Friday, August 12, 2011

COULD SOMEONE DIM THOSE SPOTLIGHTS, PLEASE? --Vonnie Davis

The spotlight shines on me today at Roses of Prose, and I’m squirming in my seat wondering how I'll introduce myself--one of the "new" yet old roses on the vine. What can I possibly say to engage and entertain? Granted, I’m a writer, but my heroines—strong women, all—and my heroes—alpha males with a soft caramel center—are more interesting to write about than myself.

For you see, I am the typical late bloomer. I didn’t start college until the age of forty-four. The love of my life didn’t enter my life until I was fifty-five. And I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my early sixties. But I do have a wild and crazy variety of life experiences that spill over into my writing.




What was it like going to college with kids the same ages or younger than my children, who were college students themselves? It was a blast! At the time, I worked in a factory on third shift as one of three women working with sixty-seven men. Tough odds, I'll admit. I was a member of the machinists’ union, read blueprints, ran machines and worked in the oil and dredge of heavy steel industries.


After my shift ended at seven in the morning I’d rush home, shower and change before dashing off to campus.  


I was a full-time student at Penn State, majoring in Business Management and English with a concentration in technical writing. Slowly I became the campus mom; the person homesick kids went to with their problems.


Yet, it was my sons I called in the evening when I couldn’t do my homework. I struggled with sciences, and my youngest was majoring in micro-biology. A collegiate wrestler, he shared an apartment with five other wrestlers. One night when I called for help, Mike yelled to his roommates, “Hey, guys, quiet down! I’m trying to help my mom with her homework.” Of course, his roomies responded with various questions like When is she making us more brownies? Is she bringing us some more jars of homemade spaghetti sauce? Ask her to make us those yummy stuffed shells like she did last time she was here. Men, we do know how they think, don’t we?


My oldest son transferred to my campus for his final semester so he could say he went to college with his mom. What fun we had. To be sure, my college years were a special time.


On the tenth anniversary of my divorce, I bought a bottle of wine, Chinese takeout and a bag of Oreos. Folks, I was determined to have one last pity party and finally—finally—get that man out of my system. A few hours later in a wine-MSG-sugar-induced moment of madness, I went online and filled out a profile on match dot com. I woke up the next morning with a start, head throbbing, vision doubled, mouth tasting as if a herd of buffalo had roamed through it and an obscure, wild memory that I’d put myself out on the internet for every wacko to find. Surely I hadn’t done that! Surely not…

But I had. Did the wackos find me? Oh, yeah. They came in droves. Oh, the horrors!


Then one day, Calvin sashayed into my mailbox on a jazzbeat and a smile—a gentleman with southern charm, a retired English teacher and a writer. We met for the first time at a Barnes and Noble. He was standing by the door holding a bouquet of red roses, and I was entranced.

That was eight years ago. Since then we’ve married. I retired as a techincal writer and, with Calvin’s encouragement, started writing. Last month we each had a book released. His The Phantom Lady of Paris is set on the Left Bank of Paris in 1968. My Storm’s Interlude is a contemporary romance full of family love and passion set in the hill country of Texas.


Having shared all this, I suppose if there’s one thing I can pass along to you, it’s that one is never too old to pursue his or her dreams. Age be damned. Truly. For it is our spirits that define us. No matter how downtrodden or damaged or dinged our spirits are, they’ll always rise to the occasion. They’ll whisper in our ears, “Let’s try it. Let’s see what we can do, shall we?”


I'll be here posting the 12th and 27th of every month. Write on!

27 comments:

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vonnie,
What a fabulous introduction. What a life you have had. You are an inspiration. Lovely that you found your soul mate on the internet.

Regards

Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vonnie,
What a fabulous introduction. What a life you have had. You are an inspiration. Lovely that you found your soul mate on the internet.

Regards

Margaret

Jannine Gallant said...

Vonnie, you are an impressive lady! Thanks for sharing your stories. Sounds to me like YOU should be the heroine in a book!

Jerri Hines/Carrie James-Haynes said...

Vonnie,
What a great story! Inspiring. I know where you draw your strong heroines from. Love your energy. So glad you're a Rose!

Laura Breck said...

Aw, how sweet! I love that you and your honey write together. And congrats on going back to college. That's an amazing accomplishment. Great to get to know you better!

Brenda Whiteside said...

You brought tears to my eyes this morning, Vonnie. I might be having one of those days but I can identify with some of it so you got me! Happy tears by the way. And I hope you're using some of your own life in romance writing because all the elements are there. If not, give me the rights and we'll pen it together!

glenys said...

Vonnie - what an incredible story! No wonder you write about strong heroines - you're obviously one strong, brave and funny lady yourself! And congrats on having such wonderful, supportive kids! Lovely to meet you, and look forward to reading more.

Alison H. said...

Vonnie, you're an inspiration! What more can I say? So glad you've joined as as a rose.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Margaret, I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet, so let's hope my reply makes sense. Yes, lucky me to have found a darling man who loves Shakespeare as much as I, and who understands my need to write. And his hugs aren't bad either. 'Nuff said. **wink-wink**

Vonnie Davis said...

Jannine, thanks for commenting. A heroine in a book? Me? The only title that springs to mind is "Magnet for the Absurd." All silliness aside, we all have our own stories. We're all delightfully different with our own unique experiences. And we were all meant to shine!

Vonnie Davis said...

Jerri, many years ago, heroines in romances were weepy, fearful types. I used to yell at them as I read their stories. My heroines turn adversities into advantages.

Melinda said...

Vonnie,

Your life experiences sound so fun...Going to college with your son I am sure that was so much fun. I am so glad that you found the love of your life. It rarely happens... I found my husband 24 years ago and he is the love of my life.

Well love the introduction. Learned a lot about a dear and close friend

Walk in harmony,
Melinda

Vonnie Davis said...

Laura, going back to college was a life-changing experience. In my own way, I matured as much as those 18-20 year olds. Professors would assign foriegn students to me so I could show them how to research and write reports/papers. Poor things were so homesick, my heart went out to every one of them.

Vonnie Davis said...

Brenda, thanks for your kind words, and if I brought tears to your eyes, I certainly hope they were happy tears. Tears are such powerful little things; what emotions they release in all of us.

Vonnie Davis said...

Glenys, my boys helped me through the depression of a divorce. They turned out to be incredible men. My daughters-in-law thank me often because I taught my sons how to cook, do laundry, sew on a button, clean bathrooms, vaccuum--and they do it as a matter of routine now. Are they alpha? In their own ways, yes. One, an assistant principal at a high schook, has a 4th degree balck belt in karate. The other, a safety engineer, coaches wrestling, football and is a competitive body builder. No air brushing on his six-pack abs!!!

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks Alison! I'm thrilled to be a Rose of Prose. What an incredible gorup of women.

Vonnie Davis said...

Melinda, thanks for stopping by. Life is so much better when we've found that special someone. Glad you found yours.

Lilly Gayle said...

What a wonderful story! It sounds like a Lifetime movie! Congrats on your release.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Vonnie,
Congratulations on your new release.
I loved your story and agree: your dreams only end when they close the lid and maybe not then.
Barbara

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Lilly, I love your upbeat spirit. Thanks for stopping by.

Vonnie Davis said...

Barbara, a part of writers lives on. Our words exist long after we're gone...or until Amazon quits listing our books. ;-)

Mona Risk said...

Vonnie, I love reading about your romance, and your romances too. LOL. We have something in common Vonnie. I went back to school to do my Ph. D. in chemistry when my kids were teenagers, and spent my last year at the University of Cincinnati as my son spent his first year in engineering.

Vonnie Davis said...

Mona, wow, a PhD. I honor you!! Calvin's son has a PhD, in high energy theoretical particle physics. I asked him once to explain that to me as if I were a 3 year old. He slung his long arm around my shoulders and quipped, "There's not enough time in the world."

You're right, though, going back to college at an older age is a delightful experience. We learn so much. Our focus is greater.

Lynne Marshall said...

Vonnie - you truly are an inspiration. The path to a satisfying life has a million different roads, we all have to find our own. I am also a late bloomer, so we're kindred spirits on that. As I've said for years, since I love to write romances with more mature couples than the ususal romances, IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO FALL IN LOVE!

So glad you shared your story with us. I feel as if I've made a new friend.

Paty Jager said...

Great post, Vonnie! And you're right. Age does not define who we are. Way to live life to its fullest.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for your sweet remarks, Lynne. I've often toyed iwth writing an older heroine's journey to love. I do have a full submission to TWRP where the heroine is 40, but in my eyes she's still a sweet, young thing.

Vonnie Davis said...

So glad you agree, Paty. Age--phooey!! Thanks for leaving a comment.