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Leaving something of yourself on Earth

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As I get older I realize I don’t have many years left.  It is hard to believe that someday you will cease to exist.  How can that be, when you’ve existed all these years?  Will it be like you are sleeping? Or will it be like a dream that becomes your new reality. I have been asking myself these questions for a long time, and the answers have eluded me (thank goodness for that!). But I’ve also tried to leave something of worth behind me.  Over the years, I enjoyed many crafts and part of the reason is that I am attempting to give my children and the world something to remember me by.  I painted pictures, quilted, painted ceramics, and conducted genealogy research.  Each form of expression gave me some peace―some feeling of leaving something besides my wonderful children behind me on this Earth.

I do not intend for this column to be depressing. But I see no reason not to cope with the reality that someday we will no longer exist—a concept most people who are 86 grapple with.  Will you be forgotten as another generation arrives or have you left something behind that will say “I was here”?  I feel this way about my writing as well.  I am proud to have two books and several stories published; I like thinking that someone might read these works fifty years from now and get pleasure from or entertainment from the words. My writing gives me satisfaction that I have put part of me into the future—I created characters, plots and stories that will allow someone to get lost in my creations for a time.

Although I believe in God and in Heaven, it is very difficult to grasp what it will be like.  How will we recognize loved ones who have gone before us?  How is there space up there for all of us?  Some might say these are useless questions: We will find the answers when it’s our time to go.  Still, the thought of no longer existing as a person in this reality is a hard one to grasp.

My daughter Genilee may have a fit with my writing a column that seems so glum.  I remember well when my own mother talked about death, and I told her the same thing my children would say to me: “Don’t talk about it. I don’t want to hear it.”

I understand where they are coming from, and yet―here I am talking about it on the Internet.  I used to hate the subject as well. But as I approach my 90th year, I can’t help but be curious.  And I’d like to hear from my fellow writers, readers and friends. How do you feel about the subject―deathDo any of you have trouble coming to grips with the fact someday you will no longer exist on Earth?

Regardless of whether I hear from anyone, I promise to write my next column on a more cheerful topic.  And to my friends: don’t worry. I am actually not depressed and I apologize if I’ve made you think about something you don’t want to face right now. Please know that I am quite content with my life.  I hope you are, too.

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s a Community Thing …

Several significant events happened since mom wrote the last blog that illustrate the rewards of being an author:

I flipped up the front page of my hometown newspaper, The Edgerton Earth, to see a bottom page spread covering our Twist of Fate book series. People who know me really well understand why that’s such a thrill. When your roots are firmly entrenched in a small town, you measure much of what happens in your life against the values you grew up with … in my life (and mom and dad’s for that matter), many of those values came from close interaction with our neighbors, classmates, friends in Edgerton. It’s true what they say about small towns: everyone knows your business. But it’s also true that when Earth logopeople need help or support, there is usually some other resident in town who comes to their aid (Yep, there’s Verna again … and the many small things Doug and Becky Mavis did for classmate Steve come to mind.). I loved growing up in Edgerton, and it will always be part of who I am and part of my writing. Since dad was the editor of The Edgerton Earth for many years and mom was a columnist as well as business manager, the town’s paper is in my blood. Current editor Cindy Thiel did a great job of capturing what it’s been like to become a writing family.CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE

Mom and I also met a week ago with the Scarlett Hatter’s book club in Woodbridge. Their candid comments and generous praise for the story were inspiring and eye-opening. I was heartened to hear that no one knew for sure who the villain was. And I was glad to get some feedback that will help us craft future stories. But even more

scarlett hatters

than that, the joie de vivre of that group of ladies, who meet frequently to give each other support and make each other laugh, is encouraging. Like living in a small town, they have found a community in each other, and they are lucky to have that shared bond.

Finally, Twist of Fate has become Spectacle Publishing Media Group’s number one seller! Thanks to our readers for making our dreams come true.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Wonderful World of Readers

I’m at a business convention in Orlando, Florida this week, which is not my favorite place to be. I have nothing against the city: it’s family paradise. But many visits to Disney’s kingdoms and Universal’s fantasies have left this mom with a deep desire to visit almost any city but Orlando when I’m wearing my professional hat.

Still, this trip, like the smaller trips to the local grocery, post office, neighborhood restaurant, almost anywhere back home, have brought the wonder of publishing into clearer focus. I tried not to use job time to market Twist of Fate. To do so would be unprofessional in my view—I’m at this convention to learn how to write about a housing-related product that helps to pay my bills. However, although this is a fairly new client (I’ve been doing their magazine one year), I have already developed friendships with some of the people in this industry, and when they ask me what’s new in my world, I tell them.

And I’ve gotten that same wondrous look. “You’ve published a BOOK? When did you find time? What’s it about? How can I get a copy?”
One woman in particular (yes, it’s you, Mary) was very supportive and proud of what I’ve done. I could see that she wasn’t lying when she told me it was an inspiring accomplishment. It’s people like Mary that make the hours and hours of rewrites, the months of waiting for something to happen once the book has left your hands, the countless stories from authors who have never made a dime—insignificant.

I should understand this – how many times have I told my talented musician brother Mark that, while he is not making a living by playing his many instruments – he has truly accomplished something in his life by pursuing what he loves. There are so many people out there that don’t have that opportunity or that never even discover what passions lie within.

To those of you who are authors like mom and I, this picture, which was taken at our most recent book signing (thanks to Potomac Place in Woodbridge!), is why we do this.
The woman purchasing our book is a reader, and readers are what drive authors. She was very excited to meet a creator of the words that entertain her—that take her mind to places of adventure. To her, that’s art. And that makes it all worthwhile.book signing for january 2013

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Great Beginnings!!

best mom meMom and I want to personally thank Victoria Park and its residents for the support shown at our first book signing. We had many viaitors and buyers for our book and the first book by published children’s author Allyn Stotz. Many of the residents then sat in the recreation room with us and kept us company and read our book while they shared the homemade cookies my brother Mark and my daughter Christina made for the event.other action resident

We appreciate not only your financial support but the time you took to encourage us, tell us how proud you are of your fellow resident and the effort to keep these first-time authors entertained! It was well worth a few cookies!!good action residents

F. Sharon Swope and Genilee Swope Parente

And mom adds:

Our first book signing is over, and we deem it a great success – we sold 18 books of “Twist of Fate” and 5 books written by the youngest Swope daughter (Allyn Stotz – The Pea in Peanut Butter). We learned a few things while doing this first book signing. First, don’t get in a stew if the books haven’t arrived as soon as you expected them. Because of the holidays, ours finally arrived the Friday before our book signing on Monday morning. Our thanks go to Spectacle, our publisher for pushing to get them here in time. We had decided to go ahead with the signing even if the books didn’t arrive – just take orders. But the books came, and our worry was all for naught.
Second, put a piece of cardboard between receipt slips. This we didn’t do, and the receipts are almost impossible to read as the pen went through to the next row of receipts. It’s a mess, to say the least. Still, two minor hiccups in a major success don’t mean much!
We want to thank all who came and shared our big day with us, as well as our wonderful publisher and the marketing team, and Victoria Park for hosting the signing. We’re ready to go at it again!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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