Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Book lists, A Mango-Shaped Life and So Totally Emily Ebers

Okay, as I look to the right I realize I keep adding books to my lists, but never remove any. I can't. Instead I'll revise the titles and just keeping adding and adding and adding.

Must comment on A Mango-Shaped Life by Wendy Mass, the second book I've read by Ms. Mass. Amazing, awesome, entertaining, electrifying--what a talented, gifited writer! Along with Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, I believe Ms. Mass has exemplified middle grade fiction.

Also, I've begun So Totally Emily Ebers by Lisa Yee. I'm having such a good time reading it! STEE is written as a series of letters to Emily's dad during her first summer in Rancho Rosetta. Emily and her mom have just moved from Allendale, NJ--her parents recently divorced and her dad is on a comeback tour with his band, Talky Boys. The book runs concurrently with Millicent Min, Girl Genius and I love flashing back and forth in my mind between these two characters! And their two very different points of view. So totally fantastic!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Workshop and Kettle Bottom

The writing workshop I attended this past weekend was everything I'd hoped it would be. I know have a clear direction for my research.

My first step (I've begun this one) is to research all the glass factories that were in operation during the late 1920s--the list seems to be extensive! This will lead me to digging into each factories history, practices, etc.. Which will then lead to deep history of the towns and counties surrounding the factories. Finally I'll choose a particular factory to use as a basis for my own fictional glass factory that would have attracted an experienced glass blower from Germany around 1927.

There are soooo many factors to consider. My biggest concern is my ability to glean enough info about the area/time period that I can equate my experiences in some way to that past.

I was enthralled by Diane Fisher--author of Kettle Bottom--a collection of poems set during the 1920s WV mine wars. Her readings immersed the listener into the lives of these Mingo county residents. Though the theme is inherently that of sadness, her words have the ability to emote a calmness and sense of peace.

Anyway, when doing her research for her book, Diane did exactly what I plan to do--she surrounded herself with all things related to her subject and time period. Simply put, Kettle Bottom is some of the best poetry in print.

So, I've started some online research, but I'm excited about hitting the WV archives next week. I need to stock up on legal pads and freshly sharpened pencils--I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Latest book purchases

I try to frequent bookstores as much as possible, I love them almost as much as I love libraries, but living where I do I buy many of my books online--great end result, not nearly as satisfying as fanning pages in person.

That being said my Amazon package arrived filled with these good things:
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett (Bel Canto is an amazing book)
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass (author of fave Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life)
Good Grief by Erin Vincent (totally new author for me)
So Totally Emily Ebers by Lisa Yee (I loved Emily in Millicent Min, Girl Genius)

Which will I read first? hmmmm.....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Writing workshop

I am very exciting about attending this workshop tonight and tomorrow. Weaving the Past and Present is exactly the kind of exercises I need for my novel.  I'm hoping to learn how to go about becoming a 16 year old  German immigrant in 1927! Since I've had trouble gleaning Brooklyn historical info I've been contemplating beginning the story in Brooklyn and having it move to West Virginia. Living here I have easy access to historical documents, etc., which should provide all the info I need.

I wonder if they'll serve coffee?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Winter weather and writing prompts

Winter has returned with all its bluster and breezes. Snow blew throughout the day yesterday, clinging to the new buds on the trees. Just when my cat had decided it was safe to forage out in the wild again, the cold air has pushed her back in the warmth of the house.

I receive many, many, many, too many, some might say, enewsletters. One of the best comes from Once Written, a site with great creative writing prompts. (why is everything getting underline?????)

This week's newsletter linked to a fun site for creating a fake newspaper clipping. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Rain-soaked phone lines and modern marvels

It's been days and days since I've been able to get online for more than a few seconds at a time. One of the major "cons" of living down a rural road is having to deal with a dial up internet connection. And above ground phone/electric lines.

Since we've been rained on repeatedly (typical spring weather) my phone has not been reliable, contrary to the popular TV commercial promising a phone that always works. The wet lines produce static and steal my dial tone, leaving an ominous humming noise when I try to connect or make a phone call.

Today as the sun appeared briefly and brought cool, dry air to the dripping wet lines, the telephone repairman called. Seems to be working fine now, he said. Sure, I thought, the sun is out. I'll run more tests and call back later, he responded. More sun and 2 hours later he called. I could barely make out what he was saying due to the static, sounded like, Everything seems okay now, I'll call back tomorrow.

While I can, I check email, message boards, blogs, etc. all the while watching the sky grow gray and clouds roll in, the wind picks up--will my satellite become fuzzy from the impending storm--then I won't be able to watch the weather channel and find out when I'll get more rain and be left stranded with no phone line and no internet connection!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aaaaaahhhh, life has become so complicated. Let's step outside and breathe some clean fresh country air---phew--fresh manure. The scent brings an awakening. I'm a writer who lives surrounded by breath taking beauty--turkeys, honeybees, daffodils, and pew-fresh manure. What more, besides pencil and paper do I really need?

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