Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Power of Words

Yesterday I dusted off my brain and went to an annual writers’ conference at Mt. Holyoke College. It’s a fairly small local event of only about 100 people, unlike bigger venues such as the East Coast Crime Bake, which boasts speakers like Elizabeth George (remember the Inspector Lynley series?).
          This year’s panels included Dynamics of Dialogue, How Science and Literature Can Play Together Without Killing Each Other, and The Writer as a Voice of Dissent. And no sweaty palms for me this year. I’ve spent past conferences shopping my current novel from agent to agent, but I’m writing at glacier speed lately, so I just sat back and enjoyed the day.
          In the session on historical fiction, Gone With the Wind came up. Apparently it’s regaining notoriety in some circles that believe it glorifies slavery, and is basically a white supremacist tract, an issue that's really picked up speed lately.  
          It seems a shame we can’t appreciate the story while being aware of the cultural time in which it was written. This also reminded me of the perennial controversy in public schools over whether to teach Huckleberry Finn, based on Twain’s handling of the slave Jim.
          At my first conference, the most magical part of it for me was being in a group of people that sat around and talked about words. Yesterday afternoon was no exception.
          Breena Clarke, whose debut novel River, Cross My Heart was an Oprah Book Club selection, was the afternoon’s keynote speaker. Her most recent work is set in an imagined 19th century mixed-race community. She offered for our consideration the word “sassy.”
          For her, as a woman of color, she saw negative connotations – such as a person stepping out of a role assigned to her by society.
          The majority of conference participants were white women, and I think we saw a different connotation, one of a woman with spirit and disregard for conventions.
          And finally, could the word ever be used to describe a man?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A day of no events at all

To give you an idea of the madcap, carefree life of being retired, here’s my Tuesday. 

          Woke up, and realized with no surprise that my cold is still with me. I’m now at the coughing up a lung stage.
Shuffled around with a cup of tea, praised Mamie after she delivered a pee and then a poop on her pad in the bathroom. Yes, I’m insanely spoiled to have adopted a dog that came pad trained. It was 29 degrees out at 7:30 this morning.
          Made French toast, watched a little news – bad idea. The news, not the toast. 
          Took Mamie out for a big walk around the condo complex. Forgot to wear a hat – another bad idea. Will an ear infection be next?
          Went with My Guy over to the tile restorer company to arrange for the Pepto-Bismal tile in the upstairs bath at the still-unsold house to be transformed into a tasteful off-white. At ginormous expense, by the way.
          Went to the *@#! unsold house to put the second coat of blue on the other upstairs bath while My Guy put a last coat on a bedroom.
           Came home (sainted My Guy stayed and blew leaves for another hour) where I was greeted – as usual – by Mamie as though I’d been gone to the North Pole and back. One mad-dash lap around the back yard calmed her down a tiny bit.
          Went out again to buy curtains for the now-blue bathroom to hide the fact that we should have also painted the window. No luck. Tomorrow I’ll pick up some fabric and make them.
          Walked Mamie.
          And here I am.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Christopher Robin  

Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
His bed.
They gave him what goes
With a cold in the nose,
And some more for a cold
In the head.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Leafing Home

If two straight days of lying on my side painting baseboards, coupled with being scrunched on the stairs painting risers wasn’t enough, I did receive a reminder yesterday of why we need to sell our house – and soon.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Memories for Sale


My grandparents’ living room in Tulsa was long, with French doors leading to the screened porch at one end and a floor-to-ceiling window at the other end, all the better to catch those elusive breezes in pre-airconditioning Oklahoma.

Saturday, October 28, 2017