Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Powdered wigs and Civil War soldiers

Well, I said I was going to start writing fiction more, but here's yet another thing in which I have been involved lately.  I actually guided a local trolley tour, filling in for a friend who is a local historian but was under the weather.  Now, keep in mind, when I guided this tour, I was being passed the baton from nationally known, award winning Storyteller Tim Lowry, who had just done the tour before.  In his straw hat and bow tie, he regales passengers with Gullah folk tales and stories about southern cuisine.

And then, there was little old me, whose greatest success was giving away signed copies of my books to passengers who answered questions correctly.  Thankfully, on my tour, the trolley made its first-ever stop at the most historic church in Summerville, where we were delighted by Reverend John Scott greeting us in the attire of an 1800's clergyman!  St. Paul's is wonderful in its own right, with Civil War soldiers buried in the cemetery.  Instead of talking for an hour and a half, I was left with about an hour to fill.  My passengers loved the church and Reverend Scott so much, I had to ask the driver to ring the trolley's bell to get them to get back on!  Here's the story:

Trolley Talk by Barbara Lynch Hill, in the Summerville Journal-Scene

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In With the New, With Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Saying goodbye to an old friend is never easy.  When you’re a writer by trade, there’s no denying that your computer is your friend.  It’s your constant companion and your lifeline.  It’s your most important tool.  In the case of a laptop, particularly, it rests for hours on the tops of your legs, almost becoming one with them.  Your fingers become accustomed to the feel of the keys, your wrists to the distance to the keyboard.  You learn its quirks, and I daresay it learns yours, in this creepy age of autofill and autocorrect. 
On my old friend, the letters are worn off of some keys that have become smooth and shiny from faithful service.  The matte finish on the space bar has taken on that same smooth shine on the right side, where my fingerprints wear on it like a stream tumbles over river rocks.
I’ve had my Gateway NV laptop for 4 ½ years.  That’s a long time in electronic device years, especially one with such frequent use.  I’ve known for quite some time that it was “time,” and that I should start looking for a replacement.  So I looked, and looked, and looked.  I looked for months.  I was going to order it from Lenovo, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger.  I was going to get one on sale at Staples that seemed quite good, but I just couldn’t take the plunge.
Shaking my head at myself, I knew what would happen.  I knew I would wait until the Gateway crashed and I was left effectively computerless, shut off from the world, save by smartphone.  One cannot attend to copywriting clients’ needs by smartphone.  Novels can be written on a smartphone, I suppose, but I wouldn’t want to try it.
So I did the very thing I did not want to do, as Paul says in the New Testament.  After a day of struggling with half-loaded internet pages and strange behavior, I knew my friend was ailing.  Then it was confirmed: malware.  At 8pm, I found myself walking through the sliding doors at Best Buy, with a blast of air conditioning blowing my hair back.  “I’m here to buy.  Tonight.  Right now,” I told George, the world’s fastest computer advisor and seller.  I was thankful that they were still open, and that I had such an efficient salesperson.
He helped me select exactly what I said (I thought) I wanted.  I walked out of the store at 8:45pm with a brand new computer.  That’s record time, folks.
This post is the very first thing I have written on it (save Facebook posts, etc.), and I had a devil of a time finding Microsoft Word.  Not sure I can find it again.  Going from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 is figuratively like a fish learning to live on dry land.  Such drastic changes should be outlawed.  Seriously.
I’ll get used to this one, though, and maybe I should even name it so I won't want to kill it while I get used to it.  We name our cars, so why not our computers?  This may help as I mumble innovative new curse words inspired by Windows 8.1.
So I wave goodbye to my old friend, and lay him to rest under a tombstone without a name.  “Here lies the Gateway NV I loved for 4 ½ years, who gave me very few problems.  Upon him, I wrote my first complete novel and countless short stories.  Now he can run and play in laptop Heaven with the Gateway that got me through law school, the Toshiba that ate too many meaningful files to mention, and the boxy, heavy, old Compaq that operated in "safe mode" for at least its last year of existence.  Well done, Gateway NV.”  Rest in peace, friend.  You deserve it.

Suggest a name for my new laptop in the comments.  Percival?  Fabio?  Lenny the Lenovo?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Busy:" Not a Good Thing All the Time

Has it really been four months since I last posted?  Oh dear.  I knew this was happening, but I've been sweeping it under the rug.  I have long been neglecting writing.  Oh, my keyboard hasn't been completely idle.  Far from it.  I've been busy with plenty of copywriting projects, which are great.  I enjoy them.  But fiction has been the forgotten kid at day care, who sits in the corner and doesn't have any friends.  It makes me cry.

In addition to copywriting, I also bought a dilapidated 100 year old house and restored and sold it.  Couldn't be more pleased with the results and the buyers, really.  I saved a little piece of my hometown, and it makes my heart sing.

I've been very much involved with my town's trolley tours, and that is extremely rewarding and wonderful.

I've been doing some good reading.  That's definitely a plus.  In fact, I recently finished Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg.  Here's the little semi-review I wrote of it on Squidoo:  Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

To quote Dr. Seuss, "these things are fun, and fun is good."  If I had to pick one thing to edge out, I'm not sure what it would be.  None of them.  But writing fiction has been edged out of my life lately, and I just can't have that.

In truth, this life is so busy, that I really can't wait to get to Heaven.  Busy is not always good.  But when I take a breath and make time, I promise, I will write fiction.  I have to, because it is who I am.

Friday, March 7, 2014

What do you do when you're afraid? (Review of a children's book)

It's a good question.  Everyone experiences fear.  What if you could give your child the best tool for facing his or her fears before life gets big and bad?

Here's a review of a sweet children's book by Max Lucado:

Stuck in a Stinky Den