April 30, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 11:05 pm
I can hardly believe this is the last day of April already.  We did not have as many showers as we sometimes do in this month but the flowers bloomed before May.  We have our own tulip festival downtown in Chicago now, thanks to our Mayor and his wife.  The planters on Michigan Avenue and State Street are full of beautiful tulips of all colors.  We do not have a parade, etc. like they do in Holland and Pella, Michigan, but we have so many other parades and celebrations, we don’t need one for that.  Next weekend we will be having Celtic Fest.  It used to be held in late summer and at the far south end of Grant Park, but this year they got it changed to May and will have it at Millennium Park, so it should get more attention.  The little bit of Scotch Irish ancestry in me likes that fest almost as much as the Italian ones, which aren’t held in the city now.

Today I did not do any writing, at least not yet.  I am taking a course on digital photography and our second class was this morning.  So far I have not learned anything new about using the camera but I am understanding more of it’s potential.  We have been assigned to take the same picture with all of the different scene settings on our camera to see what they do.  I have not seen a noticeable difference in what the camera shows, but I don’t know if it would look different if they were printed or viewed on a larger screen like the computer or TV.  We are going to find out how to do that next week.
After the photography class, I had time for lunch before our chorus rehearsal.  We are doing a geography theme for our upcoming concert,  with a wide variety of music from around the world and about locations around the world.  We have a wide variety of styles too, from opera to "oldies".  It would take a lot more practice for me to learn the songs we sing in other languages.  I try to follow the words but can’t read them and the notes at the same time and don’t know how to pronounce the words.  I do the best I can though and do sing the English lyrics well.
Since, as I said, I have not written today, other than my morning journal and this blog entry, I do not have anything else to report about my writing.  I will be typing my draft of the other story either tonight or tomorrow.  Then I will write about that, or if I got some new ideas. 

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 1:19 am
I did get my story in the mail after all, I forgot that I did that at the post office downtown before going to church Tuesday night.  Now, I have to wait until I hear back from the instructor to see what I am to work on next.  And about work, I had always heard that one of the advantages to having a work at home job was that one could work in their pajamas.  That is just what I did yesterday and it felt good.  I stayed in and in my pajamas all day.  The scene I had thought of, as a revision for the short story I mentioned in my last blog, became a complete draft.  The words were just flowing.  I even figured out a Dummy Sheet for it in case I get to use it for an upcoming ICL assignment.

Today I went to the journal writing group and tried to share with them yesterday’s blog entry, but I had not known how to get it to print.  I discovered, when I got there and began reading, that the ends of the sentences were cut off..  Tonight, I learned that I could not only copy it into Word, but was also able to enlarge the print as well, so I will have good copies to share next week. 
I took my poem to Brown Bag Poets.  I still did not get what I felt were good suggestions for a title.  That, and the spacing of the lines are causing me more of a problem than the writing of the poem.  It sounds weird, doesn’t it?  I am sure that I am not the only writer who has found this to be true though.  That’s all I have to share today.  It makes up for the long one I wrote yesterday.

April 28, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:44 pm
I went to the writing group and shared my latest poem with them.  I did not get any suggestions that I liked for a title, maybe Brown Bag Poets tomorrow will come up with some better ones.  After the writing meeting, I went to church.  We were to be studying a book, but the Holy Spirit had other plans.  I almost did not get there at all.  The buses I took were incredibly slow.  When I was almost there I waited for another bus for a trip of a distance I often walk, but did not feel like doing do this evening.  I kept criticizing myself for not having gone a different route, which would have been faster, and not walking, etc.  I had to tell myself that what was done could not be changed, so why was I getting all worked up over it.  I also reminded myself that I don’t believe in accidents and mistakes.  Whatever we do, or do not do, has a reason only God understands.  Anyway, our meeting was to start at 7:15 and I did not get there till 7:45 pm.

The group was not in the room we usually meet in and I found them in a small chapel.  There were several other people there who have not been coming to our group and I wondered what had brought them there.  Pastor was addressing one woman by name, assuring her of God’s love for her and that He will be with her as she undergoes an operation in the morning.  He called her to come to the front of the chapel and asked the rest of us to come and lay hands on her and pray while he anointed her with oil.  This is not a normal custom for us to practice and her family members, which had come with her were extremely emotional so I got the impressed the operation would be quite serious, probably a case of life or death.
After we prayed for her we left, so I was not there very long.  I asked the woman who drove me home about it and she said they had not expected that. Pastor had come to tell them this woman and her family were coming and he wanted them to pray for her.  I thought of how many of us almost did not make it. Several woman were not feeling well and were tempted to stay home and I told you how I almost did not get there.  I was even considering going back home, because I do not like to come in so late.  Obviously, Satan had been trying to keep us away, but the Holy Spirit made sure that we got there.  So, Satan lost the battle.
I did not write yesterday and did not mail my lesson because I left the house later than planned.  This morning, however, I awoke thinking about another short story I had used in previous ICL course work, which goes way back to a childhood story I made up.  I thought of a new scene to open it, and that will become my next picture book project.  I had thought, when I was sending it to publishers and getting rejections that it was not good.  But, recently I read that magazine editors will reject material that is more suitable for a picture book and that may be why they did not take mine, besides it needing revision.  Anyway, I am going to go to work on it now.  

April 27, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:50 pm
I broke my motto yesterday.  In the morning, I thought I would watch a DVD I had from the library.  I had already renewed it once,  It was due again and I still had not watched it.  After I did my blog though, I began to try to do a Dummy Sheet for the story I was submitting to my ICL instructor.  For those of you who do not know what a Dummy Sheet is, it is a sheet showing the pages that will be in a book and where the text and art will be on each page.  I could not find a shape on the built in program that fit what I needed to do and had trouble locating the way to draw it by hand.  Then, I could not get them the size I needed them.  I tried to trace the boxes from the sample sheet in our workbook.  That did not go well either.  

Then, I realized that even if I got that done, I would have to go back through the draft, find each section and figure how much space they would take on a page.  I knew I had broken the text up into sections for that purpose, but they were not numbered and I would have difficulty making sure I had each section and each page accounted for.  This was going to be a lot more work than it sounded like.  I decided not to do it.  The course manual said it was not necessary for a beginner.  So, I just put the two copies of the draft (one for them to keep in a file and one for the instructor to critique and send back to me so I can revise it) in an envelope ready to take to the post office to get proper postage and mail.
By the time I had finished this it was near 3 PM.  I decided that it was too late to go out and I renewed the DVD over the computer.  I have the draft with things to take with me when I go downtown today and will go to the post office and get it off before I go to the poetry group I meet with today.  I will be sharing with  them the poem I wrote yesterday, as I said and asking for title suggestions.

April 26, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:14 pm
I said I would write the entry this morning and I almost missed it again, at least missed getting it done in the morning.  Yesterday was a nice day.  It began with going to church where the Holy Spirit had Pastor preach on the same subject He has been teaching me about.  He was telling us we needed to be bold in our witnessing for Him.  I already shared about praying that and then talking to the man outside the library.  This morning, as I was journaling, I remembered something I had forgotten.  The conversation we had started to sound familiar.  I then realized that about four years ago I had a similar conversation with a Black man in the same location.  I would not have recognized him, but it may have been the same man.
At that time, our church was holding an outdoor revival and I invited this man to come.  He said he would and I looked for him, but I did not see him.  When were talking the other day, the man, (either the same one or another) brought up the parable of the sower and the soil and compared himself with the soil where the seed was planted and sprang up but was choked by the weeds of the world.  Now, he wants to let God fertilize and weed the soil.
After church, I went up to the north side of the city where the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators) Chicago chapter was holding a meeting with author Julia Durango.  Julia has written children’s picture books and most recently a couple of young adult novels.  She works as a children’s librarian full time and had two young boys when she was writing the picture books.  They are older and more independent now and one was the model for her character in her YA book.  She gave a very nice presentation on plot, a trial run for the SCBWI national conference, which asked her to present a workshop.
She was asked how she found time to write with her hectic life and she said that it kept her from procrastinating.  She knew when she got the time to write, she had to use it.  There is a saying that if you want to get something done give it to the person who is the busiest.  I used to use not having enough time as an excuse for not writing.  Now I am guilty of procrastinating when I have a lot of time, so I understand what she means.
That comment made me think, last night, about Use it or Lose It.  I asked myself what we lose if we don’t use it, time being one of them.  Health was another, and talents a third.  That made me think of the parable Jesus told of the man who gave talents (a sum of money) to his servants before he went on a trip.  They were to use it to make more money for him.  One was given 10, one 5 and another 1.  The first two doubled the amount they were given, but the one with 1 talent buried it and gave it back to the master with no profit,  The master was very displeased, took away what he had and gave it to the one with the most, I began to think of how this would be told today.
I ended up writing a poem, but with a different twist.  It is about managers of a business and how they use the funds they were given by the CEO.  No one is punished in the end, but the company fires employees, and loses some of their customers..  I think it came out well.  I don’t have a good title yet and will let my writing group suggest some tomorrow, when I share it with them. 

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 12:18 am
Oops, I missed a day again.  It was a busy one.  I went downtown early for Poetry Fest, which began at 10:30 AM.  I went to a workshop on writing poetry and how to know when a poem is finished.  After that, I went to listen to the keynote speaker. I caught the end of a presentation by Rhino Magazine, and then at 2:00 PM the Poetry Cram started.  I was one of the readers for it and I had a small fan club.  Two people from my poetry group, two people from our chorus and my Aunt all came.  They all liked what I read.  The Cram will be on WBEZ’s Chicago Amplified podcast.  The coordinator of the Poetry Cram will let us know when it will be available for listening and I will post that here, so any of you who read this can hear me read my poem.

I was surprised that all of the women stayed for the entire Cram and did not leave as soon as they heard me in the first hour, but they were enjoying the poets and their poetry.  The highlight for me was when a young man, who had been a gang member shared a poem addressed to God, confessing his sins and asking for God to forgive him and help him live a good life and to protect him.  He was crying as he read it and had many of the audience crying too  That was followed by a poem from someone who works with youth that have these kinds of problems telling us to look into their eyes and help them because they are victims.  I don’t know if it was planned that way, or if it was something that the Holy Spirit directed, but it was very emotionally moving. 
.After the Poetry Cram, which lasted till 4:15, my aunt, myself and one of the ladies from our chorus went to get something to eat. They had a good time sharing with each other about their husband’s wartime experiences, one in World War II and one in Viet Nam, even though they themselves are only a couple of years apart in age.  Both of them are widows now.
When I got home, I did spend some time online, but I forgot about doing the blog.  I was checking out e-mails I had on and commenting on some work.  I also spent a lot of time in Word trying to get my draft of my pigeon story broken down into where I think the pages should be, so I can get it sent in to the ICL instructor.  That’s Institute of Children’s Literature again, in case you did not remember, or are by chance reading this entry of my blog for the first time and have not read the previous days’ writings.  By then I was tired.  I believe I played one game of Scrabble online and then went to bed.  I’ll save today’s events for tomorrow’s blog, which I will do in the morning. 

April 24, 2010

I’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 12:39 am
Yesterday I did not do much.  I missed the two writing groups I usually take part in because I was spending time on e-mails and I had not written anything I wanted to share with them yet.  I did have some interesting ideas as I wrote my personal journal, though.  In the evening, at a book store in Hyde Park, the local chapter of SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, of which I am a member, was hosting an event with the founder of namelos, Stephen Roxburgh.

Mr Roxburgh described his background as an editor and publisher and how he came to found the company which provides editorial services for authors and assists those who are able to work with him to get published.  He told us how since the publishing industry has been taken over by six large International companies it has become harder for authors to get published, which is why there is such an increase in the self-publish, print on demand business.  As he said, editors working for the large publishers do not have the time, are not trained to, and do not edit work that comes into the publishing house, as they did in the past.  They are paid to find the best work that will make the most income for the publisher; so, even good work does not make it through the selection process and work which would have a limited audience is rejected.
Mr. Roxburgh and his employees edit, (for a fee), work that is submitted to them and will either publish it themselves or suggest markets where the author can be most likely be published and promote the work.  They will publish work the way the author wants it done, including e-books, which as he explained is revolutionizing the publishing field and will be more acceptable for future generations of readers.  His presentation was informative and useful and I am sure that many of those in the SCBWI will become clients of his  If I was not in the writing course now, I would want to submit my work to him.

April 22, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:51 pm
Since this is meant to encourage people, especially myself, to follow dreams of writing which had long been ignored, I think I should start with this article in the Guardian newspaper from the UK.  The article was printed on April 15.  The headline reads "Little-known 90-year-old wins $100,000.00 poetry award."

Eleanor Ross Taylor, born in North Carolina in 1920 just won the American Foundation’s $100,000.00 Ruth Lilly award, equivalent to the lifetime achievement award given to actors.  She won many prizes for the six books she wrote over 50 years, but her books are out of print now, so she is not known to many of us.
That was a real encouragement to me.  As I say, "It’s Never Too Late!"  I am expecting to live to be at least 100 years old, because I have asked God for that and He said He will give us the desires of our hearts.  I also believe that I will receive recognition as an important writer in my lifetime.  I may see Jesus return.  Ever since I was a child I heard preachers saying that my generation may be the ones who will see Him return.  Then it sounded pretty unlikely, but as the world changes so rapidly now, the things I could not imagine have come true, and I got a very distinct message this morning in my devotional that it is true.  
I used to think about that possibility, when I heard the evangelists talk about it.  Then I was afraid that if that was true, I would not be ready.  I pictured myself trying to hide, as Revelations says people will do, because I would be ashamed that I had not done what He asked.  I would not want to face Him.  Today, however, I have no such fear.  I know I would excitedly welcome Him.  I thought of how Simeon and Anna, two elderly people mentioned in the New Testament prayed that they would not die until they saw the Messiah, and they were alive when Jesus was born and brought to the temple to be dedicated.
I don’t remember ever praying to be alive when He returns, but I did pray to live to be 100 and I was thinking about being alive when He returns, so I think God was even then telling me I will be.  
So, now, like Simeon and Anna waited and expected to see Jesus, I am waiting and expect to see Him return.  What could be more exciting that that, just thinking about it gives me joy!  It is better than waiting for Christmas as a child.

April 21, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 1:23 pm
I thought there was another financial seminar I wanted to attend at the main library, but I had my days mixed up.  It is today.  I did decide that I needed to get to work on my story for my lesson and I checked out the instructions for submitting it.  I did not do much editing, only a few words.  

In the evening there was a Bible study at church, which is more of a Christian book study than an actual Bible study, but we are reading a book called Enough, (I don’t have it here to mention the name of the author).  It talks about Americans suffering from two serious sins "affluenza"  and "credit-iitis".  The focus of the book is to remind us that if God, through His Holy Spirit, is in our lives that is all that we need to have a happy, successful life, and he (the author) will give us advice to help us overcome the temptation to put things in God’s place.  Pastor has given us homework to memorize Bible verses which are in the book and to think about the questions the author raises at the end of the chapters so we can discuss them next week.
When I got home, I was keyed up, as I thought I would be, and I began to retype the draft of my book in the format that the course wants us to use.  I also put a couple of my poems on  One had just been rejected by Poetry Magazine.  I played around on the computer program in the site to try to get one of the poems to look the way I wanted, and it was pretty confusing and frustrating, but I did get it looking better, centered but with some words directly under each other because the first letters form a word going down.  I forget the name of that kind of poem, but they are fun to write.
Today is the financial seminar I thought was yesterday, so I will be going downtown a little later.  This one is supposed to explain how we can cut our mortgage and credit card bills and get out of debt for $1.00.  I know this is one of those debt reduction services where they get the banks to lower the interest rate and the payment is set at a specified amount which is paid to the company, usually, who then pays the creditors.  If there is one that charges only $1.00 for that service, I want to find out who it is and see if it is the one the financial advisor e-mailed me about Monday.

April 20, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:46 pm
Yesterday I went to the library downtown to hear Terry Savage speak and I talked briefly to a financial advisor after her talk ended.  She gave me some good information, and confirmed to me something I had been thinking of doing.

I was not sure about staying because the focus was to help people plan for their retirement and it is too late for me to do that because I am already retired.  My problem is how do I eliminate the credit card debts I accumulated while I was unemployed without taking all of the money I have out of my bank accounts.  Once I can get rid of these charges I will have sufficient money to keep myself comfortable.
When I got home from the seminar and using the Internet at the library, I did, however, do my personal journal before I went to sleep,  I was disconnected from the Internet because I had used up the time allowed for my monthly service fee and I had an overdue bill, I think.  I had to pay the bill and call AT&T to get the service reconnected this morning.  It is so annoying the way they cut the service while I was using it with no warning.  This morning the person I spoke with to restore the service was very nice, apologized for the inconvenience I was caused and is crediting my account with $25.00.
Now, I am on my way downtown for another financial seminar and tonight there is a Bible study at church.  That may get me worked up enough to stay up late, or early, writing.  I will let you know tomorrow.
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