What Ties My Six Books Together? As I pondered this question this week, I wondered: three books about my rural childhood in southeastern Colorado, one about my grief in losing my parents, one a biography about a square dance caller and the last one about my reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Then I saw the tie that binds them: relationships and connection to people. So, here’s how I see the tie that ties my writing together:
My First Book
This Tumbleweed Landed, a memoir written in poetry and prose, focuses on people, places and events in my small rural community during my childhood. I fashioned it after Cynthia Rylant’s children’s book, Waiting to Waltz, who wrote poetry about people, places and events in a fictional town. In my book, I celebrated my childhood relationships with many notorious adults in town—Virgie Firestone and the Warners. Also, what I wrote about many of the places and events, places and times I connected with my family and friends—Branson dances and stories my dad and his school years, told sitting at our round table.
My Second Book
When Will Papa Get Home?, a historical fiction, focuses on a Mexican immigrant family’s perilous times during the 20s in southeastern Colorado. Maria, the daughter, tells the story of her family’s plight. She weaves the tale of those people responsible for her papa’s false accusations.
I centered this book on familial and friend relationships and connection to people. Sadly though, this book also shows the prejudice of the time and the misconnection some people had with certain races. But her deep connection with her family wins in the end.
My Third Book
Let Me Tell You a Story, a nonfiction account of how my granddad put our family ranch together during the depression when many other ranchers lost theirs, focuses on the three generations of my family and our ranch. My dad, mom and I had previously released this booklet in 1992 at my dad’s 75th birthday party. It overflows with the relationship between my dad and his dad and my granddad, and the relationship my dad and granddad had with the ranch they loved. Yes, you can have a relationship and connection with the earth! Even though it focuses on the ranch, the underlying topic is our familial relationships.
My Fourth Book
A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir, a memoir about the loss of my parents, shows the foundation of my life and relationships: my parents. Of all my books, this book hurt to write, yet I love it the most! In talking about my loss, I feature the unique relationship I had with each parent. First, I connected with each of them, making it easier to connect with others in the world.
My Fifth Book
Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, a biography of the most famous square dance caller in the world’s, first and foremost highlights relationships and connections with people. Yes, it tells Flippo’s life story from Texas to Japan as a young man and then later in life, but a major part of his life story was his connection with his family and friends. So much so, he required a section in the book telling stories about his square and round dance friends. After fulfilling that request, I connected with callers, cuers and dancers and featured their stories about Flippo. Yes, he truly understood relationships and how to connect with just about anyone.
My Sixth Book
Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, a spiritual self-help book written in poetry and prose, focuses on many of the perils of the coronavirus pandemic with an underlying theme the opposite of my focus: isolation. Yet this theme emphasized the extreme need I had and many others had to connect with people, to be with people, to relate with people. Thankfully, Zoom met some of those needs—a monthly get-together with two women friends I knew in Loveland, Colorado, a Christmas concert with our local caller, and many recovery meetings. But I’ll never forget the first time I went out without a mask and actually hugged someone besides my husband. Something deep inside me healed.
The lack of connection truly became the hardest part of the pandemic for me, and I see now how that appears throughout this book.
This topic came up because I’m a multi-genre author which makes it difficult to market my books, my brand. Current training I’m attending wrestled with this dilemma. But I have no qualms about this! I love poetry and prose. Also I relish historical fiction. Writing Flippo’s biography was a privilege and an honor. I love the variety!
Relationships and connections with people feed my life and my writing. I did not know when I wrote each book that those themes laced their way through each work, hiding in a poem, a story, or my prose. Actually, taking the time to identify the tie between my six books opened my eyes! I’m so glad I wrote this blog to see the common tie that binds my work together. I have a feeling this meandering around and through my six books will help me in my future writing!
If you’ve read my books, did you see this theme? If not, did you see others? Let me know.
News, News, News!
~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet? Vist my website: laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.