Chapter 2


“Now, I want you to call Mom and have her over tomorrow night at eight o’clock. Turn on channel 13.  I don’t want you to miss it, so for God’s sake have a decent TV in the house…one that won’t go off in the middle of the show.”  He was remembering his last visit when they missed the final play of the football game.

“Wouldn’t be the first time in two years you decided to visit when you had to miss your Chicago Bears lose, poor boy.”

“Hey, that wasn’t just any game. It was the play off.”

“Well, the TV is okay, new since you’ve been here. What’s on at eight?” She was still a little miffed that he remembered his last visit by a football game.

“You’ll see. Boy,will you see.” Excitement rose in his voice. “Gotta run. I’ll call you right after the show. Don’t forget to invite Mom. I’m sure she won’t want to miss it. Bye.”

“Ted, you stupe, you didn’t even tell me…”  She looked at annoyance at the phone that buzzed in her hand, “Jim, will you check the paper to see what’s on tomorrow night at eight”?” She glanced at Jim and Trish who were whispering with their heads together. His was still wet from the shower.

Jim looked up and shook his head, “You do it, Jen. I’m so tired I don’t even want supper.” He sat wearily on the sofa, stretched his legs out, and was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Trish pulled off his shoes and covered him with an afghan. It was getting to be a way of life. He worked long hours and was hardly in the right frame of mind for conversation.

“Looks like it’s the two of us for supper again,” Jenny complained. “I don’t know how he keeps going. He hardly eats. I’ll dish up, Trish.”

“Not hungry. I was in late lunch today.” Trish was gone to her room in the next few seconds.

Jenny sighed and paused over Jim. She spoke to no one in particular. “Wish you would come from work some night and stay awake long enough to talk to me. Trish, don’t ever think you’re ready to marry right after high school. You miss so much in life.” She quickly glanced through the newspaper. “Why, it’s a quiz show. That’s why Ted wants me to call mother.Her face livened up and she glanced at Jim. He was fast asleep.”

The meal she had prepared went into the garbage can.  She didn’t even feel guilty at throwing out the ‘leftovers.’ Heating it up in the oven dried it out anyway.

“What’s the use,” she ran her hand over her slender backside and stared out of the kitchen window where the philodendron climbed around the macrame hanger. It was very warm for October and she opened the window a little higher. Soon daylight saving time would change all this and it would be dark all evening. Tears welled in her eyes and she blew her nose loudly in a Kleenex tissue. Her face and long shapely legs might make her look young, but she felt old, used up. Jog your mind, clear your head, she said to herself. She felt like a house drudge, unappreciated and unglamorous. Life was passing her by. Then a thought struck her. “I need a party,” she said aloud.  “Tomorrow night we’re going to have a party for Ted’s surprise. That’s what I need, some fun.” She felt the wine bring warmth and calm to her nerves and she took another sip. Tomorrow she would buy some gin and make martinis for the party. Maybe then she would be appreciated.


Writing is a constant challenge ‘to get it right.’

In keeping with my first blog on revision I have to add to my revision:
  1.  Polish, polish, polish. Keep looking for words or phrases that could be condensed and take out all offenders, the unnecessary words. Remember the reader doesn’t want to hear flourishing descriptions when a few words will keep the pages turning.
  1.  Tie up any loose ends you can find. Recognize a good stopping place for the book. Sure, everyone wants to see what happens next, but don’t go too far. Know when to stop.

I’m almost ready to start my revision. I have read the entire manuscript and already know some of the changes I will make. The others are still a mystery but I hope they will make the story run more smoothly when I finally decide on them. I have begun to do more research and will definitely say that research has come a long way, making it much easier than ‘back in the day.’ At this point I realize I may have to add a few more chapters. The challenge grows

Five more blogs to countdown.


Learn from your mistakes. Make the necessary corrections and MOVE ON.

Here are a few points to look for when you begin a revision of anything you have written, especially a novel.
  1. When you think you’ve finished the novel, take a breath and let it sit on the shelf or in the computer for a while.
  2. When you finally get back to it , try to view it with a fresh approach, keeping an emotional distance to the characters you’ve grown to love or hate.
  3. Be as objective as possible.
  4. Make notes on points to correct or research to better illustrate your objective in having written these ‘yellowed’ pages.
  5. Analyze your reactions to scenes or characters, to sentences or paragraphs that don’t ring true.

You will have a sense of accomplishment, and will also have learned something about yourself. You have completed a manuscript. It’s not a book yet but it is on it’s way.

You have conquered the blank pages or computer screens. You have unleashed the sleeping creative genie. It is a great feeling.

All these points have been clear when I was teaching a writing class years ago to a senior writing group, and they were certainly pertinent as I began a revision today of a manuscript written about twenty years ago

The first few chapters I read needed only typo and word changes, but I was basically in agreement for what I had written back then….and then came a jolt I hadn’t been expecting. The next chapter needed a complete revision. I didn’t like where I had taken one of my main characters. It hit me like a ton of proverbial bricks. I knew that to forge ahead would present me with even more problems.

BUT THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT. We need revision to keep us from ourselves! My countdown is probably not long enough time to do all this!   Who knows how much of this ‘saved’ manuscript will need more than a simple revision, even in the beginning.

I will keep you informed. Six more Blogs of countdown!!


Did you ever wonder what it was like, living in the 50’s? It had it’s joys and sorrows. It was really a fine time.

I would imagine that even very successful writers with a list of best sellers, have a box somewhere, if they care to admit it, with at least one  (maybe more) finished,  but unpublished manuscript.

There is no real disgrace in that fact. The unused manuscript may not have had a popular subject, it may be the one you got tired of all the rejection slips. It could be that you weren’t ready for that next step. We have all counted it as a learning experience.  And that it was. I remember slugging through several rejects before I hit my ‘first’ acceptance. That was a memorable moment!

Yesterday I picked a manuscript out of a box of several, and thought, ‘ I just might resurrect this story, or part of it anyway.’  I looked at it with fresh, but wiser and older eyes, and realized much of the younger generation had no idea how difficult that particular time of life was. It had its ups and downs, like any part of history. I will endeavor to make necessary changes and adaptations.

This writing will serve as a ‘countdown.’ Coming in about 7 Blogs, I will travel with you and begin again, THE MOUTH OF THE LION, presented in short chapters. Please, join me. I believe the story has some merit. I hope you will, too.