Tuesday, February 16, 2016

'16, So Far

I’m one of those people who makes New Year’s resolutions. My old standard, eating healthy and losing weight, usually falls off before the end of the first week. I’m consistent, if nothing else.

This year I switched things up a bit. I definitely wanted to promise myself I’d write every day, and I have. Good for me, and good for the progress of the book. I found that the more time I spend with my characters the better I get to know them. That and the fact of daily work helps move the story forward. You can’t go back if you’re constantly striving forward.

I also resolved to read at least six Pulitzer Prize-winning novels in 2016. I really have no idea where this one came from, except that I wanted to shake up my TBR pile. While searching online for a book on the history of the Prize I came across Josephine Johnson’s Now In November (1935) and decided on a whim to make it my first selection.

Sometimes I read a prize winning book and wonder why it won an award but Now In November completely knocked me out. The story of a Depression-era farm family, it’s the story of love, loss and the destruction of a family and in a sense, a way of life. The prose is exquisite, moving and lyrical. The characterizations were amazing. Here is the book's opening paragraph:

     Now in November I can see our years as a whole. This autumn is both an end and a beginning to our lives, and those days which seemed confused with the blur of all things too near and too familiar are clear and strange now. It has been a long year, longer and more full of meaning than all those ten years that went before it. There were nights when I felt that we were moving toward some awful and hopeless hour, but when that hour came it was broken up and confused because we were too near, and I did not even quite realize that it had come.

I have only ever heard about the Depression from the point of view of city dwellers and to be so immersed in the life of a farm community was illuminating—-and heart-breaking. As they say in the reviews, “highly recommended.”

Up next: Willa Cather’s One of Us.

Keep writing,


PS  The Great Backyard Bird Count was last weekend. Birds are pretty scarce around here nowadays. Early in the afternoon I heard two calls I could not identify, but at about 4:00 p.m. my little flock of Titmice came back. I counted six but there might have been more. They flit and fly around so quickly it’s hard to keep track. The Florida hummingbird count is always the same weekend of the GBBC, but hummers were zero in my yard this year. If the weather stays warm I can imagine having feeders out in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In Memorium

While the world mourns Robin Williams, and fans stand on desks in tribute, quoting Walt Whitman's O Captain! My Captain! I think of Williams as Patch Adams, the doctor who treated illness with humor and death with dignity (and mooned the crowd at his medical school graduation).

At his beloved's grave site Williams, as Adams quoted Pablo Neruda's beautiful Sonnet 17 of 100 Love Sonnets, often referred to as "I do not love you."

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

There will never be another like him...Neruda, Adams or Robin. Rest in peace.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sweet Jasmine-scented Air

Nature has decided to give me flowers in the backyard instead of a vegetable garden, so this spring I'm blessed with some lovely Confederate Jasmine.

Now when I read (or write) a romantic scene where the air is filled with the scent of jasmine, I'll know exactly what that's like!

Happy writing!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Notes From Outside

Taking the day off from writing to mow the back yard (HOA takes care of the front) and noticed a couple of things:

Hummingbirds get really annoyed when you put the sprinkler too close to the feeders.  They feed in the rain, so I'm not sure what the problem is.  Hummer experts, please explain.

Skinks are harder to catch than anoles.  You can wear out an anole by chasing it, but the skinks just wiggle and freak out.  Best bet?  Use a piece of mail from the recycle bin to urge them toward the door, then flip them out into the grass.  Be careful they don't wiggle and freak out and come back inside.  Mission accomplished.

Never saw butterflies mating until today.  Fascinating.

Note:  You'll have to wait until next week to hear the carrot story.  I ate them.

Happy day off from writing, and of course, happy Mothers Day to all of you out there, including Moms of pets!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Garden That Wasn't

Last fall I wrote about the garden I'd planned.  I had lots of big ideas about the crop I'd plant using the square foot gardening system--about all the wonderful fresh thing's I'd grow and how I expected to enjoy eating them. 

The title of this post accurately describes how that project went.

Oh, the seeds germinated and sprouts came up, but as for harvest, it just didn't happen.

The zuchinni blossoms were lovely.  Unfortunately, no zuchinni followed.

I should have taken  my friend Jennifer up on her offer to show me how to stuff and fry them.

Green beans?  Oh, yes, there were green beans.  Five of them.  Two in the first "harvest," three in the second and last.  I ate them raw.  They were delicious!

There just weren't very many of them.

The sugar snap peas germinated and sprouted but were too fragile to grow with out sun.  Did I mention that last fall was the cloudiest, gloomiest fall I've ever seen in Florida?  Well, it was.  I have the lack of crops to prove it.

The beets never got more than two inches high.  It didn't help that the squirrels decided the beet bed would be a marvelous place to bury acorns.  Now that I think of it, the acorns didn't sprout either. 

One of the red pepper plants I sprouted last September has held on and is now a respectable 12 inches high.  Possible blossom sighted at top pair of leaves.

Of course, all this goes back to Julia, protagonist of A Trick of the Light, and the garden she grows.  She moves into the barn in late August, too late to plant, and, in the words of Blanche DuBois, counts on the kindness of strangers to get her through that first winter.  She plants her inaugural garden the following spring and after a rough start, begins to produce enough to live on during the summer with some to preserve for the fall and winter. 

What if her garden failed like mine?  What would she do then?  Julia is incredibly stubborn and wants to be self-sufficient.  Her friends want to help her.  I see a conflict in her future, along with some yummy garden gifts.

Next time: How long would you be willing to wait for a carrot?

Till then,

Happy writing!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

May 2013 bring you love, happiness and peace.

Happy writing!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm a Winner!

I just came away from the NaNoWriMo website after having validated my 2012 NaNo novel.  It came in at 50,225 words.

If you recall, I'm a NaNo Rebel this year and instead writing a new book I decided to add some real estate to the book I've been working on this year, A Trick of the Light.

A Trick of the Light is now at 87,074 words, and I'm not finished with it yet!  I'm expecting to top out at 100,000 words, easy. 

As for yesterday's Fast food for Writers, who can eat when you're writing for glory!  Get something from the frozen section, if you must.  You won't regret it!

Happy writing!