THANK YOU for reading, sharing, re-blogging, and commenting on SCAN-a-Blog in 2018. Most of all, I THANK the 95 FOLLOWERS of SCAN. How much I appreciate your VISITS and how much I enjoy VISITING YOUR BLOGS, too. You inspire me and teach me, and you widen my world.
Saturday is for Sharing is a Special Feature I started in 2018. It had a lot of attention for my fellow authors. I can think of nothing I enjoy more than promoting your work and seeing you thrive and grow. For this feature, I invite published authors to contact me. You can learn more about this interview by looking for “Saturday is for Sharing” on the top MENU BAR of the page.
Contact me for more information and let’s set you up with an interview to promote you and your book.E-mail: email@example.com
Congratulations to Amy Bovaird for garnering the TOP VIEWS for your interview with Lynda and Miss Opal on Saturday is for Sharing!
Hello to everyone! At the end of the year, I thought it would be a good time to share what you have been writing and what you have written. I want once again to offer an opportunity for all writers who follow this blog to share information on their books. It can be very difficult to generate publicity for our writing, so I thought this little effort might help. All books may be mentioned, and there is no restriction on genre. This includes poetry and non-fiction.
To participate, simply give your name, your book, information about it, and where to purchase it in the comments section. Then please be willing to reblog and/or tweet this post. The more people that see it, the more publicity we can generate for everyone’s books.
I like this way of presenting philosophy because that discipline is complex and difficult to understand. In fact, I did not take a philosophy course during my entire higher education career. I feared I did not have the “thinking” skills necessary for it. I was afraid I’d make a bad impression.
Or, maybe some other silly reason to never take philosophy while in the universities I attended. I was mistaken, however.
Why do we sell ourselves short?
Why do we think we are far less than what we really are?
How do we forget who we are as a being created in the image of God?
Frankly, as a university student, the word
Eventually, I learned that we always want to view everything as if it is linear – you know, a straight timeline that we can see from one end to the next.
We think it should be all neat and tidy – and we think that all of history is arranged on a simply linear horizontal line.
We begin to look at philosophy, though, and soon, we encounter gaps in our thoughts. It can be frustrating. Philosophy makes us nervous.
One day in my undergraduate Art History class I saw this way of conceptualizing in a new way. Things just are not so simple as we thought.
History of Philosophy Without the Gaps
I think this way of viewing philosophy makes sense. It takes the reader from the beginning of recorded time and walks us through the various philosophical periods so that we can get a sense of the expanse of time and the changes that occur in thought from one time period to another. .
I am not a philosopher. My degrees are in Fine Arts and English. I was a Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities until my retirement. This is a cross-discipline approach in which the course covered aspects of Music, Literature, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Fine Art, and other disciplines,of a certain time period. Each aspect of studies influenced another – and to understand the zeitgeist of our own time and place, we need to understand this.
Learning in such a holistic way fills in the gaps that we have in our education and our understanding.
Become a LIFE-LONG LEARNER.
I earned how philosophy works together with all other disciplines into a cohesive whole. No discipline is complete as it stands alone. Each influences the others, and in this mingling, new information is discovered.
It is like putting together a puzzle. Each piece in necessary to have a completed picture of the world and of our humanity.
In 2019, I want to delve more deeply into philosophy – just for me.
I know it will enrich my life and my understanding of everything else I do.
If you want to learn more about our history, you may like to look at this sinte and begin your own self-studies. We are never too old or too smart to learn new things.
Would you like to get a better understanding of the world?
Meet me at the PRE-SOCRATIC beginning of thought in 2019.
I’ll see you there as we travel together to learn more about what we think and how we got here.
Once we begin to study philosophy in the context of looking at history and other disciplines, we begin to see who we are, what we think, and how we got here. Best of all, we can discover the capactiy to change and better understand our worldview. It’s not written in stone.
It is now time for us to ignite the final candle on our Advent Wreath.
Today, we will LIGHT the 5th candle of ADVENT because it is Christmas Day!
Why do we light candles on an Advent Wreath every year?
It is because Jesus birth is a miraculous world-changing event. He is God in the form of a baby boy.
For a Christmas delight, click on the link below to listen to a Christmas song.
Listen to a Christmas Concert while you read the story today. Let’s look at the history of this memorable day.
Note: The link below will take you to a beautiful Christmas Choral Performance. I am posting this article today in the MEMORY of ERNIE JONES a beloved writer from the state of Washington. Ernie was a singer and is part of this special Christmas concert that you can see blow in the link I’ve included.
Ernie Jones was a dedicated member of the Behind Our Eyes, Inc., an organization of writers.
But PEACE comes only to those who understand it is a miraculous transformation that happens instantly when we personally accept Jesus into our life and heart. We make HIM our Lord and King. It is not a political or social event. It is PERSONAL.
OUR ADVENT STORY does not START here, nor does it END here. There is MORE to this story in the beginning. And, there is far more to this story, in the end of it.
The Christmas story does not begin with the miraculous birth in Bethlehem.
No, the history of this miraculous birth began long before this event in the cave one cold night in Bethlehem.
When you read all the books of the Holy Bible, you will find GOD there in every book, in every situation, through all of recorded history. “In the beginning, God…” We can read about activities that were going on before the world was created. In the final chapter of the Bible, we can read about the final days or the “end of times.” There is a blueprint for humanity all laid out for us to see, in the Bible.
Jesus is part of the Godhead – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is also called, ” the Word.” It was the Holy Trinity who created all that we know in the entire universe. Everything that exists was created by them. And, the TRINITY had a PLAN that the Son who is “the WORD,” would become FLESH and come to dwell on Earth with humanity.
Jesus’ purpose was to show humanity the way to God;
he came to redeem US;
he came to SAVE US.
Every child is born with the capacity to long for God. Without God in our life, we are incomplete. We may try to fill the void inside of us with relationships, things, and passions. Yet, we remain incomplete. We have a space inside of us that was made for Jesus. Only he can fill that space and make us complete – in unison with the Father, Son, and Holy spirit.
Today would be a wonderful day to ask Jesus into your heart. After all, it is the day we celebrate his birthday here on Earth.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
St. Augustine of Hippo
Find my articles on ADVENT and the meaning of the CANDLES.
*** Link to Week 1 – The Candle of Hope at this link:
That means I will keep my focus on my own unique creative activities and not look at another person to follow or imitate.
There is only ONE of ME.
It is so easy to let other people try to put their stamp on me or allow anyone to influence me to turn my intentions into another direction that is not mine.
For 2018, I adopted the word, ABIDE, as my ONE WORD for the year. This is something I do each January 1st – when others are making New Year’s Resolutions or Setting a Yearly Goal.
I no longer do this. Instead, I set my INTENTION for the year by selecting ONE WORD to LIVE BY.
During the past twelve months, I’ve kept the image of me, ABIDING, on the front burner of my thoughts.
We EACH have a PLAN for LIFE that is ours alone. It is OUR PERSONAL LANE.
NEVER glance over your shoulder into another person’s lane.
Your PLAN IS not their PLAN.
Never envy another person’s achievements.
Instead, applaud them and cheer them on.
You have your OWN plan – UNIQUE to only YOU.
Did you know this?
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
By now, you may be asking:
“How do I implement my unique plan”
Accept the fact that there really is an individual, Divine, plan for your life. And it is a GOOD ONE!
Resolve to discover this plan and walk in it. No one else can know what your gifts are, except you. Remember, you are going to walk in your own lane, not in anyone else’s idea of what your lane might be. Others will try to fashion you into their vision of who you are. Don’t fall for that. You are far more than anything another person can dream up for you.
Become the person you truly are. This is when you decide to make your own changes according to who you know inside that you are. There is a sill, small voice that directs us and if we are quiet and seek that voice, we find it.
Think about the gifts you already have. Begin to use those God-given gifts that are yours.
You will arrive at the place where you shine. The real you comes out for all to see. It is not a copy of anyone else. God is not in the cloning business.
You surely will…
Live EACH DAY LIKE SOMEONE LEFT THE GATE OPEN.
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
SCAN: A Quiet Place of Inspiration
Friday Favs is a Special Feature on the SCAN BLOG
This is where I
RANDOMLY post articles
about people, books, articles, blogs, re-blogs, & places.
Enjoy some FRIDAY FAVS as published by Lynda McKinney Lambert.
Lynda owns SCAN and all articles are copyright.
You can re-blog or share on Social Media but please include the entire article with copyright information and authors note at the end.
Lynda_ Miss Opal and I want to welcome you today to our blog studio here at SCAN. We enjoy meeting our guests and finding out more about how you create your books and where your ideas come from. Our guests are all so different. We just started doing our interviews this year and it’s really been fun for us.
Ann_I want to thank you, Lynda and Miss Opal, for providing this blog as an avenue for artists and writers to share what we find most interesting, motivating and difficult about the creative process.
Lynda_ How did you decide what you wanted to discuss in this interview after I gave you our list of “40 Questions,” to think about?
Ann_ Choosing only three questions was a challenge; I was finally able to focus and pick out questions I thought I’d like to ask other writers and artists. That helped me decide. Not the easiest for a Pisces.
In any case, I sure hope your readers learn more about me, my creative process and how I fit into this universe.
Miss Opal_ Hi Ann, I am so glad you finally decided what you want to talk about today. I was thinking about asking you something that I often wonder about, myself.
Have you ever considered that you might have to choose something you would have to live without? And, if that would happen, what would it be? And,, how would that feel to you? I am all about feelings, Ann. And, I often worry about losing things, too. It is hard to make choices, sometimes, isn’t kt!
Ann_ What would happen if something I have went away?
My first thought was ELECTRICITY. (laughing).
Seriously, though, I meant to say, CREATIVITY.
I wonder what would happen if I lost the ability to create, to imagine, to strive to connect with others through the creative word. I would shrivel up and cease to exist. Throughout my life, both personally and professionally, I was able to weave in a spirit of creativity, lending more meaning to relationships and tasks.
Lynda_ Is there something in particular you are thinking about, Ann?
Ann_During the time of being employed by a linens store chain, I volunteered to design the displays and impressed the managers so much I was often chosen without even raising a hand.
Lynda_ Did you do other creative activities or art work before you lost your eyesight?
Ann_ Just before losing most of my vision from retinitis pigmentosa, I learned acrylic furniture design.
Once I lost the ability to see, I truly felt lost and useless. The connection with my Muse was severed and it took many years to develop the writing muscle and transition from the visual to the literary arts. I began writing poetry after a very long hiatus and once I found the connection, I soon became less frustrated and more willing to take risks. I dove into the rehabilitation process, completed college and finally a master’s program. I believe if I hadn’t made the transition to literary creativity I would not have made it this far.
Lynda_ I know you have published 2 books and I’d like to know more about how that came about.
Ann_ I’ve written and published two books so far;
Upwelling: Poems (2016)
Follow Your Dog A Story of Love and Trust (2017)
I am an Indy author. The motivation behind forging on and releasing my books as an Indy author goes back many years.
My father’s best friend was an editor in a publishing house and he often gifted us with advanced copies of the coffee table books and free encyclopedias. We not only had a full set of Audubon reference books, we had Atlases and specialty volumes. I was low vision back then, wearing very thick and heavy glasses. I recall the scent and feel of the full color fresh water aquarium reference book, the reference guide on dolphins and whales, and many others. The Audubon books were filled with lithographs of line drawings from Audubon, Charles Darwin and even Remington’s early sketches. I wanted to be an artist, to give others a way to see what I did, just like the naturalists. I didn’t realize this desire stayed with me and now, after age 50, I am able to finally honor this desire to create and share the words prompted by the creative tapestry of my life.
Miss Opal_ Ann, do you ever get discouraged or worry about what to write?
Ann_ What discourages me most is having lost my vision.
I sometimes go back to the pity pot when I am challenged with the frustrating limitations and asking others to assist me. I think, “I used to be able to do this and now I have to ask.”
Lynda_ Yes, I understand that feeling, too. I have little meltdowns sometimes when I feel overwhelmed or have to ask for some help. I am trying to learn to be better at this, too, Ann. It is hard.
Ann_ The most gratifying part of being a writer and poet is knowing the words I’ve written have helped influence another person to understand the message in the words and apply them to his or her own life. I am inspired by the sharing of ideas and creativity and the way in which a person expresses passion, pain, joy, and personal growth.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS from Ann
Creation can be a singular endeavor but sharing it is not; writing a poem, for instance, is a transition moving from the writer’s mind to the memory on a computer. Internal to external.
Once this is accomplished, the poem takes on energy and soon, if all goes right, it is shared. It is the miracle of language and the act to create and connecting with others which I find most compelling and most healing.
Lynda_ what’s coming up next in your writing life, Ann?
Ann_ My third volume scheduled for release next March.
My 3rd book is a collection of poetry and essays.
Words of Life: Poems and Essays.
Miss Opal_ Our readers will like to know about your website so they can read more about you and your books. Read it now!
Thank you for visiting with us on this freezing cold winter morning in mid-December.
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright July 7, 2018. All rights reserved.
Saturday is for Sharing is a SPECIAL FEATURE series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner. Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.
Miss Opal: Mary, please give us some information about your new book, released by DLD Books.
Mary: Yes, I’d love to talk with you about my book:
The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir
I am happy to say that our friends can purchase my book on-line through most book sellers. The link to the Amazon site to learn more about my book and read my reviews for my book is:Check it out here
Lynda: I was wondering if you have an Author’s Website where our readers can go for more information on you and your books?
Mary: Yes, I do! The editors of my book created a beautiful web page for me. Our readers can find it by clicking onto this link: Mary Hiland Author Website Page
I am proud to tell you that my book was recorded and is available for blind and handicapped readers through BARD. It is listed as DB:91261.
Lynda: Where are you from Mary? Do you still live where you were born or have you moved from that place? Mary: I am a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. And currently I live in Gahanna, Ohio with my Seeing Eye ® dog, Dora. Readers can learn more about where Dora came from by visiting the Seeing Eye website: Here!
Miss Opal: I understand you have a wonderful dog named Dora. Can you tell us more about her? I am a little bit nervous about dogs, but Dora seems really sweet. I noticed she is staying right beside you and she looks very friendly.
Mary, Miss Opal, you don’t have to worry about Dora. Isn’t she a lovely dog? She was happy to get to come along with me today and she did not mind walking in the rain. Did you notice her new raincoat?
Mary Hiland and her dog, Dora
Miss Opal: Yes, I am glad you brought Dora with you today.
I was also thinking about your writing career.
Have you had your writings published in other places before you wrote your new book?
Mary: I’ve had my writing published in Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul; Red Book Magazine; The Toastmaster Magazine; and The Columbus dispatch.
JUST FOR FUN
Lynda: In our “Just for Fun” section, I want to ask you a few questions that Opal and I thought about before you arrived today.
When did you decide to “grow up” or “Never grow up?” What does “growing up” mean to you?
Mary: I’ll say that my wedding day or the day I gave birth to my first child was the day I grew up, but they both paled in comparison to the day I signed the papers to commit my mother to assisted living. I was making decisions for another person’s lifestyle for the rest of her life. It felt like the most grownup thing I had ever had to do. I chose her residence, her room, her meal plan, her activities, her level of care, and the day she would go to the beauty shop. Role Reversals had just begun.
Lynda: I love the photos of you dancing in a bright red dress. You look so happy. Do you have a favorite dance partner? What kind of dancing do you enjoy doing with that person?
Mary: My dance partner was my teacher, Mark Miller. Although I was his first blind student, in fact, his first student on his first day at the studio. Just imagine what he thought when the universe threw this at him. But he naturally verbalized every step, every move, as if he had been doing it for years. He was kind, patient, and respectful. We laughed together when I made mistakes. He led with the skill I had never experienced with any other partner. He expected excellence from me, which made me try even harder. I loved almost every dance he taught me, but the one I especially enjoyed was the East Coast Swing. The steps are complicated, and you have to keep your mind on the dance every second, but you feel yourself smiling every second too. If you get through the whole song without a mistake, you feel like a pro.
Miss Opal: What have you done recently that really made you feel good about yourself?
Mary: When my friend was to undergo an extremely serious surgery last year, and she was describing it to me on the phone, I heard a voice in my head say, “Go to her.” I am not a nurse, nor have I ever taken care of anyone just home from having surgery. But there I was, asking her, “Do you want me to come and help you when you get home?” I was terrified when she said, “I would love it if you would,” but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had to fly to Florida, learn my way around her house, and jump right in with getting her ready for bed. In the morning on the first day, I asked her if she wanted coffee, and of course she did, and lots of it. I was happy to bring her the coffee in bed. As the week progressed, so did she, which pleased us both. By the end of the week, when I asked her if I could make her a coffee, she said, “No thanks, I can get it myself.” I felt I had helped her regain some of the independence she treasures, which is just as important to her as regaining her strength.
Lynda: Describe a phone call that surprised you recently. Who called?
Mary: It had been on my mind for several years. I needed to apologize to someone for something I said to him in an email. I had written it in haste, and at the time, I thought it was necessary to make a point. A few years later, he saw me in a restaurant and came over to say hello and introduce me to his grandson. He was cheerful and funny, and it filled my heart with half a joy. It appeared that he had forgiven me. Or had he forgotten? I promised myself I would contact him and apologize for my angry letter, but I made one excuse after another. Even though I had asked for God’s forgiveness, I hadn’t asked for his, and it was nagging at me. Then I accidentally found his phone number and dialed immediately, praying that he wouldn’t answer, so I could leave a message before I lost my nerve. The voicemail answered, and I calmly but sincerely said what I needed to say. The next day, he called and I answered. “You have no idea,” he said, “what joy I felt in hearing your voice.” Joy? Really? There was the other half of the joy I had been needing all those years.
Additional Thoughts About Mary’s Book
When her mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, had to move into assisted living, it was time for Ms. Hiland, who is totally blind, to step up and assume the duties and role reversals required for her mother. The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living, a Daughter’s Memoir is her first book.Synopsis:
Making the decision to move an elderly parent into assisted living against her will has myriad challenges. Like many adult children who want to respect their parents’ wishes, I didn’t take action until it was crucial. But unlike most adult children, I had to deal with thiscrisis as an only child who is totally blind. The logistics alone were only the start of my uphill struggle with this task.
For the last two years of her life, I learned many lessons about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and she learned to accept the difficulties of being 98 and living in an assisted living community.
Mary: In The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living, A Daughter’s Memoir, I describe not only the move, her adjustment to a foreign way of life, and the emotional trauma for both of us, but also some advice and comfort for others experiencing this inevitable change.
What makes my story unique is that I tell it with blindness always in the background. You will find some touching moments, some troubling, and some relative to your own life.
This is a memoir woven through my observations of who my mother was and who I am.
Contact: Mary Hiland 439 Canterwood Ct. Gahanna, OH 43230
I was surprised when I read one of my stories from 2013.
A version of the story is published in my latest book, “Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems,” DLD Books, 2017. I began to think more about it.
The topic of this essay is an explication of a work of art.
It is the “Story Behind the Story,” of that art work.
All Art Comes From Our Core Beliefs and Our World View.
( Note; this art work is “Girl on a Bench Sees Visions of Butterflies,” a mixed-media fiber wall work.
This art work is in the InSights18 exhibition sponsored annually by the American Printing House for the Blind. I will attend the opening reception and the awards banquet in Louisville, KY, in October. This year will mark the 5th time I have been juried into this international exhibition, and my 5th time to have my work win an award.)
I say this because it is important for us to be able to articulate where our ideas, influences, and themes begin when we are writing. Everything we believe, is evident in our piece of writing. If the reader knows how to do a deep reading and is observant, that reader can know about the author intimately. The writing comes from not only our thoughts, but from our spirit and from our own experiences.
We have a core belief, that is uniquely our own. We have a distinctive world view that we each embrace. Everything we do and think about comes from our core and our chosen world view. Everything we write reflects who we are – at our core. We have an inner life which becomes visible to our readers, if they are observant and wise. Who we are speaks clearly in our writing.
When we are aware of this, we can identify an authors core beliefs and world view as we begin to read a piece of the writing.
This is a fascinating aspect of our writing, isn’t it!
In my classrooms at the college, students learned how to do deep readings and how to identify the author’s World View. If they don’t learn how to do this, they will never be able to fully understand the writing.
Often we are not even aware of those unseen and powerful impulses. When we do begin to recognize them and can begin to articulate them, we untap an ocean of possibilities and opportunities in our writing life.
When I read my own blog post from 2013 this morning, I was aware that I am a visual artist and that everything I write emerges from my inborn sensibility and a way of viewing the world and everything I encounter. No matter what theme I am writing about, it is, always viewed through core beliefs and a keenly aware world view.
Have you looked back at something you wrote some years ago?
How did it make you feel when you read that piece?
Do you see the theme of the work as it fits into your World View?
Do you see how you have grown or changed in your concepts and writing since that time?
Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile
by David L. Faucheux
Miss Opal & Lynda
Welcome YOU to
Saturday is for Sharing
Meet David L. Faucheux
Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile
Lynda_ I’ve been hearing so many good reports on your first book, Betweeen Two Novembers. I am so pleased to present your book and hear your thoughts today on SCAN. Thank you for coming to our little SCAN office here in Western Pennsylvania. You’ve come a long way to visit with us today.
Miss Opal_ Our readers will know so much more about you and your life-long love of books and reading. I have a few questions for you this morning, just to get the conversation started. I always worry I won’t remember what I wanted to say, so I will begin first with my question for you.
Miss opal_ I am going to ask my favorite question!
What could you never live without? And, why? What wold happen if this would go away? That is something that I always worry about myself, David. I hate to lose things!
David_ Books and libraries. Let me tell you why and how I actually wanted to make my love of books and libraries my job. Part of this essay is taken from an article I wrote in 2001, at a time before Bookshare had taken off, before Kindle and eBooks, before Audible and BARD.
“What is a library?” Depends on whom you ask, right? For me, this question immediately conjures up that hot summer many years ago. My guide dog, Nader, and I had just entered library school at the Louisiana State University School of Library and Information Science in Baton Rouge. I had been emailing the dean for months, endeavoring to discuss the many concerns I had. Yes, I knew I was throwing the faculty and other LSU officials a proverbial curve ball. I was sitting in the auditorium, wondering what I was doing there, overdressed in a silk tie and linen blazer, and listening to the dean talk about professionalism and what that meant, with Nader was blissfully half-dozing at my feet, tail occasionally twitching.
LYNDA_I am a former professor, so I am getting the picture here that you are creating. I can’t help but ask you to talk a little more about your academic challenges. I am thinking about how a blind man would be so interested in pursuing the disciplines that you were thinking about. How did that work for you?
David_ I know, it may seem almost ironic to some that a blind person would even be interested in a profession that upon first consideration might seem to be so dependent on sight. For as long as I can remember, my interest in reading has been counterbalanced by the scarcity of braille and recorded materials. As a result of eagerly awaiting the next book in the mail during school breaks, having my aunt look up words in her encyclopedia during long weekend visits, later having the 145-volume 1959 edition Braille World Book literally at my fingertips during junior high study hall, and developing various strategies to obtain materials in high school and college, I have become increasingly concerned with the availability of print materials to the blind library patron.
Miss Opal_ But what do you get from a library?
David_ For me, that question is complicated by my rapid vision loss. I remember as a child during the endless summers of swimming lessons and crafts classes also going to the public library with my mother and brothers. They looked at shelves of books, adult novels for her, and books my mother thought we would like. She often read to us before bed. I remember wondering if breakfasting on green eggs and ham would be half as repulsive as the Dr. Seuss character Sam-I-Am insisted and if buying a feline as sagacious as The Cat in the Hat would be possible. I remember liking the stereopticon slides that lived in a box that reposed on top of one of the low bookcases in the children’s room below a window. I even listened to the long-playing recordings of what I later learned were Newbery books. I just thought they were funny-smelling records with a silhouette of a profile and a gold medallion. They were never long enough. I was always running out of books to hear.
Miss Opal_ But isn’t a library more?”
David_ Yes, it is. After I lost my remaining vision, I turned more and more to a different kind of library: a postal library. That’s right, a postal library. Let me explain. The Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a network of cooperating regional libraries that serves those who meet the qualifications. I would receive mysterious black cardboard–later blue plastic–containers full of slow-playing records. My talking book machine was my magic carpet to such fantastic realms as Oz, the center of the earth, the moon, Venus, the Italy of Romeo and Juliet, and the mitochondria of a cell. I endured the exquisite suspense of Madeline L’Engle, laughed at The Jack Tales and some Scott Corbett books, and was scared to death by several John Bellairs books. I had a hard and fast rule: Talking books were for home, and braille books were for school. I rarely wavered from this rule. And then 4-track, slow-speed cassettes made their appearance. I enjoyed the portability, ease of storage, and knowing that each pale green box held hours of listening and even a kind of para-social-friendship. I learned to speed-listen. I used the variable speed control switch to gradually increase the speed of the machine. This made reading books such as Jennings’s Aztec, Clavell’s Noble House, or Michener’s Texas faster by 50 percent. I do also remember the torture of waiting for the library in Baton Rouge to send a replacement for a cassette that had the impertinence to break before I had finished it.
And I’m glad that because of so many online and physical resources today, I never have to wonder what I’d do if books and libraries disappeared!
Lynda_ Your thoughts on what a library is are so interesting TO US, dAVID.
iT MADE ME THINK more about What would you like to know more about?
David_ I have always been subtly aware of scents and fragrances. Certain perfumes take me back. One day in 1996 when a student came into my braille class, I instantly thought of my sixth grade teacher. The student’s perfume was Wind Song, by Prince Matchabelli. This floral perfume was launched in 1953 and has top notes of coriander, orange leaf, mandarin orange, tarragon, neroli, bergamot, and lemon. Middle notes include cloves, carnation, orris root, jasmin, ylang-ylang, rose, and Brazilian rosewood. The base notes that anchor this fragrance are sandalwood, amber, musk, benzoin, vetiver, and cedar. The ingredients seem so exotic and sing of foreign climes, mystery, and romance.
lYNDA_ Tell us about how you began to write your book. Please give us a sample page that would sum up what the book is about and give us insight into your themes.
David_ My book was written to take you into my world. I wanted my voice to be heard. Seems today, everyone is being heard somewhere: on a reality TV show or on Twitter, Facebook, or other online venues. I wanted to add my voice to the growing field of memoirs by blind authors. In any event, I put the fears of writing and disclosing aside and jumped in. Here is how I explain it in the introduction to Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile, which I am now attempting to have produced as an audio abridgement, as well as in print and e-book formats, with a slightly different title.
I have long wanted to write and publish something, be it an historic novel, a young adult novel, or nonfiction. When, in November 2013, Dr. Katherine Schneider asked me to read and review her just–published Occupying Aging, I conquered my usual reservations: Would I be a good reviewer? Would I be able to write something interesting and help her book sales? I dove in and came up with this review, which appeared on http://www.goodreads.com:
This book, with its mixture of the quotidian and sublime, stands as an interesting glimpse into the life of one early 21st–century woman. Schneider, a retired psychologist, recounts a year of thoughts and events in this journal. Her ruminations on death, spirituality, dogs, and navigating the landscape of the sighted as a totally blind inhabitant of her Wisconsin college town are enlightening. Touches of humor involving Fran, her Seeing Eye® dog, add a sense of fun.
As someone who is acquainted with Dr. Schneider (we have exchanged emails), I could wish I occupied my forties quite as well as she does her sixties. The proactive attempts to educate about disability issues, the volunteering, and the public speaking are outstanding. Maybe some of her enthusiasm for life will rub off on all her readers.—An excellent vade mecum, a handbook, for handling the uncertainties of retirement.
While reading her book and formulating my review, I thought, Oh! I just might be able to write something in this journal–type format. So I jumped in right then, not waiting to begin on the more traditional January 1. I thought that to wait was to postpone indefinitely and fail; to start could mean a chance at a successful resolution. Who says a journal has to run from January 1 to December 31 to be of interest?
Miss Opal_ So, everyone, here goes nothing! I just have to ask you, David, about something else that is on my mind. I hope that is ok with you. Tell me, what is your idea of the perfect job? What would you be doing if it were your job? What do you think is the best job ever? Wold this be Plan A for your life?
David_ I would like to collaborate on a multi-media project documenting a group of students pursuing the MFA in Gastronomy offered by Boston University. What a book that would make! It would be along the lines of Snapshots from Hell, released in the early 1990s, about the author’s quest to obtain a Stanford MBA, or that book One L , by Scott Turow, that describes his first year of Harvard Law School. The project could be built around several students and their experiences with course work, internships, and even early employment.
Lynda_ If you could write or commission any kind of book, what would it be? Have you given that any thought now that this first book is finished?
David_ I have several ideas and will briefly discuss each below. They range from fictional biography to historic fiction and end with a short story collection.
* Empress Eugénie of France: She was just as interesting as Empress Elizabeth of Hapsburg or Queen Victoria, two of her contemporaries. But I find no writer today who has done anything with her, either fictionalized or straight biography. If French writers have covered her, I have not located the translations. She lived at a particularly interesting time and reigned over the carnival that was the empire of Napoleon III. It all came tumbling down in 1871, and she later lost her son in a hunting accident in South Africa. She lived until 1920. Surely, if Marie Antoinette rates high enough, Empress Eugénie should.
Eugénie lived during a time of convulsive change. Three empires toppled during her lifetime. The new nations of Germany and Italy were born.
* Inca: Gary Jennings wrote Aztec. (Actually, there were several follow-up novels to his Aztec, but it was Aztec that was outstanding; the others were possibly written at the suggestion of an editor to cash in on Aztec’s success). I always hoped Jennings would live long enough to write about the Inca, to do for that South American people what Aztec did for Mexico.
* A short story collection about my days at a residential school for the blind: I could possibly do this with some guidance. This type of school is rapidly fading from memory. Most blind students today are mainstreamed into public schools. In the 1970s, this was not always the case.
Lynda_ They SAY “TIME FLIES WHEN YOU ARE HAING FUN, i SEE OUR TIME IS JUST ABOUT OVER AND YOU NEED TO LEAVE US. we HAVE ENJOYED YOUR VISIT TODAY AND WE WILL BE WATCHIG TO SEE WHAT NEW PROJECT YOU HAVE COMING OUT IN THE FUTURE. H FOR COMING TO SEE US.
Additional information on David can be found on Joan Myles blog: