Tag Archive for: Marian Borden

Wearing Cinderella’s Slippers

is my first post for The Stiletto Gang. I feel fortunate to be asked to
join the group. Already, the other posters have sent me warm
welcoming messages, which I very much appreciate. A grand thing about the writing community is the support offered and received. Maybe there is an enabling factor that urges authors who work so much in
solitude to reach out to others who aspire to follow their path. An
overwhelming generosity of spirit flows from writers who have made
their mark to those toiling to achieve success.

looking at past posts, I see that I’ll be filling a spot long held by Evelyn
David, one of the founding members of the blog and a very prolific writing team
of Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett
I’m humbled by the opportunity and know I have large shoes to fill. And, I’m
grateful to my fellow posters for handing me Cinderella’s slippers.
I just hope I don’t lose one or, if I do, that it’s returned by a prince!
I considered my first message, I kept thinking about shoes. Shoes often seem to
have been used in literature to define women. Consider the epic battle that
ensues when Dorothy gets the witch’s ruby red slippers. Yet, eventually, those
shoes become the vehicle that transports Dorothy home, on her own power.
I was young, after school, I would wait in my mother’s classroom while she
attended teachers’ meetings. I would listen to the footsteps coming down the
hall and learned to recognize hers returning.
when I went out into the workplace, I saw women navigating the sidewalks in
high heels, their staccato tapping emphasizing their focus and determination as
well as their rushing to the next appointment. The sound of their steps signaled
a giddy assurance that they were in the right place and making important
contributions through their work.
I visited New York City, I walked along the streets, feeling a stronger
connection with the place as my sneakers trod its thoroughfares. I had read
that Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, who loved to travel, adored having
someone stop and ask her for directions in a location she was visiting, because
that made her feel as if she were part of the place. I remember my own thrill
when I advised a tourist on a New York street corner. A sense of belonging is
so reassuring.
guess my favorite shoe image comes from To
Kill a Mockingbird
, when young Scout realizes Atticus is correct in
telling her we never truly understand a person until we have a chance to walk
in his shoes. To me, the scene where Scout stands on Boo Radley’s porch envisioning
all that had happened in their town through his eyes is a truly powerful piece
of writing.

thank you, Stiletto Gang, for including me among your posters. Thanks for your
encouragement and for believing in me, a short story writer who strives to be a
novelist. And, thanks for providing this forum for those of us who love
mystery, romance, suspense, thrills, and good writing.

A legislative attorney and former law librarian,
Paula Gail Benson’s short stories have been published in Kings River Life, the Bethlehem
Writers Roundtable
, Mystery Times
Ten 2013
(Buddhapuss Ink), and A Tall
Ship, a Star, and Plunder
(Dark Oak Press and Media, 2014). Her next short
story, “Moving On,” will appear in A
Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman
, an anthology due to be
released by Mozark Press in November or December 2014. She regularly blogs with others about writing mysteries at
http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com. Her personal blog is http://littlesourcesofjoy.blogspot.com,
and her website is http://paulagailbenson.com.

Off to Malice

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I spend an inordinate amount of time in my attic. My office is located up there, a little alcove that is filled with books, manuscripts, and shoes (we’re short on closet space in this almost one hundred year old house). But for the first time in my writing career, I’m heading to Malice Domestic this weekend with the northern half of Evelyn David, my good friend Marian Borden, who has schooled me in the ins and outs of attending the convention. And thank god she did, because I had no idea what to expect.

As she mentioned in Monday’s post, we have both been invited to participate in Malice Go Round, a mystery convention version of speed dating, where we have the opportunity to do a two-minute presentation on our latest books—mine being Quick Study—to groups of fans. I was told by the person chairing the convention that it is nice to do a little giveaway, a bookmark, post card, some candy. Well, suffice it to say that BJ’s needs to restock their candy aisle because I bought more candy than I’ve ever bought during the Halloween season, and still didn’t make my goal of making it last through one hundred bags. I’m on eighty, with a goal of preparing one hundred and fifty. So it’s back to BJ’s this week. I hope they’ve restocked.

Marian and I had a quick lunch to go over the details of the convention. My concern? That I’ve been in the attic so long that I’ve forgotten how to behave in polite society. If your day in the “office” starts at eight and ends somewhere in the vicinity of twelve hours later—after brief interludes of making sandwiches, doing laundry, NOT cleaning the bathroom, and preparing chicken cutlets for the fifth time in a week—and you’re by yourself with only Bonnie, the very emotionally needy Westie, to keep you company and talk to, you’d be nervous, too. I’m guessing that mystery conventioneers don’t respond to the same verbal cues as Bonnie and won’t get all excited if I ask them if they want a treat. I’ve been practicing my convention small talk, and watching myself in the mirror as I introduce myself to someone else. (That hasn’t been going very well. I’m starting to look like someone who needs anti-anxiety medication. When you introduce yourself, I guarantee that your smile shouldn’t include ALL of your teeth. Molars shouldn’t be part of the introduction equation.)

Marian and I are looking forward to the opening night reception (see previous paragraph on small talk, introductions, and smiling) and the banquet on Saturday night, though I am in a dither as to what to wear. If I wait long enough to pack, that will become a non-issue and I’ll just throw something in my suitcase that will have to do. I have a longstanding aversion to packing since my editorial job where I had to travel three months a year. Packing meant leaving and leaving meant not seeing husband and child number one for at least a week, if not longer. I’m trying to think through what I need, but know that I’ll be throwing items in a suitcase on Thursday morning, moments before I’m supposed to leave, confident that there is an underground mall beneath the hotel for anything I’ve forgotten.

I expressed all of the anxiety I was feeling about traveling down to the convention in a recent post. But something recently dawned me: I’ll be in a hotel room, by myself, for three nights. That, in itself, sounds fabulous. And if I do have any anxiety about mixing and mingling, I only have to remember the inimitable words of fellow poster, Marilyn Meredith: “Everyone’s in the same boat. Just smile and start talking.”

I’ll do that. I’ll just have to make sure that I keep my molars to myself.

Maggie Barbieri