Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


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SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: PATSY PARKER

Thank you, Jill, for the opportunity to share a little about myself on your blog and for having me as your guest.  I am thankful for the friendship we have shared for the last several years, and I am happy for your success as a writer.

I began my blog, Patsy’s Creative Corner, on WordPress, almost four years ago when I was looking for something new to do.  I started it in July of 2013.  At the time, I was drawing and painting as a hobby, however, didn’t occur to me to share my artwork until much later.  I draw in pencil but mainly use watercolors.  I have done some acrylic paintings as well.  A couple of years ago I became obsessed with sea turtles, so I gave myself a project of learning to draw the seven different types of sea turtles.  I also painted them in watercolors.  Here’s a link to a finished project I did quite a while ago where each type of sea turtle was painted in watercolors.  There are many, many more drawings and smaller paintings of sea turtles as well as many other works of art on my blog.  Currently I am in the process of reorganizing the navigation of my blog, but if you click on the box that says “Select Category” under the widget “Look Around,” it will help you get around faster.

If you decide to spend any time looking around there, you will see that I write about a wide variety of things.  One of the most frequent themes is mental health because I believe I have suffered from depression and anxiety for many years as I believe my family of origin did also.

Here are my answers to the three questions I picked from Jill’s list:

What is special about the place you grew up?

I grew up in Georgia, Kentucky, and California.  Georgia holds some of the most special memories mostly of neighborhood friends and lots of things to do.  For a couple of winters after I turned eight, I was a cheerleader at Midway Park nearby.  One of my brothers played football one or two years also.  I played softball for three summers.  When I wasn’t playing softball or taking piano lessons, my favorite place to be was the community swimming pool.  My favorite memory from there was becoming acquaintances with a girl, whose name I wish I could remember, who had part of one of her arms missing below the elbow.  When I first met her I wondered why she was there because I ignorantly thought she probably couldn’t swim very well.  It was amazing to watch her swim; she even beat me in races lots of times, and I was a strong swimmer!  Because of Midway Park, I guess the thing that stands out about growing up in Decatur, Georgia, was the sense of community I knew.  I honestly have never experienced anything like it since we left there when my dad’s company was transferred to Kentucky when I was ten, then again to California when I was 16.

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

When I was in my first new school in Kentucky, I was teased a lot and given a terrible nickname.  It devastated me to the point where I wished we had never moved there.  Then a terribly inappropriate and embarrassing thing happened to me in my elective art class I in Jr. High school.  I wrote about it on my blog.  It is a featured page called The Art Class.

I think getting teased and made fun of and humiliated in school all the times I ever went through it, made me hate that behavior in people.  So, over the years I became the kid who made friends with other kids whom were teased or bullied, too.  Not only did I stick up for others, but I eventually had enough courage to stick up for myself.  In eleventh grade I was picked on for being the new kid at my new school in California.  Three girls decided to begin bullying me for no reason.  I was miserable until I had enough and stood up for myself one day.  I was fully prepared to fight the ringleader if I had to, but when I stood up to her, she backed off, and they left me alone after that.

I have always been an advocate for the victim or the underdog; I’ve been that way my whole life even though there have been many situations where I was the victim.  There were times I couldn’t protect myself and suffered in horrendous ways, but after many years of counseling I became a mom to two kids who don’t ever let anyone walk all over them.  They know how to either work through problems with others or leave unhealthy relationships behind.  For this I am grateful.

What would be some of the most annoying things about having you as a roommate?

I love this question!  I am 56 years old and didn’t have my kids until I was 36 and 38 so they have grown up with older parents than most of their friends.  First, I hate clutter!  I am not a fanatic about neatness by any means; I just really don’t like it when STUFF is left lying around where it doesn’t belong or isn’t put away when it isn’t being used anymore!  Second, I am an avid reader.  I really prefer the house to be quiet after 9 p.m. at the latest unless all of us were ever watching a movie together or something.  I personally cannot read well when there is noise.  I have a slight disability in the area of comprehension.  Third, and this the most annoying to my family for sure, I tend to repeat things I’ve already told my family because I don’t remember telling them OR I don’t remember things that they claim they’ve already told me!  So as you can see, I’m a little like Dori in Finding Nemo – “I suffer from short-term memory loss!”


144 Comments

SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: KATE CRIMMINS

Link to my blog: www.coffeekatblog.com

Thanks to Jill Weatherholt for inviting me to participate. I have been a fan of hers for a long time and it’s an honor to post.

In blogging years, I’m an old-timer. It’s been over five years.  It started out as a marketing tool to continue a professional presence after retirement but quickly turned into a humor blog about cats, Starbucks, stupid people and anything else on my mind.

When the evil humor demons came out of the box, I couldn’t get them back in. Once in a while, I’ll do a business project but I can’t wait to get back to my happy place at my keyboard with a mocha latte and some cat trying to hack up a hairball. And snark. Lots of snark!

The connections you make as a blogger are amazing and so are the things you learn. Unlike other social media where you post selfies or what you are currently eating (and there is nothing wrong with that), most bloggers post stories and experiences, often accompanied by beautiful photos.

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

I was one of the original latchkey kids. My Dad died when I was ten and it changed my world forever. Overnight we went from being a “Cleaver” family to a single Mom family. At that time, it was very unusual. My mother, who had been a stay at home Mom typical in the 50s, went back to work. Jobs for middle-aged women were not good paying. There wasn’t money for extras or a lot of time. I had to pick up responsibility fast. I learned to cook and during the summer, I did the cleaning and helped with laundry. My life was very different from my friends’ lives but I didn’t recognize it at the time. The need to be responsible early changed my life and made me more focused and independent.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?

“Kindness rules!” The past year has been painful and I’ve seen long-term friendships ripped apart. (Yes, there are people I am still avoiding!) Getting back to basic kindness would go a long way toward healing. You don’t need to have the same beliefs. Tolerance and kindness should be a basic rule. Drop the snark (except for funny blog posts) especially on social media.

What would be some of the most annoying things about having yourself as a roommate?

I don’t like people, especially up front, personal and in my face all the time. I would not make a great roommate. My neatness is annoying. I like peace and quiet. When I moved back to my hometown 20 years ago, I lived a block from an all-women’s college campus. I considered renting out a room to a student. One margarita and I got over that idea. Privacy is important to me and the possibility of being matched with someone more outgoing was frightening.


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Summer Spotlight: L. Marie

Image Courtesy of fiftyflowers.com

Do not adjust your screen. You are not seeing things. You have just entered El Space. Thank you for traveling with us.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m L. Marie. You probably noticed that I didn’t include a photo of myself. Though I’ve published books under my given name, I established the pen name L. Marie for my blog (El Space: The Blog of L. Marie and my middle grade and young adult fiction. But I can’t say that L. Marie isn’t a “real” name, because it’s my name too.

I’m still querying agents and publishers about three of my fantasy books. So, I don’t yet have a book to go with this blog post. Sorry to disappoint. Have some virtual chocolate instead. No, I insist.

Image Courtesy of Whisper app.

Instead of three questions, I decided to answer one, since this post would be about three thousand words otherwise. But the question of where I grew up is one that resonates with me very strongly. Sometimes, you have to look back in order to see where you’re going.

Jill asked, “What is special about the place you grew up?”

I grew up on the far south side of Chicago in Maple Park—around 117th Street. For some of you, this might seem like foreign territory. Many times, whenever I’ve mention where I grew up, I’ve either been told, “I didn’t know Chicago extended that far,” or “I would never go there. I’m too scared.”

These days, Chicago gets a bad rap because of the murder count and issues with gangs. Yes, many murders have happened, sadly. And yes, gang activity has increased. But Maple Park was the womb in which I developed as a writer.

Here’s a screen shot of my old house—the first house my parents owned. They were among the first homeowners in this planned community. We moved here when I was three years old. Over the years, I spent many a sun-washed summer’s day in the ’70s riding my bike around the neighborhood.

Image Courtesy of Googlemaps

In my neighborhood, there were many kids my age and the ages of my two brothers. We shrieked, we sang, we laughed, we traded a tremendous amount of words. Because I loved books at an early age, and was surrounded by so many kids, I knew early on (at age eight as a matter of fact) that when I grew up, I wanted to write books for kids.

My elementary school—John Whistler—was six blocks away. My parents were not the hovering types, taking us to and from school every day. Mom walked with me to kindergarten once. After that, I walked with a friend to school each day, sometimes until the watchful eye of my older brother. (He’s only two years older.) I say sometimes, because he was not the hovering type either.

Dad taught my brothers and me to navigate through the neighborhood and the city. “The lake [Lake Michigan] is always east,” he’d say. “Don’t worry if you get lost. Just find your way back.”

I was pretty much a city kid, used to masses of people. I loved taking public transportation all around the city. When I was thirteen years old, I took two buses and the El—Chicago’s elevated train—to get to high school in the inner city of Chicago. Got pickpocketed a couple of times. In these increasingly dangerous times, parents today would probably balk at allowing their children to traverse a neighborhood or a city on their own. But the freedom to do so allowed me to learn my way around—sometimes through trial and error.

Images courtesy of L. Marie

First picture taken from the DuSable Bridge in Chicago. Second shows Willis Tower (tallest building), taken from a Wendella boat on the Chicago River

My parents took us to museums, libraries, live theater productions, and parks (like Grant Park) within the downtown area of Chicago. I developed a love of the arts in all forms at an early age. We went to plays at the Goodman Theater and movies at the drive-in and neighborhood theaters, and listened to a ton of albums at home: Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Andre Kostelanetz, Muddy Waters, Mozart, the Jackson 5, Mahalia Jackson, Diana Ross, Tchaikovsky.

We also went to baseball games—White Sox, since we were South Siders. My older brother, however, was a Cubs fan. (Nowadays, everyone is.)

Because I grew up in Chicago, the city makes cameos in some of the books I’ve written. I hope you’ll get to read them someday. Till that day comes, please feel free to stop by my blog.

Thank you, Jill, for allowing me to take up space here.

You have now left El Space.