I started yesterday with fear -- how would I ever make it through the
rituals of burial without collapsing, without weeping and screaming at
the loneliness that filled me? And then I learned -- as a dear friend
told me I would -- that I was not alone after all. I've been overwhelmed
with the love that surrounded me, and with the love and respect that so
many people showed for my husband.
We had an
overflow crowd at the visitation, and an amazing mix of people whose
lives had been touched in some way by Floyd as he simply went about his
daily life. There were Past International Directors who talked about
what all he had done for Lionism, and there was a warehouse man whose
only contact had been loading pecan boxes into the trunk of our car
during a fund-raiser. There were former students of mine, as well as
former faculty colleagues. There were current students at the Southern
College of Optometry, looking wide-eyed at a death that touched them too
closely. And there were at least two gentlemen well over ninety years
old, who still walked with joy, not fear. Floyd's fellow governors who ran the Tennessee Lions organization
in 2003-2004 rubbed elbows with young Lions who knew no one except their
local club members. Offices closed: Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing
Service shut its doors at noon so that the staff could attend. The
Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau attended en masse, as
did the Germantown Chamber of Commerce staff. Strangers talked to one
another and discovered mutual friends. Old friends who hadn't seen each
other for years held mini-reunions. My neighbors were there, some of
them discovering for the first time how much good that quiet man in
Building 6 had done for his city and state. There were miracles
occurring all over those funeral parlor rooms, and one of them was that I
learned to smile again and hug the people who offered me their love. And if
there were a few tears, they were elicited by happy memories.
can't begin to say thank you to all the people who have buoyed me up
during the past week -- thank you for your cards and private messages,
for the memories you have shared, for the pot of soup and the box of
cookies, for your phone calls, the pep talks, the helpful hints, the
offers to come over and help with anything I need, and for the many
donations that have come in to honor Floyd's memory. Thanks to the
funeral home staff who made everything happen effortlessly, and to the
seven impossibly young airmen who carried out the full military honors
ceremony at the cemetery with dignity and solemnity.
I may become something of
a hermit for a few weeks, while I absorb all the lessons you have
taught me and while I figure out how to manage what this new life will
mean, but please be sure that I will never forget what you all have done
for me -- and for Floyd.
I post this for those of you who are interested and to avoid having to answer the same questions again and again.
Alan Schriber passed away on Thursday, January 22, 2015, after a brief illness.
He was born in Lakewood, Ohio, in December, 1938, the only son of Leonard and
Katharine Schriber. He is survived by
Carolyn Poling Schriber, his wife of 54 years. Their only son, Douglas Alan
Schriber, preceded him in death in 2000.
graduated from Kent State University and served in the U. S. Air Force for
twenty-two years as an Air Weapons Controller for NORAD, a commander of a radar
site in Alaska, and as part of a specialized reconnaisance team in Viet Nam. He
retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then worked for
over ten years as an executive recruiter for a national personnel consulting
firm. He held a master’s degree in Public Administration from the
University of Colorado at Denver and had completed all course work and
examinations toward a doctorate in that field.
became a Member of Lions Clubs International in 1972 and eventually served as
as District Governor for all of Western Tennessee in 2003- 2004. He was an
active past president and member of the Board of Directors of Mid-South Lions
Sight and Hearing Service, a non-profit organization that brings Lions from
four states together to provide free surgeries and treatment for those who
cannot afford optometric or auditory care. In 2004-2009, he spearheaded
the effort to invite the USA/Canada Leadership Forum to come to Tennessee and
was instrumental in a successful bid to bring over 2800 Lions to Memphis for a
four-day conference. In May 2010, he served as vice chairman of the
Tennessee/LCIF flood relief efforts. Most recently he coordinated the
efforts of LCI, Mid-South, and the Southern College of Optometry on a pilot
project in Shelby County to provide free eye exams and glasses for indigent
adults in the greater Memphis area. He was also a member of local chapters
of the Air Force Association, the Military Officers Association of America, and
the Military Writers Society of America.
Visitation will be on Friday, January 30th from 12:30 to
1:30 at the Memphis Funeral Home, 3700 North Germantown Parkway, Bartlett, TN
38133 Graveside service with full
military honors will follow at 2:30 at the West Tennessee State Veterans
Cemetery for all who wish to attend.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial
gifts be directed to MidSouth Lions Sight and Hearing Service, 930 Madison
Avenue, Suite 101, Memphis, TN, 38103.
Dear Blog Readers,
I am signing off on this blog until my life settles down. As some of you know, my husband is on life support following a disastrous operation. The hope is that in a couple of weeks they will be able to wean him from the machines that are keeping him alive and slowly let his body take over again - - - but we just don't know what lies ahead.
I have started a CaringBridge site so that friends and family can follow daily events. If you fall into that category, please send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will pass along instructions on how to find the site. I'm trying to keep this as private as possible as we all struggle with the day-to-day pain, so please understand if I do not give you permission to read the entries.
I hope to be back soon with good news. In the meantime, if you want to help, sell some books for me! I can't.
So what am I doing to follow my own advice? I'm trying to find time for writing, of course, every chance I get. Admittedly, things are a little crazy around here right now, what with my husband's failed heart operation occupying my thoughts, my plans, and my schedules. But during those quiet moments, while I'm just waiting, waiting for a miracle that will get him off life support and back on the road to recovery, and hoping the next step will reveal itself, I have time to let my mind wander back to 1868.
South Carolina was a mess that year! The constitutional convention was trying to come up with a new document that the federal government would accept as proof that South Carolina was ready to become a state again. People were also watching the impeachment woes of President Andrew Johnson and wondering what that political struggle would mean for the South. The Ku Klux Klan was moving into towns all over the state. Property titles switched holders from day to day. Riots broke out over small disagreements.
And in the middle of all that confusion the Grenville family faced new challenges: threats against their safety, confusion over a family will, dissatisfaction with Jonathan's new teaching job, a troublesome new neighbor, and the ever-present saga of children growing up too fast in a world they could not understand. For the next few weeks, I'll be re-introducing you to the characters who will populate the next book. Meet the people of Yankee Reconstructed here in the following weeks.
This piece of advice isn't new. You hear it over and over again. The best way to market a book is to write another one -- and then a third and a fourth. To prove the point take a look at supermarket and drugstore paperback books. The same author names appear over and over again. Best-selling authors may have two or more books in the top ten lists at the same time. And the explanation is simple. Authors become popular, not because they sell more books, but because they write more books than their contemporaries.
Think like a reader for a moment. How many times have you finished a book and wished you could lay hands on the next one immediately? Have you ever wished you could tell a writer to hurry up and publish the next volume? What's the first question authors are asked when they appear at a signing or book talk? Chances are, the question is "When is the next book coming out?" And until a new book appears, the fans of one story will go hunting for older volumes they may have missed. That's when your books take on a life of their own.
When I look back at my own reading habits, a clear pattern emerges. I nearly always chose the thickest book I could find, because I knew that once I started reading, I wouldn't want to stop. Early favorite authors were (and this is really going to date me!) James Michener and Carl Sandburg in his novelist period. Both produced great sweeping sagas of history, following the experiences of one family through multiple generations. A bit later I devoured the Brother Cadfael series (Edith Pargeter), the Plantagenet tales of Thomas Costain and Sharon Kay Penman, and Diane Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. In each case, the newest book had its own conclusion but carried the hint of further stories to come. And I wanted them all--right then! How frustrating it was to finish reading 800 to 1200 pages and know that there was still more to come. The only thing worse was falling in love with an author's characters, only to find that the author himself (like J. D. Salinger) had quit writing entirely.
Looking back now, from Michener's worlds to the Harry Potter series, I can understand those long waits between books from the author's point of view. Readers only want to know what happens next. Authors, however, must deal not only with the demand for more but with a feeling of responsibility to the characters created. I first felt the pressure with my current release, "Damned Yankee." My editor sent me her final revisions, with a comment that I needed to start the next volume because she wanted to know what happened next. Shortly after the book's appearance, a reviewer mourned that she was going to miss the characters she now knew so well. The audience was waiting; it was time to start writing again -- for both my readers and for me.
So, a final lesson learned: Keep writing. Your audience is waiting, and your series will create a living and growing community of readers.