Thursday, January 13, 2011

I've Been a Bad, Bad Blogger

Without school to hold me accountable for my writing output, as well as a residential move, a new job, new kids schools and all the mundane jazz that has bogged down my daily existence since October, I've been a very lazy blogger.  And a lazy writer too.  I guess part of the problem is I don't know what to do with my manuscript, so I'm just letting it be.  Sometimes my writing needs to collect dust in the proverbial desk drawer before I can actually "see" it.  At least that's what I'm telling myself to rationalize the fact that it remains untouched.

There's other issues with my death book.  I contacted an agent, or rather he contacted me, after a school trip to New York.  This was extremely exciting, but also kind of a pressure cooker for my mental state.  It required me to pinpoint what I intended to say to the world with this manuscript.  In the end, my vision was at odds with the agents.  My book idea is quirky. It's a memoir.  There's no celebrities or experts or big life changing epiphanies.  In the end, I discovered an essential truth that all human beings know, but like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I had to take a fantastical journey to learn the most basic of life lessons. Do you want to know what it's about?  Here's the elevator pitch...

An anxious woman on the verge of a mid-life crisis embarks on a quest to figure out why death scares her so much. Her journey involves self reflection, meeting  people who work with death, befriending a couple whose two-year-old son died, and interviewing a death row inmate on the day of his execution.

Why am I the person to write this book?  I'll tell you why--because there's probably not a lot of people out there who are willing, not to mention flush with free time, to embark on a similar trip.

Okay, enough about me.

Even though the pages are written and the thesis has been turned in, the story continues.  I have now befriended Khristian Oliver's girlfriend, Sonya Reed.  (Mr. Oliver was the man who was executed by the state of Texas on November 5, 2009.)

Ms. Reed is incarcerated in Gatesville, TX.  She recieved 99 years due to Khristian's actions.  Although she didn't know me, she sent me a heartfelt letter to thank me for being with Khristian on his last day and making him laugh. This floored me.  Since that day, I correspond with Sonya on a regular basis and I try to visit her when I can.  I'm not really one to gush about people, but I have to say that Sonya Reed is one of the smartest, kindest and most eloquent people I have ever met.  She is part of the story, but she is also now part of my life.  Two days ago, I received a letter from The Sun magazine informing me that a story that Sonya wrote and that I submitted on her behalf was accepted for publication.  I felt so proud of her and I wish that I could have just called her and congratulated her, but I couldn't.  I had to write a letter.

Which brings me to this plea for Ms. Reed.  She is in prison.  She does not have much money placed on her books.  When she was incarcerated, she was pregnant with Khristian's child.  She hasn't seen that child in ten years.  The basic necessities that we all take for granted, like a bottle of shampoo are denied to the women behind bars, unless they purchase it from commissary.  Stamps, same thing.  They get 15 hotel sized bars of soap a month to wash their bodies and their hair.  Can you imagine? 

Do you know how wonderful it feels to help someone who really needs it?  Who is actually appreciative of that help, however small?  It's the best thing you can do.  If you would like to help Sonya with the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks, please think about making a tiny donation to her books.  Doing so is easy. 

Go to http://www.jpay.com/  You have to set up an account, but it is secure.  Her number is 878111.

Thanks for listening.
Pamela

7 comments:

  1. Very interesting! As to your book, I think you do include experts, whether or not you interview researchers or academic experts on the subject. Who's more of an expert than someone who works around death, or has experienced it? And Khristian's story is fascinating, too.

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  2. Yes, Khristian's story is fascinating. I hope I can do it justice.

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  3. Great read Pam, and I find the subject matter you are writing about (and basically living) extremely fascinating!

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  4. Thanks Mary. I appreciate the support!

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  5. I received a letter from Sonya and she had money placed on her books, but the prison didn't tell her who did it. Only you know who you are. She said,"Please thank whomever sent it and let them know it was a HUGE blessing to me. I was able to purchase some much needed allergy medicine in addition to shampoo, etc."

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  6. Hey Pam, I have just received a Stylish Blogger award and am passing it on to you! So here are the rules for acceptance of the award: 1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. 2. Share 7 things about yourself. 3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers. 4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award. There is a button that goes with the award. Just go to my website (www.susanoloier.blogspot.com) and copy the address for the image on my award post. So get blogging! Susan

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  7. I just left the mountainview unit where Sonya Reed is housed. We became great friends and i miss her alot. She's truly a beautiful person and I am blessed to know her.

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Comments are welcome and appreciated!