Beanie Baby Meetings

In the picture above you see a treasure trove of Beanie Babies I found a couple days ago. When I opened a box in the garage, they were all looking up at me. They’d been sitting there for years, frozen in time, just waiting.
When our kids were little, if they were well behaved when we went shopping, they would each get to pick out a Beanie Baby. These little stuffed animals made by a company called Ty, were popular then, and always near the check-out counter. The notion was that they’d be collectible some day. Right. They’re worth about what we paid for them, I suspect.
So, what were the boxed up Beanie Babies waiting for? Well, when we bought our kids a new Beanie Baby, the second they arrived home they ran to the bedroom and had a Beanie Baby Meeting to introduce the new ones to the old ones.
My daughter ran these meetings like the little drill sergeant she was, is, and always will be. I will have to ask her if there was a hierarchy among the babies. Probably. I’m really mad at myself for not taking a picture of these meetings. That would be a treasure, too. A video of them would be like gold to me now. I’m pretty sure my son, a few years younger than his sister, was probably only there because he was at my daughter’s mercy. Bless his heart, he did what she told him to do like the good soul he was, is, and ever shall be.
It makes me smile to think that my daughter is still running meetings, and I suspect my son is still going to them because someone makes him. And me? I’m just enjoying a memory, frozen in time, waiting for me to open the lid, like the box of Beanie Babies in the garage.

Casting Stones

cross coverBack in 2009 I decided I’d try my hand at writing. This is how addictions begin, folks. Some things dare not be tasted.
My first book, like a first love, is a wonderful memory. I dove into it like a wild child into a dark blue lake, without a worry if the water was deep enough, or even if I could swim. There’s something to be said for that kind of naïveté. It’s a thrill ride—a new discovery at every turn; every sentence surprised and delighted me. Commas be damned.
I’ve now written eight books and my writing has become a whole different animal. It’s no longer a kitten, springing from couch to chair, pouncing on every loose speck of fuzz. It’s now a cat who saunters into a room and sits down in a pool of sunshine to groom.
And it’s this constant grooming that takes a little something away from the sparkle of writing. Still addictive, yet now it comes with a hangover, perhaps. The sentence, first written with relish, is then dissected and fussed over until it’s finally cut completely from the page. Those ideas, first thought to be golden, ultimately deemed useless.
But it’s all good. Casting Stones began as a wild fling. After I’d had my way with it, I shoved it out the door like we’d broken up. Not everyone loved the story and I began to second guess my desire to write about emotions and ideas. Who did I think I was, playing with literary fiction? A novelist?
I slipped on something more comfortable. Thrillers and mysteries. Some say anyone can write these, but I disagree. A good story can’t be yesterday’s supper regurgitated. The line cook who griddles a great burger is just as knowing about creating that meal as a skilled French chef who makes a fine Coq au Vin.
I made Coq au Vin once. Took two days. My husband and son picked at it. They’d have rather had a burger.
Having said that, Casting Stones is still my favorite book. I like what it has to say. I like that it offers the reader something to think about. Although the message is simple… don’t judge… it’s also complicated… if you loathe me for being judgmental, which of us is standing in the deeper mud? And, of course, the underlying theme asks who is the real sinner? The character who is so easy to hate—the obvious villain? Are you sure? Could it be you?
It’s for the reader to decide. The book provokes thoughts, but doesn’t hand out answers. I’ve always liked that kind of story. I’m not one who enjoys being spoon fed. So, although it was the first book I wrote, it’s still my favorite.
Have you read it? Would you please? I’d love to know what you think.