I lied to Mom and Mom-in-Law

True story. Almost 25 years ago, when my now-husband and I were planning our wedding, we thought it would be good if our parents met ahead of time. We invited them to come to our home for dinner.

I knew my parents and my future in-laws well. The men would do whatever their wives told them to do — but the women had very different ideas about punctuality. So I told my mother to come at 6:30 p.m., and I told my future mother-in-law to come at 4:30 p.m.

Everyone arrived, as expected, at 5:30 on the dot.

Are you creative?

Creativity tends to be associated with imaginative artistic creation like writing a novel or song, or painting a picture, but I think that’s much too narrow.

Raising children requires creativity: a parent may be called upon to solve the problems and fulfil the needs of a three-year-old with whatever is on hand (three-year-olds have little patience), using a lot of imagination and improvisation. A business owner faces unpredictable frustrations and opportunities. Cooks, teachers, and engineers, among other workers, have to innovate in tiny and huge ways all the time to create new products and outcomes and re-create old products and outcomes out of changing resources. These roles and many others demand creativity.

We can create beauty, justice, order, value, love, and solutions. Creating anything takes effort and brings joy. The process of creation also changes who you are as a person, maybe a little, maybe a lot. It reveals life.

How will you create today?

My right eye

Overall, I see pretty well. I use glasses, but even without them I could manage to read or walk down the street if I had to.

However, the vision in my right eye is a little poorer than the left eye due to minor age-related problems with the vitreous humor (the jelly-like substance inside the eyeballs) and a cataract. I can see well, but the difference is noticeable.

Despite that, I see better and more clearly with both eyes than with just the left eye alone. The right eye still has something worthwhile to give — proof again that contributions of smaller size or lesser quality can be valuable. It all adds up.

How I got the name Susan

Obviously, I got the name “Susan” from my parents. But why did they pick it?

Over the years, I pieced together the story. My practical, rational parents always planned ahead — with one superstitious exception. They had four children in all, and they stalwartly believed it was bad luck to think too much about a baby before it was born. They didn’t want to know the sex or anything else ahead of time.

In fact, it was bad luck just to think about possible names.

But laws require babies to be given names promptly. So after every birth, my parents needed to make a fast decision. In my case, after a long labor, they were both frazzled, and they chose the first thing that came to mind. As it happened, “Susan” reached an apogee in popularity that year, bestowed on 47,402 babies. That name came to mind first.

It’s an okay name, from the Hebrew word meaning “lily,” but every time I’m among women my age, at least two of us will be named Susan. I’d prefer something less common. It’s possible to guess my age from my name — much like the babies born today being named Emma, Olivia, Liam, and Noah. Names come and go in fashion.

Writers can hint at a character’s age by picking a popular name from their birth year. Betty, Jennifer, Christopher, and Joshua all had their day. For the United States, the Social Security Agency provides detailed statistics for the names registered each year.

Statistics also prove that it was never in fashion for a boy to be named Sue.

Goodreads review: “Meet Me in Another Life” by Catriona Silvey

Meet Me In Another LifeMeet Me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Science fiction can reach out to the stars and at the same time hold tight to the human heart. The many layers of mystery in this beautiful love story lead to a breathtaking ending.

First, I should say that the British publisher sent me a copy of this novel and asked me to provide a blurb if I liked it. I did like it, and my blurb is the first paragraph of this review. The British edition goes on sale July 8. If you’re in the US, the book has been on sale since April.

Second, I cried at the ending.

Third, I won’t tell you why. Because spoilers, big spoilers.

Fourth, if you like science fiction, as you read this novel, you may wonder at some point if it is science fiction. Thora and Santi keep meeting in life after life, which doesn’t seem to make much sense. Trust me. It really is science fiction, and it all makes sense in the end.

Fifth, if you like literary fiction, here’s your chance to see that science fiction can also be character-driven and utterly moving. Just like the past and the present, the future will be human and humane.

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