Category: Uncategorized

The Hair of my Dreams

There has been a challenge running around Facebook to pick three fictional characters that are most like you. I gave this a lot of thought because I wanted characters who are like me, not the characters I want to be like. I finally decided on Jo March, Anne Shirley, and Molly Weasley. Interesting. They are all red-heads. My hair is not red by any description, but it was once.

I decided for fun to color my hair red, not maroon or something wild, just a nice red-blonde. My husband was pastor of a church at the time. This blatant act of rebellious vanity was not well received.

Some of my on-line friends exclaimed, “Don’t any on them color their hair?”

Of course they did. The loudest protester colored her hair to match her two-year-old daughter was the loudest. “Did your hair used to be red?”

“No,” I answered.

“Then why is it now?”

Well—I don’t know—for fun, I guess, went through my mind as thoughts but I was too dumbfounded to talk, unlike my three characters who are never at a loss for words. I figured the pastor’s wife is not supposed to color her hair red. I should have asked for a list of approved colors before we moved there, just in case. Churches often have a list they expect the pastor’s wife to conform to.

We subsequently moved away from that town—for reasons other than the red hair—and the color faded out of my hair. If you happen to be a pastor’s wife, you might want to check on this before you do something drastic. I’m just sayin’.

Three Things Every Novel Needs

Thought I should repost this . . .

Knit Me a Story

I have discovered that reading a novel as a contest judge gives a different perspective than reading for a critique or editing. A judge looks more at the big picture, at whether the book works as a whole and if it doesn’t, why not. I also had the chance to discuss this experience with my son, and I have distilled three things every book needs. I thought they were no-brainers, but he pointed out that they are more in the advanced story-telling category.

  1. The protagonist needs a goal: get the girl (or boy), destroy the ring, save the princess, save the Galaxy. As a reader I need to know where the journey is headed; how else do I know if it is successful or not? It is okay if the goals change, as long as it is clear what they are. In Star Wars: a New Hope, Luke’s goals…

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E is for Electrolux™

Electrolux™ is a company that makes excellent vacuum cleaners. My mom had one, my aunt had one, and based on family dynamics I’ll bet my grandmother had one too. They used to sell the cleaners by door-to-door sales. Anything you needed, a salesman would be happy to come to your house.

Once, my uncle made the mistake of trying to clean up spilled paint with Aunt Dotsie’s Electrolux™. This is a big mistake. Do not attempt this—get a Shop-Vac™! Her lovely vacuum was ruined, but a few days later a salesman showed up at the door. I answered.

“Aunt Dotsie, it’s the Electrolux™ man,” I called out to her.

“Good,” she answered and grabbed the unsuspecting salesman by the lapel and yanked him into the house. I’ve never seen anyone look so surprised, and I bet that was the easiest sale he made that day.

In keeping with this family tradition, I obtained an Electrolux™ myself—not the latest model like my aunt’s, but a thrift store special. It was missing a couple of parts. This did not deter me. One of the selling points of the Electrolux™ vacuum was the interchangeable parts. The new parts fit any model ever made. My acquisition was an early model; I could tell by the cloth dirt bag that needed to be emptied after every use. I thought that was a neat money saving feature.

My husband, Lee, decided to surprise me with the new hose and floor wand I needed and he called the local office. Soon a salesman arrived at our house and checked out our vacuum with the light of salesmanship in his eyes.

“This model is old, don’t you want a newer one?”

“Nope,” said my husband, “just the hose and floor wand.”

“Let me give you a demonstration,” he began.

“I’m sure my wife would be happy to have you vacuum the whole apartment, but all we need is the hose and floor wand.”

The salesman plugged the relic in and flipped the switch. Nothing happened. He rubbed his hands in glee and began his spiel again.

“Wait,” Lee interrupted. “Sometimes you have to flip the switch a few times before it kicks on.” He duly flipped the switch off then on, and the vacuum roared to life. The salesman wilted. At least he did sell the hose and floor wand.

Now, we have thought it would be fun to name dogs after vacuum cleaners, due to their proclivity to eat anything that falls on the floor. We could have Dyson, Hoover and Oreck.

Electrolux would be the cat.