Repeating - Anachronisms and “Almost Words”

(First posted following the 2011 release of Child of Desire)

Things that make me laugh while I’m reading a book include events and verbal expressions that are inappropriately placed in the time period of the novel and words that are misused. In the case of things associated with a particular time that have are in another time period, I always assume the author was so caught up in the story that stopping to research would have impeded the flow. However, when a word is used, apparently because it sounds much like the word intended, I’m just amused and guess that the author does not know better, and that the editor was “out to lunch,” so to speak.

Last week I read a best-selling book that had an example of the latter in the second sentence of the prologue. The author wrote, “He furls his brow…” It also stated that he does this “countless times each day.” Really? How does one furl his or her brow? Is this somewhat like furling a flag? I considered putting the book down after sentence two and not picking it back up. If the second sentence contained such a blatant error, how might the rest of the text insult my intelligence?

My editor should have been so lackadaisical! I was frequently required to defend occurrences and the existence of objects during the Great Depression and to support my claims with data. Yes, there were school buses in the 1920s. Yes, even young people who were poor graduated from high school. Yes, girls who were from wealthy families attended college. No, Hoovervilles did not exist in small towns and rural areas.

Much research can now be done online, but researching train schedules took me to the historical documents room of the public library where even my purse had to be left outside. And, yes, trains were the transportation of the day. The twenty-four hour, seven days per week schedule allowed for convenient local and nationwide travel.

I hope there are no “almost words” in my novel. But if you find one, please let me know so I can stress for the rest of my life because it’s out there for everyone to see, and there is nothing I can do to fix it. 

Oh, and if you are writing a book, you do need an editor. Invaluable!

 (Check out the "Novel" tab on this blog for information about Child of Desire.)


My Big Bro

(Note: January 24, 2016, update at end of post.)

Until I was in the third grade, my biggest problem in life was figuring out how to shorten the time for doing chores so I could spend more time with my friends. Roller skating, ice skating, bike riding, playing jacks, hopscotch, paper dolls. Life was good. Then the unthinkable happened. While outside playing one afternoon, a searing pain in my abdomen caused me to double over. I couldn't get back up.

The next few hours of my life went by in a pain-filled blur. The only additional memory I have of that day was traveling down a hospital hallway on a gurney. For an eight-year-old girl, it was a frightening trip.

At around 9:00 that evening, a surgeon removed the cause of my pain and I woke up the next day with one small, unnecessary pouch-like structure missing from my body. I no longer had an appendix.

It was the 1940s and medical wisdom of the time required a ten-day hospital stay. Children were not allowed to visit in hospitals back then, so that meant I could not see my brother, David. 

Apparently forgetting about our spats and the many things he and his friends did that excluded girls, he designed a get well card and had our parents deliver it to me. On the outside of the card he drew a picture of Mickey Mouse with tears flowing from his eyes. On the inside he penned the following poem.
          My life is sad.
          My days are blue.
          My dear little sister
          How I miss you.

This week my big brother enters the hospital for heart surgery. So before he goes for his ride on a bed with wheels, I’m posting a message for him that I found on the Internet.

It’s obvious that the creativity gene in our family had already been passed along before I was born. I wish I still had that card, but I will never forget the message and the admiration I had (and still have) for that big brother. 

Prayers for a speedy recovery, David Lacy.

January 24, 2016
I'm happy to report on this third day following surgery that David is doing well. Thanks for the prayers.


Post-Christmas Advice

With a family of four children, I discovered many years ago that my advice was little valued. Despite that knowledge, I am posting some words of wisdom for those who are teachable.

1. Never purchase a pre-lit fake Christmas tree that is covered with glitter.
Never acquiring a fake tree is a great idea but, if you are into saving real trees, know that a glitter covered fake tree means a glitter covered house.

2. Don’t get on the bathroom scale for at least two months following weeks of holiday celebrating.
Temptations presented by homemade cookies and candy, yeast rolls, and Topsy’s® popcorn are always too great to overcome. (At least that is true for me.) A medium-sized tin of Topsy's cheese/caramel/cinnamon now sells for over $37.00. At that price, one should go cold turkey, but it is worth every penny.

3. Never use recipes from December issues of magazines.
Why? All day preparation of one dessert is, in my opinion, a day wasted. Also, Christmas recipes now include unusual combinations of ingredients. Who finds cookies made with asparagus, sauerkraut, cardamom, and anise more delicious than cookies made with chocolate chips? Just wondering.

Finally, modern day recipes may need translation – mostly from French. I believe the KISS Principle should be applied to recipes, so here we go with just a few of the terms.
Ganache - A pastry glaze.
Roux - A cooked mixture of flour and fat used for thickening.
À la carte - Something served alone.
Agar - A vegan jelling agent.
Al dente – The optimal “doneness” of pasta.
Allumette – To cut vegetables into small, thin pieces the size of matchsticks.
Amandine - Any dish garnished with toasted almonds.
Cooking is easy peasy when recipes are written using plain English.

4. Don't make selfish resolutions for the New Year.
Learning to love life is a resolution I read last week. The young lady who wrote this resolution plans to focus on things that make her happy and fulfilled by taking charge of her life, doing the things that make her happy, not doing things others expect of her, traveling more and having amazing experiences, threating herself with love and respect, doing nice things for herself, surrounding herself with people who love her and treat her well, caring more about how she feels than what others think, and reclaiming her living space to make a sanctuary and safe haven. 

Maybe narcissistic?

Following is the Christmas Eve Service benediction given by my cousin, Ron Morrell, pastor of the China Baptist Church in China, Maine. It expresses my desire for the New Year.

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary,
The obedience of Joseph,
The joy of the angels,
The eagerness of the shepherds,
The determination of the magi,
And the peace of the Christ child,
And may Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever. Amen


Happy New Year

On this first day of 2016 I'm sharing my big bro's post on "String Too Short to Tie."

David is a great blogger and writer.

Wishing for all of my readers a very Happy New Year.