Real Life Matters

Real Life Matters since lessons well learned may inform future fiction, offering hope to us all.

My daughter helped to coordinate a special meeting called “Things You Auto Know” for her commuters group last week. It went well. She and the group members learned the basics of changing a tire, oil changes, and other car matters that we all “auto” know. Plus the play on words tickled my funny bone. In much the same reality zone, I had to focus on real-world issues this month, which has made me a better person. At least, I hope so. The value of fiction is not in the distraction from reality but rather as it enhances our perception of reality. If real life doesn’t matter, then fiction merely delays inevitable doom.

This month began with a consultation with an oral surgeon and ended with my youngest son getting his wisdom teeth removed. All my other kids had to have their wisdom teeth removed, so it was an expected ordeal. What was unexpected was the advancement in technology, cutting the surgery time down to mere minutes, and new pain medicine to alleviate the swelling afterward. Lucky kid number seven had a much easier time than the older kids who had to endure longer surgeries and much more difficult recoveries. Being a helpless mom who can only take a kid to and from an appointment, pay the bill, and pray for healing, can take a toll on a person. But it’s encouraging to know that advancements are being made in a fundamental life issue. Dental tribulations have haunted the human race undoubtedly from the beginning of time. Thank goodness talented, dedicated people have improved that part of the human experience for all of us.

I have continued to tutor my GED students, and I am mighty impressed with their sustained enthusiasm. Matt, my student in a wheelchair, will take his Math exam later this week. If he passes, he will finally realize his dream of obtaining his GED. Matt has had to overcome so many challenges up to this point that it would feel like a crime if he were not recognized for his extraordinary abilities. He manages to navigate his classes and material through several online portals, reads complicated math problems over the phone–despite being nearly blind–and works the problems in his head. His wheelchair stopped working last week, so he was unable to make it to formal classes, but he continued studying on his own and with me over the phone. In one tutoring session, while sitting on a new wheelchair that did not fit as well, he almost slipped onto the floor and had to call for help since he could not save himself. Imagining the stress of being so physically dependent made me realize how extraordinary his spirit is. Depression and anxiety would rule me if I were as constrained and helpless. Not Matt. He keeps trying. And he even manages to laugh at life’s challenges. I may be tutoring him in math, but he is tutoring me in a positive life spirit.

I acted as an election judge for the recent election and enjoyed myself. I didn’t expect much of a turn-out, but 103 Fillmorians came out and voted. That showed serious dedication to the “Republic for which we stand.” Interestingly, all five of the election judges got along like good friends. It would have been hard to know what party each person aligned with since our commonalities outweighed our differences. As mothers, friends, and community members, concern for others took pride of place as a primary motivator.  Though I sometimes worry that our political system has gone off the reality rails, I am supported by my faith in good human beings doing honest work well together.

Grandma’s dog had puppies last week. Eleven of them! One died early and poor grandma felt so bad. The rest of us wondered how an 80+ woman would manage the two adult dogs she already had, two cats, and now a passel of active puppies. But as my girls ooh’d and ah’d over the pups, I sat at grandma’s kitchen table, and we chatted about family, life, and world events. The mama dog came out and asked me for a pat, which I gladly gave. She deserved encouragement for being such a wonderful mama to all those needy and greedy little pups. Then grandma realized that mama dog, Cinnamon, might want to go outside. So she walked her to the door, talking to her the whole way, and let her out. I stared at Grandma’s face when she sat down. Tired? Certainly. But such love and devotion in her eyes. Once again, I realize the deep value of our animals. They are not merely background characters where humans take center stage. Their innate dignity resides in their part to play, created by the Master of us all. Despite challenges, limitations, and spiritual differences, the animal world reflects the abundance of God’s creative nature. It would be a shame not to love that.

The seedlings I started weeks ago have finally spouted and are stretching toward the south window. I turned over the garden bed, but it’s still too early to plant anything outside. Likely we’ll still get another frost. Patience is key. Most years I get in a hurry and plant too soon, only to lose my baby plants to deadly cold. This year I am focusing on turning the soil, making a good bed for the plants when the weather is just right. My personal desires must allow for forces beyond my control, which is a lesson in humility. One that I’d benefit from learning.

The chicks will come soon, so I had to clean the chicken house. Messy, messy! I must have displaced generations of spiders, multitudes of wasp nests, and annoyed more than a few mice. But it had to be done. One of the hardest parts of life is choosing one thing over another. Frankly, in the grand scheme of things, spiders, wasps, and mice will make new homes in the grand outdoors while the chicks have limited options. And chickens provide winter food for the family. We live in a hard reality. Actions mean consequences. Not acting has consequences too. No getting out of it. Either I manage the chicken house for chickens, or the spiders and mice take it for their own.

I have sent in quite a few stories and essays to literary journals and, so far, have received a 100% rejection rate. The constant rejection wore on my spirits like a ghost of ill will riding on my shoulder. But real life informs good fiction. For what it’s worth, the hope of talented specialists to improve medical conditions, the spirited optimism of a student, a passel of pups, and the grandma who loves them, growing seedlings straining toward the sun even when the ground isn’t ready yet, and moving the unworthy out of the way for the necessary, are the lessons that may yet show up in future fiction pieces, no matter the rejection rate. After all, real life matters.

A. K. Frailey is the author of 18 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8. 

Make the most of life’s journey. 

For novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction inspirational books, check out

Real Life Matters 

My Road Goes Ever On, Spiritual Being, Human Journey

“I loved reading Ann’s wise, hope-giving thoughts about life and love. Truly, life is the art of overcoming obstacles and becoming stronger to live a fuller life. Beautiful work!” ~Ksenia

OldEarth Aram Encounter

The history is fascinating, the characters are uniquely intriguing, the plot is very rich, and the events are fascinating.” ~OnlineBookClub

Newearth Justine Awakens

“With a spectacular story of Justine Santana, a human-Android hybrid, this book also reveals some exciting insights about the future—Robots and Artificial Intelligence.” ~Adiba

For a complete list of books by A. K. Frailey, book trailers, and reviews, check out

A. K. Frailey’s Books Page

For translated versions of A. K. Frailey’s Books, check out

A. K. Frailey’s Translated Books



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