The World War I era through the eyes of those who lived it

Photo by Fraizer Dunleavy on Unsplash

Years ago, after my grandparents passed away, my mom went through the love letters they wrote during their courtship and the first year of their marriage. My grandparents met during the summer of 1917. My grandfather had just finished his first year at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School, He was in Bradford, Pennsylvania assisting with vacation bible school (VBS) at the church where my grandmother attended and she volunteered with the VBS.

They met and fell in love amid the gaslight-lined streets of Bradford, Pennsylvania. By the end of the summer, they were secretly engaged as my grandfather went back…

You can’t have just one

Photo by The Lucky Neko on Unsplash

I have three cats. Some might call that the starter pack on the road to being a crazy cat lady. People who know me believe I’m already there. I’m not going to dispute either point of view. I like cats.

Two of my three cats are littermates that I adopted together. The third cat, Scout is a kitten. She’s blind and is five years younger than the other two. Scout’s the kitty equivalent to being a surprise. She’s like the kid that parents have when they thought they were done. Scout’s older sisters haven’t bonded with her so sometimes she…

It will make you a better writer

Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

I’m currently working on a young adult novel that I hope to see published. I’m also an avid reader. I’ve found as I read books — novels to be specific — I read with a writer’s eye. I carefully study things like plot and character development. Sometimes if the book really sucks, I struggle to finish it. I do try to finish it though. I often learn more from bad books than I do from good ones.

These books usually have a few things in common that make it hard to finish. …

We never painted by the numbers, baby / but we were making it count

Taylor Swift singing into microphone
Taylor Swift singing into microphone
Image: Jana Zills, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The name Taylor Swift conjures up all different emotions. At times, she’s been known for who she’s dating as much as her music. Taylor’s been in and out of the news in recent years. She rose to popularity as a teenage country star, and at the height of that popularity, she switched to pop music. Her new indie album, Folklore, has sold 1.3 million copies in 24 hours. Through it all, Taylor Swift’s fans have remained devoted to her.

Her fans’ loyalty is something all creatives can learn from and attempt to emulate.

Take the Time to Work on Your Craft

Taylor set a goal at an early…

And what I did to fix them

Scout, photo courtesy of the author

In January, I adopted a blind kitten. I had gone with a friend to yoga at a kitty café. I hadn’t planned to adopt that day. We attended so my friend could scope out the kitties and perhaps find some kittens she might be interested in adopting. Instead, I fell in love with a blind kitten. I adopted Scout the next day. I’ve learned a lot from that experience.

I adopted on a whim and didn’t do any due diligence

I failed to do any research before I adopted Scout. As a result, I had no idea how different life with a blind kitten would be. Although I quarantined Scout in…

Anecdote | Pet ownership

One year later

Scout / Photo courtesy of Author

In January 2020, I went to a Kitty Café and came home with a kitten I wasn’t expecting to adopt. In my defense, she was a blind kitten in a room filled with thirty other cats. I feared if I didn’t adopt her, no one else would. Plus, she made herself at home on my mat during kitty yoga. She even followed me to the door after it was over, so I had to take her home.

On-the-job training for all of us

But making a decision like that without researching what adopting the third cat would mean to the dynamic of my two-cat household, was…

Is it possible to get them to do what we want?

Photo by Christina Hernández on Unsplash

I’m a cat mom, maybe even a crazy cat lady. I have been called both. But some days I feel like a failed cat herder.

Herding cats — the term is associated with a seemingly difficult or impossible task in which the person doing it is headed for a certain failure. Credit for this term is often given to Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

That idiom speaks to me. I have three cats with minds of their own. They are incredibly difficult to corral if there isn’t food involved.

It probably doesn’t help that my efforts to herd my cats…

Five things you can do when a literary agent doesn’t respond to your query letter

Photo by James Homans on Unsplash

Being a successful writer, means you have to put your work out there. but when you put your work out there, you risk it being rejected. Rejection letters are part of being a writer. Even famous writers have been rejected a time or two.

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”

-Ray Bradbury

Sometimes getting no response from queries can be as hard or even harder than getting a rejection from an agent. At least with a rejection letter, the agent rips that bandage off and it’s over. …

Anecdote | Grief | Pet ownership

Saying goodbye to a faithful companion

Lucky and Bailey/ Photo courtesy of the Author

I found my cat, Lucky at a local animal shelter. I’d adopted another kitten about six months earlier. I knew she was getting bored being home alone all day by the way she attacked my feet whenever I arrived home each night. She needed a friend that could keep up with her antics.

Lucky, a little gray tabby, was my first and only choice. He’d play with toys in the little visitation room at the shelter and then he’d come over and sit on my lap for a while. When he’d get bored, he’d go back to playing with the…

There are more options than you think

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

Getting good feedback — or any feedback — on your work is an important part of writing. A good critique partner can pick up things you missed. They offer a certain amount of distance from the manuscript so they can also help fill in plot holes and point out areas of the manuscript that may not be working the way you want it to. One thing to remember with any critique, it’s subjective. If you ask ten people their opinion about your manuscript, most of them will give you different feedback. That’s something to keep in mind while you’re looking…

Nancy Parish

Writer, Midwesterner, Amateur Cat Herder, Nap Enthusiast. Previously, Contributing Editor for CWIM.

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