Monday, May 25, 2009

Who's In Your Foxhole?

By Kate

I want this guy in my foxhole, the one in the pink boxers.

U.S. Army Specialist Zachary Boyd leapt from his sleeping quarters and grabbed his helmet, vest and rifle — but not his pants — and took his station behind sandbags.

Zachary Boyd's story makes me think about the people in my own life who watch my back, who support me, who would jump out of bed, grab the important stuff and come to my aid no matter what the personal risk or cost. These are the people who pass what I like to call my Lone Pine test.

Here’s how the Lone Pine test goes ...

If my car broke down in Lone Pine, California, a mountain town about 200 miles away from my house, who could I call? Who would I trust to come pick me up?

Those are the people I want in my foxhole.

Here’s my foxhole short list:

My DH. Seems he’s always watching out for me, in so many ways. He’s my doctor, my cop, my mechanic, my bartender, my accountant, my stand-up comedian, my chef, my computer geek, my best friend.

My mom. She’s fiercely loyal, my biggest fan and my best gal pal. She sends me cards for no reason and makes me smile. She goes around town buying my books and gives them to the library or her friends or complete strangers.

My two closest writer friends, the ones I called last week sobbing because several horrible things had happened and there was no one else on the planet who could talk me down off the ledge but these two. They have helped me in immeasurable ways and I owe them so much. They know who they are. :-)

There are a few others -- and they know who they are, too. And the thing is, I'll be there for all of them, too.

So, on this Memorial Day holiday, I wonder ... who’s in your foxhole?

And Happy Memorial Day to all!

62 comments:

limecello said...

Happy Memorial Day!

limecello said...

Hmmm... my immediate family is in my foxhole. Haha, they can be scary.
Definitely my friend Ashley. This past year when we were shopping I ran into someone unexpected -an old friend. Ashley thought I was approaching [someone else- a different girl] and stuck behind me to make sure she had my back if I was going to throw down. This was a very foreign concept to me because I... well I don't get into physical -or verbal - fights, but what a friend, right? We were in a *really* nice ritzy mall too.
And then an old friend from high school who every so often acts the as the "wiser big brother" - he's actually an officer, and an army ranger too, so that's a major plus ;)
Heh. And this'll probably (honestly) be my last day with the GR. Nice. [I REALLY have to start sleeping so I can be awake for upcoming classes.]

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime, he's staying with you for the long weekend, is he? What a great post, Kate. I'm glad we've got your foxhole covered - unlike that poor guy's pink boxers. He's been all over the Internet! He'll die, famous as the soldier who wears pink boxers.

Actually speaking of things all over the internet, have you all seen Susan Boyle's semifinal performance in Britain's So Talented? She does a lovely version of Memory after a shaky start. Goodness, if I had the pressure on me she's got, I wouldn't have got out a note!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnmbJzH93NU&feature=PlayList&p=3BF9B2D7E4031AD3&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=1

PinkPeony said...

Hi Kate! Congrats, Lime!
I LOVE that picture of the soldier in the pink boxers. I rarely comment on articles, but the other day, there were some derogatory remarks by other readers about the pic in the NY Times. References to about our soldiers being "ill-prepared" for battle and I had to fire back a retort. My friends and I have sent lots of care packages to those guys in the same combat outpost in Afghanistan. They have no running water, electricty for a few hours a day and bathe with baby wipes. They engage the enemy several times a day and they subsist on MREs and stuff sent from home. And they never complain. I want these guys in my foxhole too!
My best friend is someone who'd do anything for me. We're more like sisters, we bicker and don't agree on everything but in the end, our friendship has endured. And since it's Memorial Day weekend, I need to mention a friend of mine who's been deployed for fifteen months and voluntarily requested to extend his tour for another three months. He wants to stay on to do his part despite the danger he faces every day. I also received an email today from a young Marine thanking me for the peanut butter and Maxim magazines :)I sent his platoon. He said while their living conditions were poor, they were very happy to serve and morale was high. He's allowed in my foxhole too. :)

Helen said...

Congrats lime have another great day with him

Lovely post Kate and we all have those kind of people that are always covering our backs I have to say my hubby is very good at that and my sisters and also my kids they are very in tune with me.

Anna I did see Susan Boyle tonight on the news I love that song.

Have a great Memorial Day everyone

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Kate. And what a lovely story. It's a great piece of imagery - the soldier with the pink boxers. What a shame some narrow-minded people don't see the dedication and commitment that represents. I'd have him in my foxhole any day (especially if he had nice legs!)

As for who else would be in my foxhole:

My DH - he's the greatest.
My sis - one in a million.
Our best man - could count on him any time, any place.
My best friends - we may not see each other or speak to each other very often, but if I needed them, they'd move heaven and earth to help me.
My writer pals - esp the Bully Girls (you know who you are!) - they cheer my successes, hug me through the down times, bully me when I need chivvying and make me laugh ... just because.

PJ said...

Enjoy your day with the GR, Lime!

Kate, I'm so very sorry you had a horrible week. I hope things are looking better now. Sending you big hugs.

It's a very humbling, but reassuring, feeling to know that someone would come to your aid immediately, no matter what. I am blessed to have some very good people in my foxhole:

One of my younger brothers who would (and has) dropped everything to drive 10 hours to be by my side when I needed him.

My nephew's wife, who lives just down the road and supports me in more ways than I can count.

My sister of the heart, who is like a fierce mama bear when it comes to protecting those she loves. She always has my best interests at heart and is there for me always no matter what is going on in her life.

Two girlfriends (one in PA, the other in CA) who would, I know without a doubt, get on a plane and come, no questions asked, if I needed them.

PinkPeony, thank you for responding to those negative commenters and thank you for supporting our troops!

Today, I'm praying for all those who serve our country and honoring the memory of the brave souls who are no longer with us, including my husband (Air Force) and my dad (Navy) - two men who were always in my foxhole!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Great post, Kate! The foxhole statement always reminds me of the old mountain-man saying, "I'd ride the river with you." Means the same thing, I trust you to be there when the going gets tough.

MY list:
1. Hubby...after 28 years, we've been through good and bad times, always weathering the storm together. Even finding times to laugh no matter how bleak the outlook.

2. My family...Mom, Dad, sister. I know I can count on them, even though they're 1100 miles away. They're always there for me, even if it's only to listen.

3. My kids...As young adults, they're finding themselves, but more and more I see people I can depend upon. Which makes me proud.

4. My CP's, Sandy and Jo, and the girls in the Texas group, the Foxes, you guys know who you are. We've shared so much, good, bad, funny, poignant. Already they've been there for me during some wild times!

5. Nurses...my boss Teri; Allison from Chicago, India (ask her, she'll tell you that's where she's from!), Karen H, Katie M., Elaine G., Megan B., Julie S., Barb G. Kim M. and Michelle W. and my two favorite techs, Christie and Alicia...they've been beside me during some harrowing experiences and I'm glad they've got my back like I have theirs!

6. Joanie...I know if I needed her, she'd climb on a plane today and be here in a heartbeat!!

Joan said...

Do you need me? Do you need me, Suz?

Awww...that was so sweet. Right back at you, girl.

For that matter, I know I could count on all the Banditas for reasons too deep to be able to explain here.

My only concern about the young soldier was that the boxers would make him an easier target. Otherwise, go you!

I've got so many friends, each bringing with them some unique gift or aspect that makes me better. But some who I would want in my foxhole are:

MY BFF from 6th grade, Mary. Truly, nobody knows me...and puts up with me....like her.

My goddaughter Lauren. This little girl who used to sit in my lap no matter what we were doing has turned into the most wonderful, woman. She makes me laugh, she makes me know that she cares. And she's my personal massage therapist :-)

Tonyia. We met over writing in Denver and it's like I've found the sister I've never had. We balance each other in many ways. She hates sentiment and I thrive on throwing lots at her *grin*

Suzanne K. Friendship developed over patients at the hospital. She's like a second Mom and it was her arms that I wept into when I knew the chance for my having babies had passed.

My brother. He may grumble when I need him to come do a home repair but he'd be there in a heartbeat if I called.

Now, salute to all the military out there serving our country, past, present and future. We would not be what we are without you.

Saaaaalute!

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats, Lime - and yes, you need to be sharp for those classes! We want to hear how well you've done!

Hey PinkPeony - that's awesome. Supporting the troops is a great thing to do - especially, such constructive support.

I'll join you all in a salute to the men & women of our military (and yours *g*) - wherever they are and whatever they're doing - you guys rock!

jo robertson said...

Timely topic, Kate! Happy Memorial Day to everyone.

Family, family, family. It all comes down to that, doesn't it, no matter who or what they are? My daughter and I were just talking about how complicated our large family is, how wonderful and maddening they can be at the same time.

Still, they're the people we want in our foxhole!

A silent thanks to all the troops everywhere who make our world secure.

Louisa Cornell said...

Yes, he knew you would need your sleep later so he decided to extend his visit, Lime.

How many of us would like the GR in our foxhole?

Great post, Kate!

In my foxhole :

My CP, Erin. That girl would do anything in the world for me. She is the absolute best. She worries about me and if I don't get online when I get home from work she starts calling. She's even threatened to call the sheriff to check on me if I don't check in. When you live alone it is nice to know someone is checking even from several states away.

My Mom. She is one tough cookie and looks out for us kids and grandkids like a hawk.

My brothers. They can be a pain sometimes trying to manage me and I'M the older sister, but I know they would be there if I needed them in a heartbeat.

My SIL's. They are both terrific.

My niece and two nephews. They are such great kids and will drop everything to come and help me if I ask.

The Broad Strokes chicks - our local writing group. All it takes is a phone call and they are here or they send their hubbies if the job involves heavy lifting or beating someone up.

When it comes to my writing foxhole I can always count on my two mentors - The Divine Diane Gaston and La Incomparable Anna Campbell. They are simply magnificent! And of course The Banditas, the Riskies, the Hoydens, the Wet Noodle Posse, the Writing Sluts and the Goddesses have all answered my questions, cheered my successes and offered words of encouragement when I fall on my face. Thanks, ladies!


Hmm, my foxhole is kind of crowded. I need a fox condo ! With a bar!

Last but not least, I will always have my menagerie in my foxhole. They make me laugh, the comfort me when I cry, they are sometimes the very reason I get out of bed and they are my fiercest protectors against things that go bump in the night and any squirrels audacious enough to run across the roof of my house!

p226 said...

If I were beside him at those sandbags, I would've been pissed at that guy. But not until after the shooting stopped. I wouldn't have been happy with a guy wearing a bright red "shoot me!" sign just a foot to my left.

A lot of people have argued quite a bit about whether that guy's a hard-charger or a clown for running to the fight wearing that stuff. The truth is, I don't fault him. I fault his chain of command. I cannot IMAGINE what my company gunny would have to say if he'd even seen me lounging around a GP tent in that stuff. I've heard Army officers defending the guy, saying "Only a REMF (rear echelon mother ******) would gripe about this." Well, I wasn't rear echelon. And I would have plenty to say about bright red being in my fighting hole.

Now, who would I want in y fighting hole? This is a weird question for me to answer. Nearly any of the Marines I served with would do. But I figure that's a given. Outside of that, who would I want?

There's a short list. My son. I'd want him there beside me. At 12 years old that kid is more lethal with a rifle or handgun than 99% of the "shooters" I see on ranges here. And I've seen him under pressure. He'd get the job done.

Then there are a few from my ... how should I put this ... from my uh, rougher days in my youth. Guys I no longer associate with, as they never really got out of the life we lived on the streets. But two of these guys I wouldn't mind having in my fighting hole. I know they have the will to fight. I know they'd do whatever they could to save their own asses, and by proxy they'd be doing their part to save mine. These are guys I've fought back to back with, hand to hand, hand to knife, hand to club on the streets. I know their will to fight. And it's as fierce as any Marine's. Would they ever sacrifice for me? Not a chance. But they'd do their part.

And that's that for the fighting hole. But the metaphorical fighting hole? The fighting hole of my current life? My wife. My son. Two close friends. Friends that have proven their mettle.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey lime, congrats on grabbing the chook! I suppose he'll understand that you'll need to stay awake during your upcoming classes! LOL

Your friend Ashley sounds like my kind of foxhole buddy. She's literally got your back, doesn't she! That's got to be a good feeling, even in a *ritzy* mall. You never know what danger lurks. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Anna! Yes, this poor guy's been all over the internet and argued over by every side of the political spectrum. So maybe he should rethink the pink and red shorts, but I think his instinct to fight for his fellows first and dress for success later put him on the side of the good guys. Just me. :-)

And I just hope they all stay safe.

I've got to go see Susan Boyle! Thanks for the link.

Kate Carlisle said...

PinkPeony, thank you for standing up for our pink boxer friend and for supporting so many others with your packages from home.

Peanut butter and Maxim magazine made me smile. :-)

And thank you for sharing the story about your friend who wants to stay on to do his part. I knew I'd end up crying over the comments today and that one touched me.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Helen, thanks for popping by today! It's so good to have family watching your back and tuning in to your needs. :-)

I just went and saw the Susan Boyle performance. She's such an inspiration, isn't she? What a story!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Anna! How lucky you are to have the Bully Girls nudging you up this rocky road. I have a few bullies of my own, you know, and I would not be anywhere without them. I truly cherish their *gentle* head butts pushing me along when I need them. :-)

Marianne said...

Wow Kate, what a great post. I would totally want the pink boxer guy in my foxhole. Why would anyone complain about him?

When I was in a traffic accident a few years ago, I called my DH and THEN the police. I was in Ontario two blocks from the police station and he was in Corona. He beat their time by 30 minutes.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi PJ, thank you so much for the hugs! I'm so glad you came by today. The Lair is another one of my foxholes, where I know I can always find good friends and lots of love and support. :-)

I can see that your foxhole is filled with wonderful friends and family who love and support you in every way. Nobody deserves that more!

Kate Carlisle said...

Happy Memorial Day, Suz! Darn, your post brought tears to my eyes. I love what you say about your kids. How wonderful to see that they've become adults you can trust and enjoy and count on under any circumstance. That's a tribute to you!

And what you said about our Joanie is so true!! I wouldn't be surprised to hear that she's on her way to the airport right now. :-)

Maureen Child said...

Hey, Kate!

Great post! =)

And I love the Lone Pine test! My foxhole would have to hold my DH as he's always the first one I call when disaster strikes!

My kids...they're great people and I know if I needed anything, they'd be there.

My two best writer friends (you know who you are) who always talk me off ledges and remind me that I actually CAN write on occasion.

Happy Memorial Day--if you see a member of the military, take the time to thank them!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey, there you are Joanie! I agree with you, the Banditas are always here for each other!

Sigh. Your foxhole list brought more tears. I'm so happy you've got great friends to watch your back. And your front. Hee hee. :-)

Keira Soleore said...

Kate, marvelous post. I'm sorry life was so rough for you last week, but really glad you had folks who pulled you through.

I adore that guy in the pink boxers. It puts a human and rather young face (er, backside) to the soldiers fighting and dying in a country thousands of miles from home. The fact that this boy still has a sense of humor is a testimony to the strength of his character.

Kate Carlisle said...

Happy Memorial Day, Jo! You're so right about our big, wonderful families. *Maddening* describes mine perfectly! They occasionally drive me crazy but I wouldn't trade them for anything. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh Louisa, we can't forget our menageries! They take such good care of us, don't they?

And thank goodness you came up with the idea of the fox-condo! LOL. It really was getting so crowded in that little foxhole. :-)

Naturally, you'll find the Banditas at the fox-bar!

Kate Carlisle said...

p226, yes, I was speaking metaphorically about foxholes. :-)
I can't even imagine having to survive in the real thing.

I think your experiences and philosophy demonstrate how lucky your family and close friends are to have YOU in their foxhole.

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on the rooster, and Happy Memorial Day to you. I watched the presidential wreath-laying at Arlington a little while ago.

What do you mean, classes? You just graduated!

Kate, great idea for a blog on this particular day! I saw that photo and story in the NY Times. It grabbed me at a glance.

I feel lucky to have a fairly crowded foxhole.

On the front line--the dh and, to a lesser extent because there are some things I don't share with him, the boy. They're always rooting for me.

My two closest friends from college. I can tell them anything and count on them for honest advice or inarticulate sympathy as the situation demands.

A small handful of friends from my fandom days and RWA chapters, who became not just fandom friends or writing but real friends.

The banditas. I've never seen a group of strangers bond so fast or so thoroughly.

Probably a bigger foxhole than you envisioned, Kate, but I'm glad it's crowded.

Nancy said...

Anna, I did see Susan Boyle and was glad she found her feet as she went along. She's all over the news this morning.

It really is never too late to shoot for the moon.

Nancy said...

Pink Peony wrote: They have no running water, electricty for a few hours a day and bathe with baby wipes. They engage the enemy several times a day and they subsist on MREs and stuff sent from home. And they never complain.
Yeah, I think rolling out of a sound sleep and grabbing just the essentials (helmet and body armor) and grabbing your weapon is pretty great.

Kate Carlisle said...

Marianne, I'm so glad your DH had your back after that traffic accident! Poor guy, he must've been beside himself with worry. I know it would be the same for mine, and I would feel the same way if it were reversed.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Maureen!! It's so great to have writer friends you can depend on when you're hanging by your fingernails on that ledge, isn't it? :-)

Michele said...

That story about the soldier is awesome... I love that he was praised, considering he thought he was going to be in huge trouble. :)

This past year, I've had my DH in my foxhole, my family, and a few friends whom I could count on to talk me off the ledge when things looked downright hopeless for my young family member. Without them being there for me, I couldn't be there for him... And now, he's still with us and, even better, in remission.

And, of course, I'll happily jump in their foxholes to support them and have been there for them this past year, as well.

Donna MacMeans said...

Kate - Great post. I love that guy in pink shorts because he's a reminder that those are real people on the front lines - our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, and in my case, our nephews. They're regular people.

Bless you Pinkpeony for those care packages. It's terrible the conditions our soldiers must deal with. Life-altering conditions.

I'd want my family in my foxhole. I know I can depend on them, and they know I'd drive those 200 miles for them. As an aside, my adult son had a car accident last year. He wasn't hurt, but the car was totalled. He said he stood there - looking at the damage and knowing the car was a goner - and thought, "What do I do now?" The answer - Call Mom. When in doubt, call Mom. (grin)

I also have some great writer friends that I know I can rely on - and of course, the banditas.

Yes - it would be a crowded foxhole!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Lime! You got the Memorial Chook! Grins. Bet he wanted to ride with ROlling Thunder!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I love everyones foxhole lists. Kinda like your bucket list, it's very individual, isn't it? Great question, Kate.

I'd have to say that my DH would be right there on the top of the list. Talk about a git-er-done kind of guy!

My kids are incredibly supportive, and metaphorically, I'd want them in my foxhole...not so sure I'd want them there in a firefight. Unlike P226's son, they're not quite up to par with anything but a lightsaber. Until they make a lethal one of those, I think my boys should be in civvies. Ha! (As opposed to skivvies like the guy in the red shorts)

My sister. You want to see protective? Bad-a** mean protective in a southern lady package. NEVER underestimate my sister. Ev. Er. Grins.

The Romance Bandits. The foxhole would be crowded, but damn, what a party!

Ha!

Jennifer said...

Love this post Kate! My husband is always in my fox hole, along with my kids, my sister and my awesome friends. Truly, the friends I've made have been the best part of writing!

B.G. Sanford said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
~Sia McKye~ said...

My family. My sibs are very proud of me and what I've accomplished. My husband is also supportive, not only of my writing, but the time I need to get my blog up 3x's a week. He pitches in with household chores and running watch over our 14 yr old who thinks MySpace chats are more important than mom's writing, lol!

I have a wonder support system in my huge writing group, The Writin' Wombats. They are the best rah-rah section you can have. Several close friends that are authors and they will pick up the phone and crack the whip, or are there to help solve a problem. I'm very lucky with those in my foxhole!

Nice article Kate!

Nancy said...

p226, I never thought about the target potential of the red skivvies. I suspect that may be one of those things those of us who know war from books, movies, and TV shows don't think about.

Without identifying you, I shared with a student in my war memoir class your comment (on Kirsten's coffee blog) about "making" coffee when you were on fire watch by putting the crystals in your mouth and washing them down with water. The ex-Marine sitting next to that young woman allowed as how he'd done that often, and the ex-Air Force student sitting nearby seconded him. Then the two veterans lamented the results of doing that with instant hot chocolate and sort of chuckle-groaned.

It's a different perspective.

Nancy said...

Just BTW, I was gone yesterday, so maybe y'all already celebrated, but congratulations to Donna for finaling the PRISM awards with The Trouble With Moonlight!

I do love that book.

Kate Carlisle said...

Keira, thanks for the good thoughts!

You said ... *I adore that guy in the pink boxers. It puts a human and rather young face (er, backside) to the soldiers fighting and dying in a country thousands of miles from home.*

I couldn't agree more! I know there's lot of talk about lack of discipline and all, but my goodness, I look at that photo and see a kid, a youngster, someone who could easily be my nephew or myson. It just brings it all much closer to home, I guess.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Nancy, it really has been amazing to watch how we've all bonded and banded together over the past two years!

And thanks for announcing that our own Donna's "The Trouble With Moonlight" is a finalist in the PRISM contest! Woo hoo, Donna!!!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Michele! Your new photo is so cute!! Thanks so much for coming by today. I'm so happy your young BIL is doing so much better! You all have been so strong for him, I know it's made a difference.

I was so relieved to know you had my back a few months ago during a certain round-table discussion when someone got up and stormed off. I hope I can return the favor someday soon! ;-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Ah Donna, what a sweet thing to know that "calling Mom" was the first thing your son thought of when everything was crumbling around him.

I think we're all very lucky to have such crowded foxholes. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

LOL Jeanne! Yeah, let's get that straight. It's civvies. Wait. Or is it scivvies? Okay, now I'm confused all over again!

You said ... *My sister. You want to see protective? Bad-a** mean protective in a southern lady package. NEVER underestimate my sister. Ev. Er. Grins.*

I LOVE how you described your sister! I would love to meet her someday!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Jen, my little witchy friend! You were also there, covering my back a few months ago. Don't pretend you don't remember! :-)

It's true, the writer friends I've made over the past few years have made all the difference in my life and my career.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Sia, I love to hear about writers with supportive spouses and it sounds like you have a wonderful one. It really makes a difference, doesn't it?

You featured our own wonderful Bandita Beth last week on your blog and it was one of the best and most helpful columns I've read in a long while. Thanks so much!

For anyone who missed it, here's the link. :-)

http://siamckye.blogspot.com/2009/05/disciplined-or-delusional.html

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kate, I hope you get to meet my sis sometime too. She's fabulous. We're so different, and yet we're best friends too. Its a blast.

Great foxhole buddy, and she'd be the one who'd have wine, cheese and crackers, a thermos, you know..

Kim Howe said...

Kate, what a fantastic blog. I'd take you--and any of the other Banditas--in my foxhole any day! Don't jump off the ledge...we need you too much.

Kim Howe said...

For anyone who asked Shane questions yesterday, he has sent me responses that I have posted both here and on yesterday's blog. He was very apologetic about his technical problems. I guess we'll take him in our foxhole as well. :)

Here goes:

A lot of you talked about nurses being your everyday heroes. They're mine, too. My family has spent more time in hospitals the past few years than we care to (among other things, my wife Jerrle had breast cancer in 2002, but now is a proud seven-year survivor, yay!). Each time, the nurses were the real troupers in the medical team, caring for us like we were family. I can't say enough nice things about them.



New Orleans IS back, no doubt about it. Very refreshing after that national tragedy. The people are friendly, and the food and drink are great. What could be better? It was our first time ever in the Easy ... and exceeded our already high expectations. As for our new Japanese lady friend, she’s in Memphis, visiting Elvis.



Treethyme, it's great to meet a fellow Sun-Times alum. I started in 1982, when Mike Royko, Ann Landers, and all the other greats were still there. In 1984, the paper was sold to Rupert Murdoch--the Antichrist, as we fondly thought of him. Royko et al left for greener pastures, but I was 26, just landed a dream job at a big-city paper, and was going to stay and see what happened. I left in 2000 to start my thriller novel career. I love the new form of writing and have never looked back—writing in jammies is just too cool—but I miss the newsroom. It had a ton of intellectual wattage, great storytellers, and happy drunks. Ah, the news biz :-)



Jo, you asked about journalism as preparation for writing fiction. What reporting and editing gave me was the ability to capture the world for the written page, fast, accurately and under deadline. That applies to any kind of writing, from letters to Mom to the biggest books of fiction—you take in from all six senses and transform those impressions into letters on a page, so a reader can see, hear, smell and feel what you did. Even though you're making up your scenes, they need to feel real to the reader. So observing and describing the small details—the sound of a fluttering leaf; the yellowish hue of curdling milk; that a baby’s head smells like peanut butter--is critical to your success. In commercial fiction, we write 2,000 to 5,000 words per day in order to meet deadlines. Fast and accurate pays off handsomely under that kind of pressure.



Trish, you are so right ... Jerrle is still a babe after thirty years, and we still have a lot of fun. I guess I'll try another thirty, see if that changes any, and report back to y’all. Naturally, I haven't aged a bit over thirty years, as I am still 22 and studly. Or so my daydreams tell me.



Donna, I'll check with pops-in-law to see if he had any daughters I don't know about. At eightysomething, he'll like that :-)



You folks might like my crime thrillers. They feature a fortysomething female police detective, Emily Thompson, who battles serial killers in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, where I live. Her best friend, Annie Bates, is a SWAT commander and soldier, and plays Thelma to Emily’s Louise. Between bullets, bombs and general mayhem, there’s a really nice romance between Emily and her true love, Martin Benedetti, another cop. The irony is, I didn't know I was committing romance till RT named my debut, BLOWN AWAY, the Debut Mystery of the Year. I was delighted, if confused! My current Emily is CUT TO THE BONE, and the next is MOVING TARGET, which comes out in summer 2010. I'd be pleased if you'd check them out, or come visit me at www.shanegericke.com.



And finally, Kim, you're gracious and special for letting me hang out with your friends here. Thanks.



With fondness,

Shane

Pat Cochran said...

In my foxhole, you would find Honey
and our family (all 18 of us), my
sibs, and some of my older nieces.
BTW, I would always call on my sisters & their daughters when a
problem arises. We are all older
Hispanic women in our 60s/70s. The
daughters are 30s/40s. We are all
height-challenged but try to always
be big of heart. Just don't cause
problems for any of us because the
ladies can go tough in a second!
I would also call on my retired
deputy sheriff twin brothers.

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Michele, congratulations on your little kinsman's improvement. I'm glad things turned out well.

Kate Carlisle said...

Jeanne, every foxhole should have a designated wine and cheese hostess, right? Your sister will fit right in! :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Kim!! Thanks for your sweet thoughts! And nope, I'm not gonna jump off the ledge! :-)

And thanks to Shane for all his great responses to yesterday's fabulous post! I loved his stories and enjoyed all the people he spoke of. And now these are just more good insights and answers. Hope he can come back and visit sometime soon.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Pat. Wow, deputy sheriff twin brothers? That's pretty awesome! And the ladies in your family sound equally wonderful. You write about them with so much affection so I'll bet you all have a lot of good times together. :-)

Karin said...

Happy Memorial Day!

The people in my foxhole would definitely start with my parents. They are the two people who have been there for me no matter what has happened. I know I have their unconditional support and they'll do whatever they can to help me whenever I need it.

After them, I'd go with my siblings because I know I can count on them to watch my back as well.

Treethyme said...

What a great post! My husband is number one in my foxhole -- any time, anywhere. And, if my kids lived anywhere close to me, they would be, too.

When it comes to writing, though, Rosie is the critique partner who can pull me out of Imposter Syndrome depression when it strikes and Bandita Anna C. has yanked me back from nervous-breakdown-land a time or three.

I have a lot of friends and family and can count on for a variety of things, but only other writers understand the occasional lunacy that strikes, and know how to pull me into the foxhole when it happens.

Enid Wilson said...

Very interesting post! I think I can only narrow down to my sisters. Is that a sad fact? Or is it an awakening to extend my circle?

Steamy Darcy

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Karin, glad you made it by the Lair on Memorial Day! I snuck out to have dinner with my foxhole buddy, the DH. :-)

How wonderful to be able to count on your parents and sibs to watch your back! Sounds like you've got a great family support system!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Treethyme! Great to *see* you!

It's the best feeling in the world to have writer friends you can count on. There's no one who truly feels the pain of a rejection or a manuscript's sagging middle or an agent appointment gone wrong--like another writer. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Enid! It's wonderful that you have sisters you can count on!

Who knows? That foxhole can get crowded and confusing, so maybe a smaller circle can work just fine for you. :-)