Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Gunner's Final Thoughts

This is my last post on this blog.

Saying that makes me sad. I’ve been blogging here since the beginning, back in fall of 2007, when we set off on this ship together. I still remember the message Hellion sent me, asking me to join this crew. I don’t know if I’ve ever said how happy I was, but I will now.  My oldest son was wee small, not even walking, and he was a rough baby. I was writing, but floundering with it, trying to figure out my voice, trying to regain part of myself after having a baby. It was a hard time and this ship was a lifeboat for me then.

Back then, there were only five of us and we weren’t sure what the heck we were doing.  That part hasn’t changed—we still don’t always know what we’re doing—but other things have changed. We changed web addys. We picked up new crew members along the way and some have set sail on their own. We’ve all managed milestones along our paths. Some have published. Some have gotten degrees. Some have had babies. Some have taken breaks from writing and then returned. We’ve walked through all of this together and through it all, one thing is constant: we have supported one another.

This is why I love the women on this boat so much and why I’m thankful to have shared this deck with them for so long.

When I need support with my writing, I turn to these women and they have never let me down. I have been truly blessed to make their acquaintance. And I know that while this blog may be coming to an end, our friendships will continue.

So thank you, all of you.  Thank you, Hellie, for helming this crazy endeavor. It’s been a wild ride.(O Captain, my Captain.) And thank you all who’ve come by and given your thoughts and input over the years. My life has been enriched by knowing you.

My final question to you here, just for fun. Let’s talk crystallizing moments. Tell us about one moment in your life that changed you forever. Good or bad.

Oh, and we decided there should be hotties this month.  I aim to please.


Maureen said...

Ah, will miss you, too!

I have so many moments...including my sudden cardiac death. But the weird one I'm going with...well, it's odd.

Back in 1979 or future DH was in the Navy. I was in California, he was in Rhode Island. Naval Academy Prep School. The plan was for him to transfer to Annapolis, I'd move to Maryland and wait for him to graduate... I was willing, if not enthusiastic.

Then...I read, of all things, Eric Von Daniken's book... "Chariots of the Gods?" and for some strange reason, it freaked me out. I wrote and asked him to reconsider. Come home and we'd get married...not wait 4-5 years. And he agreed.

I can't pinpoint exactly when I read the book...Probably early in '79. I can't remember why I became convinced that we should marry earlier...but it really made all the difference in my life.

quantum said...

Good luck Marnee. I wish you and your family well.
I'm going to miss your always thoughtful and insightful contributions.

My biggest life changing moment was when Mrs Q said she would have me. She always laughed at my jokes, which is one reason I loved her, and I was scared to death that she would laugh at my proposal. But with a beautiful smile she said 'I will'. It changed me for ever!

My first life changing moment was when my name appeared on the school 1st eleven selection to open the batting. I grew to 10 feet after that as I joined the schoolboy immortals, and became the object of hero worship from the younger kids at the school.

But that's two moments .... you can take your pick! LOL

Marnee Bailey said...

Mo - what an interesting story! How different your life would have been if you'd been following a military husband, don't you think? I have friends who are military spouses and their experiences--the places they've lived and having their husbands gone for long periods of time--have certainly shaped them, both as individuals and as couples.

Isn't it funny how a book or a movie can make us question something or make us determined to do something else?

Q - Awh, Q, I'll miss you too. :) I like your moments, and Mrs. Q seems like a very smart lady. :)

I remember when my husband proposed to me. Actually, I remember when I met my husband. He and I got hired at the same company, schedule to start a week apart from each other. The company was shady, though, so my DH, who started first, had already decided to leave after a few days working for that boss. After working Mon-Weds, he took off Thurs and Fri to interview two other places. He came back on Monday (the day I started), waiting for responses. But he met me and decided to give the job a little more time. The rest is history. :)

Terri Osburn said...

I am loving these stories! Marn, I'd say I'm going to miss me but we both know you can't shake me that easily. :) And right backatcha. Thanks for dealing with my bipolar emails and always supporting me.

Mo, that is such a life changing moment. You've had more than your share of those. (And one no one needs!) I can't imagine the Steph I've come to know through you as a military guy. Just doesn't fit. (And I won't mention what I was doing in 1979. *g*)

Q - That Mrs. Q is one smart cookie. But I'm sure the cricket moment is right up there! I've enjoyed all of your efforts to explain that game to us, even if we're still completely ignorant of it. Your perseverance is admirable, and your love for the sport commendable. (I expect to see you over at Hellie's blog regularly!)

Terri Osburn said...

Forgot to say, nice hottie. :)

Marnee Bailey said...

Ter - glad I can't shake you. :) I'd miss your bipolar ramblings. LOL!!!

And I tactfully skimmed over the 1979 too. hahaha!!

I agree about the cricket reference and your efforts, Q. LOL

Janga said...

One of my lifechanging moments was an accident that left me pretty banged up. I had just started the second quarter of my freshman year in college when I was struck by a taxi. I was attending the college in my hometown because my scholarships didn't cover tuition and dorm fees at the small, private, liberal arts college I had hoped to attend. But the settlement from the accident and another scholarship that came through unexpectedly allowed me to attend my first choice school by the time I was well enough to return. So I ended up spending four years at a school I loved with professors who knew their students as individuals and who fostered their talents, and I made enduring friendships with people, some of whom were very different from me, that taught me as much as I learned in classrooms. My wild child roomie especially gave me a different lens through which to view the world before she was kicked out the spring of our sophomore year.

Are you guys sure there was a 1979? I don't remember it.

Terri Osburn said...

Wait. Did Janga just suggest she might have partied her way through 1979?

That's a horrible way to earn the money, but I'm glad you got to attend the college you wanted, and had such a great experience. And that must have been one wild roommate!

irisheyes said...

My life changing moment would have to be deciding to move across the country to accept a job near my boyfriend. We had been dancing around this relationship for about 5 years and something had to give. I also decided it was time I got out into the real world to see if I had what it took. I moved 2,000 miles away from my (extremely large) family, to a strange city (Venice Beach - strange in more ways than one), in with roommates I met through the newspaper my first week out there and started a new job. I was an hour north of my boyfriend, but we were closer than we'd been in the past 5 years.

The best decision I ever made!!! I lived through an earthquake, the LA riots, and homesickness. I grew so much that year and realized most definitely that I wanted to be with my boyfriend no matter where we were. Shoot ahead twenty some odd years later - we ended up back home with my family, married with 2 great kids!

Terri Osburn said...

I love your love story, Irish. :)

I realize I never answered the question. I can think of three instances, and not all ended as well, but all changed my life. One was when I was 22 and decided to move from Pittsburgh to Nashville, knowing no one there. Met my ex within 48 hours and that led to my daughter. So though not the greatest experience all the way around, I would not have kiddo if I hadn't made that move.

Another would be moving from AR to VA. The move itself led to the most difficult and trying time of my life, but the life I've created here is far and away beyond anything I could have accomplished over there.

The third would be going back to college. It marked the beginning of what would be an upward swing for us.

Okay, I have a fourth. LOL! The night I logged into the Eloisa James bulletin board. I didn't know what a bulletin board was, at least not a virtual one, had never heard of a blog, and hadn't thought about writing in at least a decade.

And now here I am. A published author with incredible friends, many of whom I met on that bulletin board. Can't imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't gotten up the courage to comment all those years ago.

Marnee Bailey said...

Janga - talk about making lemonade out of lemons. :) I'm glad you were ultimately able to go where you wanted to go. I agree with Ter, though; that is a rough way to make money. Literally.

I had a wild child roommate who changed my perspective too. Not that I was that wild, but she was the most open-minded person I've ever met. Probably still is. I'm better because of her. :)

Irish - How exciting!! :) SOmetimes those life-changing moves are real character builders. I moved to NJ from Pittsburgh, away from family and friends, just to see if I could do it. ALmost 15 years later, I'm still here. I love NJ. I know we get a bad rap in the news, but that's not the NJ I know and love. Here in the south, it's a lot of farmlands... all near some very culturally diverse cities. And it's the coolest melting pot of people. Lucky I came too, or I'd have never met my DH either. :)

MsHellion said...

I can see this is going to be one maudlin month on the ship. The rum better be plentiful as we cry into it. :)

And I made that snide remark because Marn's blog made me cry and I lash out that way when someone makes me cry. Damn you, Nicholas Sparks!

I only agreed to let the blog go if only we kept in touch properly and encouraged each other.

Defining moments. Of course, I'd want to say Deerhunter. That's almost a cheat. *LOL* When I was 17, I had entered a contest--a writing one--and we could win a trip to DC. I had finaled by the skin of my teeth, but then we had to read the stories aloud. I hated public speaking; I was the worst ever. On top of it, I drew the number they all said not to draw: the last one. #10.

Despite all my practicing I had SUCKED every time I did it--but on the last day, my favorite high school crush, JJ, came up to me and said, "You've got this. Yours is the best story. You're going to win." I owe him everything for that little pep talk. I read my speech and it was a totally different experience, the judges I was reading to were interested and I was charming.

Then they asked me the freeform question where I was supposed to speak off the top of my head, but give this wonderful speech that I had clearly memorized but didn't look like I did. I screwed that one up horribly. I blanked--looking at the audience and freaked out--but then I pulled it together and said, "I've never been on a plane and I would really love to see the historical sites at DC--that's why you should send me."

Despite this wreck of a second speech--they chose me to go to DC. AND they liked my essay so much, they PUBLISHED it in the local newsletter for the company to share with the public. THAT was awesome.

Maureen said...

Venice Beach? Whoohoo!

Okay, what was going on in '79 that no one wants to talk about? Save Janga?

And where is Terri's story?

Maureen said...

I just realized...seeing Terri on the 21st, during our DC vacation... Might I see Marnee when in NJ for PhilCon, in November? Could be a big year for me!

Marnee Bailey said...

Hellie - *passes the tissues* Sorry about that. I was feeling a little sappy the other night. :)

And you guys need to come by my blog too. I'm at

I decided when we decided to stop here that I would pick it up over there. So, come say hi, please, so I don't get lonely all talking to myself in the corner. LOL!

It's not like most of us are going to stop blogging everyone's just going to have to visit us separately. Think of it as dropping by at a bunch of different houses for visits, instead of one big party. :)

Hells, it doesn't surprise me that you won something from something you wrote at such a young age. Frankly, you dazzle me with your wit constantly. LOL I'm waiting for the novel.

Mo - OF COURSE you're seeing me when you're in NJ for PhilCon! You can't come this close to me and dodge me. I will find you! (Seriously, that hotel is like 10 mins from my house. There's a bunch of restaurants across the street, including a Cheesecake Factory. Yummmoooo.)

Maureen said...

Oh, and yeah, Steph was on the track for being a Navy Officer from a very early age. He is colorblind and was told by his high school counselor that they'd never accept him. He kept at it, writing letters and collecting recommendations, and managed to be accepted at the Prep School...but because of his colorblindness, his progress would always be limited...

You should see the pics of him in his dress blues!

He wanted to be a Naval Architect...

Marnee Bailey said...

Why didn't I see Ter's up there?

Ter, I love yours. Not the hubs, but the daughter. And I give you so much credit for moving to places without knowing anyone. It is hard, I know. But I really think it's possible to learn so much about yourself when you have to create a life on your own somewhere. I highly recommend it to anyone. Not easy, but I think moving here was a huge moment, too.

And that's cool about Eloisa's bulletin board. :) I feel the same about Avon Fanlit. I would have never met any of you guys if not for that, I think.

Marnee Bailey said...

GO, Steph, for persevering, but leaving it behind for what he really wanted. :) Life's cool like that, making the choices that shape us, ya know?

Maureen said...

I think we're all figuring on picking up the slack on our personal blogs... I know I hope to!

PJ Ausdenmore said...

There have been many defining moments in my life, some more significant than others and a few truly life changing. The deaths of both parents, becoming a widow at 50 and coming damn close to dying myself were all events that changed my life but I'm going further back in time to another event that played a huge role in shaping the person I became.

I was an incredibly shy 14 year old with a fear of trying new things when I was encouraged by my parents to spend three months as an exchange student in Mexico. I lived in a Michigan town of 1800 people and spoke no Spanish when I boarded a plane to fly 2000+ miles to Mexico City to live with a family that, except for the father, spoke very little English. My only communication with my own family during those three months was by written letter sent via Air Mail which meant it took about two weeks to reach its destination. I cried myself to sleep my first night there because I was so homesick and I cried my last night there because I didn't want to leave.

What I learned that summer was that I was stronger than I thought, that I had more of an adventurer's soul than I ever would have imagined and that trying new things, rather than being traumatic, can lead to a wondrous experience. That summer infused me with a desire to see the world, explore new cultures, make new friends and open myself to all life has to offer. It taught me that wherever I go, there are places waiting to be explored and people waiting to be new friends.

Maureen said...

Wow, PJ...that is such a brave thing to do at 14! I cannot imagine!

And knowing you now, that makes so much sense!

Marnee Bailey said...

PJ - what an awesome story! I wanted to study abroad so badly but ultimately my parents couldn't afford it. But I loved the lesson you learned. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been. How brave of you.

As for the other big events, bless you. I've lost one parent now and it was heartbreaking. I fear the day I lose the other and can't imagine life without my DH. Don't wanna. Your strength inspires me. :)

PJ Ausdenmore said...

Terri, I'm so glad you decided to log into EJ's bulletin board that night. Glad I did too!

Terri Osburn said...

Marn, I'd never have participated in Fanlit without the board, so it all comes together!

PJ - That story completely explains the woman we know today. What an amazing experience. My daughter is a timid 14 year old, but we're working on it. No sending her to another country (can't even imagine!) but she does fly alone to her dad's now, which is major progress for her.

And I'm so glad you were on that board. :)

JulieJustJulie said...

Crystallizing moments? I've had so many in my life. But since this a writers kind of place I think that I will focus on how I , a non writer, came to hang out with Writers.
For the record ...
My Crystallizing moment had to do with a chicken. :)
The following is a mash up of old emails and notes to myself.

JulieJustJulie said...

Aaah “…yes I've been quiet. There's a story here. Isn't there always? But mostly I'm quiet because I'm just "thinking" . About where I have been. And where I should go from here.
… I honestly hadn’t thought that anyone would notice my absence on the blogs. Although even I must admit that once upon a time I was a rather prolific commenter. That was never my intention. It was just a strange sort of serendipitous accident that came to serve a purpose. A purpose that had nothing to do with writing. And everything to do with writing some thing. It’s a bit of a paradox I suppose, much like me.

JulieJustJulie said...

I do not have a background in writing, don’t consider myself a writer, and I am not comfortable writing. Writing is simply much too revealing for my Byzantine nature. Especially since I don’t write fiction and all I have is stories about “me”. Add to that the fact that I had not written anything … not a letter not even a card … since 1991. Well. I was definitely rusty on my communication skills. And yet. Here I sit with what some might call “a body of work”. “Oh yes. I don't have a WIP. I have a long winded, ongoing-never-ending Word document full of odd bits & pieces of this & that. Some of it is notes to my self. Some are posts that were never posted. Some of it is posted posts that are destined to be used in letters... At least that’s what I tell the people to whom a letter is owed... And some of it is well... the strange stuff that one recalls when they read the questions at the end of a blog... “

JulieJustJulie said...

Actually I now have several long wined rambling word documents. It’s embarrassing, really. Because I Really don’t feel comfortable putting words ‘out there”. So, How did I end up here?
To be honest, I am rather astonished. But I am not surprised. Desperate people do despite things… and God knows I was desperate.

From an email to a friend , in which I explain why I had started to Blog in the first place.

“… I hadn’t written anything in a long time. The woman who had been my daughter’s Make a Wish volunteer received the last letter that I wrote… back in 1991. The ‘letter”, which was many pages long, was a thank you note telling her how much I appreciated her support and friendship throughout my oldest daughter’s illness. After my DD death, it took me almost 4 months to write out cards and letters. After I finished that final thank you note I never wanted to write a letter again. And I didn’t, not for fifteen years. I had no reason to… not until my son was activated.
People who know me will tell you that I don’t ever send a letter. I call. Unfortunately I couldn’t just call up my son … phone service was spotty at best or non existent . My original intent was that I would send my kid a short email everyday. No long letters. But there was problem and all email communications were cut. Still, I must tell you that even then I wasn’t too worried about having to write. I figured that Everyone else would be sending my son so many letters that he’d never noticed that mine where short & sporadic.
About a month into his deployment my kid called. He requested that all letters from friends and family be directed once a month through me. OMG. That’s when it hit me. I would have to write a real letter. One that was wordy and witty and worthy of reading. I cursed the fates. Now you writers are probably saying “Gosh Julie, what’s the big deal? Its just writing!” True. But, It wasn’t so much the writing that bothered me. It was the irony of the situation. That having another one of my children’s life in peril and there I was having to Write AGAIN? So what did I do? I looked for a book recommendation on line, something to take my mind off of things. I was wandering around Teresa Medeiros author site when I spotted It. It being a funky looking chicken thingie. I clicked on it and the rest is history. Like many of you here I wasn’t familiar with blogs and boards. Trying see WTH I was actually typing with that 7 point font was a challenge let me tell you. Sure, I knew that I was “rusty’ and I hadn’t had any sort of writing training to begin with. But the Writers were kind. And it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe this blogging thingie was just what I needed. Squawk radio became my English 101 class. They asked questions. I answered. It was good practice. And by forcing myself to post my answers online I forced myself to put some effort into my post. You know, no effort equals an embarrassingly bad bit of writing. There’s nothing quite as motivating as the risk of public humiliation! Ha. I have no doubt that some…heck probably all of my first posts showed my discomfort with writing…and grammar, spelling, sentence structure…. It did get easier as time went on.. Figuring out how to use the blogger program helped! So did figuring out how to make the screen Really Big, so I could see what the heck I was doing. In the end I tried to forget that I was writing and I just pretended that I was having a conversation with someone.
Back then I seemed to me that many of the people who posted on writers’ blogs were trying to get “discovered”. In my case I was just trying to “discover’ some ideas for letters for my son.

JulieJustJulie said...

Take care my dear Pirates, its been quite a journey ... Watching some of you achieve your goals, others are so close. Good luck TO ALL OF YOU. I WILL BE WATCHING YOU ALL on your personal web pages. Posting on those rare occasions when I actually have something post worthy. Yes please, do keep in touch with me. And I will keep in touch with you.
Just don't expect no blanken letter ...