Friday, November 23, 2007

Let the shopping begin . . . and other thoughts . . .

Good morning, all. Like Liz, I'm not sure how many people will be checking out blogs on a holiday weekend. Many brave folks got up before the crack of dawn today to stand in line at their local malls, determined to snag all the advertised bargains on Black Friday, (the day after Thanksgiving-when Christmas shopping officially begins, for those of you not here in America.) I'm simply not that brave. It's a jungle out there.

Also, like Liz, I AM thankful for many things. My family and friends first, my writing career, second. Family came early in life, meaning I married young, had kids young, and grandkids followed in a timely manner. Writing a book came late in life. I started my first novel at the age of fifty-five and held the first published book in my hands just one month shy of my sixtieth birthday.

I always admired anyone who could write a book and get it published, but it never occured to me that I could do it, too. I assumed all writers had formal training, and my college time had been limited. Then I read two successive books by best-selling authors that had huge plot errors. I figured I couldn't do any worse, so I started writing my own mystery novel. Ahhh, ignorance is such bliss. Several zillion critiques, a multitude of rejections, and a flood of tears later, the book was accepted by a small publisher. I now have four books published in that series, and the fifth will be out in 2009, if Father Time doesn't get me before then. The first book in my new series, FIFTY-SEVEN HEAVEN comes out from Five Star on December 12th. Yup, lots to be thankful for. So what's my point?

One of my grandsons has already decided what he wants to be when he grows up. An artist. He is rarely without a pencil and paper in hand, even drawing while waiting for our Thanksgiving dinner to be ready (last weekend in conjunction with his birthday and grandpa's.) He's progressed from drawing flat profiles of his favorite subjects to 3-D front views. He still lacks a bit in shading, but he's learning, and he's eager. I'm encouraging him to take lessons, but he's a bit shy of that yet. In time, he'll be eager for them, in order to learn from someone who knows how to teach drawing. I mention this because rare indeed is the person who is born knowing their craft and never takes a single lesson. The world's most famous artists, singers, writers, and other talents generally started out by fumbling around a bit in the dark, teaching themselves, then studying under someone more qualified as they grew. And they got tough critiques, rejections, and shed many tears along the way. It's how we grow.

Right now, we're all surviving the holidays in various ways. Life gets frantic as families spend time enjoying each other's company and scrambling to get it all together for the biggie, Christmas. But hard upon us is the New Year (shriek, can it really be 2008 in just 38 days? What happened to Y2K?) and the time when most of us make the same old resolutions, like lose weight, which finds us again somewhere around mid-June.

Might I suggest, if there's a talent you've always admired, an ability you'd like to foster, that you begin 2008 by learning or honing it? Take painting classes, singing lessons, or join a writer's group? Yes, it's painful if and when you get critiqued or rejected. But you won't reach your goal without it. And who knows what talents you are keeping burried? Grandma Moses was elderly when she became a famous artist. Lots' of authors are AARP members as well.

Take a shot. What have you got to lose? Oh, and happy holidays!


Sandra Parshall said...

On the late TV news last night, a reporter interviewed some shoppers who were ALREADY in line outside stores to be first at the post-Thanksgiving sales! The weather had turned cold (after a warm Thanksgiving day here in the DC area) and a fierce wind was blowing steadily, but those people thought something in those stores was worth staying out in the cold all night for. That sums up what the holiday season has become for many people.

As another late bloomer, I echo your advice, Lonnie. Life is short, people! If you don't do what you want to do NOW, you might run out of time before you get around to it. New Year's resolutions, anyone? :-)

Lonnie Cruse said...

Thanks, Sandy!

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I've never understood why people would subject themselves to cold temps and obnoxious people (other shoppers) in order to get a bargain. Not much in this world is worth me staggering out of bed at 4 a.m.

A Paperback Writer said...

Ah, so nice to hear you were nearly 60 when the book was finally published. It gives me hope. So often all we hear is how very young people are when they achieve great things. I think I'm a late bloomer. (At least I still hope I get to bloom sometime.....) I'm the same age (okay, 2 weeks older) as JK Rowling, and she's already produced 9 bestselllers. I'm a few years younger than Ian Rankin, and he's had 20 years of hugely popular novels. Right now I'm hoping for a request for a full manuscript. geez. Sometimes it's discouraging.
Anyway, you made me feel a bit better.
Oh, and good luck with 57th Heaven. catchy title, there.

paul lamb said...

Me? I'm going to take a bronze casting class this spring.

Today happens to be Buy Nothing Day, by the way.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Paperback writer, keep writing, you'll make it!

Paul, let us know how the bronze casting class goes and I agree, Friday was "no buy day" for me as well.