Penpals

Excerpts from a recent note to my penpal, Eileen…..

As I pause in writing you this note I look over at Greg who is watching me.    He has this funny smile on his face.   I say, “what?”   He says, “I was just watching you, typing away and then you stop and sigh”.     I tell him that I am writing you a long overdue note but I don’t have anything interesting to say because I haven’t done anything different lately.    He laughs and says, “tell her you’re staring at the four walls, it’s cold, it’s raining, it’s snowing…..ha, ha, ha”.

So, I will make up a story to entertain you…..maybe……here goes……thinking…….

Easter Sunday 2020.     This year due to…… a) a wicked virus, b) a travesty set in motion by evil sources to wreck the US and/or it’s governing body(ies) (conspiracy theory), c) God’s wake up call, d) all of the above……. we were unable to spend the holiday with our family and traditions.     Although we were disappointed and sad we realized we were still blessed and had the opportunity to be creative with how we would spend this Easter Sunday.

We headed out to the woods in search of morels.   What a beautiful way to visit with God, in nature.     Somewhat overcast, it was still a beautiful day.

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Early in the morning, between rain showers, we jumped on the four wheeler and skiddadled up the hill to our super secret spot known for a plentiful morel harvest in previous years.

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Me with my rubber wellies and Greg with his steel toed boots we entered nature’s portal with high hopes and determination.       The ground was moist and covered with a blanket of crunchy brown leaves and soft bright green moss.

judy's treehouse blog

We slipped and slid, as we found our way over fallen logs, through spider webs stretched between bushes, down valleys, up hills.

We paused to appreciate the delicate flowers and plants pushing though to start their new journey of growth and beauty; dutchmen’s britches, jack in the pulpit, mayapples, ferns; to name a few.

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Overhead squirrels twittered their annoyance with our invasion and birds sang their beautiful wake up songs.    All else was quite.     Pausing for a moment I took my cell phone from my pocket to snap a few pictures…..for prosperity sake.    On hindsight I wish I would have left the cell phone at home; cherish the moment, maintain the memory.

The mossy hill called out to me; come rest here.

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The flowers lifted their heads; be strong, have faith.

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The wind blew gently; embracing my body.     The sun peeked out from behind a cloud; all is bright.

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Yes, we did find a few morels

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but what we really found was the beauty of Life and a peak at the abundance of God’s gifts and many Blessings.      Not the traditional egg hunt and chocolate bunnies and church service.   No, something much deeper than that.     So next year, if we’re so blessed that Easter Sunday brings us the opportunity to spend it with family and friends in addition to the Easter baskets and family dinner I think we’ll add a new tradition and add a nature hike to our celebration of Life!……..(no phones/cameras allowed).      The end! (or maybe the beginning 😊 )

So, there you go, our Easter story 2020.     Funny, I was going to write a story about finding a village of fairies in the woods while mushroom hunting but I guess I’ll have to save that one for another day.

Pace Love Joy

Judy

From The Tractor Seat…..By Judy Rebman

Personally Published!
Personally Published!

I have always wanted to be a writer.    I guess you could say I am a writer.    I do write……a lot!    So let me rephrase that.    I have always wanted to be a published author.

Early on I started writing poetry.    Was told I was pretty good at it, too.     Took creative writing classes in high school and advanced English classes.     Don’t know how much of that learning has stuck with me over the years.    Pretty sure my punctuation and grammar and sentence structure are not spot on.    BUT, I say if you have a story to tell, tell it.     Write it the way you want.    Use your voice.     Use whatever words resonate with you.     Punctuate where and when you want!

The thought of someone editing my work sends chills up and down my spine.    Sure, they may be able to say something better or maybe just differently than what I have written.    They may change my verbs and adjectives, add or delete words, change my punctuation marks which then could change the emotion I had put into a particular sentence or paragraph.

Oh yea, and paragraphs!    I’m not always sure where the proper breaks should be made.    So I make them where I want them.    And, if it sounds good to me, that is where they stay.

Editors, agents, publishers.     They may help me to become a better writer but I still want and need my own voice to be found in my writing.

When I left my job in the corporate world I thought I would finally have the time to write my stories.     And, I did have the time.     But, I soon learned that writing wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be.      Here is an example of my days spent writing:

  • staring at a blank page on a computer screen
  • creating a title for my book before I had even written a word
  • starting a story page that might go something like this…..   She found herself high on a hill in the middle of the night.      Then that would be it.    I’d find myself frozen at the keyboard and empty of words.   Not thoughts, my mind is always flittering away, just no words flowing from my thoughts through my fingertips onto the pate
  • searching the web for articles on “how to write a…..” fill in the blank
  • searching the web for articles on purple prose
  • searching the web for articles on how to get published
  • getting up from the computer and putting in a load of laundry
  • back to staring at a blank page on a computer screen
  • starting to write a story page that might go something like this…..   Her butt was sore from sitting at her desk in front of a blank computer screen all day while thinking to write the next best selling novel of all time.
  • getting up from the computer and emptying  the dishwasher
  • making lunch
  • reading a book that will take me to that pivotal point where character, plot, and story flow easily from my mind, through my fingers, to my blank page.

You get the gist.    And, if you’ve ever tried to write, you can probably relate.

After a year of repeating the above steps, having a few starter pages and even a chapter or two for the worlds next best selling novel, I threw in my towel, walked away from my computer screen and opted for different avenues in which to release my creative urges.

Over the past eight years I’ve taught myself to garden; herbs, vegetables and flowers.    I’ve tried my hand at a little interior decorating; ripping up carpets and refinishing the stairway, painted and repainted walls and ceilings (I can now paint edges without taping!).    Refurbished some old furniture pieces.    Read and reread a LOT of books.      And, started creating jewelry and my very own small business!

But, I still have this gnawing urge to write.      Which takes me to my title page for this post, From the Tractor Seat – By Judy Rebman.

When I first started driving the tractor and became the grain cart operator during harvest I was a nervous wreck.    Afraid I would not be where I needed to be, would not be able to “dump on the go”, would spill grain when I was loading the truck.     I would sit in the tractor at attention, listening intently over the hand held radios to be called into action.     I would not have any distractions in the tractor; no radio, no phone, no books.   Nothing to do but sit and wait and think.   Long days and sometimes quite boring I’m sorry to say.

Over the years as I developed my skills with grain cart operations I became more at ease and confident in my farming responsibilities.     I began taking a blank notepad and pen with me and would write from my little tractor cab office cubicle.    Short poems or stories arising from my thoughts or things I would see in the field;  a grasshopper, a mouse, trash along the roadway.

The more I wrote from my little sterile environment where the only interruptions where my call to field duty, the more relaxed I became with my writing and the easier the words would flow from my mind to my fingertips onto the blank page.

I didn’t worry about what other people would think, or proper grammar, punctuation, and purple prose.    I just wrote what came freely to me at that particular moment.    And I enjoyed seeing my little stories evolve.

And so came my first publication!    From the Tractor Seat and A Rooster Came To Stay are my self-published, first edition, storybooks.     I gathered up some of the stories I’d written from my seat in the tractor over a few harvest seasons, printed my pages, added some photos and illustrations, hand bound the books, and presented them to my grandsons, Alej and Christian.    There are only three copies in circulation, I gave copies to my dad, too.       And you know what, I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment.     No, they are not on the best seller list but they are an heirloom I created for my grandsons and grandbabies yet to be that may someday be passed down from generation to generation.       No editors, no agents, no publishers.    Just my words, in my voice, my style of writing without a care in the world as to whether or not they are grammatically correct or perfect as per some others’ standards.   Just a few little stories and poems that I hope will bring a laugh, a smile, or a small bit of joy to someone’s world.

I will be sharing some of these little poems and stories here on my website.    Maybe you will enjoy them.    I hope so.    Maybe you will criticize and judge them.    That is your prerogative.

All I can say is that I love to write so I am going to write and who knows……someday you might just find me on that best seller list.

Follow your dreams!    Don’t get in the way of yourself.       And, certainly, don’t let others block your path.      Feel free to be who you want to be and you will become that person!