Well, all write! . . . . .

2 chairs by ocean

2 chairs by ocean

People ask me when I write, what I write, and how I write. I thought about that this morning when I woke at some ungodly hour and couldn’t get back to sleep. As I sometimes do, I got up, made myself a cup of cocoa and had it with a thin butterfly-looking cookie I buy at Dollar General. By then I was too awake to go back to bed so I just said “Well, all write.”

I have never been a morning person. I have always stayed up late, so I usually sleep until 8:00. Yet, in these past few years, alone, free from many burdens and free to do as I please, some of my habits have changed.  Early and fresh from sleep and not yet hammered with negative news, my mind is open and there is room there for new ideas. So if I should just happen to put my laptop in my lap, where it belongs, my fingers go to the keys and ideas start to flow. I know I’m getting some help because I’m not smart enough to think up some of this stuff.

This morning I wrote letters to librarians in eastern Nebraska, asking if I could visit and give a reading from my new book or, in some cases, from both books. For me, this is fun, and I am amazed at how many people show up for readings. It is great to meet them, and it is helpful when they purchase my book, since I bore the cost of publication. Sometimes they buy extra copies for gifts.

My Half of the Conversation, my new book, is ready now to publish and I am choosing the cover. I have narrowed it down to three, a cover designer is putting the words on all three, and then I must choose. If you would like to help, please choose the cover you would most likely be attracted to in a bookstore. Remember that this is non-fiction, a book of thoughts and ideas, with no sluts. I’d appreciate your opinion on the cover, which I must choose soon. Write your choice here in “Comments.”

Mahalo.  (Thanks)

D. M.

August . . . . .



Something about August is sentimental. I think it is the sound of the cicadas. The sound brings back memories. As a child and even as a teenager, that sound was exciting to me. It signaled time to get ready again for school. I liked school, and summer was wearing thin. We went to town and bought a big Red Chief tablet, 2 pencils, some new pen points and an eraser.

When I was in grade school and high school (all in one building) the scent that met me on that first day of school was the freshly oiled wooden floors, and probably fresh paint as well. In grade school I was moving up to a new room and a new teacher. In Junior High I was moving up to new choices. In High School I was moving up to new privileges and new responsibilities. It was challenging.

We had gone through all these years together, and girls and boys had become like sisters and brothers. We wouldn’t think of dating them, nor were they attracted to us. Unless we somehow met a boy from another town we probably didn’t have dates. We just played games or drove around town or had a few awkward parties, but for the most part we stayed with the girls and the boys stayed with the boys. Out of all the kids we went to school with very few ended up together.

I was lucky to grow up in a time when families were close and we were not embarrassed to be seen with them, to travel with them, to have parties with them. Get-togethers often included people of all ages and we had certain party games that were hilarious. Some of them were a means of introducing the younger ones to new games and new jokes. And perhaps while we played them, others were out on the lawn turning the crank to make homemade ice cream and there were always pies and cakes for get-togethers.

There is one game that stands out in my memories. Picture this: We took a leaf from a table and placed it on the floor with two catalogues at each end, holding it up off the floor. Then we asked if anyone wanted to take an airplane ride. (They all did). So we had one young one come alone into the room stand upon the table leaf. and we blindfolded him. We asked someone to stand in front of  him, and the rider was told to place his hands on this person’s shoulders to steady him for the ride. Then we had an adult at each end of the leaf, ready to grab it and lift it higher and higher.

They actually lifted the table leaf very very slowly, shaking it a bit for reality, while those in the room who were  in the know, were saying things like “Oh, you’re going so high!” or “Be careful . . you’ll hit the ceiling.”  And to the person having the ride it felt as if he could indeed because, unknown to him, the person standing in front of him for support, was gradually squatting lower and lower. Having experienced this myself I can attest that to the one taking the ride it really does feel as if you have gone very high.

Then, the lifters tell the rider he must jump. The rider thinks that must be impossible but soon the whole room is telling him he must jump, right now. When he finally does he probably jumps three or four inches to the floor. Then all have a laugh together and they bring in another candidate who has waited in another room for his ride.

This sort of parlor game was passed down, I think, from generation to generation in those days. Was it just for small town farm families? Did it come from the “old country?”

Would kids today put down their iPhones and play a game? I don’t know. I just know we were friends with the older ones and still friends when we left home. And everyone laughs at the memory of their plane ride.

I will be 92 in August. Is it not amazing that I remember things like this but can’t remember the name of a neighbor I met an hour ago? Well no, it is not amazing. It is just normal.

Tell me if you played games like this too. And if August is full of memories.

And if you liked school. And even adults.


Doris Markland