Sunday Post 134: Birthing a Book

On Wednesday I’ll sort of launch my book, Laughter, Tears and Braids.  It’s been a long time in the making.  Sort of like a three-year pregnancy, minus the physical discomfort.

I’ve really struggled to get to the point where I’m comfortable with the final product.  And in reality, I’m still not there.

Have I shared too much?

Could my reflections hurt someone else?

What would Lisa think?

What if it’s really poorly written, and I’m too close to see that?

What if no one laughs?

What if no one cries?

When I finally let my kids read it, what will they think?

At one point about three months ago I got so worked up about going to press that I almost pulled the plug.  I decided that maybe I’d just print out a copy for each of my girls to be read on their 21st birthday.

But something nagged at me – you’ve got a story that needs to be told.  There are some issues you’ve written about that could be helpful to others.  You’ve worked so hard on this.

So – here it goes.  It’s about too late to back out. It’ll be up on Amazon Wednesday, and I’m moving on.

I apologize in advance for the following:

*I wrote about a few of you, but likely changed your name in order to not hurt feelings.  If you figure out who you are and don’t like what I wrote, I’m sorry.  If I left it in, I felt it was a critical part of the story.

*There are a few cuss words – my wife was dying, I was mad at the time!

*There could be typos – good lord I’ve tried, even paid an editor.  But every time I reread the dang thing, I find at least one more.

*It’s a pretty good book I think, but it ain’t Shakespeare.  If you’re expecting professional, it’s amateur.  I’d suggest you read something else.

If you decide to read it, thank you.  If you like it, I hope you’ll spread the word.  If you don’t, mum’s the word!

Oh, and if you’re planning to order, my publisher says that the more copies purchased on the launch day, September 11, the better the book’s placement on Amazon.  If you think of it, put your order in Wednesday.



Laundry with a Twist


It was a tough afternoon.  We rolled in on Sunday after being on vacation.  The kids missed the first week of school.  Frantic, I started working to put the pieces of the puzzle together to get us set for the rest of the day and for Monday:  unloading the car, uniforms out, trip to the gro, lunches packed, 2 side dishes for the girls’ afternoon service club meeting, dessert and a main dish for the church youth kickoff at six.  Does every event in our life have to kick off today?  Did the NC Legislature pass a bill that requires every function in the state to hold a covered dish dinner?  McCrory did give those protesters a plate of cookies.

I knew if I didn’t do DJ’s laundry she’d be heading to her first day of school in the buff.  No one wants to start their junior year naked –plus she’s already pulling into the parking lot in a 1997 Subaru wagon.  She keeps reminding me that she and the “new” car were born in the same year.

I logically argued:  “Do you really want to be the girl who drives up to school right after her 16th birthday with a brand new car?  Everyone hates her.”

Without a blink she responded, “Yea.  Yea I do.  I want to be her. ”

I opened the vacation cooler, there were several bottles of beer left from Happy Hour – oh the sweet memories of last week.  I tossed them on top of the clothes for the trip to the basement fridge, the Lunchables were hogging the ice box upstairs.  I unloaded the beer and put the basket of whites in the queue.

When DJ walked in the house, I told her to go switch her laundry.

“The darks need to go into the dryer.  The whites are in the basket at the bottom of the stairs.”

She did as I asked, apprently hurling them in the machine in one big clump.

Fifteen minutes before leaving for church, I went downstairs to switch the last load.

As I pulled out the whites, I heard clanking.  Hmmm, wonder what she left in her pockets this time…

I was shocked when I grabbed a handful of bras and came back with a bloody thumb.  What in the heck was she packin,’ a switchblade?

Upon further investigation, I found remnants of a bottle of beer.  Man, you left a bottle in the laundry basket you moron!

I shook each item out over the empty laundry basket, shards of glass plopping out of socks, undies and my kid’s white tees.

I can hear the conversations facing me this week:

“Dad, something’s sticking in my butt when I sit.”

“Baby it’s just a little Stella Artois.  It takes a while to develop a feel for it.”

“Dad, I feel like I’m wrapped in Tyvek insulation.”

“You’ll be warmer that way.  No sweater needed this winter.”

“Dad, the Headmaster called me into the office.  She said it had been reported that I smelled like I’d been drinking.”

“What’d you tell her?”

“I told her that most parents put fabric softener in their laundry for a fresh clean smell but that my dad tosses in a bottle of beer.  That’s right, the beer and the BOTTLE  – “

“Would you believe I got the idea from Heloise Conquors Stinks and Stains?”

She didn’t.

I thought I was going to scar my kids emotionally.  Looks like I might actually scar my kids from the glass that’s embedded in  their clothes.

Could happen to anyone… right?

Book Update:  Laughter, Tears and Braids

Several of you found my book, Laughter, Tears and Braids on Amazon last week.  We took it down because I found five typos.  It’s going back up to be released on September 11.  If you’re brave enough to order a copy, consider doing so on the 11th.  My publisher says big sales on the first day will help in the world of Amazon rankings.  More to come next weekend, including a link.

Sunday Post 91: A Different Pace

I attack life with zest and speed.  I don’t get out of the bed easily, but once I do, I move.  The day is before me, and there’s a lot to be done.

Stephanie approaches life in a different manner.  She is thoughtful and methodical.  Her end result is of quality.

I shoot before I aim, marking off of my long to do list when just enough of the task has been done.

She follows the detail – not missing a comma, semicolon or the dot of an i.

Sometimes our two worlds collide.  Actually, my world doesn’t seem to bother her too much.  It’s her world for me that’s occasionally the problem.

When we arrive at our destination, I jump out of the car and immediately press the lock button on my remote.  I’m six steps out before I realize my middle child is trapped in the car.  This is a regular occurrence for the Tanner family.

“What were you doing vacuuming the back seat?  Open your door and move child!  Move!  We’ve got so many things to get done!!”

She simply can’t.  Her pace is not mine.

Her showers are long.  I imagine her every nook and cranny is sparkling clean.  Her sister waits patiently for her turn.

I’m in, and I’m out.  Miss a foot?  No big deal.  I’ll catch it tomorrow, my odor eaters are new.

The other day after dinner we all got ice cream.  Three of us were through and headed out to the car.  Stephanie grabbed some napkins, her cone nearly full.

When we got home, she was still licking.

“I’m just too full.  Anyone want the rest?”

“You only ate half,” my oldest replied.

“Yea,” she replied, she heard fact – not a scold.

I guess I’d have gotten tired of it too had I been chomping on it for 45 minutes.  Sometimes I think her mouth just gets exhausted.  She has all her teeth and a normal sized tongue.  What has she been doing on the 8 mile ride home?

I once had a college roommate who was much the same way.  He ate each of the items on his plate but just one at a time:

Green beans:  check

Fried Chicken:  check

Rolls:  check

I prefer a party in my mouth – a little of this and a little of that.

But eating slow is good.  She ate half of the calories.  I gulped mine on down and was ready for more.

She doesn’t seem to have a desire to change my fast pace.  She’s absolutely content as I speed down the road or through the halls of her school.  She doesn’t get frustrated when she’s locked in the car.  Yes, Stephanie understands that is just who I am.

Isn’t it interesting what we can learn from a child?

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