America, Our Ship is Sinking

DSC09204-001I write today’s blog with a heavy heart.  A great feeling of gloom and despair has settled into my soul, and I can’t seem to shake it.  And when I look around me, I see that same despair on the faces of so many people.  We’re all just barely holding on.  We all look like Rose as she let go of Jack’s hand and let him sink into the icy waters in the glow of the last lights on the sinking Titanic.  We are the survivors with little hope of being rescued.  Yet it isn’t the political plight of the country that upsets and worries me the most.  It’s all of the other things that we are losing in the process.

Every day I see another post on FaceBook where someone is lamenting about all of the people he or she was forced to ‘de-friend.’  I hear conversations in public about people who will no longer speak to or associate with other people because of their political views.  I’ve had arguments within my own family that I deeply regret.  One party cries sexual assault while another cries rape, and the people are just crying for peace.  The “p” word has been used and referred to more times in mainstream media and online in the past few days than I ever wanted to hear throughout my whole life, and now it’s something my girls have to hear every day.  I’m just sick of it.  When are we all going to grow up?  When are we going to demand better for ourselves, our country, and our children?

There is a clash of wills going on in every community, every church, every home, every family.  We have become savages who can only articulate (and I use the word very loosely) by yelling and screaming and insisting that one person is right when the reality is, everybody is wrong.  Is that what the ‘Great Experiment’ is really all about?  Brother against brother, father against son, mother against daughter?  Didn’t we fight that battle already?  Didn’t we lose 620.000 people in a battle to save our country from bigotry, segregation, hatred, and fear?  Why are we still fighting it every day in our streets, in our media, and in our homes?  What is wrong with the people of this country that we can’t make the tiniest attempt to find the good in our neighbors instead of only seeing the bad?  And on top of that, we actually make an effort to search out and dig up only the worst!

Since the writing of the Constitution, we have come ten steps forward and fifteen steps back.  There are too many who think only of themselves instead of reaching out to lend a hand to others.  There are too many who see the color of one’s skin and can’t see the makeup of the soul.  There are too many who talk about fighting for justice but support a system that is anything but, that allows people of different colors, backgrounds, or economic status to be held to a different standard.  The same people who talk about reform and rehabilitation, won’t allow education in prisons.  The same people who preach tolerance, spew hate.  The same people who claim to want all people held accountable for their actions will hide and cheat and steal to cover up their own crimes.  Am I talking about a political party, the current candidates, the Republican establishment, or the Democratic Administration? Yes, yes, yes, and yes – all of them, and all of us.  Because the problem didn’t begin with the politicians, and it doesn’t end with them either.

Let’s stop bashing each other, stop spewing hate, stop objectifying women (in ANY and ALL ways), stop seeing the color of skin, stop teaching our children that it’s okay to be a bully, to always have the last word, to never allow topics to be open for discussion, that what ‘I want’ matters more than what ‘we need.’  Stop the de-friending and start being a friend.  Let’s look for common ground, find what’s wrong and fix it, find what’s right and expand upon it.  We’re in real trouble, folks.  There’s talk about taking up arms.  I’ve seen posts saying that neither candidate, if elected, will survive their first term (literally).  There are those (in both parties) who are sending up a rally cry for revolt.  But you argue, haven’t we come so far that these things are just farfetched and unreasonable?  One look at the dirty, disgusting, disparaging, and vitriolic rhetoric on social media at any given time says that we are not.  For the sake of our families, our country, and our world, let’s put an end to this hatred.  And let’s start within our own homes and on our own streets.  Our ship is sinking.  Let’s find a way to hold on and make it through this dark night.  And let’s pray that help is on the horizon.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her latest book, Whispering Vines, is now available for purchase.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016)

Embracing the Romance

imageI’ve been running from it, kicking it away, fighting to hide it, and just plain old denying it; and now I’m coming out into the open to admit it.  I write romance novels.  To be honest, I hate genres.  I hate being labeled as any kind of author because I write what I write, whatever strikes my fancy, whatever my characters want the manuscript to become.  I have never intended to write a romance.  I once asked romance novelist Robyn Carr where she thinks I belong.  She didn’t hesitate, “You’re a romance writer.”  I could barely fake the smile that I returned to her as she beamed proudly at her proclamation.  “No, I’m not,” I wanted to scream to the room full of writers and fans.  I write children’s books, mysteries, suspense novels, and a blog.  I DO NOT write romance.  At least, that’s what I’ve always told myself.  Alas, here’s the truth: I DO write romance.  And here’s why… Read more

Listing for Love

Ken and Amy's Wedding33-001I am a list maker.  I’ve been a list maker since I first learned to write and realized the magic that accompanies crossing off things accomplished.  Sometimes, the more I cross off, the more I add to my list. I’ve had a list on my desk for about a month now that lays out all that I want to accomplish this fall.  My Katie laughs when she reads it because one item is “Write a book.”

“You’re always writing a book, Mom, but that’s so cute.”

Yes, I’m always writing a book, but to see it on a list makes it real, makes it something that must be done and must be crossed off.  It’s a means to an end. Read more

A Shore Thing

DSC02536Is it just me, or is there something special about this time of year?  The days are still warm, but the nights are crisp and cool.  Routines are being established (or re-established), bedtimes are earlier, my favorite shows are coming back on TV, the holidays are just around the corner; here on the Shore, the crabs are fatter and tastier, and I could go on and on.  Spring might be the time that the world renews itself, but fall is my time to renew and reflect.  It’s when I start thinking about and writing my newest novel.  Truthfully, it’s when I do my best writing.  It’s when my head seems to be clearer, and my mind is ready to focus.  I think a lot of it has to do with the girls returning to school.  We are all ready to get back to business.  But there’s no question that a good part of it has to do with living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland at this most beautiful time of year. Read more

My Legacy

030This morning I attended the Baccalaureate Mass for our school’s Class of 2015.  Our Pastor asked each student to think ahead 60 years and imagine looking back on their lives.  “What will your legacy be?” he asked them.  He implored them to do more with their lives than just make money.  He told them that their legacy is important and that they should make it matter.  Each one of us will leave behind a legacy, something that we pass down to future generations, whether we are the President of the United States, a businessman, a teacher, a doctor, or a parent.  Each one of us will do or say something that will not be forgotten, good or bad. Read more

Nobody’s Perfect

Many years ago, a very wise man told me something that I have never forgotten.  After I graduated from college, I moved back home to find a job and save some money until my next great adventure came along.  The first weekend I was home, I attended Mass with my family at our church.  Our pastor, Father Paul (now Monsignor Dudziak), welcomed me home and asked me how it felt to be a college graduate.  I told him that it felt good but not great because I had graduated magna cum laude and not summa cum laude and had missed the higher honor by less than a tenth of a percentage point.  Father Paul nodded without comment and then asked me to follow him.  When we reached the altar he pointed to the floor and asked me “Do you see this carpet?” I nodded, unsure of why he was asking, and he continued.  “This carpet has handmade by Persian monks.  It took months, maybe years, because it was intricately planned and woven by hand.  They are experts at making rugs and create the finest works of art.  However, in every rug they make, they always weave into it a mistake.”  He looked at me and asked, “Do you know why?”  I shook my head, and he replied, “Only God is perfect.”  Humbled, I blushed and nodded. Read more

Raising Teenage Daughters

I recently read an article in the New York Times about parenting teenage daughters.  I had such mixed feelings about the woman’s story!  I couldn’t quite grasp whether she was complaining, venting, musing, or just rambling.  She seemed to be saying that teenage girls are horrible beasts almost all of the time, but that every now and then, she saw a spark of the girl they used to be.  I was confused and almost irritated by this.  Ever since reading it, I’ve asked myself, is this the way it’s supposed to be?  Am I doing something wrong?  Am I missing something in my child-rearing skills?  Do my children have to hate me, treat me with disgust and disrespect, and talk horribly about me behind my back in order for them to grow into mature women?  Should I try to turn back the hands of time and make this happen? Read more

What’s Your Dream?

IMG_1449“Welcome to Hollywood!  Everyone’s got a dream.  What’s your dream?” Those are both the opening and the closing lines in the movie Pretty Woman, a story in which every young woman’s childhood dream is realized when Vivian is swept off her feet by Mr. Right, a very rich and very handsome Mr. Right (okay, I would argue that she actually swept him off of his feet, but you get the point).  Though many would argue, understandably so, that the road Vivian took to find her dream – running away from home, living on the streets, becoming a prostitute, and being hired by Edward for the week – is not the best way to achieve one’e dream, it’s those words that open and close the movie that come back to me over and over again.  I hear them echoing in my mind at least once a week, but I can’t really explain to you why.  After all these years, I’ve decided to chalk it up to my inner voice constantly reminding me that as a little girl I had a dream that until recently was nothing more than a wispy cloud elusively hovering just out of reach as I stretched my hand out the window on a mountain road. Read more

Sex in Literature

Sarah Publishing
Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard and been a part of many conversations about sex in literature.  These conversations have taken place at conferences, in public, and within chats among friends.  I find it interesting to hear how others view this topic, what they find appropriate or inappropriate, or whether or not they enjoy reading this type of work or are simply made uncomfortable by it.  I still stick to the belief I have held for all of my adult life, and as this is my blog, I’m going to share that with you now. Read more

Advice From the Desk of A Writer

10371504_1493211267560036_1559440155953801216_nThis February marks fifteen months since my first novel was accepted by a publisher.  Oh my, how much I have learned between then and now!  Since A Place to Call  Home was released last August, I have been asked countless times what advice could I give to aspiring writers.  I love how so many of the bestselling authors say things like “write every day,” or “just keep typing away and submitting,” or “you can do it if you work hard.”  Sure, all of those things are great, but here’s the reality: I could write a whole new book just on my experiences over the past fifteen months and what I have learned.  And believe me, I’m still learning.  Every day I read or hear something new that I think, I should do that, or remember that, or look into that.  So here are some things that I have learned that I hope will help others.  Feel free to comment below to open a dialogue on what YOU have learned. Read more