Showing posts from 2015

The ABCs of My YMCA

Maybe not all the letters, but more than the mere four the Village People cover. Here's an homage to some people and moments of a building that's about to go away. A is for a happenstance, a coincidence, a collision of stars.  "I want to join the Y!" I told my husband eight years ago. "Why?" he asked. "I don't know, but I do." B is for Bob. Bob has been lending me books for years now. He knows what I like and which BBC series will hook me. Here is what I know about Bob: 1. His name is Bob. Bob Doe lets me keep his stuff for weeks, months, doesn't worry. When I wrote a book, Bob was one of only a handful of people I lent it to, and certainly the only person whom I wouldn't actually be able to track down. I didn't see him for a long spell after that, and when I did, he was smiling. He had since bought six books and given them out to friends. This made me feel good, because here's the other thing I know about Bob:

On The Other End Of Interviews

I've interviewed hundreds of interesting people over the years, and now, to be on the other end of the questions, is enlightening. The story of my book is intact--how it came about, the inside scoop--and yet I'll get a comment or question occasionally that interrupts my stump speech and gets me to think. One woman, when hearing that I had a theatre major, immediately connected the structure of my book with that of a play. Of course! Another journalist spent the first part of the interview speaking of a past divorce and how the book brought some of that back. I, the interviewee, sat and listened. And one asked me what I hoped my readers would take from the book. I hesitated. I have been grateful for the wide range of responses, with wide encompassing the way that the journalist could work through his divorce, and a friend who lost her father as a teen saw herself. I can simply begin to tell the tale of the book, and people will cry. But did I plan any of this? No. I wro

Temporary Bodyguard

The principal called yesterday. When your kids are in elementary school, preschool, you know that building. You know the teachers' names, even the ones your kids don't have. Heck, you know the lunch helpers and that one woman on the playground who makes all the kids start the monkey bars from the same end. But this guy, Principal Somebody, I didn't know him. I heard "principal," "high school," and "Simon," plus a bunch of other words that didn't spell out "your son is fine." Meanwhile, he said things like, "Simon has been in my office the past 40 minutes," and I did things like commencing the process of cardiac arrest. A boy in Simon's Culinary Arts class apparently had approached him about stealing the prescription drugs his parents presumably have. Simon deflected the kid's advances and the teacher noticed, so she asked him to explain after class. That led to questioning in the principal's office, s

the ebook is here! plus other one-stop shopping links.

Lots of FRAMES links for you today. CLICK HERE for the KINDLE version. HERE for the PAPERBACK version. OVER HERE for the facebook event invite for LOCAL AUTHOR NIGHT (Grand Rapids). AND ESPECIALLY HERE if you haven't yet "liked" the FRAMES facebook page. Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. (Visit the links already.)

Grand Rapids FRAMES talk and booksigning

In town? Please join me! I'll try to be interesting.

Fashion by MY MOM

THEO: Don't wear your hair in two ponytail things. ME: Why not? THEO: You're like a two-year-old girl whose birthday is today. THEO: I am deeply disturbed by the holes in your sweatpants. ME: At least I'm not like those guys who wear their pants hanging down. THEO: But those guys aren't my mom. THEO: Those pants make your butt look big. ME: I want my butt to look big. THEO: But it looks really big. ME: I want it to look really big. THEO: It's "all about that bass." ME: Right. THEO: But do you want to look like that? [points to large, elderly woman walking past] THEO: I don't like the pink streak in your hair. ME: Why not? THEO: I'm not sure. ME: Because it looks like I'm trying too hard? THEO: Maybe. ME: Like I think I'm 20? THEO: Um...yeah. ME: Like I'm a girl who spends all day at the mall? THEO: Just... don't do it again.

Warning: You May Die

1. "Let me ask you something," the man on the stool said. "You understand that putting a drill bit through your hand would really suck, right?" The boy giggled and nodded affirmatively. "I trust you to know things like that," he said, running a hand through his salt and pepper mohawk. "I know you're smart. I'm going to train you on other important things you need to know, but other than that, I'm just here to make sure you don't die. My main job as president of this company is to make sure people don't die." He swiveled around to face the rest of us. The seat looked like a shiny red bottle cap. "Any more questions?" We had just completed a tour of the Geek Group, a Grand Rapids maker space with rooms full of wires, bolts, volts, and giant robots. There is a vehicle hoist for changing your oil, and a tesla coil. There's a machine shop, a woodworking shop, an electronics lab, and a high voltage lab. If yo

Sitting With The Secret Service

originally posted July 13, 2011 Seeing former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Betty Ford's funeral in the news this week reminded me that I've been near the woman myself. Here's the story. Where we lived in the late 90s was a morning's drive from Plains, Georgia, the setting for a small, unassuming rural church with avocado green carpeting, where Jimmy Carter taught Sunday School. I summoned a friend to accompany me there one Sunday morning with the sole task of this: securing an autograph on a photo of Carter riding through my Pennsylvania hometown. My father, who collects presidential memorabilia, took the photo and had proudly displayed it in the decades since. He was the person who had alerted me to my proximity to Jimmy's church; he was sure the genial former president would sit down with me and swap stories. The church was not hard to find; the tour buses occupied more space than the building itself. Janet and I were ushered into what turned out to be an ov

The Tooth Fairy: bitter, caustic, ready to retire

August, 2015.  A boy, 11 years old, walks into a room wearing pajamas and rubbing his eyes. His mother ruffles his blond bedhead. MOM:  Did the Tooth Fairy leave money under your pillow? BOY:  Yeah, and a note. She was kind of cranky. I have been given access to the files of The Tooth Fairy, who made multiple visits to the Scheer house over the past six years and has unofficially announced her retirement. She regularly left notes alongside the monetary reward, yet has never been spotted; it is my hope that these found artifacts will shed light on her true identity. Let's begin with the very first letter. The content appears to indicate she had forgotten to leave money the night before, which leaves us to wonder if this was a regular occurrence necessitating, finally, written communication to express an apology. Here we see, then, the first and perhaps only evidence of vulnerability, as well as  the first appearance of "Little Jimmy." There is no "Jimmy&quo

FRAMES. It's here.

FRAMES: a picture of death, drugs, and forgiveness as told to Amy Scheer FRAMES is the true story of a 28-year-old woman who died when a speeding truck crashed into her idling car. It’s the story of a man addicted to cocaine and a widower who said I forgive you . FRAMES is a mosaic of shattered lives: a beautiful picture of life, death, and everything in between. It’s memoir meets the novel. Truth as compelling as great fiction, and as spare, at times, as poetry. FRAMES presents a real-life tragedy and its hopeful end by allowing the central characters to speak for themselves. Firsthand accounts and primary source materials stand side by side, forming an elegant, complex narrative collage that draws in the reader with highly personal revelations. Part oral history, part elegy, FRAMES shows that the many snapshots of our lives rarely stand alone, and one picture of death, drugs and forgiveness has lessons for us all. Buy your copy today from local and ind

FRAMES. It's almost here.

Years. Some eight years have gone into this, and passed by. We're so close now. Here I hold, for the first time, a proof of my book. Soon, I'll be able to tell you how to get your hands on this gem. I'm very proud of how it turned out, and I think you'll like it, too. Read more about FRAMES at my blog's  book project label.  An early description is here . More info by next month. Stay tuned! Yes, I moved a Dean Koontz novel and put my book there.


I'd put it at the shape of a cinder block. The weight is heavy enough to sit me down through most of the day, and start my sleeping at seven at night. It's pulling down these arms, which would lift heavy weights and now have trouble pausing midair. I am slow and far away, and this started some time around that moment when the floor buckled and the furniture swayed in the pediatric intensive care unit where my son was staying. We encourage you to be your son's advocate, Mrs. Scheer, but we also want you to be able to rest while your child is ill, and be a mom. Giving him a shot right now could cause cerebral hemorrhaging, so we'll need to do a drip. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Thank you Mom for holding back my hair while I vomit. There is guilt when talking about one's self when it's the child who was sick. But he's fine, Theo is doing great, and I'm not. It could be anything, I know; but I want to say, and I want you to understand, that grief can sit

Top Ten Grey Shades of Exercise

I have one thing to tell you, and it's this: Life is not black and white. This week saw declaration upon declaration from good-intentioned individuals, and I am bloody from raising my sword to each. I'm not supposed to lift heavy. I shouldn't do exercises that use my neck. Tart cherry juice makes you sleep better. This machine isn't good for you. This equipment will make me a better runner. I'm supposed to work my core. This is the best exercise for your core. Yes. Maybe. But. Can I say something? Grey is worth looking for. Not just with this exercise stuff, by the way. But we'll start there. Your doctor is watching out for your neck, and you should listen; she's a doctor. I'm a personal trainer; I, too, have neck problems. My neck appears older than the rest of me, and no one can explain why. My doctor asked, "Did you, like, fall out of a window?" Not that I can recall. I'm a personal trainer, and your doctor is a doctor,

This Body, Broken For You

originally posted April 2, 2012 -- Where you been? --Injured. And I lost my confidence. --Come back. The gym is my church. I sweat alongside folks I wouldn't know otherwise, two or three times every week. At the Y, I egg another rep out of Lee on the bench press, and Sonya brings me an Indian spice I've been hunting. At the boxing gym, Shaun tells me his dream of opening a business. Our shared goals foster community. But if the gym is church, my sanctuary is found at the fights, in the folding chair of a darkened auditorium. Injuries had kept me out of the boxing gym for months, but when I opened the paper a few weeks back and saw the ad for Golden Gloves, I headed out. Last club show I had entered through the door for fighters and coaches, but this time, I bought a ticket and sat alone. As I watched, occasionally talking with the older man next to me (a former boxer, it's always a former boxer), I recognized familiar voices shouting in the crowd. Shari

Off the Stage, Off the Page

"Over there," the large man said, pointing to the side of the stage. "And tell the guy in the ponytail to stop showing his butt to the crowd. You should always load from the side." I had asked where to report for my role as plate loader, a position I volunteered for without having had any relevant experience. This was the Arnold Weightlifting Championships, and these were the Olympic lifts: the clean and jerk, the snatch. Bars were flying overhead, and walking in, the most I knew was the ideal position for my behind. I snuck around to the back of the crowd, quickly switched into the free t-shirt, and muscled my way to the stage. Ponytail man was the first to greet me. "See the screen up there? We match the color and order of the plates to what the judges put up. Sometimes they change it in the middle of our loading, so you have to keep your eyes trained on the screen." He interrupted himself to make a quick trip onstage; as it hadn't seemed right t

Books Read in 2014

No real rhyme or reason here, though some clear categories did arise. I start many more books than I finish. I need more time to finish books. I want to find more books worth finishing. Suggestions? Please. You can see from this list what I tend toward. Frank Lloyd Wright kick The kick started with a spontaneous purchase at a thrift store, and evolved into a passion of sorts. By the end of the year, I'd visited three of his houses and claimed his principles as resolutions for the new year. I'm in the middle of three other books about him right now. Loving Frank , Nancy Horan Taliesin Diary: A Year With Frank Lloyd Wright , Priscilla Henken The Women , T. Coraghessan Boyle Building Taliesin , Ron McCready Thinking Material Each in its own way. Wave , Sonali Deraniyagala. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 swept away Deraniyagala's husband and two young sons in a matter of minutes. One moment they're in a hotel room; the next, flushed through the city in a