Every Cotton-Picking Day

Why is there a picture of people picking cotton on my blogpost?

My current work-in-progress is set in the rural south. One of the hardest jobs I have ever done (with the possible exception of giving birth) is picking cotton. Yes, I am old enough to have picked cotton.

My grandparents were tenant farmers and their main crop was cotton. Even as late as the mid-60’s, they were hand-picking the crop. They usually hired locals to help them. The days were long and hot, and the work was back-breaking.

If you’ve seen Places in the Heart (Sally Field)  or even Gone With the Wind, you have an idea what I’m talking about. The only thing worse was chopping the cotton earlier in the season. Same deal: long hours, hot, pesky insects, dirt in your shoes…

I’m not complaining, it was good for me. You know, what doesn’t kill you…right. How did they survive such a difficult life? The work was hard and constant, but they didn’t give up. Year after year, they planted the cotton. It is beautiful in full bloom, by the way. And the sound of the wind through the leaves is so peaceful. The green plants made a wonderful playground for energetic children. I spent many happy hours there.

I’m enjoying writing this book, because it is so close to my heart. I feel I know the characters. Many of them sprang from memories of long ago. People who passed through my life during the sunny days of my youth. I hope the end product will be something you’ll want to read. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Thanks for reading!

Competition vs. Whatever

My sons gulped down their food so fast, I barely had time to sit down before they’d finished. With them, everything was a competition. Who finished first? I don’t remember, because it wasn’t important.

This went on in every phase of their lives. To this day, as grown men, they still feel compelled to compete. Yet, in most ways, all three are completely different. 
Competition definitely holds a place in most every walk of life. It pushes you forward to achieve more, run faster, think better, gain more stuff, lose more weight, etc. I could go on and on. The competitive person is never satisfied. Tell them “no,” or rate them second-best, and they’ll rush to prove you wrong.
On the other hand, the “whatever” person could care less (so they say) whether they finish a race. It’s too much work. They didn’t get a promotion, but it would’ve been too much stress anyway. Shrug a shoulder and say, “Whatever.”
There’s an overabundance of competition and rivalry everywhere you turn these days, and at times it’s so tempting to say “whatever,” sit in your chair and dose off. 
But the painter paints, the composer composes, the singer sings, the writer writes. No matter how big the challenge, and believe me, the competition’s heavy right now. In the face of so much opposition, we 
keep plugging away, day after day. Hope rises and sets like the sun. One day we’re inching forward, the next, we’re flat on our faces, humiliated and spent.
I can’t really say where I am in that race, I’ve completely lost sight of my opponents. Are they so far ahead of me? Should I just give up? No matter how much I’d love to, I can’t. What if I can’t see my fellows because they’re that far behind me?
Whatever I accomplish in this world, whether good or bad, even if no one remembers my name, I know one thing for certain and it is this: I tried. I ran. I wrote. 
Thanks for reading. See you out there!

I hear you fine, I just can’t understand…

It’s possible no one will ever read this. I am happy to say, it doesn’t matter. I am going to write even if no one reads what I write. 

If you’re a writer and you want to guarantee someone reads what you write, then write letters to loved ones. I still have a few family members who don’t have computers. They love getting letters, especially handwritten ones. They read mine, then they send me an answer. Instead of seconds or minutes, the whole process takes a week or two at a combined cost of nearly a dollar. 
I could just pick up the phone and call them, but I have trouble hearing on the phone and some of them have the same problem. Our conversations tend toward hilarity. “I hear you fine, I just can’t understand what you’re saying…” 

And in the end, I find I must write a letter to be sure they understood what I told them on the phone. So it saves time, if not money, to write a letter.
One dear friend who calls me a youngster was wondering when I’d publish another book. I told her I have an ebook in progress. “You should get a Kindle reader, I think you’d like it,” I said.
“I’ve seen those for sale,” she said. “I don’t reckon I could figure out how to use it.”
“Oh it’s easy to use,” I told her. “You could get your son to set it up and after that, it’s a breeze.”
“Yeah, well, it’d just be another thing I’d have to remember where I set it. Then I’d spend half the day looking for it, and another half of the day trying to remember what I was looking for.”
I couldn’t argue with that. 

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. I’ll try to do better here on out. Hope you’re having a wonderful day. 
Thanks for stopping by!