Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Playing Catch-Up!

I'm on the road a lot these days, and when I am, I find it hard to get into blogging mode.  So then I'm faced with the predicament I find myself in today: I've been away from the blog for so long that I have to play a little game of catch-up (not to be confused with ketchup).
I'm such a sucker for these vintage ads.
So before I get going, I'm going to tell you that one of my New Year's resolutions for 2016 is to be a whole lot better at keeping up here at String of Pearls.

My daughter-in-law Preciosa sent me the cutest text yesterday, saying that my "fans"--as she called them--were missing me.  She copied and pasted a text she'd gotten from one of her friends, and it said, "Mrs. Pearl hasn't updated her blog in a few days and I'm concerned.  What am I supposed to read at work?"  (I'm quite sure she meant on her break at work.)

Well, far be it from me to deny a hard-working gal a little workplace stress-reliever!  So let me tell you what I've been up to, other than avoiding cracking open my laptop and getting any writing done.

The last time I blogged was on January 6, and in the combox of that post, I got such positive responses (thanks, guys!) to my question about whether or not I should try to write a sequel to Erin's Ring.  So that's another one of my resolutions for 2016: to waste less time on mindless entertainments (HGTV "Fixer Upper" marathons are something I haven't been able to tear myself away from lately!) and more time on writing.  I've dusted and organized my little writing desk, which sits in a corner of our master bedroom.  A few years back, my husband's generous sisters convinced me to take this antique beauty from their childhood home when they were trying to weed through the excessive amount of furnishings and cut down on the clutter.  It is just the sweetest place to work; who wouldn't be inspired to write at a desk like this one?
Why, Jane Austen herself would be hard-pressed to have a better situation than I've got here!  And that poor woman had to write her manuscripts out in long-hand, crossing out mistakes as she went along.  I'm pretty sure I never would have written one novel, never mind two, if that's the way I had to do it.  When I look back at how difficult it was to write even a 3-5 page English paper in college, using White-out when possible and then having to totally re-type entire pages when I realized that I wanted to change the order of a few, it was brutal.  I think there's a very good reason that I never got around to writing a book until I was almost a grandmother.  I edit and re-write every page to death (I'm on about draft #20 by the time any chapter finally passes muster with me!), so I think God knew that there was no way I'd be ready to tackle such a huge undertaking until the computer age had arrived.  I didn't know how to copy and paste back when I was writing Finding Grace (some old dogs take an awful long time to learn new tricks), but Microsoft Word was still my lifesaver and best friend.

Speaking of college, that place where way back in the olden days, I spent four years of my youth: Erin's Ring made it into the "Book Notes" section (where alumni works are listed) of the Winter 2016 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.
Okay, so I've been away.  I've been hanging out in Atlanta with my husband, while he's been going through some work-related training.  We flew down there together shortly after New Year's, and then on the 6th, we took a side trip to Tampa to stay with one of my husband's sisters.  Her triplets were getting Confirmed on the Saturday the 9th, and we had been chosen as their sponsors (me for the two girls, and my husband for their brother).

While we were in FL, my sister-in-law arranged for me to speak about my books to two classes of junior high students at the triplets' Catholic elementary school on Friday morning.  Afterward, we drove across town to the Catholic school where she teaches, and I spoke to a large group of 5th-8th graders, as well as my sister-in-law's 5th grade class.
I'm always nervous before these types of events, but my sweet S-I-L assured me that I "knocked it out of the park" when I spoke at her school.  I won't go into the details now (this post is already getting rather long!), but there was one group with which I didn't exactly score a home run.  (Just to give you an idea of how it went down, one 8th grade boy made this comment during the presentation: "Awkward silence."  Which I did think was funny, by the way.)  Unfortunately, this was the triplets' class, and I had really hoped to make them proud of their aunt in front of their peers.  My husband, who was in the back of the room, having my back as always, said it wasn't nearly as bad as it might have seemed from where I was standing.  Up there in front of the class.  The last place I want to be, ever.  Gulp.

After Tampa, it was back to Atlanta for a night, and then for me, HOME.  Where after a green Christmas here in the Northeast, winter has finally hit--with a vengeance!  (My husband will join me tonight, after he finishes up his training.)

Anyhoo, I'll write more about those speaking engagements later.  I think this post has gone on long enough already. 

But I'll be back. Soon.  I promise.  (Okay, now back to work!)


  1. Good to see you back! I agree with your DIL's friend, I love to have your posts to read in the mornings!!

  2. I love that you have so many fans! In high school we filmed our speeches for speech class for public television. I got through my speech too fast and stood there blanked face for about 30 seconds. Then it was on television. I'm sure the number of people who watched was small but it was horrible. So... I'm right there with you. But I am sure it wasn't that bad.

    1. Madeline, you are very sweet...not sure about the "so many" part...

      The funny thing is, once I get the jitters under control and start talking, I get relatively comfortable up there. (I start to get excited about talking about my "babies.") But that one class--oh my goodness! Before I began speaking, the teacher had them write up questions to ask me, so I didn't want to talk too long at the beginning, in order to give them plenty of time for that. But once the Q and A part started, after a couple it was...crickets! That's when the boy made his comment, and it really did make me smile. But by that point, I was also sort of having a blanked-out feeling. I should have just resorted to taking out my notes and reading from them. But I froze a bit! The awful thing was, that was the second session at that school, and then I had to go across town a few hours later and do two more! I definietly had that "Oh,no--not again!" feeling. But I had to push through it and the afternoon went better.

      But boy, would I ever rather sit alone behind my computer. That's my real comfort zone!