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“What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their flecks dispersing?  It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and its good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac, author of “On the Road.”

Maggie in her favorite spot on the over the cab bed in my RV. She had an attitude, as you can see from this photo. This photo was taken near the end of our journeys when my canine companion was almost 15 years old. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

Five-Star Reading

In July I wrote a blog about putting the finishing touches on my book, Travels with Maggie, and mentioned how hard it was going to be to let “my baby” go out for the world to read. But I knew if I kept thinking that it was not perfect, it would never get published.

So, I finally let it go.

It’s now been up on Amazon for a couple of months, and even has garnered a few five-star reviews. But this morning I remembered that July post when I shared the back of the book blurb and list of contents and asked my blog followers if they would read this book.

I know some of those who responded have, but not all. So, I decided to use my blog to blatantly promote my book a second time.

Maggie didn’t like it when a passenger took her co-pilot seat, but when I stepped out of the RV she always got in the driver’s seat. The above photo was taken near the beginning of our journeys when Maggie was not yet seven years old. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Travels with Maggie is a book about one woman’s fulfillment of a dream that began when she was 10 years old. It chronicles a 7,000-mile RV journey, mostly on backroads, through 23 states and Canada. The odyssey begins in May of 2006 from a daughter’s home in Arkansas, and ends in time for Thanksgiving at another daughter’s home in Texas.

I think my writing voice brings a much-needed feminine voice to the world of such travel writer greats as John Steinbeck, William Least Heat Moon, Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and Charles Kuralt. It’s a book about chasing birds across American, and a book about my relationship with Maggie, my on-the-road companion for eight years.

Never an early riser, like me, Maggie preferred to sleep in until about 10 a.m. – Photo by Pat Bean

And this is the table of contents: How it all Began … Letting Go of the World’s Worries … What Queen Wilhelmina Missed … Yes, Virginia, There is a Silver Lining … Two More Oklahoma Parks – And a Lifer …  Childhood Memories, A Kindred Soul and Marlin Perkins    Heart of the Ozarks …  Roy Rogers, A Tragic Past and an Ouch … A Scenic Riverway, a German Town, and a Margarita Night … Saint Louis: Chihuly, a Birdcage, an Arch and Beer … In the Footsteps of Mark Twain … Meandering Through Illinois Where Kickapoos Once Roamed… The Prophet – And Howling with Tristan … Hotter than Hell in Indiana …  Highway 12, Cade Lake, The Brick Dick and Henry Ford … Celebrating a Summer Halloween … Traveling Beside Lake Erie … Niagara Falls and New In-Laws …The Adirondacks … Ticonderoga, Norman Rockwell and Rainy Vermont … The Stone Man … Good-Bye White Mountains, Hello Maine …  A Week on Desert Island … Strong Women and Paul Bunyan … It’s a Log … Or a Moose …  Scarborough Marsh, Bad Vibes and Boston … Help! My RV’s Lost at the Airport … An Embarrassing Moment and a Hug from a Granddaughter … Hawk Mountain and the Big Apple … Sitting out a Storm in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot … Lost and Found in Philadelphia …  All Dressed up for Pony Watching … Crossing Chesapeake Bay and a Sick Dog … Dismal Swamp, Roanoke Rapids and Simple Things …  The Carolinas – Books, Tobacco and Art …  Georgia on my Mind …  Alabama: Home of the Bible Belt and a Boll Weevil Monument … Mississippi Bird Encounters and a Historic Trail … Know When to Hold ‘Em and Know When to Fold ‘Em… Memories of a Dear Friend …   Epilogue.

So, would you please buy and read this book? And if you’ve read it, would you please write a review.

Bean Pat: Bo’s Café Life:

https://boscafelife.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/bos-cafe-life-flashback-25/

A daily cartoon about writing.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now upon Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

 

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Hem and Haw

“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”  —  Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I hemmed and hawed about continuing on the trail when I saw this baby guarding it. Wisely I reversed my direction. — Photo by Pat Bean

Huh and Um

I have this idea list of blog topics. Every time something pops into my mind that intrigues me, I add it to the list, which by now is several pages long.

This morning, sitting in front of a blank page on my computer screen with a mind that seemed to have nothing to say, I got out the list. As I skimmed through it, I came to the words hem and haw. I had no idea where this idea came from. It must have been on my list a long time.

Not sure where it would lead me, but I decided to give it a shot.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, hem is an interjectional utterance like a slight half cough, used to attract attention, the same sound depicted by the interjection “ahem. The verb “to hem” dates to the 15th century. “Haw,” which dates back to the 1600s, is another case of a word imitating a sound, in this case “as an expression of hesitation.

The dictionary went on to note that today we are more likely to say “uh,” “huh,” or “um” when faced with a sudden decision, but the feeling is the same.

Briefly, that’s it, and now you know as much as I do about hemming and hawing, which evidently is what I was doing trying to come up with a blog topic.

Or perhaps you know more. If so, this writer who loves words and is always curious as a cat, would like to know, too.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Santa Clause and Bruce Springsteen This should put you in the mood for Christmas. It did me.  https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2017/12/13/christmas-alphabet-s-for/

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

 

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On Travel Writing

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

I took this photo last year when wanderlust had me driving to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon just to see the aspen trees in their autumn colors. — Photo by Pat Bean

Observe, Observe, Observe!

While I was a journalist for 37 years of my life, I now think of myself as a travel writer. The fact that I wrote a travel blog for American Profile magazine for a couple of years, have freelanced a few travel articles, blogged frequently about travel, and recently published a travel book, entitles me, I’ve decided, to the title.

Actually, this decision was easier than finally calling myself a writer, which I’ve discovered is often hard for writers to do. But whether one is a journalist, or a writer, these titles have made me a better observer.

Good travel writers don’t just write about a place. The best travel writers know that travel stories are also about the people, the landscape, the weather, the flora and fauna, a place’s history, its politics and culture, and its legends. The magic ingredient that pulls it all together is what a travel writer makes of what he sees, feels, hears, tastes and smells. And trying to pull all this together has educated me way beyond what I was ever taught in classrooms.

Traveling is also as much about discovering oneself as it is about seeing new places. I believe what Saint Augustine wrote over 1,000 years ago. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page.”

But I also believe that one’s own backyard, if looked at with new eyes, can also be a way of traveling. I realized this on meeting people in my travels who, often I discovered, hadn’t traveled 10 miles to see a site that people from all around the world came to see.

Meanwhile, while far away wandering to see new places has become less often these days, I hope I will never stop trying to see familiar places with new eyes. Which, I believe, allows me to continue being a wondering-wanderer – and a travel writer.

            Bean Pat: Contractors Contractions http://tinyurl.com/y9lwdsbl If you’re as old as I am, you already know the language. But Diane gave me some laughs, but only because I live in an apartment complex, whose managers have their own language, and no longer am a home owner.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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The bridge stand-off at Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, one of the many places I visited during my RV-ing adventures. — Photo by Pat Bean.

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

Tell Me Your Stories

Now that Travels with Maggie has finally been released to the world, the next step, my friend Debra tell me, you have to market the book. And one of the things you need to do is put together a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation so you can give talks.

A trail at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia, one of the many trails I hiked after the age of 65. Halfway along this two-mile trail, I came across a sign that said Beware of Bears. Needless to say the second leg of the hike was done in record time. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I have dozens of photographs from the journey, but I’ve never put together a PowerPoint presentation,” I told her. But that problem was quickly solved when I mentioned this to my youngest daughter, T.C., here in Tucson. She said she uses PowerPoint almost daily at work, and that she would put a presentation together for me on my computer, which already has all the necessary tech ingredients.

One problem solved. The next, I realized, was that I needed a script. But after a night of lost sleep, pondering what to talk about, I came up with a theme: Never Too Late. It was a no-brainer.

My wanderlust began when I was 10 years old, after reading Osa Johnson’s book I Married Adventure, which was about photographing and documenting lions in Africa. The book was the best non-fiction seller of 1940, the year after I was born. Traveling across America full-time became a specific dream after I read William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways in 1983.

By this time, I had become addicted to reading travel books, but 1983 was also when I was in the midst of my 37-year journalism career, and was struggling to keep the wolf from the door. It wasn’t until 2004, at the age of 65, that I was finally free to pursue my dream.

I sold my home, bought an RV and spent the next nine years wandering this beautiful country we live in, fulfilling a dream that spanned over half a century of dreams. It truly never is too late.

I would love to hear the stories of my readers about how they finally fulfilled longtime dreams. Please share them with me. I am sure they will help inspire me in writing the script so my friend, Debra Winegarten, whose book, There’s Jews in Texas, won the 2011 Poetica Magazine National Contest and who is the founder of Sociosights Press, and whom I adore, will stop nagging me.

Bean Pat: Joy Loves Travel http://tinyurl.com/ycjqq3dc An epic tale of England, a great armchair viewing of an outdoor spectacle.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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A Funky Bird: Just a fun painting to get your attention. — By Pat Bean

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.” Harper Lee            

Three of a Kind

            I enjoy reading pretty much all genres of books except horror and true crime. Usually, I have about five books that are in my reading stack and a dozen or more eagerly waiting to be moved up to it. Most often the books in the reading stack include a mystery, a travel book, a fantasy novel, a book on writing and one other.

I just noticed, however, that my current reading stack includes three books on writing and journaling. I’m not sure exactly how this came about, but all three are by writers I admire.

The first is The Sound of Paper by artist and author Julia Cameron, who also wrote the Artist’s Way and many other books. She urges writers to do morning pages. This was something I was sometimes doing, but since picking up Julia’s book, I have been doing it faithfully. She urges three pages, but my goal is only two, although once I get started and let the brain take over, I usually end up with three or more. I find this morning journal writing helps focus my day. Her second rule is that we make an artist’s date with ourselves once a week, and the third is that we take daily walks. I already do the latter, and agree that it’s the best time in the world for thinking. As for the artist’s date with myself, I think that’s a great idea.

The second book in my stack is Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg, whose books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones I have also read. This is Natalie’s memoir in which she talks about finding her way as a writer. It echoes many of my own writing thoughts, and is a delight to read. I especially love Natalie’s vivid way with words

The third book in my stack is A Trail Through Leaves by Hannah Hinchman, whose A Life in Hand I have also read. While I found the first two books at my local library, I got Hannah’s secondhand on line after being unable to find one at the library. Like Julia, Hannah is also an artist and encourages the use of art work in journaling. Since it is full of illustrations, I’m glad I will be able to add it to my own library, or to pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it. My small apartment simply can’t keep all the books that come into my possession.

So, what are you reading?

Bean Pat: Lighthouse on a Cliff http://tinyurl.com/y8fj75pg

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Art for front and back cover of Travels with Maggie by Sherry Wachter

            “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”– St. Augustine– Saint Augustine

Finishing Up Loose Ends

I put everything in life on hold the past few days to finish up proofing, writing an author bio, writing a back of the book blurb, and putting together a table of contents for my book Travels with Maggie.  And then I let it go.

Natural Falls, which was one of the stopping points in Travels with Maggie. — Photo by Pat Bean

As a newspaper journalist for 37 years, I turned out almost daily copy that was read by thousands of people. I always wrote my stories the best I could, and won quite a few awards over the years as my writing improved. But there was always a deadline, and on reaching it, whatever I had written had to be put out to the world. Since, my book had no deadline, I’ve been piddling with it for years, afraid to let it go because it might not be perfect,

Finally, I told myself, enough is enough.

Back of the Book Blurb

Travels with Maggie by Pat Bean is a book about one woman’s fulfillment of a dream that began when she was 10 years old. It chronicles a 7,000-mile RV journey, mostly on backroads, through 23 states and Canada. The odyssey begins in May of 2006 from a daughter’s home in Arkansas, and ends in time for Thanksgiving at another daughter’s home in Texas. Bean’s writing brings a much-needed feminine voice to the world of such travel writer greats as John Steinbeck, William Least Heat Moon, Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and Charles Kuralt. Travels with Maggie is also the story of a woman’s relationship with her canine companion, and it’s a story about chasing birds across America by a fledgling birdwatcher. The book is written in such a way that readers can follow the author’s adventures on a map – or in their own vehicle. While a realist who sees the changes that have taken place across America, the author prefers to look for their silver lining. “Change is change, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but mostly a combination.” Calling herself a wondering-wanderer, Bean asks many questions as she travels. Sometimes there are no answers, but always there is enlightenment.

Gypsy Lee — Photo by Pat Bean

Table of Contents

How it all Began … Letting Go of the World’s Worries … W hat Queen Wilhelmina Missed … Yes, Virginia, There is a Silver Lining … Two More Oklahoma Parks – And a Lifer …  Childhood Memories, A Kindred Soul and Marlin Perkins  …  Heart of the Ozarks …  Roy Rogers, A Tragic Past and an Ouch … A Scenic Riverway, a German Town, and a Margarita Night … Saint Louis: Chihuly, a Birdcage, an Arch and Beer … In the Footsteps of Mark Twain … Meandering Through Illinois Where Kickapoos Once Roamed … The Prophet – And Howling with Tristan … Hotter than Hell in Indiana …  Highway 12, Cade Lake, The Brick Dick and Henry Ford … Celebrating a Summer Halloween … Traveling Beside Lake Erie … Niagara Falls and New In-Laws …The Adirondacks … Ticonderoga, Norman Rockwell and Rainy Vermont … The Stone Man … Good-Bye White Mountains, Hello Maine  …  A Week on Desert Island … Strong Women and Paul Bunyan … It’s a Log … Or a Moose …  Scarborough Marsh, Bad Vibes and Boston … Help! My RV’s Lost at the Airport … An Embarrassing Moment and a Hug from a Granddaughter  … Hawk Mountain and the Big Apple … Sitting out a Storm in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot … Lost and Found in Philadelphia …  All Dressed up for Pony Watching … Crossing Chesapeake Bay and a Sick Dog … Dismal Swamp, Roanoke Rapids and Simple Things …  The Carolinas – Books, Tobacco and Art …  Georgia on my Mind …  Alabama: Home of the Bible Belt and a Boll Weevil Monument … Mississippi Bird Encounters and a Historic Trail … Know When to Hold ‘Em and Know When to Fold ‘Em …  Memories of a Dear Friend …   Epilogue

So, would you buy and read this book?

Bean Pat: Rumpy Dog http://tinyurl.com/y8wdudr4 Polls to ponder for the 4th of July.

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Snippets from my Journals

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places” – Ernest Hemingway (This is a quote that I just added to my journal this morning.)

My granddaughter Keri, and my great-grandson, Kaiden, a few years ago. — Photo by Pat Bean

And a Horse Story

I read a lot of nature books, and I often write down some of the more interesting trivia that I learn, often with a personal comment. For example: “If a female beaver slaps the water with her tail, the entire colony will instantly dive. If an adult male issues the warning, only some will dive.” To which I commented … well males do tend to exaggerate a lot.

But then I also noted in this same journal, when camping beside Lake Claiborne at Isaac Creek Campground in Alabama: “Female pine cones are fatter than their male counterparts.” To which I commented … well that accounts for our big hips.

My granddaughter Heidi, a few years back when I was still a full-time RVer. Note Gypsy Lee in the background. — Photo by Pat Bean

Another nature tidbit that fascinated me was learning that some snakes give birth to live babies, while others lay eggs. This had me doing a bit of research, in which I discovered that 70 percent of the planet’s snakes lay eggs, and 30 percent birth their babies. The vipers fall mostly into the latter category.

In one of my journals, when I was working on my book, Travels with Maggie, I noted that Bob Newhart, at 77, had published a book, I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This. When asked why, he responded: “I feel we need to empty our brains and pass along things that we’ve learned along the way,” … To which my personal comment was … Good enough for me. 

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: I’ll give this one, once again, to Horse Trail Adventures http://tinyurl.com/lzeada9 written by my daughter, who is recovering from some serious health problems that left her quite depressed. Getting out on her horse once again is helping her spirit recover. But this Bean Pat comes with a story I recorded in one of my journals. My daughter raised three girls (each of whom has given me a great-grandson) and now, my daughter is raising three boys, currently all teenagers. I hope the gods have pity on her. Anyway …

As a mom, my daughter taught her girls that if they got lost while out riding, they should just give their horses their heads, and they would automatically return home. The two oldest, Heidi and Keri, tried this — and three times found themselves back at the far point in their ride. Eventually they had to find their own way home.

I would never have remembered this story if I hadn’t written it down in my journal.

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