The Day I Was Born


Vitality Stories


teri case canva


The Day I Was Born


As I go into the final month of my 46th year with exciting plans of publishing Tiger Drive in my 47th year, I can’t help but share a portion of my mom’s memoirs about how we bonded when I was born (and my birth also sums up our family life as well). In Tiger Drive, the daughter, Carrie, wonders if she and her mom, Janice, missed this important window of bonding. Read the below if you’d like to find out how my mom and I managed.


Teri was born Saturday, November 14, 1970. We went to the hospital on Friday, the 13th. I was so glad once I knew she wasn’t going to be born until after midnight.

A couple of weeks before, I went to the hospital and pre-registered, which you had to do if you wanted your baby with you in your hospital room after she was born. Times were finally changing, and this would be the first time I’d have my newborn in arms reach. Well, it’s a good thing I did pre-register because low and behold, Dick was on a runner* that weekend and all he did was drop me off at the hospital once my water broke. So I had everything taken care of—it was just like I was a single parent. Anyway, she was born, and I took her to the room with me and put her in the bassinet. And it was so nice to know that I had the baby with me except for one thing. She wouldn’t quit crying.

There was nothing I could do to make her happy. I could hold her. I could nurse her. I could try to burp her. But she was just going to cry no matter what. So finally, on Sunday, I had to call and ask the nurse to take her to the nursery so I could get a couple of hours of sleep. When I woke up and got her back, I thought, That’s it. You won’t be going back to the nursery. When I get you home, there will be no nursery to send you to so we will just have to get used to each other. And we did. I guess we bonded after that because I had no more troubles with her.

Dick came to take us home. Now, this is a funny story to me. I know he got money from his mother, which he did more often than I knew. I didn’t even care. He could have robbed a bank as far as I was concerned as long as there was money to pay the rent and feed my kids. But anyhow, he stopped at the bank on our way home. I don’t remember the details really, but the account was in my name, and his name wasn’t on the account, and he went into the bank to do something, and when he came out, he gave me twenty-five dollars, so I stuck it in my purse not knowing what his plans were. Well, he got us home and into the house, and I laid the baby down. And low and behold, off he went running out the back door. I followed him and I said, “Where and the heck are you going Dick Case?”

He was jumping over our chain-link fence. He wanted to get away from the house and me. But the funny part is, as he jumped over the fence, I saw something drop out of his pocket. So I went to the fence and there lay his wallet. I looked in there, and I took another fifty dollars out. I thought, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the one to go hungry, or my kids go hungry. I figured then that Dick was still on a good runner. He wasn’t working so I’d probably not see him for four or five days, and I might as well as enjoy my life as best I could with the new baby**.

Also, Dick had made up his mind if we had a girl, she would be named Sherri. I didn’t like the name. I had my reasons for that. So anyhow when the birth certificate came around, I automatically named her Teri Lynn***, the name I had picked out. He never argued with me about that, and I don’t even know if he realized it until it was too late. That’s how she came into the world.

She was such another pretty, little, dark-haired baby girl. As she would ask when she was three years old, “Am I bootiful, Mommy? Am I bootiful? Somebody on the street said I was bootiful.” She was a beautiful child. She’ll always be my bootiful child.

~ Bonnie


Thank you for being you and joining me here today. What’s your birth story? Email me 🙂

Teri

*Runner = a non-stop consumption of alcohol lasting anywhere from two to fourteen days

**And five other kids ranging from fifteen months to sixteen years old.

***If you’d like to know why my choice of name could have resulted in argument, read this: It’s All in the Name

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Tiger Drive Is Everywhere!


Vitality Stories


road trip


Tiger Drive Is Everywhere!


Dear Friend,

I promise I won’t turn every newsletter solely into an update about Tiger Drive (the novel), but can we talk about Tiger Drive the drive?

I grew up in the Safari Trailer Park on Tiger Drive in Carson City, Nevada, from 1978 to 1986 (I left home when I was fifteen and would graduate from high school in 1989). I liked living there before I hit my wise teen years. There were always kids to play with and large fields to take long walks in with my dog. The trailer park was across the street from the movie theater and a drug store where I could get a ten-cent ice cream cone and candy for ten cents a box. I ran, played, and shopped unsupervised (most of the time).

My family wasn’t perfect, but they were my family. Our trailer wasn’t perfect, but it was our trailer and home. So because there is so much nostalgia and because so much of “me” came out of my years on Tiger Drive, when I sat down to write a novel, the simplicity and punch of TIGER DRIVE as a title felt like a no-brainer to use for my novel. It felt “right”–a very important gut-level benchmark for authors to spring from.

But the thing is, what happened on Tiger Drive the drive is not what happens in Tiger Drive the novel. In the novel, I use the trailer that I grew up in because the smells and sounds are ingrained in my memory and therefore, easier to convey in writing. Tiger Drive the novel is about a family that needs to confront the truths about their lives and each other in order to move forward and to pursue their ideals–but you’ll have to read the novel to see who does and doesn’t succeed. But as for the drive itself, the story is not about the trailer park. The novel has nothing to do with Tiger Drive the drive.

When I first started writing Tiger Drive, I made a promise to the universe: I would not tell anyone’s truths or cause any harm with my words. If I ran into blurred boundaries, I’d talk to the source and check their comfort level and get their blessing.

So when I found out that Tiger Drive in Carson City was a private drive and owned by the owners of the Safari Trailer Park, I called them to see how they felt about me using Tiger Drive as a title and to tell them about the Tiger Drive Scholarship.

It turns out they are the same owners who owned the park when I lived there and get this, the park manager who is now over ninety-years-old is still the manager!

After I introduced myself, the owner asked, “So did you live on Tiger Drive at some point?”

I said, “Yes, in the 1980s.”

She said, “So you survived.”

The owner told me about the lengths they’ve taken since the 1980s to improve the reputation and image of the park and to make families feel welcome. With pride, she said the school bus is packed with residents of Tiger Drive. I told her about the scholarship (she was thrilled to learn about it) and about my novel (not so thrilled). These owners are nice people who don’t want the stigma of a fictional and dysfunctional family to send the wrong message about what the real drive has to offer, and they don’t want anyone who lives there to be stereotyped by the flawed characters in my novel.

I absolutely agree with them. So we talked it over and reached a comfortable agreement. In the United States, there are hundreds of Tiger Drives. The closest one to me today is in Newfield, New York.

Subscribers often send me photos of Tiger Drive when they see one:

Here’s one Jack sent in Lockport, Illinois:

Tiger Drive Lockport IL
And Sue from St. Louis, Missouri, sent me this note: “Our high school mascot is a tiger, and there’s a road sign that says Tiger Drive.”
tiger drive mascot

 

So the owner and I agreed: they don’t own “Tiger Drive” but to reference Tiger Drive in Carson City, Nevada, is too specific and as the book is fiction, it’s also unnecessary. So our easy solution: make up a town or city in Northern Nevada. Northern Nevada is important to the story, but Carson City is not (though I have many friends who liked the idea of their home town being in a book). But the owner likes that there is a Tiger Drive Scholarship that gives special consideration to the residents of her Tiger Drive. She has high hopes for them. Before we hung up, she said, “You’re doing a great thing, and I want to read your novel.”

So, my dear subscriber, if you’d like to help me make up a name for a fictitious city in Northern Nevada with a population under 100,000 people, send me an email with your idea 🙂

What are you up to this week?

Happy Thursday and thank you for being you.

Teri

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WMYL?


Vitality Stories


What Makes You Laugh?


What Makes You Laugh?


It’s Fall and time to for a laugh

Dear Friend,

One of my subscribers often snail mails me comics and cartoons. I just received a new batch from him the other day. The giggles were timely and much needed as the leaves begin to fall and summer comes to a close. So I’m paying the laughter forward:

jimbenton.comby Jimbenton.com

 

pusheen.com
by pusheen.com

 

jimbenton.com
by Jimbenton.com

 

shoebox
by shoebox

 

pintast.com
by pintast.com

 

offthemark.com mark parisi
by Mark Parisi

 

Until next time, happy laughing and thanks for being you.

Teri

P.S. If I don’t have your name in the greeting, email me and I’ll update your subscription 🙂
P.P.S If a friend forwarded this to you but you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, click here.

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F*ck It!


Vitality Stories


F*ck It!


Dear Friend,

 

Exciting things are happening with Tiger Drive. Exciting things as in after several years of writing and editing, I am close to announcing Tiger Drive‘s release date.

I know, crazy right?

But first, WTF is up with my newsletter title?

Well, a few things.

I’ve decided to publish my novel and not pursue a traditional publisher for a variety of reasons, the most significant being,

  1. The resources that were once exclusive to traditional publishers are now available to anyone who is willing to invest in their work (in particular: editors, cover artists, lawyers, marketers, layout designers, and more),
  2. Using an agent and a traditional publisher could mean Tiger Drive might not be published for another year or more,
  3. I would most likely forfeit my rights to Tiger Drive for the rest of my life plus seventy years which means I’d have to get permission on how I market Tiger Drive, would have little insight on what is working and what isn’t working, and if the publisher decides they only want to print 1,000 copies and nothing more, I would have to get a lawyer to try to buy back my rights to do another print-run.

So I decided (with the support of my peers in three creative groups) in a very unusual Teri fashion, F*ck it. I’ll publish on my own.

What this means is things need to start happening, um, yesterday.Tiger Drive is currently in the hands of a copy editor. This week I’m finalizing the back of book description with the help of other authors and the Tiger Drive Squad, and next week, professional designers will start drafting the cover. I’m going to be honest, choosing the right cover and back of book description are more intimidating than writing the novel. Did you know (and I will try not to hyperventilate while I type this) that a book cover only gets 0.2 seconds to convey the genre and attract a reader’s attention? Point two seconds! It took me three seconds to type “point two seconds.”

Exactly!

But F*ck it! I have a team–a professional team–helping me get the cover and description right.Also, Tiger Drive is in the hand of an editor as I type. If I used a traditional publisher, I was going to face a problem that is now no longer a problem: use of the F-word.

Drug dealing, biker gang WJ in Tiger Drive can now be a realistic character and say f*ck as much as he wants. I rarely swear or use the F-word, but as I was writing Tiger Drive, WJ kept dropping F-bombs all over the place like F-ing cigarette butts. No kidding, during the first draft I was so embarrassed by WJ’s potty mouth, I said out loud, “You can’t write that. He can’t keep saying that!”

But F*ck it! A drug dealer, biker gang member like WJ would swear. So I let him.

However, now is a good time to share that many readers frown upon foul language in a book, and it’s possible you might be one of them, and for that, I’m sorry. In fact, using the F-word guarantees at least one negative review on Amazon and Goodreads. So I searched how many times WJ says it in Tiger Drive:

f*ck it

108 times?! WJ gets an “F” for language! But WJ won’t give a fig about an F grade. He’s got other problems to deal with.

Anyway, enough about me. What’s going on in your world?

As always thanks for being you,

Teri

P.S. If I don’t have your first name, send me an email, and I’ll update your subscription 🙂
P.P.S. If you are receiving this newsletter because one of my awesome subscribers forwarded it to you, and you want to subscribe to the newsletter, too, then click here and Thank You!

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Letting Go on the Camino de Santiago


Vitality  Stories



Letting Go on the Camino de Santiago


Why the wait?

Boy, this newsletter is long overdue. I’ve promised to share details about my week long hike between the French Pyrenees and Spain’s Rioja region at least five times in the past three months, but each time I tried, I just couldn’t do it justice, and there are a few reasons.

One, I’m not a travel writer. I’ve never been great about repeating the history and facts I learn about an area. What I hold onto are the feelings that a trip evokes in me: How I feel standing in a field or on a mountain top I could’ve never found on my own; experiencing the beauty of anonymity and humility in a crowd of people whose language I can’t speak; or recognizing that the world is huge, and the realities and perspectives in it are diverse and not exclusive to my own.

I also love seeing the native flowers and animals (see donkey above). I love connecting with nature. I enjoy architecture.

Continue reading

The Corner

 


Vitality Stories


Teri Case


The Inside Scoop – The VS Corner


And now introducing . . .

So many of the Vitality Stories readers have powerful, insightful and often funny stories they graciously share in response to some of the VS newsletters. With their permission, I’m starting the Vitality Stories Corner (VS Corner) so we can all benefit from our shared life experiences and laughs.

Recently I shared my What the Cantaloupe?! Inside Scoop, and for the next three days, I laughed as readers sent me emails and shared their own “treats gone wrong” experiences.

In today’s world, we need laughter breaks more than ever, and I hope you get a laugh out of two of my favorite responses.


They Went Coconuts by David Prater

“I remember when I worked for the Telephone Company, and I supervised six people. One of them, David D., and his wife had a baby, and we had a shower for them in the office. I wasn’t really clued in on what was appropriate for a baby gift, so I got her a coconut. It was in the crusty brown fibers that come out of the original full shell. Some people were aghast. I thought it was pretty clever, and there wasn’t another coconut gift from anyone else. I sort of like the original.

I still think about giving coconut gifts but I ask my wife now if it’s a good idea.  So far, no other coconut gifts.”

Continue reading

The Inside Scoop


Vitality Stories


tiger drive


The Inside Scoop


What the cantaloupe?!

Thanks to your encouragement and your ‘Go Teri’-s, I was able to finish the edits to Tiger Drive as planned. In addition to your support, I had the amazing Tiger Drive Squad keeping me on my fingertips as they read each edited chapter. The squad came back with suggestions and some much needed praise, and I really enjoyed the daily interaction with these twenty readers.

When Tiger Drive Squadster Lorraine Watson (Follow Your Light) finished reading Tiger Drive, she said, “As with all good books, it’s a struggle between finding out the end and not wanting it to be over. It feels like I’ve been hanging out with you for several weeks and now it’s over. A gap. Void. So I changed out more electrical outlets.”

I felt like I was hanging out with each squad member, too. For the past week, I’ve been torn between being happy the editing is done and sad that I’m not hearing from the squad every day. One reason is that, after each chapter, I shared an “Inside Scoop.” Tiger Drive is fiction, but like most writers, I drew from personal perspective and experiences. The Inside Scoop served as a fact vs. fiction tip. In return, the squad member often sent me a note sharing a similar story of his/her own, and I enjoyed getting to know each person better. Here’s an example of what I might have shared: Continue reading

Dear Me by Teri Case


Vitality Stories


Dear Me TFBY


Dear Me@13,

It’s August, and you’re a thirteen-going-on-fourteen-year-old girl who is super excited to start the 8th grade at Carson Junior High School. This week, you’ll go back-to-school shopping at Contempo Casuals in Meadowood Mall with not only the babysitting money you saved all summer but with a bonus $100 that your dad gave you from his “big win” at the casino the night before. You’re going to buy black Jellies pumps that will kill your feet, a pair of Guess jeans, and those awful cotton versatile white overalls that will get stretched out and stained and look horrible on you, but I’m not writing to warn you about your fashion choices. You’re going to love those purchases, and you’ll prove it by wearing them over and over.

No, I’m writing to prepare you. Life’s about to get difficult. In fact, it’s going to be the most difficult year of our life.

You’re so young and sweet. If I could travel back in time and be your friend for the year, I wouldn’t hesitate. I’d move in with you. I’d go everywhere with you. I’m sorry, but we’re about to lose our “kid-shine” (as the mother, Janice, in Tiger Drive likes to say). It happens so fast, and you won’t be able to point to when or why it happens, but it does. Continue reading

I Am Editing


Vitality Stories


Snoopy Peanuts

credit to Peanuts


I Am Editing


Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to say I’m head down and editing Tiger Drive. I am so frigging close to finishing this edit; I can hardly stand myself. And I mean that in a good way.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 3.5 years of my writing life, but my favorite advice came indirectly from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. She said, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task not started.” Continue reading

Embracing Tiger Drive


Vitality Stories


Teri Case


Embracing Tiger Drive


Gut says what?

I’ve been head down editing Tiger Drive. My goal is to complete it by July 31st. And when I say complete it, I mean do this final (and 13th edit) to the best of my capability so that I can make publishing choices and share it with the world. I am ready to move on–move on to Book 2 that has already been drafted and is ready for some TLC. And what about Book 3 and 4 – both ideas of which I am in love with and can’t wait to write?

So why now? Why am I so focused on getting it done now? Why am I ready? A few reasons.

First, I hiked for a week between the French Pyrenees and Spain’s Rioja. I learned a lot about ‘letting go’ as I walked portions of the Camino de Santiago. I have so much to tell you about this trip and experience, and how Tiger Drive came into play, that I have to save it for a long newsletter next week.

Secondly, I have a squad! The Tiger Drive Squadsters have been amazing. They are reading each chapter as I do the final edit, and I’m doing my best to stay ahead of them. Their ideas, input, and encouragement have made this journey fun and rewarding.

To get traction, I had to embrace what doesn’t work for me. I know, it seems like I should let go of a process that doesn’t work for me, but first I had to embrace what doesn’t work to figure out what would work.

I’m not someone who knocks out several edited chapters in a day. I always thought I should be so I pushed myself to do this, and that, my friends, is why Tiger Drive has had 13 revisions. With every round of edits that I forced out or kept working on even though I was emotionally drained, I always felt like I was forgetting something, but I’d throw my hands up and say, nope, time to finish this chapter and get going. And then, in the middle of the night or the next day, I’d realize something magical that I should have included in the chapter, a detail that would have taken the story to a new level, but I was too late. The ship had sailed, or the flight had taken off. I felt and looked like this:

So I embraced the fact that I needed time. Time for ideas to come to me, time for the characters to percolate and develop within me. But I also needed a goal date. Once I embraced this, I could let go of the pressure to get Tiger Drive done today. I could instead build in time for each chapter to become its best and set a realistic goal date.

This is what my day looks like now:

I do a light editing pass on three chapters at a time. Fresh in my mind, ideas start pinging me throughout the following days, so I’ll start grabbing some of those ideas and focus on one of the chapters. And I work on that chapter until I get a gut feeling that I’ve edited it to the best of my ability. And then I move on to the next chapter. This gut feeling seems to be happening on a daily basis now, and I am getting really excited about finishing Tiger Drive the right way, the best way.

I’m trusting my gut right now. That’s my creative process.

Have you ever had to work through a routine or process and figure out what works best for you by first embracing what didn’t work? Let me know about it.

By the way, inside scoop: I chose this picture of me because I look so gritty in it, like “don’t mess with me!” I’m claiming it as my editing face. I laugh whenever I see this picture because, I don’t know, it makes me feel a little exposed or embarrassed. My brother calls it our “trailer park face.” So in the spirit of embracing, I’m embracing my grit. Photo credit to the amazing Gretchen LeMay.

Until next time, thanks for being you!

Teri

P.S. Sorry for any typos. I’m so focused on editing the novel, I seem to be making typos everywhere else. LOL

Teri Case Vitality Stories

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