Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let it Rain. Let it Rain. (And Please Let it Stop.)

More rain. We have had enough. It is muggy and hot again. I’m grateful it was not so last week, but the weekend rains were so heavy that we surely did not need more today.

I have been running around. Sunday afternoon I rode to Sikeston, Missouri, with my friend Roger Poppen, who had invited me to go to Heartland Writers Guild to share my blogging experiences. We met in front of the Cobden museum and drove down narrow leafy-lined Mountain Glen Road to Route 146 and it was so beautiful. I always thrill when I see the Mississippi River, and now the new Cape bridge is an extra visual treat. It was fun talking to the writers at the lovely meeting room at the Episcopal Church with walls covered with a fine collection of textured Biblical murals made by someone or some group. (I could just imagine a group sitting around a table creating these.) The writers there had been encouraged at a workshop to start blogging and wanted to know more about it.

Most promotion experts suggest blogging as a way to sell more books, and I had to confess that I doubt if I have sold any books because of blogging. But I gave them these reasons that I like to blog:
(1) I enjoy writing, so blogging is one more outlet for fun for me. I used to tell students the way to becoming a good writer was to read, read, read, and write, write, write. Blogging provides that important writing practice.
(2) I like for people to read what I write. Blogging provides instant publication. No rejection slips! I love it when I am out and about and people tell me that they read my blog. (Of course, you can blog and keep it a private journal, but I like to share my life because I enjoy reading about others’ lives.) I especially like it when people comment on the blogs. [Hint. Hint.]
(3) I like to interact with other people. So I can sit at my desk at the farm and still have an online friend in Ireland who tells about walking with her dogs in the bog by the sea, one in Brazil who tells about her teaching and translating work there, and in California one who writes about the shootings and the sadness in the ‘hood she is acquainted with. And many more lives that make mine richer.

Of course, I had to be honest and admit that blogging and microblogging on Facebook, Twitter, etc. is an enormous time waster that may be keeping me from getting more important writing done. (I must get an article done for next year’s Southern Illinois Writers Guild anthology if I meet the August 1 deadline.)

It had rained so hard over on the Illinois side of the Mississippi that when Roger and I returned through Mountain Glen Road, gravel and some big rocks had washed down the hillside and onto the road. I had planned to cut through the country to drive back to Woodsong, but I decided I better stick to the highway and go back to Carbondale the way I had come.

Then last night I had dinner at B.J.’s in DuQuoin with the Perry County Historical Society. Lance Feik had invited me to come up and speak to them about the Priscilla on the Trail of Tears. The group was very interested and quite knowledgeable about Mulkeytown’s Hollyhock Girl, who was freed from slavery on the Trail. I learned a new story from one of the gentlemen there: he had been told that Priscilla was first buried behind Silkwood Inn and only later was reburied in the family plot at the Reid-Kirkpatrick Cemetery. I’d never heard of that before, so now I will be asking people if they know anything about that! (I’d considered visiting the cemetery on the way there, but the rains made that unwise. I sure did not want to get stuck up on that hill and miss the meeting.)

Two of the society’s members are working on a website with the history of Pinckneyville’s business and professional people. A photo of a gorgeous quilt that some of the members had made for fund-raising revealed more talent. Although there were all ages represented, I was most impressed with the two women in their nineties at the meeting. Jean Ibendahl, who is vice president, told how the 4-H Club that she once led raised money and took a tour to Tahlequah. Jean had just had surgery, so she had a helper driving her, but Gertrude Smith, 93, assured me she had driven herself to the night meeting. I can only hope if I live that long that I will be as lively in mind and body as these two women were.

I drove home through the dark down Route 51 through Dowell, Elkville, DeSoto, Carbondale, and onto Route 13 through Marion to Woodsong feeling quite young after being with this inspiring bunch. I did get up early this morning and have coffee and read the paper with Gerald before he took off for an Angel Flight to Waterloo, Iowa, with his friend Herman. But then I went back to bed and slept through the gentle rain till I was all rested up. Tonight I droved through a harder rain to a book study at church and got quite wet just getting in the building.

No comments: