By Loretta Theriot
In 2004, my co-author friend Mary Palmer and I colobarated on a book of short stories called “Commas For Soul Searchers”. It was a collection of timeless stories that could relate to readers lives.
We submitted our stories and then Rita struck and the book was forgotten. About three months ago I was contacted by Mary telling me a publisher was interested in that book. I was elated. They sent a file back for editing but only Mary’s stories remained in that file. My titles were there but no stories. When I asked why I was told I had to resupply the original stories.
I thought my copy of the stories was lost in Rita on my computer and I was told there was no time to reproduce them. So only Mary’s stories went to press. Shortly thereafter the book “Commas” was published, available on Amazon sans my stories.
This morning I was going through some boxes I had CDs and other memorabilia stored in and there was the CD with all the stories on it, the entire book is there. I reread the stories and my readers on this site would have truly loved them and this would have been a great area to sell the book in as all my stories are set in and around Cameron Parish and some in Lafayette and New Orleans. Oh well perhaps I’ll find a way to resurrect my portion of the stories and someday the ignored stories will have their day in print.
The stories are fun and interesting and some have local people mentioned in them. Stories I had long forgotten. One such story was about a campaign visit with Norma Jo Pinch. Another was set in the Grand Chenier cemetery when the graves were open to identify the dead after Hurricane Audrey. At least I enjoyed rereading them this morning.
Here is the introduction to the edition that was published without my stories.
Oh well C’est La Vie.
People and things come and go in our lives. Many of them we don’t long remember. Two things we tend not to forget, though, are music and fragrance. Unless we lose our memory, the notes of music stay with us. We can often hum a tune from decades ago. Like music, fragrances, both good and bad, often trigger memories of times past. And they vary widely. Such a fragrance could come from dew on freshly cut grass, an orange Crayola, freshly baked bread, sweaty football clothes, the serge of a priest’s suit, mothballs, perfume, chalk, nail polish remover, or a million other things. Whatever activates our olfactory senses, though, frequently removes us from the present and, almost acting as a time machine, places us back in time.
Sometimes the memories are pleasant; sometimes they aren’t. Some are unidentifiable—we can’t quite put our finger on what the smell is. If it’s food, it may give us a craving, but for what? Perhaps it’s a craving that goes beyond the food to an unfulfilled desire.
Regardless, barring a physical problem, our sense of smell will be with us all of our lives and, consciously or subconsciously, it will frequently spark memories of other times and other places. Just as we look forward with anticipation to eating the meal that we smell cooking tempting our palates with savory scents, we will have the thread of fragrances prancing through our senses in other regards as well.
Many of the essays contained herein explore the power of fragrances and their influence on individuals. They also talk about the music of life, high notes and low notes, the tempo that can only remain balanced if we know where to put the commas. We can only truly enjoy life if we recognize the signs telling us when to listen and when to speak.
Just as it’s important in writing to keep sentences varied in structure and length, it’s important to keep life varied in the structure and length of experiences. People who know when to pause, stop, or go full speed-ahead are more likely to be productive, successful, and happy. Like good perfume, life needs the right blend to have harmony.
So savor the creative bouquets pressed between the covers of this book. Do not, however, breathe deeply over each page with the expectation that every remembered fragrance will be sweet and delicate. We took a few liberties with the definition of the word.
These essays may also raise the question of whether our conscious or subconscious is stronger and which one determines where we put commas and other punctuation marks in our own lives. The answer will be left up to the readers.
Guide to Punctuation Using Comparisons:
Comma – Yield Sign – Pause in speech
Period – Stop Sign – Stop in speech
Semi-colon – Four-Way Stop – Almost stop in speech
Colon – Trumpet Announcing – Emphasis in speech
(Editor’s Note-Stories from the manuscript of “Commas for Soul Searchers” or from Theriot’s unpublished files will be printed as space allows.)