Writing 101: Bringing Light on Writer’s Block

If writing is going to happen, it might begin after my first cup of coffee. I achieve this by pouring dark House beans into the grinder and roaring this until I get a fine powder, dumping it into a paper-lined funnel, pouring in cold water, and flipping on the switch.  While I wait for this to brew, I pour water into my Keurig for two cups–to share with my husband.  I toss in a House K -cup and press “ON.”  The two pots come together and finish together.  I take my cup of Keurig and fill it up from the regular pot.  Then I slide into my Lazy-Boy, switch on my cup heater, and set the cup of alertness down. I turn on the laptop, wait for warmup, and take my first sip.  I know it will take more than this to get all of my lights to start blinking.

I’m usually running empty when I wake.  Very few logical thoughts–only intuitive-actions can get me this far in the morning.  Family knows not to talk too loudly or, if possible, not at all, “Let me have my first cup of coffee,” before I’m expected to make some decision or sign some legal document. If I were to exaggerate this, I’d be funny.  I’m speaking the truth.  It will take that first cup of caffeine to trigger the neurons in my gray matter before I get the eye-opening, thought-focusing jolt to begin my day and clog up that great big cavity of nothingness. On a good day, I might start typing, officially brainstorming about and writing on my next project, which is now my latest novel, the third in a series, Where Two Rivers Meet.

But sometimes, I need more than java.  I need physical inspiration–whether I am trying to fill in a plot segment, follow the yearning of a poem, or conceptualize a blog, without which I am just a blinking cursor.  I feel like the chocolate Easter eggs or bunnies, hollow inside.  So on one of my good days, I joined my sister on a trip to the Mississippi River, to wander on the path my protagonist, Abigail, would have walked when she disembarked the steamboat Governor Ramsey below the bluffs at Clearwater.

This is the J. B. Bassett, anchored to the Clearwater side of the Mississippi. A boat that would have arrived in the 1870s, a bit after Abigail arrived in the village.

The date was August something, 1855.  She would become the first white woman to come to the village, and she would work as the townsite’s hotel housekeeper. Brave she must have been to come alone from Vermont, via, stagecoach, train, and steamboat to an area wild with male ambition.  Her brother-in-law, Dr. Jared Wheelock, the first doctor in Wright County, Minnesota,  would be there to keep her company and in the area to keep an eye on her. Her cousin’s husband would be building a bigger and better hotel eventually, but it would be a couple of months before Jared’s wife, Abigail’s sister, would join her in the town.  Yet, all this I know and have written about already. While I love the free feeling of nature down here–birds singing and light breezes moving the trees and the river’s current, I need something worthy of writing.

Path along the Mighty Mississippi in Clearwater where steamboats docked.

As I turned around, a tree with two huge cavities lured me to come closer–to gaze into its hollowness, touch its rough bark, feel its smooth green leaves, and look UP.  Thick branches, wide and round spread their leaves above and over our path, joining other branches and other greenness, forming canopies of sorts. However, the tree alongside this enchanted forest-like walkway beckoned me into imagining life before I arrived on the scene, before Abigail arrived, and before white male settlers staked their claim to this part of the Mississippi River. So beguiled about this tree, I searched the Internet for answers.  “tree hollow or tree hole is a semi-enclosed cavity which has naturally formed in the trunk or branch of a tree. They are found mainly in old trees, whether living or not. Hollows form in many species of trees, and are a prominent feature of natural forests and woodlands, and act as a resource or habitat for a number of vertebrate and invertebrate animals.[1]”

A two cavity cottonwood tree along the Mississippi at Clearwater’s old steamboat landing.

Read on in Wikipedia to learn that “it may take 220 years for hollows suitable for larger species to form.”  So how long has this tree been standing?  Would Abigail have seen it in its youthful stage? Had it already developed a small hole?   The article provided more. I learned that this hole is never truly empty.  Yes, all sorts of creatures may live or burrow inside.

All writers have the block one way or another. Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and others.  They give great advice on             13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block.  For now, I believe in myself again.  I am inspired and feel my synapses firing again.


Memorial Day, 2022

May be an image of outdoors and monument

Friday, my sister and I made our rounds in the St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids areas to honor and remember our relatives and friends. Although I never knew the Atwoods nor Nancy Wilson Atwood Allen, they, or at least Nancy, are characters in my next novel, “Where Two Rivers Meet.” We believe Nancy needs recognition. She came to Minnesota around 1858, settling in St. Cloud, right across from the famous newspaper editor, Jane Swisshelm, her house, and the  St. Cloud Visiter and St. Cloud Democrat office. They became fast friends, and Nancy’s oldest and Jane’s daughter married. Nancy was an “artistic” ambrotypist, which included taking tintypes. Her story is truly amazing, but she died young in St. Cloud and is buried in North Star. More to come when my novel is published, which will be third in the series of strong Clearwater, Minnesota, Main Street women.

Grandma Ina

Not sure I’ve told you about Grandma Ina, my mom’s mother.  She was born in 1902 in Ionia, Iowa. She graduated from Nashua High School and received her state credentials to teach at country school at the same time.  After a tornado took the farm in 1918, her parents moved to the St. Cloud area.  She followed them.  Once in St. Cloud, she attended St. Cloud Normal School to be recertified to teach, this time in Minnesota. Eventually, she met my grandfather, had seven children, and then grandchildren. From tiny on, like most grands, I loved this woman. I know she loved and enjoyed me and all her grandchildren; she had the art of making all of my cousins, and brother and sister, (18 of us) feel like we were her favorite.  I sure did.  As a youngster, I took for granted Grandma’s impact on my life.  She and Grandpa were around a lot, coming to many church and school events and hosting many many family events.  It wasn’t until I became older, I learned more about her.

Ina_Potter_s_proof_of_teacher_s_certificateIna_Belle_Potter_JohnsonI remember her sweet presence in my life and mostly out on Grandpa’s and Grandma’s farm out in Haven Township, east of St. Cloud.  She and mother gathered to pick vegetables from the garden and what they could can for winter suppers.  I’d wander around the back yard, being watched and warned not to go too far because she and Mother worried I’d fall into the river beyond their house.  Once, for some reason, she and I were left to our own devices.  I followed her to the old pumphouse, probably to gather water for her flowers.  I remember stepping on a slanted board to get up to the building, and when I left ahead of her, I was stung by a hoard of bees. I felt a splash when Grandma dropped her pail and grabbed me.  We both screamed and cried loudly until help came.  Dad caught me up and carried me away, while Grandpa moved Grandma out of the way and with a rake and an old burlap bag moved the nest away from under the pump house ramp. Grandma ran to the house to get baking soda and Mother. Mom held me, as Grandma tended to me with dampened soda made into a paste to sooth the many stings.

Grandma Ina wasn’t a “cool” grandmother.  Only when she was older and became sickly did she wear slacks.  She didn’t take off to have coffee or a drink with other women friends, belong to a bowling team, or even go out dancing with Grandpa.  She didn’t drive.  She went everywhere Grandpa would take her on Saturday. Grandpa worked at the Great Northern Car Shops, so he left early weekday mornings and came home at supper time, which meant she stayed home all day by herself.  She was definitely old school.  She wore nylons and dresses almost always, and at home she wore an apron over it all.  She knew how to schedule out her day. When I stayed with her, we ate, did dishes, ironed (I don’t remember washing clothes or taking them out to hang), during her late morning and early afternoon, she watched soap operas like “The Secret Storm.”  Later, while I read one of the Little House books, she wrote letters or played Solitare.  Before long, it was time to make supper.  I set the table for Grandpa, Grandma, and myself. After doing dishes, I brushed my teeth and took up bed on the sofa to watch television with them until I fell asleep or they went to bed.  Grandma made everything cozy.  That is who she was.

As a self-absorbed teenager, I just assumed Grandma would be around for all my major moments, and she was.  From my brother’s graduation and party after at our restaurant, she and Grandpa were there.  I know she came to my confirmation in the Methodist Church of Clearwater. I am pretty sure she was in attendance at my 8th grade graduation as well, upstairs in our town’s old brown schoolhouse and told me she wept during my class’s processional to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.” She came down for Mother’s Day dinner in South Minneapolis where I lived in 1970 while I worked down there.  She was often at our house for Sunday lunch when I came home for the weekend.  And of course, she and Grandpa were in attendance for my wedding–always there with love, hugs, and kisses.  Cindy_and_Frank_Stupnik_Wedding_with_Ina_Johnson

It wasn’t until years later, I learned more, bit by bit, about Grandma and gained more esteem for her.  She was, like I said, home and heart.  She had strong ties to her family, whether they lived in Washington, England, Iowa, or off the coast of Japan.  The door was open her friends and family. When her son, Dick, went hunting duck or pheasant, she cooked up a feast.  Thinking I was eating delicious beef, I found out it was duck.  The gravy and potatoes pulled the meal together.  Somehow, she eased me into eating wild food without me freaking out, and I could tell stories of how obstinate I could and can be around the dining table. She created many culinary pleasures in a kitchen that came out of early 20th century The Ladies Home Journal–homemade cabinet for dishes, sink, small refrigerator, gas stove, and low enamel table, and a unlevel linoleum-covered floor for putting a meal or desserts together. HGTV home designers would shun her farmhouse.  Besides the old- fashioned kitchen, her house was tiny, but sufficient for her and Grandpa. When company came, we did the best we could to gather around the table for holiday meals. Roberta_Mrozek__Ina_Johnson__Anna__Bonnie__Bob__Lila__Dan__Pam__diane__Debbie_Mrozek__Winnie__Becky_ Not sure she wanted more or expected more like wives in the earlier part of the century, Grandma had the art of making due. We can be sure she had plans to do something with her life early on though.  She was smart and knew how to better herself so she became a teacher, not in Iowa as she planned but in and around the Stearns and Benton Counties. Later on, she inspired her grandchildren with the help she gave with algebra and grammar. She played piano and organ. In fact, not only did she play on occasion at the Haven Township church down the road, but she played for the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa, where the well-known song, “The Little Brown Church in the Vale” https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+little+brown+church+in+the+vale+song&&view=detail&mid=69F71C7C5C62B5C98B1F69F71C7C5C62B5C98B1F&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dthe%2520little%2520brown%2520church%2520in%2520the%2520vale%2520song%26qs%3Dn%26form%3DQBVR%26%3D%2525eManage%2520Your%2520Search%2520History%2525E%26sp%3D-1%26pq%3Dthe%2520little%2520brown%2520church%2520in%2520the%2520vale%2520song%26sc%3D5-40%26sk%3D%26cvid%3DAFE0B5DF36F54A929B68AEA063B39028  was written.  She also has an a plaque is hanging on the Little Brown Church wall in honor of her as one of the organists.

So many memories…like most of you have of your grandparents, you received love and acceptance from them no matter the attention you gave to them them.  My sister Becky and I wondered why we never took Grandma out shopping or out for coffee by herself.  Probably because as the two retired, they became more of a pair, and we couldn’t take one without the other.  As a teacher, now retired, I wish I’d asked Grandma what it was like to teach–the discipline, the subjects and how the students were prepared to learn.  I remember her playing the piano and then sending it to our house for me to learn on.  I never thought of asking her what it felt like to vote, for she was a woman of that time.  There are so many things I’d ask her now if I had a chance, and I’ve heard that said by many of us.  Although, I began to write about a  strong, influential woman like those I write about in my Minnesota Main Street series  during March Women’s History month, I decided to talk about another type: The mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, and friend, like most of us have had in our lives, that have stayed by our sides, and left their hugs around our shoulders, their kisses on our cheeks, and their touch on our hearts and minds.


Welcome to two immediate book-selling events that are coming up:

Saturday, April 23, Spring has Sprung, Sartell Community Ctr, Sartell, MN..10-2

Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8, St Cloud River Event Center, 10-4



It’s all in the past

I wanted to wish everyone a unique Happy New Year for 2022 a month ago.  I saved this blog and then forgot to send it.   All this to say, this is my theme for the day: Forgetfulness.

Even typing 2022 seems as foreign as 2021, 2020, 2019.  (How long it takes me to remember what the year is when I’m writing out a check! Geesh).  While I want to forget some instances of 2021–Covid and drought– I had a pretty good year.  Book-selling was profitable–but at times, sitting in sun and dealing with humidity wasn’t; always awesome to be with family and my precious grandchildren–but dealing with crazy, erratic drivers is scary on our way to the Twin Cities.

The home Abigail Robinson Camp Porter was raised in. She was born in 1819 in Stowe, VT.

I may have forgotten to tell you when we went out east last fall and visited Stowe, Vermont, especially where my next protagonist, Abigail Perkins Robinson Camp Porter, was born and raised. The Stowe Historical Society invited us to come to their building first to talk. We saw many of the same buildings still standing that were built when the state was formed back in the late 1700s, preserved and rebuilt like they were, or better than they were after they were first erected.  It brought history into believing.

May be an image of one or more people, nature and tree
“After Apple-Picking” Robert Frost’s farm in Derry, NH



On our tour around three of the eastern states, I was excited to finally visit Robert Frost’s first farm in Derry, New Hampshire. I have read so much of his work. If I could ever memorize, I’d probably drive you crazy reciting poetry or Bible verses. Fortunately for you, I can’t and won’t.

Here I am at one of the last apple trees still standing that Frost planted.  So many apples fallen, squished, and decaying, I think of one of my favorite poems, “After Apple-Picking.”


May be an image of standing, bridge, nature and tree
The North Bridge in Concord, MA. Don’t look at my hair too closely because we walked in rain all day.

We re-visited lots of wonderful sites in Concord and Lexington in Massachusetts. While the North Bridge isn’t much longer or wider than the Plum Creek Bridge by Warner Lake, it is known to be where the British and Colonials exchanged the first “shot heard round the world,” beginning our country’s fight for independence.

It was just as much fun to drive other countrysides and see places that had a start in the formation of our nation!  I had forgotten so much of what I had already seen before. Our trip provided a historical refresher course when touring the home of Louisa Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s (two homes), Ralph Waldo Emerson’s houses, and Henry David Thoreau’s cabin near Walden’s Pond. Not much of the history has changed here either.

I am about 1/3 finished writing my 3rd Minnesota Main Street Women‘s novel–a prequel to Jennie’s and Maude’s books.  Currently,  I am working on Maude’s mother, Abigail Robinson Camp Porter, the founding woman of Clearwater. She hopped off the steamboat at the Ferry Landing on the Mississippi River in Clearwater to cook supper for the men in camp by the town hotel.  They pulled a door off its hinges for her to use as a table to set up for her first meal of fried potatoes and side pork.

I’m a frequenter of antique stores, Etsy, eBay, and other historic sites and museums.  I’ve browsed period pieces for my setting of the new novel, 1830-1881.  I basically know what women used, wore, cooked with, washed clothes with, but I could use your help on agricultural or other male-dominated tools or items.  For instance, I recalled, we have my husband’s grandpa’s cast iron shoe anvil.    Did he bring it from Slovenia when he immigrated?  No one knows, but it fits in with Abigail’s 2nd husband’s story. Tom Porter (another founder and leading citizen of Clearwater) left Pennsylvania around 1847. The 1850 Minnesota census states he was a cobbler. We also know he got his start in Minnesota Territory and Canada as a fur trader.

S. M. Marvin was another character in Clearwater and distantly related to my mother’s side.  He was a carpenter and built the Clearwater Methodist Church–(still active, remodeled a few times, and standing on Main Street). My mother had a chair built by him (now donated to the church).  A good friend has one of Abigail’s rocking chairs that was handed down to Maude. I mention this rocker in my new book as well as Pins & Needles (Maude’s story). Because it looked like the chair our family had which was built by S. M. Marvin we think both chairs might have been built by him as well. So if you own or know of anything old and of the era of 1850-1881, send me a story and picture so I can include it in my story.  It doesn’t have to be Clearwater made or owned, just of the period.

United Methodist Church, Clearwater, Minnesota, built by S.M. Marvin


So HAPPY NEW YEAR again! Hope to see you soon if not sooner at least at my next book launch of Where Two Rivers Meet. HINT: Abigail is having a memory lapse  so she is relying on others to fill in with some descriptive elements.

P.S.  I joined in on a group of book lovers from a local AAUW club on Wed, Jan, 5 who were reading Pins & Needles. Otherwise, I am open to any speaking engagement–book clubs or a being special speaker at an event, etc.  Please send me an invitation at cstupnik@outlook.com, cstupnik@gmail.com, or my website email above.  I’d be glad to come.




Bucket List(s)

Up until he became sick, my husband had a list of things he wanted to do before he kicked the proverbial bucket.

  • Own and rebuild a ’57 Chevy. Done and add one more.
  • Own and work on two or three Jeeps. Done, with one to finish.
  • Climb the 14’ers in Colorado, done, and for years drive or pull one to climb the mountains in Colorado. Done.
  • Pass motorcycle riding test. Done and #1 in class
  • Buy a motorcycle, a brand-spanking-new one, but not quite good enough which led to:
  • Pre-order everything for a new Harley. Done, somehow with my blessing.
  • Lots of stuff to do remodeling a gutted house.  Elbow shattered, so what?  Use the other hand.
  • etc

I am not saying I didn’t have a list because I did too.  Most I accomplished, but one was still out of the can, visiting the last of the continental 48 states.

So we planned my bucket list entry to visit Vermont.  Incidentally, I centered on Stowe, the village I needed to research and visit because my next protagonist, her family, friends, and other Vermonters were born, raised, lived there until they came to  Minnesota–many to Clearwater— to settle.  So why Vermont?  Simply, none of our other trips connected with this delightful and beautiful state.

In addition, my husband and I have been planning our 50th, which is this December. (What an awful time to get married. My poor mother did this though with one arm held behind her back.)  This area with all of its natural beauty seemed a nice fit to start our celebration.

We also had a special tour around the town by Stowe, VT, History Society president Barbara Baraw.  She led the two of us on an extensive walk and ride throughout the village, showing us where many had lived, and where historical hotels and businesses were at one time.

No description available.Here is where Abigail Robinson Camp Porter was born in Stowe, Vermont, in 1819 on Main Street. Her father, Dr. Joseph Robinson, worked at his trade, lived with his wife Hannah Perkins Robinson and his children, all but 2 came to Minnesota.  After Abigail’s first husband, also from Stowe, died in a gold camp in Marysville, California, she took the chance to start new.  She accepted the offer from the Clearwater townsite founders to travel to Clearwater to become the hotel housekeeper. Born on Main Street in Stowe, Abigail moved to Clearwater in 1855 where she became the first of Clearwater’s Main Street Women. Her sisters and brother, as well as her father after his wife died, settled in the new village.

No description available.No description available.

The Community Church of Stowe is just that–a non-denominational church that has stood near the center of Main Street since 1863. Larger than the Clearwater United Methodist Church built by S. M. Marvin, its inside reminded me so much of my family’s gathering place on Sunday mornings.  With its split pews and red carpet as well as simple sanctuary, one can see how the New Englanders wanted something to remind them of ‘home’ when they moved west.

A bit cliche’ish but my bucket overfloweth once we traveled to Derry, New Hampshire where we stopped to visit Robert Frost’s home and farm.  You know I was an English teacher and a fast fan of Frost.  While my husband went around taking pictures of various poems, trees,  the house with an attached barn, I decided to sit on his porch and wait for inspiration. I  looked at the railing on the porch and saw one last morning-glory clinging to the vine, opened, perfect, and blue.  It was like the great bard had opened his door and said, “experience my place with all your senses.”  And as I sat, there on Frost’s little white waiting bench, I smelled apples that were past ripe and harvesting.

No description available.Open photo                                                       Open photoNo description available.

As I made my way to one of the two apple trees left that Robert Frost planted, I walked carefully between fallen apples laying all over the grounds.  In”After Apple-Picking,” all those that fell from the narrator’s hand would surely go to the cider-apple heap.”

What a wonderful trip we had.  Now, after sleeping in my comfortable bed for a few nights, I can admit we had a few glitches, which I’ll write about someday. Thank goodness, we got home despite a horrid Nor-Easter pounding its way onto the east coast.

I could go on about setbacks, sidelines, disappointments, fears, and even “never agains,” of some of the best things I have added to my bucket.  Yet, the joys and lessons I have had far out way the problems I (and sometimes WE) encountered along our journey.  Isn’t that life though?  Sometimes the roads we travel are not paved with gold, but they lead us to amazing experiences.


Happy Fall and early Christmas events:

November 13, Becker Lutheran Church, Arts & Crafts,  9-4

November 27, Perfectly Unique Arts & Crafts, St Could Event Center, 9-3

December 11, Kimball United Methodist Church Arts and Crafts,  9-4

Ode to “October”

October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store;
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
                                                          Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.                             P. Laurence Dunbar

My addition to the poem, without a plug for my poetry, is that at least through October I will not be involved in any book-selling events…as far as I know. Instead, my husband and I will be celebrating a bit early our 50th anniversary (We were married in December) by walking through mountains of colored leaves in Stowe, Vt., revisiting historic towns in Massachusettes, watching Atlantic ocean waves along some parts of the east coast,  and maybe eating too much and sleeping too late.

Sometime in October, I’d like to get some family photos in an apple orchard.

Then we will celebrate Halloween, probably eating the candy we buy for tricksters who hardly up at our house.

Tomorrow is my last event, and it has been a happy and prosperous season.  The Minnesota Main Street Women series is getting known, and many are waiting for #3 in the series.  I will be working on that as well to get it ready for publication.




Hope to see you in Sartell at the new Community Center.



Just a reminder: For the first time ever, I’ll be at Becker, Minnesota’s, Faith Lutheran Church for their arts& crafts fair tomorrow from 10-2. They have food, a car show, and fun. Come see me tomorrow, Saturday, 9/18/21, to talk about Clearwater, Minnesota history and my Main Street Women’s series including “Scruples & Drams” and “Pins & Needles.”


Contact Us (faithlutheran-becker.org)



“I’ll See You in September”

Last night, I listened to this song on my Sirius radio as I drove home from shopping.  One of my favorite songs, I can remember when, where, and why I heard it first:  Lake Harriet, 1966. like a lot of Clearwater girls, I was a nanny for a family who lived on a corner a block or two from the lake.

I’ll be alone each and every night
While you’re away, don’t forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September
See you when the summer’s through

http://See you in September See you when the summer’s through

This would be my second and last summer down there taking care of the couple’s four children.  I had left a boyfriend (seriously–can’t remember who) and so many friends back home. Besides having a very good friend somewhere across the lake (neither of us can remember what their names were, but the family was related to my summer family somehow), I was lonely.  I got paid every week $15.  The father of my new family was a lawyer, and eventually, became a judge in Hennepin County.  Some said he was a tough and rough-mouthed attorney and judge.  But he was always kind to me.  He was seldom home except for mornings, returning from his office late at night.  I once did a wicker basket of ironing for them.  His wife who was also very kind gently requested I not iron his shorts with starch anymore.

I kept in touch on and off.  I stopped to see the family when I worked for North Star Abstract downtown Minneapolis, close to where the Metrodome was built and close to the Hennepin County Court House. On occasion, I bumped into the lawyer-husband down there as well.  Time went by, and I moved back home, closer to my new job with NSP (now Xcel) at the new Monticello Nuclear Plant.  I knew there were controversies about this new state endeavor, but seriously, at the time, I felt safe.  I had to wear a safety badge measuring any radioactivity I could be receiving, these hard-working chemists, engineers, and scientific experts in their fields were all authorized and kept us safe.

One night some information (I can’t remember what anymore) got out and was covered by local newspapers, television newscasters, and even the nightly world news. The next morning, the gates nearest to the main building where I worked were lined with protesters, carrying and waving picket signs, voicing their concerns for the safety of the world. I was ushered toward the gate by one of the guards. Ignorant of all the concerns or feeling safe in the arms of those who made me feel safe?  I was too busy typing manuscripts, procedural manuals, and letters to various government oversite people and taking oodles of phone calls as the plant’s secretary to the supervisor and receptionist to really pay much attention.  Yet, I soon learned out there against the line that tried stopping me from entering the building was my former employer’s wife. Maybe she was a protestor all along, but apparently, over the years she took on many causes.  Many years later, I learned the couple had divorced.  Yet, he defended her and even a couple of their children who protested with her.

Isn’t it funny how certain melodies and lyrics, songs remind you of things?

Well, tonight is the end of our summer vacation. The Minnesota State Fair ends tonight. My grands start back to school this week.  The nights are cooler, and the days are not as hot as they were.  I will continue to sell books online at cynthiafrankstupnik.com, and at 3 more September events.

Schedule for the remaining days of September:

This upcoming weekend, Sept 11-12, Rice, Minnesota, for the Old Creamery area along Highway 10, from 8:30-6:30 on Sat.

September 18, Becker at the Faith Lutheran Church for Fall Festival and Heaven on Wheels Cars Shows, 10-2

September 25, Sartell at the Sartell Community Center, from 9-3.

For now,

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long.

And I hope to

See you in September
See you when the summer’s through

in Rice, Becker, and/or Sartell





Glorious day

Rebecca Frank is with Cindy Stupnik. (From FACEBOOK)

FROM BECKY:  Favorites 3h 
Yesterday Cindy Stupnik was all ready for the Buffalo, MN Art Fair and her forgetful sister forgot to post this after taking the picture.. So be prepared, in just 2 weeks she is at the Rice Art Fair. Don’t wait for me to remind you! Until then check out www.cynthiafrankstupnik.com. You can always find her there.

May be an image of Cindy Stupnik and book

Thank you, Buffalo, for such a great opportunity to visit with interested and interesting non-fiction and fiction readers.  I had a glorious time (although it spitted rain, I had to hold on to my umbrella pole because of the wind, it was chilly, it was warm, and I got stung by a bee).

Why am I frowning?  Not because of my future audience, but the hour.  I woke at 5:15.  By the time, Becky drove me to Buffalo and helped me set up, it was 8 in the morning– me–who doesn’t crawl out of bed before 8:30-9!!

To this crowd and all others: I am sorry if I  sometimes get too animated when I am talking about the history of my former community, Clearwater, Minnesota. It is the teacher in me (taught English for 25 years, was raised with HISTORY/HERSTORY–from both parents.  Dad had great pride in his home state of South Dakota, specifically, north of Yankton and German-Russian.  Mother had an interest in all things Minnesota, her deep American roots as well as her European roots.)

My writing has been inspired by what my parents inspired in me.  One of my favorite subjects is women and their everlasting plight to be heard, believed in, and respected.  The struggle the average woman has had to face throughout her lifetime needs continual documentation because men didn’t do everything.

In all my research, I have found my small community, Clearwater, Minnesota, to be a microcosm of all that was good and awful in the world for women at any given time.  Some are natural-born leaders and respected by all.  Jennie Phillips, my protagonist in Scruples and Drams, was a leader in her community. From her views on the patent medicine products she sold in her store, to some of the other over-the-counter health products, how she feels about a high school joining the elementary and upper grades to the existing school building, etc, villagers, both men and women, newspaper reporters, asked her advice on important matters of the day.

The oldest girl in the family, smart, teacher-turned pharmacist, business co-and then full-owner of Phillips’ Drug Store, Jennie may have been successful and respected, but she faced disappointments as well. One was that her brother’s name legally had to be included on the Phillips; Drug Store sign in 1910  because she was a woman and wasn’t smart or trustworthy enough to handle business matters. Only men held those honors or responsibilities. It wasn’t Jennie’s first disappointment as a woman trying to pursue a career in a man’s world, though….

See what I mean?  I get so excited and tangled up in my subject, I forget to shut up.  I will stop and let you read my books. My next event is in Rice, Minnesota. Sept. 11-12. Saturday 8 a.m. to 6. pm and Sunday 9-4.



I won’t be singing “Rain, Rain, go away,” anytime soon.  We registered 1.20 or so in the last 24 hours.  Wonderful relief and some greening taking place.  Hoping for more very soon.




In addition, I am honored to have Crossings, a Stearns History Museum journal, publish one of my short stories from Postcards from The Old Man and Other Correspondence from Clearwater, Minnesota.  This article is about the years the Frank family lived on Warner/Abeln Lake.  If you are a member, you have probably seen the article already. If you purchased Postcards, you basically have the same story, but if you don’t have either, you can probably go there and pick up a free copy.

This small lake is my home away from home at times and a place where I go to relive memories and get new ideas.

So far, my August-September events have been wonderful.  My next show, where you can come to visit and buy or walk around and see what others are selling.

Future events:

Sartell this weekend, Oct.14 from 10-3 at the Scheels/Bernecks  1109 1st St S, Sartell, MN.stearn

Buffalo, MN Chamber’s Art & Craft Festival – Aug 21, 2021 9-3:30

Old Creamery Arts and Crafts, Rice, MN, September 11-12, 8-6, 9-4,    405 Main St E Rice, MN