Sunday Bookends: house selling drama, Sweet Land and small town libraries

The house selling process plods forward and as it does I seem to be having more breakdowns than normal. The roller-coaster of emotions as we worry about something falling through with either the sale of this house or the purchase of the other is getting to me I guess. I find myself sitting down and having a good cry a couple times a week.

After an unexpected removal from the house when the inspector came and wanted to bring the buyers, I cried as we toured our small town, not so much because I will miss the place, but because of all the bad memories made while here.

“That,” I said as I pointed at the hospital, the largest in our region, tears rolling down my face. “is the last place I saw my grandmother alive.”

This was after we drove past the house where some family members live but who no longer speak to us, though they never spoke to us much before either. That situation has broken my heart for a long time and resulted in a lot of confusion and hurt feelings on all sides. In some ways, it’s as if we think if we pack up the house and get out of this place we can leave all the emotional baggage behind, but of course, we really can’t.

We can drive away but we will still carry the scars we’ve gotten here. From the broken family relationships to the loss of my husband’s grandparents to driving by the last place I saw Grandma alive so many times in the last 16 years to the knives in our backs from former places of employment and former friends, living in this town hasn’t always been easy. I know only God can heal those scars so I have to lean on him now more than ever.

In happier news, I watched a movie called Sweet Land this week, which was actually pretty “sweet”, so it lived up to its name. It starred Elizabeth Reaser, Tim Guinee, Alan Cumming, and Alex Kingston.  I kept writing in circles when I tried to explain the plot (that’s how muddled my brain is this week), so I pulled it off Wikipedia:

In the aftermath of World War I, Inge Altenberg (Elizabeth Reaser), an orphan from Snåsa, Norway, arrives in America to a very cold reception. The parents of immigrant farmer Olaf Torvik (Tim Guinee) remain in Norway, where they met her. Dialogue reveals that the four of them have worked out an agreement that allowed her to emigrate to America for the purpose of marrying Olaf. The Minnesota farming village of Audubon, in which her intended husband lives, is horrified to learn that she is a German immigrant with no papers. To make matters worse, she has accidentally obtained membership papers for the American Socialist Party. Scandalized, both the town’s Lutheran minister and the county clerk refuse to marry them.

When events lead them to openly cohabit with each other, they find themselves ostracized by the entire town. They are then forced to harvest their crop completely by hand and alone. This particular harvest season brings not only work, but love as well.

I streamed the movie on Amazon, but I’m sure it is available on other services as well.

On the book front, I am still reading Love Begins at Willow Tree Hill and still enjoying it. I haven’t had as much time for reading with all the “drama” (so to speak) in our life, but this week I hope to escape that drama a bit with reading and working on my two novels. (If you haven’t been following my novel, you can find a link to the chapters at the top of the page or HERE. I post new chapters on Thursdays and Fridays and will post it to Kindle when I’m finished, possibly with changes, but definitely edited and revised.)

I visited what was once my local library and will hopefully be our new local library when we move. My son and I had headed to the new house to pick up a radon test we’d ordered ahead of the inspection. After we left the house we mailed the test and then I asked my son if he wanted to see the little library in town. It was the library my mom and I always went to when I was a kid.

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“You don’t understand,” I told my son. “I didn’t have video games and social media when I was growing up so books were my only way to escape and experience life.”

When I walked into the library, the smell of books overwhelmed me just like it did when I was a kid. That smell was a sign to me that entire worlds were opening up to me and my mom and I would spend probably an hour choosing the books we wanted. We’d drag them home in a big bag and my dad would say “More books?” Sometimes we would bring home books we bought from the book sale and Dad would say, again, “More books? We don’t even have room for the books we have!”

But he let us have them anyhow and Mom and I would delve into them and float away from our small house in the country to worlds far away that were much more exciting than cleaning houses and cooking dinners and washing clothes and doing homework.  And we met new people, learned new ideas, developed new vocabulary, and for me, dreamt dreams of sharing stories as compelling as the ones I was reading.

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Before we left town, I decided to let the little old library ladies sitting at the front desk know how important the library was to me when I was growing up. They appreciated me letting them know, they said, and hope it works out for the library to be our home library by spring.

As for what I’m writing this week:

A flash fiction piece about a “sugar report” (letter to a soldier from a romantic interest);

Did you drink your water?

Faithfully Thinking: God’s Kingdom is in Your Own Backyard

Fiction Thursday, A New Beginning Chapter 22

Fiction Friday: A New Beginning Chapter 23
I’ve also joined *eyeroll* Wattpad…the place that teens apparently share all their bizarre pubescent sex fantasies. My story, however, is nothing like that so it will not, most likely, get traction on Wattpad. But, why not try? Life is short and we need to go for it, right? If you want to follow The Farmer’s Daughteron there (though this version probably won’t be what I finally publish on Kindle), you can find it HERE.

As for what I’m listening to this week (something new I’m adding):

Oldies to get me in the mood for revisions on A New Beginning (which takes place in the mid 60s):

Marc Martel:

and sermons like this one:

So, how about you? What are you up to this week? Reading? Watching? Learning? Listening to? Share with me in the comments!

24 comments

  1. Little libraries are the best. I love the smell of books too. Not much going on this week over here. I am still organizing, still getting rid of clutter, still trying to finish my many projects and still praying that the world starts turning around with all the disconnecting families, hateful politics, and now we have some freaky flu to worry about, other then all that, it’s a normal day and week over here.

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  2. You have so much going on. I really hope that move goes through quickly and easily, and that with it you get a new start. You can’t really leave the memories behind but maybe not having such visual reminders all the time will help the healing process.

    I love that you are going to your new old library. I go to the same library that I have since I was three, and used to go to with my mom as well. Such good memories. 🙂 We would get our books then have a picnic in the park after in the summer. Some of the same librarians are there still! 🙂

    I am glad you are enjoying Willow Tree Hall! I will have to try Sweet Land!

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    1. That is such a great memory of the library! We always ran home and dove into our books – I guess we were home bodies. Ha! I liked Sweet Land, but one thing I forgot to mention was that it left me wanting more! I really wanted to know more about their story and it seemed like the movie ended too soon in some ways.

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  3. Haha, oh, Wattpad… I’m on there, too, but am just using it as an online place to store my stories because almost every computer I’ve ever had has hated me. I have looked through the suggested stories, though, and am convinced it’s little more than an erotica site. I mean, how many stories can there be where the focus is sex? It’s unsettling. Then again, everyone will agree I’m just a prude.

    I adored you memories of going to the library with your mom. It brought back a lot of mine. It was such a magical place and I still fondly remember wandering the aisles. The libraries around me now aren’t quite as large as the one I grew up with, so I’m not as eager to get my kids there as I am taking them to the bookstore, but I think I should make more of an effort this year. It’s still a marvelous place.

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    1. You’re not a prude..or maybe I am one too because I absolutely agree with you. It’s like a site for … excuse the term, but horny teenagers. It’s crazy. I just decided I would try to find some writers who aren’t writing only those type of stories. It is VERY hard but I did find a couple, only by asking in some writing groups on Facebook if they share there. I can’t even stomach the teen drama/fanfiction/werewolf love affair garbage on there. Gag! I don’t think I’ll last long on it, to be honest. I prefer sharing on my blog.

      All of our libraries are tiny here, except one at the local university (where I went to school)

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      1. It is! Every time I scroll through to look for interesting stories to read, I feel like it’s an avalanche of exactly that, so I never actually read anything. It’s so hard to find quality fiction. I think there are a lot of good ideas behind Wattpad, but, honestly, I prefer to read stories on blogs. That way I feel like I understand the author better and can enjoy the story even more.

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      2. Seven years ago it was so easy to find. I just had to browse through the fiction and writing tags and could be inundated with blogs filled with stories. Now it’s just writers who keep their words to themselves and instead write about the art of writing. I miss those days of writers freely sharing their stories.

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    2. Oh my gosh! I had to add another comment. I thought I found authors who don’t write “sex stories” but I was wrong! I really don’t think there is anything on there that isn’t trashy. Yikes! There has to be a good site where fiction can be shared. It’s really sad 😦

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      1. If I were more tech savvy, I would make one. Unfortunately, sex sells, but after awhile it becomes tedious and boring. I have read that some readers just skim right over those scenes, but I think we’re in the minority.

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      2. Oh, really? Haha, I haven’t looked at the guidelines yet. And, apparently, neither have most writers. Which does explain quite a bit.

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  4. Buying, selling, and moving our homes is such a major change! What a special treat to go visit your old library in the midst of it all. I am sure those librarians were really touched by your story of thankfulness. I often wish I could back and visit my old library, but everything has changed in my old hometown. Still, I can visit it in my memory. Thank you for the sweet reminders here! And, I am continuing to pray for you and your family throughout this whole process!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really liked reading this. I know it must be really stressful getting ready to move and it sounds like there are a lot of emotions attached to leaving the place for different reasons. When we moved almost ten years ago now we got library cards the second day in town. The librarian recently reminded me that she had known my daughter since before she was born (I was pregnant with her when we moved here:) Anyway, thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us.

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