Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Busy Day

Expecting a busy day at work, then doctor visit, then quality time with my granddaughter, and finally, dog obedience class with C and "Ruby the Unruly" (our German Shorthaired Pointer...1 year old). Very busy day...

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I always have a notebook next to my chair. This is where I jot down random thoughts and reminders, make lists and notes about what I am reading, who and what I need to read to follow up on just about everything.

This morning I went back to the beginning of my current notebook, beginning August 3, 2008. I will need a hundred lifetimes to read and study everything in my notebooks. For example:

--Read Solzhenitsyn, dead at 89 today.
--Read James Fallows
--"Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq", by Patrick Cockburn
--"Pee Wee", red worm composting stories for kids by Larraine Roulston
--Miss Read
--Evelyn Waugh, "Put Out More Flags"
--TJ English, "Havana Nocturne"
--Graham Greene, "Collected Essays"
--Foster, Roy - The 2 vol. authorized biography of W.B. Yeats

Notes about writing: For a good example of the first person point of view, read "They Whisper" by Robt. O. Butler
--What are moist vowels? re characterization using narrative voice: oi, oy, ou, ow
--Study the movie "Tender Mercies" for characterization
--Get a UO library card
--"Bel Ami", Maupassant
--Re-read "Moby Dick"

--Rose leaf jam
--Rose water

--Destruction of Constantinople, when, how?

"Travnik had changed its aspect now, as a town does after one has eaten salt in one of its houses." From 'Black Lamb Grey Falcon' by Rebecca West. Did West take this phrase from someone else? Unknown, but "Bread and Salt means hospitality in Ukraine". Bread is dipped in salt.

Study ALL of Ian McEwan

Look for E.M. Forester's "Poetry, History, The Sea" trinity when reading and studying novels.

Read ALL Updike for visual descriptions
Same for Nabokov

Read biologist E.O. Wilson's "Creation" for his writing style

Read Voltaire's "Letters from England" for the best example of the "thing as it is"...best explanatory writing.

Definition: Tropism - an innate tendency to react in a definite manner to stimuli. A natural inclination.

One of my natural inclinations is to keep notebooks. I like it. Now, if I can get the rest of the pantry items and cookbooks out of my study where they were stored during the kitchen remodel, maybe I can bring some order back to my refuge from the world and get busy reading and writing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Two thoughts on being in the present...

"Yesterday is gone, forget it.
Tomorrow may never come, don't worry about it.
Do a master job today."

--Mennonite saying

"To feel today what one felt yesterday isn't to feel--
it's to remember today what was felt yesterday,
to be today's living corpse of what yesterday was lived
and lost."

--Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet

May your day be very fine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

Today I am thinking about pumpkin soup. Too early for pumpkins, but not too early to plan. I have never forgotten the fabulous pumpkin soup we had in Malaucene, in Provence. It was smooth, slightly sweet, velvety deliciousness. I would have been happy with a big bowl of soup and a toasty baguette. However, it was the first course, gone in a few minutes, but never forgotten.

So, for the next few weeks, I am going to seek out recipes for pumpkin soup, looking for "the one". I have heard that the secret to pumpkin soup is to use squash, not pumpkin. Well, our Malaucene soup was pumpkin!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm Back! And a Poem For Autumn

OK, a fresh start for the new season. Kitchen remodel is almost finished (is it ever really "finished"?), garden is winding down, looking forward to the annual wardrobe shift to turtleneck sweaters, and thinking about getting seriously back to work on my book.

This poem is by Patricia Parish Kuhn. I copied it into one of my notebooks many years ago. I think it was published in a local writer's journal. I hope you like it.


ducks and geese soar
composing haiku in the sky
their extended autumnal feast.

Do they know something
we don't know
or will winter wait awhile
content in the attention of poets
and on the midnight hour