Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Happy Sunday!  Supposedly our heat way is over, the highs should be in the 90's and our delta breezes are back.  I refused to do our usual two and half mile evening walk all week after attempting it in the heat without our usual evening cool off.  Gah!  Went out last night and it was balmy, breezy 70 ish.  Wonderful!

I finished spelling out Pearl for the June Birthstone Bookology challenge

P: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson is his second novel in the Millenium series. Salander is wanted for a triple murder and she chooses to simply disappear. Even the reader doesn't know if she is innocent or guilty and only knows what Blomkist does as he decides to investigate without her.

E: Gods and Ends by Devon Monk is her third novel in the paranormal trilogy, Ordinary Magic. Vampires, devils, even a crochet and knitting rivalry almost turns into a gang war as Delaney works to protect the town of Ordinary, Oregon.

A: Ashley Bell by  Dean Koontz is an excellent psychological thriller about a writer who been diagnosed with brain cancer and only has a year to live.  She wakes in the hospital believing she is totally cured after a mysterious middle of the night encounter and thinks she needs to save a life.

R: Relics by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is the first book in his Pendergast series. Someone's been savagely murdered in the natural history museum.  Is it human or animal? No one knows for sure.

L: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire, the 4th book in her October Daye series has October running for her life, trying to stay away from the Queen of the Mist's who wants her dead and trying to save Lily and Luna who are dying from a mysterious ailment.

I also read The Girl who Played with the Hornet's Nest and don't want to give away any spoilers except to say everyone who knows Salander personally are in her court, doing what they can to help her.

Nora Robert's hits it out of the park as usual with her latest Come Sundown, a thriller of epic proportions with a loving extended family who run a dude ranch/resort and a nasty villain, living on the edges of life and sanity.

Last but not least, a new to me author John Dechancie's and his science fiction adventure, Starrigger. A fascinating adventure about an interstellar trucker, a hitcher who knows him but he doesn't remember her and a gangster one step behind him all the way.

My reading has slowed down quite a bit since I'm concentrating more on writing, plus most of the books were  chunky.  I just started #7 in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series with A Crown of Swords.  Plus I'm about to start War and Peace.   Both will keep me busy for the rest of the month.

A to Z Poetry: Divided

A House Divided



Love haunts
Sadness prevails.
Choices, consequences.
Love tests, love fails.

People change
Love unconditional?
There's no I told you so's
Love tests, love fails

Do you have to choose?
Acceptance, rejection
Can you go back?
Love tests, love fails

Once friends
Now strangers
Love haunts
Love tested, love failed.

Flash Friday: Rewriting Montaigne

The following essay On Books is from Book 2, chapter 10 of  Michel De Montaigne’s Essays, translated by J.M Cohen.  

“I have no doubt that I often speak of things which are better treated by the masters of the craft, and with more truth.  This is simply a trial of my natural faculties and not of my acquired ones.  If anyone catches me in ignorance, he will score no triumph over me, since I can hardly be answerable to another for my reasoning’s, when I am not answerable for them to myself and am never satisfied with them.  Let the man who is in search of knowledge fish for it where it lies; there is nothing that I lay less claim too.  These are my fancies, in which I make no attempt to convey information about things, only about myself.  I may have objective knowledge one day or may perhaps had had it in the past, when I happened to light on passages that explained things.  But I have forgotten it all; for though I am a man of some reading, I am one who retains nothing." 

My translation:
I often attempt to convey ideas I’ve learned from books, but feel I lack the eloquence of those authors experienced in the craft.  My first thoughts, natural and off the cuff lack a certain intelligence as I stumble to understand; constantly questioning, thinking out loud, feeling for answers.  My understanding may end up being different from others, so it important they read it for themselves and come to their own conclusions.  I don’t want to mislead anyone.  My thoughts and experiences play a part in what I take away from the book. Theirs will be different. I may read a passage and understand it completely, enlightened for the moment.  But when I go back a second time, I may not find the original passage that caused much understand or find I’ve completely forgotten what I read and the words are all new again. 

I’m fascinated by Montaigne’s essays on reading.  Although I've had the book for some time and it's been calling my name to read me, read me, I've been ignoring it. Until now. 

Some days I feel like a fraud as I try express my thoughts, not able to explain a certain passage in a book, quoting the author rather than attempting to put in my own words. I’m intimidated by certain authors, their words make me feel stupid.  Then there are days in which my mind is wide awake and absorbs the words like a sponge.  The light bulb turns on and I get all excited. I’ll turn to my hubby to tell him what I discovered, talking his ear off.  He is so much wiser than me in some subjects and his questions make me want to tell him to read the book because my attempts to convey myself eloquently get hammered by my own doubt and insecurity. Questions run through my head - Is that what I meant to say? No, don’t quote me. I may have taken it out of context. 

I think I’m logical, analytical, capable of intelligent discourse.  Then along comes someone who has given it more time and thought and blows me away.  I can’t let it make me feel stupid.  Perceptions, ideals, life experience all play a factor.  Each person’s viewpoint highlights what is important to them and what they need to learn.

Sometimes it is better to quote the author, other times not.  Translating Montaigne's ideas is a great idea. Leads me to think and ponder and trust that  no matter what anyone else may think, what I discover is what I need at that moment. 

Do you have moments in which you read a passage and it sings to you?    But you failed to highlight it and when you go back can’t find it or when do find it, you can’t understand why it flashed so brilliantly in the first place?  I’ve learned to immediately underline passages and write down my thoughts, before I lose them. Because your first thoughts, those bright sparks of understanding won’t ever be the same. 

Thursday first line: Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

The year that Bibi Blair turned ten, which was twelve years before Death came calling on 

her, the sky was a grim vault of sorrow nearly every day from January through mid March

and the angels cried down flood after flood upon southern California. 

Birthstone Bookology - P E A R L 

My own private Idaho...

I'm currently going through the list of questions from Chapter 47 - Notice, Intent, Act in Fierce on the Page.  Like Artist's Way exercises  they pull thoughts and insights I generally haven't given much thought too and give voice to them.

"What makes me want to sit down and write? And what keeps me there?"  Not why, but what this time and I do believe it is the desire to know more, discover and learn.  What keeps me there are the aha moments, the free flow of thought, ideas randomly popping into my head, the synchronicity of a resolution I hadn't even been aware of needing.  So what is stopping or has stopped me.

"When do I avoid doing the writing I intend to do?"  In the past when I was feeling emotional or stressed, there were some things I didn't want to think about. I didn't want to cry or get mad all over again and avoided writing until the feeling passed  I know many writers work through their angst on the page.  I had a tendency to block.  I didn't like pouring all those feelings out on the page where they can be seen in black and white or red or purple or whatever color pen I'm using that day.  I've always processed thing in my mind, then let it go. I didn't want to publicize it.

Maybe its fear someone else would get the wrong impression, when they are feelings of the moment that have passed but others might take it the wrong way.  I've always been a very private person when I comes to my emotions and thoughts.  And I don't like repeating myself, rehashing things. It's done and over with.  Ha! Life really doesn't work that way.   James and John have memories like elephants and don't always let things go.  Things I think that have been worked out, come up again days, maybe months later.  

But isn't that what makes a writer successful?  Taking all those thoughts, feelings, past experiences and using them to create.  I could be like Joan Didion who melds and shapes past true events into something that it's not. Is that turning it into fiction or just reshaping the truth, molding it into something unique, entertaining.  Won't people who know the writer and experienced the event say, 'oh her perceptions are all wrong.'   Or maybe they won't recognize themselves at all because its totally been forgotten.  Then through rewriting the event, the writer not only creates beauty but finds letting themselves bleed all over the page, a cathartic experience.

What I love about writing is the same as what I hate. What it reveals, what I feel. What I make the characters feel.  Or rather I'm the conduit for the characters so they can reveal their stories.  The free flow of ideas, creating new ones, molding and shaping, both fiction and non fiction.   I have a feeling I've been and will keep repeating myself a lot.   The flash non fiction classes and private but not private essays have taught me to face those things I'd prefer be left buried.  It's helped me to sort my thoughts, giving them voice and excising them from my system.   Also teaches me to not be so distant, helping me to take the blinders off and really see life.  As an introvert, I tend to avoid crowds. The loud and hectic wild masses.  I can't think because its overwhelming so I put on blinders, the virtual ear muffs and blend so as to not be seen.  Just let me get in, get out.   I'm working on being more observant, more open to experience.

So where is this leading?  To my own private Idaho - My promise to write month.  I've committed to MyProWriMo - each month, either a theme or a challenge.  Like 52 Books in which I've established monthly themes for reading challenges, I think I'll brainstorm themes and/or ideas for future months. Right now I'm taking it one day, one month at a time.  So far, so good.


Let's Write...

The universe is trying to tell me something.  I signed up for the Writer's Digest Short Story class which began last week.  My muse has been hitting me on the head the past few days with TLC's Waterfalls.  I've had the chorus lyrics running through my head for the past couple nights:

Don't go chasing waterfalls.
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to.
I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all,
But I think you're moving too fast.

Then yesterday, she finally got through to me. The title of a story.  Yep, Chasing Waterfalls,  along with a couple character names and a inkling of an idea.   Then realized today I'm not quite ready to start writing just yet, so it wouldn't work for the WD class. So decided I'd work on Yellow Belly Shoppe for Cowards. It's one I began while taking classes at WVU and never quite finished it.   

I keep running across the idea of writing 52 short stories, one a week,  ala Ray Bradbury everywhere on the internet the past few days. And Sage Cohen had mentioned it as well in Fierce on the Page.  Which lead me to Write Practice and Joe Bunting's Let's Write a Short Story.  While I was downloading it, also saw James Scott Bell's How to Write Short Stories which I just had to get.   I just finished reading Bunting's book and love the idea of taking the novels and characters in those stories and using them for short stories.  It serves as a way to get deeply into the characters and their motives and lives.  I've been considering a short story for Greg so I know I'm headed in the right direction. 

I was sitting here thinking I needed a theme for July for the blog and the universe gave it to me.  Molly Totoro who just published Journaling toward Wholeness (which I'm still reading) pointed me in the direction of NaJoWriMO - National Journal Writing Month - which runs January, April, July, and October.  I'm dithering on joining although I know I should, but don't want to commit, and end up doing it anyway.  I'm commitment phobic these days other than those I've made to myself like blogging and morning pages.  

The universe is yelling at me to get my thinking cap on and writing butt in gear.  Time to listen and brainstorm.