A New Release at Eighty!

Let me introduce author, editor and writing instructor, Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen. I had the privilege of taking a class with Mary and learned SO much. What a joy to have her visit, and to hear that she’s still writing, octogenarian or not! Please leave your e-mail if I don’t have it already, because Mary’s offering a free copy of her memoir to one fortunate commenter...I think we’re in for a treat. 

I’ve never been one to hide my age—unless you call hair coloring an attempt to age alter—but since October 1, my birthday, I’ve noticed a strange clutch in my gut, a catch in my throat, a little stammer in my speech when, for whatever reason, I have to say, “Eighty.”

Eighty! It’s crazy. My parents died at 49 and 69, a brother died at 64 and a sister at 68. Cancer all. I’ve lived with the intensity of one who assumes her days are numbered, and the number would be below the national average. Also, this Annie Dillard quotation has driven me: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Spend. Time is like money. My supply is limited. Better make careful choices on how I spend it. Better not waste a minute.

But here I am. The celebration’s over. The shock settling in. And the existential question, “Why?” now haunting my sleep. Insurance predictors tell me that by living this long, I have dodged all the big killers and will likely live to be 98. That’s almost two more decades of days!

Two years ago, I had a health event that for a year left me in pain sliding from a brusque “I’m OK. I’ll be fine,” to a wordless gasp. During that year, assuming it might be my last, I began a practice I had never before attempted and wrote every night, wrote what I called “my Marvel,” wrote on small things and close to home things, on fragile thoughts or fleeting observations. I followed Jesus’ suggestion that we “consider the lilies of the field.” So, noticing what I noticed, I planted it in my mind, allowing it to take root and grow, considering what it had to teach me. Writing about it became my daily purpose.

For a year, I tended those thought seeds. And then for the better part of a year I pruned—trimming, shaping or cutting those daily writings. Consider the Marvels: Writings from My 79thYear is the result. The project filled the two years leading up to my 80th. Now, here I am, potentially looking forward to two decades of days, and my pain-free self, which has lost the passion for daily writing, wonders what of value I can spend my time on now. A question I will need to think about, to ponder, to consider….

Calling all Octogenarians! I need help! Tell us all about the marvels in your days.

Find more information about Mary Nilsen at
www.Zionpublishing.org

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

Walking on Eggshells

Have you ever felt you must walk on eggshells? Many of us can relate to Karen Stork’s story of learning to value herself. Screw the Eggshells 250 wide RGB

The “Back” Story

It is said that we teach people how to treat us. So I have always wondered how  I taught my husband to treat me with verbal abuse and control? And why would I continue to subject myself to this kind of behavior for so long?

Such questions were always in the back of my mind as I thought about the effects of being verbally abused. Helping young women avoid a similar path was another incentive for me, and the dream of becoming a published author was one that had festered for years.

Finally, on a beach in Florida in 2016, I decided it was time to get serious and turn my dream into reality. In one month, the story was outlined. Along with  chapters about my marriage, I also wanted to explore my childhood and my experiences and adventures as a single woman after marriage.

Returning home to Lincoln, I continued to write, but had no idea about publication or what would follow. I simply worked on writing and/or rewriting various chapters every day. After all, I needed a lot of experience writing in a very short time, since it hadn’t been a regular part of my daily routine since returning to college in the 1980s!

Early in 2017 I realized I couldn’t do this all on my own. I found a company in Omaha, NE to provide editing, book layout, cover, and assistance through the publication and marketing process. It wasn’t until late spring of 2017 that we had a title and format for the book — my literary baby was finally born on September 12, 2017. And the title was my inspiration!

Becoming an author fulfilled a major dream and helped me to understand some of my questions about th past. Other unanswered questions may never be resolved, but that’s okay. I don’t believe we can ever understand everything about our past; we just have to accept that whatever happened got us to where we are now. And this publication journey has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

To learn more, visit my website at www.karenstork.com.

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Karen Heckman Stork calls herself “The Grandma Moses of writing” because it took her 53 years to achieve her dream of becoming a published author. She is a columnist for the Lincoln 55+ senior quarterly newspaper with a column entitled “A Lincoln Life.” She also co-wrote and produced a family book entitled “Between the Generations, Poems by a Nana and her Grandson.” Karen is a member of the Nebraska Writer’s Guild and is available to read from her book and speak on subjects including the harmful effects of verbal abuse, aging without growing old, life lessons learned and poetry.

 

 

The Last of the Roses

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Seems not long ago when the first rose of the summer bloomed, and here it is, nearly the end of October.

Whoever coined the phrase time flies knew what they were doing. I’ve been editing and editing and EDITING…the final book of the Women of the Heartland series. Coming out in November…still not sure of the exact day of release. But the cold has blown in, and it’s time to rescue the last roses from my friend’s bush.

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It’s also nearly the 500th anniversary of the Reformation…yep, did you know that Martin Luther was a the best-selling author? If my writing affects one-hundredth of a percent of his following, I’ll be surprised.

My recent notes while reading about London during the Blitzkrieg… snippets of information like this come together to create a book. I suppose Luther took notes, too, but he wrote without the ease of modern technology, probably long into the night by candlelight.

Nothing about his life was easy, and interestingly, he included a subdued white rose in his seal, connoting the fruits of faith.

Whatever our task, that’s what it’s all about, believing that what we do makes a difference. Even a small difference in a few lives. As roses, in their quiet way, add beauty and lightness to our journey (if we take time for them…) so our work can enhance this weary world.

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Next post, I hope to share the cover of A Purpose True and its release date. In the meantime, I’ll keep on editing, and  hope you find a little time to spend with a rose.