Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
To me, Longfellow is the literary equivalent of comfort food. As a teenager, I would turn to his poetry again and again. I never grew bored because I chose Longfellow for the way his words made me feel. When I was lost or heartbroken and needed a friend, he was always there, waiting on my bookshelf.
I would stretch out on my bed, turning the pages of my book to The Day Is Done or The Bridge, and speak the words aloud, as though I were reading them to a beloved child. Peace always followed because Longfellow understood me--he had experienced in his day what I was going through in mine. Crossing time, he reached out and threw me a lifeline.
Back then, I didn’t see how human bonds could surpass the kinship of author and reader. Because at that moment I loved Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and like a wise, kindly grandfather, he belonged only to me. There wasn’t another person, living or dead, who understood me as he did, and with sweet reunion, his healing words met my mind. I turned them to suit my mood and put them away in my heart. He had saved me yet again, my gentle poet.
Thank you, Henry. All these years later, you're still my hero.
Do you have any comfort books?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
No, really, where have they been? I've known about synopsis and outlines for decades, but when did writers begin loglining? Err, probably from the beginning, right?
I guess I've just been oblivious to them until recently, when I entered myself in Authoress' Baker's Dozen Agent Contest at Miss Snark's First Victim. This contest was so competitive and the number of entrants so vast, I doubt that I made it into one of the forty available spots. Good experience though since I learned about loglines.
Authoress is so gracious and lovely, and she provides so many wonderful opportunities for writers to receive feedback and information. If you aren't acquainted with Authoress, you really should introduce yourself.
Back to loglines-- those pithy, one or two sentence, show-the-heart-of-your-story wonders! Below is my first attempt at loglining for The Second Life.
Logline: The lone survivor of a horrifying accident, Maggie Hathaway lives a half-life riddled with scars, chronic pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. With the help of her childhood friend, Ben O’Connor, Maggie must risk facing her fears in the hope of future happiness and redemption or remain crippled by her memories forever.
Well, there it is. How are your loglines going? Heard of any great contests or blogfests lately?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
No, the title of this post isn't a bureaucratic law firm. It's my traditional Holiday Reading List! Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I gather my favorite Christmas stories together, station them on my night stand, and let the reading celebration begin.
Here they are in all their yuletide splendor . . .
#1. Truman Capote's short but sweetly sentimental A Christmas Memory:
"A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable - not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. "Oh my," she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, "it's fruitcake weather!"
#2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:
"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely . . ."
#3. A Child's Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas
"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six."
The holidays wouldn't be the same without these treasures. Do you have reading traditions for this time of year?
Monday, November 15, 2010
Have you ever repeated a hackneyed aphorism only to wonder what you've just said? I do this once in a blue moon, don't you? I guess the proof is in the pudding . . . Sorry. I'm wincing, too.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Branwell Bronte painted this portrait of his sisters, Anne, Charlotte and Emily. Originally, he was in the painting as well, but later removed himself so as not to crowd the scene. I like the warm, smooth tone of the colors he used. Branwell was also a poet and created fantasy worlds with his sisters which they wrote about for many years. Troubled with alcohol and opium addictions, he died of tuberculosis at 31.
I love this portrait of Charlotte. She's lovely, isn't she? And doesn't she look kind and intelligent? One of my favorite writers ever, I like to think of this remarkable lady as a friend from another era. Jane Eyre brought Charlotte great literary success, yet she remained quiet and shy with strangers. Fair, delicate and small, Charlotte died at 38 while expecting her first child. Her cause of death was recorded as tuberculosis, though further research suggests that it might have been typhus.
This is the title page of the original Jane Eyre. Notice that Charlotte wrote under the pen name of Currer Bell. The subtitle An Autobiography is interesting, isn't it? Charlotte Bronte lived through much of what Jane did. She attended a harsh boarding school similar to Lowood and also served as a governess. While teaching, Charlotte developed deep feelings for a married man, but later, separated herself from him and married another. That scenario reminds me a bit of the whole Rochester-Jane-Mr. Rivers triangle.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
We have any number of clocks in our house. There's a Napoleon Dynamite chiming clock that rings at odd, random moments and a faux-antique kitchen clock with huge Roman numerals on its face. And then, there are the radio alarm clocks. These digital gadgets are plain evil.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sometimes life is magical. I'm not referring to Frodo-and-the-ring or unicorn blood magic, I'm talking about the amazing little miracles that take place each day. The ones we take for granted because they are so commonplace.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
This bookcase hinders my concentration since I love to read, and it's just sitting there looking interesting. My muse, Daniel Craig, reminds me each day that work comes before the reward. Darn you, Daniel. I'd take a good book over almost anything.
These are bleeding hearts. They bloom outside my office window in the Spring.
This is the Japanese Maple that softens the light through my plantation shutters. I feel protected with this leafy beauty guarding me.
Have an awesome afternoon, bloggers!