Monday, March 31, 2008

Mid Air

The apartment thing is more than a pain. Do you remember the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where Redford and Newman are standing above a rushing river with the law closing in? Well it feels a lot like that to me. So I'm jumping. Actually I've got an appointment to see a place tomorrow afternoon. Maybe the weather will have cleared up by then.

Thursday night? Writing exercises might be just the thing. Or talking about how what we've been reading. Or a combination of the aforementioned. I discovered a set of writing principles by a very weird and funny author named Frederick Barthelme. I'll bring them in. It might be fun to go over them, talk them over.

Natica Caurena

This is the only writing I did over the weekend. I did chop the ice off the patio using a shovel and a sledgehammer, which was a whole lot of fun, and I knitted, but still not much writing. *sigh* Maybe after the wedding's over I'll get back into it in a bigger way. I hope.

It was quiet in the museum in the afternoon. That was why Bunny went there then. In the heat of the day the un-air-conditioned display rooms were empty of tourists who roamed from case to case quickly reading the little labels and feeling superior. He hated to see the sour little smiles on people's faces that told him that person though that where they came from was somehow better than Bunny's island. Just because there were a lot of rich educated people in America or Europe to pay money for scientists to search and to build fancy museums didn't make them better. In fact, Bunny thought, he liked Bonaire's dusty and sparse displays better because the people who found the shells and pottery, who saved the old photos, and wrote down the old stories did it out of love for their own history not because they would get fame or be paid well. The things in these dim and dusty rooms were real, Bunny thought, not like the glittery trash that Manning and Jack kept arguing about.

What are we doing on Thursday? Exercises maybe?


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bibs & Spring

It would have been easy to get on a bib jag but I managed to stop myself before it got out of hand. Only made two.

It has been warm-ish lately and the ice on the patio started to melt. I decided to help it and have been chiseling away at the edges with a shovel. Today I lost patience and attacked it with a sixteen-pound sledge hammer. That worked great, both to break up the glacier and vent a little bad humor.

Hey, Ann, click on the picture and you can see a bit of the vole trail in the grass in the background. Drives Dad nuts.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beaded Periwinkle

Actually right before getting to The Attic, I had spent an hour laughing and talking smart with my knitting pals, so I was pretty full of myself. You know what a mood elevator laughter is. WLT just caught my eye, the flyleaf lured me to read page 1, and the voice on the page sold me. So you've read it already? I just finished what I was reading and will start WLT tonight. I'm hoping the promise of the first little scene holds.

The trio of pale lavender shells pointed like toy tops sat on the silver wood of the crate piece that had washed on shore. Manning watched the three little mollusks bump together and jockey into position, the regular nubs of their shells sliding together to make a faint rasping sound. He laughed under his breath seeing the largest of the three, which was no bigger than a quarter, shove the others away from his chose spot, even though Manning could see no difference from one place to the other. He was sure the bully snail was a male. He believed in the superiority, the supremacy of males, the primordial imperative of the creature that made sperm. Manning had yet to meet Mona. His tune was about to change.

How's that for tossing a psychological grenade into the mix? I sure wish I knew where this stuff comes from. And I sure wish I knew of an apartment for you at a reasonable rent. What a pain. Good luck.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Giddy With Possibility

That's how you seemed last night, Barbara. Just ask Jenny and she'll tell you the very same thing. It was as if you were madly in love with that first page and a half of WLT. As if you were saying See how sweet and funny he is? See how smart? He's really something, don'tcha think? As a matter of fact, Lou recommended WLT way back when. No question, though. It's sweet, smart novel. And a hoot to boot.

The apartment-hunting has gone into a sort of frantic overdrive. The one bedroom won't be available until May at the earliest, and the two bedroom costs too much. The place that was named as a possiblity for a transitional month or so was revealed as a rooming house for drunks. So I've started looking in De Pere once again, hoping that I can hook up with something that I can live with for a year. Wish me luck.


Learned Something New

Day before yesterday I was sitting on the couch knitting along on my sock and staring at the Knit-a-Day calendar perched on the coffee table. None of the projects I had on the needles were small and quick (the quick part being most important since patience isn't one of my virtues) and I noticed that the pattern for that day was a mitered cotton bib with I-cord ties. I had never made I-cord before, wanted to learn, and besides my son's friends' new baby girl probably would need a bib someday soon. I had that giant ball of dishcloth cotton leftovers from my failed attempt to capture the craft show crocheted dishcloth market last fall, so there was plenty of raw material on hand.

After knitting 15 rows or so and realizing I was perfectly capable of screwing up even a pattern as simple as "knit one row, knit almost half the stitches, make a decrease, knit the othe
r half, repeat," frogging it, and starting over--twice, I figured out the 6-line pattern and got the thing made. Karen at knit night at Patti's Yarn Shop last night showed me how to pick up stitches (again) and how to I-cord. Pretty easy and fairly magical. Got one I-cord tie done before bed last night, but I wanted to put up a picture now. I'll finish it as soon as I sign off. I promise.

Flor di Sanger Verbena

You heard this last night too, but I'm putting it on here anyway. Hey, I can't write something new for you every blinking day, so just be happy with what you get. Not that anyone complains, you understand, I'm just setting out some boundaries. So there. ;-)

Mona sat on the patio watching the sunrise behind her send pastel shades of rose and gold in streaks across the sky to paint the tops of the iron gray clouds crouched on the western horizon behind the little offshore island. She watched the curl of steam rise from her cup of mint tea and smiled at the drops of dew that trembled on the ends of the palm fronds. Tiny emerald and brown lizards splayed themselves on the stucco wall, did their morning push ups, and displayed their orange throats at each other. The vivid red and yellow verbena that screened her patio from the neighbor's view reminded her of early morning at a busy airport with the squadron of black and iridescent green hummingbirds swarming around jockeying to be first to sip the nectar from each tiny trumpet. She mourned the fleeting moments of perfect stillness and harmony she felt as she sat there every morning that were so quickly lost when the maid Maria arrived.

Have a good weekend. And remember, I like to read what you write too.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boka Katuna

You've already heard this but I'm writing it here anyway.

Manning stood in the pale yellow sand feeling the warm salt water swirl over his feet. He had a good feeling about this little bay, about the broken and jagged boulders that littered the stretch of beach. It seem realistic that a sailing ship full of treasure would have foundered rounding the point out there where the water foamed white and the gulls soared on the updrafts. There, right there where the turquoise of the shallows plunged into the navy blue of the abyss, that was the place where he and Santiago had planted the broken pottery and encrusted metal that had come up entangled in Santiago's nets. The place where he fished was too deep to be visited by divers and therefore too deep for setting up the "investment opportunity" they had used to snare Jack. Part of Santiago's argument against the plan was the dishonesty but Manning convinced him that making the artifacts more accessible would make it more fun for the rich investors. Manning banked on Santiago's English not being up to the wild yarn he planned to spin to reel Jack, and his money, in.

Good meeting tonight. It was good to be able to read this to you. Thanks for listening.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Don't Know

I did a major rewrite on Rialto, and the language just wasn't happening. It's dependent on a springy, flippant narrative style and somewhere along the line, I lost a big part of the humor. So while the characters in Rialto take a breather, I might go back to Slow Dancing and see where that one wants to go. Or maybe start sketching scenes in Say What You Want. It all depends.

But I know what you mean about the 2008 planner. I've got similar trepidations when it comes to breaking in a new journal. To begin with, there's all this sentimentality about letting go of the old one. Usually I go through some kind of interim program, writing on loose sheets of paper. Then I'll be using the new journal, almost without my knowing it. It's like I have to trick myself into feeling comfortable about writing in it. Sure it's neurotic and maybe even a tad bit disturbed, but there you have it.

Bob ;-)

White Slave Huts

Wow, Bob, you sure see a lot more in my writing than I do. But I like your insights--a lot. Where have you gone if you're giving the Rialto crowd a break?

The little square window in the center of the back wall looks like it should have bars on it. He sits in the rental truck in back of the row of white slave huts watching the kaleidoscopic colors of sunset drain into the crinkled silk of the ocean. He thinks about the men who supposedly slept here in the days when salt production was a human, hands-on job, before the advent of electric pumps, bulldozers, and ship loading conveyers. The onshore wind whips around the little plastered box with its black slate roof, swirling through the rough grasses that cling to life in the shade of the hut, kicking up sand that it flings in his face. Tears spill down his cheeks. He doesn't know if the tears are caused by the sand or by the fact that his life is in shreds. This has to be the worst time to quit smoking--ever.

I'm not sure who this is; at first I thought it was a woman, but now I think it might be Diego. His carefully constructed life, the fantasy that he has built by ignoring reality, is about to come crashing down now that he's unwittingly brought all the pieces together. Sharon is a nice person and so is Maria, but squeezing them onto such a small piece of real estate as the island can't be good. We shall see. The pictures will tell the story. It's funny, I was eager to buy the 2008 planner to get more pictures to write about and can't seem to stop going through the 2007 one, like only those fifty-some photos hold this particular tale.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Getting Close

She had tried, Dad, she really had. Oh, Barbara. I hear her. I know she tried. I believe she tried with all her might. (This is getting deeply spooky and nervy and it is perfect.) Go deeper, though. I believe she is about to see through to something that will wrench her faith six ways from Saturday. I also believe that she can meet it with great heart and fierce intelligence. Which is more than I can say for the characters in Rialto. So I'm going to give them a break, and pick them up again in a couple weeks.

I'm so glad to hear that Jenny is okay. She seemed completely jangled and emotionally spent last Thursday. I know that she has weathered worse, but it was very tough to see her that way. Thank you, Barbara.

Bob ;-)


We didn't do much for Easter, just lolled around snacking and dozing, then fixed steaks, fresh asparagus, and sweet potatoes (not with marshmallows, uck, just plain) for supper. I look forward to reading more about the antics of the denizens of the Rialto.

Like frozen fireworks the red and yellow bromeliad thrust its fleshy leaves outward from the center of the plant. The merest glisten of the pre-dawn rain shone in the center cup like life-giving blood. All around, as far as Mona could see in every direction, was dry ochre ground, crumbly rock, and cactus. Only this one plant held out the hope that there might be life surviving in this place. Mona cursed the impulse that had pulled her out of bed at dawn and convinced her to drive into the park to watch the sunrise away from civilization. She had felt brave, even intrepid, as she dressed in cotton khaki slacks, a navy tank, and her never-worn hiking shoes. Taking pride in not being a complete fool she stopped in the shadowy kitchen to fill a couple of two-liter bottles with water and tucked them in her backpack with a tangerine or two, just in case. Be prepared, her Boy Scout dad would intone as he slid his official BSA jackknife into his pocket. She had tried, Dad, she really had. Knowing she wasn't in too much danger of being lost on the only road through the park across the old plantation, she drove boldly into the silver light of dawn. The muffled pop of the right front tire brought her to a stop. The discovery that some opportunist had made off with the jack and lug wrench from behind the seat left her in tears. But tears of frustration, only frustration, she told herself as she jammed her boonie hat down on her head, pullout out a tangerine and bottle of water, and sat in the shade of the truck to wait for the first Good Samaritan to come along.

I spoke with Jenny on Saturday afternoon, Bob. Neither she nor her brother or sister-in-law were able to get her out to Seattle sooner than Sat. midnight or delay her return so she'd have the same number of days as she originally planned. She had passed the jaw-clenching frustration of Thursday night and was deep into philosophical acceptance. She'll be back Wed. night and be at writer's on Thursday.

It snowed again. Bah. I'm not shoveling.


Monday, March 24, 2008

The Toads

Yes, yes, yes. And yes. This is the Barbara we all know and love. Of course I agree that it was a cowardly move on the University's part to notify Ann by way of an e-mail. If you ask me it was a minuscule savings of time and manpower that will eventually catch up with them. It always seems to work out that way. The toads, indeed!

My Easter was spent at Birch Creek, sweeping floors and washing dishes. Whoo-hoo! Still working on Rialto, trying to keep it bubbly and quirky. And speaking of bubbly and quirky, have you heard from Jenny?

Bob ;-)

Green Iguana

Thanks for the suggestion, Bob, I'll look for the magazine tomorrow. This long stretch of depression or lack of motivation/inspiration or writer's block or whatever this is, is kind of scaring me. It has never gone on this long for me before. I'm trying not to accept delivery of negative thoughts and just tell myself that once the wedding is over and life is back to (sub)normal, I will be too. And it didn't help that Northern Illinois University Press didn't hire Ann and their method of notifying her was to send her an email announcing the hiring of someone else. How cowardly not to send a letter or email thanking her for applying. The toads. But, look, I wrote a bit last night.

Lime green like the newest leaves in spring, the immature iguana clung to the old rock wall. Early in the last century the wall enclosed the property of the Washington plantation. One stroll through the little museum evaporates any romantic ideas about colonial plantation life here. There weren't any broad avenues lined with shady trees or airy houses with spacious rooms cooled by breezes. Never a lush place, the few hardy Europeans who scratched a living out of the meager soil of this island earned that living, their lives nearly as harsh as that endured by the slaves. Sharp rocks, thin soil, and thorny vegetation made it difficult to squeeze out subsistence, much less bounty. The inconsistent rains and the nonexistent nutrients in the ground made this a haven for cactus, iguana, and herds of goats, the growing of none of these were a route to riches. The lime green iguana was unchanged from those long ago days. His home hadn't changed, why should he.

Eh, it's words. Hope you had a nice Easter.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Supposed to Be a What????

I decided to make the mid-March Dishcloth KAL to try out the Lion Brand Cotton-Ease yarn. As I knit on it I tried to decide what I was making, but had absolutely no luck. After 5 days of rows emailed to me and knit, I bound off--and still couldn't figure out what it was supposed to be. Finally I got on the Dishcloth KAL site. It's supposed to be an illusion bunny. Hmmm. Mine looks like theirs. I still don't see it. It looks like a lamp to me. Opinions?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

If I May

Ordinarily I would not recommend a magazine article to someone feeling blocked up. But these are not ordinary times. Besides which, the article in question was written by Ray Bradbury (not my all time favorite by any means, but no slouch either). So I'll allow myself some leeway here, some bit of wiggle-room. The thing is that I have a theory (which only just occurred to me) regarding blockedness and the nature thereof. To whit: Spring is a time of growth and growth is painful. The Bradbury article is in the April issue of The Writer. It may be just what you want.

Bob ;-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Wanna Ride A Train

I would love to take a train trip, maybe to Yellowstone. I wonder if you still can. After my latest flights train travel sounds so civilized and restful. I would also enjoy a seder. Never been to one of those.

Seattle is a nice place to visit. The downtown's all hilly and fun to walk around in, great coffee and good fish, but a terrible place to drive. I really enjoyed the aquarium there and seeing the mountains. Seems like they got extra stuff out there, Puget Sound and mountains to look at.

Oh, Jenny called yesterday to say she's not leaving for Seattle until Friday so she'll be at writer's tomorrow after all.

It's been a week since I've written or made myself write and I'm starting to crave it. I plan to wait until I can't stand not writing. I want to want it bad. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

That Jenny

She's so lucky. Seattle sounds like a great place to spend a couple days. Or a year. Great coffee too. Outstanding fish. So I'm told. Who knows, though. One day I may make it out there my own self. But until then, Green Bay will have to do. Today one of the cooks from work was regaling us with stories about the trip she and her daughter took to Washington D.C. On the Amtrak, no less. Cool beans! As for me, I'm attending a Seder meal tomorrow. No doubt I'll have some stories.

Bob ;-)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Faith & Begorrah!

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you too, Bob. All is well here too, after a fashion. Jenny leaves for Seattle on Wednesday so it'll just be you and me Thursday night. See you then.



For some reason I felt compelled to cast on a Twisted Rib hat yesterday. I don't know why. I didn't need another hat. I have lots of hats, but the yarn (Patons Melody in Good Sports) caught my eye when I was stash trolling for another yarn and I found myself casting on and knitting. It's only 24 rows so it doesn't take long. It turned out a bit big though. I'll donate it. Somewhere there's a big-headed kid that needs a hat.

Here's the Wave Pool dishcloth in Sugar 'n Cream Country Stripes. Doesn't it look oceanic?

Happy St. Patty's Day

All is well (more or less).

Bob ;-)

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I have an FO--the Short & Sassy Shawl from One-Skein Wonders I started, oh, way back in September that got shoved into a tote under another tote behind the rocker in the corner. I noticed it last week while browsing my Ravelry projects and thought, hey, I should finish that. So I did. I had forgotten one interesting aspect of the yarn (Yarn Bee Soft Delights Extreme from Hobby Lobby) which is that last night I looked at my lap to discover that I was covered from nipples to knees with fuzz, little brightly colored accent threads from the yarn. Should be awesome worn with a black shirt, right?

And today I proved once again that I am a dishcloth ho. Even though I have 2 socks (well, 3 actually) on the needles, one sweater, and two secret projects on the go, I still had to cast on a Wave Pool Washcloth because I suddenly remembered the ocean colors of a skein of Sugar 'n Cream Country Stripes and wanted to see how it looked. No wonder I have hand cramps.

Best of all, the tiny yellow crocuses I planted in front of the rental side of the duplex are up and just about ready to bloom. Looks like spring might be on the way after all, kids.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Green Stuff!

Look what I saw this morning when I went out to get the morning paper! (Click to embiggen.) It's a little patch of hyacinths nestled in the corner heated by sunshine reflected from the brick front of the house. Ahhh, green.

What a Woman

Mona is just amazing. Imagine, pouring most of a Mai Tai down someone's pants to discourage their drunken advances. I'll never get to do that, Barbara, and I'm jealous. She has such a beautiful, tough, generous heart. Does she know how wonderful she is? Someone should tell her.

Bob ;-)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Turtle Painting

Actually, Bob, I didn' well, that is. Didn't write on Tuesday and really had to force myself to the desk last night. I'm ready for this slump thing to be over. Over, do you hear? I'm at a loss how to make it be over but will entertain suggestions.

Maybe I'll take up painting, thought Mona standing in the mildew-y smelling blast from the Cinnamon Gallery's overworked air conditioner. I couldn't be any worse than this guy. She bent forward and squinted at the artist's signature smeared in the lower right corner of the framed canvas. Winfred Danie it read, written in what looked like a child's handwriting. Was Winfred Danie someone influential's
nephew acclaimed as the family prodigy and given a show in return for a juicy donation? Mona shook her head and glanced around looking for a sheet describing the art. There it was, a haphazard pile of poorly Xeroxed pages flung in a cut-down corrugated carton. Very chic, she thought derisively as she stooped to pick one up. She frowned at the grainy black and white photo of the artist placed at a slight angle atop the sheet of text describing him and his works. She had met this man at one of Jack's influence-currying cocktail parties. The man in the picture had been quite convinced that Mona herself was on the appetizer menu. It had taken the better part of a Mai Tai poured down the front of his slacks to convince him otherwise.

That Mona, she's quite the girl. No longer helping Jack attain status on the island. Not earning her keep. Tsk. No wonder Jack fell for Manning's treasure bait.

See you tonight.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Luck, Barbara

Though I'm sure you did beautifully well in the interim. And I know what you mean about the general irritation running through these days. The cooks at work are wrecking meals, making a mess of things. I'm feeling either goofy, or so on edge that I want to tear things up. Some alcohol might help. Or not. I'll give you the post-game. See you and Jenny tomorrow.


I Had an Accident

If you look back at the previous post you'll see I was frustrated by my lack of finishing and decided not to cast anything on until I had something done. Well, um, that didn't really work out very well. I kind of dozed off on the couch Monday night and awoke to find this in my hands. It's the 6 sts/inch pattern from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. I had heard the yarn, Filatura di Crosa Maxime Print, calling to me out of my stash for the last couple of weeks and was able to ignore it, but I guess my resistance was low and I had a yarn accident. No other projects were injured in the casting on.

I finished the Dashings for Dave last night, though. They feel great on but sure look funny just lying there, like long cabled tubes. Well, I guess that's what they are, but I think they're too long for me. Good thing they're for someone else, huh?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


"Squint," she said, "squint, then you'll see what I mean." Louise and Edward stood in the baking sunlight peering up at the red ochre drawings that covered the yellow stone cave ceiling. They each held a hand up to shade their eyes from the glare. Edward had just finished reading from a brochure that he picked up at the airport, that archaeologists hadn't yet interpreted the meaning of the paintings. Louise felt sure she could read the story in the red swirls and dots that sprawled over their heads. "Oh, for God's sake, Louie," Edward said, flapping the brochure at her, "if some PhD with sixteen degrees can't make heads or tails out of these scribbles, what makes you think you can?" She turned to him, tears glittering in her pale gray eyes and she pressed her hand to her chest. "I feel it, Edward. I don't think about it, I feel it." "Oh, for the love of..." Edward turned back toward the rental car. "You sure your box doctor won't prescribe some little pills? You're turning into a crazy woman, Louie, a real gold-plated loony." He slammed the car door and turned the key to start it cooling off. She turned to glare at him. "Fuck you, Edward." She spat out the words as if they were sand in her mouth, wondering what had ever possessed her to fall in love with him.

Don's working all day; I have high hopes for writing or rewriting, once I get all my other chores done, that is. Wish me luck.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Stupid Winter!

I'm blaming Daylight Savings Time for all personal, meteorological, cosmic, and automotive (just for Brian) problems for at least the next month. It's SPRING forward, people, not winter forward. What do they imagine we're going to save? It's too cold to turn the furnace off so we won't be saving any natural gas/coal/heating oil anytime soon. We still need to turn on lights if it's dark when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed at night. What special interest group bribed this into effect, huh? I want some answers here.

And, no, I didn't write this weekend. I'm fairly peeved about that too. Actually I seem to be peeved about everything today. I'd avoid me if I were you. Although I suspect my peevishness throws off a certain amount of heat, so sitting near me might warm up your fingers, Bob. Hope they get your heat turned back on soon.


Cold Fingers

The electricity is off this morning and, according to the signs posted, for most of the afternoon. There's a great big honking Public Service truck coming in today, so all cars had to be out of the parking lot by 7:30. Which made for a very interesting morning. Besides needing the battery jumped before he could drive over to the parking lot by Whitney Park, Brian's car has two flat tires. We made it out, though. Yeah us! Hope your day is less interesting overall.


Too Much Starting, Not Enough Finishing

I sat on the couch yesterday looking at all the projects clustered around my feet and got a little frustrated. The only FO I have from the weekend is a Cancer Awareness Ribbon dishcloth I zipped through for Ryan. I love the way it turned out in variegated yarn--but then I love everything in variegated yarn! I knitted a few more rows on my Red Licorice Sweater, and recovered the lost ground on Dashing #2. No sock progress, I had to frog one of the secret projects, but made good progress on the other secret project. Check out my Ravelry page for info on them. I'm bookie there too.

BTW, I bought some of the yarn for the Red Licorice sweater in Jo-Ann's and some online and (this is the amazing part) the store yarn and the online yarn have the same dyelot. What are the odds?

And Blogger's not letting me upload pix. I'll try again later. It's Monday.

Ah, pictures. Finally.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sun, Sand and Wind

I like the beach scene. It's about time you wrote it. Unless my memory has gone bad there really hasn't been a comfortable, relaxed beach scene yet, and this one is a beautiful start. The problems you bring into it, the social misgivings you have running through Sharon's head, give it real weight. My question is this: why is she so aware of the mercenary implications of their skin colors? Also, is the color question that pronounced yet? Inquiring minds want to know.


Pink Beach

The red eye of the pelican sitting on the top of the drift of broken coral gave it a Stephen King look as if it was possessed by an evil spirit. The large brown bird tucked its enormous beak down along its neck as if to peer down at Sharon and Diego as they lay in the hot sand. "That bird doesn't like us," Sharon said. Diego glanced over his shoulder at it and laughed. He raised himself up on an elbow and leaned down to smooth kisses on Sharon's shoulder. "That bird only cares about fish. He isn't interested in us." Sharon felt uncomfortable lying there among the locals and the tourists. She felt her pale skin and obvious American-ness contrasted with Diego's cocoa brown skin led people to believe that either she rented herself out by the hour or that he did. But Diego was excited by the contrast of his brown hand on her white stomach and had a hard time not touching her. Very soon she had had enough public affection and pushed herself up and went int to the ocean for a cooling swim.

Glad you think I write well, Bob, even if I have to be overtired to do it. One of these days we'll break out of our slumps, our muses will return from their extended vacations, and we'll get back to writing.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Just a Thought...

Don't quote me, Barbara, but in my humble opinion you write better when you're tired. There's a very rich and sad and funny tone going on in Thursday's piece. I've seen it before, but I also think you're getting better at it. So here's what I'm thinking: walk five miles before writing, or maybe move ten large boxes from one side of the garage to the other. Feel free to disregard this unsolicited advice.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I guess I should have seen it coming. I've been knitting pretty steady since I learned last summer and, aside from a few stitches or a row here and there, I haven't had to frog anything very severely. Yesterday I got home from work and pulled out Dashing #2 (completed Dashing #1 above) which was ready for its first cable round. Foolishly thinking I was familiar enough with the pattern to just plunge in without rereading it, I clicked on Cash Cab on TV and started knitting. After the cable row, I kept knitting the next 9 rows until time (about 9:30) for the second cable round, when I discovered that 10 rows back I had made 4 cables instead of 2. I had to rip back all the work I had done all evening, lay it to waste, and start over. Oh, not from the cast on row but I'm a pretty slow knitter, so losing an evening's concentrated work was pretty demoralizing. *sigh* I'm such a trial to myself.

As a reward I knitted a few more sleeve rows on my first ever sweater, knitting it onto a circular needle so it would be easier to deal with the ever-widening stitches. It's pretty, isn't it? Mmm, Red Licorice.

Angelfish Mosaic, Belnem

It was hard to write about the picture again since the first little piece I wrote about it was so vivid, but after a lot of thinking (very hard to do after 11 PM) I managed this little bit. Interesting piece, Bob. I'm liking the population of your movie theater.

It had to be a trick, Sharon thought, an optical illusion. She blamed the large blue and yellow tiled angelfish on the pool bottom for the whopper of a hangover she had endured last week the day after she and Diego had arrived on the island and moved into the villa. Diego had been insistent that they rent this place at the other end of the island from where he grew up. The one story house sprawled like an overworked tart on the lot and was painted a particularly sickening shade of mauve. The only redeeming feature of the outside of the place was the sparkling clear pool water, courtesy of The Pool Guys according to the plastic plaque screwed to the garden wall, with the ever-watchful tiled fish staring at her from the bottom.

It's not much but it was late and I was tired and frustrated because I had made a knitting mistake and had to rip out all 10 rows
, including 4 cables, I had knitted after supper. Grrr. See you tonight.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Barbara, you are a trooper! The iguana episode has all the characteristics of an entire chapter. Or most of a chapter. I like the gently ironic (satiric?) sociology. I get from it a real affection for the characters. Here's something I came up with yesterday.

When the movie was almost over Kyle took up his customary place in the lobby. Movie-goers pushed through the doors, moving past him in a steady current and out through the front door. There were the people who joked about the movie. Or talked about what they had to do next. Or just looked around the lobby as their eyes got used to the light. Kyle stood there next to the potted palm, waiting until everyone had filed out. Then he got the broom and a hinged dustpan on a handle from the store room and headed in.

There were always a few stragglers, though; couples, usually, who stayed to watch the credits. Who were these people? Was it the music they stayed for, or some obscure technical information in the credits? Or was it the dark itself, and the effort of actually getting up that they were putting off until the moment when the house lights came up. Then they got up, stretched, and walked out, wobbling slightly on their feet. It was a plain, high-ceilinged box, this room, put up maybe a generation before the movie-palace vogue. Every sweep of the broom and every whack of the dust pan against a hard surface hung in the air a fraction of a second too long. He wondered what Janice was doing at that moment. They had plans for later on, once his shift was over.

See you and Jenny tomorrow.



I don't want to seem like I'm bragging (but I am) but I want to say right here and now that I spent most of yesterday at my writing desk rewriting Horizon. I have nearly 20 pages redone! It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Of course, I stopped when I hit a comment that suggest a huge change and a bunch of extra writing, but it was late in the afternoon and time to stop anyway. On Thursday night I will tackle that long, big change comment with my lovely writing group around me to support me. In the meantime, here's a scribble to read:

Pigeon-toed and armor-plated, the iguana stamped down the middle of the road, a line of cars and trucks trailing behind it like a retinue. The first car would have passed, could have passed the tiny dinosaur when it came up behind him (it could only be a "him" with the line of spikes down the spine) but as the lady driver put on her turn signal and prepared to zip around him at the next wide spot in the one-lane road, he turned and fixed her with such a glare that her foot came off the accelerator and she remained in her proper place. The driver, a lady trying very hard to stay in touch with her island roots in the face of cultural homogenization via the internet, took on the task of keeping anyone else from passing just as a proper courtier protects other, more human royalty. Three cars back, Bunny sat back in a ganja haze enjoying the slow pace of the ride. At the other end of the island Manning checked his watch for the tenth time and cursed the day he acquired such a laid-back helper.

There ya go. Writing. Time to go to work.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Okay, my latest idea to try and force myself to write is to (brace yourself) write at my writing desk. *gasp* I know, it's shocking, but I figure desperate times call for desperate measures. I tried it last night and, you know what, it worked. I'm off today and Don's working so I'm going to try it again once I get this typed in and I brush my teeth. Maybe I'll get a page of Horizon retyped. That'd be very good. Warning! Actual writing content follows...

The large robin-sized bird perched on the garden gate glaring at Mona. She couldn't get over how vivid orange the bird's breast was and how the contrast of its black head feathers ma
de the orange even brighter. There was a yellow ring around the shiny black eye that gave the bird a horror film look. Mona studied the elegant looking creature as she sipped her coffee and toyed with the toast that Maria set before her. "You see the trupial, Miss?" Maria asked. "I wondered what it was--a trupial." As if responding to its name the bird stretched its neck, threw its head up, and gave a loud clear call, one note that it flung at the blazing morning sun like a gauntlet. Almost before the note stopped ringing in the heated air there came an answering call from a nearby tree. Maria laughed. "Just like a man. He calls her to come to him." She cocked her head to the side. "You watch," said the younger woman, "pretty soon a female will come and flutter down beside him." Sure enough another trupial flew over and landed on the gate. "How can you tell males from females?" Mona asked. Maria crossed her arms and shook her head. "Easy. You see he's all duded up; she's just a little drabber. I figure to soothe his ego." The women looked at each other and burst out laughing at the universal truth of those words. The trupials flew away unfed.

There now, that wasn't so hard was it? You can do it again, Barbara, just tap the little keys or push the pencil around and words line up, and almost like you want them to. Almost.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Uninspired Weekend

Tried to write more, didn't or rather couldn't seem to focus. Bah, made for a depressing weekend. Bob, that's my favorite moment in Friday's writing too. I love the image of little Emilia singing while playing in the dusk. And Jenny's editing month idea's really growing on me too. I look forward to giving myself a break from the self-recriminations and tackling the rewrite of Horizon. After all, I already know the whole story, I just need to retell it with fewer booboos. Should be an interesting challenge. I think my muse is in outer space. To Jupiter and beyond!

I like Friday's post, Barbara. Especially the moment with Maria sitting on the front steps and listening to Emelia singing to herself. This is quietly wonderful. Jenny, have you done anything with the umbrella opening? Or thought about it?

Barbara, by making March "editing month" you have resolved a myriad (love that word) of issues. Thank you. I've been going in circles rewriting one especially stubborn sentence in the movie theater story. The thing is that it'll probably get cut with the rewrite, or a fresh, new sentence will wind up in it's place. This is a clear sign that my creative juices are at low ebb. The muse is out of town.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

New Yarn!

I didn't go shopping for new yarn, no I didn't. I went to return some just-in-case-I-can't-get-more-of-the-right-color yarn, now that the right color yarn appeared on the front porch in a box the other day. Yippee.

Evidently it's against the laws of the universe to go to a store than sells yarn and not buy some. I was actua
lly going to try and find a notion I need to make something that's a secret. Jo-Ann's didn't have the notion, but it did have these yarns that all-together cost $1 less than the yarn I returned. They had Sugar n' Cream for 5/$10 (who can resist that?) and then I had two 40% off coupons and one 50% off coupon so I got some Cotton Ease. The variegated stuff is Sensations Cosetta which is evidently discontinued. It's gonna be a hat.

Then I drove to
DePere to go to Loops and Links. Shana was glad to see me since I hadn't been back since we left for Bonaire way back in January. She didn't have the notion either, but I bought a Spring/Summer copy of Knit Simple (I should subscribe to that mag. I like it.) and look at the pretty yarn that was on the Wall O' Savings! It's Takhi Shannon in 011 colorway, 100% wool and enough for a hat and gloves. Yum.

I didn't buy any yarn at Hobby Lobby but they also didn't have the notion. I bought Kristin Nicholas' Kristin Knits because of the worsted weight, multicolor yarn socks patterns, which I will not cast on until at least some of the five things I have on the needles is finished. Cross my heart. (Besides I decided I want to use 4 or 5 different colors of Galway tweed to make the socks and Links and Loops isn't open on Sunday.)

The only things I bought at Michaels (no notion there either) were a couple of (on sale) seashell melt & pour soap molds because mine is cracked. It was fun but I still don't have that notion. Guess I search online. Drat.