Good afternoon everyone and welcome. This week author Chris Paynter is here to speak with you about her work and other things about herself. Let’s give her a warm welcome.
When Lynn Lawler asked me if I would be interested in writing a blog for her, I thought, “Sure! It will be fun!” She told me I could write about anything and everything. I thought, “Great!” Then I thought, “Well… what the heck do I write about?” So, what follows may seem kind of rambling. That’s probably because it is rambling. Kind of a “stream of consciousness” blog…
Since she invited me to write a blog, a lot has happened in U.S. news. In the past few weeks, Congress has started an impeachment inquiry against He Who Shall Not Be Named. The present news reminds me of Watergate and the charges against then-President Richard Nixon. My dad told me at the time that I needed to watch the hearings because “this is history.” Although I was only eleven and didn’t quite understand everything, I still sat with him while we watched the hearings unfold on a small black and white TV.
Remembering that time in history made me think about my sixth-grade year. We were living in New Carlisle, Ohio, while my dad was in the Air Force. In sixth grade, I was blessed with my all-time favorite teacher, Mrs. Cimilucca, who taught English. I was already interested in writing, but with her teaching, I learned about structuring sentences and grammar. I had written my first story in third grade entitled, The Left-Out School Girl. (It sounds tragic, right? Hey, what can I say? I was eight years old.) I also remember Mrs. Cimilucca reading The Hobbit to us. I think that sparked my imagination, because sitting at my desk, peering out the window while she read, I became lost in the world of hobbits, elves, trolls, and wizards.
Over the years, some of my favorite teachers were English or journalism instructors and later in college, a journalism professor. After graduating from Indiana University, I worked as a reporter. This ties back into why the present news fascinates me. I have devoured articles in the Washington Post, New York Times, etc. And I really enjoy watching interviews of the journalists covering these stories. Again, it’s fascinating.
But it can also be stressful, especially when news is breaking almost hourly, if not every thirty minutes. Since He Who Shall Not Be Named took office, it’s been hard for me to concentrate. On what? Writing. I don’t know if other authors have this trouble. There are times I need to decompress and stay away from the news. It’s easier said than done, though.
One of the ways I decompress is to read. The other ways are to watch sports and immerse myself in fantasy sports—fantasy baseball and fantasy football. With both fantasy games, the most important thing is the draft and knowing which players will help you throughout the baseball or football season. Between the two fantasy games, I enjoy fantasy baseball the most. You need to be diligent with fantasy baseball, scouring the waiver wire for any player (that another league manager drops) or for a “hot” player who may help you for the rest of the season. For example, a manager in one of my five leagues (yup—I was in five leagues and won… eh em… four of them!) dropped Pete Alonso, the rookie first baseman for the New York Mets. It could be the manager was fed up with his low batting average at the beginning of the season. I picked him up and happily watched him hit 53 home runs for the year. 😊
Reading, sports, and fantasy games have helped keep me sane in the chaos that He Who Shall Not Be Named has wrought in our country. I do try to balance the news watching with the sports, but like I said, it can be difficult when breaking news is happening hourly. Heck, you could even say it’s not “breaking” anymore. It’s simply news.
I’m sure you might have ways to decompress in these stressful times. My wife, Phyllis, focuses on being a force of change with her volunteer work, which includes helping the homeless obtain jobs, aiding the Hispanic community in filling out DACA paperwork, along with her other multitude of good deeds. She decompresses by watching the Hallmark Channel and shows about Alaska.
Despite all the crap going on around us, my goal is to learn how to buckle down and WRITE. It’s been easier for me to focus on sports and fantasy baseball and football because in a way, it’s mindless. Writing requires focus. I’ve written the first chapters of Daphne, a kind of prequel to Survived by Her Longtime Companion. It tells part of movie star Daphne DeMonet’s life before she met and fell in love with Eleanor Burnett. It also delves into their love story, but I will tell it from Daphne’s POV. Wish me luck as I attempt to focus in the coming weeks!
And to conclude my “stream of consciousness” blog… Happy #NationalComingOutDay! 😊
Thank you, Chris, for a great blog. Be sure to stop by her Amazon page to see her work, including her book, ‘Survived by Her Longtime Companion.’
Until Next Time
Photos subject to copyright.