My Last Week Of White

Sporting my pants from DB Designs in Roaring Gap.

I bought a pair of “good white pants” this spring at DB Designs in Roaring Gap.  Over the summer I dribbled blueberry juice in my lap, splashed an entire iced tea down my leg and everywhere else, (no longer welcome in the Atlanta Bread Company Smyrna location) and smeared my butt with road dirt while the trunk door was open. They are great pants and did not disappoint. Each assault on their whiteness came clean in the wash.

Mary’s Mermaids showing off our whites! L-R Ginger, Vicki Maynor, Sandy Sutherland, Mary Mellis

 

 

With Charlie Lovett at Bookmarks in Winston-Salem. I later dropped raspberry vinaigrette just short of the napkin and onto the leg of these pants.

My reputation as a spiller went on but I was undaunted. Unless it was raining or tragically gloomy outside, I wore those, (or other) white pants all summer to take full advantage of the short period between Memorial Day and Labor Day during which the whitest of whites is seen as appropriate attire…at least in the world where I was raised.

It may sound silly, but I really like the constraints of limited wearing time between the two holidays. It’s “seasonal” just like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. You wouldn’t wear a pumpkin embellished shirt in May, would you? Or, maybe you would, and therefore fall into the, “I’ll wear what I want, when I want” school of thought.

 

With Tyler Wilmoth at the Elkin Library. This is when I rubbed my white-panted backside on the car fender while fetching posters from the trunk.

But for me, I’ll go white for three months, and promptly switch back to khakis and black tights on the first Monday in September, for fear of hearing Mother’s words in my head. That exasperated tone I remember so well,  stripped of all hope she would ever get the daughter she wanted or expected after all her hard work in the child-rearing department.

I wear white as she would have wanted me to, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I do it out of respect for her attempts to turn me into a proper lady. And while I do, I’ll work to grant myself forgiveness for all the years I exhibited those same maternal behaviors.

 

From the big box of endless pictures.

 

1952 – Topless in Toledo! Can’t believe I found this picture. Can’t believe my mother let me out without a top. I don’t remember my friend, (on the left) but I do believe I was showing a greater degree of modesty!

1950 – Wearing white and practicing my public speaking.

The Scorched Report – September 1, 2018

From The Sisters of the Scorched Soles

Committed to our writing. Keeping our feet to the fire!

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Our August long distance meeting was very productive.

Although none of us could figure out SKYPE, we managed to put together a conference call and get some work done.

 

Jill at her home office.

   Jill’s short stories centered on the five senses are coming along. Contemporary, thoughtful, and full of all the “sensual-ness” you would expect from stories about the five senses! We reviewed Summer of Love, Spec House, and A Normal Thing. After critique and discussion, Jill was off to her next assignment…a finished draft of the other two senses to be explored. We have sight, smell, and touch. Next is hearing and taste. I’m hoping Jill will let us preview a few excerpts here as she submits the stories to magazines and literary journals.

 

 

 

 

 

Neda on sight at a model home.

Neda has her novel manuscript with an editor and is itching to get on to another writing project while she waits for the results. Flash fiction is the thought, and with Neda’s bountiful file of story ideas and drafts, she has the makings of some great short pieces to submit online and in journals. She’s doing research on places to publish flash fiction. If anyone has suggestions, leave a comment here or connect with Neda on Facebook.  I’ll post our finding in a future report.

 

 

 

 

Ginger lounging with snacks.

Look for Ginger’s post White Pants Rule coming this Tuesday. Have you stashed yours away until next summer? Or, do you subscribe to the “wear white whenever” philosophy? Opinions abound on this topic!

The Book Club Profile project for Alleghany News has four participants so far. A visit to the Olde Beau Book Club on Friday was a delight! They reviewed Amor Towle’s Gentlemen in Moscow, complete with photos and props to follow the story line. It really brought the story to life! Questionnaires are being sent to participating clubs, with the guarantee of a variety of results that demonstrate the variety of readers we have in Alleghany County.

 

Say What?

At the August meeting of Alleghany Writers it was all about the dialogue.

There were eleven writers at the Thursday meeting of Alleghany Writers and that many different variations of a conversation between the two women in the photo below. Were they mother/daughter/granddaughter/acquaintance/friend? Yes! We had them all!

Every story had a validity. Each writer played out the scene using these characters and this particular setting. The orange liquid was fruit juice in one story and a veggie smoothie in another. Either way, it was perfect. Intentional.

It’s why the prompt exercises are my favorites. We have a very diverse group. Our minds drift in different directions, and each path is just where our stories need to go.

This is what I heard when I looked at the picture:

What are you doing over there Mrs. Findlay?
Looking at these peas. They are so perfectly round and look so pretty against the white plate.
Why, yes they do, don’t they? But why don’t you put down the knife. Try your fork. It will scoop them up better.
But its fun this way. Counting peas just like I counted pills at the drugstore. Put them in tall rows and funnel them down into the little pill bottle. Watch.
Well good. I’m glad you found that memory, but your hand will get all greasy if you scoop them right off the plate. And you know we’ve talked about how it’s not nice to eat with your hands in the lunch room.
You mean it’s alright to eat with your hands in other places? Great. Let’s go there for dinner!
Now, Mrs. Findlay. Let’s not get funny. You know the campus has everything you need. Just a few more bites of dinner and we can go over to the park and watch the sunset. You know how you like to do that.
You’re pretty new at this angel thing, aren’t you dearie?
Yes maam, you are my first assignment. Is it that obvious?
I have dementia. I’m not dumb and blind. You’re trying, I can see that. But your trying is very trying. Get it? Trying and trying, same word but different definitions.
Oh, yes, I get it now. I’m sorry. I don’t always get what you’re saying, Mrs. Findlay.
I know. You millennial angels are a bit slow on the uptake. You need to learn some references from other generations, for goodness sake. Spread your wings. Get a dimension.

A Weekend With the Sisters – Ready to Begin Again

As the Sisters of the Scorched Soles complete their first working weekend, goals have been established and assignments made. Permission to nag has been given and each sister has a timeline for our projects.

Neda has her historical novel about Frederick Stowe. Jill has her series of short stories about the five senses. I have this blog.

Let the writerly activity begin!

Establishing our roles in the Scorched Sisterhood: Neda, the nurturer and provider of food and comfort. Jill, the practical, logical, techie youngest sister. Ginger, the cheerleader and lifter of spirits.

 

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Ready to Begin Again

I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I reached the bottom of the mountain. How much I needed the comfort of my sisters and the ease of mutual analysis and shared opinion that comes through extended time with close friends!

There is the point at which you can say almost anything, be yourself, unvarnished. It came easy with my St. Joe friends. We had years of history and shared experiences. There was no BS because everyone knew the best and worst already. Nothing to hide.

My first two days were spent stripping the built-up varnish of daily life to let the natural wood  of my being breath for a while. I became a spiritual nudist, floating along on a cloud of joy, easily moving toward a positive and enriching purpose.

How fortunate we are to have found each other and to be at this point in our lives where vision can become clear and action can be taken.

 

 

 

 

 

My Last Dip In The Jury Pool

I was actually looking forward to jury duty! It’s been a busy few weeks and I was hoping to get a bit of diversion, maybe even some allowable judging of my fellow man.

The process was fascinating. Hearing the explanation of why we were there, watching the line as people waited to ask the judge for a deferment to a later date. This was her first trip to Alleghany. She was very attentive. Listened carefully to each plea to be excused. But, you could read her lips between the sweet smile. Nice try, but not enough of a reason to get you off. Back into the jury pool. It was people watching at its finest.

I heard names I recognized. Now they had faces. I saw faces I recognized. Now they had names. There were even a few who I knew by name and face, only to find out that name was not their legal name…which I could understand, since I was the Ginger Collins who answered to Barbara Anne when they called the roll.

It wasn’t an episode of Law & Order, but it was a genuine cast of characters who had me jotting down details to enrich my character descriptions in future stories. There were a few rugged individuals. Leather-tan faces, backs hunched over, a slight limp in the walk. I cast them as outlaws or eccentric millionaires. There were women with classic features, looking like they had finished the dishes and removed their apron just in time to get to the courthouse. Of course, there were a few bad fashion choices. There always are. But my favorite of the day was the man whose face was the rural version of British royalty.  The jug ears, the prominent nose. To my eyes he could have been a cousin to Prince Charles who somehow ended up in the North Carolina mountains. I spun a yarn around that visual for a good ten minutes!

Then it was over! After all the prep and procedure, we were released. This means I will never find out what those three men in the blue suits at the front table were talking about. Maybe that’s my next story!

The Sisters of the Scorched Soles

Bound together by a promise to keep each other writing.

We’ve set our goals and made the commitment.

We are putting our feet to the fire.

The Sisters – L-R : Jill Evans, Neda Gayle, Ginger Collins

People who are meant to be together find each other. The story behind the formation of our trio in 2010, proves it. That story later. Now I will just introduce us as three women in a critique group…very individual… yet alike in as many ways as we are different. From the beginning we truly enjoyed the style, substance, and subject matter of each other’s stories and worked together to get the words polished, submitted, and published.  This always made for long confabs, always over food, with lots of conversation on a variety of topics. But, it always came back to writing and the journey to publication. When I lived in Atlanta, our critique group sessions consisted of long and lavish lunches at Neda’s, followed by the reading of our latest pages. It was an entire literary afternoon. It was glorious.

 

The fateful trip to New York City in January, 2011. It didn’t get above 15 degrees during our entire visit.

In January, 2011, our trio traveled to New York City for a Writers Digest Conference. Our novel manuscripts had received rave reviews from what we considered to be discerning readers and we were confident agents would find our stories appealing. Our elevator speeches were flawless, our leave-behind material was impressive.  We were ready for success. It didn’t come. There were requests for 50 pages here and there, and a couple agents asked for full manuscripts. But nothing came of it. Nothing.

It was a level of disappointment that hit all three of us equally. We were experienced business women. Business analysis, marketing, advertising, and media…among many other things. When you put it all together, we were pretty smart chicks!  How could we be rejected? We were in agreement, never had we put that much time and effort into something and not come out winners.

After a period of mourning for my dream of being a novelist, I settled into mountain life in Alleghany County. I boxed up the writing, even gave some books away. I turned my back on creative writing and went back to the familiar of marketing materials, print ads, and press releases.

Jill started a photography business in addition to her active website business. Neda went from high-end retail to a new life in real estate. We connected when possible on my quick trips to town. Always lots of laughs and marvelous tales of our most recent adventures. We were busy with our new projects and it was clear that writing had fallen to the wayside for all of us.

Now we’re back. Energized, refocused on our writing goals, and taking the next steps. This blog post is my first step. Journaling our adventures, sharing what we learn, and finding the joy in writing that once kept us so inspired and motivated.

Once a week. That’s my posting promise. Here goes!