Discoveries: A Journey Through Life

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9780741407719: Discoveries: A Journey Through Life

Like the flash and dart of dragonflies, other busy lives surround ours as we prance unaware through our own world. Whether describing mountains, countryside, coast or town, Shirley Ann Parker is a visual and humane writer with a delightful sense of humor. Each absorbing story portrays a powerful sense of place, even when life's smaller crises are held up to the light. It is the everyday challenges that define us, after all. From the joys and exasperations of daily living to magical realism, from Old Man Shever to The Refuge, these 17 stories weave a colorful tapestry of life's discoveries.

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From the Publisher:

INTERVIEW WITH SHIRLEY ANN PARKER

Q. What exactly made you decide to write a book of short stories?

A. The stories didn't start out as a book, but gradually I came to realize they were reflecting some of my many experiences living in the United States. These stories share themes of family, friendship, and humor, even though I have changed and grown immeasurably over the years.

Q. So these stories are autobiographical?

A. Not in the usual sense of the word. They resemble what happened to me the way a pearl resembles the grain of sand that irritated the oyster. Over the years, the oyster lays down layers of pearl over that irritation and eventually creates something distinctly different, something beautiful.

Q. I detect a sense of wonder in many of the stories. Where did that come from?

A. It's part of me, part of the awesome regard I have for the Universe and all the Creator's works. And there are other dimensions we're not attuned to yet. Q. I still don't understand how you can write these kinds of stories.

A. No one can truly understand the creative process. It's a gift from God, as all talents are. What we do with those talents is our gift back to Him. But we have to work with the talents we've been given: practice, practice, practice. And people don't like to hear that. I know that during the years I couldn't find the time to write anything creative, my talent atrophied. It was hard to get that creativity back. I'll probably never make up for the lost time, so I just have to move forward anyway. And life's crises still interrupt me.

Q. So you're saying you've had several instances of writer's block?

A. No, that wasn't it. I had people block, work block, health blocks, but not writer's block! The world does conspire against you when you have something good inside that needs to emerge. Sometimes, those attacks drop you to the earth; you just have to wait them out because you can't defeat them-you can't even move. At other times, you find a way over them, under them, around them, and when all else fails, right through the middle of them! Q. You bulldoze your way through?

A. Absolutely!

Q. What kind of writer's training did you have?

A. I've been writing since I was a little girl, so it's hard to say. I used to make up stories for my sister when we played shadow puppets on the wall, using the streetlamps. Then I made up stories for two of my friends when we were teenagers-scripts for Wagon Train and movies that had made an impression on me at the time. At my academic high school in England, there were no creative writing classes as such. We were taught grammar, of course, and had to write some probably boring essays. Everything else English-related was a study of literature. But my first article was published in England when I was 16. Q. You didn't take any creative writing courses?

A. Not till I was older. I took a few college history classes in my 20s in California, but I didn't go back to college till I was 36. By then I was already a published writer with multiple sales to small magazines and a few larger ones.

Q. Does fiction writing pay well?

A. You are kidding, right? There is no money in fiction writing for the majority of authors. We write because we want to, and hope that someday we can actually pay the rent doing this. Some superstars make the megabucks, maybe a few dozen out of the thousands of published authors. Royalties are always minuscule, after the publisher, the agents, and the other middlemen take their cuts.

Q. Tell us more about Shirley Ann Parker

A. I was born in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England. My dad was from Leeds in Yorkshire, so after I finished high school, he moved the family back up there where he had found work. I wasn't happy because it was such a drastic change of environment, so about 18 months later, I moved to the United States. I was supposed to work as a nanny in Jenkintown, near Philadelphia, but the job hadn't been described properly to me, so I moved on. My early aspirations were to be a veterinarian, then a linguist/interpreter, then a journalist. Our so-called guidance counselor at the high school shot me down on all counts! It was infuriating and discouraging, especially since in those days my best subjects in school were Latin and French.

Q. Why did he or she discourage you so strongly?

A. Because he was ignorant. He was a product of his time. Women didn't do things like that, especially not girls from poor families. The caste system is still alive and well in Great Britain! If there's any bitterness in me at all, that's where it comes from. Nowadays, in the United States most students in veterinary colleges are women! There are thousands of jobs for linguists and interpreters throughout the world! And look how many female journalists there are!

Q. So what other kinds of jobs have you held instead?

A. I did finally work as a nanny in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and Wilmette, Illinois. I also worked as an accounting office supervisor for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. Later, I was a marketing and sales administrator for an automotive engineering company. Outside of a few temp jobs, I've been a technical writer for the past six years. And there have been plenty of volunteer assignments to fill in the gaps.

From the Author:

From southern England's countryside, my journey wound through Pennsylvania to Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Utah and California (twice). Along these diverse paths, I've found sharp-edged rocks and shining crystals. When I picked them up, they often cut my hands like obsidian. Yet rolled between my palms, the sharp edges fell away, drops of blood vanished, and I was left with pearls and the sound of tinkling bells. I write to validate the dreams and concerns of women and men trapped in lives of not-so-quiet desperation.

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Book Description Infinity Publishing (PA). Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 211 pages. Dimensions: 8.5in. x 5.5in. x 0.5in.Like the flash and dart of dragonflies, other busy lives surround ours as we prance unaware through our own world. Whether describing mountains, countryside, coast or town, Shirley Ann Parker is a visual and humane writer with a delightful sense of humor. Each absorbing story portrays a powerful sense of place, even when lifes smaller crises are held up to the light. It is the everyday challenges that define us, after all. From the joys and exasperations of daily living to magical realism, from Old Man Shever to The Refuge, these 17 stories weave a colorful tapestry of lifes discoveries. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780741407719

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