If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our October Author Interviews--10/4 Wendy Tyson, 10/11 Marilyn Levinson, 10/18 Earl Javorski, 10/25 Linda Lovely. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


October Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/7 Mark Bacon, 10/14 Elaine Orr, 10/21 WWK's Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/28 Kait Carson, and E. B. Davis 10/31 to fill out our fifth Tuesday.


WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla! Look for Carla's blog this month to find out the winner.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

You say it’s your birthday (hum along here….)


Monday found me turning another year older. I’m somewhere north of forty and south of ninety. If you will pardon my saying so, that is a lot of water over the dam. Most birthdays pass unnoticed. In fact, I’ve been known to forget a few along the way until someone else wished me a happy birthday. This year, although not a landmark year, I’m feeling retrospective.

Regrets? Some, but not many. Most of my regrets center around things I wish I had done better, been more present for. When I was in high school, I read an article in EYE Magazine (ok, now you know how much north of forty). The article stressed the importance of empathy. I had to look it up then, but I did internalize the definition. It’s the times I have forgotten to be empathetic that cause me the most regret. What was I doing that was so important that I couldn’t take five extra minutes to really listen to my father when he lived with me in the last year of his life? How many wonderful shares did I miss out on? Instead, since dad’s stories tended to start at a, go to b, detour to l, come back to b and finally wind up at z, I would listen with half an ear and try to nod in all the right places. Big regret. Emotional regrets aside, I don’t have many others.

My family has two traditions. They die early in publically spectacular ways. Seriously, my grandfather and my uncle both ‘dropped’ dead. One on the job, one on a subway platform. Both were in their very early fifties. The second tradition is long life. My great grandfather was 106, his wife 102. My dad and his parents lived into their 90s. So, given this heritage, when I graduated high school, I decided I might not make it much past my 30s. At which time I thought I would be too old to care (ah callous youth). I decided to leave no stone unturned. I sky dove, scuba dove, traveled Europe with a backpack and a thumb, signed on as a cook on a Caribbean freighter, wrote often, sometimes got published, and married early (didn’t last). My adventures took me from Washington DC to New York City, Sint Maarten, Miami, the Florida Keys, and Maine. I made a lot of friends along the way. And filled my kit bag with lots of memories. Then I settled down, started a career, and re-married. No longer worried about dying at 30, I’ve become much more welcoming to age. Although the person in my head is 32 and I still run and scuba dive.

I found an old envelope a few months ago stuck in the back of a closet that had somehow accompanied me from move to move since high school. Inside a brightly colored folder I found a list. Who I wanted to be when I grew up. The amazing revelation of that piece of the past? I wanted to be me. Right now. In the present. I wanted to be married, I am. I wanted to live in a house with a pool, I do, I wanted a husband who was a partner, he is, I wanted to feel centered, I do, and I wanted to be a writer. I am proud to say, I am.

So, this year, instead of making a wish as I blew out my candles, I gave thanks, for letting it all work out, and for every bump and boost along the way. That empathy thing? I’m still working on it.

What about you? If you tapped into the hopes and dreams of your younger self, what would you find?

11 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

In a way I hate to say it, but it was a long time before I even realized I could have hopes and dreams, or that I had any control over how my life turned out. (I see this reflected in some of the characters in my writing.)

In the community where I lived, only the most competent girls had any future beyond getting married and having a family. I was far from one of the most competent girls (I was an adult before I found out that a big reason I struggled so much with ordinary tasks was that I have a serious heart defect.) The most accomplished girls would marry well and live comfortable lives. My father repeatedly drummed into my head the idea that I would be lucky to marry at all, so I'd better figure out a way to support myself. Girls could be nurses (but not me, I was too lazy) or secretaries (but not me, I wasn't smart enough) or teachers (I wasn't "good with children.")

Against my parents' wishes (I was supposed to live at home, contribute any money I managed to earn to the household and help with the housekeeping and younger children. I would not be permitted to go out in the evening or drive a car) I left my parents home early,and my life turned out so much better than I expected. But really not because I had any reasonable plan. I was amazed to discover that I could get a job and people were actually willing to pay me money for my work (I'm still a little surprised every time I get a check for something I've done, or these days, more likely an automatic deposit.) I have a wonderful husband and two accomplished daughters.

And to my own astonishment, I'm a writer! Life is good.

Kait said...

KM, what a wonderful, sad, dead on accurate story of growing up in a certain time. As I recall, nursing and teaching has another pro going for them. You could go back to them after you had your children. That didn't mean after maternity leave, that meant after they were in high school, or had left home. I am SO GLAD you had the courage to break the mold. It sounds like you made all the right decisions at a time when I am sure there was a lot of push back. (Did you ever wonder what that woman's husband in the Virginia Slims jingle was doing with HIS time?)

Warren Bull said...

I'm not sure how much I planned. What has gone well for me is recognizing opportunities when I happen upon them and taking advantage of them. I had a job, actually various jobs all in the same field, that I enjoyed and that felt meaningful. My second marriage is wonderful. My writing ambitions keep moving ahead.

Warren Bull said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kait said...

Sounds great, Warren. You sound like a person well contented with your life and well centered throughout your life. Kudos!

Kara Cerise said...

Beautiful and introspective blog, Kait.

I regret that I didn't ask my parents and grandmother more and better questions about their lives. They shared some of their stories and thoughts with me while they were alive, but I would like to know more. I do remember my mom and dad telling me that it's the things you don't do in life that you will regret the most.

Grace Topping said...

What a wonderful thought-provoking post, Kait. Thank you.

The things you don't do you regret the most. How true. With that in mind, I walked down to the Navy recruiting station and signed up. I didn't care that people told me nice girls didn't join the Navy, etc. I didn't want to regret that I didn't do it because that had always been my dream. I met wonderful nice women who took the same chance I did. The Navy opened up the world to me and gave me wonderful opportunities. I had the good fortune to have a work supervisor who nagged me to death to start taking college courses, which I thought beyond me. He made me feel like I could walk on water and bolstered my confidence tremendously. Ten years of night school later I finally graduated. Never discount the influence someone can have in your life.

Kait said...

@Kara, oh so true. We do regret what we don't do.

@Grace, thank you! What an inspiration story you have.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I've given this considerable thought over the years, and what I have decided is that I can only live going forward. All I can do is try to avoid a future regret, and I do that by living each day as well as I can.

Zen masters are like, yeah, and so what's new about that? To which I reply nothing, except my own learning. I don't mean to imply that I always succeed, because that would be very inaccurate, but it is my goal when I get up each day.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Wonderful blog, Kait. Happy belated birthday! I can't imagine anyone who is not egocentric not having some regrets. Although I remember many of my parents, aunts and uncles stories, I wish I had asked my grandparents more about their earlier years. I know a little, but as much as I wish I did. One of my regrets is not talking to my son the months he was going through cancer about it. Okay, yes the pain, but I never asked him if he was afraid of dying because until two weeks before he died I never accepted it, but I wish I'd brought up the topic sometime in his last two weeks at home.

As for earlier dreams, well I gave up on having a large horse ranch in the west, but in first grade the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and I said a teacher and a mother. Both eventually came true - the teacher much, much later. When I graduated not many girls went to college except to be a teacher or a nurse, but as the oldest of five
siblings at the time, my younger brother got what little money my parents had saved for college, and I never questioned that. I worked in an office doing various things for five years until I was 7 months pregnant. I enjoyed being a parent even though four children in less than five years kept me busy, I still had time to do many things I enjoyed, and I think I was a better teacher for being more mature and having had the background of raising kids to give me perspective.

Kait said...

@Jim, What an excellent philosophy! And very true.

@Gloria, Thanks Gloria for the kind words and for the birthday wishes. What a fascinating story. Your dreams came true. That is wonderful. It is so sad to read about your son, but very understandable that you did not speak to him about dying. You knew your son well, and maybe on some level, you sensed that he did not want to discuss it. I'm sure you did the right thing. I agree, anyone not completely egocentric has regrets.