7 Quick Takes – Interview with Audrey Wick, Writer [vol. 20]

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I enrolled in my local junior college as a petrified, fresh-off-of-homeschooling college freshman. My first semester, I met Audrey Wick, who taught Grammar & Rhetoric (ENG 1301 – or 101 for you four-year folks.) I didn’t know it, but I’d lucked into not only a wonderful semester, but a 14 years-and-counting friendship. Over my college career, I took two more classes from Audrey – American Lit II and Pilates – and loved every minute of them. When I found myself in my crisis pregnancy, she was pregnant with her little boy, and she was encouraging and understanding when I began the fall semester at 38 weeks pregnant. She’s really a one-of-a-kind college instructor, and I hope my kids will have the privilege of taking one of her classes in the future!

Besides the encouragement and grace extended to me, she has taught me much about writing prose, specifically the importance of cohesiveness, word choice, and engaging your audience.  Her own writing has been published in several regional newspapers and even college literature textbooks. I’ve enjoyed following her writing career over the years. So, I was THRILLED when she told me early this year that her new book, Finding True North, had found a publisher and would be released this spring! I greedily devoured the story about a newly single mom living in a small town in Texas, and the relationships in her life.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the setting, which was truly representative of what I know small town life to be like. I also appreciated reading about the protagonist’s struggle with the emotions, developments, and decisions that came about as a result of her divorce and the fears and uncertainties around beginning a new chapter in her life. I think it was a nice dose of perspective for me as a married woman, giving insight into what challenges my divorced friends and family might be facing. And that, in turn, gives me a place to start in my encounters with these members of the Body of Christ.

My daughter Elizabeth (11) has recently discovered a love for writing stories. She has gobbled up a few books written to help young writers, notably Writing Magic and Writer to Writer by Gail Carson Levine (she wrote Ella Enchanted!) She still had some questions, though, so we thought it would be fun to ask them of Audrey – a published writer with a kiddo the same age as Elizabeth. Without further ado, here are Elizabeth’s questions, Audrey’s answers, and then a few of my own questions for her about how we as parents can encourage our young writers. Enjoy!

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Elizabeth: How can I grab the reader’s attention in the opening part of my story?

Audrey: Openings should hook the reader, and one way to do that is to start in the middle of the action. Dialogue can be a powerful way to accomplish this. If the audience can hear your characters and experience the action, they might be hooked!

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Increase Our Faith

***This is a post originally written in October of 2010, and I’m recycling it from a now-defunct blog of mine. The reflection is still applicable, so I’m sharing it as part of the #WorthRevisit link-up over at  www.theologyisaverb.com and www.reconciledtoyou.com/blog.html. Be sure to head there when you’re finished to check out other posts that are worth revisiting! This post also contains one affiliate link to Aquinas And More***

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I went back to Mass today for the first time in two months.  I wasn’t quite sure, even up to yesterday, if I would be able to go.  My suture area is still sore from time to time and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try sitting in a pew for an hour.  But in the end, I knew that I really wanted to be at Mass and to talk to Jesus in the Tabernacle.  I needed to hear the readings, sing the hymns – especially since at St. John Vianney, we sing the Salve Regina in Latin at the end of the Mass on Sundays in October to honor the Queen of Heaven during the month of the Rosary.  It’s a chant that is sung acapella, and always gives me chills.  So, mom, Howie, and I went to church today.  Continue reading

St. Joseph the Worker and Rerum Novarum

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To all you working Catholic women out there – away from home, in the home, part-time, full-time, PRN, shift work, nights, days, and everything in between – happy feast day! The feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established in 1955 by Pope Pius XII in a time when labor conditions around the world were being experiencing upheaval and revamped to become fairer to workers. The promulgation of the feast was inspired by the need for workers to look to St. Joseph as a heavenly friend and intercessor for needs related to their work. Additionally, the Catholic Church has historically been quite vocal on workers’ rights throughout the modern age, as agrarian and trade economies slowly gave way to industrialization and the ensuing changes we’ve seen over the past 150 years. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a day was set aside to honor this saint, who was the breadwinner for the Holy Family and exceptional example of sanctification through the simple embrace of his labor and state in life.

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Tackling the Morning Rush

Articles abound on how to order your mornings for a less hectic, more controlled pace while getting everyone out the door on time, but I’ve found they’re mostly targeted at ONE age group and rarely address a family with kids in almost every developmental bracket. Our kids are now 11.5, 9, 7, 6, and 20 months, so the only thing we’re missing at this point is a high schooler. I’ve been a mom for over a decade (and prior to that, was the eldest of six that spanned an age range of 18 years!), so I have begun to get a sense of what works well for us at this stage of familyhood. For what seemed like forever, I was convinced that my Tiny People woke up every morning with a determination to fulfill their daily mission of making me late for work, and totally stressing me out in the process.  By the time I actually plopped down at my desk, I felt like a glass of wine.  Not cool at 8am.  So I got to thinking…how can I trick these little ones into cooperating?  After all, I am a bit older and wiser.  Without further babbling, I’d like to offer a few quick tips that have worked well for our family’s morning routine. Take what works, leave what doesn’t, and don’t sweat the rest.

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Kaleidoscope Reflections on Good Friday

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It’s funny how God speaks to us in different ways at different times in our lives. Over the years, as I have reflected on Scripture, I’ve been struck by how a passage or verse meant one thing to me as a teenager, another as a young bride, and something altogether differently now that I am a mother. I suppose this will continue to be true as I age and mature – each season of my life will hold a specific key to unlocking varied meanings of Scripture again and again. In a way, it’s like the words of the Bible are colorful bits of glass at the bottom of a kaleidoscope. As the cylinder turns, the glass shifts and tumbles into different positions, revealing brilliantly unique patterns but all comprised of the same bits of glass.

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