Biblioholism?

Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a biblioholic.

As a former substance abuse counselor, I know that a behavior is considered an addiction if it interferes with your life and creates a problem. This leads me to wonder if I have a true “addiction,” like some people have an addiction with substances (legal or illegal) and behaviors (legal or illegal). If not an addiction, it is certainly a “dependency.” Anyone interested in a 12-step program for bookaholics?

Does being a biblioholic disrupt or interfere with my life, or cause a problem? Only when I need to move all these books from one home to another!

I started checking the internet to see if there was such a word as biblioholism or if a group existed for bookaholics. Try looking up either of those words and you’ll see how many sites address this very thing. I found a site that gives reader comments that complete the statement “You know you’re a bookaholic when…” All of the comments there are true of me, and my favorite is “…when you select your handbags based on whether they are big enough to fit a book.”

No matter where I go, I have a book in my purse. You just never know when you’ll have a couple of minutes to read a paragraph or two while you wait for someone to show up, or for your car to be serviced, for instance. And sometimes I carry a book with the sole intent of going somewhere only to read. I have a different book (sometimes a stack of books) sitting next to each of my reading places, and I go back to read some of my favorites many times.

I found one site that seems to have disappeared, which gave an excellent definition of “biblioholism” that describes me exactly (and probably you, too). “Biblio” means “book,” so this site states that biblioholism is “the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.”

The only feature of biblioholism that definition doesn’t mention is writing. I do an obsessive amount of that, as well, but I seldom bother to market what I write. (And that’s another whole problem I need to address at some point.) I write in several genres, usually with several in various stages of completion at a time.

Yes, I also read (and write) e-books, but nothing will ever replace the feel of paper as I turn each page. When I am forced to part with books, it’s as if I’m killing my children! Rather than give away the thousands of books I have, I simply have more bookshelves built.

“You know you’re a bookaholic when _______.” You might fill in the blank on this statement and find out something about yourself. Put your answer in the comments. I’d love to see it.

If you are interested in reading one of my latest books, check out this bookstore.

A hui hou!

My New Career

Friends often ask how I get so much writing accomplished. The answer is simple – I finally retired from my last career.

I was in the field of psychology for several years, then I spent several decades as a full-time pastor and counselor in a mainline denomination. As I finished up my last few years in a local church here in Hawai`i, I began teaching part-time for our community college.

By the time I retired from ministry, I was teaching fulltime at the college and didn’t stop until September 2021. I was an Associate Professor of psychology when I retired eight months ago.

The first six months of retirement were difficult for me. I had never been without a job or career of some sort since the age of sixteen. Perhaps many of you can relate.

I was lost. Who am I? Now what? Is death the next step? What is life about?

Recently, I was looking through old journals to find something I thought I needed. I don’t even remember what that was now, but a phrase in my journals kept coming up over and over: “I just wish I could stay home and write.”

I had been writing bits and pieces here and there, and then I would put it all aside to grade a stack of papers or prepare a sermon, see a client or prepare a class lecture. By the time I retired, my computer held several novels and bits of books and articles, plus notes on other work, and I had published a self-help e-book online. In my mind, none of that counted for anything.

Retirement gave me the opportunity to put it all together and get published. The e-book is now in paperback form, and I have serious notes on the next two books of my mystery series.

I tell this story to remind you (and myself) that little bits of writing here and there do add up. Take those few minutes you have on the way to work, or early in the morning before the household wakes up, or instead of watching TV, or while you are nursing a baby, or whatever else you do. Those things are important, but so is your writing habit.

It doesn’t need to be quality time or quality writing at this point, but it needs to be something. If you are a writer, then write. You can edit and put it all together later, but all famous authors remind us to write something every day.

A hui hou!

Cinco de Mayo – Easy Shredded Pork for Tacos

Hola!

Whether you celebrate Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) or not, it’s almost always appropriate to eat Mexican food. I honestly believe I must have had a former life as a Mexican because I could eat that food three (or more) times a day.

So I look forward to Cinco de Mayo each year to give me a valid excuse for my Mexican indulgence!

Because I was usually in a hurry to eat something when I came home from a long day of teaching, or even today as a stay-at-home author, one of the easiest meals for me to make is a simple pulled pork taco from my slow cooker.

I start out with the meat from pork steaks or chops, cubed in 1-inch pieces. (You also could use beef or chicken.) Then I dump in a 24 ounce jar of either red or green salsa (any style). The “heat” depends on your taste, but mine usually goes for the hottest.

To this you can add a bit of chopped onion, garlic, or more spice. I generally toss in two or three of the tiny Thai peppers from my garden. Uh…I like spicy!

Cover and cook on low all day until you get home – eight to 10 hours.

Sometimes I put it in a bowl, top with sour cream and chopped cilantro to eat like soup. If I plan to do this, I add a can of drained corn or black beans to the pot (or both).

If I want it as a taco or tostado, then the pork is so tender you hardly have to shred it. Spoon it in or on a warmed up tortilla, add chopped lettuce, grated Mexican cheese, a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, and maybe even another spoon of salsa.

I could eat a dozen of these, but I’ll try to contain myself!

These two photos were taken in the patio of Tres Hombres in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which sadly no longer exists. That was my “go to” place for Mexican food when I was in town. Each year, if it was your birthday, they would bring out this enormous (and heavy) sombrero for you to wear. Then they sang to you and took pictures!

Hasta luego!

Lothlorién

Yesterday, members of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla did a “dock walk” on the three docks on the Kona side (leeward) of our island. We were handing out information to boaters about what the auxiliary does, who we are, and extending invitations to join us.

Wow! Did that ever bring back memories – and made me homesick!

In the late 1970s, when Flower Power and Free Love were languishing, I flirted with trading the equity in my house for equity in a new 37′ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. Within five months, I became a “live-aboard” with fifteen-year-old son, my youngest child.

We christened our new home Lothlorién, for the sanctuary in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy to which the Elf King and Elf Queen transported Frodo and his friends at a critical point in their adventure.

In Tolkien’s story, it was within the Lothlorién that all their healing and protection took place, while all the dangers and threats were forced to remain outside its borders.

Our Lothlorién was that haven for us, our personal sanctuary of peace, safety, and healing. We needed the storms of life to remain outside. We often invited our friends to savor that sanctuary with us for a day sail, a weekend cruise, or sometimes longer.

Tolkien’s famous quote was our motto – “…not all those who wander are lost.”

Characters who don’t know much about boats always ask, “How many does she sleep?” That’s the wrong question! We sailors usually respond by saying that a sailboat will “drink six, feed four and sleep two.”

There may be room enough to sleep an army by spreading people out over decks and into hammocks, but you abandon all carnal comforts in doing so. Naturally, this can depend on just how close you are with the friends you bring along, too.

My boat basically was designed to sleep six, but six people really wouldn’t do that if they wanted to remain friends after the cruise was over.

One summer, I hadn’t gotten paid for about three months. The insurance company that reimbursed us for most of our clients was undergoing a major change in their computer system. None of us in the clinic where I worked were getting paid on a regular basis. My boys and I were hanging on by a thread.

So what does a girl do when the going gets tough? She spends a week moored at the Isthmus of Catalina Island with a good book, and leaves her troubles behind.

We were really living a good life, in spite of having no money. I had a bag of masa, a hunk of cheddar cheese, a few eggs, and stuff like spices. The boys were diving for abalone and fishing. What else do you really need for food?

We made lots of homemade tortillas with melted cheddar and scrambled eggs, along with plenty of fresh fish and abalone. That’s when abalone was still plentiful in California.

Someone taught us how to eat raw abalone. Instead of pounding it like you need to if you cook it, you cut the raw meat into pieces like shoestring potatoes. Dip it into a mix of soy sauce, ginger, and anything else your taste buds desired, and munch! It’s a wonderful treat!!

Once, on Catalina Island, when folks from our local sail fleet had a cookout, my sons and I showed up with fresh sheepshead, abalone, and hot tortillas.

Everyone else was roasting wieners and opening cans of beans. Even though we didn’t have money for hamburgers or wieners, we ate well – and we were the envy of everyone else.

When I feel bogged down with Life, I sometimes think about what fun it would be to live on a boat again.

A hui hou!

Celebrations!

Happy April!

This year, we have several celebrations from April 1 (April Fool’s Day) through through Easter weekend to Earth Day on April 22. There may be others but these two, plus other holy-days, are the ones we honor most of the time.

For me, the calla lily will always signify Easter. May this graceful calla lily growing out of lava represent whatever holiday you are celebrating this season. May it exemplify the simplicity you seek in your life and the purity you hope to develop in your heart.

A hui hou!

Don’t Fear the Dragon

Dragons seem to be synonymous with fantasy. The most famous of fantasy authors rely on at least one wonderful (or dreadful) dragon in the stories.

What do dragons signify? You can look online to get a good description of each sign in the Chinese Zodiac, then check to see if you were born under the sign of the Dragon.

I prefer to think about what the dragon represents in fantastical tales. What are the words you think of when dragons come to mind? Fire? Passion? Mystery? Something primeval? A mythical creature? A dragon is all of that and more, but the dragon will always have meaning for each of us individually.

The dragon above was a piece of glass art created by my friend Carmen, otherwise known as “Firewoman.” I may do a post on more of her glass art some day.

I am so intrigued by dragons that I may need to start writing about them (or not). Can dragons exist in books that are not fantasy? What dragons are in our everyday lives? How do we cope?

  • TIP: In your idea notebook (you do have one, don’t you?) jot down all the ideas and meanings that come to you about dragons. How can you fit these ideas into a story?

A hui hou!

“What Genre Do You Prefer?”

Up to this point, I primarily have talked about writing fantasy in this blog, but my favorite genre is mystery. Perhaps I’ll write a little more about the mystery genre in future posts. I’ve written several mysteries and I love the puzzles they bring along with the story.

For instance, in the sequel I’m writing to Shadowy Tales, I had the culprit all figured out when I outlined the story. But try as I might, I couldn’t think of a single reason why this person would do such a crime against the victim. Back to the drawing board, as they say!

When I figured out all the signs I’d planted throughout the book, the solution came to me, so now I’m rewriting the final quarter of the book to make it clearer to me as well as to the reader. Now it all makes more sense to me, and I honestly don’t know how I missed seeing it as I wrote.

Isn’t that the way with Life? Too often we think we have it all figured out, only to realize that we have been on a different path all along. In writing a book, we can go back and edit the story. How do we edit our lives when we realize we need to make a few changes in order to keep going?

By the way, the sequel to Shadowy Tales is Washboard Tales, reminiscent of the days when women talked to each other over their washboards and talked about what was happening in their lives. Watch for it before the end of 2022.

A hui hou!

What Determines Fantasy Writing?

In psychological terms, a fantasy is something that hasn’t happened yet. We might say to a client, “What is your fantasy about this situation?” In other words, “How do you see this event coming about in the future?” or “What do you think is going to happen?”

In literary terms, we might think of fantasy in several different aspects. We may create entirely new worlds, with new financial terms, new ways of preparing and eating food, new vocabulary, new creatures that are not human the way we know humanity. The plants and geography may be totally new creations. 

Our fantasy might occur in an imaginary world of Little People, talking animals, magic and witchcraft, dragons and unicorns, vampires and werewolves. These fantasies take on whatever form our thoughts make of them, and often they are ruined when put on the movie screen.

Time can be suspended; we can be taken on the “way back” machine, or placed on fast forward to a time that hasn’t been revealed to us. We can take humans and project them into another millennium in our imaginations.

I like to think of “fantasy” as whatever I can dream up to write in a novel, whether it is in a world I know and live in today or the past, or in one that exists nowhere except in my imagination.

TIP: Go back to your favorite fantasy fiction and list everything in it that is new or different from your ordinary world here on Earth. 

A hui hou!

My World of Fantasy

Authors live in more than one world. They live in the everyday world of highway traffic, household chores, caring for children, employment, and more. Authors also live in another world of imagination, creativity, castles in the air, fantasy characters, mysteries to be solved.

When you read what I write in this blog, you will discover a few of those worlds where I live. These worlds come to me whether I am sitting at the computer or in that hypnogogic state as I fall asleep at night, as I drive to my errands throughout the day, or as I tend to my garden at home.

Everyone has these worlds, and yet, not everyone will let these worlds go beyond their thoughts. I urge you to put them down with pen/pencil on paper or in a separate file in your computer. Someday these worlds could come together to form a book that others will read. If not, you still will have developed a rich world where you can play.

Tip: Start now by jotting down the first few words that come to mind when you think of “fantasy.” Let that be the first entry in your “fantasy journal.”

A hui hou!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day This Week!

On March 17, everyone is Irish – or pretends to be! Since I have a bit o’ the Irish in me, as well as the Scottish, I take pride in the wearin’ o’ the green. I certainly don’t want to get pinched!’

The Irish world is full of fantasy and Wee Folk. We have our mischief maker, the Leprechaun; our harbinger of death, the Banshee; and the beloved faierie spirits and sprites. We have dwarfs and gnomes, pixies and elves – anything your fantasy desires.

When you are writing fantasy, these Celtic fantasy folk make wonderful characters. Each has a specific personality and behavioral trait. I’m not sure which of them is my favorite, but I know I’ll find a place for each of them in future stories.

Think “IRISH” all week! Until later, I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May the love and protection Saint Patrick can give

Be yours in abundance as long as you live.

TIP: Read all you can about the traditions and legends that surround these creatures as you begin your journey into fantasy-land.

A hui hou!