"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Mouth Full Of Stones (Friday Flash 55)

Don’t blast a call to prayer outside my window.
I pray when I want
and drink when I want and sometimes I want.
Our best times involved copious amounts—
me and my Bobby McGee,
hair flowing free
not swaddled in silence
with a mouth full of stones.
Don’t blast a call to prayer outside my window.


If you write a Friday Flash 55 or just want to know what it's all about, visit the G-Man here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ampersands and Colloquialisms

The Falling Leaf Moon is on the wan and still we haven't had our first frost. This is unusual for the Thumb of Michigan and for me yet one more symptom of unsettling climate change. Should I be happy with these extended frost-free days or concerned? I know one thing: weeds are growing faster than they did in the heart of summer, at a time when they should be dead and buried.

I hate weeds. I hate cliches and redundancies. I try to make sure I never use these nasties in my writing but once in a while one shows up, like a weed in the greenhouse. Speaking of, I'm planning to make full use of my greenhouse this winter and to date I've planted spinach, komatsuna, and mizuna. I cleaned out the weeds from around the edges for a weed-free environment. Now I need to clean the weeds out of my manuscripts, past and present.

Edittorrent has posted a list of writing pitfalls to avoid. Of course Edittorrent is quick to point out that one can break a rule if done to good effect. But can we be the judge of our own good effects? I know a weed when I see one but would I know an ampersand and recognize a colloquialism? Will my one-word sentence be of good effect or make you groan? Oh what an obsessive pastime this writing business is.

Now, how many writing rules have I broken in this post? Don't we all like to break rules? Like smoking in the bathroom and walking on rooftops and eluding the police? Like throwing in an occasional one-word sentence?

Monday, October 11, 2010

OF SONG AND WATER . . . Shallots and Garlic!

Is it really October? October 11th?? Holy cow! The weather this past week has been so beautiful I've lost track of time. What have I been doing? Checking in occasionally on all of you and planting shallots and garlic-Purple Stripe, German Hardy and Porcelain, rows and rows.

One thing I did want to share with you this morning is the book I'm currently reading....OF SONG AND WATER.


This novel by Joseph Coulson is the story of Coleman, a jazz musician who can no longer play, his mentor and teacher, a black man trying to live quietly on the edge of a white town, his father, an expert sailor, and his grandfather who was a rum runner on the Detroit River during Prohibition. Coulson expertly weaves his tale between generations, from the shores of Lake Huron (our beloved inland sea)and the narrows of the river, to jazz clubs in Detroit and Chicago and a marina in winter where Coleman retreats to his father's sailboat.

I don't know how I happened upon this gem but it's a captivating story that had me from the opening paragraph.

He climbs without faith, the ladder unsteady, the wooden rungs brittle, each step filling the air with the sound of old bones. Don't look down, he thinks, watching the slow drift of his shadow, seeing its darkness on the long white surface of the hull.

I think it unusual to find novels that take place in and around the Great Lakes (UP reviewed here is another) and I'm always excited to find one.

Would you rather read a novel that takes place somewhere you've never been or one that takes place close to home in places you've seen? I think the latter adds an element of understanding because you can bring your own experience into the narrative rather than having to depend solely on an author's skill at guiding your imagination.