Thursday, August 27, 2009

Incredible Woman #3 - LoriAnne Spear. Thurday's questions

Kara: "I know you’d love to be a published author. How are you going about
achieving that? Talk about some of the books you are working on right now."

LoriAnne: "I do like to write, and I have been working on a book for a couple of years (working is a relative term though) and almost wish I’d never mentioned it, just in case I never finish it. When I’m writing, I feel very much myself; not a mom, a wife, a daughter, employee. Just me. I can write for long, long periods of time, but not often enough. Sometimes, I can’t get one page done. But I like my characters, and the storyline, and if it ever gets to the point where I let anyone read it, I’ll let you know. Sometimes, I just like to write about something that I feel passion for. For instance, here is something I wrote about one of my favorite places. There is no prescribed form, I just started to write as if I was explaining why this place is important to me: Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about “the cabin.” Our family cabin (it’s really my Grandma’s) is named Moss Haven, there is even a sign right next to the front door, and it has been in the family since 1955. It’s very small, and has running water in the kitchen sink, but didn’t have electricity until I was a teenager. I had my first birthday there, and my grandma used to take me and my younger brother and sister up there with her when we were little kids, and we’d spend a lot of each summer up there. To me, there is something peaceful and calming about being there. The air feels different, my senses have memorized the color of the sky, the rustle of the aspen leaves, the smell of the wood burning cookstove as my grandma would start a fire each morning, the warmth of the sun on my face as I sit on the porch in the morning still in my pajamas. It’s where I learned to dip my bacon in maple syrup, drink all my milk, play UNO and Old Maid and old board games like Aggravation and Chinese Checkers. It’s where I learned to build a fire in the stove, chop wood, make sure the kindling bucket was full, wash dishes by hand, and hang the rugs over the clothesline and beat them until they were less dusty. I got used to using an outhouse, even though it was always scary to go out there at night. My dad and uncle hung a swing for us out in the aspen trees behind the cabin – it’s so much more fun to swing from a tree than from a swing
set! We’d beg my aunt or my grandma to take us on yet another motorcycle ride for the umpteenth time (it was really a small motorbike). After several rides, my grandma would suggest we take a walk instead, and while walking taught us the names of the wild flowers, and which bird was singing. We used to walk down to the river to watch my dad and grandpa fish, or walk to the beaver pond to see if we could be quiet and spy a beaver swimming near his lodge. When we didn’t see it, for some reason we thought we could persuade it to come out by dropping the quiet act and instead tossing rocks into the pond. During long cabin afternoons I also learned what going visiting was all about. For a child it’s where you go for a long walk to go call on other cabin neighbors in the middle of the afternoon, for no other reason than just to say hello. And if you’re a child, you sit still and listen as the adults talk, and you eat the cookie they offer you, even if it has raisins in it. It was always more fun if they let us go up to their loft and play and look around. When cabin neighbors would come to visit us, the dog’s bark would alert us, and we’d tidy up quickly, put the games away and sit out on the porch with all the adults for awhile until we were excused to go play. I never remember doing this kind of thing in my suburban neighborhoods. I learned that cabin neighbors are very close, even if the cabins themselves are far apart. At night, there was a coziness in the cabin that can’t be found in a suburban house. Each night after we got washed up in the wash bowl with water warmed on the stove and then in our pajamas, my dad or grandpa would light and hang the propane lanterns from hooks in the ceiling. Then my sister and I would lie on the couch under the heavy old quilt, and my grandpa would sit in his chair by the door, and my grandma in her chair by the fireplace, (my brother would be too much of a busybody to lie still and listen) and we’d listen to the news, then old radio show Mystery Theater, along with the hiss and occasional pop from the lanterns. I’d sometimes get scared from the suspense of the storyline and the dramatic music, but often I’d fall asleep before the mystery was solved, later to be nudged awake, and I’d sleepily climb the stairs with a flashlight and go to the bed that I shared with my sister. Our cabin is one of my favorite places on earth. I missed it greatly when my family moved to Denver, but I used to come back and visit for a week or two each summer, and my grandma would even let me bring a friend, an absolute necessity as a teenager. Now my kids have been going up to the cabin all their lives, and it’s how they’ve gotten to know their great-grandma so well, and now I’m the one who tries to teach them what I learned up there. Our cabin is truly our “Moss Haven” and is a part of who we are."

A few pictures of good times at the cabin...

Kara: "You are still in touch with a bunch of friends from high school and college. Talk about the importance of friendship. Do you think friends are necessary for
women? What are some of the things friends can do together to stay close?"

LoriAnne: "I guess I do hang on to my friends, sometimes whether they want to or not. No, just kidding. But I was fortunate enough as a teenager to have an extraordinary group of kids in the Southglenn LDS Ward in Littleton, Colorado. It didn’t matter if you were school nerd goody-goodies like me and my friend Amy, or if you were a long-haired, rebel guitar player in a basement band. We were all part of the group, and we belonged to each other. We were very tight, and there was some dating amongst us, but that was mostly just for practice really. We got together every weekend night to have our “get-togethers.” This was started by my future husband Steve and his sister. We would play games, hang out, or watch a movie on that new thing called a VCR that Steve could bring home from his work at a video store in the mall. Still even while in the midst of high school, we knew and appreciated the special bond we had, and now that we all have families, we still know where all of us are, and we know about each other’s kids. Sometimes we talk often, sometimes just a couple times a year. But we will always be there for each other. As far as women and friendships go, I think they are essential for woman’s well being and sanity. A husband cannot handle all the venting or deep analysis of subtle innuendos and whether an implication was intended or not, that a woman needs a friend to muck through with her. Even little girls know this. I think one of the best books on the subject was written by two dear friends Ellen Goodman and Patricia O’Brien, called I Know Just What You Mean. I don’t know if it’s in print still, the copyright date is 2000. I got it off a used book table at a library. I’ve loved it and I wish I could buy one for all my girlfriends!"


Brenda said...

The reasons you love your cabin is the reasons I have been wanting one of my own. And yesterday, that is where I would have gone!! When you talked the other day of the drama of raising girls, oh yeah, and why does mom have to take it all??? I was ready to pack my things and just go away for awhile yesterday after we got back from school shopping - so I did. I climbed into bed and read for a couple hours. (you've got to get your book written!! *big grin*) When I decided to come back, I was glad I hadn't gone away for real, but I had been sorely tempted!!
I loved reading about your cabin. It sounds like a dream place, and such a retreat. A piece of heaven on earth, where your senses can just feel such wounder of it all. Calm, beautiful, and love the beaver story!! Oh yeah, he's coming out to see who's throwing rocks!!! Great memories!! Thanks for sharing them with me!!!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about the cabin! It brought back some sweet memories for me. You have accomplished a great deal in finishing school!
Way to go! You are a great mom, it is quite obvious!
Thank you for sharing!

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