Interruptions At Home

I may be an excellent teacher and a good writer, but I am not savvy with technology.  I try to do things that are beyond my capabilities, and for those endeavors, I have to really concentrate.

I got a notice in today’s email that someone had liked one of my former posts. The post was dated August 19, 2018. I like to go back when I get a notice like that and see what someone liked.

I noticed in that post, I am writing about the book I hope to publish soon. I see a few people have liked that post and since others are now reading it, I think it would be good to add the cover of the book that is now published and tell readers where it can be purchased, if they are interested. If not, it still shows that I accomplished what I was working on at that time.

So I’m sitting here trying to copy/paste the cover of the book, or the link to the book from Amazon.com     . . .   the doorbell rings. . . I’m not expecting anyone and would ignore it, IF my watchdog, who is certain it’s the devil himself knocking, would just QUIT BARKING! She will not.

So I stand up and since I’ve been writing awhile and began during breakfast, I am still in my pajamas. I need to find and put on a robe. I got that accomplished and finally convinced my watchdog that I can handle whoever is at the door, if she will just go back into a room so I can see who it is without them getting bitten.

It’s a salesman. He’s from Spectrum. Or so his shirt says. Spectrum is an internet company that has tried to get my business for months, if not years. I do not want them. I’ve heard bad things about their service going out when it rains, and I am happy with the company I use and have used since I moved here many years ago. I tell him who he’s from and that I’m not interested. He tries to talk. I interrupt him and tell him I’m a writer, I’m busy, and I’m not going to buy Spectrum. (They send me info on how to purchase their service at least twice a month. They come by very frequently. I don’t want to be rude, but hey, I’m working and I want to get back to what I was doing before I forget what it was.) I finally close the door in his face and head back to my computer.

My head, I realized, was pounding. Between the stubborn salesman at the door and my dog who is glad to see I wasn’t harmed and that the danger is gone, my head is pounding. (To anyone who thinks I should keep my dog loose, first of all, she bites and second of all, when I put her up, I grab something else I can use for protection and take it with me.)

Where was I? That was my question when I came back in here after that annoying interruption. I could not get back where I was, so I made a sign to put on my door when I’m working. I made one to put over my doorbell when I had babies who would finally get to sleep. I remember the wording well. My friends were amused. Some of them thought it funny to knock on the door after reading the sign. That was never funny to me. That sign read,

“RING THIS BELL AND WAKE MY BABY,

YOU’RE GONNA CATCH HELL, AND I DON’T MEAN MAYBE”

I cannot be nice at all times. People assume I’m their doormat when I try. At least I’m honest.

Here’s today’s sign that is now on my front and side doors. (That salesman was in my carport, which infuriates me anyway. Stay away from my car. That carport is like an extended room to my house.) . . . but here’s today’s sign. I hope anyone headed this way can read.

DO NOT
DISTURB

WRITER AT WORK

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A NOTE

And I did manage to copy/paste the info for the published pet poetry book. It looks like what’s below this line, and is also on my August 19, 2018 page.

(Now it is December 29, 2018. Here is a copy of the Pet Poetry book. Each poem tells a little story . . . usually a true story . . . about a pet or wildlife that live in or near my yard. This book is available at amazon.com   You can read the first poem page of it by typing                                Bow Wow! Meow! by Corbett in Amazon’s search bar and clicking on the   that is above the book on their site. Use the directional arrows once the cover pops up and it will lead you through copyright page to the poem. “Old Atlas”.)

 

Uploading Another Book

I am uploading another book on Createspace. This is a book I have worked on for over twenty years. It’s probably completely written.

Yesterday I was motivated to get this book published now.

It’s about a time when I lived in another part of the state and was betrayed by close family members.

I just edited Chapter One.

I have been editing this book for years, wanting it to be perfect when it is published. It would have been nice to find a publisher, but for some reason, I never was able to find one.

I’ve had the same problem finding an agent.

Well, like The Little Red Hen, who has been my lifetime inspiration, if I can’t find someone to help me, I’ll do it myself.

The Pet Poetry book I published in September 2018 was done because I wanted to showcase my poems, and I wanted many of my poems about my pets in a book that could be read by others. It was also done to see how to publish on Createspace.com

I ironed out the nuts and bolts of that during the first part . . . up until September of 2018.

I had planned to publish the other books I’ve worked on over the years in 2019.

Why wait to publish this one about something that is evil in America and needs to be changed?

I’ll come back here daily after uploading a chapter to keep a record of what I’m doing.

 

Carrying On

I just worked on the Blindman Book. I uploaded the chapter where I met my court appointed attorney. Reading through that first meeting and remembering how much he seemed to want to help me, I regret asking for a different one. The man was old and had trouble hearing. Still, I think I remember my mother saying he was a very good lawyer, back when she was a legal secretary and was also the court stenographer in town.

He seemed to believe in me. He wanted a hearing as quickly as he could get one. He suspected the person it turned out to be who had set me up, but I was sure she hadn’t. I learned from this ordeal that you can’t trust people, not even family.

But it may be that the opposing counsel wanted me to be displeased with Mr. Woolard and wanted me to switch lawyers. I don’t know. I know he was right to request a hearing. I know I wish I’d stuck with him.

But that’s all water under the bridge, and my tendency to ruminate causes me more harm than good.

It was an interesting chapter and one I hadn’t read in a long while. I think it is well written. It was written on October 14, 2015 and has 846 words. There is dialogue, but I don’t describe him. I remember I describe him in later chapters during court hearings. He was an old man. I can see him now in my mind’s eye. I may need to put in more description, or it might be fine as is. I did describe his office. I did a little tidying up on the chapter, putting in commas and changing a word here or there.

I had written on this book for twenty years. When NaNoWriMo came around in November, I added 50,000 more words and finished the thing. I think I’ve written in this blog how many, many words this book now has. It is too many, but I imagine I will find some redundacies as I continue. This chapter had to be inserted before the Stephen chapter. When I put these chapters in chronological order, I should have put this one there.

I also am working daily on the Schoolteacher stories book. When I opened that file, I saw I had done much, much more on it than I remembered. It is also in the self-publishing format, and I’d love to see them both published this year. Then there’s the Black History Teacher Resource book I want to edit and republish by December.

I have plenty of writing projects in the works. I have many more as well that I want to finish. I’m working on a hi lo book and doubt it will be finished this year, but as I try to put in my hour (or more) daily, it’s one of the things I turn to.

I used to teach Kindergarten and I’d joke and say the job fit me well because I had about the same attention span as they did. I do bore easily and I get tired of the same ole, same ole. That might serve me well in my writing career. We will find out.

Three Books

New Idea.

I feel like I work on my books, hit or miss, with the Blindman book being the main focus right now. I work on it, when I work on any book. I just don’t work on it every day.

I have health issues and some days I’m unable to work. I have things I have to do outside of the house, and I am too busy.

I can make excuses. Bottom line is, I need to work on my book every single day . . . maybe take off Sunday, except for that verse about when your ass is in a ditch, even if it’s Sunday, get it out. (Does everyone – anyone? – know the Bible story I’m referring to?)

Ok. I will make a pact with myself and my readers to work on my book for one hour a day (not long? You come sit here and do it.) whatever else I do that day. No matter how sick I am. Work one hour a day for at least six days a week. How many days a year is that? Six Times Fifty-Two is Three Hundred Twelve.  So three hundred twelve days, starting today, for the next year, I will work at least one hour a day on my book . . . make that books. I noticed today when I uploaded and proofread the next Chapter in the Blindman book, and this chapter is about Stephen, it took twenty minutes. Now what?

I glanced at the following chapter where Stephen dies and no, I cannot do another chapter in this emotionally wrenching book. I’m done with the Blindman for one day. Forty minutes to go.

I opened the file with Stories of a Public Schoolteacher in it. Wow! That book is much more “done” than I imagined. I added a chapter/story to it. Yes, the story needs editing. Heavy editing, but it’s now in the book.

Now what? I opened the file of hi lo story ideas. Those are stories written for adults who are just learning to read. I am a Reading Specialist and know how to recognize Reading Levels and the sentence structure in beginner’s books and I know the hi lo books are high interest / low reading levels. Adults learning to read would rather read stories about things they are intersted in, rather than the stories six year olds read as they begin to read books.

So I selected the story idea I had most recently thought about and I started writing. I got the first chapter written. I tried to write in the style/words that you’d find in a first grade book. Then I went to one of the wordcount online tools and checked. I had written 422 words and it was less than 4th grade reading level. That works. Or I think it will. I’ll come back to that book, if I have time tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday when I put in another hour’s work.

I still had some time in my hour. I came to this blog and here I am telling my readers what I’m doing today. An hour to work. I have seven more minutes. Then I’m going in the kitchen and start to cook a roast for dinner tonight. I love to cook. I love to sew. I love to create things.

Am I creating a headache in your head? I hope not. Let me stop and see how many words are in this blog, proofread it, add tags and publish it today.

This is 582 words. That’s 82 more than my goal in each blog. Reading level is 5th/6th grade. Usually I write in 8th/9th grade reading level, according to the word count tool. I guess writing in less than fourth grade reading level lowered my normal level. Does it matter? No.

 

105 Pages – Twenty Chapters

This is most delightful. I just uploaded a couple more chapters in The Blindman book and noticed the page number at the end of the last one. I now have 105 pages and twenty chapters of my book in the template for kdp self-publishing site. That is awesome, considering how long I’ve worked on this book.

As I upload and read through each chapter, I realize I have some heavy editing to do on this book. I found a binder I’d started at one point when I was trying to organize the chapters chronologically. I had no idea what was missing and still needed to be written. I’d written whatever was on my mind on the days I worked on this book. The outline was in my head, but I didn’t follow it. I knew the beginning, middle and end, but wrote best when I wrote about what I was currently thinking about that was tormenting me. Memories. It’s a memoir. It’s also a very good story (will hold your attention) and might help others at some point.

I am so excited to see over 100 pages with my words on them. The other two books I’ve published, one had less than 50 pages, and the other one had 57 pages. One was a book of my poems that I’d written about pets and wildlife. Each poem tells a story in a rhyming format. The other one is a reference book for teachers to use during Black History month. For the reference book, I intend to expand it to at least 100 pages and republish it in November.

When I taught school, there were very few books on First Grade Reading level about African Americans. Each February I’d go in the library and search for relevant facts and information to use as I designed lesson plans. I took notes and kept many of them to use in subsequent years. I also began to write rhymes to help children remember what each person was famous for.

Here’s one of those rhymes. It’s about Garrett Morgan. He invented both the traffic light and the gas mask. He probably invented other things as well. Since six year olds are more familiar with traffic lights than gas masks, I wrote this rhyme. If you put a picture of three traffic lights under the rhyme, you have a simple activity for a Learning Station. The children can read the rhyme and color the lights – First one color the red light, second one, color the yellow light, and third one color the green light. Likewise you can put illustrations under the rhymes for Mohammed Ali and other famous African Americans.

Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan,

Red, Yellow, Green,

Made the traffic

Light be seen.

by Constance Barr Corbett

 

Writing Courses

Dear Writer’s Digest Magazine and Anyone Else Offering To Sell Me Writing Courses,

I have taken the last writing course I intend to take.

I took English Courses, some of which were composition, in college. I had writing included in my high school courses and even in lower grades.

I took a Creative Writing Course from NCSU in the 1980’s.

I took a Correspondence Course from that Children’s Literature Company and learned a lot.

I took a Memoir and Truth Telling Writing Course when I was in grad school in 2006 at UNCW.

I took James Patterson’s online writing course.

I’ve subscribed to Wrtier’s Digest Magazine for years. I also subscribe to Poets and Writers Magazine.

I’ve bought self-help books on writing over the years. I have quite a collection.

If I don’t know it by now, I don’t intend to learn it. Pleaase quit sending me mail and emails offering to sell me writing courses.

I’m done studying.

Constance

Books Mailed

I put four of my books in the hands of people I hope will enjoy or use them. One friend had asked me to order one and said he’d pay me when it came. I’ve moved since he made that offer, but I got a book for him, signed it and mailed it today. Then I had another friend who hadn’t asked for a book, but one is on the way.  Those were both my Pet Poetry books that are for sale on Amazon in either paperback or kindle editions.

I sent the other books about Black History to educators I know to get their comments on its contents. I plan to revise it and republish it probably under a different title by the end of Novembet. It will be interesting to see which, if any parts of the book, appeal to educators that I know and trust.

Here are the book covers. I bought author’s copies for them, and the postage was actually more expensive than the books, lol! I was happy to get them mailed today. Heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow, and I hope I don’t have to drive anywhere. Tomorrow seems like a good day to stay at home and write.

9781494818388: Bow Wow! Meow!: Poems about Pets Stories - Cats Dogs and Others

Bad Day

I’m having a bad day. So I added the extra section to Chapter Thirteen and then copied/pasted Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen. I see they need work. They need editing. The template is skewed, and I’m sure I did something to cause that. I cannot do technical stuff right now. I can copy/paste more than usual, because I’m having a bad day. How much worse can it get? I know better than to ask that question.

In looking through Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen, I saw some snippets I could copy/paste here to give you a “flavor” of the book. I could not decide on which or what and finally decided on the next few words. I have no idea if they’re any good. I have no idea if anyone will want to read the book. I have no idea today. I’m having a bad day.

I was having a bad day (worse day) when I did what I was doing in this small, small scene. This is just a few lines. Shall I put it in quotes? How will you know where this stops and my snippet begins? I’ll italicize it.

I was still writing on the paper towels when an Asian woman came and sat down beside me. Are you Bonnie? She asked.

I stopped writing and looked at her. “Yes, I am.” I answered.

She looked at the pen and the paper towels. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m writing,” I told her. “I write when I’m stressed out and I’m kind of stressed out right now.”

“Why is that?” she asked.

I told her.

Thirteen Chapters

I just uploaded another chapter to the Blindman Book. It was chapter 13. I have 64 pages now. I skimmed the next section and I think it can be added to chapter 13, without starting a new chapter. The activity has changed, but the setting is the same.

I don’t know how I lived through this time in my life. I don’t know how anyone does. I guess it was my children who kept me going. They needed me and I needed to help them.

There’s so much sadness in this world. There is evil and bad things. It should make the good times even better, when you know how bad things can get.

I had an very good day today. It’s probably the best day I’ve had since I moved here. I thought about the Blindman Book several times today but didn’t want to drag it out. That’s what it feels like sometimes. Dragging it out. I have wondered if I’ll really get it published. I plan to.

One of my sons has said if I don’t, he will. I might as well keep working on it. It’s not easy.

When I was taking the course titled Truth Telling and Memoir Writing at UNCW, we read several memoirs. There was one that later turned out to be a big fib, and I knew it wasn’t true from the time I read it. Some of the things didn’t “ring true” for me.

Some people have fewer experiences in this world than others. Some have more happy experiences. My life has been a series of traumas, it feels like. When all the things happened, I used my time and energy putting “happy” in my own children’s minds . . . happy experiences to look back on, but I forgot to do the same for me.

I always wanted six children. Now I think God knew better than I did how many I should have.

I’ve always had a strong faith and used that faith to get me through hard times. The time during the Blindman Book was one of the hardest times in my life. I know others go through the same experiences I did back then. I’m hoping my book will help. That’s why I’m writing it.

My previous books have not sold well and that is a concern. Of course my previous books were not like this one. My first published book was a book of poems. Some had been published and others had not.

My second published book was rhymes and activities for Black History month. Unless you’re an educator or someone involved in celebrating and organizing celebrations of Black History, you might not have a high interest in buying my book. There may be better books available or better known books. I don’t know.

I just hope the Blindman Book sells well and that it makes a difference.

I was raised Presbyterian. We believe in God’s will. Predestination. If it’s meant to be, this book will sell well and will make a change.

So I’ll keep uploading chapters. I’m editing a little as I notice chapter 13 and 14 can be combined. When everything is uploaded, I’ll go back through and read the whole book with an eye to continuity, clarity, good transitions, developed characters, accurately described settings . . . all the things that hopefully will make it a good read.

As I think back over chapter 13, there is no part that I think would be a good snippet to put in this blog. As soon as I encounter one, I will include it.

Back To The Blindman Book

This has been quite a week. It’s Friday. I had to go out every day this week. Yesterday we had severe storms, but still I went out again. (I wish I’d stayed home.) The weather was much too bad to be out driving. The roads were very crowded. I thought I was going on a two mile trip and ended up going all over this city. At least I wasn’t driving. However, if I had been, I would have only gone the expected two miles and then back home. When we did get back home, the power was off. It finally came back on in about five hours, but I was in no state to work on the Blindman Book.

This morning I looked back over the template I’m using to upload the Blindman chapters and the Blindman file itself. I have just uploaded two chapters, but doubt I will ever do that again. It’s too much. The memories are too much, and I wonder if anyone will even read it in the first place?

Schools are closed today due to the weather. I’m staying home. I’ll probably play a little Candy Crush to calm my brain down from the two chapters I read, uploaded and reread. Is anyone else really going to sit down and read this? I have sent snippets of this book to a couple of people and they say they could not stop reading . . . to keep writing. OMG  . . . it was such an interesting book, they said. Were they serious? Is there a snippet I can put here? Do I want to share any of it yet?

No. I just skimmed what is in the book so far and I see nothing I am willing to share. Not yet.

 

The Day The Pitbull Attacked Mama

I think my dog, Joy, has PTSD. She was just sleeping and heard some children outside playing. They were screaming, but I could tell by the sounds they made that they were just running around yelling, being kids. Joy didn’t know that.
She jerked awake and got up barking and ready to charge! She must have heard the screams and remembered the day I was attacked by a pitbull.
It wasn’t me who was attacked at first. I was outside with my little dog Blackie and somehow the neighbor’s pitbull (they had two pitbulls and two bulldogs), but that day one of their pitbulls had gotten out.
I had left Blackie in the front yard to do her business while I walked to the mailbox at the curb to get the mail. Blackie was sixteen years old and not going anywhere but the front yard. I walked her every day, but sometimes when I came out to check the mail, I let her tag along.
As I started to reach for the mailbox to open it, I saw a movement charging down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. As it headed for my front yard, I yelled “NO!” and ran, as much as a senior citizen can run, to my dog, Blackie. The pitbull had his eye on my yard and had started across the street before I’d noticed him. By the time I got to Blackie, he was already there.
He was gnawing at her side, and I grabbed his collar and finally was able to tug him off her. She wasn’t fighting him. She was standing there probably wondering what was going on. She had cataracts and was old and like I said, she wasn’t going anywhere.
The pitbull turned on me and knocked me down. He damaged my hands. He both broke and dislocated the middle finger on my left hand. He did tendon damage to my right hand. My knees and legs were scraped from hitting the ground.
I got back up, but by then he was back biting and gnawing on Blackie’s side. She stood there as if in shock. I tried to pull him off again, but couldn’t. My youngest son, who is an adult, was in the house and I began to scream and call for him. I thought he’d run out any minute and help me. I don’t know how long I screamed and yelled, but I’d finally decided he wasn’t coming when he flew out of the door charging at the dog and screaming himself. He tried to make the pitbull let go, and in the process got bit himself and one of the bones in his foot got broken.
I went and got the shovel and told my son to move and raised the shovel to hit that pitbull in the head. Just before I brought it down, my neighbor came flying out of his house and grabbed his pitbull and carried him into his house.
I told my son to call the police, but my across the street neighbor suddenly was in my yard and said she had called the police already and they were on the way.
I asked my son what took him so long??? Didn’t he hear me yelling?
He said “no”. He’d had his headphones on and was on the computer when suddenly Joy, our other dog, stood up and ran to the window. He had the window in his room opened just a little. He said Joy hit the bottom of that opened window with the top of her head and up it flew. Then she tried to jump through the screen. She’d heard me yelling!
He heard it too once his headphones were off. He said he yanked them off when Joy hit the window and made it fly up. He asked her what the hell she was doing, and then he heard me. He said he stopped to close the window to keep Joy in and then ran out to help.
But that day the police came and they ended up calling the rescue squad to take me and my son to the hospital. We put Blackie in the house. My son said he picked her up and carried her in. I thought she walked in on her own. I guess I was in shock. I’m not sure.
But while we were in the Rescue Squad on our way to the hospital, I called my oldest, who happened to be checking out at Food Lion, he said. He said he was trying to pay and suddenly he had his phone lighting up with calls from both me and my youngest son. My oldest answered and I told him what had happened. I asked him to go by the house and get Blackie and take her to the vet. We were headed to the Emergency Room, but we were ok.
My oldest came right away and took Blackie to the vet. Blackie needed surgery and needed her side sewed up. The vet told my oldest to go on to the ER, and he’d let us know what Blackie needed. Shortly after my son got to the ER, the vet called and said Blackie’s surgery would cost $500. I told him to “go ahead”.
The nurse in the emergency room was the same one who had been there eleven days before. I had gone to the ER then and was admitted. They kept me for six days. I had not been out of the hospital for a week yet, when the pitbull attacked. The nurse said one more trip, and I’d qualify for “frequent flyer miles”. (My oldest was joking around with her when she said it. He asked her if she remembered us, and she did. He was the one who took me the day I was admitted to the hospital.)
But they shot my hand full of numbing stuff, and I yelled and told them to just set the thing! It couldn’t hurt worse than the numbing needle was hurting. I had to get x-rays first and they checked one of my knees too because it was so badly scraped. It looked like just that one finger needed setting. The doctor who’d used that numbing needle said he’d be back in about fifteen minutes. It felt like he’d spent fifteen minutes already torturing me with that needle. I told him not to bring that needle back with him! I’d had enough!
After awhile, the doctor came back in and pulled and twisted that finger and put a cast kind of thing on it. He told me to keep it dry. That turned out to be a challenge when I washed my hair or took a shower.
But I don’t think Joy has ever forgotten the day the pitbull attacked her “mama”. If she hears anything and doesn’t know what it is, she will run to me and turn sideways. (I learned years ago when two men were breaking into my house and all three of my dogs ran to me and turned sideways that that was their stance to protect you.) Joy does that and when she woke up and jumped up and charged barking, I realized she has never forgotten the day the pitbull attacked mama. She doesn’t like to hear yelling. I have to tell her I’m ok and pet her, and then she’ll settle down and go lay back down. I’m very grateful that she heard me that day. I’m sorry it still affects her.

No Writing On Book Today

My baby boy is in China. He fell in love with Asia when he went to Japan to study abroad his Junior Year in college. He has lived off and on (mostly on) in Asia since he was 20 years old.

I tried to get him to fly home a couple weeks ago when the Coronavirus first appeared. He was sure all would be fine. Besides he is busy with his new school. Well, now schools are closed all over China and now the US is saying Do NOT fly to China and if you’re an American citizen in China, come home immediately. Is he coming? I still don’t know.

There are other things to consider. I read one article this morning about one American who is choosing to stay. She said she knows how she acts, but she can’t be sure all the others around her in line waiting to board planes are as scrupulous. They say you can be contagious before symptoms appear. Who’s done what, or been around what or whom and is now standing beside you in line as you leave the country? That’s her way of thinking.

I was looking into flying over just this week. If he gets sick, who better than his mother to take care of him? He said no. Do NOT come to China right now. Shall I play my trump card and say, “Then YOU come home?”

No. He’s a grown man. He’s a grown married man. His wife is Chinese and I doubt she would be allowed to leave, but I’m not sure.

That is their decision to make, but until they do, it feels like wild horses are inside my head galloping around dragging my brain behind them and I cannot work on any writing right now.

Can I walk back to my bedroom and lie back down? I’m getting ready to find out. This whole situation is exhausting and worrisome and there’s not one damned thing I can do to change it.

Wait. I can pray. If you are a person who prays, please say a prayer for China, her citizens/inhabitants and my son. Thank you.