Monday, August 22, 2016

Are you following your dreams, your passions?

The painting above was one my sisters both liked very much. June, my older sister, fell in love with it and had it in her house for a while. Gay has this one and most of my good  paintings.


Going into the painting class the first time, I was terrified. I had never attempted to use oil paint. But the once a week class became a passion that helped my self-esteem, helped me escape from real life, as I painted in class and painted at home, constantly improving until I could see my work was good.

In the 1970's I decided to take painting lessons with a lovely lady named Verna. Little did I know how much she would change my life. I was going through a rough time.

My mother and I had been closer than most mothers and daughters. I visited her almost every day and I could talk to her about everything. My mother had suffered a ruptured aneurysm in January 1975. We had recently moved into the house we always dreamed of building. Life was supposed to be good for us, but my mother needed me and I had vowed if she recovered from the cerebral hemorrhage that almost killed her, I would care for her the rest of her life. 

When she came home from the hospital after three months, she had no short term memory. She had to re-learn who her children were. It was a determined family that would not give up on her. Gay, my younger sister came and spent a month helping get Mother settled in at home. After my sister left, I became the one responsible for Mother's care. I was on call 24/7. I learned all I could about care giving, Mother's illness, diet and her medications. The weight of her care weighed heavily on my shoulders and on my mind.

Depressed and lonely, not working out of the home, I knew I needed to do something that would take me out of my everyday life. My husband's mother was an artist and we had a  number of her paintings in our new house. For a long time, I had thought about taking painting lessons. One day I called Verna and signed up for classes.


I used a little glassed in balcony in our new house high up in the trees as my painting studio. The north light was fabulous. I could leave my canvas on my easel and work on it as I had time. I  love oils for that reason. They take a long time to dry. 

My husband Barry loved my paintings. That pleased me, having grown up in a family where I seldom heard a compliment for anything. Verna asked me to help her judge an art show. I was  overjoyed with her confidence in my ability. It was a day I'll never forget. I still have a small gift I received that day. 

During the ten years of my Mother's illness and my life as a care giver, painting was my absolute passion. I donated a painting to a charity that held a sale at the  local mall. It sold for the price I put on it and, I heard, it was the only painting sold that day. 

Mother died in 1985. I was devastated. Grieving, I felt I had failed as her care giver. Also I was lost with no purpose for my daily life.  

I turned to my writing as  therapy, pouring out all my fears, my sadness, my memories. I stopped painting. It seemed I could not paint and write. This became a period of soul-searching, of deep introspection. My sorrow took over  my life.

In 1988, my father died. I was free to leave south Georgia and we did.

When I moved to our little house in the  mountains, I gave away most of my paintings.

I met and became part of an exciting writing community. I followed my other passion that I had nurtured all my life, writing.

Lately I have entertained ideas of painting again, twenty years after giving it up. I  never lost my eye for scenes I want to paint. I see them everywhere. I often try to capture them with a camera, but have not found the satisfaction I want. 

This is one of the my photographs that hangs on my wall.

My  woods in winter - taken from my deck

I hope we do get to live more than one life. It took me so long to get the courage to follow my dreams and do what I love to do. I think it would be so unfair if, just as I get to the place I can do all these things I love, I would have to leave.

Are you following your dreams, following your passions and doing what you most enjoy? Don't wait. Time flies so swiftly and before you know it, it is too late. I hope you are following your passion, your dream. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

More family history from my brother

Every time I talk with my brother Max, I learn more of our family history. 

Recently he told me that he, my sister June, and my brother Ray had malaria when Max was only four years old. Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. 

My family lived west of downtown Albany, GA, in the southwest corner of the state. At that time that area was mostly undeveloped wetlands, and small sinkholes filled with water each summer. These holes or little ponds became stagnant water, a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes. This was typical all over the south where swampy land existed.

Some of our relatives, who saw Max as he was recovering, thought he would not live. I imagine many children died from that dread disease in the late thirties and early forties. My aunt Lillian once asked my parents why in the world they lived in Albany, the “Malaria Capital of the World.” 

The most effective antimalarial drug was quinine, a very bitter substance, made from the bark of a certain kind of tree. Max said Mother gave them a green, grainy tonic called Grove’s Chill Tonic. One of the ingredients was quinine. The original name was Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic and was created not as a cure, but as a preventative and relief for the chills and fever accompanying the illness. Quinine has been used for more than three centuries and until the 1930s it was the only effective malaria treatment.

Mother had great faith in Grove’s Chill Tonic. She continued to use it as her first method of treatment for everything. I came along six years later. I can still remember how I dreaded a dose of chill tonic which she gave for whatever ailed us.

“I had a little drug business in Paris, Tennessee, just barely making a living, when I got up a real invention, tasteless quinine. As a poor man and a poor boy, I conceived the idea that whoever could produce a tasteless chill tonic, his fortune was made.”—E.W. Grove

Mr. E.W. Grove built the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC in 1913. By this time his medicinal products had become so popular his little drug business had grown into his Paris Medicine Company. He moved to Asheville for his health and constructed a number of places besides the Grove Park Inn. The Grove name is widely known in the mountain city. A popular place  for shopping is the Grove Arcade. Wise  people invested in his products and his company. I know our family contributed to his fortune with all the bottles Mother purchased. 

Barry and I spent a weekend in Asheville at that beautiful Inn about twenty years ago, and I almost asked for a discount claiming I helped build that place.

By the 1950s malaria had been eradicated. The Communicable Disease Center was founded in 1946 and with state, local and federal cooperation, DDT, an effective insecticide discovered in 1939, was sprayed everywhere mosquitoes could breed. Now only a few pockets of malaria are found in the United States each year.

Today the CDC warns about another mosquito-borne illness, the Zika Virus.
I wonder if I should suggest they try Grove’s Chill Tonic.

Note: The chill tonic was so popular the British army made it standard issue for every soldier going off to mosquito infested lands and, by 1890, more bottles of Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic were sold than bottles of Coca-Cola.


Did you ever take Grove’s Chill Tonic or did your mother rely on another tonic?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Another Hot Day but Fall will come


We are now into August and I believe summer will finally end soon. 

This has been the worst summer for me since I moved to the mountains in 1995. I mean the weather has been the worst. My life in general has been good. I am enjoying teaching writing and having instructors like Tara Lynne Groth come to Writers Circle, my studio in Hayesville, NC. Her class on August 6 filled and we had a waiting list. Of course, all the classes require lots of work from me and my own writing has suffered this summer. 

I am thinking of taking my little dog and going to a cabin in the woods for a few days since I am having some painting and work done on my stairs. Those fumes cause me to have asthma and that is no fun. 

I spent last week at the home of my sister and brother-in-law, dog-sitting. That did not turn out the way I had planned because one of their dogs became seriously ill the first day I was there. We ended up in the emergency dog hospital where she had to stay over night on IV fluids and medication. Thankfully she is doing fine now, but it was a frightening experience. I am so grateful I was with her, however, because I could not reach Gay and Stu. I knew what they would do, and they are glad I did.

Smokie was sick, but she is fine now. She is a love.

While away, I wrote a post for this blog and wanted to post it on Sunday. But I did something that made my post completely vanish, and now I can't get it back. Sometimes computers drive me nuts. If anyone knows how to find a lost post on Blogger, please let me know.

I am taking a break from political news. I know how I will vote and don't care to hear any more of the rabble rousing, name calling and such. I can't change anyone's mind and no one can change mine. I know my values and which party supports them. That is all I really need to know at this time.

TV news brings way too much stress so I avoid it as much as possible. Isn't it interesting that old TV game shows have come to prominence lately? I think that is good, although I've never been a game show follower, because it rests the mind that has been stressed out by watching cable news all day. 

Too many retired people, especially men, sit in front of the television set all day watching the news channel that best fits their political leaning. I've been told by women that their husbands eat breakfast, take their coffee and plop down in front of the TV and stay there all day. Those people have an addiction. Years ago I knew a man who was a "news junkie." He could not wait to get off work and hurry to the nearest place he could watch cable news. 

Today I  took one more step into the 21st Century. I became a Twitter user. After the  class on social media for authors, I had help from our teacher, Tara Lynne Groth, on getting into Twitter and using it for my writing. I will not become addicted to Twitter as many do today, because I don't find it all that interesting. I'd rather read and write blog posts, but I will give Twitter a good try.

Well, I have rambled on too long. That is what happens when your carefully written and edited post flies into cyber space. 

Have a great week and live each day as if it were your last. 

Visit: www.glendacouncilbeall.com  for writing news. 

  


 



   

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Day of Rest

When life gets so busy I can't return my calls or emails, I know it is time to step back and take a day for myself to relax, read, work in my garden on my deck and sit in the rocking chair awhile. I am thinking of doing away with all flower beds in my yard except for my roses and my hostas. On a drive around my county last weekend, I yearned for some of the houses I saw that only had mulch around the  house with two or three shrubs in front. I think they are summer houses or vacation houses, but that is what I want. 

Keeping up a yard on the side of a mountain where there are no flat levels is beyond my abilities now
I remember when my  husband Barry said to me, "Don't plant things you have to water and take care of." 
When we moved here this was a vacation house and nothing was planted outside but a rosemary bush and Ivy under the outside steps. 

Now I have azaleas across the front, two forsythias on the side yard, a rose bed on the other side yard, roses and day lilies and irises, an elephant ear and one trillium plant in back beside the fenced yard. With temperatures in the  nineties day after day, I stay inside. 

Azaleas in front yard with forsythia bush beside steps. 

I love hostas. They require little extra care.

Container garden last spring. I have more this year.
On my deck I have a container garden with three geraniums, some pots with trailing ground cover plants, a tiny rose, a beautiful vinca plant and some other green plants. I can sit in my living room and enjoy all of the plants on my deck and it takes a short while to water them. I fill a watering can, step outside and give them each a drink. 

Finding anyone to come and help me in my yard is next to impossible. I have people who tell me they will come and then don't show up or when I call they won't call me back. I hear this story from people who need workers in this area. They say people don't want  to work if it is physical or outdoors. 

Harrah's put in a casino in an adjoining county and most of the people who wanted a better job or who needed a better wage, went there to  work. I'm sure those jobs are better than fast food or restaurant jobs many of them held. Almost all businesses here have help wanted signs in front windows. 

I am curious to know if they work harder for the better wages and benefits than they did in their former jobs. Of course, with more jobs available, no one is sitting home waiting for someone to call them for a day's work. They found full time jobs. 

Perhaps like the farmers, these small businesses should look for some illegal immigrants who are usually eager to take any job available. They appreciate the work and do a good job.  

Today is a rest day for me. This past week I had something to do every single day and when I was home, I was at my computer working on the Publishing Class I taught Saturday at Tri-County Community College. We had ten eager students and their experience was very diverse. One man has written a non fiction book. A woman has completed a novel based on a true story. A poet had recently published a chapbook on Create Space. All were interested in how to publish their writing and I gave them three hours of information. Still, with all the discussion, I had to  leave out some of what I  had planned to talk about.

A writer friend, Darnell Arnoult, who teaches in a college in Tennessee, said she had hoped to be a writer who was also a teacher but it seems she is a teacher who writes. I feel the same way. I enjoy teaching so much I continue to schedule classes. I  hope I  can get back to writing soon. I have projects half finished including a  poetry book and a book on pets.

My readers and friends, I hope your weekend is good and life is good to you.

Leave a comment on your writing or your thoughts on this post.

You might like to read:
www.glendacouncilbeall.com







Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Authors beware- Good article on ncwriters.org

I am happy to see Charles Fiore of the North Carolina Writers' Network address the problems that often occur when authors seek to publish books independently, that is on their own instead of submitting to a traditional publisher and having them take care of the editing and printing, etc.

Of course, it takes longer to submit your manuscript to publishers and you might receive more rejections than you'd  like. In fact you might give up after a few and say to yourself and anyone else in earshot, "I'll publish this book myself."

But as Charles points out, it is a dog-eat-dog world and people want to make money. So authors beware and be careful.  Like the woman in this article, you could agree to spend thousands of dollars and receive very little in return.

We will talk more about this subject in my publishing class on July 23. See www.glendacouncilbeall.com for information on registering for this class in Murphy, NC.


In the Dark, a poem from Now Might as Well be Then

Recently  while reading some of my poetry at the tour of gardens in Hayesville, I was asked to read this poem from my book, Now Might as Well be Then, published by Finishing  Line Press in 2009.


In The Dark
by Glenda Beall

I lie here in bed, my cheek against your shoulder,
remembering a night, long ago, on your boat.
I was afraid.  I felt too much, too fast.
But you were tender, and love crept over us
like silver fog, silent on the lake.
We were never again the same.

We stepped like children through that door that led
to long passages unknown, holding hands, wide-eyed, but brave.
Here I am years later, listening to your soft breath
and feeling your warm smooth skin.
In the dark, now might as well be then.


The title of the book comes from the last line in this poem. Many poets stress out over trying to find the perfect title for their poetry books. I did. Every title I thought of was unmemorable. It was Nancy Simpson, well-known and highly published poet, who chose the title for me.

Recently in our weekly poetry class, we studied famous poet, Theodore Roethke. His  first book was called Open House and the title was suggested to him by another poet, Stanley Kunitz. This is  yet another reason to surround yourself with writers and poets if you are a writer or a poet. 

We often see something in another person's work that they don't see. Writing is done in isolation, but we need community and that is why I  urge my students to join writing groups, attend writing events and make friends with other writers. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The ending of a bad week for the country and a good weekend for me

The  past two days have been busy but fun. I worked at our booth at the Festival on the Square in Hayesville Saturday and Sunday. 


I wish I understood why I can sit for hours talking to strangers and meeting new people with no pain in my back or my feet or anywhere although my doctor tells me not to  sit for more than an hour at the time. I thrive on meeting and talking with people. If anyone is a People-Person, I guess I am. It is a  joy for me to discuss writing and get to know individuals who are interested in writing and in books. 

Joan Gage took the major part of the work off me this year. She and her husband Rob set up the tent,  the tables and brought all of it back to my house today when the festival closed.

It was a special joy to help a woman who recently lost her husband, buy a book on widowhood that will help her deal with her grief. It is On Our Own, Widowhood for Smarties, and I have two poems in it. She came by today and told me she had been reading the book. 

I got a kick out of selling a couple of books for someone who sat there and basked in the buyers' appreciation of  the author's military service. 

Marsha Barnes surprised me with her beautiful children's book, but more so with her sales ability. She  told me she worked on the floor selling furniture at one time. Then  I understood.

If I  did nothing else this weekend, I hope I helped the  other writers see that  it is not hard to invite passersby to come in and sign up for a free book, then open a  conversation with  them. The purpose is not to sell them a book, but to engage them in conversation, and if they seem interested in the books, talk about the books. Most of the time, the passersby will  take a book with them when they leave.

Dispensing information about our writing group and making our literature available for those who might want to know more was our goal this weekend and we did that. Would-be writers  now know where to go for classes and for more information from professionals who are willing to help them.

This week I'll teach a poetry class, promote classes by others who will teach at my Writers Circle studio, and  hopefully find time to  swim a couple of times. I hope to go to  a critique group and have lunch with a friend. This week will be full and will pass too soon as all the days of my life seem to  do now. 

I will try not to  listen to the news because I can't fix anything and worrying about it makes me ill. I will live my life in a way that I hope is an example to those who fail to see that divisiveness could be the downfall of  our country. Reaching  out to  help others in whatever way you can might seem a small thing, but when we all do that, it is a large thing. 
Have a good week, my friends. 


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Do you shop on Etsy? Some good finds today.

We have in our area, two delightfully talented twin girls or young women, I should say.
They are known as the Pressley Girls, who sing and  play various instruments. I've known  their mother since the girls were small and never met a kinder, sweeter, and more caring  person.

Today she sent the viewers of her blog which is all about Appalachia, to Etsy and her daughter's page.   This twin is known as Chitter. Her sister's nickname is Chatter. Katie and Corie are their real names and I can't tell them apart.

The Etsy page is filled with handmade jewelry that most young people of today would love. Please share this with your grandkids or young girls who like jewelry. The prices are very reasonable.

I loved to wear the earrings  on Chitter's page when I was younger. I  liked the  one of a kind, handmade by someone, appeal. Even though I seldom wear earrings today, I have kept many of those beautiful items over the years.

Check out Chitter's  handy work and  let me  know what  you think.

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 4th is a special anniversary for me.

I mistakenly posted a story on Writers Circle blog, www.glendacouncilbeall.com 

It is a story about my first date with my late husband, Barry. See how things started out so badly and ended up so differently.


Have  you ever had a bad first impression turn to a good one?

Barry at Mexico Beach  Florida, early seventies


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Novelists I Recommend for Your Summer Reading

I like to share good things with folks I like, which is  almost everyone I know including my readers.  Joshilyn Jackson has won all kinds of local awards and is a  NYT Best Selling author. She  lives in Decatur, Georegia. You can read about her life here.  The first of her books that I read was Between Georgia and I was hooked. You can see on  her website she is a busy writer and has several more books available. Her novels are decidedly southern, and I like that. I heard her speak at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference a few years ago. She was down-to-earth and shared some good advice on writing.

A friend of Joshilyn is Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants which was made into a movie. Sara lives in Asheville, NC and was guest at the Blue Ridge Bookfest in Hendersonville, NC this year. Bill Ramsey held an interview with Sara on stage. You can see that interview here.
Sara's website is most interesting with sound effects and more. My dog, Lexie, almost attacked my computer when she  heard the cawing of crows.

Susan Snowden, author
A friend of mine, Susan Snowden, has published a collection of short stories. Her first novel, Southern Fried Lies was set in Atlanta in the fifties and sixties, and the main character, Sarah, is a teenage girl. I liked reading about places I recognized and, since I was a girl in the fifties, I could relate to some of the problems such as racism and parents choosing who Sarah could date. Sarah's mother seemed more concerned with what people would think than she was with what her children wanted. She was obsessed with her son and wanting to control his life.

The mother caused most of the conflict because she was mentally ill and made life hectic for her family. In Susan's book of short stories, A Closet Full of  Masks, she begins with a novella about Sarah who has grown up and is trying to  decide which college she should attend.  I was delighted to see this book end with a final story bringing us full circle as we attended the funeral for the difficult mother who was loved in spite of her irrational behavior. The other short stories portray interesting characters with unusual dilemmas. I recommend both of Susan Snowden's books.

Do you  have any recommendations for summer reading? Leave a comment and tell us.