It is ALWAYS a pleasure to welcome a dear friend to our blog and today's guest is no exception. Jacqueline Seewald has shared treasures with us and been in our spotlight but today she's here to share some thoughts so please give her a huge WELCOME!
As I grow older, I can’t help noticing the rapid changes in our society. Technology has changed our lives in both good and bad ways. I still refuse to use a smart phone although most of the people I know can’t understand this. As of now, I keep a flip phone just in case of emergencies and still use a landline. You can’t find a telephone booth anymore and so you really must have your own phone when you travel about.
Last Thanksgiving, one son and daughter-in-law invited the family and some friends over for dinner. I couldn’t help noticing that one of our daughter-in-law’s friends sat down after the meal on a couch with her husband and two sons. They did not speak or look at each other or anyone else. They simply took out their phones and proceeded to text or surf the net. I found this troubling.
I set my latest young adult novel, WITCH WISH from Black Opal Books, in 1985, a time when teens were communicating verbally with others not using electronic devices. The story is set in motion with a bit of magic but it actually examines the human psyche. Although the protagonist is a teenager, the novel is a good read for adults, like my two previous young adult novels published by Clean Reads/Astrea Press, THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER and STACY’S SONG.
Here is an excerpt from the beginning of WITCH WISH:
My sister Ailene pulled the car to the side of the road, reached over and opened the door on the passenger side.
“Get out right now!” Ailene spoke through gritted teeth.
“Yes, way. You’re an obnoxious brat. I don’t have to put up with you, and I won’t for another minute.”
Maybe I had gone a tad overboard in the rude department today, but she’d deserved it. I had to stand and wait while she giggled and gossiped with her airhead friends by the lockers for what seemed like forever. I stood there being ignored and feeling like a leper. Then finally when she finally turned to me all she said was: “Come on. Hurry up.” Like she’d done me this great honor giving me a ride home.
Now she was all indignation. Well, I wasn’t going to stand for it. “I’m not getting out of the car,” I said.
Unfortunately Ailene’s taller and weighs more than I do. She shoved me out, hurled my backpack after me and drove off, burning rubber. She didn’t even look back. So there I stood at the side of a rural road with no idea exactly where I was.
Ailene had veered off the main highway when traffic stopped. There’d been an accident on the highway. No way of getting through any time soon. That pissed her off too. She’s not the most adaptable individual.
It was a warm afternoon. I didn’t mind walking, but the road was totally unfamiliar. I’d have to travel back in the direction of the highway. From there, I could find my way. Maybe my sister had done me a favor. Anything was better than being around her. She found me annoying but I felt the same way about her.
As I walked, I fantasized.
Cheerleader shot dead at football game--mystery as to who pulled trigger. As a student of journalism I considered this possible headline. Were I to murder my sister, I wouldn't want to be caught.
Don’t judge me in haste. If you had a sister like Ailene, you'd probably hate her too. I’d like to say Ailene was nasty, selfish and spoiled, but it wouldn't be true. I have my share of faults. Lying isn't one of them. The truth? Ailene was polite, intelligent, beautiful, and even charming—when it suited her.
So why did I hate her? Maybe because she was everything I wished I could be but didn’t think I ever would be. Someone like Ailene, who was so much better than most people, you envied, idolized or hated her. It wasn’t easy living in the same home with perfection day after day.
A house came into my line of vision. It was an old Colonial with white clapboard shingles and black shutters that had paint peeling. There was an old woman sitting in a chair with all kinds of items set out on folding tables in cardboard boxes. I guess she was having a garage sale. I figured I’d stop and ask for directions back to the highway. She was kind of creepy looking dressed all in black. But she was the only person around. So I walked over to her. She stood up, smiling through crooked yellowed teeth.
“I’m kind of lost,” I said.
She nodded. “I can see that.” She had dark, penetrating eyes. She studied me in an eerie way that made my blood freeze.
“Can you direct me back to Route 516?”
“Certainly. But first why don’t you look at these things I have for sale. They are unique.”
“Sure,” I said, figuring to humor the old gal.
I began looking around. She had a lot of weird stuff, old crap that I had no interest in. But I figured if I offered to buy something I maybe could get the directions quicker. So I glanced at the stuff on one of the tables. A polished wooden box caught my eye.
“I see you like my music box. Actually, I have a bit of a collection.” She picked up the box and wound it up. “It plays Fur Elise by Beethoven.”
I listened and liked what I heard. “How much does it cost?”
“Whatever you can afford.”
I was surprised. I checked the pocket of my jeans. I had some allowance money with me but there wasn’t much. “I’ve only got four dollars.”
“Just the right amount,” she assured me. “There is just one thing about the box itself.” She hesitated. “You see, how should I put this, the box has a certain unusual quality. If I bestow ownership upon you, the music box will grant you a wish.”
I blinked and stared at her open-mouthed. Clearly the old lady was a few slices short of a loaf.
“Sure,” I said, trying to appear agreeable and humor her. “Great.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?” She gave me a knowing smile. Then she laughed, except I swear it sounded more like a cackle. The wind lifted her long, steel gray hair giving her an otherworldly look. “It’s all right. I don’t mind. But I think I should warn you. Once you open the box and make a wish out loud, you won’t be able to take it back. You get only one wish, you understand. So think carefully about it. Make certain you wish for something you truly want.”
You can read more about the novel here:
Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Nineteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, READER’S DIGEST, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, GUMSHOE REVIEW, LIBRARY JOURNAL, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Her writer’s blog can be found at: http://jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com
Thanks so much Jacqueline for visiting with us today!
I pray you've enjoyed Jacquie's post as much as I have friends and that you'll check back weekly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.
Until next time take care and God Bless.