February 28, 2014

How It All Gets Written

      I love writing and I love writing about things I know. One of my characters loves knitting, another knows how to make brick. In the book I am working on now, The Matter with Margaret, the heroine learns about cleaning and homemaking, two things that are close to my heart. I have always enjoyed cleaning and the satisfaction that it can bring. I will be bringing that into Margaret.  I am also building my next novel. This is how I write. I put together a concept, build the characters in my mind and the challenges they face in life, do an outline, take notes and then sit down and let it pour out. I research tons while writing and sometimes that research will get interjected into the story. In Piecrust Promise I wanted Corrine to build her own home. I know a little about adobe and the kinds of homes that the settlers built on the prairies. I found the most adorable photograph of a dugout house and was very inspired by it. It is not adobe but I imagine it with a blazing woodstove on a cold winter's day, cozy inside with a fresh baked pie on the table. Think of how your hands would have felt after digging out all of those rocks and building them into a home. The washtub and sprouting bulbs are perfect!

    So as I write each book I begin to formulate the next book and I have decided a future heroine will weave. I have done just about everything one could imagine with fiber. I knit, crochet, sew, tat, make bobbin lace, spin and quilt. I have never woven anything more elaborate than a jersey loop potholder or tiny squares of yarn on a similar device. This week I bought a loom. It's not the floor style monster but it's serious and beautiful and I am learning about weaving. We are fortunate to have the internet to help us learn but experience is the best teacher. I'm figuring by the time I'm ready to put pen to paper I will be able to write about weavers with the best of them. I hope you will join me on my journey!  
  Coming next, the recipe for that delicious pie on the cover of Piecrust Promise. After the photograph was taken we ate it. It was divine!
Thank you for visiting, I also love seeing that so many come here to visit every day!

February 23, 2014

A Snowy Winter

      It has been a very snowy winter here, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. There were many things about relocating to the east coast I found interesting when I arrived. When I first moved here from sunny southern California, I came out in late May. The first thing that was unusual to me was the abundance of water. The faucets ran in the restrooms and toilets flushed continuously. Then there were the green trees. Vivid green trees, bright and fresh and abundant. I had lived just outside of L.A. all of my life between the sea and the desert. Here there were tender dogwood blooms and bright azaleas. I liked what I saw.
      Then summer came and  there was the heat. I was staying with a friend who lived in a trailer. A trailer with no air conditioning. One morning the sun came out and the ground seemed to erupt with mahogany colored wasps. They were everywhere. Then it got hot. A horrible hot I have experienced many times since then but never like that first day. I took a quick shower. It didn't help. It was my first experience with humidity. I can tolerate it much better now, or maybe my expectations are different. Regardless, I have stayed.
      There are things I miss about the west coast. Sunsets over the water. Lemons growing in the backyard. Here I have weather. Lots and lots of weather. I did live in New England for several years. There you have winter. Lots and lots of winter. Here there's a bit of everything. On this February day it is near 60, later this week they expect it will be back into the single digits at night. The weather even changes close to the days on the calendar. Just about the time the calendar counts down to spring it will feel like spring here. The crocus will have covered the lawns and the tulips will stand in the otherwise bare gardens in bright colors. I have them in my garden in soft pinks of all shades like strawberry ice cream. Another winter will have passed. No matter how many different kinds of weather I see it is much more exciting I think than weatherlessness. The same temperature, day after day, month after month is not for me. I guess that's a basic in my personality. A life that once held adversity makes the easier times in life so much sweeter. In a weatherless life would I notice a tulip in the same way?
      There are changes in language from the west to the east. Green onions and scallions and handbags and purses and pocketbooks. An elastic or rubber band, a parlor or livingroom,  waaater or wooter. When we talked about someone being 'knocked-up' in L.A. it meant something very different to what the children here refer to when they 'knock up'. But one of the things I find adorable about Philadelphia are the chairs saving the shoveled out parking spaces. If you have ever cleared out the dimensions of a car, plus the space to get in and out of the spot,  the snow wet and heavy (which is the type of snow we get here), and then have someone pull their car into that spot you will understand. And whenever I see an old lawn chair placed for that purpose in the road I have to think that for every chair in a shoveled out parking space there is a story. What one comes to mind for you?

Think about it and thank you for visiting...


February 17, 2014

Shirley Temple Makes Me Cry

      A local television station featured a Shirley Temple marathon yesterday. I turned on the television in my studio, which I rarely do. Her sweet face and wholesome voice were the perfect background to a sunny, snow covered, February Sunday. It was not long before I stopped, for a moment here and there, to catch a scene, and then got out my knitting and watched. I realized that those films, little stories of love and warmth, set all over the world and at different points in history, were seeds to my imagination. Now, they made me stop and think back to when I first wanted to write. It was not very clearly defined when I was a child but I now I see that the beginnings were there.
      My mother would have had reminiscences, had she been alive today herself. She'd have things to say about many of the icons of her time that passed recently, Annette Funicello or Sid Caesar, but Shirley Temple would have had her giving a musical montage of songs from Miss Temple's films. My mother loved to sing and she knew the words to every popular song of her time. She also cried. She cried when the Grandfather couldn't get to Heidi and when The Little Princess found her daddy. These are the kind of things that pull at your heart strings. Not everyone wants to let that happen but I always did. I love love.
      Wikipedia defines romance as "...The expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person associated with love." That seems about right I think. It's not about sex or even being an adult. If you let your heart wander and let in love then you are a romantic. I myself cannot imagine life without it. 
      In between enjoying old Shirley Temple films I romanticized about spring. Winter has been tough this year. I don't mind the huge amounts of snow so much, but the regular single digit temperatures are what I find confining. There is much to do in the garden and it mocks me and calls to me as I view it from my kitchen window. Now the turtle doves are huddled around the heater in the birdbath and a fat robin that has visited often for the last three years sits on the fence outside the opposite window waiting for worms. I buy them in little tubs or give them to him while digging in the garden. He follows me around the yard like a puppy some spring days. He's ready too.
      This day I have another book on the shelves and one on the burner. I love that my writing is justified now and no longer just a guilty pleasure only shared with the closest of friends. Now the friends and followers who read them are numerous and their notes, letters and emails are precious to me. I love a fresh rose on a summer day, a robin like a pet in the yard, a heartfelt card that thanks me for sharing my feelings of romance and everyone out there who needs a tissue for a Shirley Temple film.