SNIPPETS FROM THE PAST…

 

Today has been filled with nostalgic moments.  On my Curl up and Read blog, I posted something from the distant past—from October 2009.  And that experience led me to searching the archives here.  Back when I featured excerpts from some of my own creations.

Here’s a snippet from An Accidental Life, a book I published in 2006.

 

As she considers going on the run, a pregnant teen ponders her options in this excerpt from An Accidental Life.

While the social workers had been planning her future, Savannah trudged along Clovis Avenue, staring vacantly into shop windows and wondering how she was going to get through the next five hours.  She had to wait until Blake finished up his classes for the day, and then they were going to meet at his apartment.

Last night as she’d left the mall, she was certain that she had only one option:  to run.  But when she reached the foster home, she had decided to put that particular plan on hold until the weekend.  With Blake’s help, she might be able to come up with a better solution.  But every time she thought she’d found a plan she could live with, she kept bumping up against the one major obstacle:  school.  How was she going to find a way to live on her own, or with Blake, while still continuing in school?  And without a guardian she couldn’t even enroll in independent studies.  Her age was turning out to be a major hassle. She and Blake couldn’t even get married, since she wouldn’t be sixteen for another five months.  Not that he’d even suggested that!

As the afternoon wore on, she found herself spacing out and realized that she’d forgotten to eat lunch.  She had totally blown off school today, even though it was such an important part of her life, because she couldn’t think.  Her mind wandered off, even in her favorite classes.  Now she searched through her pockets, finally glomming onto the handful of bills she had hidden there.  Blake had a habit of leaving money around and lately she’d been slipping the occasional stray bill into her pockets.  She knew he’d never miss it and rationalized that if she’d asked, he would have given her the money anyway.  Guilt plagued her sometimes, but she pushed the unwanted feelings away.

She slipped into a little café on one of the side streets, finding a booth in the rear.  She hid her face behind the menu and when the server arrived, her pencil poised above her little order book, Savannah asked for a bowl of soup and a large piece of pie.  While she waited, she nibbled on the crackers and sipped the glass of water.  She had started feeling a little better by the time her food arrived.

Glancing at her wristwatch…the very large masculine one that Blake had loaned her…she saw that it was already three o’clock.  No wonder she’d been so famished!  Two more hours until she could meet up with Blake.  She would hang out here for awhile and try to read the book she had stashed in her backpack.  They’d refill her coffee cup for awhile and when they started hinting around for her to leave, she could head off toward the campus.  Blake’s apartment, which he shared with Scooter, was across the street from the college.  If she timed it right, she’d arrive there about the same time that he did.

***

Perhaps I will now return to the present, but I enjoyed my moments back in the past.  Do you ever revisit old blog posts?

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REVIEW: ANOTHER BROOKLYN, BY JACQUELINE WOODSON

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

My Thoughts: In the narrative voice of a young woman named August, we follow her journey back to Sweet Grove, Tennessee, and forward to Brooklyn in the 1970s.

Memories and moments that seem to come in flashbacks are snippets out of time, revealing nostalgia and loss. A death, a missing mother, friendships that seem forever but then are not…all of it is seen from the character’s adult perspective.

Sometimes flashes come that signal fantasy, not reality. And then reality slams into her with all of its dangerous brutality.

Dead bodies are discovered nearby; drug addicts hide in the hallways; and children disappear when white women come for them.

Another Brooklyn is a panoramic view of a time, of dreams, and of how reality can turn grim…or hopeful. It snaps a portrait of growing up Girl in times that were a-changing. 4 stars.

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AUTUMN LEAVES: NOSTALGIC MOMENTS

autumn leaves on sept 11

 

On a somewhat cooler Friday morning, I sit in my temporary office in the dining area…and gaze out the open patio door at the image (above), which reminds me that autumn is on the way.  Just a few leaves on the table, but that’s all I need to sweep me back to all the autumns of the past, moments I’ve loved.

First of all, I love the colorful leaves juxtaposed against rough surfaces, like these:

 

 

autumn leaves

 

Some of my sensory moments from the past exist no more, as they include the scent of smoke from fireplaces…not something we like to think about when we are surrounded by fires….Our drought, the heat, all the elements that conspire to bring frightening conflagration during the summer and fall.

 

 

Wildfire prevention

 

My first published novel was set in California’s Central Valley, published in the fall of 2006….and it contained a lot of my “accidental moments” from the past:  An Accidental Life.

 

 

 

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Blurb:  Summertime is hot and dull in the Central Valley of California and four teenage girls from very different families are determined to spice it up. With a single-mindedness that foretells disaster, they push aside all the rules and explore the underbelly of valley life. Drugs, sex, alcohol, adventure, anything to challenge the norm, yet all experienced without the benefit of maturity. As the girls become increasingly uncontrollable, their mothers-from dramatically diverse social castes-are forced to work together to save their daughters. Like a tornado moving across the landscape, lives are wrenched from their foundations. Page after page, and over a period of two years, the author introduces characters who struggle to support and defeat the dreams of what began as four innocent girls desiring to taste the forbidden fruit. Laurel-Rain Snow’s An Accidental Life is a fascinating look into not only the lives of very diverse family systems, but the mechanism that drives a cross-section of an all-American community.

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When I think of autumn, I think of those accidental moments in life:  leaves, fire, combustible happenings fueled by drugs and youth….and my nostalgia ratchets up to its fullest.

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Today I am thinking about family….and how my eldest son Craig and his lovely wife Gabi are now on the coast, having spent the week driving down 101 and the Pacific Coast Hwy., enjoying the coolness, before heading this way again.

The house is spiffed up, as described in this post, Spiffing up My Interior World:  The Berliners Return.

I am on my laptop in my temporary office, below, enjoying the autumn breeze.  Already I can feel the heat, though, and will have to close the door and sigh.  Not quite autumn!

 

 

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I am reading All the Summer Girls, by Meg Donohue, clinging to the last gasp of summer.

 

 

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A rich and detailed novel about women, relationships, and forgiveness. 

Now I will move from my laptop to my cozy couch and read.  Enjoy your day!  What autumn moments are tugging at you?

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REVIEW: LOST LAKE, BY SARAH ADDISON ALLEN

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After sleepwalking through the year following her husband Matt’s death, Kate Pheris is ready to escape her Atlanta home, which she has just sold. Devin, her eight-year-old daughter needs a change, too, so instead of moving in with her mother-in-law Cricket, as planned, Kate impulsively jumps in the car and heads to Lost Lake.

While clearing out for the move, she had found an old postcard from her great-aunt Eby (one her mother apparently kept from her), and suddenly wants to reconnect. Her last time at the summer camp, when she was twelve, was when she last felt free and happy.

Meanwhile, at the retreat, Eby is pondering her own changes. A developer has repeatedly approached her about selling, and since she would need a lot of money to fix things up, just to continue, she has verbally agreed to do so. Plus, they haven’t had a lot of guests lately.

Lost Lake is a lovely, magical tale about nostalgic moments, the past connections that remind us of love lost, and hope for a different kind of future.

Devin is a delightful character who sees the magic in her surroundings, and her quest for an “alligator box” keeps things interesting. Eby thinks of her past and her great love, George, who has passed on. Selma and Bulahdeen, two elderly women who come every year, have their own unique stories to share. Then there is Lisette, whom Eby saved years before when she jumped from a bridge in a suicide attempt. Lisette doesn’t talk…her notes are her means of communication. She has “ghost-like” conversations with someone sitting in a special kitchen chair.

What memorable moments from Kate’s past remind her that she is finally where she needs to be? What role did a local man, Wes, have in Kate’s past, and will he help her find a future?

Recommended for those who enjoy magical tales with just enough reality to make the story believable, I give this book 4.5 stars.