Category Archives: Writerly Thoughts

And The Winner Is…

“Admit it. You tuned in to see who won a copy of “What I Wish I Could Tell You.”  Well, I’ll get to that right after this…”

Thus begins a typical winner revealing post from the blog of L.Marie with my own book offering inserted into the original text.  That great opening line is in fact taken from one of my favorite posts of hers called “Wall-to-Wall People.”   It is a fine example of how easily she articulates thoughts I am only able to think. Continue reading

Camden Writers – “What I Wish I Could Tell You”

Transitions.

The officially stated theme for the 2016 Camden Writers Anthology #2.

Starting in January, I pulled about four pieces from my stash of vignettes relevant to the 2016 anthology theme – some started but unfinished, others already firmly written and in need of my critique group’s keen insights and suggestions, still others with germinal ideas and notes-to-self on how to proceed.

I discovered early on during critique presentations that even the one piece I thought was 99.9% ready to go, wasn’t. And that really was fine with me.  I decided I’d use the submission deadline as the catalyst for getting those pieces and ideas in shape for publication.

Meanwhile I was deeply ensconced in a regular routine spent on the practice stool prepping in anticipation of upcoming recording sessions for my Swimming with Swans: the music project.

Progress towards both project milestones were rolling along smoothly. However, I didn’t factor in the possibility of Dad entering into hospice care in April.

Transitions.

Thus began my precious Summer of Dad. Continue reading

The Liebster: my very first blogging award!

In my over 3 years of blogging, I have never, ever, been nominated for any type of ‘blogging’ award. I figured because I am WP.org (self-hosted) rather than WP.com (WP hosted) that my chances for those sorts of things were stacked against me. So be it.

Well, that all changed during my Summer of Dad time away from regular secure internet access.  LuLu from The Real Adventures of Becoming (whatever this thing is that I am presuming is the authentic and genuine) Me nominated me a few weeks ago for the Liebster Award. She is a gentle soul with a writing style that is deep and pure. Thanks for thinking of me, LuLu!

Liebster Award

My very first blog award!

Continue reading

Spider Webs, Jacob’s Ladder and ‘Losing the Strand’

Golden Orb with stabilimenta, South Carolina

Our front porch Golden Orb, spinning a ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ addition to its web base

The first full summer we lived in the South we encountered massive and prolific webs of this indigenous species of spider, the Golden Orb.

The spiders themselves get to be quite large and are wickedly beautiful…meaning, these are gloriously colored arachnids that come equipped with some seriously sharp and long legs.

What I found most intriguing was the amount of detail in their webs. Many spiders offer intricate designs in their web-construction, but these Golden Orbs use those as a base on which to further weave additional layers of web construction.

I call them the Jacob’s Ladder addition. Continue reading

My Son – The Sharp Dressed Man

please, enjoy the music while you read the following, I promise it is related to the main thrust of this blog post…and since there are several guitar solos, well, you don’t really need to watch the lyrics up on the screen

Okay, so I’ve been starting and stopping in the writing of several blog posts.

I need to feed the blog, yes, but I gotta say my focus has been a bit wonky since returning from my five weeks visiting Dad.  I started to write about that in a post entitled “Spider Webs, Jacob’s Ladder and Losing the Strand” but could only get so far when I’d lose the strand…(to be finished and posted at a later date).

Then on to a relatively easy Shoutout about the great Maestro Ricardo (and my friend) receiving a prestigious award at the annual GFA Convention in Denver, held just one week after I left. I wanted to attend, but those plans got trumped (don’t know if I like that term anymore…) with the Dad-card. No regrets at all, but it does leave the “Shoutout: In Honor of the Maestro Ricardo” in the queue to be sent sometime whenever I can do a final edit on it…again, the focus thing is the limiting factor here. It may never get finished and sent out since it’s more (out)dated news.

I discovered early on that I didn’t have the energy required to return to my current Swimming with Swans projects. This of course lead to frustration because I needed something to do in the realm of creating while navigating this new pattern of four weeks here and two weeks there; along with the emotional stuff that goes along with end-of-life and long distance elder care.

So I picked up the needle…that phrase is loaded, eh? I first mentioned this phrase in my post “The Rusty Quilter” that describes my history and re-introduction to quilting and fiber art.

Whole-cloth quilt top basted and ready for straight stitch machine-quilting

Whole-cloth quilt top basted and ready for straight stitch machine-quilting

That said, I began in earnest my new ‘now’ project totally unrelated to anything other than as a pleasurable creative outlet: the whole-cloth quilted throw; which will be discussed in greater depth in yet another WIP blog post, as yet unnamed.

During today’s immersion in some straight line machine quilting, I listened to an Amazon Prime Classic Rock Song List.

When ZZ Tops’ tune, The Sharped Dressed Man came on full blast in my earphones and into my brain, I remembered my Jo-Jo and his new obsession with dressing snappy for work.

Joe Lilly is the Sharp Dressed Man

Joe Lilly is the Sharp Dressed Man

Here’s Joe in his Tuesday morning duds, posing in the dining room of my folks’ house, with the telltale cleaning supplies and messiness in the background. One of the fantastic things I got to do while visiting Dad was to make dinner for our kids. Some of Ma’s cooking stuff is still in the kitchen and so I was able to throw together some makeshift family favorites.

Since Joe still lives in the Denver area, he purposely carved out time to stop by after work and/or pick me up for doing fun stuff together during ‘down times’.

One such outing was going to his gig at the Oriental Theatre. Actually, my sorella-amica Lisa and I went to see our sons* at this wonderful venue. Like most musicians, he’s in several bands/ensembles. This one, Heavy Medicine**, added a horn section recently, of which Joe is their main sax-guy.

The Sharp Dressed Man with his Heavy Medicine Bandmates playing the Oriental Theatre, Denver, CO 6/2016

The Sharp Dressed Man with his Heavy Medicine Bandmates playing the Oriental Theatre, Denver, CO 6/2016

Me and my son - the sharp dressed man

Me and my son – the sharp dressed man

Lots more of this mother-son stuff is in the future with each trip back to visit Dad.

Oh and on the marquee behind us is the name Leon Russell, significant in that another blog post in the queue needing to be finished is called, “The Buena Vista Social Club, Leon Russell and Dad”.

Just sayin’.

 

‘Tis a blessing to be loved…

 

 

*Lisa’s son, Ted, is fourth from the left
**The track ‘Dangerous’ includes horns
acknowledgement note: last two photos taken by Lisa K.

New Book Release: Home to Cedar Branch by Brenda Bevan Remmes

                                 Waiting for Brenda
Home-to-Cedar-Branch-Novel-by-Brenda-Remmes
Of course wouldn’t you know, the day’s dark grey skies decided to pour forth a drenching rain the moment I stepped out of the car. Brenda and I were meeting that morning at the FloTown Starbucks on Palmetto for a quasi-interview, so I wanted to get there a bit before the appointed time.
After my mad dash into the tiny building, I quickly scanned the area for an available table. As a veteran of numerous coffee shops, I know that claiming one’s territory is best done first.  I planted my book bag atop my find as evidence of ownership then proceeded to redeem my empty bean bag* for a free cup of coffee.
Returning to ‘our’ table with java in hand, I settled in to read a few pages of ‘Home to Cedar Branch’ while waiting for Brenda’s arrival…

Home to Cedar Branch is Brenda’s second novel in the ‘Quaker Café’ series.  While not intended to be a part of an actual series, this stand-alone book clamors to be part of something larger than itself. Writing has a way of making demands on its author and Brenda is accommodating those demands by crafting yet a third book in the ‘Quaker Café’ series as of this posting.

Both novels, along with an in-progress third, are centered around the fictional community of Cedar Branch.  I asked Brenda if she would like to live in Cedar Branch.  Surprisingly, she told me that she Continue reading

Poetry Shoutout: “Heading North” by Andrew James Murray

Heading North book coverAndrew James Murray“I am a northern guy. I have lived the whole of my life in the north west of England. I feel northern. It is in my accent. It is in my attitude. It is in my preferences: my favorite season is winter…”

Thus begins Andrew James Murray in the Forward of his new collection of poems, Heading North.

 

This idea of ‘northern-ness’ in a non-American context intrigued me.

A mere 35 miles west of Manchester where Andrew resides lies the infamous town of Liverpool. I never thought of The Beatles as being ‘northern’.

And yet, thinking on this further, it begins to fall into place – this marriage of blue-collar work ethic to the arts and education; a gritty, earthy element evident in both (he)artists’ life-work.

Damp, dark mists surround day-to-day living in the North, where cold light slants in mysterious angles. This is where Andrew draws inspiration. Continue reading

No2NaNo4Me

It’s that time of year again, folks. At the stroke of midnight, October 31st, 2015 (or is it technically November 1st at the stroke of midnight?) I will not embark upon my fourth NaNoWriMo.

I removed that cool NaNo word counter widget from the sidebar just today, thus making my announcement official.

Bottom line: I am in the midst of a few grant deadlines which require reducing word count rather than inflating it.

All the best to you crazies as you scribble the days and nights away during this month of November.

50k is a big deal…

Camden Writers Group Workshop

Camden Writers at Books on Broad

Camden Writers* at ‘Books on Broad’ book launch

 Here’s something one of my Camden Compadres wrote concerning the up-coming Writers Workshop our group is presenting September 26th.  If you live near here or are in the area at that time, please consider joining us in this event. Thank you Jayne, for making passing on this information easy…just copy and paste and away we all go!

First One Word, Then Another

At least twice a month, something magical happens in Camden. That’s when the Camden Writers meet to critique one another’s work, share writing advice, and offer support. To say that I’ve learned a lot from this group is an understatement. Without them, I’d still be flagrantly using adverbs and overdoing what Mindy calls “Those Be Words.”

While we all enjoyed the social aspect of meeting with like-minded people, our group began to want something that would compel us to write and submit our work. We noticed that many of our entries centered on family, tradition, and the power of memory. Soon an idea was hatched to develop a communal document, and we published our first anthology, Serving Up Memory, in October 2014.

At one of the first meetings of 2015, one of our members suggested that we publish our collectivejayne's writers workshop image work every other year and have a workshop in the intervening one. I could have hugged Ari Dickinson for that stroke of genius. Not only did it give all of us some breathing room, but it also provided an opportunity to tackle another project, one that would offer help, encouragement, and information to writers in South Carolina.

After months of planning, we have a date, a venue, and a splendid line up for our first Camden Writers’ Workshop. First One Word, Then Another will be held from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM Saturday, September 26, 2015, on the downtown Camden campus of Central Carolina Technical College at 1125 Little Street. Late registration and a “mix and mingle” with light refreshments will take place at 8:30. Continue reading

Potholders, Project Progress and The Sound of Paper

Surrounded by Introducing Fractal Geometry and May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude, Julia Cameron’s The Sound of Paper sits amongst an elite stash of books which grace the backside of my desk work surface.  Picking it up, I opened its pages to where I last placed a 2004 Barnes & Noble bookmark and began reading.

Searching for words to cup a myriad of incoherent and vague thoughts swarming about my heat-wave induced spacey-brain, I came across practical encouragement in my current state of conundrum.  That state of wild productivity amidst desperate isolation, struggling to finish projects that are taking on the shape of completion.

Oh – so – slow – ly.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say my ‘Mojo stopped Mojoing’ but I have come up wanting in the energy department of late.  The constant drain of daily in-ing and out-ing in this humid triple digit heat has taken its toll.  The term languid suggests more than a glamourous lady lounging alongside the pool with margarita in hand to weather the weather.  It conjures up a wild-eyed mad-hatter creative, scurrying from instruments to computer to manuscript paper to WORD documents to notebooks to research to pacing to exercise machines to eating tons of watermelon to striving to keep cool to…ad infinitum.

Oh – so – slow – ly.

Backside of potholders

Quilted design on backside of potholders

Resulting in?

Potholders.

See here the fruit of my labors.

A set of potholders made from fabric purchased some 21 years ago.

Say, what? Continue reading