Friday, May 28, 2010


Posted by Ruby Johnson
Jeff Turner is an IT project manager by trade and a resident of Fort Worth, Texas. He has published one book, "Notes to Stephanie: Middle Age Love Letters and Life Stories", almost completed a second book, and has plans for two more plus a cookbook. In addition, he is a talented photographer, and frequentlly shows his photographs on the Red Bubble website. Jeff is good at talking, good at writing, and good at doing. Enjoy his photograph and excerpt from his upcoming "Notes to Stephanie: Days Remembered". His website is


One place I always liked to go was Winscot Road which is southwest of town and is actually named Winscot Plover Road. Before I knew you, I went there from time to time to enjoy its rolling pastures, the view of the sky, and the sound of the wind blowing through the grass. It was one of the places most people did not know about or never saw while passing through to somewhere else.

It is a place that looks like it is locked away in a time decades ago. There, the prairie rolls up and down across fields with hardly a tree. If you look west you see only a couple of houses where ranch hands live. It's possible to think you are hundreds of miles away from any city or town, a place populated  more by cattle and horses than people.

On a bright winter day with some high clouds streaming above, you could just as easily have been in Wyoming or Montana half a continent away. But you weren’t, you were just a few minutes from downtown Fort Worth and the sea of houses spreading always from its center.

 These images from prior visits were in my mind when we went there one Sunday afternoon. It was on one of those pretty winter days I enjoy so much. We drove there in the pickup and had a six pack of cold beer tucked away.

I  pulled the truck over at the top of my favorite rise on the blacktop road alongside the railroad track. With  the windows open  we sat there sipping a beer. as the wind gently whispered over the fields. There was no one around. No radio, no TV, no people, just the fields, the sky, the clouds, and us.

We enjoyed some time there talking but also just looked in silence at the scene that could have been from a western movie with John Wayne. We were part of a pastoral scene from another time. Cattle were slowing grazing in the pasture beneath the blue and white speckled sky with not a living person in sight.

We melded into the surroundings and were part of what was there in front of our eyes. We were no more important than a strand of barbed wire, a blade of grass, or a lone mesquite tree up on one of the rolling hills. For a short time, until we drove back home, it seemed as if we were part of Winscot Road.

Places like that teach us something. They show us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that many things we hold dear are not permanent. What remains after we leave this life is the earth, the sky, and the creatures that dwell here, all oblivious to the cars, TVs, and shopping malls that loom so large in people’s lives.

So while we can be part of a place like Winscot Road from time to time we are just visitors on its stage, which is more lasting than us or our possessions. We are just actors playing a small, short part in time’s long play. And finally the fading spotlight on our own existence is lost in the brightness of eternity as others go down life’s long path to places like Winscot Road and fade into its rolling plains as we did that day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New Decade: Innovative Marketing Techniques Sell Books

 Posted for Jo-Anne Vandermeulen
Our guest blogger today is Jo-Anne Vandermeulen a native of  British Columbia. Jo-Anne is an author and a marketing professional.

*The New Decade: Innovative Marketing Techniques* will dictate which producer will meet their ultimate goal and sell their products. For you to *conquer all obstacles* you will need to:

1.) Accept the changes in today’s marketing cyber-world.
2.) Understand today’s consumer. Consider your target audience. Today’s consumer is:
Able to search for valuable free information on the Internet.
Wanting a product they can get NOW!
•Willing to purchase from someone they trust.
•Appreciative when given one-to-one or individual attention.
•Searching for quick, simple and informative content.
•Scanning your competition for credibility.

3.) Meet the consumer’s expectations:
•Produce Unique Content – Innovation is the Key
•Change the Traditional Marketing Messages to Meet the Consumer’s Needs and Wants of Today
•Build Relationships.
•For Accessibility, Provide Direct and Personal Contact.
•Produce Articles and Short, Snappy and Simple to Understand Posts.
•It’s Time for You to ‘Toot Your Own Horn’ and Hold Nothing Back.

The New Decade: Innovative Marketing Techniques:
•Produce Unique Content – Innovation is the Key
Think of something new and share it immediately. What’s new today is probably going to be old tomorrow.

Change your presentation in a way that’s different from everyone else’s.
•Change the Traditional Marketing Messages to Meet the Consumer’s Needs and Wants of Today
Have visible and functioning links that operate with a single click to exactly where they want to go.

Build Relationships
Interact through social media sites.
Give away free content from your blog.
Give, give, and then give some more.

Allow yourself to open-up and let your personality shine through. Show you are real. Toss in a fault or problem of your own…no one is an expert at everything.
For Accessibility, Provide Direct and Personal Contact

Supplying a link to your site as part of your signature will reassure the consumer that you’re not going anywhere—if they need you, they can find you. You are here to help them.

On your site, present a tag or message at the top for them to single click and contact you immediately.

Produce articles and short, snappy, simple to understand posts .
.Produce messages on Twitter.
Consider different learning styles and be prepared to present the same content in a variety of ways.

It’s Time for You to ‘Toot Your Own Horn’ and Hold Nothing Back
Now is not the time to be humble—show you’re an expert.

Welcome to the new decade: Innovative marketing techniques will increase the chances of selling your books.
Not to say that traditional marketing techniques will not work today; but, the reality is, in order for you to *conquer all obstacles* you must be willing to make some major promotional changes when it comes to selling your book. In this new decade, it’s time to accept the changes, understand the consumer, and know that it is the innovative marketing techniques that will out-shine the others and have greater chances of success.


Author Jo-Anne Vandermeulen is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Education and  a major in English Literature . She was a teacher for twenty years in the Moosomin School Division. In 2006, she embarked on a full time writing career. 
Jo-Anne produces and hosts a live weekly Blog Talk Radio (BTR) show, “Authors Articulating,” where she shares marketing and promotional tips with other writers and answers questions from her extensive and ever-growing list of followers. She is an owner of Premium Promotional Services, a company that supports and markets fellow writers.


Monday, May 24, 2010


Posted by Ruby Johnson

Enter to win an e-reader at Bibliohphilic's Book Blog (or $100 amazon GC) Bibliophilic Book Blog E-Reader Giveaway.

You can win your choice of: Sony Pocket, RCA Reader, Aluratek Libre or a Kobo. It's open internationally but I don't know until when so hurry up and enter. You have to be a followers to enter and if she gets up to 1000 followers she'll add 4 $15 amazon gift certificates.

Be sure to tell them kfwwriters (Greater Fort Worth Writers) told you about the contest when you enter!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Posted by Ruby Johnson
Congratulations Linda Rettstatt! You have won a copy of LONG RUN HOME. Just email your address to and you book will be on its way.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Posted by Ruby Johnson for Lynn Romaine.

Welcome to day two of Lynn Romain's
Writing Tips from famous authors. The winner of the drawing for LONG RUN HOME will be drawn from those making comments and will be announced on Wednesday. Let us know which tips you liked most. Lynn, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and resources with us. We hope you will come by again.


1. Use short sentences.

Hemingway was famous for a terse minimalist style of writing that dispensed with flowery adjectives and got straight to the point. In short, Hemingway wrote with simple genius. Perhaps his finest demonstration of short sentence prowess was when he was challenged to tell an entire story in only 6 words:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

2. Use short first paragraphs.

3. Use vigorous English.

Here’s David Garfinkel’s (a copywriter) take on this one:
It’s muscular, forceful. Vigorous English comes from passion, focus and intention. It’s the difference between putting in a good effort and TRYING to move a boulder… and actually sweating, grunting, straining your muscles to the point of exhaustion… and MOVING the freaking thing!

4. Be positive, not negative.

• Instead of saying “inexpensive,” say “economical,”

• Instead of saying “this procedure is painless,” say “there’s little discomfort” or “it’s relatively comfortable,”

• And instead of saying “this software is error-free” or “foolproof,” say “this software is consistent” or “stable.”

5. Never have only 4 rules.

And the most important of Hemingway’s writing tips of all:
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

And of course,


1. Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2. Avoid prologues.
They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s “Sweet Thursday,” but it’s O.K. because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. . . . figure out what the guy’s thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.”

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . .
. . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs.”

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories “Close Range.”

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things,unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you’re good at it, you don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

And finally, here are my favorite books, all entitled “On Writing”:

Sol Stein “On Writing”

Eudora Welty “On Writing” and

Stephen King “On Writing.”


Lynn Romaine writes romantic suspense within a background of environment concerns. She has three books in print, a fourth due out in 2010. She has a degree in information management and lives in Bloomington, Indiana, Her interest in writing fiction with an environmental theme came from her daughter who has a degree in environmental management and lives in Washington state. Lynn recently won a Midwest Writers Workshop Fellow for 2010. When not writing, Lynn is at work on a project entitled Red Pants for the World--young women facing difficult circumstances discovering their own voices and making a difference around the world.


 We are happy to welcome Lynn Romaine to our blog on Monday and Tuesday. Comment today and tomorrow and your name will be entered in a drawing for her book LONG RUN HOME.

On Writing                                  
by Lynn Romaine

As a serious, serious writer searching for my inner Ernestine Hemingway, I’m a nut for finding great advice from other authors—especially their rules of the game. Not that I’m a ‘follow-the-rules’ sort of woman, but getting into another author’s head is the best, most useful tool.

Along those lines, I’ve listed here some advice by famous writers—some serious, some humorous and some insane.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Jack Kerouac's "Belief and Technique for Modern Prose"

1.Keep secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy.

2 Be submissive to everything, open, listening.

3. Try never  to get drunk outside your own house.

4. Be in love with your life.

5. Something that you feel will find its own form.

6. Be crazy, dumb, a saint of the mind.

7. Blow as deep as you want to blow.

8. Write what you want--bottomless from the bottom of the mind.

9. See the unspeakable visions of the individual.

10. No time for poetry?   Know exactly what is poetry.

11.  Feel visionary tics shivering in the chest.

12. In  a tranced fixation, dream upon the object before you.

13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition.

14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time.

15. Tell the true story of the world in interior monolog.

16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye.

17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.

18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in a language sea.

19. Accept loss forever.

20. Believe in the holy contour of life.

21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in the mind.

22. Don't think of words when you stop. but see the picture better.

23. Keep track of every day, the date emblazoned in your morning.

24.  Have no fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language and knowledge.

25. Write for the world to read and see your exact pictures of it.

26. Book movie is the movie in words, the visual American form.

27. Praise the character and the bleak  and human loneliness.

28. Compose wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under,the crazier the better.

29. You're a Genius all the time.

30. A writer is the director of earthly movies sponsored and angeled in Heaven.

Lynn Romaine writes romantic suspense within a background of environment concerns. She has three books in print, her latest LONG RUN HOME, and a fourth due out in 2010. She has a degree in information management and lives in Bloomington, Indiana, Her interest in writing fiction with an environmental theme came from her daughter who has a degree in environmental management and lives in Washington state. Lynn recently won a Midwest Writers Workshop Fellow for 2010. When not writing, Lynn is at work on a project entitled Red Pants for the World--young women facing difficult circumstances discovering their own voices and making a difference around the world.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


 By Ruby Johnson

Andrew Bart says when critiquing a manuscript "It's not what you say, but how you say it.You need to be honest, just not brutal."
   Recently, when a  critique partner asked me for my honest opinion, did I hit them over the head and suggest scrapping the whole first chapter? No. I suggested weaving the backstory into later chapters.

   Here are some ideas for critiquing.
  Use the sandwich method to critique. Start with something good to say about the work, tell what didn't work for you, and finish with something good to encourage the writer to continue; thus the sandwich method.

1. What specific passages stand out or stay in your mind? Why? This is the place to be complimentary about one's work. If you're thinking what if there isn't anything good to say, think again. The mere fact that someone is able to put the words on paper is a major accomplishment.

2. What does the work almost say? What do you want to hear more about?  This is where you say "This is my opinion".Because that is all it is. You aren't the author.

Avoid dictatorial phrases like:
  • "You have got to__"
  • "Always do a __"
  • "You can't___"
  • "Don't ever__"
  • "You need to__"
  • "Get a___"
Instead say:
  • "You might consider_"
  • "Maybe this might __"
  • "I felt__"
  • "Perhaps__"
  • "It didn't work for me_"     
3. Briefly suggest how the author might revise his work. If  his/her dialogue is stilted, say It might sound better if__" 
If the plot is weak or has holes, say:" In my opinion, the plot has a few holes, for instance the character__."
 Don't say "the character is too stupid to live."
If the writing is passive, suggest the author go through the work and circle passive words and make them active. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received came from a journalist who told me to go through my manuscript and highlight all the was, weres, hads, whens, etc. and change them to action verbs.

4. What is the best feature of this work? Why? This is where you validate the authors' efforts in writing.  Perhaps the author has a problem with dialogue but excels in description or really has a unique voice. Tell them the good things they did. After all, they are putting their baby and a part of themselves out there for you to see.  When you critique in a brutal way, you're beating the baby and the author feels angry and defensive.  He's thinking, Wait til your turn comes.

5. Your duty as a critiquer is not the same as a critic. As a critiquer, you help  authors make their manuscripts better. Be civil, be thorough, be honest, and be helpful to your critique partners.

 In my opinion, it's what you say and how you say it. What are your suggestions for better critiques?

Thursday, May 6, 2010


By Ruby Johnson
I wanted to post on Monday, but I had something else to do. I’m sure none of you can relate to this.

I was in Barnes and Noble Booksellers and looked through the large number of “how to write quick” writing books. For those who like to bang out lots of words, there’s Chris Baty’s inspirational NANO book, No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. Check. Read that one. Didn’t work for me. Then there’s Karen Weisner’s First Draft in 30 Days. Check. Read that one. Oops! Own it. It only works for the first 100 pages. And of course there is Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. I’ve never done anything immediately.

And the really great book is on the internet “How to write and publish your own OUTRAGEOUSLY Profitable eBook in as little as 7 days – even if you can’t write, can’t type and failed high school English class!”

Self help not helping?

Okay so, maybe there are other reasons slowing the writing progress of your one-day novel- the book that magically gets done one day.

It’s more interesting to sleep in since you stayed up late the night before and today is your day off.

Cooking a healthy nutritious breakfast when you do get up will give you the healthy dose of energy you need. And you’ve promised you won’t drive to get anymore of those Krispy Cremes and a quart of coffee from Starbucks every morning.

Oops, there’s not a bit of healthy cereal, and juice. Guess you’ll have to go get those donuts to get that sugar necessary to get your energy level up.

And while you’re out, you might need to stop by the grocery store, so a list is really necessary.

Revise the grocery list. You forgot to get paper towels to wipe the sugar off your hands and get some dental floss so your teeth won’t rot.

Call your dentist. You chipped a tooth while on vacation last month and realize it needs repairing—today.

Check your voice mail. Maybe you heard the phone ringing while you were outside getting the newspaper.

Check your email. You definitely want to get that out of the way before you start that novel.

Search for index cards-you want to try the index method of plotting.

Go to Staples. You need colored index cards. They have a sale.

Get a flash disc. You want to save everything you write in case the computer crashes.

Buy some of those paisley designed folders. You want each chapter to stand out in its folder--Blue for depressive chapters, pink for happy chapters, red for bloody chapters, black for black moment, green for a new day or end of the book.

Have lunch at that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to check out. Good thing you didn’t bring your laptop, because the place is too quiet to work. Go home and check your email again.

Watch some You Tube Videos. Who are you kidding? The video with the talking dog is much funnier than some writer telling you to read and write. Post the writer one on your group site. Maybe there is someone who might like Stephen King.

Check your tweet followers and tweet about an upcoming meeting.

Put your upcoming meeting on Facebook. After all everyone wants to know you’re busy.

Get tempted to play one of those games on Facebook that some of your friends are playing. Oh, maybe one game.

Check your voice mail again. Maybe you missed a call while you were out. Who the heck is the living redeemer group for change? And why does someone think this is the Red Hot Tattoo business?

Listen to your voice mail message. Maybe it’s encouraging such calls.

Make a new message, just in case someone thinks replying in four different languages is not professional.

Check your email. How many loops do you belong to? And when did you sign up for that workshop? Better read all that stuff now so your box won’t be overloaded.

Save the lecture from the workshop. You might need it someday. Didn’t read it? Put it in a workshop folder with all of the other lectures.

Color code the lectures in files. Make one for each section of a book.

Think about where you were going on vacation. You were going to Nashville, but it’s under water and you don’t swim that well. Florida, no—too hot and too many kids in the summer. San Francisco—no you don’t believe in rewarding cities that break federal laws, New York—no you might get blown up. Oh heck, you’ll just stay home.

Clean off your desk. You really need to learn to find things. You have sticky notes all over the place. Put those books back on the bookshelf. You’re not using them. Throw the old newspapers out. Put up the measuring tape. What’s that doing here? Throw the energy bar wrappers in the trash. Kleenex? Ditto.

Dust your desk. Okay, polish your desk. It has coffee stains on the wood.

Put all the pens into a favorite sports team mug. You can look at it and remember when we had a winning team at something in the metroplex.

Check Facebook again to see if anyone has posted a remark about your post.

Check your favorite blogs and leave a couple of little blog posts. After all, that’s good self promotion.

Make another To-Do List, since you can’t find the other one and you want to make the most of your time.

Write a headline for your article or type a number for your chapter. Good. That’s out of the way.

Get a cup of coffee. You always need that pick me up in mid afternoon. That cup of tea didn’t do a thing for you.

Stare at the computer screen. Wipe that spot of coffee off the screen.

Check your email. Respond to several with questions. A friend wants to know if you watched Castle. No. You saved the episode on Tivo and now you can’t wait another minute to see what happened.

Check your blog to see how many hits you’ve gotten in the last hour.

Begin a blog post.

Answer the phone. It really did ring. Your local political party wants money. Don’t we all?

Write the first sentence. It’s always good to have a hook. Good you’re on your way.

Check your email again. The workshop moderator wants to know why students are lurkers. You fire off a response that life interferes and you’re saving the lectures for a less busy time.

The doorbell rings and there are a couple of women who want to preach the gospel to you. Being the kind soul that are, you listen. Why did you even open the door?

You go back to the computer and the font has changed. Did you do that? Correct the font again.

Write another couple of paragraphs. Think about the next chapter and what you’ll put in it. You might make your word goal of 250 words a day, but why try to rush it. Good work, after all, can’t be rushed and requires intense thinking.

One day you’ll write that novel. That magical day will come, but first you’ve got to………..

• What things do you have to do first?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Flea Market And Charles

Posted by Jeffery W. Turner, member (thanks to Ruby Johnson for her assistance).

Sometimes I've met a person by accident who affected me in a way that was large even though what was done was small in the big scheme of things. Charles, at the Will Rogers Flea Market, was one such person whom I still remember. He was a good and kind man who did something he did not have to do. Driven by the death of someone he deeply loved, he made others happy by a small act of kindness. The memory of this is something I have preserved in my writing. 

The Will Rogers flea market was one of those “good old places” in Fort Worth that you and I visited many times. Well, good for you since going through the seemingly endless rows of junk was never my favorite thing to do. But you liked it and we combined that activity with lunch or going to the Flying Saucer for a beer or two on our way home.

Walking down the aisles of the livestock barn where the flea market is located, one sees a strange array of things such as old household goods, collectibles, and trash better off at the dump. But occasionally there is a shining jewel among the mostly dull and useless refuse. One such treasure was meeting Charles and buying his dead wife’s cherished beading supplies. It was a stroke of good fortune since the beading supplies had value, especially the real turquoise pieces, which he sold to you for pennies on the dollar. And it was a wonderful event too since Charles was a good man and pleasant to be around each time we went to Will Rogers.

Certainly he was kind by giving us such a good deal on what was left of his wife’s earthly treasures. But what struck me most about him was how he remembered his wife. Like a lot of people he had been married to his wife for many years and was shaken by her death. You could tell he missed her deeply and at the same time carried himself upright through life tending to his daughter and grandson who he also dearly loved. And ,if I remember correctly, he said he had a slowly progressing terminal disease as well. But even with these hard things in his life he always had a good outlook on things and was friendly every time we saw him.

His kindness to us, two people he hardly knew and owed nothing, was an exception compared to some in that flea market who tried to sell you junk or outright cheat you. Selling his wife’s beads was also as much an act of remembering her as it was selling goods he no longer needed to keep. He said he hoped you would enjoy the beads as much as his wife had. He seemed happy to see the excitement in your eyes as you beheld the riches in your hands just as he could still see his beloved wife doing.

The many pieces of jewelry you made did give you pleasure. You made your fellow teachers guess where you got them. You never told how you made the sets of earrings and bracelets or the story behind what you crafted and wore. You see, by using her beads you honored Charles and his wife. Your work with those little trinkets and stones made her live on just as she did in Charles’s mind. So when you strung one of those beads you did it in honor of his wife whom he still deeply loved and also in honor of the good man he was.

You can now see that Charles made an impression on us in more than one way. Seeing him was always a pleasure but it was something we took for granted. We thought he would always be there just like the old livestock barns at Will Rogers endured and never seemed to change. But one day he left, his market stall was no more. He moved to Houston with his daughter, departing from the flea market and our lives. We wanted to contact him, thanking him once more, but he left no forwarding address with anyone there and was gone.

Indeed he departed but like the memories of his wife, whom he loved and longed for so, the memory of him is still inside me. It makes me smile, feel a little sad, and wish him well each time it appears. Hopefully one day we will be remembered the same way by people we were kind to just as Charles from the flea market is now by me.

I hope this story touched your heart just as Charles touched mine.  This small note will be part of my next book “Notes To Stephanie: Days Remembered.”

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