Tag Archives: writing

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

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

Strings, Strength and Soup

Well, I hit a wall on my grant progress shortly after our son left on Wednesday.

The energy of juggling regular meals, avoiding each other’s space when all three of us (both hubby and son are over 6 feet tall, so figure three adult bodies) were camped-out inside our homey 1100 square foot rental, balancing rest and relaxation with a few jaunts here and there, and just the comfy, constant companionship of each other’s company must have triggered my resolve to focus on the grant regardless by squeezing in very productive ‘me times’.  (Now how’s that for a sentence?)

I admit, I panicked.  After all, my goal is to have all but the Budget Section finished sometime within the first full week of December – which is right around this weekend’s corner. Yikes. So what did I do to allay that panic?

Took a walk. No good.
Took a shower. No good.

Cleaned up the kitchen. No good.
Cleared out the leftovers in the fridge. No good.

Stayed up all night staring at the computer monitor hoping the words would come. No good.
Downed two, yes, two, pots of coffee in the hopes that would help the above. No good.

Then it hit me…It’s all about the music.

I picked up the Prisloe and began playing.  Way good. Continue reading

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

Anna’s Hawk

As hubby and I drove the last few yards towards our driveway coming home from an outing the other day, the soundless swoosh of a hawk made its dramatic landing by the side of the road. Just as suddenly, it took flight to who-knows-where.red-tailed-hawk-in-flight

In those few moments, the raw heft of this bird of prey left a palpable presence. Bringing to mind my friend Anna’s novel, The Hawk. 

I’ve been reading it on Smashwords, where she has self-published many of her other novels. I respect the fact that as a creative (he)artist, she does the work necessary to get her work out there for others to enjoy.

She believes her novels are examples of faith in action.  As she says: “And this is where faith comes into the process; it’s trusting your instincts as a creative force to just let the words, or whatever artistic tools you choose, go where they will.”

Thank you Anna for that reminder. Continue reading

The Last 10,000 Miles

Anticipation:

Around this time last year, I noticed the odometer on our 2003 Toyota Camry read a little over 290,000 miles. And I remember thinking, “Wow, almost 300,000!”  Okay, that’s an obvious, yet  normal reaction.  Along with it came a heightened sense of wonder each time the car was driven.  Would today be the day it’d get to 300,000?

We do a lot of driving.  We figured it’d get to 300,000 in no time.  Feelings of tingly anticipation for the imminent occurrence of the momentous event were close to the surface of our emotions. And yet, those 10,000 miles seem to have taken longer to accrue than ever.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville. Impressive.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014). Impressive.

Michelle and the Smokin Thighs food truck, Nashville

Kicking around town with Michelle during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014)

Even after our trips to Atlanta, Nashville, and crosscountry to our roots in Colorado and back, that odometer just didn’t seem to budge. Soon, we left our vigil, but not our curiosity of when it would occur.

 

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Everyday mileage:

While driving back and forth to work, daily errands and events, along with weekly commutes to exits 131 (Wounded Warriors horse therapy) and 98 (Camden Writers critique group), the miles just kind of tagged along and tallied up slowly but surely.

Laura Bruno Lilly and Dennis Bruno (Orlando 2014)

Me, my cousin Dennis and Wizard Mickey (October 2014)

Thrown in for good measure was a trip to Orlando, Florida with cousins Chris and Dennis which added some mileage as well.  Oops, they drove, so those miles don’t count.

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Visits from the kiddos meant excursions to the Lynches River/Swamp, Pawley’s Island and even a trek to the stables.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle (November 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darn, but that odometer stubbornly hovered slightly above the 295,000 mark.  Not much closer to the big 300K.

Startled into alertness:

It wasn’t until I drove to Camden one fine morning in April for Brenda’s celebratory luncheon that I happened to glance at the odometer. It’s 298plusK didn’t quite register, until my math-mind insisted upon doing the numerical calculation.  Something clicked – we were a mere 1500 miles from the elusive 300,000 milestone. Again with the “Wow, almost 300,000.”  Note the fact that there is no exclamation point.  Aside from the fact that the Camden writers routinely point out they should be used sparingly if at all, it also reflects the fact that I was more keenly aware the big event wasn’t as imminent as it looked numerically.

“Almost” is still not enough:

Shortly thereafter, the car ‘got a new pair of shoes’ as hubby says.  Woefully in need of new tires, we splurged and got a great deal on a set of Michelin’s complete with a 90,000 mile warranty.  This baby was gonna get closer to 400K in no time…Ahem. Let’s just get to 300K, ‘k?

Anxious to break in those ‘new shoes,’  hubby got out the map and plotted a spontaneous day trip to St. Augustine, Florida.

Lighthouse St. Augustine, FL

Lighthouse St. Augustine, Florida (May 2015)

We thought for sure that adventure would tip us over the 300K mark.  It did not.  The following weekend was Mother’s Day.  I wore my new top purchased at a little boutique in the historic district of St. Augustine.  Surrounded by cards, gifts, phone calls of love and a doting husband, my day was made even more special by the prospect of the turning of that darn odometer.

Laura Bruno Lilly Mother's Day 2015

I am loved…Mother’s Day 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s the day:

Well, we almost blew it.  Last night after filling up the car with the old guzzleline (gasoline) master mind hubby looked down on the odometer.  “What are you planning on doing tomorrow?  There’s only 34 miles left to go.”

Nursing this puppy to greet 300K with both of us in attendance was top priority so I stayed home doing this blog post along with music related items on my Swimming with Swans project.

299,999 miles 2003 Toyota Camry

Before…

After work, Terry picked me up and away we went to countdown the final 8 miles left after a day of frugal driving.

Mileage300k

…After

 

 

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Laura and Terry sitting on the bumper of the car

Happiness is… journeying together for another 300K