Archive for May, 2012

Vote for Your Favorite May “My Gutsy Story” + Interview

From May 31st- June 13th midnight, PST, you can vote for your favorite May 2012, “My Gutsy Story.”

To VOTE, please go to the poll on the right  side of this post. You will find it on the sidebar listing the names of all 4 “My Gutsy Story,” authors.

Here are the 4 stories. Only ONE vote per person.

1). Teresa Wendel

Teresa Wendel

Teresa proves that with passion, you can accomplish whatever you’ve set your mind to overcome. I enjoyed her story and admire women who can fix things, whether at home, or with their car. As she said herself, “Not bad for a woman who won’t push the buttons on a tv clicker, use a cell phone, or connect to the Internet.”

2). Kathleen Pooler

Kathleen Pooler

Kathleen shares her emotional story of the love a mother has for her son, no matter what.  There are many parents who can relate to problem teenagers, even though the severity of the situation varies considerably. Kathleen made us realize that “tough love” is often the only approach, and how difficult it is for parents to carry through with this process.

3). Siv Maria Ottem

Siv wrote a beautiful story with a happy ending. What amazes me is how Facebook has connected so many people who may never have found each other. Her personal story offers hope to those searching for relatives or their adoptive parents.

 

4). Marcia Sargent

Marcia’s story shows how overcoming a difficult childhood brought out the “hero” in her rather than the liar and a procrastinator of her early childhood years. I admire how she chose to overcome her own fears and doubts about teaching, and turned them into a positive way to make children strive to work hard and attain success in life.

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The winner will be announced on June 14th. Winner gets to pick their prize from our 14 sponsors.

Good Luck to all of you. Your stories are amazing and inspiring. Please share these stories with friends and fellow writers and bloggers by clicking on the SHARE links below.

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Do you have a “My Gutsy Story” you’d like to share?

To submit your own, “My Gutsy Story” you can find all the information, and our sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here.

Please share the “My Gutsy Story” series with others on Twitter using the #MyGutsyStory. Thank you.

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SONIA’S PODCAST INTERVIEW ON CASTAWAY AUTHOR

Interview on Felicity Lennie’s blog

Felicity Lennie is from the U.K and she has a fascinating project on her blog. She interviews authors and her theme is “Castaway Author.” You can read her questions and my answers on the link. Felicity interviews authors weekly and if you’re interested, I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you.

“My Gutsy Story” by Marcia Sargent

For me, living a gutsy life involved not one turning point, but rather a series of choices that led me on a more difficult path. Some people want to be liked, or rich, or powerful or famous. I’ve always wanted to do the right thing.

Life as a child gave me very little power in a house of an ogre of a father and a ghostlike mother. I learned to lie from my mother as a way to survive my father’s anger and watched her avoid consequences as long as possible.

At the same time I read voraciously all fairytales and myths.  Heroes in fairytales are brave and kind, intelligent and honest. They go forth in life and find the magic to slay the dragons, trick the evil witch, and find the golden apples to save the ones they love. Love colored the landscape of my internal world. Finding the magic in the world around me brightened the colors. Recognizing the good in people and avoiding evil ones remains essential to this day. A liar and a procrastinator were not who I wanted to be. I knew I was meant to be a hero.

School offered me an escape from the ogre’s world and eventually I escaped to college, not the expected University of California, but rather a private college half a day away from home. There I learned truth was a gift. The sky did not fall when I told my professors the real story behind my late work or told my friends I didn’t have the money to go to a party or told them what I felt about life. The truth gave them an opportunity to make an informed decision about consequences and friendships.

After graduation, University of the Pacific offered two choices for student teaching: five months in Stockton/Lodi schools or the Collegio Americano in Mexico City. I spoke French but chose Mexico.

Marcia's Wedding

I didn’t believe in marriage, but found my Prince Charming and chose to marry in spite of my fears.  He wanted children. I feared becoming an ogre or a ghost. I loved him and chose to believe we could raise kids together who would make the world a better place. We had three children. Children do not understand procrastination. It is counter-productive to say to a baby, “Wait another hour or so and I’ll feed you–or change you–or put you down–or pick you up.”

Marcia Sargent with first child

My mother raised six children, cooked meals regularly for fifteen to twenty people, was President of the National Assistance League and Junior Women’s Club, but did not want to work. Watching my ogre dad work for 37 years for a schizophrenic boss reinforced work as a bad thing. I joked about being a kept woman, not realizing the expectations of my parents kept me in prison.

After thirteen years of marriage, I was offered a job teaching at my children’s private school in Hawaii. Work? Me? I didn’t know how. I couldn’t. I shouldn’t. They’ll discover I don’t know what I’m doing.

I said yes.

Marcia Sargent 1st class in Hawaii

That yes changed my life. I loved making my own money. I loved going to school everyday. I loved the kids. I still worried they’d discover I wasn’t smart, capable, competent. I did my best to make each day magic. I read teaching books and tried different techniques on my students. I gathered my cohorts of good and learned how to slay the monsters of ignorance. And somewhere along the way I discovered I had the power to change lives, to show the children how to believe in their own magic and how to slay their own dragons.

We moved back to California. After fifteen years out of college, to continue teaching I needed to pass the California Test of Basic Skills and the National Teacher’s Exam. I knew I’d flunk them and I knew I couldn’t flunk if I wanted to work as a teacher. Girding my loins, I studied the practice exams. I studied what I didn’t know. I passed the CTBS with a perfect score and a 99% on the NTE.

Marcia Sargent First class in California

Did I know how to teach Early Age Kindergarten? No. I learned how from books and other teachers. I can dance my sillies out with the best of them. Did I know how to teach third grade? No. I leapt in and learned. Did I know how to teach sixth grade? Could I handle thirty-five twelve-year-olds? No. But I listened to other teachers and took classes on classroom discipline. I made the students work and be responsible and to challenge themselves.

Being the fun teacher, the nice teacher would have been easy. That would not help the students on their hero’s journey. Parents said to me, “My student is an A student. If you were a good teacher she would get A’s.” I told them I didn’t give A’s. They had to earn them. They’d complain to my principal. I’d defend myself, and my right to expect excellence. My students learned they could earn A’s, they could get their work in on time and they could have fun working hard. We lived history–we ate, drank, sang ancient Greece and China.

After almost twenty years as a teacher, an errant soccer ball, a broken neck, two surgeries and constant migraines challenged my life. My choice seemed clear: keep on teaching and die early, or quit and find something else to do.

Marcia Sargent Book Signing

I quit. Since then I have written and published three books, been to nine major writing conferences, learned about the publishing industry, had an agent, decided to leave my agent, kept learning how to revise, learned how to market my books and myself.

My gutsy life has been in little decisions on a hero’s journey. I am brave even when frightened; I am honest even when lies would be easier; I am kind because life is full of witches and demons. I believe in magic–especially the magic of doing the right thing.

Marcia Sargent Bio:

A Marine fighter pilot’s wife from 1975 until 1987, Marcia observed and interacted with military aviators and their spouses when they still had a great time and damned the consequences. When her husband “Snatch” retired back to Southern California, she issued imperatives in her elementary school classrooms and worked as a social studies and language arts mentor for Saddleback Unified School District. A University of California-Irvine Writing Fellow, she wrote the Interact (Social Studies School Service) simulations CHINA and EGYPT, WING WIFE: HOW TO BE MARRIED TO A MARINE FIGHTER PILOT, and two YA fantasy/adventure books: NIGHT MONSTERS and DAY MONSTERS.

Marcia Sargent Night Monsters book cover

She is the mother of three grown girls and Nana to five children all living in Colorado. She never worries when babysitting, only wishes they lived closer.

When not writing, she now walks the sand in Laguna Beach with her husband and a golden retriever named Sir Lancelot. Her cat named Snicklefritz waits at home since he does not like immersion in salt water.
You can view Marcia’s website and her blog.  Join her on Twitter
and Facebook or LinkedIn.

Sonia Says: Marcia, your story truly shows how overcoming your difficult childhood brought out the “hero” in you, rather than the liar and a procrastinator of your early childhood days. I admire how you chose to overcome your own fears and doubts about teaching, and turned them into a positive way to make children strive to work hard and attain success in life. Sounds like you were an excellent teacher, and now you’ve written three books. Amazing!

Do you have a “My Gutsy Story” you’d like to share?

To submit your own, “My Gutsy Story” you can find all the information, and our sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here.

Please share the “My Gutsy Story” series with others. Thanks.

Blogging is like online dating: you connect and meet in person.

 Muriel and Sonia

Have you ever felt like you know more about your online friends  than your neighbors?

Muriel and I arranged to meet at the Paddington station in London, 6000 miles from Orange County,California, where I live.

“I’ll be wearing a red coat,” she said.

“I’ll be wearing a fuschia jacket,” I replied, knowing full well that we’d find one another as we’ve seen photos on our respective  blogs. In fact, Muriel, submitted a “My Gutsy Story” and I’ve enjoyed her sense of humor. She loves to analyze the Brits from her own French background and makes fun of herself, her accent, and often mentions what her British-raised daughters say about their French mum.

Even without our colored coats and jackets, we would have found one another when I got off the train. Muriel looked exactly as she did on her blog and off we headed to “Little Venice” for lunch.

Muriel in Little Venice, London

Muriel picked an Italian restaurant overlooking the canals. It was 11:40 a.m., and the restaurant was empty. How nice, I thought, we could get any table we wanted until the waiter said, “Sorry, we don’t open for another twenty minutes.”

Sonia in front of a small houseboat in Little venice, London

I’d forgotten the less flexible hours for lunch and dinner in Paris and London restaurants.

“Let’s have a coffee at Starbucks,” Muriel suggested as it was right next door. Apparently coffees are automatically served in ceramic cups, not paper ones, when you say, it’s for here. The Brits and French prefer the real cup experience, and so do I. Getting cream in your coffee does not appear to be common though. Whenever I asked for it at Starbucks in Paris or London, they offered whipped cream, not half and half. It seems to be hidden in the back kitchen somewhere.

We were both eager to talk about blogging and writing, and Muriel shared her ideas about a book she’d like to write. I thought she should write a memoir about life in the U.K. as seen through the  eyes of a French woman. I know she has numerous stories and themes on her blog: FrenchYummyMummy, and these funny stories would make a great memoir.

 

Muriel Demarcus

How far have you traveled to meet a blogger friend?

 

Meeting Blogger friends

 

Blogging-Social Media, People, Travel & Adventure  |  Tags: ,

“My Gutsy Story” by Siv Maria Ottem

My story starts 35 years ago after I had given my son up for adoption. The years in between then and now have left me searching for part of an empty hole in my heart. I tried to fill this empty hole with something else or someone else over and over again. The pain of such loss never goes away no matter how hard you try to replace or ignore it. It is true that the heart can be broken and the soul can be ripped in two and torn. When I left my newborn son in the arms of a stranger I could only hope that the choices others made for me were the right ones. His tiny fingers curled around mine for one last time and holding my breath, I tried to hold back the tears and failed. I learned then that common sense can be cruel. I tried not to look back as I left the hospital but I realize now that I have never stopped.

Years went by and time healed many scars. Yet, every now and then a small blond haired boy, a certain song, or a faint smell of something familiar would open that scar causing me to bleed again. That is when I would climb into that empty hole and realize just how alone I was. Lucky for me there has always been someone there to help pull me out again.

Fate had been kind to me. I had 3 beautiful and healthy children as well as a loving husband.  The little blond haired boy had become a man. The song was all but forgotten, yet there was still a faint smell of something familiar that hung in the air. I tried not to dwell on this. I stopped myself whenever I started to wonder where he was, what he was doing and if he was happy.

On the other side of the world there was a young man who also felt a missing part of his life. His search for me began years ago while his parents were still alive. He never gave up hope, and he never stopped trying. Armed with just the name of an Adoption Agency and a helpful social worker his search was made easier because of Facebook.  One year ago on May 10th, 2011 that social worker found me, contacted me and put the two of us in touch with each other.

 

Siv Maria Ottem and her son

Our first meeting at the airport on my birthday, October 9, 2011

May happens to be an amazing month for me. Do you have a certain month where for some unexplained reason, life grabs you and makes you pay attention? May is that month for me. Maybe my mother, who was born in May, genetically imprinted this month for future events into my DNA. I married my husband in May, my youngest son was born in May, and two children who were lost to me found me once again, in the month of May. Two years ago on May 12th my daughter, who I lost through a messy divorce years ago, found me on Facebook. You cannot possibly imagine the effect this has had on my life and the life of my family. In one year, I gained two more children, two grandchildren, a son in law and various new friends including the estranged father of my first son (who I found on Facebook). My husband became a step-father, my mother a great grandmother, and all my children gained more siblings. My son, who lost both his adoptive parents and had no siblings, suddenly had a huge family with grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins. I often think how overwhelming this must be for him, and how many more surprises are still in store for all of us.

Siv Maria Ottem and her adult children

The three of us, once lost then found

My youngest daughter traveled to the states last summer from Norway to meet both her sister and older brother for the first time. I traveled there soon after and got to spend time with both of them; I also got to meet my grandchildren for the first time. There have been a lot of first times for everyone and this summer there will be even more. My son is coming to visit us and finally meet more members of his family.

We all connected through Facebook and keep in touch using Skype. My son learned a lot about me before we even had the chance to talk. He found my blog “Been there, done that” on Facebook, went there and read all about me and my life. Questions he has asked himself his entire life were answered in one tiny corner of cyberspace called “Blogger”.

One year ago I got out of bed and started the day with ordinary expectations. When I went to bed the night he found me, I realized that my expectations would never be ordinary again. How could they be? In one year I had given birth to two grown children, and the funny thing is … No matter how grown up they may be, they still feel like— my babies to me.

All of us can get lost, but thankfully we can also be found.

Siv Maria Ottem Bio:

After living abroad for over 20 years I still feel American, and although I am over 50 I still feel like a teen-ager. What started out as a messy divorce, led to a vacation and turned into a new life.  After my vacation, I returned to Minnesota, packed my bags and moved to Norway. Working mostly in the travel or health industry, my passion has always been writing. Living here among Trolls has inspired me to write about them, and the culture surrounding them. Currently I am working on a fantasy novel about a young woman who discovers a secret that throws her into a world of “Gods and Fairy tales.” One of my short stories should be published in a fantasy anthology this fall.

Blog: Been there, done thatTweeterLinkedinFacebookGoogle+ e-mail

Sonia Says:

What a beautiful story with such a happy ending. What amazes me is how Facebook has connected so many people who may never have found each other. Thanks for sharing your personal story which offers hope to those searching for relatives or their adoptive parents.

Winner of the April “My Gutsy Story” contest

Esther Goodman

 

Greetings from Paris, where I’m announcing the WINNER of the APRIL “My Gutsy Story” contest.

 

 

Esther Goodman

1st place: “Felicitations en francais” Congratulations to Esther Goodman, winner of the April 2012, “My Gutsy Story” contest. In her post, Esther wrote about her Holocaust Revelations. “The journey I took gathering and researching information world wide, and the relationships I formed trying to connect the dots to my mother’s past.”

Your wonderful fans all voted to support you. Well Done Esther.

Keren-Niccole Bunnell

2nd place:Keren-Nicocole Bunnell. Congratulations Keren. You are truly a hero for taking care of your younger siblings, after your parents passed. Not only did you help them grow up, but you also have an extremely talented family of musicians.

 

JoAnn Abraham

3rd Place: JoAnn Abraham wrote a story which I’m sure will help others who suffer from a fear of heights, escalators, boat ramps and more. The photo you submitted is proof that you have overcome one of your fears. Well done and thanks for submitting.

Rebecca Hall

 4th place: Rebecca Hall  is the perfect example of someone who has chosen to follow her passion, and not  feel that she is “stuck” in a place or a job she  doesn’t like. Good for her for finding happiness somewhere other than where she was born and raised, despite what her family and friends may think.

 

Ritchie White

5th place: Richard White AKA Shotgun Bo Rivers, shared his enthusiasm for rodeo with us, and how his amazing eight-second ride, impacted his life. Richard also served in the U.S. Armed forces.

You are all WINNERS, with such amazing writing and stories to share. Thank you for participating, and to all VOTERS for taking part.

Our WINNER Esther Goodman  gets to select his prize from our new list of SPONSORS,

Do you have a “My Gutsy Story” you’d like to share?

To submit your own, “My Gutsy Story” you can find all the information, and our sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here.

Two April stories are up. So far we have Teresa Wendel’s  “My Gutsy Story” and Kathleen Pooler’s, “My Gutsy Story.”

Please share the “My Gutsy Story” series with others. Thanks.

 

“My Gutsy Story” by Kathleen Pooler

 

Choices and Chances

            Sitting by the bay window on that sunny September day in 1989 soon after we moved from Missouri to Cobleskill, New York, I stared out into the afternoon.  I was suspended in a state of pain and worry as I dutifully watched and waited for my fourteen-year old son, Brian, hoping that my anxiety was unjustified. Being a single parent of two teenagers heightened my sense of loneliness and helplessness. I recalled the times I spent waiting for Jim at the dining room window when I was pregnant with Brian. The painful memory repeated itself in brazen detail. I wanted to turn the channel and make it go away. The flashback held me hostage as I sat motionless and scared waiting for the movie I didn’t want to watch.

Jolted from my trance by the rattling at the back door, I walked into the kitchen to find Brian opening the door with more caution than seemed necessary.

“Hey, Mom, what’s up?” he said, staring at me through glassy eyes as he swayed on unsteady feet. It was painfully reminiscent of his father’s look thirteen years before which had precipitated my flight from the marriage. Brian was eighteen months old and his older sister, Leigh Ann, was three when I began my life as a single parent.

He stumbled, reeled and fell on the floor at my feet as I looked on in horror and disbelief. His dark eyes, flashing and blazing from some unknown odorless substance, were fixed somewhere beyond me while I was locked in the reality of the moment. A searing pain in its rawest form pierced me, sending my heavy heart crashing down onto my churning stomach.  The panic tried to escape as I struggled to find my next breath.

“No, Brian, please no, not this,” I cried, deep, wracking sobs that left me weak and shattered.

My handsome and sensitive young son, developing and growing into manhood, was slipping away.

Those eyes. That moment. Those eyes that drew me in and captured my heart all those years ago.

I flashed back to a happier day when he was four years old. Intense and thoughtful, he was always concerned about the little things in his world, like his little neighborhood playmates. One summer day after giving him a Popsicle, I snapped a picture of him at the end of the driveway sharing it with  his three year old playmate, Becky. Two tykes taking turns licking the dripping orange frozen treat became a precious moment in time etched in my mind and heart.

But the scene before me in 1989 would signal the beginning of many episodic nights of terror as I waited and wondered where Brian was; wondered if he was dead or alive for nearly twenty years to come. I hung tightly to the reins of that young stallion on the first ride of spring. I was spiraling out of control as well, hanging on in nerve-wracking, futile attempts to maintain my own control. The lessons came slowly as I opened up in Alanon meetings.  Loving veterans of alcohol battles listened and consoled as I spewed out floods of tears and pleas of desperation. They helped me to learn to navigate the mine fields of an alcoholic loved one’s life.

One snowy March night in 2002 at 2:00 AM a loud tapping at our front door awakened my new husband, Wayne and me from our sleep. We knew from recent phone calls that Brian had relapsed. Looking at each other through foggy eyes, we tried to focus while slowly arising to answer the door as a sense of dread hung over us. Through the glass panel at the side of the door, I saw Brian’s tall, dark outline against the soft, fluffy flakes of snow that were coating the trees behind him.

Slowly opening the door, I looked into his dark eyes. They always told me the story. I watched him trying to act normal, shifting his position in awkward attempts to act sober. His breath was stale, but he was neatly groomed in jeans, a sweater and a navy pea coat. He smelled of Aramis cologne.

“Hey, Mom.” He said, greeting me casually as if he had just run into me in the grocery store. I hadn’t seen him since Christmas.

“Brian,” I asked, shaking my head and closing the door as he stepped inside, “what are you doing here?”

“I just drive to Cobleskill. I stopped to see Coach Collins earlier at the school then just hung out with Justin.” He paused briefly,

“ Mom, I need a place to stay tonight.”

“You drove three hours from Connecticut to Cobleskill at this hour?”

“What’s wrong with that?” he answered with an escalating edgy tone.

“You’re not staying, Brian,” Wayne said, as he stood behind me in the hallway.

Brian bristled in response, looking down at the floor with his hands in his jean pockets. Then he fixed his angry glare on me.

Sitting on the couch, I wrapped my arms together and leaned forward on my lap. I knew Wayne was right but how could I turn my only son back out into that snowy night without a place to stay?

Rocking back and forth in silence, I watched Brian stalling for time in the doorway.

After a few moments that felt endless, I walked over to him. Taking a deep breath, I put my arms around his waist and out came the words I knew I had to say:

“If anyone knows how to get help, B, you do. I love you very much. Now go do what you know you need to do.”

As I watched him walk out into that snowy night to his car, I wondered if I would ever see him alive again.

It was my darkest moment; my only choice and his only chance.

It got worse before it got better but I often think of that night as the time I truly let go. Ten years later, Brian is sober. I believe with all my heart that this decision saved his life.

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Kathleen Pooler’s Bio:

            Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a recently retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories. She lives with her husband, Wayne on the 130-acre farm at the foothills of the Adirondacks in Eastern New York State where his grandfather used to have a dairy farm. Wayne grows organic vegetables on four of those acres and sells them at the local farmer’s market. Their seven grandsons (3-9) are a constant source of joy to them.

            She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com and can be found on Twitter @kathypooler and on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ at Kathleen Pooler.

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Sonia Says:  Kathleen, what an emotional story of the love a mother has for her son, no matter what.  There are many parents who can relate to problem teenagers, even though the severity of the situation varies considerably. You made us realize that “tough love” is often the only approach, and how difficult it is for parents to carry through with this process. Your story reminded me of A Beautiful Boy by David Sheff. I’m sure you read his memoir. I cannot wait to read your memoir when it is published.

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Please Vote for your favorite April “My Gutsy Story” HERE

April’s winner will be announced on May 17th, from Paris, where I shall be landing on May 16th. The winner gets to pick his/her prize from our 14 sponsors.

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Do you have a “My Gutsy Story” you’d like to share?

To submit your own, “My Gutsy Story” you can find all the information, and our sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here.

Check out our wonderful sponsors and GM West, has agreed to continue sponsoring the “My Gutsy Story” series.

Please share the “My Gutsy Story” series with others on Twitter using the #MyGutsyStory. Thank you.

 

Gutsy Book Buzz Update on Reviews

Sonia , San Juan Capistrano, California

 

CLICK ON MY PODCAST

 

I have a short update on my podcast below. I shall offer a free copy of my ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) or a pdf version if you prefer, to the first 25 bloggers who agree to write a review. If you’re interested in participating, please either leave a comment below, and/or send me your e-mail address and I’ll be in touch. My e-mail is sonia@soniamarsh.com

Any comments or things you’d like to discuss?

Come visit GIP (Gutsy Indie Publishers) on Facebook if you want help deciding how to publish, how to promote, editorial help, or whatever else you’re interested in regarding writing.

Please keep voting for your favorite “My Gutsy Story” of the month of April.

Don’t forget you can always submit your own “My Gutsy Story” and learn more here.

AU REVOIR! Photos from Paris and London coming soon

 

People, Writing & Work  |  Tags:

“My Gutsy Story” by Teresa Wendel

 

 “Not too many women drive cars like this,” my husband Kurt noted as I admired the vehicle from a distance.

The classic ’68 Nova with a hand-lettered “For Sale” sign in the window sported a custom paint job. It came equipped with wide tires and shiny wheels. Sidling up to the car, I opened the driver’s door. The interior was upholstered in slippery black vinyl. It had a new headliner. I slid into the driver’s seat, ran my hand across the dash, and fingered the radio dial. There aren’t many gadgets on the dashboard of a ’68 Nova, and I liked that. Cruise control makes me feel out-of-control. So do windshield wipers with three different speeds. Ditto for warning lights that start flashing when any little thing goes wrong. Buttons and switches make me nervous.

Teresa Wendel's Supernova

Kurt opened the passenger door and took a seat. Feigning indifference but barely hiding his excitement nonetheless, he reached into the glove box and handed me the title. That brawny car belonged to me! I immediately turned the key, clicked on the blinker, and merged into traffic. Four smoking tires left skid marks across the intersection when I gunned the engine and popped the clutch after stalling at the light. Despite that humiliation, the Nova gave me a feeling of complete emancipation. I quickly scanned the street ahead for law enforcement, then exceeded the speed limit for the first time in my life.

*     *     *

The Nova had been in my possession for less than a week when I grazed the garbage can in our driveway and broke the driver’s side mirror. As the tinkle of broken glass assailed my eardrums, I beat my fists on the steering wheel. It wasn’t the damage to my exquisite car that had provoked such anguish. It was the broken mirror that made me moan. At my age, I didn’t need seven years of bad luck.

Hoping to avoid further mishaps, I drove with exaggerated caution along untrafficked back streets and alleys when I headed out to the auto parts store. Despite my safe arrival, I pushed open the door with shaking hands. As I entered the daunting domain of male mechanics, the manly aroma of car care products, gadgets, and tools tickled my nose. Although totally out of my realm, I commenced to cruise the aisles.

When a clerk at last approached me, I bewailed the events of my ill-omened day and bemoaned the adverse vibes provoked by my broken side mirror. “Do you suppose those seven years of bad luck will be revoked once the car mirror’s fixed?” I asked.

He looked at me through his grimy eyeglasses. “Lady, I’m a parts clerk–not a fortuneteller.” After glancing out the window and surveying my pretty car, he shook his head, plucked a mirror from a rack, and plunked it on the counter. He regarded the “designed for a woman” tool kit that I had snagged from a display near the till with disdain before passing it over the scanner.

The surly clerk’s attitude left me feeling like a car with four flat tires. When he slammed the till’s drawer closed with a flick of a grease-smudged thumb, I snatched up my bag and hurried out the door.

*     *     *

I stared at the side mirror for three days before I opened the box that enclosed it. The instructions, printed in “male-speak,” left me muddled and confused. Still, the feminine tool kit that I had purchased begged to be handled. The grips on the screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers were pastel pink.

Pulling on a pair of Kurt’s dirty coveralls to give me inspiration, I jabbed and poked at the broken mirror with a screwdriver for an hour before successfully removing it and fastening on the new one. As long as I was at it, I detached a door panel and tinkered with a sticky latch. I even figured out how to open the hood. Mindful that metal parts and wires had the potential to jolt me, I cautiously pulled out the dipstick. The oil was low, so I added a quart. That simple act gave me a feeling of pride. In all the years that I had driven, I’d never once had the courage to check the fluids in the family car.

Feeling cocky and reckless, I smudged a dab of grease across my left cheek to give me credibility, finger-combed my hair, applied a fresh layer of lipstick, then roared down to the library to check out a book on car repair. The bulky manual weighed at least five hundred pounds. I tucked it under my arm and staggered to the check-out counter.

By the time Kurt had arrived home from work some hours later, I had replaced a few cracked hoses and cleaned up the battery cables. Owning a vehicle is so empowering! I wiped the grease off my cheek with a grimy shop rag before giving my man a hug.

“Not bad for a woman who won’t push the buttons on a tv clicker, use a cell phone, or connect to the Internet,” Kurt acknowledged after I detailed the events of my day.

“You better watch out, buster. I’m just getting started.” I patted the hood of my ’68 Nova, then polished off a grease mark with the cuff of my coveralls. “This car’s getting a brake job tomorrow.”

Kurt raised his eyebrows skeptically, but I gave him a wicked smile.

“Haven’t you heard that a woman doesn’t reach her mechanical peak until she’s over forty?”

 ***

Teresa Wendel Bio:

Teresa Wendel’s essays and short stories have appeared in national, regional, and local magazines and newspapers. Her collection of 44 interconnected humor essays, Belly Button Blues—Reflections, is now available at amazon.com. She lives in Wenatchee, Washington with her husband Kurt. Follow Teresa on her website:  www.bellybuttonblues.wordpress.com and like her Bellybuttonblues page. You can also join her on LinkedIn.

 

Sonia Says:

This proves that with passion, you can accomplish whatever you’ve set your mind to overcome. I enjoyed your story and admire women who can fix things, whether at home, or with their car. As you said yourself, “Not bad for a woman who won’t push the buttons on a tv clicker, use a cell phone, or connect to the Internet.”

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If you haven’t already, please VOTE for your favorite April 2012, “My Gutsy Story.” There are 5 wonderful stories and you can vote here. The winner will be announced on Thursday May 17th, from Paris, where I shall be in a few days.

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Vote for your favorite April “My Gutsy Story”

From May 3rd until May 16th, at midnight, PST, you can vote for your favorite April 2012, “My Gutsy Story.”

To VOTE, please go to the poll on the right  side of this post. You will find it on the sidebar listing the names of all 5 “My Gutsy Story,” authors.

Here are the 5 fabulous stories. Only ONE vote per person.

1). JoAnn Abraham

 

JoAnn Abraham

 

 

2). Esther Goodman

 

Esther Goodman

 

3). Richard White

 

Ritchie White

4). Keren-Niccole Bunnell

 

Keren-Niccole Bunnell

5). Rebecca Hall

 

Rebecca Hall

 

Thanks to these FIVE wonderful writers who opened up and shared their own “My Gutsy Story” for us to read.

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Good Luck to all of you. Your stories are amazing and inspiring. Please share these stories with friends and fellow writers and bloggers by clicking on the SHARE links below.

***

Do you have a “My Gutsy Story” you’d like to share?

To submit your own, “My Gutsy Story” you can find all the information, and our sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story” contest page. (VIDEO) Submission guidelines here.

Please share the “My Gutsy Story” series with others on Twitter using the #MyGutsyStory. Thank you.

 Above Photo credit Stock Photo