Saturday, February 4, 2012

Small Stone for February 3: Moon Surrounded

I miss the River of Stones for January so tonight as we came in right after sunset, I captured this small stone:

Dark sky with streaky light clouds, above and below the moon, it's surrounded but not captured.

Feb 5. E word list and sentence today!

Hi friends,

Here is where you can post your list of words beginning with E and your sentence.  It's no exaggeration to say words with e are excellent! Here's a basket of eggs from my friends Rob and Diane's farm.  Do you see the blue ones? Not dye, they're naturally different colors. The egg is a beginning place, so if you're just starting Alphabetaphilia, no problem! You can go back and do the earlier ones or not, your own choice!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Feb 4 is for D-words and sentence

Hi writer friends,
Today is Feb 4, the day for a list of five inspiring words starting with D and a sentence using them all.  My picture today shows two D's: daughter and dog!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feb 3 is for C-words and a sentence; post in comments here!

Hi friends,
Feb 3 is the day for five words beginning with C that you love and enjoy, and then a sentence with those words along with any others you need.   Post in Comments below!  Cliff is one of mine, as seen in this picture from a cliff at Montana de Oro State Park near Morro Bay, California.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Post Your B Lists and Sentences Here for Feb 2

Hi friends,

B is for...blackbird!  Alphabetaphilia day 2, February 2, means it's time to post your list of five words starting with B and your absurd or gorgeous sentence using them all.  Welcome!  I hope you're taking time to enjoy other people's lists and sentences so you can encounter some more amazing words.


31st and Final Small Stone: Stuck Sun

The sun seems stuck in the peach tree notch for a long time.  Should I help it?   It will take care of itself.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lisa Solis DeLong Interview on Blood Brothers

Dear Friends of Reading and Writing,

My friend Lisa Solis DeLong, another member of The Last Sunday Writers, has written a beautiful and courageous memoir of her experiences with first one son being diagnosed with leukemia, having a respite for a while, and dying, and then a second son being diagnosed with leukemia.  No one could cope with such terrible disasters easily, and Lisa has struggled as anyone would, but has some hopeful words to offer others in dark valleys in life.  Here is her interview with me.

  Lisa, do you think it was harder for you to deal with the tragedy of your first son’s death because of your background in nursing, or was it easier?  
My nursing experience prepared me for the reality that bad things happen to good people.  I was not na├»ve to death when Justin, my first, was diagnosed but and I was able to accept his diagnosis and treatment.  Nothing could have prepared me for his death.

You have a great “eye” for details, taking the reader along with you to medical venues and to your house.  Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to remember enough details of a place they’ve been only once or twice to recreate it in writing? 
I do a lot of journaling and have done so for most of my adult life.  I was able to recall details after reading my journal entries even though I didn’t always include setting details, reading my entries brought me back to locations and I could then remember surprising details.

 When I imagine how it must have been to write this book, it almost makes me cry, yet your writing doesn’t anticipate the negative, doesn’t dwell on pain, doesn’t end up with a message of misery but one of hope and love.  Are you basically optimistic or what do you do when it’s almost too much to bear the pain you’ve been given? 
I definitely am an optimist by nature.  In real time, I practice seeing the positive in life but do get worn out by negative responses of people around me.  Sometimes I retreat to being alone but can’t do that for too long as I have a healthy 12 year old son who keeps me laughing and that’s good.  I have learned from my boys that a day outside of illness and hospitalizations is a very good day—one I refuse to waste.  When the weight of grief and life stresses become too much to bear I dance.  Seriously, sometimes I’m so down and out that I just want to run away but instead I retreat to a couple of ballroom dance places.  Entering the ballroom, seeing aged grey haired folks gliding like youngsters, hearing Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good” and I really do feel good.  I dance twice a week, would do more if I could, and do a lot of walking.  Hanging out with my kids when we can just relax and watch documentaries about finding Big Foot with Jacob or Adult Swim with my 23 year-old daughter Jess, on TV and laugh is another favorite.  Jojo, my 18 year-old basketball player at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon is also a great joy magnet.  Seeing my surviving children thriving takes me away.

 Recently you posted an anecdote about your second son’s worn out shoes that really summarized for me your approach to life.  Would you share that with the blog readers? 
Oh my goodness, those shoes make me cry!  Jacob returned to public school one year ago after being on chemo treatments for three and a half years.  He came home from school the other day showed me a hole on the soles of his shoes and said, “Mom, can I get a new pair of shoes?”  This is the first time in his 12 years of life that he has worn out a pair of shoes.  This may seem strange but he has never been able to be active enough to do so.  Jacob has not had this many consecutive months of health in six years.  I asked him how he wore them out and he said, “I think it’s from shuffling,” as he slid his feet forward and back to demonstrate. Would it be too weird to bronze them?  Frame them?  Man, worn out soles—good news!

No, I’d agree they deserve that bronze!  Lisa, what has surprised you the most about becoming a book author?  
I had a woman accost me at a book signing because she was angry that I shared her adult daughter’s story.  I was very careful to get permission from the parents of children whose lives I shared but neglected to do so with this woman as her daughter was of age and I wrote only positive things about her.  I felt horrible, completely devastated by her in-my-face public display of anger, (she asked me to step outside at the book store).  I eventually worked through this and had her daughter’s story edited out for the sake of my own piece of mind.  Sure, didn’t see that coming.  

Was it pretty much as you expected?  There have been more positive experiences than negatives for certain.  I’ve found that it is far better for me to share my story with people in the right niche.  Today I attended an End of Life Nurse Education Consortium conference and was swarmed by nurses hungry to read my story.  Wow!  That felt good.  I’ve discovered that because of the sensitive and powerful nature of my story, it is important to find the right venue for effective book sales.  I have not tapped into online blogs and sites nearly as much as I should but find it difficult to find the time. 

What did you do to help people who might need to read your book to discover it?  I am a bereavement facilitator and nurse so I tried to get the word out to my contacts directly.  This has been the most effective use of my time for sure.  I’m not very tech savvy so I get frustrated using sites and programs I can’t navigate easily.  I do use Facebook and have had some positive results there.

Has your perspective on yourself changed since your book was published?  You know, I hadn’t thought about it much but now that you ask, I must say there are times when I am very proud of my accomplishment and others when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders to sell it.  I swing wide here.  I am working on letting go of measuring its success monetarily and enjoying setting it free—kind of like having another child. 

  Do you feel like a standard bearer for parents of kids with leukemia at all?
         I definitely do, which is ironic because when Justin was first diagnosed, being the poster mother for    leukemia kids was the last thing I wanted but I learned a long time ago to embrace my story.  Sharing it has connected me with “my people”:  writers, mothers, medical professional who care about sick kids and fearlessly kind people. 

Do you have any writing tips to share with the blog readers? 
A lot of people ask me how I was able to write about such painful aspects of my life.  Journaling has become second nature to me.  I need to get my thoughts on paper often or become too fretful.  Writing often, even if it is not being share publicly is good therapy and exercise.  If you decide to write publicly you can tap into your journals as needed for inspiration and information.  

How did you keep going long enough to produce and rewrite a whole book, even though reliving some of these events must have been very painful? 
I couldn’t give up on Justin, his strength, his story and the same for Jacob.  Every time I felt like quitting, I thought, You know, Justin never quit, and neither did Jacob.  So what if I cry when I write.  Shut up and write.  I also took lots of naps as emotional stuff is exhausting to share.  I’m a really good napper!

 Any other thoughts you’d like to share? 
The best thing I did for myself is to create a writing community.  Mine is centered around The Last Sunday Writers.  As you know, we meet once a month to read our work out loud, share information and encourage one another.  This group has grounded me.  Every time I attend, I feel like a real writer and that is so important as the task of writing is so lonely.  Create community!  Take classes, attend workshops, begin with whatever you can afford and keep showing up.

Do you have any blogs you’d like to recommend? 
Our TLS blog for sure! (Read it at:  I also have my website blog:  but I must be honest here and say it is sorely neglected.  I do hope to blog regularly in the near future.  Thanks for the inspiration!

30th Small Stone: Slow-Opening Bud

The swollen bud on the tall camellia bush that first showed red is still closed, but two other red camellia flowers are full open to the sun.  Will the slow-opening flower be more beautiful for waiting?  No, everything takes its own time and is itself. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A is for Alphabetaphilia, Feb 1 Lists and Sentences go here!

Hi friends of reading and writing,

A is for Apple and a whole lot more! Feb 1 is the kickoff day for the alphabetaphilia game for February, 2012.  You need a list of five wonderful words beginning with A today and a sentence using your words, to be posted in the comments below.  I have to moderate comments, so it can take up to a day for your comments to appear, but I'll put them up asap.  I can't wait to see your words and sentences!


Alphabetaphilia Starts Weds, Feb 1, 2012. Simple Directions.

Hi friends of reading and writing,

Here is the fast version of February Alphabetaphilia:
The letter of the day matches the order in the alphabet.  Feb 1 is A, Feb 2 is B, etc.  The last three days are wild cards, any letter you choose.

Choose five favorite words that begin with the letter of the day (your LIST).

Make up a sentence using those five words (SENTENCE)

Post the LIST and SENTENCE on this blog ( under the Day and Letter title, as a COMMENT.  It will take up to a day to be approved and posted (sorry, I have a busy life).

If you miss a day or two, no problem, you can make up the days you missed OR just skip them.  No need for guilt.

That's it.  Hope to see you around playing with the glorious alphabet and words that sound delicious all during February!   Laura

29th Small Stone: Waltzing Magnolias

The evenly spaced magnolia trees on Mountain Avenue slipped by my car in time with The Blue Danube waltz.