What I’ve been doing

Still reading an unnamed autobiography for research into a novel I’m writing. Those whom I trust with my top-secret writing ventures know what I’m talking about. Have learned a lot so far. I must say, while I was ambivalent towards this person when I first began reading about them, I’ve grown to see them as a far more complicated person than what many might realize…

…As far as fiction goes, I have bitten off more than I can chew and have checked out two books from the library: Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! and Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada. This is very common for me as sometimes I’ll see several books that will interest me. I think the only time I will ever succeed in reading every book in one setting of the armful I collect is if I’m going on a vacation somewhere where there is no internet access but unlimited time for reading. Am currently reading Cather’s book. Very fascinating so far, but as is often the case with classic literature, the story grows stale in your mind if you’re not reading on a frequent basis…

…Lately I’ve felt very sluggish mentally and am trying to decide what happens next in my novel(s) and stories. And try to market what I’ve already written. One friend recently read my suspenseful short story No Experience Necessary and told me she liked it a lot and didn’t expect the twist at the end.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

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Research, research

I have placed on hold a book from the library. An autobiography.

I have placed a reality show in my Netflix queue.

Both are so that I can do some research for a novel I’m working on. It’s a field I know very little about but want to portray accurately.

Am still hoping to sit down and talk to someone in the field also.

The novel, again, has this working title: Randy and Rhonda.

Thirty-eight pages so far.

Richard Zowie loves writing fiction as much as Donald Trump, his ego, and his combover’s ego love attention. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

A guest editorial on my blog about healthy habits

This is an editorial written by a friend, Stephanie, who is a teacher in Mississippi. It’s an inviting writing style that gives you a lot to think about…

The number one health problem in Mississippi is…. Cancer? No. Drug or Alcohol Addiction? No. Teen Pregnancy? No. The number one health problem in Mississippi? Obesity. Our state is still ranked number one in the nation for the “fattest state in the U.S.” And this isn’t our first time with this most unwelcome ranking. No, this is our seventh straight year. We are not alone in our obesity, however. In the past sixteen years, our nation has gone from all states listing obesity rates below 20% to now having forty-nine states with obesity rates above that 20% goal.

Why the increase? Think about your last quick dinner. Did you prepare vegetables and baked chicken, or did you run through a drive-thru window? If you chose the drive-thru, you’re not alone. It’s quicker, easier and less expensive. On the health-side, these speedier, effortless, cheap foods are higher in calories, fat, and added sugars and substantially lower in vitamins and minerals.

Excuses are easy to make to keep from eating healthily. It takes more time to eat healthy – time to plan, purchase, and prepare. It’s easier – we’re too tired from working all day, or we’re too hungry to wait.

Then, there’s the fact that it’s cheaper. We all know that economically, it costs more to eat healthily.

So what do we do? Well, why not start with growing more of our own fruits and vegetables? “Only one percent of our incredibly rich farm land in Mississippi is being devoted to fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Rick deShazo. Why not begin making healthy foods just as accessible as the fast foods we eat? Sure, fast food chains are attempting to adapt by making some things leaner, but where are the fresh fruits and vegetables? Where are the baked options? What about convenience stores where we can run in and grab a bag of chips, candy bar, and soda? Shouldn’t they have healthy alternatives available? Shouldn’t the healthier foods be priced lower?

Of course, all of this depends on us. We must make those healthy choices. I’m not discounting that fact at all. It will take discipline on our part to choose oatmeal over a buttered biscuit, lean turkey sandwich from home over a double cheeseburger, and baked salmon with steamed veggies over four slices of pizza.

So as to not appear to be simply picking on our food, what about having more sidewalks and parks for Mississippians to use for exercise? A long walk or a good game of volleyball, basketball, or even frisbee will get us moving. Moving equals caloric burn. Caloric burn equals a beginning to lowering the obesity rate in Mississippi. And a lowering obesity rate in Mississippi equals saving our state millions in healthcare costs.

Stephanie R. Crawford works as a teacher in Jackson, Mississippi and is a graduate of both Pensacola Christian College and Middle Tennessee State University.