Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Welcome!

Welcome to the new series on my literary blog.  I’ve struggled with the format of a different web page design software for several years, but now happily return to Blogger with the help of my new web design specialist, Maddee James of xuni.com.  I’m excited to re-start the conversations I’ve had with you and others interested in literature, writing, and nature.

In 1725, Antonio Vivaldi published his most famous work, Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons).  The first section was entitled Spring, the second Summer, the third Autumn, and the fourth Winter.  That cycle of seasons, in that order, might be the list most people would give if asked to list the seasons of a year.

After a career in academia, I would begin at a different place, with my favorite season, fall.  To me, fall is a time of beginnings, expectations, visions of the future.

Winter is a season of amplification, opening of the boxes of secrets, working to absorb the new ideas popping out of those boxes.  Spring is when cross connections and deeper insights can begin, the bud begins to open.  Summer is full flowering of the ideas in those secret boxes, when the insights from them can be played with in many ways and related to other fields, to life, to other people.

Starting a new web page is like fall, starting off with a new set of secret boxes and a beautiful, stimulating new design.  It invigorated me to create this new website with the xuni designer Maddee James.  I liked the shiny DNA on my old site, but somehow the overall website design felt generic, not specific to authors’ needs, and it simply wasn’t exciting to look at.  I find the new site gives me the pleasure of looking at a beautiful collage, but also gives me the mental challenge of seeing the connections between the different parts of the picture.  I love to reflect on that idea, and to find how swamps, keys, and birds work together, how DNA and the ocean relate to one another, and more.  I hope you will enjoy seeing this stimulating new design too.

I’ve used the previous incarnation of this blog to interview authors of new books, and I invite authors to contact me about reading and reviewing their work.  I’ve also run an annual word play called alphabetaphilia, the results of which you can download and look at.  Let me know if you’d like me to re-start that word play or to keep the blog focused on thoughts on various topics.  I’ve taught writing spirituality and Writing Our Way Forward since I stopped blogging, and I’d like to hear if you want me to discuss some of the insights from these courses on the blog.  Also, if there are topics you’d like to bring out, I’m interested to hear about them.

Please join in conversations that interest you, but please no erotica or painful sarcasm.  Welcome!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Setting the setting: Water colors

 

Hi friends of reading and writing,

Do you enjoy the setting details in reading or do you skip over them?  I've heard both from friends who read a lot.  I enjoy setting details myself, so I can go over the top in writing about them.  I have to remind myself about music, films, other good time markers, but when it comes to water, I can write a book on that alone.

Watching water is one of my favorite mind-regenerating activities.  It looks remarkably like doing nothing, I admit that.  But the colors change, reflect the sky's moods, show more or less reflection of the shore depending on the wind and current and the sun's position.  And the water can be its own color.  I posted a photo of a great blue heron at Newport Back Bay on FB.  People liked it, commented on their experiences with this bird.  Since I'm writing about North Carolina's lowland rivers and swamps, I said that for my setting in current writing, the water should be tes-brown or black.  Shiny like coal, great at reflecting egrets but great at hiding herons.  I just hope that the color of water means something to my readers someday.  It means a lot to my protagonist, Holly McLain, growing up into an environmental activist in North Carolina, then California.

What do you feel about settings in your writing and in your reading?

cheers,
Laura

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Z is for zebra for February 26 on Alphabetaphilia

 

Hi readers and writers,

This is the last day for this year's alphabetaphilia so if you're still enthused about alliteration, feel free to go back to any letter you'd like and add a sentence using 5 words starting with that letter on Feb 27 and Feb 28 or any other day you visit the blog.

Here's a zebra, Equus quagga to scientists,399px-Plains_Zebra_Equus_quaggaa favorite photo from Creative Commons, to inspire you today to find 5 z-words, use in a sentence, and post in comments.  The coat of the zebra has to be one of the wonders of the world.  If you watch a herd gallop by in real life or in TV, the optical movement is overpowering.


cheers,
Laura

Y is for Yarrow on Alphabetaphilia for February 25

401px-Achillea_millefolium_vallee-de-grace-amiens_80_22062007_1

Dear readers and writers,

Here's a photo from Creative Commons of yarrow plant to inspire you to find five y-words, use them in a sentence, and post it on comments below.  Only one more day of Alphabetaphilia this year (although you can always go back and fill in for your favorite letter(s).

cheers,
Laura

X is for X-ray on February 24 on Alphabetaphilia

First_medical_X-ray_by_Wilhelm_Röntgen_of_his_wife_Anna_Bertha_Ludwig's_hand_-_18951222


Dear readers and writers,

Here's the x-ray of his wife Anna's hand that Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays took as a demonstration of the method.  Have you wondered what would happen if you wore a ring for an x-ray?  Now you know!

Use this x-ray to inspire you to choose five x words, use in a sentence, and post under comments.

cheers,
Laura

W is for Wave on February 23 for Alphabetaphilia

[caption id="attachment_6244" align="aligncenter" width="300"]wave of trees atop a hill in Oregon wave of trees atop a hill in Oregon[/caption]

Dear readers and writers,

My computer problems continue, but I'm trying to at least get through the alphabet!  Here's a wave to inspire you to choose 5 w-words and use in a sentence that you post in comments.

cheers,
Laura

Sunday, February 24, 2013

V is for Vanilla on February 23 on Alphabetaphilia

[caption id="attachment_6240" align="aligncenter" width="145"]vanilla beans vanilla beans[/caption]

Dear readers and writers,

For February 23, we have V for our letter.  Here's a photo from Creative Commons, with thanks, of vanilla beans.  I was over 30 years old before I realized my favorite flavor, vanilla, was a product of beans!  Thank goodness, someone else had discovered that long since and shared it with the world.  Let vanilla inspire you to some aromatic and tasty thoughts using 5 words starting with V today, use them in a sentence, and post in comments.

cheers,
Laura