Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year 2012

Wow!  We only have a couple of days left in 2011.  It's hard to believe another year has come and (almost) gone.  Personally, I hate to see it go -- I didn't have a problem with 2011, did you?

I've been thinking about all the years I've seen come and go.  Each of them was good.  Some were actually great.  I can't really remember any years that were only so-so.  Come to think of it, I don't think I ever lived in a year that I wished was over.  It's just like what Forrest Gump said in the movie.  "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get."

I believe I've touched on what excites me about another new year -- the surprise of it all.  Of course, it would be nice to have a crystal ball.  In 2012, will I sell five million books?  Will I finally be rich and famous?  I'll just have to wait and see ...

So, come Saturday night, I'll pour myself and Robert a glass of bubbly to greet another new year ... too bad we'll probably be asleep on the couch by the time midnight arrives.

Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Morning at Our House

(Yawn ... s t r e t c h ... yawn ... scratch-scratch)

  (Jumping out of bed in sudden realization) ...

(poke-poke) "Claud? You up? Wake up, it's Christmas." (poke-poke)

(loud yawn) (stretch-s t r e t c h)  "Stop poking ... I'm up. You sure Santa was here?"

"I think so. Let's go see.  Shhhhh, we gotta be quiet. Don't wake anybody up ... not yet. We have to see if he came, first. Then we'll wake 'em up."

(stairs creaking) (tip-toe - tip-toe - c  r e a k - tip-toe - c r e a k)

"He came. He came!"

"He did?  Let's go tell them!"

"Shhhhh, wait. Can you see anything, Claud? Can you see what he brought?"

"Nope. It's too dark. But I can see presents under the tree! I can see the puffy stockings and there's stuff sticking out of 'em! C'mon, Cath'. Let's go get 'em up!"

(creak-creak) (tip-toe, tip-toe, tip-toe) (creak-creak) (tip-toe, tip-toe) (creak-creak)

(pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter)

(doorknob turning)

"Bill!  It's Christmas and Santa was here.  Get up ... shhhhh." 

(pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter)

(doorknob turning)

(nudge) "Timmy, wake up. Santa came." (nudge-nudge)

(yawn) "I'm up ... stop that."

(poke-poke) "Chippy, chippy? Wake up. Santa was here. It's Christmas!"

"Don't poke. I'm awake, I'm up."

"Shhhh, where's Shari?  She's not in her crib."

"She ... she's prob'ly sleeping with mommy and daddy. She has a cold."

"Everybody, c'mon. Let's go get mommy and daddy up!"

"In a minute. I gotta potty."

"Me too!"

"Me too!"

"Me too!

(door opening, flush ...closing, opening, flush ...closing, opening, flush ...)

(feet shuffling in the hall) (pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter)

(doorknob turning)

(hinges squeaking)

"Mommy-Daddy, Merry Christmas!   Wake up, Santa Came!  Wake up!"

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Tree Rant ....

You just can't beat a REAL Christmas tree.
I have a small rant today.  Robert and I have been searching the whole town for a REAL Christmas Tree for a week now.

We can't find a single parking lot anywhere where real Christmas trees are for sale.  We find that so totally strange.

There used to be Christmas tree lots everywhere!  The boy scouts sold them, and the fire department did, too.  Even the local high school used to sell Christmas trees as a fund raiser.  

You could spot the lots easily, too.  They always had long strings of colored lights strung high overhead, all the way around the lot, and visible from a block away.

I remember when I was a child, Daddy would pile all of us into the Parrish station wagon and, like they did in the movie "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase, we would head out into the country to cut down our tree.

But it was so much more than just cutting down a Christmas tree.  In my family, it was a tradition and it was the kick off to our holiday spirit.

While Daddy was putting the lights on the tree, we wrote our letters to Santa.  Then, that done, everyone helped to decorate the aromatic pine with decorations.

Is there a lack of real Christmas trees because everyone is buying artificial trees these days?  I suppose fake trees are okay ... for some people.  They sure look real, not like the spindly ones that first came out years ago.  I hear they even come with lights already attached, too.

(shaking my head)  I'm just NOT buying an artificial tree, and even if I have to drive to other towns, I WILL find a Christmas tree lot selling REAL Christmas trees.

I would miss the smell of pine and besides, I love tradition.   No wonder I never want to grow up ...

Update:  After a lot of searching, Robert and I did find a real tree that year.  It was beautiful and it made our home smell wonderful.  We had a traditional Christmas, just the two of us, like we wanted.

Since our move to Florida in 2012, I have to confess, we both decided we would go the artificial route.  We don't spend a lot of time at home, preferring to be out seeking new adventures in our golf cart or visiting family and friends.

So, last Christmas, we found the perfect tree for our home.  It has all of the lights attached and it goes up in a matter of minutes.

I do miss the scent of a real tree, but we found a pine-scented room spray at Pier 1 and it does a pretty good job ... and tradition?  Well, we're all for starting our own tradition right here, right now ...

Merry Christmas from us to you!

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Children's Poem: Dear Santa

Santa Claus

Dear Santa ...

by CJ Heck

You always bring me many things, 
my little sister, too, 
things we love to play with 
and so many things to do. 

I see you in big limos 
waving at us in parades. 
I see you in the shopping malls 
and even in arcades. 

I see you on the corners 
where you're ringing little bells. 
I see you talking on TV 
advertising big hotels. 

It causes me to wonder 
if you're really really there, 
or are you just too busy 
with all those things to care? 

See, I have a best friend, Tommy, 
and I'm sending his address 
so this year you won't miss his house, 
'cause Tommy, he's the best. 

Please, Santa, take some time off 
from those other things you do 
and this year, visit Tommy's house? 
He needs some presents, too.

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Friday, December 2, 2011

Coshocton Tribune Interview

Coshocton Natives Find Common Ground with Writing ...
7:21 AM, Dec. 1, 2011

Coshocton Tribune
Coshocton, Ohio 43812

Written by
Leonard Hayhurst
Staff Writer

COSHOCTON -- Two childhood friends from Coshocton now are sharing their lives and their literary talents with the world.

Coshocton natives Catherine Parrish, who writes as C.J. Heck, and Robert Cosmar got reacquainted two years ago during a multi-class reunion for graduates of Coshocton High School that Cosmar organized. Although they were two years apart in school, they said they can't really remember talking or seeing each other since they were young kids, almost 50 years before.

"We were often thrown together as a group of kids," Parrish said. "(Cosmar) said he didn't remember me at all in high school, although I'm sure we passed in the halls, but he said 'my last memory of you as a child is you sitting beside me in the back seat of my parents' car. I was about 9 years old, and you were about 11. I remember looking over and seeing those blues eyes and thinking 'oh my God, it's a girl.'" He said he never forgot those blues eyes.

Parrish received an email from Cosmar sent by another classmate about the reunion and from there, they began writing back and forth. A rekindled friendship flamed into love, and Cosmar eventually moved from Coshocton to be with Parrish in DuBois, Pa.

"We're motivating and stimulating each other to grow and more fully express who we are," Cosmar said. "We do what we love to do, which is basically write and share stories."

Cosmar knew Parrish was a children's author, and the two often would talk about writing and literature. Shortly after getting together, Cosmar mentioned he had written three short unpublished stories about 20 years ago. Parrish said she asked to read them and was impressed immediately by their quality.
"I demanded, 'Why haven't you published these? They're wonderful!' He answered, 'Who'd want to read those? They're so old,'" Parrish recalled.

Parrish offered encouragement and editing, which resulted in Cosmar publishing his first book, "Trilogy of Awareness" in September, 2011.

Cosmar describes the book as one meant to inspire imaginations. One story deals with a banished alien prince; another tells of a middle-aged man, lost in life, who is whisked to a parallel dimension, and the final tale is about the ghost of Jimi Hendrix aiding young guitarists at a music camp near Woodstock.

"My stories are allegories. On one level, they're like your 'Twilight Zone,' Rod Serling-type stories. They present a platform that's very obvious and understandable that applies to life in general, maybe your situation or someone else's situation, but somewhere in it, it takes you to a place of awareness and that's why it's called 'Trilogy of Awareness,'" he said.

Parrish has published four books since 2000, the most recent being a collection of short stories and flash fiction entitled "Bits and Pieces from a Writer's Soul" and "Me Too! Preschool Poetry," both in September. Her newest book "Barking Spiders 2," a sequel to her "Barking Spiders and Other Such Stuff (2000)," has been nominated for the 2011 Cybils Children's Book Award in the poetry category.

Parrish said much of what she writes about comes from her children or from her childhood in Coshocton. Although she can't remember her teacher's name, Parrish never will forget how a fourth-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School encouraged her to write poetry as part of the class. She said she and Cosmar still have friends and family in the Coshocton area and visit often.

"We had such a wonderful childhood living (in Coshocton)," Parrish said. "We could go anywhere. It's not like today where (parents) are afraid to let their kids go out alone. I remember walking down Main Street up to Elm Street by the hospital and (Cosmar) remembers the same thing. We'd play outside until dark, and nobody worried about us. We loved Coshocton growing up. It's such a wonderful, wonderful town."; (740) 295-3417

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

CJ's Dear (someone) Letter

December 1, 2011 (from DuBois PA)

Rain, rain go away ...
Dear Rain,
Please go away.  It's the first of December.  How can I think Christmas, without the white stuff you could so easily become?

Dear Santa,
Christmas seems to arrive a month earlier each year.  Do you have your elves working earlier, too?

Dear Freshly-laundered Bed,
I will dream of you all day long.

Dear Newly Clean Duplex,
Never let yourself go.  You are so worth it and I love you.

Dear Hair,
Let's find a conditioner and shampoo that work well together and stick with it.

Dear Squirrel,
I didn't mean to laugh when you fell off the pole yesterday, but I couldn't help myself.  Hey, aren't you supposed to be hibernating anyway?

Dear Robert,
I adore you.  Please never change.  Your kisses make my whole world go round.

Dear Florida,
Please hold a sunny spot for Robert and me.  We hope our move will be sometime next year.

Dear Bank Account,
Grow, fool, grow!

Dear Universe,
Please help my books sell and send people to my website.  It's awful, feeling invisible ... and I hate poor.

Dear Family,
I love you all and wish we lived closer.  I have a mountain of hugs to share.

With All My Love,
Me, CJ

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck