07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year Musing by Bonnie Hobbs

I woke up with a word bouncing gently in my mind. I didn’t hear it, I saw it, as is often the case. Vicissitudes. Big word for such an early hour, but here at the beginning of a new year, I’m thinking about life’s ups and down, that ol’ taking our knocks, reeling with blows, but more often, just sliding along.

Bonnie Hobbs
We dance a kind of two-step. You know, one step forward, two steps back and slide, slide, slide. The dance of writing goes that way for me. Advance, retreat, make progress, delete whole scenes, and lately, with seven manuscripts in various ways “completed,” I seem to be sliding sideways with most of them – rewriting, revising, resubmitting. Yet some steps in this dance have been the high-stepping kind. One book was released by Wild Rose Press last March, and two more accepted by Five Star Publishing. (Can I say this without signed contracts in hand? Or is that a sure way to invite the wrath of jealous writing goddesses?)

So maybe this coming year will bring less downs in work and life and more ups, when words come swimming into my brain on awakening, as today. So, a new year, filled with what is yet to come.

In that light, let me leave with a story about life’s surprises, shall I? Throughout my childhood my rough-talking Texas grandma filled me with stories of living on the plains. Born in 1896, married at sixteen, her girl-hood and young wife’s memories stirred my imagination—living in a “soddy,” fending off rattlers with a buggy whip, cooking on a wood-stove for twenty men at round-up time, all with a toddler to mind and a baby on her hip.

Often I now think she told the stories in an attempt to tell us, when we were whiny little monsters, to “get over ourselves.” I have even wondered lately if she made many of those stories up. They’ve been sprinkled into much of my writing, that’s for sure. I wish I’d pressured her for more before she died in 1976. Is it any wonder my stories are Women’s Frontier fiction set in the American West?

Ah, but the surprise I promised—Grandma always told us how her great-grandma was Cherokee. I scoffed as a know-it-all college girl, telling her “everyone from Texas claims Indian descent, Grandma.” Well, she’d only glare at me with squinted eyes.

Last year, feeling sentimental about Grandma, I spat in Ancestry.com’s handy tube to find out just how much of this “Indian” blood I carried. Well—wait for it. My ancestors are mostly from the British Isles. No surprise. And Grandma was right in a way. I do indeed carry a small percentage of “Indian” DNA. Yep. From the Asian subcontinent. Huh? One can only guess at the when and wherefore of the co-mingling of such genetic material. (I, of course, plan to be putting this in a short story.)

So what would Grandma say to that? Something like “pshaw!” Again, she’d be glaring at me. But I can only chuckle at life’s vicissitudes and say, “Namaste, Grandma, many blessings upon you and thank you so very much for the stories.”

Learn more about Bonnie on her website.


Judith Ashley said...

Welcome to Romancing The Genres, Bonnie. Love this post. I've promised myself to do the DNA testing this year. My cousin (mother's sister) and I want to compare notes. She was disappointed that we don't have more British Isles DNA but our western Europe DNA means our ancestors come from William the Conquer. And since some industrious soul traced the Rawsons back to Charlemagne, that makes sense.

Deb Noone said...


What a fun post. It is amazing when something pops into one of our stories and we realize the kernel of an idea or even an entire adventure comes from a family story.

Best as you move forward with new contracts - how exciting!

Deb N.

Diana McCollum said...

Bonnie, sounds like you had a spunky Grandma! My husband's great-grandma used to babysit him and his siblings on New Year's eve every year and would tell them stories of when she was young in the late 1800's. Her husband drove a mule team transporting goods from Or to California. I love old true stories. Makes one appreciate the time we live in. Congrats on the contracts, and I hope you have great success in sales.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Beautiful! Happy writing, Bonnie.