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!

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!

It’s All A Fantasy, Isn’t It?

I started this blog in 2009 when my head and my life were in a different place. At the time, I wanted to give readers an idea of what it was like to live on an acre of lava on the south end of the Big Island of Hawai`i. Over the years, I included a variety of other topics – gardening, travel, recipes, stories, and much more.

I’m in a different time, place, and head space now, and I want my blog to reflect that. So, lately, I’ve been pondering other areas for my blog. I still may update some of those old posts and use them for variety from time to time. For now, as my topics seem to dance around, I want to write more about writing.

I was looking through some of my old journals and discovered that I have been wanting time to stay home and write for several decades. Even my dreams were about writing. Now that I’ve retired from all my other careers, I finally have time to write. So here I am, writing full-time at last!

Mystery writing has filled my mind lately, and if you want to find out more about that, check out my homepage for this blog (lavalily.com). I have one mystery published (Shadowy Tales) and you can find it (pre-sale) as a regular book or an e-book on either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The sequel is on the way and may be out before the end of 2022 (Washboard Tales).

Fantasy writing also appeals to me, and other genres, as well. Whatever I write is fantasy in the sense that it is something that hasn’t happened – yet. The characters I write about are all fantasies in my mind. They live ordinary lives, yet often they become involved in extraordinary mysterious events.

In case you think you might like to start a writing career, too, I will add a tip occasionally to help get you started. Grab a notebook and just start writing. Everyone has a story inside that needs to come out so others can enjoy it.

TIP: Look around you at the everyday people in your life. Fantasize about them becoming involved in solving a small mystery. Choose someone or something and write a scene.

A hui hou!

My New Book

I have a new book out for pre-sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop (a store for BookBaby Publishing).

Shadowy Tales is a heart pounding thriller that emphasizes the danger of cultural division and social intolerance through a truly compelling mystery. This is the story of a protestant minister, Frances Anna Keeton, newly appointed by her bishop to a church in the conservative south. Arriving from a liberal environment in California, she faces immense turmoil. Frances realized she was entering into a difficult situation. But she never would imagine the danger, harm, and secrets that lie ahead.” (from the sales blurb)

“Heart pounding” is what the publisher wrote, not me! Maybe it is but sometimes it’s difficult to see that in something you write, especially when you have edited and edited and edited!

To my family, friends, and others who follow this blog, please spread the word. The sequel (Washboard Tales) will be out within the next six months, and I believe it will prove to be even better than this one.

If you want a taste of my non-fiction, check out Feral Fables, a self-help book. It is currently an e-book on Amazon, and it will be out in paperback within the next few weeks.

A hui hou!

Lucy

Poll Tax

How many of my readers lived in a state that required a poll tax? If you did, do you remember the occasion? I remember mine quite clearly. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, poll tax means “a tax of a fixed amount per person levied on adults and often linked to the right to vote.”

Seven years ago, I wrote another post about poll tax, and at the time, I had not found this little piece of paper. If you are interested, you might check it out for more information, as well as a photo of me at age 21.

How this tattered remnant of my “exemption” receipt managed to remain in my treasures for the past 67 years is a miracle. I now keep it in a sealed plastic baggy for protection.

My new husband and I had recently turned 21, the age of “maturity” where we lived in Jackson, Mississippi. We went to the appropriate office to register to vote.

In order to avoid paying the $5 poll tax, we were told to correctly answer a question about the U.S. government. My question was “Who was the first president of the United States?” There was a young black man standing at the counter next to us and his question was “What were the Federalist Papers and what did Patrick Henry have to do with them?” I don’t remember if he answered or not, but I never forgot his question.

What more needs to be said about that day? The implication was clear enough and something for reflection on this weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

A hui hou!

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