Saturday, July 30, 2016

Reflections of a Summer

I can’t help but look back through some memories, my mind was not on my agenda over summer break.  Realizing this, I think I have accomplished much more than I had originally thought or planned, and it’s a good thing too!

Can you remember back to how I met Danika?  It was in our accidental meeting in the dorm hallway, as she tried to repeat an old recipe from her grandmother that we became friends.  I will never forget her look of disappointment over a pie.

Danika has an outgoing type of personality.  Someone who is always fun to be around.  Becoming friends at the beginning of summer started all this for me.  She has led me to do things I would never have ventured out to do, ever.

We have shared coffee, conversations in the late hours.  I even shared my writings;  I left myself open to be vulnerable and allowed for criticism.  All I have received from her has been encouragement and nudges forward in the right direction.  

I appreciate the friendship, I have enjoyed her honesty and frankness.  She doesn't hold back either, if she thinks I may have worded something incorrectly, she tells me.

She has been the greatest of help to me this summer, not only help for me as an individual but as a writer;  she has peeled back layers for me to show I need to look deeper.  

Danika was the one who pushed me forward to interview the guys.  She showed me I needed to do more research and then helped me get the interviews and even helped me do some of the research work.

Danika allowed me to be in her life.  We have continued to hang out with each other, even with a million other things we both needed to do.

I had not envisioned this summer turning out as it did and that my readers is truly a great thing!



The chapters are being written….slowly but surely!  I am getting excited, as I can see it coming together nicely!!

Friday, July 22, 2016

1st. Person vs. 3rd. Person Points of View

So I have been going back and forth as I am writing my book, deciding whether to write in 1st person or 3rd person.

The battle in my mind is raging on…..What to do?  What to do?

I had the brilliant idea to Google the subject and see if it returned to me some wisdom.  No such luck.  Just the basic response of which personal pronouns to use, seriously?

So as I was digging deeper into my found research, I find a summary article on how 1st person is considered more for novice writers compared to the more accomplished writers seeming to place themselves in the 3rd person perspective.

I believe writing in 1st person works best for me.  When I am writing, I can hear my voice as I take pen to paper.  Do you do this when you write?  My assumption would be, Yes!

One of the articles I read suggested I should write my book in both points of view, and I had considered this briefly when writing my first few paragraphs of my book.  But it just doesn’t seem to fit me and my writing style at least for now, anyway.

So I think I will continue to write in 1st person and continue with some more research.  I have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.  I have some more reflections to look back on from this summer and my research that I have completed changed my perspective somewhat, and I thought I would share these thoughts of mine next week.  

Happy writings to you my dear readers!  School is coming upon us quickly!
There is much still to do!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Tutoring With Brian

So I decided to take up the offer to “see” how this baseball player on the field would handle tutoring a bunch of children at the recreational center.  I had asked Danika if she could call him for me.  I didn’t want just to call him; I tend to get nervous when talking, but especially to people I don’t know very well. It was nothing for Danika to pick up her cell phone and call him.  He was willing to meet me at the rec. center, as he called it. Well, that made me feel a little more at ease.  I mean, you know, I just met him, and I am still pretty shy.

My stomach was in knots by the time I got to the door of the rec. center at around 9 a.m.  He must have seen me through the glass windows because as soon as I reached for the door, he opened it.

Brian was rather good looking.  He was pretty tall too.  I had to look up to him to see his face.  Well, I have to look up to most people, being that I am only 5’ 2”.  But he is taller than normal. I would be guessing here, but maybe 6’3” to 6’4.”

“Hi Lily,  I am glad you decided to come and meet me today,” he said with a big smile.
I told him, “I do appreciate the fact you were willing to help me do some research for my book.”

The center was pretty loud with all kinds of kids, and all different ages. It opened up to a reception area where Brian explained parents would sign their children in and out each day on the counter; this is where I was able to sign in as a visitor and get my sticker. He asks if I would like a tour and I tell him sure.  We head over to the double doors that are now facing us, and as we step through them, you can see some of the children were playing basketball, other kids were sitting on the bleachers watching them.  A few of them were hanging out on the sidelines, well, that is what he called them. It’s a nice gym, air-conditioned and looked newly painted too.  Brain waves to a couple of the kids who yell out his name, as they wave back. We turn back around and head out through the double doors again and start walking to the back door.  This is where the outdoor games areas are, he explains some of the other younger children like to go out in the morning and usually play with some of the other rec center employees.  They can supervise and play different outdoor games; it occupies them for awhile.

Brian has some fans here, as well. Some more kids ask Brian to play a game, but he declines and tells them he has to go to the computer room to help some of the other children right now, and that he would be back in a little while.

We come back into the air-conditioned building, and he says we are going to go to the computer room, this is where some kids are already working on some assignments. So we walk down a long hallway and along the walls are pictures of some of the kids and a beautiful display of some art they must have worked on recently. He opens the door for me again.  He is a gentleman.  He thanks the girl for watching the class for a few minutes while he was giving me a tour of the facility.  She smiles and offers her hand to introduce herself.  She says no problem to Brian.

As soon as we are through the door, one of the boys has walked over to Brian asking for help with his paper.  He smiles back at the kid and introduces him to me.  The boy smiles and says hello.  Brian tells him how I am writing a book over summer break, and I am here to do some research for it.
“Cool,”  I laugh and smile as Brian asks the boy
“What are you working on?”
“Well, I am trying to write this book report I have.”

Brian explains that he works here three days a week as a volunteer.  He usually attempts to come an extra day if his baseball and school schedules allow it.  Sometimes it is difficult, as he explains with training and summer camp, it makes it hard.  I can tell he likes these kids, and they like him.

We spend the rest of the hour with the kids as Brian goes from computer to computer to help each child with their questions.  I admire him for the dedication. Once again Danika was right.  These players are much more than I had given them credit.  I thanked Brian for the “research help” and I tell the children I would love to come back again sometime.  And they said,
Brian tells me you’re welcome and wishes me luck.  He hopes to see me again sometime.  I say thanks, and that I appreciated his help so much.  This did help me a lot.

I have tutored at our school, in the library, before, but this was a new experience for me. Tutoring is much more than just a helping hand for some homework assignments for kids who needed extra help with their curriculum.  These kids have a bond with Brian, and you can see the feeling was mutual.

I think I like to do research...Do you?


Friday, July 8, 2016

The 4th, The BBQ, and The People Watching

Danika and I were able to both go to Mike’s house to have a BBQ on Saturday for the 4th of July.  He knows a lot of people which was great because it gave me quite a bit of material to work with for my research.  I don’t know about you, but I am a people watcher when I don’t have my head buried in a book, or I am not thinking and writing about my book.

Since I don’t go to parties very often, if ever; I brought along my notebook and pen figuring this was a perfect opportunity to do some “research.”

I was getting a drink when one of the girls came over from another table nearby and asked what I was doing with a notebook. So I told her I was just writing down some notes for a book I was working on over summer break.  She thought that was a great idea, and I told her I don’t get out that much with school and work, and she said she felt the same way.  She was invited by a friend to come and hang out too.  Good.  Something we both have in common, I thought.

So we started talking about how we both are “people watchers” unless I am thinking about my story of course.  She seemed kind and someone I could easily talk to (not like I am normally, where I feel I have to say something or it becomes an awkwardly silent, forced conversation).  

I could see Danika amongst a group of hungry looking people around the grill.  Talking and laughing, while we sat quietly watching them.  It was "small talk" between this new girl and me; she was going on her second year to at the university.  She also had been working part-time at one of the stores in town.  She wasn’t dating anyone either.

She gave me some names of the other players on the team who couldn’t go to the lunch last week.  Some more interviews, possibly?  I had told her about the lunch and my interview with them.

Danika waived me over, and I excused myself and joined her by the grill and got introduced to some more people. 

I say hello. I think I can remember a couple of their names? I can’t exactly take notes right now, can I?  It will have to wait until later tonight.

I watch as some people are swimming, some are dancing to the music.  People are laughing and having a great time.  To think I have been missing out on this?  It isn’t like what I thought at all.  I am glad I met Danika; it helps that she is the exact opposite of me.  In just a short amount of time, we have become friends.  I have met some new people; I have been able to start writing my book this summer, and I think I am finally able to have some fun and just relax a little bit, and it’s a point! I couldn’t do this all day like my character, James, could. But it’s nice right now, observing people as if I wasn’t there, just watching them from a distance.  How they act or move.  The way a person smiles.  How they dress, the way they dance.  The girls who won’t go swimming because they don’t want to mess up their hair or makeup, lol.  

Just going up to someone and asking them questions isn’t normally something I would do, but after Danika suggested it last week by giving me the idea to interview the players and doing some research for my story, I think I kind of I like it.  It takes me into a new way of writing I hadn’t thought of before.  Although I have seen other authors do this; it is new to me, though.

I guess if you are going to be an author, you also have to learn how to ask the right questions and speak to the right people.  

Well, I am about done with my outline for my book.  I think I have enough material to redo the beginning chapters correctly. Next week I have been invited by one of the players I interviewed to observe him in some tutoring he does for a rec center with some local kids.  I finally chose to go, and now I can hardly wait; I have to see this!

Until next week my dear readers.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Refraction Research (Part 2)

I was able to have lunch with friends of Danika’s after the game last week.  It didn't take long for Danika to get down to business, as we were still waiting to be seated when she dived into the conversation about how I was writing a book about some sports players and needed help.  She asked if it was alright if I asked them some questions, and they didn’t mind for me to interview a few of them while we ate lunch.  I just wanted to ask them a couple of things about them and the game they were playing.  A few of the guys said: “Yeah, sure they wouldn’t mind an interview.”  “Of course, lol.”

The hostess came over and seated us at a couple of tables, which all set right next to each other, but the guys just pushed the tables closer anyway, so we could all sit together at one long table.  The waitress comes right over and hand us our menus and asked what we would like to drink.  I went to sit down, and the two guys, who said they wouldn’t mind me interviewing them, sat on either side of me.  So I grabbed my pen and paper from out of my purse and began to ask them some questions.

I wanted to know what made this ‘game’ their choice of sport? (Can’t give away what sport the book is about yet.)

Subject A:  “I’ve been playing since I was nine years old.  My dad and I watched every game together, and when the little league tryouts came around the first year I could join, dad and I made it our sole goal for me to play baseball.  I worked hard to make it in on that first team, but once I made it, I fell in love with playing the game.”

Subject B: “I didn’t play sports when I was younger. I did like to run, though, which I guess means I was bound to have someone during my freshman year here ask me to try out.  Yeah, Mike over there thought I would be good at it since we ran every morning together.  He thought I might like it since part of the training was running.  I like to workout, and the running gave me some conditioning and endurance.  I mean, I liked other sports and watched a lot of sports on TV, but it wasn’t until my freshman year here that I decided to try out, but I made the team so...  I was surprised, especially since I had never played before. Yeah, but Mike taught me a lot about what I was doing wrong, and we practiced hard all year.  I’m not going to lie; that first year wasn’t great, but I learned a lot with the coaches and the guys helping me out.”

Subject A:  “We spend a good amount of time together, on and off the field.  We’d help each other out whenever possible; we’re like an extended family.  When something isn’t going right in the game, or we have problems with school, or our girlfriends, or home, we rely on each other." 

(At this point, Subject A turned way from me, to address the rest of his team.) "Like the time, David’s Dad was wicked sick. You guys remember that? A bunch of us guys got together and helped to cut their lawn and clean their garage to sell some things at a garage sale for the family to be able to pay some bills. Remember that?" (The team nodded as they all looked off in space as if to keep in mind that time for themselves.)

(Subject A, turned back to address me.) "There wasn’t a lot we could do, but we pulled together, after all, we had to do something.  We couldn’t let David and his dad go through that alone.  If one of us is off on our game, we try and help them out.  I know they got my back just like I got theirs.”

Subject B:  “We love the game!  For some of us, it’s why we even have a chance to go to college.  There are scholarships for us, so that helps with tuition, books, and fees.  Some of us have jobs, and others have a family, they need to care for.  I want to play the game so someday maybe I will be able to be a coach...  Hey! You know Lily, actually, next week I will be doing some tutoring. Yeah, I help out at this rec center.  Would you like to go?  You could see some of what I do off the field and stuff. It's a chance to do some more research." 

The interviewing stopped here, as the other players started joking about how sly that last guy was in trying to ask me out on a date. That made me a little uncomfortable; I have never been on a date. I guess the guys picked up on this because they all stopped laughing, and began apologizing, saying they were just picking on the other guy. Later on, Danika said she would go with me to the rec center so I wouldn't feel uncomfortable. So, I don’t know; we’ll see if I go or not.

As I sat there amazed the time had gone by so fast, I realized that by asking them a few simple questions (at Danika's suggestion for me to do some research) that she was spot on, and absolutely correct: my opinion of these guys was a skewed one.  I watched them laugh together.  They were being loud, joking around, and having a real time, some friends just having lunch together, enjoying the fact they had won their game!

As we finished up and said our goodbyes, I thanked the two guys who allowed me to interview them. They told me I could ask them questions, anytime.  They couldn't wait to read my “book.”

I am going to have to do some more research.  I will have to make a list of what I think my readers would like to know about the players and the game.

I am glad I had my notebook and pen in my purse; something writers should always have with them in case they have an idea for a story.  I always try and be prepared and have a notebook and pen with me, especially lately, because I keep coming up with ideas or questions and at least I can write it down and go back to it later.  I don’t want to forget something that might be important later.

I am glad I have the summer to be able to write; it looks like I am going to need it!