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The Huffington Post article written by my son

Huffington Post article 5/13/15

I want Charmaine Gordon’s elderly women’s empowerment fiction to go viral and, while it might not, her work is deserving of it because it is devoted to a small, somewhat overlooked, yet important genre that deserves all the attention it can get.

This woman happens to be my 84-year-old mom and I unapologetically stand atop my desk (metaphorically, that is) trying to find a way to let the world know of this movement in women’s fiction that should have its own section at bookstores. Elderly women’s empowerment fiction certainly has as much value as a cat video or fail compilation, but lacks some of that immediate Oomph. The appeal of the viral videos harking to the wunderkinds, the GoPro thrill seekers and the likes are impressive, yet aren’t we just as moved to see the dance videos in which the elderly hear good music and abandon crutches, walkers and any assistance and kick in with power dance moves of their own?
(see * note at bottom for reference info)

I’m a self-serving son, I know. I’m comfortable touting my mom’s work and I’m proud of her for doing it, but this is not only for my mom. There are a few people out there whose parents could really appreciate this fiction for the hero’s problem-solving skills, romantic life and sheer chutzpah in the face of younger, strong authority figures ready to put the thumbscrews to the seemingly meek old lady. What’s more, Charmaine’s tales reminds us to “Do your creative stuff now!”… the kick in the pants my mom’s intrepid spirit offers to every aspiring senior citizen with an agenda of “shoulda-coulda-wouldas.”

Her books have “what are you waiting for?” written all over them.

Charmaine “The Mom Bomb” Gordon sent me a few of her credos to accompany this article. Being her own best advocate she was willing to equip her son with a few essentials she knows well: “It isn’t over ’til it’s over,” “Survive and thrive no matter who’s in the beehive,” “Life throws plenty at you… so keep dancing.” (That my mom would appropriate one of Yogi Berra’s quotes is fitting, since she and my dad ran a mom ‘n’ pop shop in golf equipment sales and sold Yogi his golf clubs for a stretch of time in the 70s and 80s.)

In the face of adversity, my mom found a voice in this semi-autobiographical niche writer’s market. Her declining health hampered her athletic, self-sufficient style and demanded that she trade her tennis racket for a cane, but it hasn’t slowed her down that much. She had a long tenure in New York’s theatrical productions — small parts in movies, plays and tv soap operas — but ultimately resigned herself to the realities of the spasmodic dysphonia that attacked her larynx. Getting older and no longer capable of enunciating onstage, she took to storytelling in written form. Short stories led to longer ones and when she had a novel-length tale, she shopped herself to agents and found a publisher, one she’s been with for 5 ½ years now. Her first book, To Be Continued is currently optioned for a tv movie.

The characters populating her fictitious neighborhoods always focus on an elderly lady beset by obstacles/prejudices. Through her own wiles she solves/fixes things and exacts retribution from a stalker or other persons with an evil agenda. Due to the tone in her first book — one in which an amorous heroine and her lover cavort and carouse through the first many pages on a sexual skill level reminiscent of the non-stop love world claimed by basketball hero, Dr. J — I lovingly poke fun at her efforts by referring to it as either “old-lady soft-core porn” or “soft-core, old-lady porn” a term of endearment that jokingly belies my feelings.

Gone are the days of despicable phrases like “too much information,” the popular 90s saying that tries to rebuff anyone veering away from some Groupthink form of standards and proper decorum. Bring on elderly women who delight publicly in the search for a satisfying love life. Just as Annie Sprinkle wishes to spread her message by encouraging people to proudly and sexually become their own machines of change and freedom, so can my mom’s writing inspire in its own way for seniors, because my mom’s characters stand strong and unflappable in their entire lives. This genre provides a voice and setting for active elderly women and it appeals to the ever-growing elderly population that shouldn’t be relegated to ignored corners of society. Aren’t these metaphors the same ones we wish taught to every young girl? It shouldn’t be a big leap for any woman over 70, 80 or 90 to be reminded of her potential, right? Perhaps this is the stuff of which revolutions in elderly care can take hold.

Aside from her writing skills, the small but steady fan base my mom continues to develop is due in part to her own spirited personal story, coupled with the senior hero’s story arc. Charmaine has a website, twitter and facebook pages, and works hard marketing her work and embracing current technology. She isn’t about to be left by the wayside and she is not alone in this, teaming up with other women writers to publicize their books in smaller forums around the web. Bearing in mind a lineage of fine women writers who managed to break the age barrier — from Flannery O’Connor to Joan Didion to Maya Angelou to Agatha Christie, this type of novel deserves some investigation and newsworthy attention, not merely because one of those writing in this vein raised me, but it is going to take some influential people offering their business and money knowhow to raise national-level awareness. I’m not claiming my family’s talents to rank with the finest, but I am saying that it always starts from a point of passionate investment, no matter what the investigation; and my mother is certainly passionate and has found a worthwhile cause… and I find myself wondering how to best help spread her message. I believe in the concept behind the brief, delightful TED talk by Derek Sivers, in which a movement gets started by a leader valuing the first followers who choose to embrace that movement, and in doing so become leaders themselves.

As a relatively recently graduate of Goddard College’s Masters of Fine Arts program in Interdisciplinary Arts (yes, a shameless plug for my beloved higher education program), I see many noteworthy examinations within my mother’s genre, including but not limited to social engagement and equality rights. In these times where race relations, handicapped empowerment and gender equality have loud voices, the voices for the elderly speak softer and still require vociferous support from media news outlets.

My mom’s vocal chords are weaker than they once were, not unlike so many seniors, so I suppose it takes words on news/blog sites like this one to push her message out there just a little more. After all, books like hers are only for you if you plan on getting older some day yourself, so it’s not merely a niche market, is it?

[* Because the music was removed by copyright infringement for the fun original, this link goes to the CNN-news version that still has the soundtrack.]

Follow Paul Gordon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GisforGarbage      

Paul, my dearest son, wrote this a while ago. He is married to a Dane, living in Copenhagen. We confer every day about what we call stuff. Eva, his beautiful wife and talented artist is the best I could ask for.

Love to all. I’m improving day by day and plan to keep up with weriwa on time.

You may have heard my latest book has been released.

Beware The Blue- Eyed Thunderbolt is the title. :2 young girls need a good home. Their new Dad is selfish; their almost new mom is great. They make a plan to work things out and by the end of the book, it does work out. Add in cats and one puppy; the story is fun.

 

 

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Here comes the WIP, for better or worse

Last week, we discovered another character, the doctor who twenty -four years before, delivered Joan’s daughter Shari, now a Captain in the Army. And then to his delight, he discovers beautiful Joan, at the Saturday Skeet Shoot.  They hug as Shari watches from afar and the older couple, both no longer married, make plans for dinner.

excerpt: “Honey, I’m sorry to leave you alone but he’s invited me to dinner and dancing at a club where the music is slow.”

“Mom, it’s fine, I need some rest; the baby bump is wearing me out; she rubbed her tummy in expression.”

The kind doctor sat next to Shari and as a physycian, he had a few questions. “You’ve lived a hectic few years overseas and now, suddenly, you’re a pregnant widow. This is a difficult time for you but pardon my intrusion, my son is divorced, a doctor in practice with me, and he’s lonely so maybe you two can get together.”

Shari gave a laugh, said that would be cool but right now she had to go to the bathroom and away she went in search of the ladies room. Down the hall, she saw men’s room no ladies room in sight so she marched right in to find a man tapping off his privates, then washing his hands. Since she had a serious need to go to the bathroom, she hurried in, finished and left to find the good looking young man still at the sink.

“I thought I saw a woman rush in but couldn’t believe it until I saw your Army shirt.”

“Well sir, I saw more of you than you saw of me.”

Enjoy more snippets:

http://www.wewriwa.com/

 

WIP: a change of pace

The cell phone call forced Joan to wake. Her daughter, Shari, a Captain in the Army, calls to say, “Hi Mom, where’s Dad? I’ll be home in a few.” Overwhelmed with the sight of her daughter after 2 tours in Iraq, she flings open the door to find a pregnant daughter and a young man in a wheelchair. “This is Chris; we’re married. He was injured in a missile attack on the USS Cole and here we are on temporary leave. Where’s Dad?”

Excerpt: Shari tells all as Joan sets her up in the clean bedroom Shari left long ago. “Mom, I’m so sorry I didn’t get the call about Dad.” Tears flow; they hold each other. Through sniffles, Shari confides she met Chris at a party, foolish she had sex and now she’s pregnant but the good thing is the baby will have a father.” Exhausted, Shari falls asleep to leave a concerned Joan in charge with Chris on the downstairs couch, she cleans up with a muddled mind.

Early in the morning, the cell calls; Shari in tears says, “I need you, mom. Chris began bleeding; we called for an ambulance to take him to the Veteran’s Hospital nearby. Hurry before it’s too late, mom, he doesn’t look good.”

Dr. Rhee removes his mask and cap, a serious look on his face, “I’m sorry to say he’s gone although he struggled, fought the good fight to live but his time just ran out. You may see him and we will make arrangements for Arlington National and call you.”

For more snippets:

http://www.wewriwa.com/

Folks, this is just the beginning of this new story. Next week things will brighten, I promise.

Don’t forget, dear readers out there. Read one of my many books, leave a comment and let me know. Goodies await you.

Watch out. The WIP is coming

Possible title: The Widow, The Daughter, The Doctors

Excerpt:

Newly widowed Joan stared out at the garden and thought what a mess and she had to fix it, make it right and why; because no one is home anymore. She’s the only one to see blooms from now on. The fun of pulling dandelions together ended the day his heart attacked him; a laundry list of pleasure left her life and Larry never even said goodbye. Thirty-seven years of life together gone and Joan took a deep breath, let it out before she thought what’s next?

She rolled up her short sleeves to make a list; from now on it’s up to tough Joannie to keep things going, to care for herself and don’t forget about Larry’s car. Who needs two cars both almost new and now she can ride his Harley whenever she wanted to without asking! A capable woman, she knew how to shoot Skeet and suddenly an idea came to her. Larry just paid the club membership so she’d ride to the meeting Saturday and appeal to the men because she planned to belong to the club and shoot every week.

Her letter to Larry said: Dear Deceased Larry, you son of a bitch, it’s your fault you died and left me alone. Take your pills, I said but no and she lit a match to the paper and turned her back to the flame.

for more fascinating snippets:

http://www.wewriwa.com/

Gang, I’m up for any changes you think fit. Write them and I’ll respect your ideas. Maybe. Just kidding.

SOMETIMES LIFE IS FULL OF CHERRIES

And sometimes it isn’t. This has been on helluva a year for this woman. First the fall, I’m still working my way through this, and then a relapse of Vertigo with physical therapy and more meds and then, my friends, yesterday I finished digging and planting the last bulbs only to wake up with poison Ivy on both arms. Of course, not being a doctor, just an adorable author, I didn’t have a clue. Taking my Grandest to the skin doctor, the best there is in Rockland County, Dr. Cohen at Rockland County  Dermatology also checked out my arms to declare poison ivy. New meds were ordered and I’m distressed since I never had such stuff before. Also, to whine a bit, hubs drove me into NYC for a visit to my voice doctor. He’s the best, Dr. Blitzer, and we tried a different dose of botox for my voice. Maybe this time I’ll talk like a real person.

Love to all. Forgive the whining. That’s not my style but you are my friends and I had to let go. Good news tomorrow.

 

Love, Charmaine

Aging. . .what you lose

Today was an exceptionally wonderful day, weather wise. We worked outside, shovels digging up weeds in order to plant bulbs; a task I’ve enjoyed most of my long life. And then I gazed around the area to find huge boulders, some smaller, to frame the area. And so I lifted each one to form a circular effect for when the bulbs blossomed.

Yes, that’s what I did, for several hours and folks, the task had the feel of beyond difficulty. I didn’t stop until finished and then, OH the Pain in my lower back! How dumb can you get? I didn’t think, I just dug, pulled, picked up heavy stones until I could hardly walk. And then sadness overcame me, me the happy one.I said to my hubs, this is another thing you lose as you age. The strength of youth; the stamina to do it all. A few bad words came to me and I released them. I’m happy to be alive; happy to write my books and see my daughter and granddaughter and grand dogs and grand hamster and don’t forget our four cats so devoted. And then there is my hubs who shares sickness and health.

That’s the good side, right? Forgive me if I whine about things I’ve lost like lifting heavy rocks and digging weeds. My dear Pain Management Doctor will take care of me tomorrow to lessen the pain and he will give me shake of the head and say, NO! Don’t do that again.

Love to all, Charmaine

Chef’s Surprise-My latest Release

I’m excited to announce my latest release Chef’s Surprise. Here’s a taste from the beginning:

Excerpt:

Teenage Reva Mercer had a dream; one day she’d gather her saved dollars and Pa’s hidden coins, make a run for the bus to leave the darned Keys, always so hot, too much work, and head for the Nursing College where she’d learn to care for sick people. Not drunks and fools and she’d have a real life with decent folks.

One night, that’s exactly what she did, with him sleeping and her all packed for her oh-so so- near better life.

Of course, plans don’t always work out just right. Officer O’Brien pulled up next to Reva just as she was ready to board the bus. “And where are you going this night, young lady?”

The young woman gave him the flirty eyes that knocked him out every time and when he grabbed her arm, she pulled away in time. The horny officer, thinking better of the hassle and paperwork ahead instead of a cozy beer and the game on the tube, left the beauty to her own and the bus left him scratching his head with a frown on his broad face.

“Oh Lord, save me from this place and I’ll never return,” she muttered and sat, backpack on her lap.

 for more snippets:

http://www.wewriwa.com

 

 

cvr-chefs-surprise-ereader

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chefs-surprise-charmaine-gordon/1125529990?

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/chef-s-surprise

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N37DGLU

Thanks for your support,

Hugs, Charmaine