Sunday, January 24, 2016

My "Glory Days" aren't over, by Sandy Semerad

            You've probably heard Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days. His old friends are sitting around, talking about glory days while life passes them by. I refuse to live like that. My glory days are here, with more to come, I hope.
            While the past has provided fodder for my novels, I don’t live in the past and can cover mine in a few paragraphs:

I grew up in Geneva, Alabama with an unconventional mother. She wore big hats and heavy jewelry that jangled when she played the piano in church. A classical pianist and impressionist painter, Mama followed her bliss after Daddy died (I was seven when he passed). She traveled to artist jaunts, sticking me and my sister Alice Kay in summer camps--Sarasota, FL and Cape Cod, MA. On a whim, she once took us out of school in the middle of the year, because she wanted us to see the Carlsbad Caverns in Albuquerque.

At nineteen, I ran off and got married. Mama and I were living in New York City at that time. She wanted me to become a singer, model and movie star. Instead, I married Tim Ryles, from Hartford, Alabama. Back then, my life revolved around family and two amazing daughters Rene and Andrea. Along the way I earned a B.A. degree in journalism from Georgia State University in Atlanta and worked as a newspaper reporter, broadcast news director, columnist and editor. I barely had time to breathe and often daydreamed to escape reality.

Tim and I separated. I moved to the Florida Panhandle and got a job, reporting and writing columns for a local newspaper. A year or so later, a publisher of chamber of commerce literature offered me a better position, involving travel.

I have been traveling hither and yon ever since. I’ve worked with chamber publishers for many years. Being on the road has given me a chance to write the stories in my head. I’ve had three novels published: Sex, Love & Murder, (previously Mardi Gravestone) Hurricane House and A Message in the Roses (The sequel is in progress).

Would Mama and Daddy be pleased with me? I hope so, although I don't often think about that question.

Mama might be happy to know I still sing, sometimes at the Presbyterian Church in Freeport, Florida, where husband Larry plays rocking New Orleans piano. He and I have also written songs together.
          As to dwelling on the past, I’d rather live in the moment. I want to treasure each second of the here and now. I want to feel truly alive while I’m on this earth.

Whether I’m writing, reading, exercising, traveling, cooking, walking our dog P-Nut, (Miss Kitty trails along), or spending time with Larry, my daughters or grand Cody, I try to take a moment to say, “Thank you. I’m grateful.”

When I see a butterfly on a flower, I think, I want to drink all the sweetness I can out of life.

Did you know butterflies have none of the DNA of the caterpillars and chrysalis from which they emerge? One of my characters in A Message in the Roses mentions this, and it’s a scientific fact.

Butterflies are a true metamorphosis, and like the butterfly, I have evolved. The birth of a New Year reminded me of this. I feel new. The past is gone. My glory days are happening now, with more to come. I hope you feel the same.

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