Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Mistaken Identity"

By Cynde L. Hammond


He saw me from afar
Then he yelled, "Hey, wait for me!"
He hoped that when I turned
My sister's face he'd see.

When he had seen my face
He had thought she looked too thin.
He took a second look
And saw I was her twin!

He certainly was shocked,
Had he known my sister well?
Not well enough, it seems-
It upset him, I could tell!

He said, "You're so alike
I'd like to sneak some kisses,
If word EVER got back,
I'd catch 'it' from the Mrs.!"

I did something that was very scary, as far as I was concerned: I entered my very first poetry writing contest! It was a contest at the Helium website and the category was entitled “Mistaken Identity.” Guess what! I WAS IN THE TOP 5! I ranked #5 out of 83! Not bad, huh? My husband was so proud of me, and that made me feel great!

The first thing I thought of when I saw that title was my life-long problem of having people mistake me for Sande, simply because we’re twins. It’s a natural mistake. It still happens, in fact. However, sometimes it is so annoying because people think you’re lying! There are those that don’t know that one or the other of us have a twin; then there are those that think we’re fooling with them; and nine times out of ten, when they don’t believe it, it’s when one of us is in a colossal hurry and we don’t have time to explain, so we’re left with being accused of being terribly rude! It’s so unfair.

Once, I had the clever idea of trying to head one lady off at the pass, but it failed miserably! I recognized “the look,” so I just agreed with everything she said, then to my horror, she burst into tears.

“You’re trying to get rid of me, aren’t you, Sande?” she said, choking back her tears. “Well, it’s fine by me!” Then she stormed off down the street before I could even determine who she might be.

When I moved back home to New York State, after living in Texas and Virginia collectively for a little over ten years, I ran into a friend that I used to work with at the Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York.

“Hello, Carlos!” I said, extending my hand to shake his. “How nice to see you. How have you been?”

“Huh, so now you decide you want to talk,” he snarled. “Well, maybe I just don’t have the time for you.” He turned, and then briskly started walking away.

I was totally blindsided. Not quite sure how I should react, I went with my instincts and ran after him. He had been a very good friend to me once, after all, and I felt I owed it to him to at least make an effort to see what had happened to make him act that way.

“Carlos, wait!” I yelled. Thankfully, he stopped and waited for me until I could catch up to him. “What’s going on?” I asked, innocently. “What have I done?”

“I used to think we were friends. Good friends,” he said, the strong emotion clearly audible in his deep voice. “Not any more, though. Not after what you did to me a couple years ago.”

I had been away from home for over ten years, with only one or two short trips home per year, and I knew I hadn’t run in to him, so the picture was beginning to become a little bit clearer.

“When was this?”

“Don’t pretend you don’t know!” he answered angrily. “It was two years ago, at the Train Show in Syracuse.”

“Do you happen to remember who I was with?”

“What does it matter?” he asked, annoyed.

“Please, Carlos,” I said. “You’ll understand why in a minute.”

“It was some guy with dark hair and a mustache.” he answered. “And he had a long ponytail.”

I had to laugh. While I felt so terrible that Carlos’ feelings had been hurt, I couldn’t believe that this had happened to me again! I didn’t understand why Sande couldn’t take that extra minute and explain to people that she had a twin that moved out of town, but she didn’t—she just let think that I was rude!

“What’s so darn funny?” he growled.

“I pulled out my wallet, and flipped it open to Sande’s and my senior high school portrait where the two of us were sitting on a special platform, flanking each other, and I was above her. We were dressed in identical navy blue dresses with white leather collars and cuffs. Then I flipped the page to Sande’s wedding photo where she was standing with a guy with dark hair and a mustache, and then once more to a more recent photo of Sande, where she was still with the same guy, but he had added a ponytail.

Carlos was stunned. He grabbed my wallet and looked at each photo closer, then he looked at me and smiled. He returned my wallet and reached for me with both arms and we hugged each other for a long time. “Friends?” he asked.

“You know it!” I replied.

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.


Please visit my other blogs:
Cynde's Daybook ~and~ Usurper Exposed. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My First Follower!

Imagine my surprise when I signed on this morning, and discovered that I actually had my very first follower for this blog. I was delighted! Especially when I found out that it was Carma Dutra of the wonderful blog, Carma's Window.

What I meant by a "follower" is someone who has signed up to "follow" my blog, which just means that they like my blog enough to want to come back every once in a while and see what's going on. This way, if you "follow" it, you never have to worry about losing track of me, because it will always be listing on the back of your own blog, on the dashboard--it's like filing it for you. Hey--look to the right of this column and you will see a block entitled, "Followers." Beneath that it says 'Followers' again, with little squares that look like tiny portraits of people under it. Those are the people that "follow" this blog. All you have to do is sign in or click on "Follow" and follow the simple's as easy as that...and I sure would appreciate it! Now back to what I was saying...

Carma's Window is a wonderful blog filled with loads of information about writing for children and young adults, which is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

Carma blog has book reviews; offers a newsletter and a free ebook; contains links to other helpful sites; has book excerpts; and contains many useful tips that will help you hone your craft of story writing. It's a wonderful blog and you really should check it out!

Another blogger that you shouldn't miss is: Debbie of Ms Sparky's Mishaps & Misadventures . This is an extremely important blog site because it deals with things that are going on in Iraq that you might not otherwise hear about. Debbie has the inside track on subjects such as: Burning Toxic Waste Makes US Soldiers Sick, But The Pentagon Refuses To Admit It ~and~ KBR And Their Third Country National Slaves (i.e. slave labor of unqualified workers from countries other than the U.S. whose poor and unsupervised work is responsible for the unnecessary electrocutions and other deaths of U. S. military); plus other stories of this magnitude. You owe it to yourself not to miss this one. It is actually riveting and electrifying (pardon the pun) at times. I promise you that you'll never be bored if you check in with this blog; it's great!

Before I go, I feel that I must draw attention to at least one more of the bloggers that I'm following and this one has a blog that's a real "mouth full." It's Morgan Mandel's Double M's take on books, blogs, dogs, networking & life. Like the title proclaims, this blog has a little of everything in it, and it is so much fun! It's filled with the unexpected, as she interviews authors, visits Pet Expos, and fills our heads with lots of information on how to improve our writing skills. In addition, the other blog of hers that I follow is called: BLOGS THAT RULE - BEST OF BLOGS . This blog contains exactly what it says and more: hot blogs that you don't want to miss. It's an alphabetical listing of blogs that are updated frequently. It's almost like a glorified "Blog List," but even better. I think you'll really enjoy it!

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.


Please visit my other blogs:
Cynde's Daybook ~and~ Usurper Exposed. Thank you.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Great Friends, Great Advice!

As a writer, one of the best assets that you have in your writing arsenal is your group of writing friends. I can't begin to explain to you the comfort that it gives me to know that there are people out there that understand and sympathize with what I am going through. Your family members may love you, but they don't really know what you're talking about (with the exception of my husband, of course!) when you try to explain about plot twists, writer's block, prologues, query letters, and all the myriad phrases that mean something to us in the writing world, but are nothing but words and meaningless phrases to them.

Throughout my cyber-travels, I have met several friends that I have come to know quite well through emails, reading their blogs, and a choice few I have even written snail mail to and called on the telephone. The friends that I have made, I believe, will be lifelong friends.

Some of those friends' blogs I have favorited and their blogs are listed in "My Blog List," which is to the right of this column. One such friend is Jean Henry Mead. She has several incredible blogs that I follow, such as: The Logan & Cafferty Mystery/Suspense Series; A Western Historical Happening; Make Mine Mystery; Mysterious People; and finally, a Monday through Saturday blog that she co-hosts, (she's responsible for Fridays) called: Murderous Musings.

Each of these blogs is a jewel in it's own right, and you really ought to take the time to visit them. I visit them for several different reasons. First, and in no particular order, there's the fun factor. I enjoy the stories, the guests and most of all, Jean's writing. Next, I glean a lot of valuable, useful information from her blogs. There is a wealth of information in them, and I bet you will find the same in your friend's blogs, too, if you start following them. Last, but not least, I do it because she's my friend and I want to support her. She is a wonderful writer and an amazing friend--everyone should have a friend like Jean. She's one in a million!

I have favorited some other authors whose blogs I thought were exceptional, so I have started following them as well. One in particular in Rob Parnell. His blog, The Easy Way To Write, is full of great information, useful links, you can sign up for his newsletter and...I have even signed up for some of his free writing courses that I can take at my own pace. I'll have to let you know how that goes, since I still have to finish my course at The Institute Of Children's Literature (ICL).

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.

Please visit my other blogs. They are:
Cynde's Daybook ~and~ Usurper Exposed

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm Not Sure Which Way I Should Go!

I can not begin to tell you how many times I have heard people say that they don't know which way to turn or they're not sure which way to go.

When I'm at that point in my story-writing, and I'm quite not sure which way I should go, I usually just go both ways, and then I pick the best of the two when I am finished.

Quite often, by doing so, it changes the entire course of your story. Sometimes it can even give you an idea for a brand new story besides the one that you were currently working on. The most important thing to remember is that you need to keep your mind open to new ideas and new ways of doing things at all times. Keep your avenues wide open!

"A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood."Chinese Proverb

While I've been working on my very first book, my mind has been open and overflowing with fresh, new ideas. In fact, I have so many ideas swirling around in my head, I can't seem to keep my mind quiet enough so that I can concentrate on my book!

There was a time when I would have killed for a decent story idea, and now I have plenty of them. I have had to work on a couple of short story ideas that have been nagging at me--the kind of ideas that won't let you rest until you put them on paper. I do love it, though. My mind is smiling!

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Is Your Reason For Wanting To Write?

I have been asked many times why I wanted to write, and my answer to that question was always the same:

"Because I love to!"

Ever since I was a little girl, I have written stories, skits, and plays, and sometimes I just kept them to myself. The joy was in the writing, not the sharing. I watched my brother, John, who was eight years older than myself, doing much these same things, but he was actually writing and illustrating real stories, and he would show his stories to the family and his friends at school, to rave review. I looked up to him and decided that I wanted to become what he was going to become: a writer. Neither of our plans worked out quite the way we had planned.

All the sudden, my life was put on hold. My sister, Carol, then age 16, had to have major back surgery for scoliosis. Back in those days, that kind of surgery was very much cutting-edge and experimental. She would later have to have her back re-broken and corrective surgery would have to be done to fix an error in procedure that they had not anticipated when they initially performed the first surgery. Poor Carol--and I truly mean that! Sande, my twin sister, and I were recruited as her nurses for the duration and we helped Mom while Carol attended school via intercom, as she lie in a special hospital bed, in a full-body cast for almost an entire year. That's when I stopped writing. At age 12, I didn't have the time or the energy to write. Don't get me wrong: we may have been cooped up, helping out, but we loved it!

Our Dad had called a family meeting before the surgery and talked to all of us (John was in the Army by then). He explained that we needed to pull together as a family, and work together, plus he said that he needed us! Those magic words: "he needed us!" We jumped at the chance to show him we could be good helpers--and we were!

I'm ashamed to say that I let that detour take me pretty much off the path of my "dream to write" for over forty years! I kept trying to get back to it, but "life" kept getting in the way. Don't let that happen to you! I have regretted it for years. It's like wasting years of your life, when you could have been about the business of working on your "dream!"

If you are serious about writing, then stick to your guns! Faithfully set aside time every day for your writing; read what you can to help you learn more about your craft; find a quiet place in your home to call your own, where you can write without distraction; and make a commitment to you dream. It won't be easy and it's not going to be all fortune and fame--it's going to be hard work, but it will be worth it!

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Write, Write, Write!

In order to accomplish your goal of becoming a writer, it's going to take a fair amount of commitment on your part. What that means in practical terms is that you're going to have to try to write something just about every day. You could start with a bite-size goal, such as writing a small description of each of the rooms in your apartment or house until you have completed describing each of the main rooms in your home. You could keep the descriptions in a folder for later use in one of your stories, if you want. Everything that you write in your life is useful at one time or another; it all goes toward making you become a better writer and is never wasted.

Next, you could take one of those rooms you have described and possibly describe something happening in it. Maybe the description will have inspired you, and you may have even thought of a short story or it could even be just a few short paragraphs. The point is that you need to be consistently writing, day after day, for several days in a row, so that you are keeping your commitment to yourself and others to become a writer. Do you see my point? Once the writing becomes a habit, you'll start looking forward to it, and it will actually become such an engrained part of your life, that it will be more difficult for you not to write than it would be to write. You will actually feel weird if you don't write, and that's what we're hoping for, because then, it'll be a full-fledged habit.

I know that the business of "life" tends to get in the way of our day-to-day existence, but we do owe it to ourselves to keep this commitment if we're ever going to become the writers that we want to become. I don't know about you, but I love writing and I need to write down these multiple stories that I have floating around in my head. Furthermore, it's fun writing and if I can actually make a living at it some day, I'll be the happiest girl on the planet.

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Read, Read, Read!

I have come to the conclusion, after taking specific advice from several renowned and well thought-of writers, that in order to become a good writer yourself, you first must become devoted to the task of committing to read, read, read!

Within the Blogger community, I have found many published authors and aspiring writers that have "blogs" (please refer to my "Blog List," below - right and my "Complete Profile" for list of blogs that I follow) that are filled with excellent advice, guidance, stories, and just about anything in the line of writing, editing or even publishing information that a writer could ask for. All that information is free for the taking, and the only commitment they ask of you is that you glean by reading, then spread the word. In fact, that's all that any writer asks of a reader, except that maybe we purchase a book a two in the process, so they can continue to making us happy while they make a living doing what they love?

From what I have seen, I would have to say that writers are among the most giving of all the professions. Instead of charging for every little course that they write, many of them offer their courses free in their blogs and newsletters. They also explain to their fellow writers how to perfect their craft, knowing full well that this is a competitive market. I'm proud to be a part of this profession.

Now, I must get back to the business at hand. If I ever plan to attain my dream of becoming a published author, then I need to read, read, read!

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all!