Saturday, October 24, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

What's New?

New post on the new blog that links to the new piece on the new website.  So, that's what's new.
www.g-lines.weebly.com/blog

Friday, October 9, 2015

A New Blog

Now that the new website is underway with an attached BLOG tab, I hope you'll visit and subscribe at www.g-lines.weebly.com.  And while I'm at it, my writer's Facebook page is  www.facebook.com/writer.ghesslaumagrady, and I can be found on Twitter @GHesslauMagrady.  There's a lot of writing in store!  Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Process and the Website

I have to say that this part of the writing process is more exciting than I ever expected.  When the proofs for LINES— came in the mail, I was ecstatic!  To finally see my novel coming to fruition? I can't explain the joy.  My mom got teary-eyed when she saw the first page, and she immediately turned to my dad to tell him that I dedicated the book to them.  He, too, got a little misty, and with everything we've gone through with Dad in the past few months, I was thankful to have this moment, to witness my parents' pride right then and there, not assume it with their existence on the other side. 

There were four books to pass out to a handful of readers, and then came the waiting game.  My anxiety built with every passing day, dying to hear anything, good or bad, just a word to know how the story was panning out for them.  Less than two weeks later, the texts came in, and to sum up the responses: all of the readers enjoyed the story, got attached to the characters (everyone loves Will!), were intrigued by the setting and historical events.  However, my proof discussions were not gushing praise for a first-time writer.  On the contrary, each reader was open about what confused them:
* "Where's the historical fiction disclaimer?"
* "It took too long to realize that Livia and Catherine were not sisters"
* "I spent the whole first half of the book peeking in on Livia's daily life, and now I feel cheated by not having more details about what happened during the time lapse"
* "I had to look up information about that march because you didn't give enough information to fully understand why the characters were there" 
The criticisms were welcomed because each reader had a positive experience but wanted more from the author.  That's the kind of stuff I need to make me a better writer, to make the book a better story.  I immediately started working on minor edits, but my reality is that I'm back in school with a new job and a ton of grading and lesson planning.  I'll return to the major revisions in LINES— whenever I can, but overall, I'm delighted with the responses, and I couldn't be more grateful to these readers for their enthusiasm, support, and honest critiques.  Nell, Theresa, Debbie B., and Russ:  you are the best!

Some people have asked if, now that I'm so close to completion, I'll change my mind about self-publishing and go the traditional route, instead.  The answer is no.  The feeling of accomplishment that has flourished with each step of this process is remarkable.  I've developed a truer sense of ownership with LINES— by taking the time to experiment with formatting and selecting a book cover, to go through personal editing and seeking critiques, to learn about social media and finding an audience.  It's been a rewarding whirlwind, and the bottom line is this:  I'm a teacher.  First and foremost, I teach.  I see myself as one who plays with words and lines and descriptions, and I think this passion for writing, ultimately, makes me a more effective English teacher.  I dabble with poetry and essays and journaling; I challenge myself with new ideas (I just submitted my first piece of flash fiction).  If I was a professional writer/author, I'd probably want to find an editor and agent and publisher, but I'm proud to be a teacher who models the joy of writing.  If a publisher wants to pick up the book after I've self-published, well, I'll reflect on that, but for now, I'm content with my blog, my chapbook, my handful of online publications, and... my starter-website!

Yep.  I keep hearing in my writing forums that every writer needs a website, especially if a book is getting ready for publication. Not knowing much about website creation, I did a Google search and found a free website option at Weebly.com.  The result is an "under construction" site that I call "G-Lines."   I'd love for you to check it out, and as always, feedback is appreciated.  When the novel LINES— finally hits the publication stage, I'm going to randomly choose one subscriber for a free book, so be sure to "subscribe" on the home page.

 G-Lines: The official website for Geralyn Hesslau Magrady

Thanks for your support!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Book Cover for LINES—

Here's a first attempt at writing the book cover synopsis.  Your input matters... too wordy? interesting?  Comments are encouraged.


In the 1870s and 1880s, railroad lines converge near Lake Michigan at the Great Central Depot, a hub for our country’s expanding commerce and travel.  Livia Haas knows these lines well, for they carried her from the serene tobacco fields of Quakertown, PA to the tumultuous urban life of Chicago just prior to the Great Fire. 

Class and culture lines are witnessed by the grid-like pattern of city streets designed to keep apart the wealthy and poor, to define immigrant groups.  A prayerful Livia comes to understand that these boundaries offer little hope for mingling in a society where lines are unjustly drawn.

Strike lines—sometimes effective and sometimes violent—commence in an era of struggle for the eight hour day.  The main character gets entangled in the fight, against the wishes of people who fear the consequences of disturbing those lines.

Affected by a first love, a deceased brother, and a sinister acquaintance who endangers herself and family, Livia Haas is forced to question literal and personal lines, as well as those that exist in the lineage from which she is born.

Monday, July 20, 2015

One Thing Leads to Another

The poetry chapbook is available.  The novel is in the proof, critique, and edit stage.  Things are starting to come together!

Amazon.com link


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Clouded

Stephen's rock-shaped clouds
inhale and exhale
hurl across blue skies
as breezes panic
set off
constricting condensation
flesh deflation
saintly metamorphosis into shallow hills

Snake-like floatations
pronounce life
as celestial cemeteries
where restless limbs
and bones
tremble with every gust
until gravestones transform
one by one
a heart
a kidney
a lung
escorted past heaven's gate
readying to voice
wisdom
from Jonah's
whale-shaped cloud



Saturday, June 20, 2015

I am the daughter of a legend

I am the daughter of a legend,
the daughter of a man who has touched lives across a spectrum of age and miles and time— 
an uncle and brother who my relatives adore,
a coach who is still remembered and respected by many middle-aged men,
a parishioner whose church members expect to see at early Mass,
a neighbor whose block members depend on for a wave or jovial remark,
a patron whose spot is saved for his weekly ritual,
a loyal friend to those with whom he is in contact and also to those for whom he prays each day,
an entertainer for all who know his wit. 
He is a husband who has stood the test of time (58 years to be exact) with faith and devotion;
he is a father (and father-in-law) of children who have reciprocated his dedication;
he is a grandfather who is loved dearly by those who have witnessed his family leadership. 
He is a legend. 
He is blessed as well as a blessing.

Dad, I can’t explain what an honor it is to be your daughter.  God did not plan to take you just yet, and I am grateful.  I am grateful to have you around for another Father’s Day, for another Sunday, for another Day of any kind.  Throughout this ordeal I have learned so much about you, about our family, and about myself.  I have learned about selflessness and sacrifice, and what great joy those attributes can bring to ones heart.  You are facing your fears with courage and tenacity, and even a sense of humor at times.  I love you for all that you are, all that you believe, and all that you have taught me.  I love you for being a legend without ever trying.

For you, a prayer, the Memorare:
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
O, Blessed Mother, continue to watch over my dad and be his strength.  Help him to follow the path our Lord has intended, and help us, his family and friends, to do what we need to do in order for him to live with grace and faith. 

Amen.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Stay Strong

Stay Strong, my friend
Stay Strong

assumes that once I was
assumes that now I am
assumes I've got it in me to believe in what I stand

Stay Strong, my friend
Stay Strong

deep down I know it's true
deep down I know it's there
deep down the pearl aches for the shell
to lift, to say, "she's here"
but strength is more than heads held high
and strength is more than pride
internal and external peace
live freely, side by side
when I am strong

So, I'll listen to your words, my friend
There's strength to carry on
I'll find my way
I'll stay, my friend
I'm staying— staying strong.

Can I have your attention?

A message to my future graduates:
I’ve had your attention for a while now, but after you walk down that aisle, your attention will never again exist for me.  So, I’m taking this opportunity to grab it one last time.

You are a blessing.  If you don’t know it already, I want you to know it right here, right now.  I need you to look at me... all eyes and ears on me... you are a BLESSING.  Do you understand how much I mean that?  Truly? 

You see, during this past year, my job became a breath of fresh air while I’ve dealt with grief and disbelief, bewildered by the depths of depression experienced by mid-life crises. Above and beyond marital stresses and health issues and financial woes—problems bound to burden mid-lifers—I’ve known of four people who not only thought about suicide but succumbed to it.  What is happening?  Is it the culture?  Why such desperation where the only option is to take one's life?  Depression can run so very deep, and my heart pains for those who suffer. There are no easy answers. Only questions to an epidemic that has a ripple effect on those left behind as the mourning and reaction, the loss and sorrow, continue to fester.  I wish I had words of enlightenment, some kind of inspirational commentary.  I don't.  But I do have your attention one last time, so I need to use this moment to say something, and here it is:  you are a blessing; you make me alive; you make me smile, make my days worthwhile, and I’ll repeat it over and over again until you get it, until I've drilled it into your minds and you believe it.  YOU are a blessing. My God, what blessings you are!

I wonder where you’ll be in five years, which college or employer is being blessed with your presence.  Wherever you are, I hope you look in the mirror and see what I see today... a blessing. 
Fifteen years from now you might be settling down with a career and/or family... more people in this crazy world to embrace you as an integral person in their lives.  Those people will be blessed, and if they don’t understand that, feel free to contact me, so I can share my message with them... you are a BLESSING.
And thirty-five years from now?  Well, you’ll be middle-aged, facing challenges that might seem too overwhelming to bear.  And when you cross a bridge that’s creaking and swaying, readying itself to break and lose strength, I hope you remember my words from the last time I had your attention...

YOU ARE A BLESSING, AND I THANK GOD FOR YOU!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lines—

As far as the book's editing process goes... well, it's going, but I'm determined to have the umpteenth draft in a satisfactory state before heading to the "Deep Revision" writing workshop in June.  Fingers crossed!

One optimistic point is this:  I think I might have a new title for the novel-in-progress.  LINES—
As this is Poetry Month, I worked a poem to highlight some of the lines that are addressed in the story.  (I guess this could be called a poem-in-progress!)

We’re holding still our thoughts on faith,
and biting tongues for chief estates,
denying selves of destined mates—
Will these straight lines create our fate?

Some drawn, some veiled, but all’s at stake
when those we sever make us ache,
when those we heed suppress our sake—
Which line will stir our souls awake?

Demanding truths to be exposed,
we’ll risk the cuts by men opposed—
Will we then live our passion’s prose?
Without the crossing, no one knows.