Friday, June 27, 2014

fabulous, fantastic friday!

What better day to seek out the fabulous? Search for the fantastic! Ah, Friday, even if you work weekends there is something freeing about this day of the week.

read * relish * enjoy!

image 

Cocktails are always a great way to kick off any happy occasion! What could be better for a sultry summer night than a fruity Sangria? Mmmm... This recipe is super easy and sounds refreshing! Topping things off is a generous handful of mint. Fresh, fruity and oh so gorgeous.  Cheers!


Math has never been my strongest subject but that doesn't prevent me from admiring complex equations and the people who understand them. If someone can turn one of those complex equations into beautiful works of art - even better! Art I get; the idea of math equations as architectural forms? Mind blowing and beautiful!


Ok, we've got cocktails and crazy art to contemplate. What next? Oh, I know! Let's sip Sangria while cruising up the coast in our boat! Sail away with me as I daydream myself back to Savannah. And it doesn't hurt to be prepared for a long day out on the water. Sunburn is no fun...not even with fruity wine!

***

Happy weekend everyone! Do you have any plans? Feel like mixing up some cocktails? How about a visit to an art museum? Maybe you're one of those lucky ones with a boat. If so, do you have room for one more? 

Cheers!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday


The beach was delicious.

A storm was coming in from the North and we had little time to linger but oh the salt spray! We walked and let the waves lick our toes and pepper our legs with salt.

There was the smell of rain and in the distance we could see lines falling from clouds that signaled we'd better seek shelter soon or we'd ride home drenched. None of us minded the thought; water is rejuvenating, especially by the sea.

A barge sallied from the mouth of the river, a giants hand holding tractor trailers that looked like Tonka toys in its grasp. The tug boat chaperon followed at a distance to make certain all was well.

If I could I'd become one with the sea, let it's particles invade my veins and allow my eternal wandering on the edge of land. I'm fascinated with edges and the sea has always called. I wonder if my ancestors called the sea home?

***

Thank you ALL for your kind comments on my previous three posts. I've gone back and responded to your words. Sorry it took so long but being away for a weekend also requires preparation for said weekend and I've been a bit AWOL from blogging because of it. I had a request for more essays and the idea elated me. I plan to change up my posting routine in the next few weeks in order to accommodate more essays and thoughts. Have a beautiful day everyone!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Friday!

By the sea, by the sea, there's no place else I'd rather be... (photo of Tybee Island, GA)


Happy Friday, Dear Reader! I hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead.

Thanks again to Michelle who tagged me in the Writing Process Bloghop this week! I had a fun time wrestling with my muse and discovering that I DO have a writing process, however erratic it may be. Oh, and Michelle, thank you for your kind words regarding my writing process and my writing in general! You have no idea how much your encouragement has meant to me! Sometimes, a kind word is all it takes to make a person realize that what they do matters. You ROCK!!!

***

This weekend I get to spend some time with some dear friends I don't get to see nearly enough! There will be lots of food, coffee, wine, and laughter. I wish you all the same this weekend! Enjoy yourselves! Things will be quiet here at the beginning of next week but I'll be back on Thursday. Thanks to SOMEONES comments the other day, I plan to do a lot more essay writing. Look for it here starting next Thursday!

Have fun and be fabulous!
(and by fabulous I mean YOURSELF)





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Writing Process Bloghop


Last week I was the honored recipient of a bloghop tag. Michelle Wallace (at Writer in Transit)  posted about her writing process and tagged me and two other bloggers to do the same. Do make sure you visit Michelle’s post as well as Trisha Farnan and Marie Abanga to learn more about their writing.

***

When Michelle first asked me to participate in the Writing Process Bloghop, I was hesitant. I don’t HAVE a writing process, I moaned. Seriously, guys, I have no idea how I write! I just…well, I put one word in front of the other and, sometimes, very rarely, magic happens. They make sense. They open eyes (usually my own) and inspire, encourage, and illuminate (again, usually myself). I have been thinking about my writing process for an entire month and I still don’t think I have one.

But…

…I did discover that I enjoy writing. I need to write. I need to sit at my computer and let my irrational mind take over the full functionality of my finger-to-brain connection. I pulled out a long languishing manuscript and began editing. I am currently in the first stage of rewrites. My muse is dancing a jig in the corner. Ok, he’s grinning at me from the corner while pretending to read the latest copy of Town and Country, but I like to torture him into thinking I’m letting you all believe he’s dancing a jig J.

Thankfully, Michelle provided me with a few questions to help me wade through the weeds and mire of this strange question: what IS my writing process?

1. What am I working on/writing?

Currently I am trying my hand at magical realism. I’ve long been a fan of fantasy and have several (dozen) manuscripts of this particular genre lying in drawers and old suitcases. While I love being fully immersed in an entirely made-up land, I am also drawn to the possibilities of magic in everyday life. I am always asking, “Why not?” in regards to magic and mystery. I firmly believe that magic doesn’t have to stop when we become adults. Why do children and young adults get all the fun? While I’ve, in the past, tagged myself as a young adult author, I’m now focusing on bringing fantasy to adults and mixing it in with real life situations. My current work in progress takes place in Ireland and will lead to one of those earlier mentioned fantasy series. Thankfully, it’s not locked up in a suitcase anywhere but sits comfortably in outline form on my computer.

2. How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?

Honestly, I don’t know. Most of you have only read my essays and the vignettes that I post here, sporadically I confess. There are only three people who have ever read my fantasy work and they did so not to tell me how my work differs from those of the genre but to give me critiques on what I could do better. I suppose if I had to answer this, I would say that my work tends to be longer than current fantasy/magical realism literature. And I do so LOVE lingering over a long book that is not afraid to use big words and challenge its readers to a game of intellect. This is not to say that I think I write smart; I do know, however, many times we write in the styles of that which we read. So if I write long and a bit “high brow” in relation to other modern writers, I blame Owen, Pullman, L’Engle, Dostoevsky and Wilde.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love dragons. Why are there not dragons in my vegetable garden? I love the idea of controlling the elements with the swish of a wrist. I sometimes imagine that I’m from another world entirely and someone is going to appear, any minute, and whisk me away to my rightful home. I’m not enamored with most literary fiction. I know bad things happens. I know life can be crappy sometimes. But I don’t dwell on it and I am certainly not going to do so in my writing. I love books that present normal people with extraordinary circumstances that demand they use their talents and gifts (no matter how feeble or how fantastic) to solve problems and turn events out for the best. I’m not a fan of the “Deus ex machina”. I want my characters to discover things about themselves and then have to learn how to control them, use them, summon them. I like chaos and mayhem while characters try and figure out what’s going on around them. And I like for things to end well. THAT’S why I write predominately fantasy. THAT’S why I pepper my “realism” with magic. Life is full of magic; why not have a bit of fun with it in my writing?

4. How does my writing process work?

Ah. Here it is. The process question. Well, it pretty much goes like this: I get an idea, usually from a song or a book. I start imagining myself as a character in the story. I get a plot, some other characters, and something that happens to bring these characters together. That odd boy across the street just watched his basketball roll into Old Man Davidson’s yard. Old Man Davidson is notoriously grumpy but, for some reason, he likes me. I follow the boy across the street to see if I can stop him from coming up against the Old Man. Suddenly, he and I are whisked inside the front door and taken downstairs to the basement where Old Man Davidson has been working on a time machine. “I’ve been hoping you’d stop by soon,” he tells me. “I just wasn’t prepared for a third passenger.”

See? Total seat of the pants writing! And I type and I type until my tendinitis kicks in and I’m reduced to hunting and pecking with my left hand. When I finally finish a piece, I let it sit for a while, print it out, and grab a red pen. Then I rewrite. And I rewrite…I think you all know how this continues!

***

There you have it! My writing and my so-called Writing Process. I didn’t tag any bloggers to answer these questions. As Michelle stated in her post, this bloghop has been going on for a long time and there are few bloggers who have not been tagged yet. So I’m going to leave it up to you, Dear Readers. How does YOUR writing process work? Why do YOU write what you write? Are you a fan of magical realism or do you prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on terra firma? Let me know in the comments :)

Happy Week!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Magpie Tales 224

Not To Be Reproduced, 1937, Rene Magritte

My reflection has never been a true representation of who I am. I'm deeper than skin and bone. My hair and eyes are simply outward expressions of DNA. It is my soul that will linger long after these things are gone. We stare at others and wish we were different. We compare, contrast, strive. Yet in the mirror we gaze, longingly, wishing that someone would come along and wipe away the collected grime to reveal the crystalline glimmer of eternity.

You, I, we are such stuff as dreams are made on. 

***

This little vignette is part of Magpie Tales, a collaboration of poets and writers wishing to hone their skills and keep their muses busy creating instead of wreaking havoc . Muses are known to do that, you know.

Happy Monday :)


Monday, June 9, 2014

Working with Words: The Writer as Artist

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Words

Is there a greater pallet? 

We as artists dip our pens, our imaginations, into a great sea. Painters have the rainbow and every vast hue that comes from blending. Those who draw have the enormous monochrome spectrum between black and white - there are so many variants of grey. 

Writers have at their disposal every word ever uttered in every language ever spoken. 

Words transport us away from our everyday into the everyday of someone else, real or imagined. They are little time capsules that, when strung together in just the right way, catapult us into worlds. Worlds that inhabit, coexist with our own yet are invisible until some brave soul illumines their doorways with the light of well placed ink.

The apple trees in the orchard at Crosswicks are growing old. Last winter the beautiful green pie-apple tree died during the ice storms. This summer I notice that the leafing of some of the others is thin. A neighboring farmer friend tells me that these trees have been "winter killed."
~ From Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle

Words give our minds respite from the "here" and "now" and allow us into the space occupied by another. L'Engle wrote from a space of green in New England. She swirls images in four sentences and I see drooping branches, smell over ripe apples, hear them thud as they hit the ground in a soft breeze. I can feel that breeze, pick up an apple, look it over for worms and take a bite. "Green pie-apple" tells me they are sour and my mouth puckers at the thought. The power of words over the physical.

I sit on my favourite rock, looking over the brook, to take time away from busyness, time to be. I've long since stopped feeling guilty about taking being time; it's something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don't take enough of it.
~Ibid

What is it about being that frightens us? Writing requires a different sort of being, a different sort of presence. The screen, the paper will hold a bit of our souls when we're through, like the light that shines on an artist's canvass. It's a light that comes from within the artist, whether he or she recognizes it, acknowledges it or believes it to be. Writing requires us to slow down and understand that there are far more things in heaven and earth (Horatio) than are dreamt of in our finite philosophies. It's scary, this slowing, this being. It's scary, this dreaming - these "far more things". But they are there as every true artist knows.

When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening. I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple tree if I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, and what all these deaths mean in the light of love of the Creator, who brought them all into being, who brought me into being, and you.
~Ibid

We write to create order, to try and make sense of life. We put into words our struggles and our triumphs, pepper our stories with people from our lives and attempt to offer comfort, joy, justice. That's a power of words: to take the reader by the hand and offer a glimpse of another way of being, an alternate reality. The HOPE of "what if?"

Take time to BE this week. Use the lazy days of summer to seek solace in the words of your favorite writers and in the power of your own pen. Don't fear that power; use it! Only you can write the stories you've been given. Only you can paint that particular scene in front of your. Happy writing!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Magpie Tales

So...

I happily stumbled upon a GORGEOUS blog whilst perusing the IWSG list. Kestril's Rhthyms and Blues led me to another gorgeous blog where I discovered a monthly writing/blog hop. Magpie Tales posts an image and challenges participants to write a poem or  vignette based on the image presented. And I signed up. I'm not a poet but a I am a little mad and I need an incentive to write, daily, and get the words inside OUT.

Without further ado, and with much trembling and hesitation, I present to you, dear readers, my first ever public attempt at poetry. Please keep your cringing to a minimum...


Jagged Little Pill

There it goes again
Taunting from the counter
"You need me," it whispers and I all but walk away

In the mirror it sits,
Reflection of desire,
Reflection of a deep seated need created by fear

"You need me."
Again I look away, 
Shivering cold in the summer sun,

Summer sun that beckons,
Invites me to exit 
This cold winter of discontent

Shiver gives way to shudder
And I shutter the curtains tight

My steps, heavy on carpet,
Heart racing on rib cage
Hollow...beating....hollow...

Between my teeth you sit and I stare
Reflection of pathos,
Reflection of self-loathing created by fear.

With violence it shatters
Against stainless steel
Scattering pellets of false color on tile and towel.

I throw back the shutters,
I open wide the door,
Sunshine, I am desperate...

***

Eep! If writing is about being brave, then here I go. Perhaps I'm swinging at windmills but geez was that scary! Ok, any poets out there? Feel free to follow the links over and check out Kestril's blog and Magpie Tales. Even if you don't participate, the imagery and words are enough to take you back for more :)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Yep! It's that time again! First Wednesday of the month and insecure writers everywhere are offering encouragement and airing their fears into the blogsphere. The IWSG is the brain-child of the fantastic Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you don't know who that is, well, you need to run in some new circles :)

***


"Am I good enough?"

"Is my idea unique enough?"

"What if it's all been said before?"

"What if no one 'gets' what I'm trying to say?"

These ideas and more run constant circles around my brain. They have prevented me from writing, they push me to write, and they give me a headache with all the shoving and fighting. After writing those  phrases, another one popped into my head and it just may be the most profound writing advice I've ever heard:

"Who cares?"

Seriously. It doesn't matter, does it? You have this idea, a glimmer of something wonderful. You start jotting it on a spare napkin on the steering wheel while trying to navigate afternoon traffic (because we all know great ideas NEVER come at opportune times). You chisel out characters and get a plot. It's wonderful! It's fantastic!

"It sucks."

The inner critic. Ah, that nasty little weasel. Just when you thought you'd make it through to Chapter 16 without a NaNoWriMo deadline The Critic appears. "It's been done before," he says. "No one is going to understand that. Heck, YOU don't even understand that!"

"Who cares?"

Your story is just that, YOURS. It came to you, chose you, and you, being the good writer that you are, must write it. Yes. MUST. Does it matter if it's good enough? No. Does it matter if it's so profound that trumpets will blast from Glory Beyond to all who read it? Nope. What matters is much, much more simple:

Do you love it?

This idea, is it all consuming? Does it wrap it's greasy little hands around your waste and force you to drag it everywhere? To the grocery store? The laundry room? The water cooler at work? Are you sitting at Starbucks imagining the barista as your villain? IS that really Classic Syrup she's putting in that latte?

Editing will come. Trusted friends and colleagues will read it and offer advice. You will have to kill the proverbial darlings (perhaps even the Barista of Doom.) But right now the idea is what matters. Flesh it out. Get it on paper, on screen, on a thousand and fifteen little blue Post-it Notes stuck to the bathroom mirror. However you write, get it written. You can get it right later.

Oh, and if the barista really IS an evil villain lacing a latte with arsenic disguised as Classic Syrup, take it gladly and give it to your critic. Revel in his slow, agonizing death. Throw a fiesta then get back to writing.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Repurposed Driven Life

Confession: I love junk! My husband does too, which accounts for why over half of what we own came from either someones house or rubbish pile. I am unashamed to take someones trash and turn it into treasure.

In THIS POST I wrote about tables and ladders that left ditches and back alleys to come home with us and be reborn. Our most recent acquisition has been a stack of old, wooden wine crates. Lovely, dusty, filthy wooden wine crates with the labels in tact and little wooden dividers where the bottles carefully sat. They sat on the front porch forEVER! We just didn't know what to do with them.

Ideas were bandied about: shelves! Wall art! Shadow boxes! Wine crates! (That last one wasn't exactly the most inspired). Finally, last week, I tired of them greeting me at the front door so I carried them to the back porch where they sat for another week.

Until we could fill them with dirt and flowers and turn them into THESE:


Yes the soil is oozing out the bottoms. Yes it is also cascading past the shards of pottery I tucked into the hand openings. But dirt they hold and the plants shall stay. Seeing as they're wood they will more than likely deteriorate over time in the the elements, but therein lies the beauty. What could have hung out in a landfill for who knows how long now gets to finish out its days as a flower box. If all goes well, and the rain and wind take them, they'll go back to the dirt.

Ah, the great Circle of Life...