Saturday, July 23, 2011

One of Those Mornings!

Did you ever have one of those mornings? Not a bad morning per say, just a different kind of a morning. This morning was one of those mornings for me. It started when I woke at 5:45 to large, rumbling, house shaking rounds of rain, thunder, and lightning. I wasn't worried about the storms so much, but as a precaution, I did unplug my computer. I was planning on setting a book table up at my town's local farm market, so I waited to see if the storms were going to pass quickly or not. When it seemed like most of the storms had passed, I once again plugged in my computer and scanned the radar. It looked as if the next few hours would be clear so I readied myself.

Breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, properly attired, and hair looking reasonably nice enough to face strangers, I headed downtown. The weather seemed to have scared away most of the normal vendors, so I picked out a nice spot under a shady tree and began to set up. I knew once the sun came out it would most likely get very hot and humid, so I figured in the shade would be the best place to be. There was a gentle cool breeze which was a welcome relief from the recent heat we've been experiencing; but every time it blew, the tree drip, drip, dripped. It dripped on my head, it dripped in my eye when I looked up to see what was happening, it dripped on my bookmarks, books, and various other ancillary items. Fortunately I had a small rag with me which I used to quickly wipe away stray drops.

Our Farmers Market is every Saturday from nine to noon and so I sat waiting for a customer. I sat and chatted with my neighboring vendors, I sat and listened as one vendor's daughter told me she was bored and then proceeded to tell me all about herself, I sat and watched people pass by my table trying to glance at what I was offering without making eye contact. Did these early morning shoppers think I would entrap them with a mesmerizing sales spiel that they would not be able to say no too?

Finally at about eleven thirty, an interested customer approached my table to purchase a book, only to ask me if I could break a fifty dollar bill. Really, I thought to myself. Did she think vegetables, baked goods, hair bows, pot holders, and Guatemalan bracelets were that expensive? Who comes to a farmer's market with fifty dollar bills? Thankfully though, I was able to give her correct change.

Having waited on my only customer of the day, I had only about twenty minutes left when a gentleman on a bike rode up and asked what I had. I explained that I was selling my children's book which came out in March. This led him to tell me all about a religious manuscript he had written that had never been read by anyone and said things that no one had said or heard before. I don't know about you, but that sort of set my "Cult" radar into overdrive; but I politely listened and nodded. He then started asking me about copyrights and how one would go about getting a copyright before sending a manuscript to a publisher. I explained that technically one does not have to worry about copyrighting, the mere act of writing makes a work copyrighted. I go on to say that once a manuscript has been accepted, the publisher should take care of any copy right issues.

Apparently I was not being clear enough on this point or the gentleman wasn't understanding what I was saying because he kept asking me the same thing. I finally told him that if he is that worried about the matter he should mail himself a copy of his manuscript and when it arrives postmarked and dated, he should put it aside unopened. In the event that he should have a legal issue concerning his work, he would then have proof that it was his. Again he questions how one would get their work copyrighted before sending it to a publisher. I'm not sure what to tell him at that point. At that point, I'm not even sure the man is playing with a full deck of cards. Is he paranoid that publishers are sneaky, evil beings just waiting to steal religious works of others? I had no idea, but finally he left; and I began packing up to head home to my nice, quiet, air-conditioned home.

As I said previously, not a bad morning, just an unusual morning. The kind of morning that makes you wonder what is in store for the rest of the day. Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Great Characters Reflect Real Life Qualities

Great characters whether they are in a book, play, movie, or television program have one thing in common... real life qualities that people can admire. Qualities we wish we had, qualities we have and can relate to, qualities we wish more people around us had.

Take for instance the character Ralph (played by William Katt) in the 80's television series Greatest American Hero. At first glance Ralph seems a little comical in his long red underwear and cape, wobbling precariously as he attempts to fly. But upon closer reflection Ralph has some pretty amazing qualities.

To begin with, Ralph, who is a teacher by day and hero intermittently while wearing the red alien suite, truly cares about the students in his charge. He not only wants them to learn to read and write, he wants them to learn to respect each other, to dream, to look to the future. He also possesses the quality of being able to enjoy the little things in life like meeting his boyhood hero The Lone Ranger or dressing up like a clown complete with the little red nose. And despite the disruption both the suite and his partner Maxwell bring to his life, Ralph is always a loyal friend.

He has a propensity towards concern and compassion for others and goes out of his way to encourage his students, fellow teachers, and friends. All of these qualities...kindness, compassion, concern for others, joy of living, loyalty, etc... are qualities I hope people see in me. They are also qualities of which I would like to instill in my young daughter. I want her to grow to adulthood able to find the beauty and joy in everyday life. I want her to strive to make this world a better place simply by her ability to be kind, patient, loyal and so forth.

These are also the qualities that I strive to create in my Fern Valley characters. Although my characters are most definitely fictional, I hope that children love them and go away wishing to emulate them. I'm sure they will not say, "Hey I think I will imitate Betsy's work ethic or Kimmy's kindness." But if subconsciously they integrate these qualities into their life, then my characters will not only be entertaining, but valuable as well. Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!