Monday, September 9, 2019

From Mud to Jewels

My previous post, I see, was a month ago. Whew, what a clay-smooshing frenzy. I've been so focused on improving cups and mugs and getting glazes just right that I made no time for blogging. Ah, well.

Here's my follow-up report.

So the first test firing of my new glazes was a disaster. Almost none of the glazes yielded the results I hoped for. This is after I followed manufacturer advice on how many coats to apply. WRONG! What a mess of drab, dull, ugly color combinations. In some cases, the accent colors disappeared completely. I was so frustrated. But very, very determined to get it right. I tried again.

In some instances I reduced the number coats, in others I doubled the number of coats. And voila!

Mud and minerals applied just right, fired at 2300 degrees in my garage, produces jewels.

Test Group #2: glazed, before the firing.
Test Group #2: after the firing
Just look how happy they are! Not perfect yet, but we're getting there!

Test Group #2: just the cups
Test Group #2: slab cups
The slab cups are a result of my sudden need for a cup to store my tools. I started rummaging through the cabinets for old ugly plastic cups that might work, then it dawned on me. "Hell, girl, you're making mugs. Make a cup for your stuff!" So I did. Gotta learn to think like a potter, I guess.

But, man, add some handles and those cups would be adorable and very sturdy beer steins. Hmm, just a thought.

The possibilities feel endless.


NOTE: all pieces are hand-built. No wheel work. Clay body is Stoneware, Cone 6 Brown. Glazes are from Amaco and Spectrum.






Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hands of the Potter

So given the current season I'm walking through, it seemed appropriate to heed my husband's advice and drag out my pottery stuff again. The goal is to craft enough inventory to actually sell. What that looks like, I have no idea.

Anyway, here's the gist. I took two ceramics courses back in college as electives--both hand-building and wheel--and LOVED it. We're talking twenty years ago. In my late twenties, I accumulated my own supplies to throw pots in the dubious comfort of my garage (as a result of icky circumstances that I won't describe online). Then came the novel project. Everything else, all hobbies, friends, family, everything, was set aside so I could finish the Falcons Saga.

Now that the novels are complete, and with the LegendFire Community shut down, I sank into a horrible place of purposelessness. No people and few characters to care for, I realized I was suffering something very closely related to Empty Nest Syndrome.

So now, twice in my life, has pottery stepped in as a source of rest and rejuvenation. I admit, writing, as much as I love it, does not produce this restful feeling. Struggling for words, for plot, for conflict, fills me with tension, if not outright frustration. Not so the pots.

Currently, I have no place to set up my wheel. I mean, it's a hundred degrees in my garage right now, and I'd like my CAR to live in the garage where it belongs, so sans studio, I am hand-building mugs and other things in the cool of my dining room.

wet three-legged mugs
I can't wait to see these mugs glazed and finished.

The firing end of things has turned into a more frustrating venture. Over the past couple of days, I had carefully glazed some test pieces, mainly to see how my new glazes blend (or don't), and to see if my old Paragon kiln is still in working order. However...

I get everything ready, wake up excited to begin, only to discover that the shelves and supports I thought I had, I no longer have. Couldn't find them anywhere. I see my entire day and my hope to see results by nightfall slipping down the gutter. Ugh. So ... I have ordered new kiln shelves and posts.

Setbacks and delays. Which seems to be the running theme of the entire summer. Not a big deal in this instance, but when delays continue to stack up, they feel more dire than they really are.

Maybe I'll get to test-fire next week?

Point is, so many life applications to be found in pottery. For a pot to be made beautiful, it must be turned upside down and have the ugly excess trimmed off. Too often do I find myself the pot in the hands of my Potter. Yet the trimming shows infinite care and loving, purposeful intention.

Isaiah 64:8


Monday, July 22, 2019

A Nocturne for Novellas

I forgot to post about my latest release. So here goes.

"A Nocturne in Red" is available at Amazon for e-readers and in print. It's the inaugural story of Sanjen of Shar, a lute-wielding bard, who gets into all kinds of trouble. Last August, The Society of Misfit Stories was awesome enough to publish it for a few months,but since it's no longer available through their site, I decided to throw it back out there myself. 

I'm hoping the tale is the launching point for many stories featuring this troubled character. Sanjen is full of personality and inner demons--and what won't he do to protect those he loves? Read the first several pages at Amazon or at my site.


Along with the story, I've converted my hand-drawn maps of Tanerra with Wonderdraft. Behold, Sanjen's world:


Click for a full-size view.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Maps To Show the Way

Good to know where we're going, right?

As a fantasy author, one of my dearest loves is world-building and drawing maps. And as a reader of fantasy fiction, I rely on well-rendered maps to navigate my way through the novels of others. Maps are like a perk of fantasy fiction that readers of real-life fiction don't get to savor.

So, yes, when I published the Falcons Saga, I included maps. At least in the print editions. These were carefully rendered -- in pen -- and painstakingly cleaned up with GIMP. At least, with the few skills I had acquired for GIMP.

So imagine my excitement when I came across Wonderdraft -- a program designed just for map rendering.

A couple of days ago, an old acquaintance from the LegendFire days posted a link to this amazingness. I followed the link down the rabbit hole and expected to see a price tag comparable to Photoshop. I also feared a lengthy learning curve and weeks of frustration just to get land to pop from ocean. *cue the heavenly choir* Only $30 and two days later, I am in map-rendering heaven.

The manual is short (needing a proofreader such as myself, but hey, nothing is perfect), the interface clean, the process well-designed and user-friendly. I experienced almost zero stress learning how it works. On a stress scale of 1 to 10, maybe a 1.5, for just a couple of seconds. Next, I'll be checking out all the community-built assets which ought to allow me to add all kinds of borders, symbols, and textures. And as a font fanatic, I will certainly be looking into importing waaaaay more fonts. But the basic package provides plenty to get started.

All those old black-and-white renderings of Aralorr? Revamped into glorious full color. Check it out!

Map and names, copyright by Court Ellyn 2019
Click to enlarge. I'll be adding these to my website shortly. So much better!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

There and Back Again?



Well, one always expects a different kind of adventure than the one that actually happens. Thus, the shock of the unexpected.

Our weekend with friends in the mountains went splendidly. Until...

Let me mention the good things first. My friends and I actually liked each other in person. We got on very well, hiked a bit, took in some lovely scenery, rode the Carousel of Happiness, laughed till our sides ached, ate way too much good food, talked writing, art, and gaming and managed to mostly avoid controversial topics. We have all kinds of new inside jokes that no one else would ever find funny. My husband has a new nickname, and I learned that I have dampened some necessary outlets for my creativity.

We are even excited to meet up again next year.  Hurray!

Okay, back to that "until" bit. We parted ways, dropped one of our number off at the airport successfully, then... my husband and I decided to go a bit more rustic and do some actual camping and chase down some peace and quiet in the open mountain air for a night. Heh, see where this is going? Yeah...

We were driving up La Veta Pass, bound for Red River, NM, listening to Hillsong's "Oceans" when the car starts making a rattling noise and loses all power.

The lovely weekend vacay just turned into a real "adventure." Two tows later, we dropped the car off at the Subaru dealership all the way back in Pueblo, CO. Luckily the rental car was big enough for all of our camping gear; we hightailed it home and dealt with insurance companies and warranty folks for the next two weeks.

image from my Facebook Author Page
In the meantime ... tornadic storms destroy several of our beloved trees that requires restorative manual labor (nothing like moving trees when one needs to burn off frustration), my poor mother-in-law runs over my dog (the great beast is fine, by the way), the lawnmower is also broken, requiring us to accept help from others, and old heartbreaks rise to the surface and must be dealt with.

And so after a full engine replacement, our beloved Subaru (Sandy, as I've called her in another post) is back in our custody--which meant two trips to CO without a smidgen of camping done. But we got to meet many caring, wonderful people, and most importantly, got to see God show up and do amazing things.

All in all, June has been fantastic. Really. I mean it. Not one moment of boredom. Plans that went awry, but forced much-needed healing. Miraculous all around.

That said, here's hoping for a quiet, restful July.



Friday, June 7, 2019

In Lieu of the Unknown

Image from my Facebook Author page

Hoping this pre-scheduled blog post finds me well on the wild friendship trip. Well, hopefully not too wild. Are we enjoying one another's company? Have we breathed in poetry from a mountainside? Have we laughed a great deal? Maybe cried a little? Are we driving each other nuts? A full report upon my return.

Preemptive prayer:  Please, God, save us from trips to emergency rooms. May our days together be filled with joy, flexibility, versatility, resourcefulness, and patience. That's a tall order in regards to myself, so bring the miracles, God. Inundate us with your good presence, even those who do not call you Father. Guard us fiercely and see us safely home again.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Friendship Trip

Image from my Facebook Author Page

Road-Trip Fever is upon me. I leave tomorrow on a routine adventure (if there is such a thing) with a big twist. For the first time ever, I am meeting a group of friends for an extended weekend holiday. Understand, these "friends"? We've never met in person. These are dear people with whom I have worked in an online capacity, and gamed with once a week, for many years. But now, we will be meeting face-to-face, for the first time. And having to live together in a rental house for four days.

I admit, I'm nervous. Things like this can clench or destroy friendships. We're each of us introverts, writers, gamers, and most of us have rather severe social, mental, or health issues. SO! This could get interesting. If we can give each other space and be respectful of boundaries, I think we'll be okay. Yes, my husband and I are taking the Tepui and a camp toilet, just in case this large house begins to feel too small.

Thing is, we all met through LegendFire, my former Critique Community. Three of the folks were my most highly trusted moderators. Two others joined later, but were gals we met through gaming. Now, all of us, minus one, game together every Thursday evening.

For some reason, they still look to me for leadership. Bless their sweet hearts. So back in February, when they jointly asked me, "Hey, Raveneye, we want to meet up in Colorado. You go there a lot. Will you plan a trip for us?" I was like, "...Ooookay. Sure! I can do that." In a couple days it was done. And it has been so heartwarming to hear their excitement as the departure day drew closer and closer.

Now, just to survive the reality.

I'm wagering that today's quote will prove most appropriate, likely for all of us.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Stories on Stone

Image from my Facebook Author Page

While I love this quote by one of my favorite authors, I treasure more the image I pasted it onto. These hand-prints were found in the Lascaux cave, in France. Each hand is a story in itself.

Some months ago, I happened to see the Antonio Banderas film Altamira, which portrays the discovery of similar cave paintings in Spain by Marcelino de Sautuola in the 1870s. Near the end of the film, Sautuola's wife places her petite hand in a print just like these. The fit is perfect. "You didn't tell me they were women," she says. This rocked me. Could it be true? We, from our patriarchal societies, have assumed the painters were men. But what if caves, like wombs, were the province of women?

And so when I look at the image depicted here, from Lascaux, I imagine generations of women trekking into the dark, a bowl of pigment in one hand, and some kind of light source in the other. Why did they venture into the darkness to leave their mark? Was it new motherhood and gratitude that drove them into the womb of the earth? Was it, perhaps, a prayer for fertility? Or coming into a position of leadership like a priesthood or lore-keeping?

Nearly every hand seen here is a left hand. Was it the bowl of pigment each woman held in the right? Red, black, white pigments. Now see the woman earlier in the day, crouching on the ground and grinding the colored minerals to powder and mixing it with water. Did each color have a different taste? Is the color dependent on the generation?

With what awe did each woman stand and gaze upon the hands of the women who came before her? "This one is my mother's. This one belonged to my grandmother..." They would have remembered the women and the names and stories attached to each print. The only lasting chronicle of their people.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Choicest Possession

Image from my Facebook Author Page

Should a room be stripped of furniture, as long as the books remain, the room will still feel furnished, warm, inviting, and full. They provide the furniture of the mind, food for the imagination, and a necessary occupation.

I'm afraid my coffee tables are a little cluttered with books. Can't get enough of them around me. I hunger for their contents and their companionship. One feels a little less alone when surrounded by books. Their voices are there for the asking.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

New Wheels

My Townie

We had a realization. Once we have our new Tepui tent set up, we are unable to drive anywhere until we're ready to pull up stakes and move to the next campsite--the tent being actually attached to the top of the car. So we decided I needed a bike. My husband tried to convince me that a mountain bike was the way to go, but I assured him that my mountain biking days are over. Seriously. Forever. No thank you.

So I decided on this cushy Electra Townie. It's in my colors, moss green and saddle brown. My helmet arrives today. Oh, such a helmet it will be. Just wait and see.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Nature Fever

from my Facebook Author page

The camping and hiking season is fast approaching. Nature fever is upon me. The mountain trails are covered with late snows this year, and my husband's workload has been ridiculous, so our plans have been slightly delayed. June it is. June cannot come fast enough.

When it does, move over Muir. I need some room for "the winds to blow their freshness into me."




Tuesday, May 7, 2019

As Sharp As Swords

From my Facebook Author page

Despite my departure into historical fiction, I find myself drawn back again into the realm of fantasy. I am close to having enough content for a collection of stories that all take place in the world of Tanerra. That world where "Fire Eater" and "Mists of Blackfen Bog" (my first two stories accepted for publication) are set.

This particular world has been undergoing development off and on for, guessing, 18 years now. It's rich, complex, huge, involves really two worlds in one, and many planar realms besides. So the possibilities for stories are endless.

And this project is something I've envisioned for years. To think it might actually come to fruition is energizing.

To that end, I need the title story. The foundation story. The story that introduces the pantheon, the myths and legends upon which all the other stories hinge, even if indirectly.

So last week, I began work on "Winter Star." Another couple of weeks ought to see Draft 1 completed. Fingers crossed.

~ ~ ~

Side note: my website has received an overhaul and is now live! It is now worlds away from the antiquated ickiness that it was before. Loving it. See the changes HERE.



Friday, May 3, 2019

The Touch of a Book

from my Facebook Author page
I went to lunch with my mom this week, and after we ate, we 'just happened' to stroll through an aisle of books at a nearby department store. The books drew us like honey, like magnets, like gravity, like love. Mom picked up a book and said, "I miss the feel of a book." She's been reading quick and easy downloads on her reading device. She sighed and rifled the pages and commented on how lovely the jagged edges were. Watching her admire the bound treasure in her hands was a precious experience.

Of course, she bought the book.

Several, in fact.

We all did.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tepui: The First Unfurling

The Tepui has arrived! We hijacked family members on Easter to help us bolt her in place atop the Subaru. The name posed the biggest problem. We said it's "TepOOee" like a sneeze. Gesundheit. Of course everyone was curious to know what the tent would look like unfurled, so we unzipped all the goodies and let her fly. Here's the adventure in pics:

Three strong men wrestle the 200 lb. Tepui into place. Thank you so much!

In a moment of panic, I suggested we see if the Subie will still fit into the garage. She does. An inch to spare.

While the men run to the store to replace a broken bolt, my niece decides to climb my house.

The Tepui unfolds just like the videos say! Amazing.

Tepui unfurled, annex zipped on.

My niece and I try out the tent. It's comfy up here.

So far, we are enormously happy with the purchase. Of course we left the Tepui in place, and now, when I drive around town, I see people in passing cars leaning toward their windshields trying to figure out what I'm hauling. Their expressions of confusion are priceless.

Now to try her out in the field. We hoped to take the tent to Angel Fire, NM, this weekend, but the campgrounds don't open until mid-May. Still so much snow to contend with! So it looks like our trip to Colorado in June will be our first chance to see how the Tepui works for us.


Friday, April 12, 2019

Throwing Dirt

From my Facebook Author page

I don't usually (okay, ever) post about my views concerning society, but my heart is aching this morning. For the past two years, I have been living under the certainty that an era has ended and a new era has begun. I have seen nothing yet that contradicts this certainty.

It is an era of ugliness. Ugliness to one another. A era of casting judgement. Judgment in the shape of verbal stones. An era where tolerance and forgiveness are growing cold. Anger and violence on the upswing. An era in which the sacredness of life is under assault. A era in which the chip on the shoulder is a matter of pride to be proclaimed. An era in which forgiveness is weakness, and taking offense is strength. An era in which kindness is a favorite word, but a scant reality.

The headlines I read every morning confirm this. The media sells it like a fad that will increase ratings, promoting it. If it is a fad, it is a deadly one. My friends echo it, and I feel a divide beginning to break open between us, because I cannot follow them into this attitude. Ironically, it is the attempt to right wrongs, to cease judgment, that seems to have birthed this anger, this finger-pointing, this violence of word and deed.

Where is kindness? Where is mercy? Where is the attempt to listen and reach understanding? Where is the outstretched hand offering aid, offering encouragement, instead of a stone?

When we throw dirt, we lose ground.


A New Adventure Begins...

The adventure I looked for and worked for didn't happen (yet), but that's hardly the end of all things. Now we get up, shift direction, and try again. To expand our adventure-output in the meantime, my husband and I have purchased a Tepui.

What is a Tepui?

This is a Tepui!

A tent that rides and unfurls on top of one's car/truck/etc and turns the mundane driving machine into a gypsy-mobile. Our beloved Subaru Crosstrek (called Sandy) is about to get some new digs. She is going to look snazzy with this tenty abode unfurled upon her back.

Our Tepui is scheduled to be delivered on Monday. It is my aim to blog about the adventures involving this tent, including the ugly ones, like setting it up for the first time. And, of course, the beautiful ones, such waking up to views like this:


So, Horizon, get ready. We're coming.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Getting On With It

from my Facebook Author page

I've identified a stronghold of envy or jealousy in my life. It's hard to admit, but it was even harder to identify and nail down as existing at all. The attitude of "It's not fair" often comes from this flaw of envy. "They have it, I want it, I've even worked my ass off for it, it's not fair."

They have it, I don't. Very well. Get on with it. Or disintegrate into a weepy pile of self-pitying goo.

GET ON WITH IT!!!

And so I have. I am pleased to announce that I have broken ground on the overhaul of Blackbird. This overhaul is so massive, so hefty, so down-into-the-grain of the story that the title doesn't even work anymore. I have a backup in mind, but will not yet mention it in a public place. So for now, the working title "Blackbird" will suffice.

After three days of writing, I'm about 6000 words in. The stage is now set for a massive setting move and vast character changes. Gabriella, my protagonist, has been the steady rock through all these upheavals, remaining inwardly largely the same. For purposes of cohesion, I did have to give her a fascination with items from antiquity, like these beauties:

Sakhmet Statues, British Museum

Now Gabriella is almost set to go on her life's journey.

And I have gotten on with it.

And, yes, I am much happier having done so.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Bounce

From my Facebook Author page

I've spent the first half of my life trying to run fast and climb high. The current season in which I find myself is trying to teach me how to bounce. One day I hope to look back and find that I have bounced with grace, humor, hope, and faith.

And not to worry about the bruises I pick up along the way. One can little hope to bounce skyward without first hitting the ground.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Old Books

Image from my Author Facebook page

From High School on, I've enjoyed exploring literature, not necessarily because I cared for the antiquated storytelling that made such reads a slog, but for the expertise and care with which words were used, the history of the times the books were authored, the lives of the authors themselves.

Finally, while conducting research for Blackbird, a story that takes place in the late 1800s, whose main character is a lover of fiction, I was forced to read a few of the books I had neglected on my shelf.

Jane Eyre: surely one of my "new" favorites. I've seen every movie version I could get my hands on, so I was surprised the book continued to hold my interest and win my heart.

Wuthering Heights: I tried. I really tried. So many people speak well of this novel and its characters, but I despised each person I read about. They are all deplorable humans. If there is a likable quality about any one of them, I did not find it. So, forgive me, I was unable to finish. Why do people speak of being in love with Heathcliff? He's an abusive bastard who deserves to be thrown in prison for beating dogs and women. (I will not debate this matter.)

Great Expectations: Who isn't fascinated with Miss Havisham? Again, I had seen as many movie versions as I could find (Helena Bonham-Carter was born to play Miss Havisham, just saying), and given my past experience with Dickens' novels (David Copperfield, ugh), I fully expected to make it halfway through and finally throw in the towel. Not so. I made it to the finish line and enjoyed each leg of the journey.

Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope: made it through two pages, decided the opening was a character-build that the author should've kept in his private notes and ditched the thing. Blech.

So, as I dive back into revisions of Blackbird, I must yet again inundate my brain with Victorian verbage. Books on my to-read list:

* Elizabeth Gaskill's work
* George Eliot's novels
* Hard Times by Dickens (read in college, need to read again)

And I guess there's no harm in going back a bit further and (re)reading some Jane Austen. She is my favorite, after all.



Monday, March 18, 2019

Reclaiming Courage

Image from my Author Facebook page

Getting back on my feet. Had a hard blow last summer. It stopped cold my capacity to work on Blackbird, a novel that deals with heavy themes. Recharging at last and trying to decide if now is the time to resume.

With resuming comes big questions:

* Do I move the setting to 1800s Egypt? Some other locale?
* Do I continue with the antique voice or revise to something more myself?
* How much of the original vision to I keep? How much must go?
* Have I learned to balance family and God time with writing? Or will I revert to obsessive behavior, excluding everything and everyone else?

I'm clearly gun-shy, on many levels, for many reasons. But I can't sit on my hands forever. I gotta jump back into the arena.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Pollinating the Mind

Image from my Facebook Author page
Currently reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Loving it so far. Reading a well-crafted piece of literature feels like breathing in sunshine after a stifling rainy season. It stimulates the cells and opens the senses.




Monday, March 4, 2019

The Fundamental Nature of Story

Image from my Facebook Author Page
One of my favorite concepts to explore is that of the universe and everything in it being created with a spoken word. What a glorious, gruesome, fantastic, and frightening story we are part of. To make sense of it all, we turn to our storytellers. We are made of story. We need it like air. Or we suffocate in the heartbreak and the chaos.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Wonder in Believing

Image from my Facebook Author page
May we never become that poor soul who says, "Fairies don't exist." May some part of ourselves, however deeply buried, never grow up. Urge the child out on occasion and gasp at the wonder to be found in the moonrise and the sunset and the curls of the ocean wave.


Monday, February 25, 2019

The Far Field

Image from my Facebook Author page

Roethke's poem "The Far Field" remains one of my all-time favorite poems. Entire work HERE. You know, there are those few books or poems, out of the millions, that grab onto us so tightly that we just keep returning to them.

And the best of those contribute something and fresh new every time.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Lost, With Purpose

Image from my Facebook Author page
I have found myself in a wilderness. Story won't come. Neither purpose nor direction. My compass has stalled. A season of mental desert. Rather than wandering aimlessly, giving in to confusion, disorientation, fear and despair, I have chosen to be still and embrace this portion of the journey.

Instead of roaming the sands, scorched by a blazing sun and pricked by brittle brush underfoot, I sit in the shade of a great Tree and wait. Contemplating. Analyzing. Taking my own measure. Digging deep and finding how far I must go to find life-giving water. It is closer to the surface than I realized.

An asp lurks under the sand. It approaches unseen, but I hear its whispers. I must not listen. It speaks only lies. I slam my heel into the sand with a shout like a blade, and it flees. The breath, rustling in the leaves overhead, carries the truth. It is this, and only this, I must heed. I am no longer afraid.

This prolonged stillness may look like idleness, but it is hard work. My legs itch to run. My hands long to embrace a richer soil, my arms to swim in abundant water. But that is for later. This is my now.

I will be stronger when I walk out of here. Leaner. Purer. Perhaps even wiser.

In the meantime:  Do not panic. Pitch the tent. Gaze in awe upon unfettered stars and watch the sunrise ignite the dunes with roseate fire.


Monday, February 18, 2019

The Happiest Retreat

Image from my Facebook Author page

People who knew me when I was a child say I was given to writing anyway, but all I can remember is retreating into my imagination to hide. Usually from social situations I didn't know how to handle. Tension at home. Boredom in school. A mind palace. Isn't that what Sherlock calls it?

I guess it made me one of those strange children. A classmate told me, just before we graduated, that she avoided me because she thought I was weird. "You used to talk to yourself."

Mortification! Did I? Then I remembered. Yes. I was so bored in class that I had entertained myself by watching my favorite movies in my head and quoting my favorite lines. In a whisper. But still my mouth had to have been moving, and this apparently had not gone unnoticed. Luckily by senior year I had grown out of it, to the point that I couldn't remember ever having done it.

Embarrassing moments aside, the mental palace remains a place of refuge, not to ignore the world, but to process it in healthy ways that my emotions can handle.

And out of it is birthed Story.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Lesson Learned

(image from my Facebook Author page)

To read and gain no depth, no new insight, no new wisdom makes for either a very poor book or a rather poor reader.

A few novels that have broadened my horizons:

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Help
The Joy Luck Club
The Book Thief
Angela's Ashes
The Woman Warrior
The Diary of Anne Frank
Tess of the D'Urbervilles



Thursday, February 7, 2019

Why We Love Story

(image from my Facebook Author page)

Thoughts?

The series that comes immediately to mind is N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth Trilogy. Stellar reads, all three. Explorations of heavy themes like racism, freedom, sacrifice, and consequences of messing with the planet, all in apolitical ways. Bald truth without preaching. Meaningful storytelling done right. The complex, convoluted, charged fuck-ups of history removed from real-world context and placed neatly into our laps in the form of a heartrending tale. Peel away the story's exquisite wrapping, and the author has challenged each reader to look directly at these approach-at-your-own-risk topics.

That's what the quote above means to me.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Ignore Everything and Read


(image from my Facebook Author page)

Ignore the failures, the regrets, the undone tasks, the ineptitudes, the stressful relationships, and sink into another world. For a little while. Until the courage to face it all arises. And definitely voice gratitude for the opportunity to be quiet and still delve into words and, thereby, find a bit of healing.

Currently (re)reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Currently reading: A Thousand Miles Up The Nile

The latter is a bit of research. I'm seriously toying with the idea of moving the setting of Blackbird from England to Egypt, and Amelia Edwards' account is the perfect resource to study and glean tidbits from.