bartender walked by. Jacob swirled his hand over their drinks, indicating they wanted another round.
  “You really think he looks like Alec Baldwin? He’s not even wearing a toupée, he’s wearing a wig. He’s gross.”
  The guy in question, the supposed Alec Baldwin look alike, had a bulbous red, bumpy nose.
  “Maybe one of his younger brothers?” Jacob asked.
  “No, not at all,” she said.
  “Okay.” Jacob pushed the second margarita toward her. “But after a couple of these, Hollywood will come to you, too.”

I write simply what I hear, what I see. I keep these stories in journals. They are stories I feel need to be shared, like the demise of unions and the changing economy of big box stores putting the sole proprietor out of business. These are things that happen to the very real people I meet along my journey through life. Like this line from the man from Chicago I met at the St. Patrick’s Day parade. I wrote it down on a cocktail napkin after he left the bar to join the St. Paddy’s day revelers out on the street.

“There used to be a time when a guy could support a family playing the saxophone. I still see myself as a musician. It’s a part of my self-image, even when I’m researching fertilizer options and arguing at town meetings over run-off.”

In Take Me Home the reader is left to make of this what they will.

Josie’s stories of traveling through Europe are one of the few things that are actually my stories. When I was alone in Florida I read my travel journals. Mrs. Erna Sommers at the B&B in Rothenberg and Mrs. Penock and the train ride to Amsterdam are both true stories.

“Among the invisible tools of creative individuals is their ability to hold on to the specific texture of their past. Their skill is akin to that of a rural family who lives through the winter on food stored in their root cellar.” ~ Vera John-Steiner

I have been to Edinburgh but Josie’s story of her time there is pure fiction.

Other than the backpacking tales, the story of  Josie’s Aunt Maddie is the only other literal truth plucked from my own life. I had a great aunt who lived with my paternal grandparents in Providence. She never married but she did have an engagement ring in a shoebox in her bedroom closet. Aunt Maddie’s story is my Great Aunt Josie’s story (and that is how Josie, my character, got her name).

James Salter once said: “There comes a time in life, when you realize that everything is a dream; only those things which are written down have any possibility of being real.”

What would happen to my Great Aunt Josie’s story if I didn’t share it?

So I got to a point where I had these random chapters and no idea where they were going. Then we took a vacation out west to drive our daughter from her college campus in Denver to Yellowstone National Park where she was working that summer. We stayed at a fishing lodge along the Snake River in Idaho.

Upper Mesa Falls Ashton, ID

“Good evening,” he said. “Beautiful country, isn’t it?”
She looked up, smiling. “Yes, it’s lovely.”
“I think I’m going to have to try my hand at that.”
He pointed to the river where a fisherman was casting his fly. It was a lovely sight with the late day sun scintillating across the water’s surface.
“Are you visiting from Australia?” she asked.
He scoffed. “No, no. I’m a Kiwi. Home’s Dunedin, New Zealand.”
“Sorry, I thought your accent was Australian,” she said.
There it was again, her chronic apologies.
“Well, I’ll let you get back to whatever you’re doing. Time to shower up. Did you enjoy the falls?” he asked.
“Yes, I did.”
She turned the laptop toward him to show him a shot of the trailhead to the falls. It was taken from an old inn, the photo framed by the posts on the front porch.
“Nice eye,” he said, abruptly turning to go back in his room.

I had seen this man earlier in the day when we hiked to Mesa Falls. He did shout out to me to use the men’s room. Coincidentally, he ended up in the room next to us. He and I had this conversation while Rich and Michelle napped in our room. The rest is pure fiction.

Josie was becoming a living, breathing character. She was constantly on my mind; she was traveling with me on this western road trip.  So naturally I thought, “What if  Josie ran into this man? What if she was moving to Idaho to manage a fishing lodge?”

At the time, I thought the Kiwi would be a major character until I got to the end of the chapter and the story took a different turn. I was on the road, traveling through the West and my imagination ran wild.

To quote James Salter once again: “There is no situation like the open road, and seeing things completely afresh. I’m used to traveling. It’s not a question of meeting or seeing new faces particularly, or hearing new stories, but of looking at life in a different way. It’s the curtain coming up on another act. I’m not the first person who feels that it’s the writer’s true occupation to travel. In a certain sense, a writer is an exile, an outsider, always reporting on things, and it is part of his life to keep on the move.”

The story took off.  Jacob, the good ole Florida guy, evolved. The character of Andy Radcliffe developed. He and Josie had quirky families. Josie’s son Luke was easy. Sense of place has always been effortless for me.

Then along came Andy’s dog, Fergus, who I constantly had to worry about. I only had dogs when I was growing up. I never owned them in my adult life. I had to figure out what to do about Fergus when Andy was traveling around. While writing this book I realized this is why I had cats. Dogs are a pain in the ass.

Luke had an evening class so he left a key under the doormat. A lack of feminine upkeep was apparent upon entering the apartment. Dirty dishes were in the sink, the fridge empty except for a carton of ice cream and a twelve pack of Avalanche beer. Crushed beer cans and glasses were strewn around the living room. All signs pointing to the absence of Melanie.
  “Oh no, I think Luke broke up with his girlfriend. Do you want a beer?” she asked.
  “Sure,” Andy said. “Except for living in a college dorm, I never did get much of this bachelor pad experience at a young age,” he said, wistfully glancing around the room.
  “From the looks of it, you weren’t missing much,” she said.
  The spare bedroom appeared to be occupied. She lifted the cushions on the sofa, it wasn’t a pull out.
  “I think we may have to find a hotel room. I can’t believe Luke didn’t tell me what was going on.”
  “He’s a twenty-two-year-old guy, how much does he tell his mother? It’s okay,” he said, searching through his phone for hotels and finding a room right in town that allowed dogs.

  It’s hard looking back and trying to remember how the story took shape. How did I write these sentences? How did I create these people?

The landscape of the west spoke to her spirit, which she had neglected for so long. The grandeur of the mountains and the waterfalls, contrasting with the intimacy of a delicate columbine growing at the base of an aspen tree. Small tableaus set amidst the large dramatic scenery, waiting to be found on her daily walks. The big meaning of life explained within the story of a daily ritual. A hike in the woods to a waterfall with a man who was changing her outlook on life.

Columbine

And of course there was always music.

  “Is this your song?” Josie asked. “Because I was expecting some disco.”
  “No, my song should be next. Listen, I have to tell you something. I think you may be shocked by this.”
  “What?” she asked, concerned.
  “I know how to dance,” he said. “I realize this may come as a surprise to you, but I’ve been told I’m actually quite good.”
  “Did I say you couldn’t dance?”
  “I’m pretty sure you were assuming that, as you haven’t asked me to dance all night.”
  She smiled, guilty as charged. The Stones were wrapping up their song. Mick was crooning, “You make a dead man cry.” Andy took her hand and led her to the dance floor.
  “This song’s for us. Now remember, the guy leads.”
  “I know that,” she said.
  “Yeah, well I’m thinking sometimes you might forget.”
  His laugh was sweet, his eyes crinkled with a smile.
  The opening notes from a steel guitar set the beat. He tapped his foot to the music, reached around her waist and took her right hand in his left as she reached for his shoulder. Lyle Lovett started singing Private Conversation as they moved across the dance floor. He wasn’t kidding, he really could dance. And he meant it when he said he would lead. With his right hand firmly on her back, he got her to spin around, facing the opposite direction while somehow turning himself so he was facing her, the two of them changing positions without a hitch.

 

***Take Me Home is available on Amazon in Kindle and book editions. If you’ve already read the book, reviews are always kindly appreciated***

http://bit.ly/buytakemehome

facebook-banner1.jpg

We Are America: Stories From the Women’s March on Washington

It’s coming up, ladies. on January 20th, Women’s Marches are planned all over the country, from Montpellier, Vermont to Bozeman, MT. It’s impossible not to find a march somewhere near you, even if you live in a red state.

Last year I flew to DC and marched with my cousin, Ann Marie Mehlert, who is my friend Kathy’s sister. We tried to meet up with a group of friends of mine but the march was so much larger than anyone expected.

I arrived the day before by plane, train, and subway. I saw with my very own eyes that the crowd that showed up was so much larger than the one the day before. Inauguration Day.

Months later women showed up in the suburbs of Virginia and Alabama and learned we can change politics as usual.

I don’t know what happened during the passage of the tax bill but it was a lesson that we need to be ever vigilant.

This is the year we take back the Congress. This is the year we let the world know We Are America.

This year I’m meeting that group of friends I couldn’t find on the streets of DC last year. We are rendezvousing in New York City. Mothers, sister, college friends, daughters, friends who met while we raised those daughters. We’re cramming into a couple of hotel rooms and we’re taking to the streets. We’re angry and we’re heartbroken.

Share your Women’s March stories in the comments below. Where were you last year and where will you be this year?

“Women are the true architects of society.” ~ Harriett Beecher Stowe

Sheila Blanchette

Loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it” ~ Mark Twain

we-the-people We The People

January 21, 2017. We started the day with bagels and coffee and a stop at CVS for poster board and magic markers. The shelves were almost empty. It was another sign the media was underestimating this march. All that was left was a package of ten small multi-colored poster boards and medium size red and black Sharpie pens. Our signs were pretty weak compared to the other signs we would see throughout the day. We decided at our next protest we will plan ahead and make better signs.

my-bad-sign My very lame sign This is What Democracy Look Like

At the Metro the lines to purchase tickets were long. Yesterday I took the subway from Union Station to Tenleytown but only filled my card with enough money for the trip…

View original post 1,445 more words