Monthly Archives: May 2012

weather….

…what was it Mark Twain said? Every one complains about the weather, nobody does anything about it. Well. That was then. This is now. And now when it rains, what you hear is, ‘we needed that.’ Seriously? My back yard grass is green because it’s molding. Even the dogs have a problem going out there and pooping on the wet grass. And, who’s going to not agree? The dogs are right. It’s yucky. And, yet. My darling adorable husband continues to water the yard. The sprinklers are set for 6 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I say, God is providing the water free of charge, turn off the sprinklers. But no.

Then there’s the puppies.  Missy, pictured, in her Thunder Shirt. Because when it storms we may be watering outside but inside she’s in the closet. I think the shirt holds her bones and skin together,  otherwise it would all just fall apart because of the shaking. Must be the ears. Because I feel certain Missy can hear the thunder in Virginia and we’re about a hundred plus miles from the next state.

Sammy on the other hand would rather be out in it, not just watching it through the study window. I do love the way the weather forecasters predict the percentage of chance that it might rain. Or snow. Or be sunny. Like they can really predict? No. But we tend to believe more and more, that’s why there’s a weather channel, which I find to be the most amazing channel on cable.

Okay, enough rambling now. I’ll leave you with a quote from George Carlin: Weather forecast for tonight:  dark

happy birthday…

So. Bayley. Thirty years. Wowzer! Hard to believe it’s been that long.

Here you are at your college graduation. That was one big milestone. Congrats on that, baby daughter. And on the success you’ve had along the way, including  your marriage last year. You’ve done well. You’ve stuck to it. You’ve pushed when you should. You’ve pulled when that was the only way. And, by golly, you’ve made it to what I always think of as THE PERFECT AGE, Thirty. You’re still young, energetic and full of hope and yet, you have the confidence of some experience and the understanding that life is a journey, never a destination. So. Kudos!

You look older than twelve now, but not by much. You’re little [remember when you made five feet?], have a winning smile and a willing attitude and, truth be told, good things do come in small packages. So I wish you a very happy birthday and this Irish blessing.

May you live as long as you want,  And never want as long as you live.

a new way to read….

…is comics. If you’re thinking the paper booklets you read in the 50’s or 60’s. Then no. Those were comics that you could read and you got all the visual clues and the hero did save the day.  But if you’re thinking a real story, not matter how fanciful, with pictures and words, what we now term ‘graphic novels’ then you need a new way to read.

I’ve got a couple from First Second Books. Some are easier and faster to read than others. Like Robot Dreams by Sara Varon. Mainly because it is a story in pictures. What you might be tempted to call a picture book. But beware! It’s not, well, the traditional picture book. It’s a story, with a high concept and a lot of twists and turns. But try reading Orcs Forged For War  Well, I’ve got to tell you, this takes a bit more work. First off, in this concept, the Orcs are the good guys. Secondly, there’s as much story in the words as there is in the pictures. And together they are fabulous. I may now have to read Stan Nicholls’s book on the Orc Universe. Because he takes the What If? question and makes it a whole different place.

I’m getting used to this new way to read. It’s not just reading now, it’s exploring a different way to tell story. Ya gotta love it!

 

 

tennis….

Sigh. I had a lot on my plate Tuesday. My WIP. The seemingly catastrophic failure of my Quicken program, locking me out of all my financial data. Finishing up Blue, i.e., critiquing, for today. And yet. Without hesitation, in what felt like bad weather about to get worse, off Tom and I went to play tennis at Rock Barn Golf and Spa.  We brought iPods, just in case. There were only two clay courts [the others were flooded] so it was a mix of clay and hardtru. Not bad. So. sometimes I have to think, what draws me there every Tuesday and Thursday. Well. Yes. It is the tennis. I have a good time. I make some great shots. That’s good. I always make some not so good shots, others downright bad. That’s okay. Truth is,  no one’s life is on the line. No money is involved. I’m not holding the fate of the world in my hands.

Sometimes it’s nice to just play. To not have to worry. When we lived in Medfield and life took some wicked turns, a two hour game of tennis with tennis friends who had no clue as to my life, willing to stand on either side of the net and just play the game was a mini-vacation. It took me out of myself. Out of my life. Gave me the chance to breathe and then come back. Not always refreshed, but somehow open to getting back to it, regardless.

From the time I was in college to now, a span of some forty-five years, tennis has always been my go to relief valve. Even when the people I played with were playing a more political and manipulative game than me, I still loved it. Do love it. And I have to thank that wonderful professor at San Fernando Valley State College, whose name I can not remember, but who thought tennis was the gift God gave to us to enjoy.

And. It is.

words, phrases, clauses, paragraphs….

…as a writer you keep building the upside down pyramid. You start with words. The right word. You think of what the word means to you or how it sounds. Words are more than just meaning, they can be picture like beach, or lake or hideaway. They can be memory like mother or father.  They can be fun like onomatopoeia: boom, cuckoo, zap. But they don’t make sense. So, next are phrases, grouping words to make some sort of unit but unable to make sense because they are just a part of a whole. So, clauses, the next level up, the words strung together to express an idea and, more importantly, to put an idea out there that others, those not privy to what’s inside your head, can understand. And, then, once you’ve sequenced the words in the order that makes you feel you have a valid idea, Voila! you have a paragraph. 

Makes you wonder, well, makes me wonder.  Word. ORIGIN Old English , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch woord and German Wort, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin verbum ‘word.’

Then phrase. Apparently, it took us a bit of time to get to the next step. ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (in the sense [style or manner of expression] ): vialate Latin from Greek phrasis, from phrazein ‘declare, tell.’

But a phrase doesn’t declare or tell, it sort of relates, because then we have a clause. ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French clause, based on Latin claus-‘shut, closed,’ from the verb claudere. So, closed? as in done? Or closed as secure, finished?

Paragraphs may be my favorites. ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from French paragraphe, via medieval Latinfrom Greek paragraphos ‘short stroke marking a break in sense,’ from para– ‘beside’ + graphein ‘write.’  LOL, to write beside?  I like the Greek better, making a break in sense. According to the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill, the unity and coherence of ideas among sentences is what constitutes a paragraph. That works really well for a non-fiction, essay, scholastic paper, but fiction? Creative fiction?

For me, a paragraph is what takes the words that evoke memory and pictures, put them together in phrases where the words are surrounded other words giving direction, then formed into clauses that are each finished in their own way, grouping into a paragraph that moves your forward into your story. Because story is ALWAYS the end result.