The little editor that could

I’m happy to say that I’ve taken a leap and submitted some poems to a magazine. I’ve also made a spreadsheet to keep track of my submissions, and I intend to fill it. The blank page gives me incentive. While I absolutely adore helping others with their writing, I must also give myself a swift kick in the butt now and then, and try to get more of my own work out there.

After my day job at the library, I tied up a couple things, and worked on a rather involved editing project for a while. I’m finishing up for the day, and looking forward to a nice, restful sleep.

For now, click here to check out the Backwords Writer, my personal blog about poetry, writing, and life. I’d appreciate if you follow me there as well. I’ve been creatively inspired lately, and it’s making every day brighter!

I hope everyone had a lovely day. Enjoy your night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

The Backwords Writer without my name

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How my father inspired Check Out Time

As I sit here, still sick, still grieving from the loss of my father, I am thinking about how this loss was the devastating force behind so much of what I have done over the last year or so. Since yesterday was Father’s Day, I write this in his honor, just as I created the character of Roy Vogler, in Check Out Time, for my dad.

If I remember correctly, Dad’s accident was on January 23, 2010. I was determined to believe that he would recover, despite the stroke, and that things would continue as they had. I pictured myself moving back to Pennsylvania, driving over to his house and visiting Dad and my sisters, having dinner with him, all of us echoing the same sentiment: “Dear God, we came so close to losing you.”

This fantasy didn’t come to fruition. I lost Dad, for the second time in my life. I had three years to get to know my father all over again. I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for those three years. I try not to think about the what-ifs and the maybes. There have been a lot of moments where I have thought to myself, “If only I had contacted him sooner.” But the fact is, we reconnected when we did, and I have to accept that fact. In reality, things were the way they had to be.

But, oh! To be sitting across from him and realize how much we had in common. It was a mind-boggling experience. I tried to make Roy Vogler as close to the character of my father as possible, but I probably didn’t succeed %100. After all, the circumstances in my book are different, and Roy’s daughter isn’t completely me. There are aspects of Naomi Vogler that match my personality, but there are many things about the two of us that are different. Fact versus fiction– a novel doesn’t have to be accurate, it just has to entertain. But in my case, Check Out Time is not just a piece of entertainment fiction; it is an expression of how much I miss and love my father, the real Roy Vogler– Dennis Godshall, Sr.

Those of you who know me well enough will ask me if I’ve seen him. Yes, I have. I can get ready for bed at night and firmly ask, “Dad, I would like to see you in my dream tonight. Please visit me.” He will be there.

I know that I am not alone. He is far away, and it’s not easy for him to visit, but he manages it. It usually happens when I’m driving. I get the distinct impression that I am not alone. Very shortly after his death, on February 17, 2012, I was in school and I kept hearing people say things that sounded like something Dad would say. The feeling grew stronger when I heard someone whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith Show; that was something that Dad did well. When I went outside that night, there was no one behind me in the dark parking lot, and I felt a distinct tug on my sweatshirt. I knew it was Dad.

Our loved ones never really leave us. I know that Dad watches over me. The last time I saw him in the nursing home, I held his hand. When I cried, his forehead crinkled, and he stared fixedly at me the whole time. His lips parted as if he wanted to speak, but he couldn’t. I told him, “Dad, if you come to visit me, I will know it’s you. I will see you. We’ll never be all that far from each other.”

I am not well. As I try to recover from my physical sickness, I feel the hurt in my heart. The only photograph that I have of Dad and I, taken months or a year before his accident, is sitting by my laptop. I see his face every day. And I consider how this heartbreak drove me to change my life in some very large ways.

I remember standing in Dad’s house and saying excitedly, “Dad, I’m writing a book with you in it! You’re going to be one of the characters.”

Now, I want to say to my father, “Dad, I wish you could be here to see this book with you in it. I miss you more than I can say.”

I solved my own personal Mystery when I was reunited with my father. I saw how alike we were, and it was an eye-opener for me. In Check Out Time, Roy says to Naomi, “Like father, like daughter.” It’s the same in real life. After Dad’s accident, I made a concrete decision to go to school for Automotive, and decided that, one day, I would open my own automotive repair shop. Dad has influenced my life so much. I am always thinking, “I wish he were here to see it.”

But then I remember– He is here. And he always will be.

PWC Book Club: Now reading Taking 1960

The PWC Book Club is reading my Paranormal Mystery novel, Taking 1960, for the month of June. I am honored! Click here to view the e-Book on Oaklight’s website, and read more about my first Mystery novel.

About the book club:

The Pagan Writer’s Community book club reads and discusses one pagan themed book each month. Our affiliation with Pagan Writers’ Community means that most members are writers as well as readers (but this isn’t a requirement for membership.) We may post discussion topics or study questions of our own or borrowed from other sources, but all participation is optional. Feel free to discuss each month’s book as much or as little as you like, post your own questions, or link to relevant articles or files elsewhere. When possible, we hope to direct members to free or discounted e-books or online texts of our chosen books. If you’re searching for a place where intelligent pagan writers discuss pagan books–this is it.

What are we reading next?

July — The Magic of Findhorn by Paul Hawken
August — Stalking The Goddess by Mark Carter

How can I participate?

Click here to visit the PWC Monthly Book Club on Facebook. Join the group, pull up a chair, and you’re in! We would love to have you.

Spring in south Florida

I got confused last week and couldn’t remember whether it was spring, summer, or winter.  But it is springtime, and even springtime in Florida has its noticeable differences from the rest of the year.  I begin to hear different bird calls around this month, the time of Ostara, and there are other sounds in the air that don’t seem common to other times of the year.

I open my window.  “It’s gettin’ warm outside!” the year-rounders croon, shedding the sweaters that they wore during a previous week, when it was a bone-chilling seventy degrees.

At night, I realize that I’m using less and less blankets, and the breeze is more refreshing than it is chilly.

The American White Ibis are breeding.  They run around in the lawns, pecking at the grass, craning their long white necks as they search for food.  Their babies are darker in color, brown and sometimes spotted.  They are so beautiful to watch! They scatter when I drive past in my car.

I ride my bike to work, and I’m actually sweating.  There’s something in the air– something not entirely discernible– and it feels good.

After work, I ride my bike to the park, and I sit on the dock overlooking the water of the Intracoastal.  The palm trees waver in the warm wind, and boaters drift by, some playing loud music, and others wielding fishing poles.

Yes, I’m in a location that is mostly warm year-round.  Yet, there are definite changes that mark the approach of spring, and I can feel it.  I revel in the smells, the way the sunlight plays on the water, and the way I feel as I glide down the street on my bicycle.

Spring has arrived!

All in a day’s work

I work at a library during the day, and when I get home, I try to go for a walk around sunny North Palm Beach.  Then I eat, have a cup of tea, and settle down to edit.  Some days are more difficult than others.  For example, there are some evenings that a certain furry friend of mine feels that I am not paying enough attention to her.

That’s Petunia.  She thinks that editing is a waste of time, and that I should be petting her and playing with her.  Her favorite game is “fetch”.  I throw a little toy mouse, and she fetches it, and brings it back to me.

“What are you doing? You should be petting me instead!”

I have done all of the editing that I needed to do tonight, so perhaps I will go play with Petunia.  Or maybe I will be scolding her instead, because she loves to scratch things and tear furniture apart.  Well, I suppose I have my job, and she has hers . . . .