Archive for May 2009

Religion and the banning of books

I don't usually go into religion on this blog, mostly because I'm a big ol' wuss and don't want to cause problems, but Writtenwyrdd's post about books banned from school libraries made me think. I hope this comes out semi-coherently.

Wyrdd says about the banned books,
And the main factor appears to be, once again, religious intolerance.  As in, you must believe exactly as I do, and I'll ensure that by giving you nothing to change your mind.  Which, as anyone who has studied any history at all knows, will not work.  In fact, suppression of ideas tends to have the opposite effect than the one desired!

And I agree. Suppression of ideas makes those ideas even more desirable to rebellious teenagers. If they want to really suppress them, the more  effective method would be to simply feign indifference.

However, you can see why these book banners would worry about education leading people away from church. In a fit of serendipity, this article about why one man walked away from Christianity came across my desktop immediately after I commented on Wyrdd's post. The main reason he gives for leaving is that Christianity just doesn't make sense. Actually that the existence of God himself doesn't make sense. That the only reason people believe in any god is because they were indoctrinated in their particular religion as children. (And looking at it objectively, that's mostly true, isn't it?) Religion is humanity's way of explaining the as-yet unexplained, and as science provides plausible explanations for the things we used to take on faith (as in the battle between creationism and evolution, and don't get me started on that) a modern person absolutely has to reconcile scientific knowledge with faith if they are to continue to embrace the Bible.

So to come back around to my point, yeah, education can transform the idea of God, and for many it disproves God's existence. Honestly? I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I believe in God, not as separate entity looking down upon us, but as part of us. Our life essence. Our selves. God does not need us to believe in God. I don't believe in Hell or being "saved" in the Christian sense, and I'm obviously not the only one. There's a shift in social consciousness coming about, and banning books which express different ideas is just a way to maintain a way of life that is losing its hold on dominance, just as we do at every major social shift. We'll settle down into a new way, and when that one goes we'll likely hold on just as tightly. It's what we do.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
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First of all, I'd just like to know who ran over me with a truck while I slept last night. Anyone wanna fess up? I didn't feel like I worked that hard, so why do I hurt so bad? And of course it's not the muscles aching, which would indicate some real exercise, only my miserable joints. Ugh.

The weekend blurred all together like one long day. During one waking part of that long day, we dismantled our chain-link fence, only large enough for the tiniest of dogs, and perpetually in the way. It was relatively easy to get apart - not rusted together or anything - and the kids helped by rolling up the fencing and pulling apart the tubes. They even helped carry it all to the junk pile behind the shed. I think I'll give it away on Freecycle. I wish we'd done it a long time ago. Having that eye sore gone really opens it up, makes the back yard park-like instead of prison-like.

Something else cool that happened this weekend: I got the short story I'm to edit for the final test in my job application with the e-publisher. I'm learning already. Did you know that to create an EM dash in Word, all you have to do is hit Cntrl/Alt/number pad minus? Without that little tidbit, I think you have to find the special characters menu, and blah blah blah. Tedium in spades. Anyway, I send this first round back on June 14. If they publish the story with my edits, they'll offer me a contract and I'll start getting royalties on this first story.

You know, I really like knowing all sides of anything I'm involved with. When I worked at Sonic as a teenager, I begged them to teach me every job, even how to clean the grill and make onion rings. The other kids were, like, "Why would you WANT to know how to do more work? Now Derrick will make you do everything." I didn't care. I loved knowing all the ins and outs of a drive-in burger joint. I loved being able to do any job in there.

Same thing when I worked at a sewing factory. I took any opportunity to learn a new job at the boss's request, and sometimes pestered people to let me practice on their machines at break times. The jobs I couldn't physically do, I watched and learned. And with every boyfriend I ever had, I took on his interests. That's how I learned about meteorology, and how to work on cars, and basic woodworking, and how to process marijuana into smokeable form (something I could have lived without knowing).

I guess that's why I enjoy Deadliest Catch and How It's Made, and not so much Survivor or The Bachelor. It's why I used to explore abandoned houses as a kid, and ask strangers unusual questions as an adult. I just want to know, is all.

I wish you all a happy, good week.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

That reset button is a sticky little sucker.

I've spent the past six months or so hitting the ol' reset button. (Search on "reset" to find related posts.) It's a sticky little sucker, and I have to hit it several times before it takes. This is my year of renewal, my year for re-evaluating my priorities, my year for growing a backbone and becoming my own woman.

I hope.

I've been trying new things, like editing, and letting go of things which don't serve me, like an unhealthy preoccupation with what other people want of me (still working on this one, but it's getting easier). I'm tired of fighting. There's such an attitude of "go get what you want, no matter what! Don't let anything get in your way! You can do it if you never give up!" in this world that I wondered why it wasn't working for me. I'm a really tenacious person, taking those sentiments to heart. I've spent the first half of my life wondering why I couldn't make things happen like Trump or Oprah. So I decided since taking the path of most resistance wasn't working, I'd try to take the maligned path of least resistance.

Well now I forgot where I was going with this.

I think I was going to talk about my writing attitudes. Before, I always wrote to please someone else. I listened to other people's advice, and as you know, there is a lot of it on the Internet, consumed and regurgitated over and over without thought. Tried to please everyone, you know? And half--no, most of the time I had to guess at what people wanted--readers, agent, potential editors, critters, family. Each of them seemed to want a different thing, and it was impossible to please everybody. Froze me up. Too much resistance.

Well, I've had almost two months of forced time off. When I first broke my finger, it didn't seem real that I wouldn't be able to truly write until it healed. I couldn't wrap my head around it. I was really angry at first, had major withdrawals, not only from the book itself but also from the idea of writing. God, that was hard.

Now I see I should have done this a long time ago, but I was too busy trying not to let anyone down, including my dream. I wish I hadn't forced Fate to break my finger and my laptop in order to get me to reset this aspect of my life. But now I feel cleaner, like I might actually enjoy writing when I get the chance to start up again, and it makes my eyes well up to feel that love again.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Have a good weekend.

P.S. Got tired of scrapers stealing my content, so I'm syndicating only an excerpt till I see if it helps. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

On My Reader

Maybe it's been a while since you visited the Sherri Blossoms site or maybe not, but did you notice the widget to the left of here called "On My Reader"? It's something I used to have on an old template, but for some reason it stopped working and I gave up. A few weeks ago I revived it and lo, it worked! It contains links to new posts every day, mostly from agents and editors. I expected folks to click through to those blogs but it hasn't been happening, so I figure nobody's noticed it. Lots of good advice for writers cycling through the widget. Keep checking back.



"How do I get one?" Darcknyt asks. Well, they don't come pre-made for, but I can tell you how I made mine using Google reader. Wordpress has an RSS widget, but the RSS you use must be made public so it'll pick it up. Here's how to do that, in way too much detail.

(This assumes you want to use a folder other than the "Shared Items" folder, which is already on there. You can just use that one if you don't already use it for something else.)


  1. Log in to Google Reader and go into Settings, then the "subscriptions" tab.

  2. Pick one of the feeds you want to share and click on "Change folders." Scroll down the drop-down menu and click on "new folder," then name your folder.

  3. Now that the folder is in your list, you can go down the list and check the boxes of all the blogs you want to share. Go up to the drop-down "More actions" menu, and select the folder you just created. Now all the blogs you selected will be in that folder.

  4. Click the "Folders and Tags" tab, click the RSS icon next to "private"  to change it to "public." (I had to refresh the page to make my test folder show up.) You have to make it public, or it won't show up in the widget, as far as I can tell.

  5. Click "view public page" for the folder you just made public and copy the URL.

  6. Now log in to Wordpress and go to your widgets. Find the widget called RSS and drag it to your sidebar. Paste in the URL for the folder

  7. Give it a snazzy title, select the options within the RSS widget, save it and you're done.

Any questions?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
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Fully loaded

I went ahead and deleted the CSS file for this blog. Why put it off? The template is now the standard one, and though it looks basically the same, it has lost a bit of its oomph, don't you think? Just ready to weed the garden to make way for whatever is coming. Get rid of distractions, one at a time. The challenge is not getting rid of the old, tired ones but keeping new, exciting ones from creeping in.

Ha, I just realized I missed my 3-year bloggiversary. Funny, but it seems like longer.

I've been thinking about the human tendency to expect things to stay the same. Especially people. When we meet someone, our brain creates a Base Model of the person for reference. Like say you meet a new woman who's really nice. The Base Model is "Nice". A few months later you accidentally cross her in some way, and she turns into a raging bitch. There's a moment of bewilderment when the current model does not match up with the Base Model. Somehow it hurts worse to be yelled at by a person who had previously treated you kindly than by someone whom you always knew was a raging bitch. Just like it's hard to accept kindness from a "raging bitch" Base Model.

I've noticed this with new people I meet. If I go through an introspective jag, the people who find me during that time seem to always connect with me on that level. If I'm writing about racy topics, I meet a whole 'nother set of folks...who always connect with me on that level, and seem unable to change the Base Model Sherri. And the same goes for humorous times, and writerly times, and all other times. I do it, too. I've probably done it to you worse than you've done it to me. I like putting things in nice, neat boxes, and it bothers me when they don't fit.

It might just be an unchangeable human trait, but I think it helps to be aware of it.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius


Well, folks, it looks like I surpassed 30,000 visitors. I've been thinking about closing the blog down, or else making drastic changes in order to pump up my flagging interest. Well, it seems that Wordpress and GoDaddy are going to make my decision real easy. My CSS subscription runs out in a month, so my beautiful pink links will be gone bye-bye. No reason to lay down $15 to maintain a blog I'm not sure I even want to keep up anymore. Also, my domain is expiring, so I guess this will be a good time to just let it all go.

I doubt I will go cold turkey on blogging, but since I won't have any money invested there will be no guilt involved if I don't post for weeks at a time. Most likely I'll also move to another URL altogether, one which has more to do with my life at this time. I guess I don't have to make all the decisions at once.

The editor job is closer to being mine. The final test is to edit a short story for publication. If that goes well, they'll offer me a contract. If not, well, there's always proofreading. (Her words. lol)

Surrender is hard. Surrender can be depressing, if you're surrendering to the hardships and not to Grace. I surrender to grace. Not saying this will be my last post ever, just saying changes are coming that should have come a long time ago, if my ego hadn't gotten in the way of the divine. Wish I could explain that, but I'm not even sure what I mean. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Happy birthday, Zariah

[caption id="attachment_1165" align="alignleft" width="468" caption="The most beautiful girl in the world with the luckiest step-mommy in the world."]I love you, Z![/caption]
Monday, May 11, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
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God sent me a message this morning

Those of you closest to me know that I've been going through an internal crisis in my writing. The waiting got to me. I stopped enjoying it, number one, and number two, I started thinking maybe I wasn't cut out to be a writer. A little over a month ago I hurt my right hand. My laptop broke. Fragrance started to become a big issue again. It wasn't just hard to write--as it had been for the previous few months--it was physically impossible. The weight of my imagined failings crushed me into creative indecision. I was stuck.

I was stuck, but accepting. I decided to let go of the dream. I cleared Google Reader of all industry blogs; told my friends I didn't want to talk writing; backed up my documents and took the shortcuts off my desktop. I sorted the hand-written pages scattered around the house and put away my idea notebooks.

Of course, it's been impossible to rid myself of all writing-related thoughts. I still believe I'm a writer in my soul, just maybe not the kind I thought. The thing crushing me was a lack of forward motion. I knew if I had an offer from a publisher, or even a couple of good rejections, I'd jump right back in. That's why I decided to try editing. I know I'm a language person, and since it was apparent I wouldn't be published anytime soon, at least I could feed that part of me helping real authors realize their dream.

This month off has relaxed me. I started thinking of writing the way I do my long-dead dog, Frito, and my years of college--nostalgia, with a touch of regret. Complete acceptance. It really was over, but it was going to be okay. Finally out of the wheel-rut, I could see the world around me for the first time in a long time. It was nice. Quiet.

The past few days I've started thinking maybe I could take up writing again, someday. The burning desire is still there, but the ideas are not. I think this is because that part of my heart, the writer part, has not healed yet. I've been cutting at it for a long time, and it will take a while. But at least I can see the healing is possible. The ideas will come back. Someday.

This whole thing started out being a redirect to a post on Rachelle Gardner's blog, but that post resonates so loudly, mirrors my situation so clearly...I guess I needed to confess it more than I knew. It's a sign at the crossroad, showing the way to my destination. If I don't end my life as a published author, it'll be okay. And, obviously, vice versa. The point is that it's not up to me. I'm ready to accept the gifts God gives me, instead of lamenting the ones he didn't.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

"Um, that was random," you'll say.

I feel like posting, and so I shall. Let's see what comes out, how's about it?

I bought a juicer over the weekend, thinking ahead to when we have more tomatoes than we know what to do with. Hubby drinks a lot of V8 when we can afford it, so this summer he can have all the V8 he wants, because he'll be making it himself. Hopefully the carrots and cukes will come up well, too, and he can add those. Truthfully, it'll be more like V3 or 4.

So now I need to quit buying things for a while so I can keep our credit card manageable. I'm still  looking for jobs I can do from home for a little extra money, because writing ain't paying the bills. Neither will editing, but at least it will be a good addition to my resume if I actually get the job. The sample chapter was sent back to me with corrections and comments about my editing; basically, I did too much. I sort of planned it that way, though, thinking it's always easier to see the line if you cross it, and since I have absolutely no actual editing experience I thought it possible I would err on the side of timidity if I didn't just jump in. So now I have a better understanding of what to do, and hopefully I'll get a chance to do it for real. Still waiting on a response to my second attempt, and I'll let you know what happens.

I've decided against having a contest for my 30,000th hit. My parties always fall flat, and I don't have anything to give away anyhow. I do have a bunch of old writing mags that I'd be glad to send out just because. Probably 25 of them, so I could divide them up. If anyone's interested, comment and I'll post more details.

I can't let the day go by without mentioning this: My bud Ian Healy signed with an agent over the weekend! After an exciting week in which he  considered several other agents, he finally settled on the one who shares his love for his superhero universe. Feels good, doesn't it, Ian? Congratulations!

Another big congrats to Ben and Kristy, who brought their first child, Mallory Jane,  into the world this weekend. Best wishes to all three of you. I think you've already gotten a great start.

A nice, gentle rain is falling. I think I'll go enjoy it.

(Did you say it?)
Monday, May 4, 2009
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
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