Halloween is the perfect time to indulge in one of my favorite movie genres – Horror Comedy. Master movie makers begin with terrifying scenarios capable of scaring the pants off their audience. Then they mix in a little humor and boom! You have classic movie gold.
The dreaded “Political Season” is upon us – here in the US anyway. Mudslinging and nasty advertisements have already invaded social media, radio, and television. Ugh. I hate to say this, but we mustn’t follow the examples of our ambitious leaders on the topic of “Respect.”
Respect is Earned, as the saying goes, but there is basic human respect we must afford one another.
Listener – Listen and HEAR what the other person is saying. Give them the respect they need as they share their opinion.
Sharer – Say your peace. Then respect the other person’s right not to agree with you.
Then think about this. A mud or dirt patch can be the perfect place for a garden. What flowers will you plant? Think of the hardy prairie flowers like the sunflower and the coneflower. They grow in the toughest terrain and keep coming back year after year even more beautiful than before. Then there is the Marigold. Its vibrant beauty may only last for a season, but everything has its time.
It’s a hot and miserable August. Colorado is on fire. We’ve broken heat records for the last three days. The air is filled with smoke. Many of us are struggling with respiratory issues. We hide in our air-conditioned houses to stay comfortable. There are those who don’t hide from nature’s fury. They stand against the heat and fire, putting themselves at risk to save lives and homes. If you’re looking for the perfect example of heroism, think of our Colorado firefighters and other first responders.
I’m fussy about what I read. So many books, so little time. The Memoir and Biography genre doesn’t typically interest me. Self-aggrandizing celebrities and politicians with their pictures splashed on a book cover written by someone else – hard pass. Then I started doing research for my novel about the Santa Fe Trail. My notion of memoirs changed a bit. The most impactful book I’ve read to date is a memoir not written by a sports star, but rather written by a woman living her life in the Southwest during the 1800s.
Her recollections make this memoir real for the reader. We share her shock and fear when the wagon train comes across gruesome deaths and other violence against innocents. These accounts, for me anyway, were more troubling when I stopped to consider this isn’t a work of fiction. The murders – witnessed by Marian as both child and woman – really happened. I found myself grieving with her when she experiences tragedy as a young wife. Marian was an extraordinary woman who took on a sometimes-brutal land. She was a true pioneer.
I believe part of the allure of this book for me is the setting. I’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains most of my life. Many times, I’ve traveled across Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada (in a car) passing through the places she mentions in her book. How about you? Do you know who lived in your hometown before it was a town? Seek out the stories that reveal more than one dull paragraph in a history book. You might be amazed by what you find.
The internet is a wealth of information. Some of the information you find is correct and helpful. Other tidbits are flat out wrong. Getting hardcore facts is critical when conducting research for my books. Readers want realism no matter the genre and I, as a writer, want to make them feel as if they are experiencing the story along with the characters. I enhance what I learn from books and historical evidence with human experience.
My current “Work in Progress” is a ghost story set on the Santa Fe Trail at the end of the US Civil War. Historical accounts and facts give the book accuracy, but the human experience comes from enthusiasts of the Santa Fe Trail. I’ve enjoyed watching lectures and travel videos of folks who love to visit destinations along this important route. Living in the Rocky Mountains most of my days, I have the life experience to draw on as well.
Are you an enthusiast in a special topic or historical event? Why not share your knowledge? If you write a blog, volunteer to speak on the topic, or make a video, I guarantee you will find an audience.