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Braking Points

Exploring the Adventure of Aging

Month

April 2019

SMART MOUTHS SMART

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Gotta say, Folks, when you slap this verse out there like The Message interpretation does, it loses a bit of its poetic nuance. Unfortunately when I am examining my life I can kinda hide amongst the poetry.

“How well God must like you— you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭MSG‬‬

So here I am on this Saturday morning considering the day ahead. I suspect that I may mosey by Sin Saloon, have to turn around on Dead End Road, but may have some problems staying out of the company of mockers and shooting off my own Smart Mouth.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I seldom get into trouble keeping my mouth shut. Before a hundred ‘what if’ scenarios pop into your head where keeping quiet might cause disaster, I am referring to conversations–let’s say around a table, with friends. Or discussions in meetings or chats with neighbors about the neighborhood. My smart mouth, which I think of as witty, often come off as sarcastic. Go figure. Or my insight that I loudly proclaim sounds self righteous. Or my interruption to say what I have been harboring in my head shuts others out of the conversation. Or I share information that would best be unsaid.

OR I may spout off in anger crushing someone’s spirit, because of my own smart mouth.

In BRAKING POINTS Max has battled a quick temper since childhood, but his mother taught him a method for handling it. As he adjusts to having a surly teenager along for the ride, his resolve to be reasonable has its limits.
“He had won the battle, but decided it had been at a price. Winning wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Max had learned that many years before. He recited the Lord’s Prayer silently again before speaking. This time a gentler Max materialized.”

Consider the words and the time it takes to pray them–SO much better than counting to ten.

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Alaska photo credit Alex Sims
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A Journey of 75,000 words begins with a Single Keystroke

imageSomeone asked me if I had a list of characters, backstories, outlines before I began writing BRAKING POINTS.  I did not.  What I had were two elderly characters based in part on my father and mother-in-law, a trunk full of true episodes involving road trips, some mine, some others, including more than one from my in-laws, Maurice and Dorothy.

One story told over and over again happened in the early stages of Dorothy’s Alzheimers.  They were traveling from Oklahoma to Florida where they had a park home in New Port Richey.  Dorothy had curled up in the back seat, which she often did, and fallen asleep.  Maurice stopped for gas in Mississippi, filled the tank, and had gone inside to pay, when Dorothy woke up.  She proceeded into the station to use the facilities.  Somehow he failed to see her.  So climbing back in the car, he glanced in the backseat,  saw her blanket and assumed she was still curled up asleep.  In his defense, Dorothy was a slightly built 4’10” woman who slept all scrunched up.  Off he went.

A hundred miles down the road–how far he actually got is debatable since stories like this one lend themselves to hyperbole–when he stopped so they could eat, he discovered she was missing.  Since this was before cell phones, he laid the pedal to the metal, and headed back to the place he last glimpsed her for sure–asleep in the backseat.  No telling what had gone on back at the station, those details are sketchy, but he found her sitting on a bench out front.

“Dorothy, why did you get out of the car without telling me.”

“I had to pee.”

He apologized to the station attendant who had been keeping an eye on her–they were ready to call the local authorities if he did not return soon.  Thankfully, she was fine.  She looked at the attendant and said, “see I told you, he’d be back.”

Maurice escorted her to the passenger side of the car, got her settled and kept one eye on her the remainder of the drive.

My mother-in-law drifted away from us over the next several years, but Maurice stayed the course.  So when I started Braking Points I found myself on an incredible journey with Max and Lily.  While on that excursion I wrote around 1500 words a day but they were basically unplanned.  In my imagination, I was following along observing and recording it.  Amanda popped up at one of the early stops and later Sophia joined the trip.  Every day I came to the computer excited to find out what happened next? where are we going? who are we going to meet?

A friend and fellow author read the book in its raw form and said ‘you need to follow this one and find Olivia.’

If you want to know who Olivia is, you gotta read BRAKING POINTS.  Just Saying….

 

More from the Free-Range Mimi Chicken: the changes in puberty are a piece of cake compared to the golden-changes


When I was nearing puberty, my mother gave me the “talk”–a fairly disgusting scenario, if I remember it and I DO!  She also gave me a book, ‘So You Are a Young Lady Now’, even though, based on the aforementioned “TALK”, I had decided being a young lady might be the last thing I wanted to be.  Trust me on this, I decided then and there that Peter Pan had the right idea…never grow up.  But as the hormones kicked in, I slowly fell in line with the ‘growing up’ agenda.  

Mid 1950’s

I furthered my education in the classic manner of the time,  discussing IT with my girlfriends.  From the bounty of thirteen/fourteen year old wisdom,  I learned a lot more than that book or my mother told me….although time, life, and experience have proved some of that information to be erroneous if not erogenous.  I figured I had better get in step whether the idea appealled to me or not.
So I checked my chest daily for any evidence of the promised budding bosom.  

At the first sign of any advancement in that area, I coercered my mother into buying my first bras, which I stuffed with bathroom tissue, giving me a rather lumpy set of boobs…and I wager to say NOW, that I was not the only one doing this.  However, in algebra class I sat across the aisle from the female in our 7th grade class who had blossomed early and beautifully.  I matured slower than some…ok, MOST other girls in my class, both physically and socially, shedding bathroom tissue falsies in my wake.


Back then, thirty seemed to be the edge of OLD AGE, while ninety seems more like it now. Even saying that, I realize that I have a friend whose mother is 100, active mentally and physically, still riding her exercise bike 30 minutes a day.  Our exercise class Forever Fit at Fitness Formula boasts a regular participant who is 96 and makes some of us 70 year olds look old.  My husband’s Dad and both his grandmothers lived well into their 90’s and my Mom was 89 when she died. And good grief! Some woman in Germany just gave birth to quadruplets at age 65.


Still at 70, I think a new book should be written…so you writer folks out there get busy…’So Now You Are An Old Lady’,  a book full of fun facts about bones, joints, sagging boobs, no underarm hair (that is a relief), turkey necks. other body changes.  A book that talks about how to deal with embarrassing issues like old age multitasking, laughing, sneezing, farting and peeing all at the same time.  Few sane women past 55 would even consider going ‘commando’, trust me on this. I cannot speak for the gents with regard to going ‘commando’, in fact, I would be interested in hearing how some of them would define the concept.


WHERE is the book that talks about issues like ‘hot flashes’ with remedies short of ripping off every shred of clothing no matter where you are when the heat rises.  A book that acknowledges that OLD People still have a sex life, but doesn’t pretend it can be just like it was when you were kids. . .in all honesty, it can be so much better. I can think of two reasons why from my own experience more romance (him) and fewer hysteromics (me). A book that encourages activities that keep you moving, thinking, praying, laughing and loving.  A book that starts something like, ‘Your body is changing and you are entering the Twilight Zone Golden Years of Life.  Just like in puberty there will be new surprises everyday.  This book’s design focuses on what those changes might be and how to handle them.  Over the years, hopefully, you have been acquiring tools that will assist you in navigating the perils of aging.’


Just like I could not stop the onset of puberty, I cannot stop the aging process.  There is no beauty regime on the planet that will reverse the thinning skin, wrinkles, the effects of gravity on every body part or the atrophy of the brain. . .although I still try.  My life like everyones has been full of ups, downs, joys, sorrows, but thank God for the experiences I have had and the ones I still have before me.



Announcing the Birth of Braking Points, the Novel

Weighing in at 320 pages
http://thebp.site/183882

Several years ago a novel wrote me. It took me on a journey that began with a contest for a first chapters of unpublished authors–no, I did not win. Still like conception, cells divided, a heart beat was detected, life exploded within me.

There were no charts, no outlines, no forethought of characters or backstories. Only a vague idea of an elderly couple setting out on a road trip. So I accompanied them, my feisty 87 year old protagonist and his wife with dementia. So for the next 9 months, yelp! just like a pregnancy, I put at least 1500 words on the page almost daily. Turns of event, characters emerging, surprised me at times. I read it to Terry every night. His advice helped shape the book. It is dedicated to him.

I based the characters Max and Lily in part on my husband’s parents. Terry’s Dad, Maurice was firm in his commitment to care for his Mom, Dorothy as Alzheimer’s robbed her of memory and personality. I completed this book before my father’s-in-law death in 2011, so he started reading it only to come to me with tears in his eyes. “It’s too soon after [Dorothy died in 2004], maybe I can read it later.” He never did. He was 93 when he died.

I think his emotional response led me to shelf the book for several years. However, time passes. I am getting old myself–right?! I AM Old. There is a verse in the Book of Esther that paraphrased says, “Perhaps, you were born for such a time as this.” Perhaps BRAKING POINTS was born for this time. So with an acknowledgement that all mistakes are mine, Here is my Book Baby #1.

I hope some of you will check it out, maybe even read it AND if you do please rate it and write a review.

Good Friday 2019

Spring in a Vase, Colored pencils, Mimi

Barefoot Book Club–Read, Reflect, Review–Come Join Me!

Since writing this I have been in a book club and loved it, but still want to reach out to other readers and writers to expand the circle.

My Seventh Decade...The Years Beyond

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Back in 1964 in an English Lit class at Oklahoma State University, I discovered that I was not alone…literature, good literature like life possessed depth and complexity, that authentic literary fiction not only contained truth, but explored it from at least two angles, the author and the reader. I discovered that the author’s intention of plot, sub-plots, characters, the message or moral of the story, might not be what the reader found at all.

When first assigned scholarly commentaries, critiques and essays about literary works, I assumed I would find agreement among the experts, insights into plot and nuances that frankly enhanced my understanding of the work. Boy, was the naive college sophomore I was back then surprised. Instead of finding agreement leading to deeper understanding, I found dissension, arguments, quarreling, bickering all using $100 dollar words that still sounded a lot like profanity. Additionally, I found novice that I…

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Being a Voice–How Writing Has Influenced my Life

Life teems with stories, so many of them left untold. My life expands reading and hearing the stories of others–even the unpleasant ones. Fiction always contains someone’s truth and non-fiction may or may not be truth. Readers vary as do writers, BUT everyone lives their story. I am blessed to love reading for it has taken me on countless journeys AND I am blessed to love writing because there are Stories to tell

My Seventh Decade...The Years Beyond

imageI am participating in the Positive Writer contest, ‘How Writing Has Influenced my Life’ because from infancy to now, I have had a lifelong love affair with the written word.

While I would love to claim to be a child prodigy, reading at two, writing my first published work at five, that would stretch hypebole to the limit.  However, I contend that input, reading or having others read to one, always preceeds and exceeds output, writing.  So first, it was on the lips of my parents lulling me off to sleep  with bedtime stories. Then after getting my own library card at six, I discovered the power of strings of words on a page and the magic of being able to read them all by myself.

I prefered books with few pictures.  Why?  Because without someone else’s illustrations the words carried me on their wings to a place deep inside…

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Storytellers and Dreamers

“Storytellers and Dreamers” was written for a friend’s seventieth birthday but it seemed an appropriate ‘reshare’ today as I approach my seventy-fourth birthday.  I hope others find a bit of themselves in these lines.


I thought when I was still a child
Someday when I was old I would sit a while,
gather my grandchildren at my side
and take them back for an awesome ride,


Whatever happened, bound to fight and win
Riding my Harley into the wind
going until the road ends


No one told me Vietnam would claim friends

Some returning in boxes draped in flags

or ravaged with terrors and unwanted tags


Or predict the bends in the roads of life
Like so many becoming husband and wife
All of us struggling, some emerging alive
While others split not surviving the strife
We faced in the seventies, longing to flee
Discovering that lonely’s not quite being free


Living the stories we someday could reveal
Spinning them round to max the appeal.
Because down deep there lives the child
Who dreamed of telling stories about when he was wild
To multiple children who would sit at his knee


I imagined their clamor, their joy, their glee
Attentive to Grandpa spinning a yarn
didn’t count on Netflix, iPhones, Tweeting? well, darn!


Inside of this man lives a boy determined to win
Riding a Harley into the wind
Going, going till the road ends
Carving a life, with dreams set to song
Combatting the odds to not get it wrong


The stories we live waking or sleeping
Shape memories, vision, a life worth keeping
Our minds alive with stories some best unshared
With our wild days behind us, why do we care?
Isn’t it past time to dare?


Once we were young, thought life had no end
Stunned even now with each fallen friend
Still unable to see around the next bend. . .
But face it, we know, we comprehend.


So go buy the Harley or sail the seas, fight the waves,
Live the stories we’ve woven, go out really brave
So what if no one listens to the stories we’ve saved
Live life full of spit fire, and whistle past graves.


One thing I know as birthdays come about
Someday at our funerals without a doubt
There will be stories flying about
Granddad, or Grand mom, the secrets all out

Next Time We Are Traveling Through Alabama…Trust Me.

First posted April 14, 2015

My Seventh Decade...The Years Beyond

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On our continuing trek to Kentucky on Sunday, just past Atlanta traveling, Graham requested a bathroom break. Terry and I both started scanning Exit Signs which promised services. Seeing one we scooted right on down the ramp only to find as we turned in the direction indicated that the services were three miles away and required turning onto another road to reach them.

While I scanned the straight path ahead, hopeful for an alternative to a lengthy side bar on a trip that was already stretching into the interminable, I passed the indicated turn. Whoops! So with no other choice I decided to turn around and go back so I pulled onto what looked like an access road. I could even see all the way to where I needed to get to correct my error and get back on track.

What I did not see was a large sign with…

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