Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Journey with Friends...

...often times they're spaced apart like thin sprouts of foliage over barren soil. Difficult to find on occasion. Sometimes even harder to keep once attained. But then, come to think of it, that's the beauty of friendship. Like the sun's warmth upon one's shoulders, nothing generates a smile more than a colleague, a peer...a friend.

Fellow writer and blogging buddy, Donna Hole, recently awarded me the "Friends for the Journey, Encouragement" award. And while, considering my tedious schedule, am often prone to accepting awards, then allowing them to smolder and fizzle out, in this case, I'm sparing a moment to share the love.

The objective...pass the badge along to seven friends as we all trek onward, sharing our experiences while straining for the goal...always so close, but...

To Brie from "Brie the Cheese," a college girl, buried in her studies, who still manages to sneak in a spare minute or two for commenting on my gibberish.

To Jules from "Trying to get over the Rainbow," a task she's achieving nicely. Read her work and you'll agree.

Follow the legs in heels to Wendy Tyler Ryan, and you'll find more than a pair of well sculpted lower limbs...her voice reeks of poetic soul, a future publication practically a foregone conclusion.

Jodi Henry from "Turning the Page," is not only a mother, a lucky fellow's significant other, but somehow finds enough time to hammer the keys and paint her literary masterpiece. Give her a read...she won't disappoint.

To the "Golden Eagle," an avid book worm and dedicated critic/admirer of storytellers both well known, as well as those just starting out. (I'm keeping my'll be getting one of my first copies momentarily:)

To that Georgia peach, Olivia J. Herrell, from "That Rebel with a Blog," who's currently typing up a southern belle that I can't wait to read. Agents take notice...this girl's got moxie.

And finally, one can not journey through Blogland without hearing wind of Roland Yeomans, and his recent release, "The Bear with Two Shadows." It's of my utmost opinion, that he's simply the best online writer whom one can enjoy with nothing more than the click of a mouse. At the moment he's invaded N.R. Williams's writing pad, discussing "The Bear," touring the land, spreading the word. And for sharing his pad, as friends often do, N.R. gets the badge as well:)

And speaking of forming friendships...

...I stood atop the pitcher's mound, feeling uncomfortable. Coach Hummel dropped a ball into my mitt and backed up.

Having never practiced pitching, I wasn't even sure what kind of windup to use. Standing on the rectangular, rubber marker atop the mound, I kicked up my foot, stumbled through a cloud of dust, and released a throw that sailed high into the air, above Bruce's head, behind home plate, and into the backstop.

I heard an exhale of breath from behind me where I knew Coach Hummel was standing. Bruce retrieved the ball and tossed it back, confusion upon his face.

Unsure of what to try next, I ended up duplicating my first attempt. Again the ball sailed high, nearly eight feet into the air before clanging off the fencing behind home plate.

Glancing out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Coach Hummel had turned his back on me, choosing to stare off toward the distant parking lot rather than offering me any advice.

"One more, Kaufman," he said. "Then let's call it a day."

I turned and faced Jason one last time. A tear was gathering at the corner of my good eye. The other was now swollen to the point where my vision had tightened to a slit.

And as I gathered the strength for a final pitch, Bruce stood up from behind home plate, and jogged toward me. He pulled the baseball from my mitt, massaging the leather, his eyes focused. We stood there, studying each other before he finally spoke.

"Look, I've watched you in dodge ball all winter," he said. "You and Richie have the best arms in your class. I hate playing against you two because you throw it so friggin hard."

With his cleated foot, Bruce kicked my left heal off the rubber. Then he nudged my right foot until it barely touched the corner of the marker.

"It's called toeing the rubber," he said. "You're tripping over it when you throw. Don't step over it. Kick up your knee and glide along beside it. Wind up your arm just like you do in dodge ball."

He met my questioning gaze before continuing. "You love throwing a dodge ball at me. This is the same thing, just a smaller ball. Don't even look at Jason. Just throw it at me. Try to get me out like we're in the gym at recess. And think of something that pisses you off. That always helps me."

Having never actually spoken to Bruce before, I remained quiet, considering his taut expression, unsure why he was helping me. It was true. I was always trying to get him out in dodge ball. Always gunning for him, the top athlete in the third grade. And yet, here he was, offering me advice.

As if understanding my confusion, Bruce shrugged his shoulders and mumbled, "You know, Jason's a dick." With that, he turned and jogged back to his spot behind home plate.

Releasing a deep breath, I studied Bruce's open mitt, realizing that he was right. I was still throwing at him. My favorite target. Just a different ball. A different game.

Completely ignoring Jason's presence, I did as Bruce instructed. Pulling the ball back in a long windup, much like I had grown accustomed to doing while tossing the large rubber dodge balls during recess. I reared back and fired a blazing strike, right over home plate, right into Bruce's mitt, and way in front of Jason's failed attempt at making contact. The ball cracked as it sunk into the glove, causing Coach Hummel to turn.

Across the infield, I could hear several players whistling their approval.

"Throw another one, Kaufman," Coach Hummel said...

"South of Charm" 2011

Thanks for reading


Cinderita said...

Congratulations on the award. It has the BEST title EVER! I haven't been by for awhile and I've missed reading your words.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Cinderita said it right : your award has the best title ever. Thank you so much for awarding it to me. Thanks even more for the gracious, kind words.

I and Michael Di Gesu have been trying to email you about doing a spot on my blog tour. But your AOL email doesn't seem to mesh with ours. My email is in my profile, so if you could write (should you have the free time - which I know all too well may be scant with a new job) let me know, all right?

Each of the other people to whom you gave the award are good friends but one. I am proud to stand in their company -- and yours.

May the sales of your book skyrocket right through the roof!


Lola Sharp said...

Congrats on your well deserved award, Elliot. :)

Happy St. Patty's Day,

The Golden Eagle said...

Congratulations on the award! And I have to agree--it does have a great title.

Thank you so much for awarding me! :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

B.E.T. said...

Aww, thank you so much for the award! And you call me the busy one, you still manage to comment on my posts even though you have all kinds of stuff you have to do and post about!

The excerpt from South of Charm was great! I really liked the simple style, but it was still eloquent in it's own way (and it did sound like a middle schooler way of thinking, so great work there!). You've got me excited now! :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Congratulations, Ell. Well deserved indeed.

I like that line -- like you're pissed off -- that always works for me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the unlikely allies! :)

Congrats on the award - very well deserved!

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Lovely post, lovely writing, and a compliment I hope I can live up to. Thank you so much for thinking of me, it means a great deal.

Elliot Grace said...

...many thanks for your thoughts and support:)

And to Roland, I promise I'll be in touch. Hibbs is cordially invited to make a tour stop on my stomping grounds. I'll shoot you an email this weekend when the madness momentarily stifles:)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Jodi Henry said...

What a great award. Congrats and Thanks so much for thinking of me-the pressure is on to not disappoint now. lol. I am in great company here.

And the excerpt, wow. Really look forward to reading the whole book when it hits the shelves.

Now off to read the post before this that I missed.


Donna Hole said...

Thanks for posting and distributing the award Elliot :)

That was an appropriate excerpt to accompany it. So many different styles for writers, but all having the same goal.

The excerpt itself was heartwarming. Its not easy taking the first step in team building, or in friendship. These boys are well developed characters.

I can't wait to be able to buy it for my son (I'm sure I'll have to read with him - as a good parent should :))

Hope your weekend is relaxing, or at least satisfyingly productive.


The Words Crafter said...

Congratulations on your award! And to the new recipients!

Your excerpt just increases my desire to read your upcoming book. Do you have any idea of a release date?

Flying high in the sky.... said...

Congrats!! the way you described the recepients was so beautiful...shows you really read and understand them.. visiting a few link from there :)

DEZMOND said...

congrats on the award, El, and congrats to all who got it from you!

Elliot Grace said...

...for those of you who've inquired as to my release date, "South of Charm" is currently rolling under the presses.

My indiePub is a runaway from Simon & Schuster, but nonetheless, still uses the same printing facility as S & S. I've been told six weeks...then reviews, and launch...

Yes, the countdown is underway :)


The Empress said...

Congrats on your blog award and thank you for the blog love. It's always great discovering new readers and their blogs. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Manzanita said...

Congratulations on your award and I enjoyed your story. Thanks for stopping at my blog. I now follow you, too.
Wanna buy a duck

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Hi El! First, I LOVE the excerpt. But I knew that I would. You've nailed the dialogue and I want to know more about your characters and what is in store for them.

Six weeks, huh? That should put us up to about May 1st or so? After the printing, then what?

Second, congratulations! Donna picked a pearl. I very much agree that you and your comments are always encouraging and thoughtful and I always feel honored when you stop by. Thank you for that.

Thank you, too, for passing this along to me. I've been absent an awful lot lately and it's really good to know that even in my absence, you thought of me. THAT is quite an honor. THANKS! :)

I finally have wireless again and will try to make it by more often now.

~ that rebel, Olivia

Angie Ledbetter said...

Congrats on the new blog bling.

RaShelle said...

EL - Congrats on the award. Love you novel title. Gorgeous!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Congratulations on the award, and thanks for the good links. I'll go check them out. Meanwhile, love your writing!

Michelle Gregory said...

congrats on the award. always nice to see it making the rounds in the blogging world.

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks everyone for your comments, and for linking over to my online friends, each of them talented in their chosen writing fields:)


Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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