Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Reason for the Story

I believe that we are intimately connected to each other through our stories. Isn’t it in our nature to tell each other the details of our lives? Do we not reach for the phone when something happens so we can share this ‘thing’, good or bad?

If you think about it, we spend much of our lives telling our story to others. Even if it’s just an end-of-the-day review to our partner or friend, we are driven to communicate what happened.

This is what nourishes us, the stories we tell each other or read become the fuel for our souls. When I think about the books I’ve read in my lifetime I know that it was not just about my need to jump into someone else’s world, it was my need to know someone else’s story. It was about my need to know I wasn’t alone.

Reading books is how I learned about so much of the world.

Stories provide a mirror for us to look into and assess and let us know we share a connection. Stories illustrate that we are not alone in our experiences and reactions in life.

Most importantly, stories heighten our understanding of being human.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Published Life: Writer's Workshops

I am so excited about the upcoming workshops that we have scheduled! I'm working with the committee that is putting this series together, and I have to say I think it will be great for local writers. I am especially excited that we have three wonderful authors and speakers to present for us, including Greg Lilly, Karen Jones and Brad Parks. Here's a preview via the press release I wrote (stay tuned for more updates!):

Chesapeake Bay Writers and the Yorktown Public Library are pleased to announce an upcoming series of free workshops entitled The Published Life: Workshops for Writers. This series will take place at the Yorktown Public Library, 8500 George Washington Blvd, Yorktown VA. The goal of these workshops is to help writers successfully navigate the complex and sometimes confusing world of publishing, both before and after your book is released. The Published Life will address publishing components such as query letters, proposals, publishing myths and marketing.

Workshops will be held on June 25, July 23 and September 10 from 10:30 to 12:30. Each session will be taught by local professional, published writers.

The first class is to be held on June 25, Snagging a Publisher with the Perfect Query Letter. During this time students will explore query letter, pitch and synopsis techniques to use when submitting your novel to agents and publishers. Greg Lilly, publisher and novelist, will use discussion and worksheets to lead you through the development of these all-important selling tools.

Register now for this free event by visiting the Chesapeake Bay Writers website, For questions contact the Yorktown Library reference desk, 890-5207.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Caged Life

Sometimes there are no words for the unspeakable horrors that happen in our world. We read about it, we see it on television, but when the worst of the worst happens in our backyard we cannot describe the despair we might feel.
Especially when it happens to children.

Honestly, I’ve spent the past week and a half walking around my house muttering “Those (insert expletive) people…”

If there’s one thing I abhor it’s people who hurt children. I don’t need to explain, I’m sure most readers can understand and identify with that sentiment.

In Gloucester, Virginia, Brian Gore and Shannon Gore have been charged with first degree murder, attempted capital murder and felony abuse and neglect. It seems they were keeping a little girl locked in a makeshift cage in their trailer and had buried another child under the shed in the backyard.

This is one of those terrible, terrible stories. And it keeps getting worse. From the fact that none of the neighbors even knew of the existence of this little girl to the fact that the alleged parents never properly fed or cared for this child, it is abuse at its most horrific.

And now, added to that, is the fact that there are laptops and a camera that Brian and Shannon tried to hide.

Matt Sabo, reporter for the Daily Press, has provided amazing coverage of this story. For complete details check out,0,2474271.story and read everything from what led deputies to this gruesome discovery to what the search warrants read.

Her future is uncertain, but definitely brighter than it was on April 28. At that point, doctors are quoted as saying she would have died within a week living in those deplorable conditions.

We’re glad she was saved. But, here’s the important part: how many others are out there, locked in cages or abused through neglect? How many children live in conditions so horrific we cannot begin to image that life?

If you know or see a child being abused or neglected don’t be afraid to speak up. Call social services and be sure to follow up on the case. Make sure something is done. After all, you may be the only voice there is for that child.