A companion piece to “Seven Things About Me–Reading Division.”
1. I write from the beginning of whatever I’m working on to somewhere in the middle, then I write the end. Then I go back and write the rest if the middle one I can see where I’m going to end up.
2. I’m a sucker for pretty notebooks.
3. And even more so for great, fine point pens, black ink only.
4. I have to be careful what I read when I’m writing. Ever picked up a nasty style bug from, say, the highly contagious Henry James? Then you know what I mean.
5. I always put something I really love into a piece: a name, a flower, something I noticed years ago but never wrote down.
6. I go over and over scenes in my head until I can actually see them, like watching TV. Then I watch them and write down what’s happening.
7. I love commas and semicolons and hate quotation marks.
I really like this challenge because it makes me,stop and think about what I did this week, instead of only focusing on the ever-growing to do list.
I find it especially hard to do anything in this weather. The snow, the cold (plus an extra-large serving of work stress) left me wanting to go home and curl up into a ball most nights, but I made it to my Wednesday writing group. I put together another 30 pages for my other writing group to critique, and I wrote a pivotal scene for that section.
I also took a day off during the week and wrote a blog post that I liked so much (and it was so long!) That I decided it was a personal essay and finished and submitted it. I wrote another scene for the book and got it about half typed up, as well.
Not too bad for someone who would really rather be hibernating!
The story of my latest adventures in Camden! Marguerite’s right– I know believe the people of Camden to be almost unnaturally polite and chivalrous….
I know all of you are big readers–if not, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Maybe some of you are writers or storytellers. Sometimes when something happens, I think–this is a story… Every day something happens, so….wow! stories every day. Some better than others. But, you know what I mean.
Yesterday my friend, Maria Casales, took the Riverline from Trenton to Camden, hoping to get off at the 36th and River Road Station, verrrrrrrrrrry close to my house. I was excited because Maria is a great writer, author of The Caregiver, and she had consented to talk to my writing workshop, Woodland Writers. When she didn’t get off, I phoned her and she answered immediately, “Yes, I missed my stop.”
Being a Camden native, I knew how to pick her up at the Walter Rand Transportation Center, the next stop and there she was. Maria said that…
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Every season holds special delights for readers, and here are some favorites for snowy days or long, dark nights. Make a cup of tea, (or the Bookworm snow day fave, hot chocolate) grab something fleecy and your woolliest, silliest socks, and try one of these.
The Lymond Chronicles: Six volumes of Renaissance wit, intrigue, swashbuckling, poetry, magic and romance with chess-themed titles. A marvelously complex hero and a huge cast of fascinating characters including the toddler Mary Queen of Scots. Volume one is good. By two chapters into volume two, I was laughing out loud at the best trick an author has ever played on me, and irrevocably hooked. There’s enough here to savor until spring (if Phil is right).
Zenna Henderson: I have the big Zenna Henderson omnibus reader, as well as those of my paperbacks that have survived the years, moves and lending. Henderson wrote wonderful interrelated stories of good aliens, called The People, who leave their dying planet and come in small lifecraft to the American Southwest. Their stories of reunion, survival and coming of age are completely unique and deserve to be more widely known. Many of Henderson’s stories take place in old mining towns and schoolteachers are often the narrators. One unrelated story is the creepiest tale of OCD ever. Check her out.
Tana French’ s tales of the Dublin murder squad are again loosely interrelated, with a different detective narrating each one, so you can start anywhere. I’m planning to read them in order again, very slowly, and hope that by the time I get to the end there’s a new one!
Garden books: There is a special happiness to be found in reading and dreaming of gardens at a time when no one can possibly expect you to go out and, well, actually work in one. Curl up with a pile of your favorite catalogues. I especially like to pick out all the old roses and peonies that will never make it in my shady yard–in my winter dream graden they thrive! Check out Onward and Upward in the Garden, by Katherine White. Besides being an editor at the New Yorker for many years, and marrying E.B. White, White wrote about gardening and about her garden in Maine. If you can find a copy, Celia Thaxter’s An Island Garden with Childe Hassam’s color illustrations is a wonderful way to pass a winter afternoon.