Friday, August 29, 2014

Offer Up, Speak Up, Prayer Up

We know that the world is a mess and I know sometimes we tend to think "That's just the way it is."  The overwhelming nature of suffering and evil can lead one to shrug one's shoulders, because there is nothing we think we can do.

But if we think at all about what we know about human nature, what we love, what we seek, what we hope, we know the way the world should be, is a warmer lighter welcoming place than what we tacitly accept as we let the news of Iraq, Syria, the border of the United States, wash over us as simply the baseline of every day.  We haven't as Christians, adopted a strategy for dealing with evil, but it is time we should.  

Speak up.

Failing to speak is the equivalent of coming to accept that the trains run by our towns, and we will have to answer for our desires to remain uninvolved, to stay out of it.   It is lazy to think, "What could we do?" or "What can we do?" or "What good will my speaking out do?" It demands nothing, it risks nothing, and it allows one to pretend acting would mean nothing.   Rationalizing tepid comfort allows the evil to progress unhindered. 

The answer is, we must speak up, or evil flourishes in the silence, in our unwillingness to even raise the slightest hint of noise.  We can name evil evil, otherwise it pretends it isn't and people let it. 

The forced moving of Christians under threat of genocide is evil.  Beheading of journalists, of children, of anyone, crucifixion of people by these extremists, is evil.  Failing to name these acts and the sufferings caused by those who support/follow/act on behalf of ISIS as evil, is moral cowardice.  

Here are the web pages for the The White House, The United Nations,, The Senate and The House of Representatives, Catholic Relief Services and Samaritans Purse.  I don't know who else we should contact, but ask the Holy Spirit where to speak and who to speak to, and then get talking.   Get them to talk.  

Offer Up...
We can stand here with those far away, offering up the trivial petty small pains of an ordinary day for those for whom, there is right now no such luxury as normal and ordinary.   How?  By contacting your senators and leaders, by writing about it, by reading about it, by pondering what would we leave aside for our faith? What would we be willing to sacrifice and surrender?

Right now, there is the ice bucket challenge for ALS. Only someone living under a rock does not know about this trending method of providing a jovial moment  on the internet for a charity, but here is a different challenge, would that it became viral.   

Today, offer up a drink at dinner.  Be thirsty.  Why?  Because fasting and prayer matter, and offering up a little something for those who have nothing, has meaning, even if the world thinks otherwise.  No one will see that you aren't having a drink. You can't post not drinking or show it in a picture.  It won't even make a good tweet.   It won't make sense except in the context of solidarity with those who suffer.  The Beattitudes say, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice...they shall be satisfied.   So be thirsty.  

You'll know it though, with everything in you, because you'll want a drink, and that will remind you of everyone who doesn't have anything, because they had to leave everything, just to hold onto the one thing we take for granted in this country, their faith.   We will be thirsty for the less real water, because those not here, were willing to be thirsty for the life giving water which flows from Christ.   And every time you think as you eat your dinner, "I'm thirsty,"  smile.   Ours is a terribly tiny sacrifice, but it should be a gift willingly given. 

Prayer Up...

Remember when all hell seemed to be breaking loose in Syria and Libya and Pope Francis asked for people to pray and fast for peace back in 2013 and the knots which seemed intractable for a time, loosened, and the war which seemed inevitable, abated.  It seems to have returned.
 44"Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.45"Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."  Matthew 12:45

And so the demons have returned, worse than the first.  No one can think the acts we've witnessed in recent days are not demonic. The acts we've seen harken to September 11th, to the bombings in other countries on the anniversary, and worse.   

And as we all know, some demons can only be evicted with prayer and fasting.  So offer a Hail Mary, a decade, a rosary, a chaplet, an hour of adoration, a mass, time with scripture, with your family.  Every scrap of prayer is counted in Heaven against the darkness we inflict upon each other, by what we do and don't do, and helps bring about the healing of the world.  And man, does this world need healing.  Everyone in this country has a 3 day weekend before them, so no one can say, I didn't have time.  Now, it becomes a choice.  

If we want justice, pray for peace.  Time to make this Labor Day weekend, one remembered for more than Bar-b-cue, beaches and baseball.   

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Nutty Brain of a Writer

We like to think we're full of nougats of truth, but in all honesty, we're mostly nuts.  I can say that because today, I got up at 5:30. I woke two teens, cleaned out a bathroom, then made 8 lunches, then launched the 2 teens. Then I got up the tween, got myself showered and dressed, helped her and her father get going, and woke up the remaining five.  After making breakfast, unloading the dishwasher, reloading, double checking backpacks and signing forms, I read them a story, brushed two kiddos hair, made sure they brushed their teeth and we walked to the bus stop.  Dropping off the first three after singing songs while waiting, I brought the toddler and the five year old back to the house to wait for the second bus.  

Once he'd left to go to school, my 3 year old and I walked back inside and patrolled the house, making beds, emptying trash, turning off lights.  I started the laundry and did five loads this morning.  Next, I tackled the paperwork leftover from last week.  Then Anna and I worked on the basement (okay, she played) and I put away folded clothes. Then we practiced dancing to music and playing the piano. After lunch, we made homemade cookies complete with frosting.  Finishing up the dishes I sighed. 

Dinner sat cooking in the crockpot.  The day felt like a wash, a failure.  Why? 

Because I hadn't updated my blog and had zero ideas. I'd attempted four different pieces but none of them sung to me, none of them felt new.

Like I said.  The chocolate coated nougat of truth is I'm mostly nuts.   But at least we have cookies today. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Catholicy Mommy Tribute

"Pray.  Hope, and don't worry." --Saint Padre Pio. 

My grandmother had a great love of this saint.  I never knew that much about him except for that quote, but it came to mind yesterday when I spoke with my daughter.  She is going to a new school and feels great anxiety about this change.  When I suggested prayer, she didn't exactly roll her eyes but she gave me the look. 

Over the recent years, I've heard the complaint from my teens, "You're going all Catholicy Mommy" on us." Some cringe when they hear EWTN radio on as I do the dishes, others if it is on in the car.  I get it.  All the outside of it can seem too sweet to tolerate even in small doses.   Pray, hope and don't worry sounds almost flippant.   Tra-la-la-lah. I've prayed so no worries.  That's not what the quote means, anymore than "Jesus, I trust in You." means God is my co-pilot.

I struggled to explain.  If it were flippant, it would be merely, "Don't worry, be happy."  But this is a directive.  Pray.  --which means do this first.  Hope.  This is a choice.  And don't worry.  This is an action, a deliberate effort of faith in life.   It means that prayer is an action, and hope is a faith lived, which allows one to proceed forward no matter what, with an uplifted heart.  God answers.  Every time.  Pray, hope and don't worry requires trust in God that He is infinitely good, infinitely loves us and infinitely seeks to bring us home no matter how we wander.

But what does it look like? To pray, hope and don't worry.

If you've ever met someone who deeply understands their vocation and lives it, they bubble with joy even if the work they do is strenuous, obnoxious and lowly.   They aren't trivial. They know the hardness of the life they've chosen, and yet they exude joy.  To be in their presence, is to be steeped in joy.  I've had the blessing of knowing priests, nuns, family, teachers and friends I love, who live this day in and day out.  I searched for examples.  I told her about the sisters of life, women I interviewed for an article and their constant work with crisis pregnancies. They dealt with hard realities of life and death, of struggle and sacrifice, and they yet were joyous people, and I could even feel that joy talking to them over the phone.  She understood.

 Later I thought of how Paul is joyful and we are joyful about him, but that doesn't change the reality of his Down Syndrome. It does however mean his condition is not the arbiter of how we will treat him or how much we will love him. There is still a muscular nature to the work of loving Paul. He requires more vigilance, more patience, more direct hand over hand, but it's all love.  I do not spend sleepless nights over the fact that Paul has this condition. Pray. Hope, and don't worry.  I understood slightly deeper.

So today, she got on the bus and I texted her, "Have a great day, love you." and she wrote back, "Hunger games hand thing." and "Do do doo do."  so I replied, "Thank you for volunteering as tribute."  and privately thought, "Pray, hope and don't worry." as I uttered a Hail Mary for her in my Catholicy Mommy way  and then mused on how very not flippant that sentence of Saint Padre Pio is.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bored Children

I have discovered possibly the most entertaining reality show of all time; a toddler and a five year old bored with summer, trying to entertain themselves without adult or sibling assistance. 

First, there was the lounging on the floor, draping of the limbs to illustrate how tragic and difficult this state of life was for their spirits.  Failing to gain sympathy or even much of a response, one tucked herself into a laundry basket while the other took solace in scooting across the floor in a laundry bag.  The end of round one resulted in a ripped laundry bag.

The three year old thought her brother's antics annoying and proceeded to make a mad face.  When we laughed at her mad face, she devoted all of her thinking to how to make her face madder still.  She pursed her lips and shut her eyes to illustrate how much more irritation she felt.  They traded faces for a time but to render the impact of their mad faces better, they stood up and looked up whenever the other volleyed a new face.  This led to them marching in a circle in the living room with their eyes perpetually glued to the ceiling.  Thus, they became dizzy, ending round two. 

By now, united in their sufferings, they climbed onto the piano to engage in an improv John Cage type duet, but that switched to a turn taking with each child singing to their creation and the other wrapping themselves up like a sausage in a pink blanket.  Round three.

Round 4, they pretended to be sleeping, complete with snoring sounds.

Round 5, a laughing contest, who could be loudest, it morphed into stomping, screaming and sometimes hitting the ivories with vigor.  

Round 6.  Anna pretends to be a cat snoring, draped across the piano bench.   Paul tries to restart the laughing contest, but also lays down to try to snore.  I sneezed which made the snoring cat stop to say, "Bless you." breaking character and apparently making everything hilarious.

Round 7.  Earthworms.  Without using their hands or feet, they squirm, roll and crawl across the floor.

Round 8.  The sleeping cat is back and Paul doesn't like this game so he wants a different one.  Wake up Anna might prove to end the pleasant play of the morning so as ref of this contest of titan toddlers, I think about breaking it up.  But Anna has solved the problem herself until he grabs her feet to hold.

Round 9.  There's a double knock out.  Pretending to sleep has created to actual sleepers. 

Ding ding ding ding ding!  The Battle is over!  I WIN!

One week until school starts. 

They may have been bored, I on the other hand, was highly entertained. 

It's summer, but you can't end summer until you've had days that drag by like syrup and result in competitions to stave off the boredom of an unstructured day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Not Yet Trained

For my sister and me...

Potty training isn't simply a skill, it's the first time as parent, you impose a demand on your kiddo across the board and the only way victory is achieved, is when they comply and oblige every time without fail.  It is for many children if not most, the first time they hit the non negotiable wall.  That surrender and discipline is for many, a hard truth that takes a long time to accept.  But maybe I just raise stubborn children.  

I started thinking about the places I struggle with my children, bedtimes, homework, potty training, practicing music, for some, reading, for many, vegetables, getting up, getting dressed, accepting criticism about choices, or suggestions they should be reading.   I had to wonder if my whole parenting technique is the issue, not the issues themselves, as all of them are struggles between what I know they need to do and what they want. 

Yesterday, I felt the pain looking at my almost six year old son not being potty trained.  He starts special kindergarten this year.  Up until now, there's always been the glimmer of hope that we would get there before school.  But school starts next week, and while he will sit and has at least on three occasions, successfully used the facilities, it is not something he seeks.  Perhaps we should push harder, but it is hard to know. My youngest daughter is 3 1/2.  She also isn't potty trained, but she knows what's up and has begun naming her terms.  So far, they include a red cake just like the one she had for her 3rd birthday, and a t-shirt with an owl on it that shines and lights up the sky.   I don't know how she came up with that image, but I'm on the hunt for it. For my own sanity, I've adopted the Catholic church perspective.  I constantly propose, I do not impose.  Here's hoping one day, they embrace the suggestion to go to the bathroom.  

Regardless of the age, children think they want endless time, endless activity, endless leisure, (but they don't really).  Children think they want to stay up forever. They don't. They think they want cotton candy at the fair, but find it sticky and oddly without any taste, as they chew on it hoping for some taste that isn't there.  The more they eat, the more dissatisfied they become with the experience, and yet they ask for more.   Sometimes, the art of parenting is letting them try imposing their will and discovering it's not for them, and other times, we get the job of holding firm no matter what.  They think they don't want to read books or learn a new skill, but the triumph in their eyes when they do, tells me otherwise.

When you're a parent of many, the question is always, which situation is this?  I can let the 15 year old bike to the Sports Authority to shop, but not the 10 year old to the McDonald's.  The three oldest can watch this movie, the others cannot.  She can handle an extra activity.  He can't.  She needs to be put in honors classes and pushed. This other one needs to be held back, given the opportunity to be the age she is and not the age her older sister is.  It's a constant juggling, is this when I push? Is this when I pull?  Is this when I talk?  Is this when I listen?  Is this when I draw a line and hold firm? Is it time to be disciplined or the time to be flexible?  It changes from situation to situation, child to child, moment to moment. For me, all of parenting is learning to surrender, my priorities for theirs, my time for theirs, and to give them my judgment, my time, and my efforts and to do all of it without hesitation and with full joy even when it is a total pain.  (Like potty training, teaching driving, and running extra errands because of the demands of an extra curricular activity).

The only thing that doesn't change is the need to pray through it.   Or pray after it because I didn't pray through it.   And I realize, I'm not yet parent trained, or surrendering and submitting and serving wouldn't still be a constant battle within my head to know what to do and will to do it. God keeps asking me to things He knows would make me healthier and happier and holier, and He's having no more luck with me than I am with my own toddlers.

We are a stubborn and stiff necked people.  But we are also a people of hope, so maybe today will be the day we harden not our hearts and miracles happen.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

College Bound

My daughter heads off to college next week and I am not ready.

So I tried to think of everything I'd want her to know that I haven't already tried to tell her over these past 18 years.  Here's my list of advice, all of which is written as a gift to let her know, to let the world know, we love her. 

25.  Be kind.
24. Be enthusiastic.
23. Sing.
22. Put your feet in the ocean.
21. Enjoy the stars.
20. Study hard.
19. Get enough sleep.
18.  Call us at least once a week. 
17.  Exercise (I will too).
16.  Take professors, not classes.
15.  Read everything.
14.  Give yourself permission to try things that may be difficult or require real commitment to do well.
13.  Give yourself permission to do things you do not naturally do well, even if you do not improve.
12. Make lists to help organize your day.
11. Keep your room clean.
10. Make friends with those who serve and are seemingly invisible, they hold wisdom and stories worth knowing.
9.  Never look down on anyone.
8.  Be generous.
7.  Pray daily.
6.  Facilitate beauty.
5.  Speak and seek truth.
4. Get off campus every once in a while.
3.  Take a day off from screens.
2.  Listen.
1.  Remember where you come from, and that the 11 other people who live here love and miss you and are rooting for you.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

Today, the old saying dying is easy, comedy is hard, rings false.   Robin William made comedy look effortless, he pumped it out at a speed that would make nascar fans want to slap sponsor stickers all over his tuxedo or rainbow suspenders.   But if part of the price of being famous in the 21st century includes being weighed and measured by the internet after passing, then poor Mork now must deal with the least friendly audience he's ever faced, the unsympathetic, the ignorant and the politically manipulative.  

On the internet today I've seen stupid stuff about suicide. While it is a choice, it is also the result of deep pain that seems insurmountable, and that is the hard reality which should be met by friend and stranger alike with deep sympathy, for him and those who loved him. I've seen stupid stuff about his death being the result of his liberal beliefs which makes my head hurt with the lack of charity and clarity.  Mental illness isn't the result of  political ideology, and suicide isn't something limited to a particular party affiliation.  Worst of all, I saw stupid stuff about his death being the result of prior sins.  Pain begets pain, no question, and prior griefs, prior sufferings, prior hard points in life played a part in the battle with depression Williams apparently faced down for quite some time.   But to armchair quarterback his life with respect to moral choices, is to invite the same for ourselves. No thank you.  This family is grieving in a way we cannot know and pray we never do.  This family has a hole in its heart.  Declaring the deceased's sins, prior demons or political allegiances to be the source of his pain no more than 24 hours after his death shows less tact, grace and charm than the Westboro Baptist Church.  

If I could say something to these very sure of themselves experts who don't know Robin Williams any more than I do, be they Matt Walsh, Rush Limbaugh or Lifesite news it would be "Shut up already."  I say this as someone who reads Catholic blogs all the time, is pro-life, and has voted Republican in every Presidential election since 1984.   I cite the people and sites but won't give the links as I don't want to give traffic to something I think wrong headed. 

Normally I despise the tendency of the media to canonize any celebrity upon his or her untimely death.  But I can say this time, there is some support for the world missing this particular soul.  He didn't just live in his Hollywood bubble.  He worked with the real world.  He did not propose the government solve the world's problems but worked to mitigate the world's problems himself, through his gifts.   He helped create Comic Relief, he spoke and entertained the troops with the USO.  By all accounts, both from the famous and the less so, he employed the homeless and poured everything he had into every project he ever touched. While I didn't always agree with his views, I didn't have to, it wasn't required.  He did make me laugh, and he did good work.   Laughter is universal, laughter is healing.  I'm just sorry all the world's laughter wasn't enough to chase away the darker pains he covered with his wit.  

Why'd I say "Shut up already?"

If we are Catholic, if we are Christian, now is the time to pray for his soul, not analyze it.  If we are Conservative, now is the time to show we have hearts that are not made of stone, that understand this was a person who brought great joy to people the world over for decades.  If we're pro-life, we mourn the loss of any human soul, and we do not view suffering as a karma of our bad choices.  A good man, well loved by his family and friends, who shared what he could do with the world, is gone and we are all poorer for it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Watching the news, one cannot help but feel helpless.  Everywhere in the Middle East, hell seems to be unleased on Earth. And it seems all we can do is read the news, watch the videos and howl with them.  We are not there. We cannot stop these people from doing evil things like isolating fleeing villagers and leaving them out on a mountain exposed to chose between death by deprivation or death by beheading if they try to return.  We cannot stop the beheading of children.  We cannot stop the crucifixion of whoever they decide to crucify. We get to simply watch as the world turns mad. 

Driving downtown, one cannot help but feel helpless, as every corner with four lights has a person, sometimes two, with a sign.  "Help.  Homeless." and a cup.  Some look sicker than others. Some look slicker than others.  But all of them are asking the same thing.  Help.  You fish for a quarter or a dollar, it doesn't seem to be sufficient, and yet we cannot figure out what would be.  How could we feed them properly? 

We can give to the pantry and to charities, we can pay our taxes, and still, there is a ocean, everywhere we look, of need.  Physical need.  Emotional need.  Spiritual need.  It is small wonder, most of us now look to keep ourselves inside, to stay on news sites that do not make us squirm, to visit virtually, so we need not minister physically.  In an age of instant and constant communication, of 24-7 news and 24-7 capacity to reach out, we are filtering everything to let the least amount in possible and still consider ourselves connected.

There is a grave temptation, when we see need after need after need, to stop and say, it is too much. We only have these five loaves, these two fishes.  Worse, it is true. We only have these cisterns of water. We are out of wine. We only have this nothing in the desert.   But if we give what we have.  If we do what He tells us.  If we but ask, the 5000 will be fed, the water becomes wine, there is manna in the desert. 

How do we offer up our loaves and fishes and our water filled cisterns?   How do we give in the desert to help those so far away? 

Begin small.  It is how God works, so it should work for us. 

1) Surrender one little pleasure a day in solidarity with those who do not have such a luxury.  It can be diet coke. (Yes that's a big one for me)  Chocolate, television, the internet, just something and it can be a different thing each day, but give it up.

2) Pray.  Today's readings talked about having faith the size of a mustard seed.  If we did, we could move mountains.  Let's move a mountain of hearts.  Pope Francis has called for people to simply pray for the displaced people of Iraq.  We're being shown on all sides, the desperate need for prayer.  If you need reminders (and who doesn't), I recommend Pray More Novenas.  You get an email every day of the Novena with the prayers.  Read and you've given that little bit.  But they aren't always happening, so if you want something for every day, I recommend the Magnificat. It would be a better source for me if I didn't inevitably lose it somewhere during the second week of the month before finding it in the fourth, but it's still excellent.  The third one I'd recommend, and these are all different, so they have different appeals, is the 3 Minute Retreats.  It's a gentle way to engage daily in just a touch of reflection. 

3) Give.  Just like the other two, which are only small things, 3 minutes, one thing a day, give something.  Give it daily.  I don't care if it's a dollar to one beggar --learn his name so you can say "Hey John Chase" when you see him, but give.  A can to the food pantry a day, 7 days a week, brought at mass, is a gift a day, and cumulatively, they add up.

The goal is to build a mountain of mustard seeds.

What inspired this post? Simcha Fisher's excellent reflection on what we are called to do.  Catholics are supposed to always be both and, feeding the belly and the heart, both bread and wine and the body and blood, we are always supposed to be more than the minimum.  So now,  go.  Do.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

At the National Catholic Register Today!!!

And busy working on Detours --editing, Orange to Singapore --editing, writing Penelope, researching Penelope, drafting an interview for the Sisters of Life --for an assignment and booking interviews for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, Florida, Saint Mary of the Annunciation in Columbia, South Carolina and getting ready for back to school.  

So here's the link.  Enjoy and I hope you make a pilgrimage, because it really is spectacular!

Come visit the Basilica for the Feast of the Assumption!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Small Success Thursday

Today is Thursday so we count our blessings! 

1) It's my anniversary.  This is actually Anniversary month.  Why?  Because one year ago today...

I'd like to get her into the top 100 best sellers in honor of the occasion.  So tell your friends. Click on the link and share share share!
2)  It's also anniversary month, because thirty years ago this month, I met my husband for the first time.  First conversation started with a question. "Who are you?"  We've been answering ever since.

3) Finally, we married 24 years ago.  So August is Anniversary month.   Think I may have to make something special for dinner tonight.    Have a great week, hope it's full of small successes. The column will return to Catholic Mom next week.  


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Profiled Today over at Be a Best Seller!

I subscribe to several e-magazines that give tips on writing, publishing, and the issues of being a writer in the electronic world.  One of them is Be a Best Seller!  Today, I'm profiled in the e-magazine, so go give a looksee for yourself and thanks for continuing to help me spread the word about my book and writing.  

Be a Best Seller!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rather Like Summer

I just looked at the calendar. It's August 5th! 

School starts in 20 days.  I feel robbed.  

We haven't been to the pool or the fair or the park enough to feel sated.  We haven't blown bubbles or read all 100 books or baked enough fresh berry cobblers or skipped enough rocks.  Fall is too noisy, cluttered, scheduled and demanding to loom only three weeks away.    Like a waterslide or a good book or a good movie, or the tide, it's all ebbing away far too quickly.   

Now I know each season has its charms, its delights that only come when they come like white nectarines and cherries, ice cream trucks and baseball.  But I'm not tired of them yet.  And neither are my children.   We still need to catch and release fireflies, eat fish we caught and go to a fair and ride on cheesy carnival cars that take us past things that don't scare us and things that do.  

And I know why I feel the breath of time so keenly on the back of my neck. 
My second child leaves for college.  I know she needs to fly.  For her, childhood feels stale. She does not know what more she wants or needs, only that she needs and wants more than this home, even with all its people can give her. 

But for me, I'm holding onto each moment, hoping somehow to coax out a few more minutes, a few more memories before we become mostly the past, the last of the syrup of childhood before she goes.   I know it is not the end, but it is the end of something.  Sigh.  I love and miss her and she hasn't left yet.  She's rather like summer and I wish the world still believed summer should be from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Over at Eat Sleep Write Today

Been busy, throwing a party for a 16 year old, packing up kids for trips to camp grandmother --two to CT and two to Tx, one for Otakon in Baltimore, and preparing for the beginning of the school year.  But I haven't forgotten about writing, editing, blogging or researching.  Ergo, today I'm giving you a link to a piece I wrote about writing.

So click on the link and learn the secrets to becoming rich via writing.  That's right, I'm giving you the process.   So click on this link already and go to Eat.Sleep.Write.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sequels and Prequels I'm Not Writing

10) Helen and the Sparkly Vampires. She doesn't like to be outshone by anyone.

9) Helen vs. Sharknado. "It's really more Odysseus's kind of thing." she said.

8) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Mediterranean, by Nobody. Working title, I had trouble getting to Ithaca too.

7) He Had it Coming --Clytemnestra's Story.

6) Over 399 ways to Kill Your Enemies, a Practical Guide. --By Hector, Achilles and Several Other Heroes who killed more but get virtually no press.

5) "1000 tips to launch your First Ship, Extreme Makeovers" Pitched it to Helen, but she said, "If you're not going to bother to move at least an armada, it's not worth the trouble."

4) Looking Gift Horses in the Mouth and Other Truths from Beyond the Ilium Wall --by Paris.

3) She Came with Baggage, We should Have sent her packing --penned by Queen Hecuba before the sacking of Troy and the gods turned her into a canine. "Even before that happened, she was like a dog with a bone, she just wouldn't let this go." --Helen.

2) The Bachelorette: Ithaca Season. 104 Suitors, One throne, One Woman. This was nixed due to concerns it was rigged and that the main contestant didn't have any interest in any of the potential men vying for her hand.

1) A new version of the Iliad, three times longer than the original text, with more women in it so as to have parity, and maybe a new villain, like some necromancer type orc and a romance that isn't in the original sources.
If you're wondering, The Book of Penelope, 71K and growing. But I wanted to be silly for a change.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!