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

What Mutton Bustin’ Taught Me About Jesus Lovin’

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Last week, Therese (6), rode a sheep in front of roughly 65,000 people during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Mutton Bustin’ event. Kinda makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong with my life. When I was 6, I um…I…went to the zoo. Totally the same thing.

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Eternally Grateful

As we settled into the pew for Ash Wednesday Mass, I’d reminded my kids to “talk to Jesus” before Mass starts. At 11 years old, she knows the drill by now. Elizabeth leaned over to me as we both knelt in prayer, and she shared what had just happened.

Over the past few years, as my spiritual life has deepened, I have learned that sometimes God speaks to us through a Scripture that hits us a certain way, a poem, or a song lyric. Sometimes, He uses a more subtle approach, whispering into our hearts during time with nature or as we study beautiful art. So when she pulled me aside to tell to me about the connection she’d made, I was filled with a feeling of joy – joy for my girl’s discovery at what I am sure was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So what was this sweet insight?

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I Am Not the Savior

I am not the Savior

I sat in his office, my body wracked with sobs. I went through quite a bit of Kleenex. Thankfully, he had a whole box. I couldn’t speak very clearly through my tears. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally – I felt like I was drowning. My husband and I weren’t communicating well. Someone I knew was about to make a choice that terrible for her soul. A fallen-away Catholic, she also put me in the incredibly uncomfortable position of explaining to her non-Catholic spouse exactly why it was considered sinful, and now they were both angry with me. My sister was in nursing school and was struggling to get good sleep and good nutrition. Her health has always been a challenge, so this was a lot for her body to go through. My brother was in his sophomore year of college, and still struggling to adjust to college life. Another brother was going through teenage challenges. My life at work was difficult due to a lack of direction and poor communication. I was a wreck, and I knew it, so I’d finally made an appointment with my pastor. Which brings me back to the sobbing.

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