This story moved me because I remember my brave, blessed, beautiful father sharing with me some of his experiences in Vietnam where my dad related a similar experience while stationed at Phan Rang, Vietnam. He was in the USAF and took care of the B57 that were running bombing sorties over North Vietnam. Years later dad and I shared stories of his tour in Vietnam and my experiences as a young teen in the Philippines during the same time.
He told me about an order they had gotten telling them not to approach any Vietnamese children who might be alone walking across the base. It was because the Viet Cong (VC, North Vietnamese) would wrap the children in explosives and once a soft hearted American would come up to one of these little children to find out how to take care of them and the child was instructed to trigger the explosive when this happened.
He said that often these were 2-3 year old females. He was the father of three girls.
If you can handle it, look into the atrocities the Japanese committed against the Chinese in Nanking. The mind of a human who can do this to another human must be a repulsively, nasty, dark, dirty place.
My dad, a man who loved to laugh and took you for face value, suffered from his experiences and knowledge of the hell one human can put another human through.
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I was talking with a young man who is an English major in college about my writing process. His questions had me examining the way I write, where my voice comes from and how I work story out. I told him it wasn’t just getting a good story idea and plotting the chapters, but looking at who the people are, how they got to the place they were when the story begins and what is the real truth of character.
Just like real humans, story human’s reactions and perspectives are based on their life experiences – even if those are made up by the author.
It’s sort of like a PR guy who comes up with an identity that is appealing and interesting, and will make the celebrity into a money making character. The celebrity grabs onto this identity and runs with it.
That’s what happens when I come up with a fictional character. I reach a point where there is reality attached to them. I know what they sound like when they speak, I see their mannerisms and habits. I’ve learned their hopes, faults, mistakes and desires.
Creating my world filled with these people I’ve discovered in my mind thrills me. It’s what I like best about writing. The research is fun, the discovery of plot and story stokes my creative side. The beauty of it gives my imagination what it needs to grow.
I have begun a study in fragrance. My collection of essential oils is growing, and I’m learning about the interaction and relationships that come into play when developing a specific aroma. Blending, exploring, a little of this, 2-3 drops of that and you are remembering a walk in the forest or by the sea.
I have my besties whom I have created fragrances for, that not only make me think of them, but I hope would give them a feeling they need for peace and balance. God is amazing in the way he made the natural world to compliment his treasured souls inhabiting this planet.
I remember during a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, when hubby and I were riding a scooter and drove through clouds of scent. I had never experienced that outside of walking between the honeysuckle vines by my front door. On each side of us blooming plants climbed the sides of the volcanic rock lining the road. Visually it was stunning and then to get the whiff of strong natural fragrance was overwhelming. The combination was magical.
I love the pine forests with the pleasantly pungent aroma of the pines that welcomes you to the haven of mountains. It’s wonderful, especially beside a mountain lake.
A book I was recommended and have started reading is “Fragrant” by Mandy Aftel. It is informative in an easily read form, and the details are necessities in developing the understanding of the evolution of scent.
A young friend of mine was wearing a homemade scent that smelled of patchouli. I love patchouli probably due to my 70’s pot smoking days. I do love scent, like incense and scented candles. Hello. Light bulb moment!!💡
I’ve been my typical self, delving full speed into researching essential oils, aroma families, and homemade soaps, perfumes and lotions. What a blast!!
I have this little note book I’ve been making copious notes in it as I learn. I’ve discovered the world of personal perfumers. The more I learn the more I like the idea of doing this for myself and perhaps for others. I woke this morning thinking of an aroma idea. Perfume, soap and lotion groups of specific nature fragrance blends. These can be made animal free and organic which makes me happy.
Don’t get me wrong I’m still writing, sewing, etc., but my mind is having fun exercising and growing with new knowledge.
We will see. I will blog about my progress and products developed – who knows I might make some money with this.
PS: Don’t believe it when a company says it doesn’t practice age discrimination. 😒
I’m a huge fan of The Walton’s. It shows a much simpler time of home, family and faith many humans now days still crave. They talk about the good old days with longing.
There are many things about those times that drove human improvement. People worked hard because there was no government assistance, the women tended the inside house and the children, the men worked outside the home in jobs or farming and kept up the outside house and buildings. Families who were in need, in most cases, were helped by their community. Most homes had cellars/sheds where fruits and vegetables were “put up” for the lean times. Many were like my grandparents who had gardens, raised chickens and lambs, and hunted and fished to help feed their families, and supplemented income by bartering goods and services. Children were taught respect for other people and their property. Social activity in the communities were centered around the churches along with purpose driven gatherings like a quilting bee, sewing circles and barn raisings. Most folks didn’t travel much, and the community was the focus.
However, there were some not so great things. Schools were adequate, but in rural areas not easily accessible so education was for those with means. Education, especially higher education, was for men. Domestic violence and child abuse were common, with no advocates for those victims. The abusers received no penalty since their wives and children were essentially property. Slavery in the form of adoption was also commonplace where a young boy or girl was adopted for the primary purpose of servitude on farms and in households. Sexual abuse was impossible to prosecute except under extreme situations, and rather than dealing with family incest, abuses were suppressed and kept quiet, racial prejudice was rampant as was the oppression of women. A white man would have sex with a black woman but would not ride on a bus with her.
So, there are elements of that time I agree are desirable and I would love to see happening again. However, just as much of it I am grateful that humans are actively fighting to eliminate.
I have been writing and sewing like crazy – and I love it.
With writing one thing I try to do when working on my fiction is to give an authentic perspective to male characters. Not always easy for me, so I discovered if I give my first draft pages to my hubby he brings his Clive Cussler/Tom Clancy/Louie L’Amour reader viewpoint to the action and dialogue I’ve written. This really fleshes out my fictional males, and works wonderfully in bringing depth and realistic dimension to them. He has helped me plot out some actions scenes which is fun, and I will bounce ideas off of him. I occasionally have to remind him not to try to re-write my story. He also shows me where I haven’t completed my thought or dropped into a scene without the needed information or details. I know my story, my locale, my characters voices, so I might start a scene of dialogue with a clear direction in my mind, but for my reader it’s like walking in during the middle of a movie!
I’m really have fun making my own clothes. I love fabric and patterns, the sound of a sewing machine, and the finish of a serger (overlock) so it seems I always have multiple projects. I have designed new face masks for me and hubby, based on what my husband would like to wear. He likes a longer front, so I started with a modified pattern and together designed what he wanted. After working it up I liked it so much I’m making one for myself. We found the fabric in the color we wanted, and got the appropriate notions. Now it’s just cutting out the pieces, and sitting at the machine to put them together. I was one of those folks that made a bunch of face masks at the beginning of the pandemic when the hospitals and first responders ran out. Myself along with dozens of others in Southern Arizona made thousands of masks. I gave me great joy to know I helped protect those important people. I also made masks for several family members.
So as we jump full speed into February I hope and pray for health, happiness, kindness, and hugs for all.
There are some words used to express perplexities that are often beyond the daily walk of our life. Some of these words are fanciful, some are distinct in the way they work our imagination.
What do you picture when you hear vanished, abyss, summit or abandoned? Do you imagine a ghost ship or an explorer? What about paranormal, telekinesis, singularity or heliopause? Aren’t those the coolest words and fun to say out loud?
Bottomless, crevasse, wall cloud, and epicenter: let your mind wander to the place these words will take it. What do you see or feel when discovering the substance of their meaning?
I remember in 8th grade reading a story about the famous ballerina Isadora Duncan. It said that she was riding in a convertible car while wearing a long red scarf. When I read the words “the long scarf wrapped around the wheels of the car, snapping her neck and killing her instantly”, I gasped. As you can see those words have never left me.
Another time the words of a book seized me was while reading “Unbroken” about the life of Louis Zamperini as a Japanese prisoner of war during WWII. I felt those words physically and the relief I felt once I finished it was profound. It is a tremendous book but I can never read it again.
I read the book “The Exorcist” and once I finished it I told my sister I never wanted to see the movie and watch any of it on the screen – and I never have.
Books, magazines, Kindle, Nook, anywhere words exist to convey the thoughts of another human into readable form attracts me.
I’m sitting here, reading a Melissa Foster book, rounding out a day that started yesterday with rain and then snow ❄. Its cold outside, but my glass of cabernet savignon is warming me.
The book is sexy, the temperature is 40°, and I’m looking at my sleeping German Shepherd Millie curled up on the couch. Also watching my polydactyl calico cat Cleo curled up dozing in the rocking chair.
Snow is low on the mountains, and the clouds are low in the sky. There is a hard freeze warning for our area which means I will have to cover the outdoor plants that are vulnerable.
I’m enjoying my solitude. I have times when being alone and quiet gives me comfort. I think with age we find these times exceptionally valuable.
So to all you lovely folks waiting for inspiration – gaze at the stars, listen to the soft breathing of a sleepy puppy, and relish the complexity of a good wine.
I found out I am poisoning my cat. Not on purpose, but from a lack of information. For the last couple of years, ever since I bought Jerry and installed him in my house my cat has been eating pieces of Jerry’s leaves.
Jerry is a big beautiful dracaena or Dragon Tree.
His name is in memory of the amazing musician Jerry Riopelle. What I failed to find out was that dracaena is bad for cats, in fact bad for dogs and cats.
I would hear that cat puking sound, you know that sound – it can wake you from a dead sleep – and she would puke up what looked like grass. Okay this cat doesn’t go outside and we don’t grow indoor grass so this led me to discovering she was munching Jerry!
Two days ago when she once again puked up pieces of Jerry I looked it up, low and behold:
“Dracaena species plants contain saponins which may cause drooling, vomiting, weakness, incoordination and dilated pupils (cats) when ingested.”
Oh man, this was bad! Another site said it can cause seizures! What to do?
I remembered I had this plant pest spray that was not harmful to animals so I pulled it down and checked it out. It is made with Cayenne Pepper and a couple of other non-hazardous things. I thought maybe she would leave it alone just because of the taste and smell.
I sprayed Jerry and waited. I’m happy to report Jerry and Cleo are now safe. She moved on to the Boston Fern and it got sprayed as well.
Guess it’s time to buy some indoor cat grass for my silly cat. Cleo the calico polydactyl weirdo.
Wondering about a bunch of stuff. Car needs an oil change, I’ve got tons of laundry to start, must get ready for a short road trip, have an audio book audition to prepare, a garment alteration job to start, and have to make gingerbread cookies sometime today.
All I want to do is read.
I’m an avid reader. I read electronic media as well as the good old printed and bound pieces. The pleasure of words cannot be adequately expressed. I love the feeling of holding a book, and of immersing in a story.
These shelves of books give me pleasure to look at, to touch, and in the case of my glass book case, filled with nothing newer than a 1950 copyright, the smell of old printed tomes.
I’m proud of my collection. It is special to me, and I enjoy adding new books, as well as classics. I’m a bookstore’s friend. I’ve decided that one day I will have a book sale. None from my glass cabinet or the classics like Louisa May Alcott or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but the Janet Evanovich, Mary Higgins Clark or Tom Clancy will be put out there for another book lover to discover.
After todays projects are completed, and I can feel comfortable relaxing with a glass of wine I will pick up a story. They are waiting for me.