Tag Archive for: Ready or Not

Tempus fugit and tempus repit

by AB Plum

What day is today?

A friend recently wrote me she’s
thinking the above question is a good book title considering our current
shelter-in-place practices.

I’ll admit, it’s the first question I
ask myself every morning while still in bed.

Actually, as soon as I wake up, I
turn the question into a statement: 
Today is Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Years ago, many doctors took the
ability to accurately state current daily information as a good sign of brain
health. So … I like to hit all the germane calendar considerations:



TOD doesn’t bother me so much. I’m sheltering in place and
don’t need to go anywhere or do anything on an arbitrary timeline. A daily shaft
of sunshine through the blinds helps orient me to the hour within thirty or
forty minutes.

Back in my school days, child-rearing days, corporate-work
days, thirty or forty minutes made a huge difference in managing my day.

Or so I thought. 

Never arriving late carried a certain … virtuousness.
Arriving early put me on the path for sainthood.

Like most humans driven by the minutes flying by, I
expected the same obsession about time from friends, family, and co-workers
because I definitely believed in cramming 48 hours of activities into a day. (I
was adept at multi-tasking. Sleep was overrated.)

Or so I thought.

Writing full time changed my thoughts about time. Freed me
up. Allowed me to get lost in the timeless joy of creating stories.

Productivity wasn’t the goal. I felt just as satisfied producing
one page a day as turning out fifteen. Writing at all hours of the day and
night opened up new A-HAs and fun challenges.

Balance soon became a problem. I didn’t live in a yurt in
Outer Mongolia. My network of friends and family mattered. They wanted to know
about this new adventure/career/paradigm shift. And though I never worried
about burnout, I did worry about sitting in the attic, hunched over my vellum
in the wee hours, with bats flying in the belfry while I tried to recall:

·         DOW
My calendar lies in my closed desk
drawer. No need to review the week every Sunday evening and then in the morning
on each day of the week. I still paste Post-Its on my computer as reminders,
but I’ve cut way back on the number of those visual memory-aids.

What day is today?

It’s a new day. A day when the number
of coronavirus cases are still rising. But a day when I can go outside for a
walk. A day when I realize how little I need and how much I have.

“I wish it need not have
happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so
do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we
have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring  

**** AB Plum lives and writes in Silicon Valley, setting for her latest mystery series, featuring Ryn Davis, a character who never sleeps.


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Books Not Recommended

By AB Plum

Years ago—I
can remember exactly how many but can’t grasp when the days flew by, as the
cliché goes—I worked in my county library. I was sixteen. An avid reader. A
card-carrying patron from grade-school days. Working there was the best job in
town. I earned minimum wage, got vacation, and experience that later helped me win
a job in the university library. Two decades later, I received my MLS degree and worked in a large, urban public library system. 

Of all the
wonderful memories I can resurrect in two minutes about the county library, one
stands out most vividly.

Picture a floor-to-ceiling front window with
sunshine flooding the comfy couches, the New Books shelves, and the magazine
nook. Mysteries occupied the wall with the periodicals (yes, we subscribed to The New York Times and the New Yorker). Westerns
required a third of the same wall. Science fiction didn’t merit its own spot.

A large study section at the rear of the building separated the adult and children’s collections as well as our small, local museum dedicated to a local nineteenth-century opera

janitor kept the nearby public and staff restroom spotless. Graffiti never appeared on any public spaces
in our quiet little town.

A right-turn
from the restroom took patrons past the office the librarian shared with the
staff to process new books, repair damaged ones, fill boxes for year-round
bookmobile deliveries. Large windows at ceiling height added to the ambiance of
space and light. Five
 bookcases sat under the windows. 

The shelves bulged
with “forbidden” books. 

Forbidden to anyone under twenty-one.
Forbidden to the “older ladies” who came in weekly for novels by
Faith Baldwin, Bess Streeter Aldrich, Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, and so
many other writers whose pages those ladies devoured. Forbidden to anyone who
didn’t explicitly know the secret collection existed. (I certainly had no
inkling before working there).

But … did I,
five years shy of the required age, read Huck
Finn, Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men,
Ulysses and dozens more banned books in my small, Southern town?

Absolutely. Within
the first six weeks of my employment. It took me that long to work up my courage. I worried
about going to jail. Or maybe directly to hell.

Of course I
never admitted my jaded tastes to any of my co-workers. I sneaked the books off
the premises—usually on Saturday afternoons when I was left to close up. And 
I never
checked the books out.

I felt guilty about my subterfuge but not guilty enough to stop reading from the
forbidden shelves. I rationalized that my caution was okay since the library’s
treasurer, Mr. Schneider—a septuagenarian and the first vegetarians I’d
ever met, entered the “Forbidden Chamber” and removed more than one
book every week without stopping by the front desk on his way out.

I suspect
the librarian knew what I was doing. I suspect she never confronted me because
she knew me from my previous years of reading eclectically from the general
collection. I suspect she realized I would read most of the “Forbidden
Books” during my Freshman year in college–still three years short of twenty-one.

Lots of
ethical issues skim the edges of my dishonesty. Thoughts for another day. I’ll
simply say I’m grateful I benefitted from censorship and an open-minded librarian.

What about
you? Did your library ban books? Did the library have a special place for
“mature audience” books? Did you, as a teenager, read any books in
that category?

*****AB Plum
writes books that might well have gone into the “Forbidden Chamber.”
She keeps sex and violence and offensive language to a minimum. (Well, the
language might be a stretch). She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and
alter-ego, Barbara Plum). She enjoys hearing from readers, so catch up with her

Twitter:  @ABPlumWriter

Politics Then and Now

By Barbara Plum aka AB Plum

A Two-Word Story

A week later … post mid-term elections.

Are you glad you voted?
Did you imagine the aftermath?
Can you envision the days ahead?

I am delirious I voted—early. I never imagined the aftermath, and I’ve sent my crystal ball out for refurbishing. I plan to consult it many times over the next months.

In the meantime, I’m going to read, read, read for escape, entertainment, and enlightenment. Top of the list: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Turbulent Times.

Also, I’m looking forward to some down time from writing and some more quality time with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara Plum, aka AB Plum, writes across the gamut of light and dark (paranormal romance to dark, psychological thrillers). As always, her two latest books explore families.

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