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The Literary Sodbuster

January Again


I do not remember traveling to my Great Grandparents farm in Minnesota. I remember Grandma's arms, the Hills Brother's cough drops Grandpa kept in his shirt pocket and shared with me and the hired man Al who gave me Dentine gum. The hired hands Al and Norman were family. They took their meals  Read More 
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Back Again: Third Memory

I don't remember traveling to my Great Grandparents farm in Minnesota. I remember Grandma's arms and the Hills Brother's cough drops Grandpa kept in his shirt pocket and shared with me and the hired man Al who gave me dentine gum. The hired hands Al and Norman were family. They took their meals with us and bunked together in the upstairs south bedroom.

My Great Aunt Gladys, born five years before my mother, hated the farm and her mother. On weekends when she came home from the Twin Cities, where she worked as a secretary, she talked about her cousins with great envy. She disliked me and she hated my mother. My mother had eyes for Al and Gladys let the world know how sorry felt for the “poor old guy". He was handsome, twenty years older than my mother and one of the few men who weren't fighting in the war. Love had nothing to do with Mother batting her eyes when she stood close, looking up, and making cute comments—always with adoration on her face.

My Great grandmother was a devout Methodist who managed to make it to church most of the Sundays of her life. Grandpa was an atheist and would not go. In summer we and Gladys, when she was home from the cities, would walk the half mile from home to church. Winters Grandpa would drive us. The rest of the extended family stayed home.
A lot of discussion centered around what happens when you die. I soon came to the conclusion that what ever happened to you when you died would be what you believed while living.
On my third birthday Grandma gave me a cunning rubber baby doll with a full layette. I carried her where ever I went. There were also kittens to play with. I remember cuddling and playing with them. I remember giving them enemas with a small smooth stick. I remember tossing all six of them down the out- house holes and Grandfather prying the bottom boards off the back in order to release them.

Mealtime we and the hired hands Norman and Al all ate together. I remember one summer evening sitting in a high chair not wanting to eat. Ever since I'd been at DeDe's I had a 'delicate' stomach. My mother yanked me out of the chair and started slapping me. Grandpa called out, "that's enough", stood up and took me into the living room where he rocked me the longest time.

I wondered if I were living in someone’s dream. I wondered—what happens when they wake? Is this when I go to sleep? Could my dreams just be me breaking through their sleep? Or, if we blink ourselves on and off, where am I when I’m off? Read More 
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No Longer Buried Beneath My Vegetables

Today I finished putting up the garden vegetables. We raise all our vegetables and most of our fruit. That done, I'm on to learning how to market my books. Any suggestions or information are welcome.
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Second Memory

My second memory is of my Grandmother Elliott’s house. She had given me an orange tricycle and I am riding it on the side walk that runs from the steps that led from the public walk to her back door. White stuff is falling. On my tongue it is cold, tasteless yet wonderful. My mother is inside. I don’t remember having feelings, for either my mother or my grandmother Elliott. I climb the four steps and through the back door of a white house and onto a linoleum landing on which stands a folded roll-a-way bed. To the right is a kitchen. I can hear their angry voices. I walk through the kitchen, through the dining room and into the living room. They don’t acknowledge me. I slip behind the couch and listen to angry words about money, angry words about my father. Then I only knew it was about my father and money and I didn’t know what money was. I did not know what a father was. I knew mine was dead. Dead meant he was not with us.  Read More 
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Rock Hunting on the Oregon Coast

When Franniemarie (Blood Fiction) walks into SMOKIN’ JOANS tobacco and rock shop she becomes reunited with Joan Hilton her best friend from high school. A good portion of Joan’s shop . . . “is filled floor to ceiling with rocks, polished rocks, cut rocks, carved rocks and fossils.” All of them found on the beautiful Oregon !coast. Franniemarie is soon combing the beach, discovering herself as well as magnificent agates in an array of blues, greens reds and more.

Below are some tips to get you started as a rock hound.

1. Safety
Safety is important while on the Oregon coast. Even though you may be occupied by your search, learn to also remain vigilant and don't turn your back to the ocean. Sneaker waves could creep up on you, so remain alert while also scouring the rock beds for treasures.

2. Keep focused on the task
It’s easy to allow your curiosity make you ignore what’s in front of you while you scan the horizon. Patiently assess the rocks underfoot and you will be shocked to discover that those special rocks are within reach.

3. Find beaches with exposed beds
Beds of rocks and agates are available on some Oregon coastlines all year-round. They are not always visible because they may be covered by sand. Only strong winds and waves will uncover these treasures so you can't predict when this will happen. Look out for areas that are known to have these beds of rocks.

4. Hunt the outgoing tide
Going to the beach during an outgoing tide is a safe practice. Outgoing tides are beneficial to rock hunters because the rock beds would have been uncovered making the special ones easier to find the outgoing tide actively stirs the rock beds, exposing a fresh supply of rocks and stones. According to the "Agates of the Oregon Coast" pocket guide, a successful rock hound haunts the beaches on outgoing tides from December through to March.

5. Know what you’re looking for
Many times it pays to know the type of stone you want to add to your collection. This will give you an added edge of sorting through rock beds really fast.

You can make your hunting experience more enjoyable by avoiding accidents or injury. While on the coast, your activities will usually be guided by the tide. Always be careful and remember that those beautiful waves can also be dangerous if it washes up on the shore with strong force.
You never know what you’re going to find rock hunting around Oregon’s coastlines, and that’s the appeal for most people. The coastline changes from day to day, season to season, year to year. So enjoy your experience, because no two hunting expeditions are the same! Read More 
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First Memory

In my first memory I reach up and grab the low sill of a tall window. I cannot walk yet, but I reach up to the sill of a long tall widow and pull myself up to standing so I can stare out. I see a wrought-iron fence, a sidewalk and a paved road with black cars passing by. I smell urine, feel the bulk of my diapers, am aware of the overstuffed furniture that fills the room—furniture that I crawl behind. I do not remember any feelings. I’m in a waiting space. I don’t remember what I’m waiting for—only the feeling of endless waiting. I remember awareness of a presence in the house, beyond that the moment is empty. I think I was waiting for my mother. Read More 
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I grew into existence in the womb of a petite, vivacious, dark-haired, brown-eyed, delicately structured, totally fucked up woman who called herself Pat. Winiferd Myrtle Clark was filled with a screaming need to be adored. She was eighteen when she found Eugene Peter Elliott at an ocean side bar in San Francisco. He was a tall, handsome, blond, blue eyed Merchant Marine—a witty, charming, tea totaling, tobacco abstaining “ladies man” who, it’s said was tolerant, to the point of indifference, of other people’s habits and morals. I don’t know if he was recently back or just leaving for a six-month stint at sea. Half the year he spent in his town of birth, Denver, working as a switchman for the Union Pacific, and the other half with the merchant marines. In those days you could do that for twenty years and take retirement from both. I’m told he planned to retire at age forty and build a business. They mated, they married (end of August 1938). On a grey Sunday afternoon at 4:11 pm on the seventh of May 1939, in the city of San Francisco, I was born. Was I wanted? Were they together? I’ll never know. They were separated at the time of his death eighteen months after their marriage. He was twenty-three and had been struck by a train while working. Two weeks later he died of a blood clot while dancing with a woman, not his wife. He loved to dance.  Read More 
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Bipolar influence on Blood Fiction

I did not write Blood Fiction because I am bipolar, our protagonist Franniemarie wrote this story through me because I, along with about 2.6 million other American adults, live with her affliction. I was drawn to her story because I wanted to share this personality in all her glory and tragedy because she's bright, thoughtful and represents those millions who are no less than she. More important is our need to be able to talk about ourselves with openness and honesty. This is the only way any of us can rise above our limitations. To know thy self is not enough. No matter what our afflictions, we must share ourselves with each other in order to grow.

Bipolar Symptoms of a manic episode may include: feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement, or elevated mood—talking very rapidly or excessively—needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy—feeling agitated, irritable, hyper, or easily distracted—engaging in risky behavior such as lavish spending, impulsive sexual encounters, or ill-advised business decisions.

Symptoms of a depressive episode may include: no interest in activities once enjoyed—loss of energy—difficulty sleeping, either sleeping too mre--uch or not at all, changes in appetite, eating too much or too little—difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions—thoughts of death or suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (open 24 hrs. a day): 1-800-TALK (8255) Read More 
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