Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"What's that you are reading?"

The other day one of my students, I’ll call him J, saw a copy of my book lying in front of my printer by my desk. J read the title out loud, “Leave Him?” and with concern in his eyes he said, “Mrs. Johnson, you are not thinking about getting a divorce, are you?”

I smiled and paused for a moment and thought that there may be potential readers out there that might be contemplating leaving him, whoever he is, but are not so bold as to have a book lying around sporting that title.

This wasn’t the only time this topic has come up. Last summer I had someone say that they might tear off the front cover so their husband wouldn’t worry.

Here’s the thing- I never wrote this story to inspire someone to leave, and the truth is that after you read these stories you are able to see the costs both I and my great-grandmother paid you would think long and hard before making that decision.

Contrary to what the title Leave Him? might suggest I never intended this book to be looked at as an answer for someone else in turmoil. Each person must make their own hard choice and live with difficult consequences. My book confirms that. What I do know is that people need to know they are not alone in their struggles, their doubts, and their fears. They need to know that the God that they may be angry at never leaves their side, nor expects more than they can give.

I have almost finished writing my latest book and am struggling to come up with a title. Unlike with Leave Him? (a title I felt strongly about from the beginning), this latest book had a working title that it seems to have outgrown as it developed. That is not the only thing that is different about my latest work. It is a suspenseful fiction book, a work based on imagination rather than experience. I hope that I have been able to bring real-life struggles to life in a fiction world.
Back to my student, J. I went on to tell him that I had written the book beside my desk. He looked a little puzzled at the name on the cover, then asked, “Is that your maiden name?”  I said no and waited for him to figure it out. I finally had to give him a hint and said, “I did leave him.” He finally understood and reached for the book saying, “I want to read it.” Yeah, one of my reluctant readers suddenly wanted to read a 332-page book. I took it from him and said, “Nope, not for students.” His curiosity wasn’t strong enough to cause him to think any more about it.

If you haven’t read it yet maybe your curiosity could inspire you to pick up a copy. Copies are available locally at Willis Jewelry Company located at 203 Adamson Square in Carrollton, Georgia, the Therapeutic Lair at 723 E. College Street in Bowdon, Georgia, on the square in downtown Newnan, Georgia in Gillyweeds at 21 W. Court Street, and at the Wildwood Charm shop at 315 S. Hamilton Street in Dalton, Georgia. Leave Him? is also available at Amazon.com in print for $12.99 and Kindle for $2.99.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Making Memories: Stevie Wonder, Football, and Things

You know you are getting old when you remember participating in the Super Bowl festivities the last time Atlanta hosted, showing off the then “new Georgia Dome.” As I looked it up to get my facts straight, the Georgia Dome was deemed an architectural wonder, being the second largest covered stadium in the world in 1992. And as with all state-of-the-art things, years later that shine had worn off and talk began of building the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take its place. I’ve been to both and have to say that the new one is amazing.

I am not writing an architectural review; however, but to take a stroll through some memories that hearing about the Super Bowl festivities stirred in me.

It was the last weekend in January of 1994, and the eyes of the world were focused on Atlanta, the venue for Super Bowl XXVIII. Of course we, working hard to raise two kids, did not have the money to attend even if it was to be held in our backyard of nearby Atlanta, but we did decide that we could manage to take a day to explore the related events that were held in the streets of downtown Atlanta. So, we loaded up our five and eight-year-old kids and headed out for fun.

As we did on most occasions when in Atlanta, we decided to stop at Guitar Center and have a look around; after all, Mark always wanted to see the latest guitars and pick one off the display to strum and dream of owning for a minute or two, and the kids loved all things music.  After a few minutes, we wandered out of the guitar section following a sound coming from the keyboard section of the store.

It was there that we saw Stevie Wonder swaying back and forth as he filled the room with song. We stood there and watched, getting our own private concert. Stevie’s bodyguard noticed us but determined that we weren’t a threat, nodding in our direction.

As we got the kids back in the car, we explained who was playing the piano and told them about his blindness and just how famous he was. I know that we were probably more impressed than they were at the time.

Our next stop would be Peachtree Street in search of the perfect commemorative T-shirt. We walked around taking in all of the festivities, shopping at the vendors, and finding something to eat. The city streets that we normally drove thru had a much different look about them. Traveling by foot, we looked up at the tall buildings to see the night sky instead of passing along in a car.

Seeing Stevie earlier that day was a reminder that other famous people were probably among us, although most were most likely dining at places we could never afford. Still, the feeling was that this was a moment in local history that we could participate in.

This week as I watched the Super Bowl coverage in Atlanta from the comfort of home, I didn’t have the urge to go down there and participate. I was satisfied with my view from the couch, but I did remember…

The thing that came to me was the importance of taking the time to be in the moment and make a memory for tomorrow. I’m glad that I let Mark persuade me to spend money we probably didn’t need to spend, to do something that some would consider a foolish waste of time, because we made a memory that I and my kids will always have. Not many people have had a private Stevie Wonder concert and, I might do well to do as Stevie says and “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing.” Those worries that we tend to worry about today, probably won’t be the things we remember tomorrow.

I want to remember the importance of making a memory. There are still many more things to do and see- more memories to be made. Take the time today to do something memorable.

Need to Unplug?

Have you ever thought about unplugging for a bit? I felt the need to do a modified period of unplugging. Since the school year ended at th...