Monday, May 30, 2011

Special Milestones, Family History and Genealogy

Important milestones have a way of making us sit up and take notice of that very important element of being human...the passing of time.

Far too often we become so immersed in the minutiae of day today living that we fail to take time out to "smell the roses".  And yet it is important that we do take time to sit back and reflect because if we don't life has a way of kicking us in the seat of the pants and making us take notice.

This week I've had two family members approach me about family history. Both had signed up with the an internet site specializing in tracing family trees. I have always had an interest in history and our family history in particular.

It always amazes me that at extended family gatherings so few branches of our families have only a very patchy grasp of where everyone fits. This is most marked in my husbands family when his cousins come up to me and ask... who is so and so and where do they fit in the family.

So I was particularly pleased to be rung by my 17 year old grand daughter asking for the names and birth dates of her grandparents and great grandparents. She was greatly impressed when I could give her off the top of my head five generations of my father's family...and three generations of my mother's family.

I found myself wanting to ask my mother who her grandparents were but sadly its no longer possible to pick up a phone and talk to her.

Discovering about our past is vital to our progress as humans in the world.        

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Directions/Competitions/Achievements

After a busy few weeks it is time for me to regroup and take stock.

With the sale of our business there is more time to catch up on all the things I've been too busy to get done... like the garden and the housework. Housework has never been my highest priority but I do like living in a clean and relatively tidy environment. I live by the maxim that when I walk into a cemetery and read on a tombstone She was the cleanest housekeeper on the street then I will take this activity seriously!

Helping judge our RWNZ chapter short story contest is an both honor and a privilege. It takes an enormous amount of courage for any writer to put his or her work out there in a contest and have a complete stranger objectively read and evaluate it.

Committing a story to the page is akin to giving birth. And putting your precious baby out there  to be evaluated and critiqued is a scary business. That story is your baby and what proud parent likes being told their pride and joy has an ugly nose?

When judging contests I always look for the positives because in every piece of writing there is always something commendable...a lovely turn of phrase that arrests a reader with its sheer beauty.

One such phrase caught my imagination... her heart plummeted like a gannet in free fall... what a lovely image. And in my view any writer who can conjure up such an image in a few words needs every word of encouragement she can get.

I know this because I too put myself out there... and was delighted to win an on-line editorial pitch with Silhouette Desire. The pitch asked for a two paragraph back page blurb of a novel.

The resulting pitch,  while nerve wracking was also productive. I was asked for as partial and a synopsis.... so here's keeping all my pinkies and toes crossed.

As the young ones say.... watch this space