Posts Tagged ‘art’

The doctor

I went to the doctor today and he said that my lungs sound clear and that it’s probably a viral infection and I’ll just have to wait it out. If I develop a fever I should come back. I’m wondering why the fever I had when this started doesn’t count.

On our way

Quite frankly, I have no idea where we are right now. Probably over the Atlantic, but I’ve cleverly set my blog up to entertain you while I’m in transit.

Here are pictures of the apartment we’ll have in Reykjavik. This is looking from the front door down towards the WC.

View from the foyer

The living room

View of the living room

The kitchen

View of the kitchen

The bedroom

View of the bedroom

The Birds

Flock of StarlingsI was sitting in the apartment upstairs at Woodthrush Woods and happily typing away, when the sound of birds became demanding. I turned to look out the window behind the sofa and saw a scene out of Hitchcock. The sky and earth had darkened with birds. They covered the grass like a living sea of feathers. Out every window of the house, the same view of birds, constantly moving and fluttering as if the leaves themselves had come to life. For about fifteen minutes the flock of starlings surrounded our house, scratching every seed or bug out of the ground, taking flight in swarm, and then settling again. I don’t know what signaled them to move on, but they arose in a massive cloud and streamed off to the east.

Teatime tassies

This is one of Grandma’s recipes. I’m putting together recipe cards as party favors for her 101st birthday party this weekend. We’re having it at her house–yes, my grandmother lives by herself and she can still thread a needle. She’s pretty remarkable.

This is one of my favorites at Christmas. They’re like miniature pecan pies.

Teatime Tassies
1 – 3oz. Cream cheese
1/2 cup butter or margerine
1 cup sifted flour
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
Dash of salt
2/3 cup broken pecans

Let cream cheese and butter soften to room temperature. Blend and stir in flour. Chill slightly until firm. About 1 hour. Shape 2 dozen 1 inch balls. Place in tiny ungreased muffin cups. Press dough on bottom and sides of cups. Divide half the pecans among pastry lined cups.
Beat together remaining ingredients until smooth. Add to pastry cups and top with remaining pecans. Bake in slow oven 325 for 25 minutes or until filling is set.

Telegram Passes Into History

There was an article on Wired News about Western Union ceasing its telegram service. This makes me strangely sad. I’ve only sent two telegrams, both after our wedding, but telegrams played such an important role in our history that I feel like something is lost.

I recognize that they serve no useful function anymore, still it makes me a little melancholy. I once found a slim manual which was an antique telegram code book. To send reports of grain prices, a person would send a telegram that might consist of, “alligator table magnolia.” The person receiving the telegram would bring out their own copy of the code book and translate this message to “4 tons Lentils bought at $300.” How charming is that? Now, they’d just whip out the cellphone and shout it too loudly in some public place.

WOTF results

I’ve been waiting to hear back about Salt of the Earth, which was at the Writer’s of the Future contest. And finally queried because I was paranoid that my response had been lost in the mail.

Dear Mary,

Your story made semifinalist for the 4th quarter contest! This is a very high achievement. You will be receiving a critique from the coordinating judge, K.D. Wentworth, and a certificate of merit.

Thanks very much for your patience!

Please send another story soon!

Best Wishes,

Contest Administrator

Jason Sizemore

Jason Sizemore has posted photos of us hanging out at Chattacon. I swear, I only pulled the puppet out because Steve had been disappointed that I didn’t have one when I went to Leecon. And it was out for no more than five minutes. It’s not my fault Jason posted three pictures of it.

He’s very cool, besides the puppet fixation.

Cerbo en Vitra ujo

I decided to set the 1920’s ghost/mystery story aside for a bit because I found a fantastic book at Chattacon called Your Psychic Powers and How to Develop Them by Hereward Carrington. It was originally published in 1920 and is such the perfect research material that I want to read it before continuing.

Meanwhile, I started a new story today with the working title of Cerbo en Vitra ujo .

Here are the current first thirteen lines.

Cerbo en Vitra ujo

     Behind the steady drone of garden’s humidifiers, Grete caught the woosh-snick of the airlock door opening. She kept her attention on her Sunset-Glory rose to give Kaj a chance to sneak up on her. His footsteps pounded between the raised beds, without a hint of stealth. Grete put her pruning shears down as he barreled around the Milhollen’s prize Emperor artichoke.
     Something was wrong. Kaj’s chocolate skin seemed covered by a layer of ash. Gerta’s breath quickened to match his. “Kaj?”
     He stopped short of her, rocking on his toes. “I don’t know what to do.”
     She took his hand, cradling his long, delicate fingers. “What’s wrong?”
     “Mom and Dad got me an in at a down-planet school.” He covered his face with his other hand. “Some scholarship came through.”

Waiting for Rain, revised

Steve Savile went through Waiting For Rain and really helped me see the pacing problems and the places where my main character wasn’t active enough. Not to mention some clarity issues. He read it and just shouted (not really) questions at me as they occurred to him. I would fix the passage in question and read the fix back to him. I loved it.

Of course, after that I totally rewrote the first ten pages–sorry Fab Girl, I’ll have to send you the revision.

Here’s the new opening.

Waiting for Rain

Mundari Vineyard 2045, Nashik (India), Shiraz
Black cherry, plum, and currant flavors mingle with aromas of barnyard and sweet smoke in this solid Shiraz from India.

     The sun peeking through the grapevines felt hotter on Bharat’s neck than twenty-four degrees celsius. Another perfect day. Bharat scowled and worked his way down the row of vines, thinning the poorly set grapes so the remaining crop would become fuller and riper.
    Not that there was a point in having healthy vines since ISRO turned his micro-climate off. But he couldn’t pay his weather bill, so he had no rain.
Without rain, the grapevines would start showing signs of stress, and stressed grapes made poor wine. No one bought flawed wine.
    He snipped another promising cluster from the grapevine, dropping it on the ground where it would raisin in the persistent sunshine.

The Case of Landon Manor

I began work on a new short with the working title The Case of Landon Manor. It’s a supernatural mystery set in 1924. My main character is a glamorous young heiress, who also happens to be a medium. I’m 2000 words into it and having a lot of fun.

Here’s the first beginning, although that’s likely to change.

The Case at Landon Manor

      The quarter-mile driveway from the main road to Landon Manor flashed by in a tunnel of green. Ginger Wickham knew her hair would be in a state when she arrived, but Cynthia’s telegram had sounded urgent. Besides, she had only had the Morris Cowley for a week and wanted to see how it handled the curves. She tugged at her cloche, hoping the hat had controlled the worst of the damage to her new Marcel wave.
     She pulled the Cowley around the circular drive at the front of the main house. One of Cynthia’s liveried man-servants came down the stairs as if he still expected to take the reins of a horse. Such a queer, old-fashioned way to run a house.


I can tell that Rob felt better because he started cleaning the house. Mind you, this is my mother’s house which looks as if it is ready for a Better Homes and Gardens camera crew to come through the door at any moment. So Rob had to work hard to find something that needed cleaning.

We pulled all of the furniture out of the living room so he could vacuum the rug thoroughly. Then we rolled the rug up. He vacuumed the carpet pad. I swept the floor under the carpet pad. Then we turned the rug and put everything back.

After that, we did the same thing in the dining room.

Dad told my mom, who reportedly laughed and laughed saying that she had always dreamed of a day when her children came home to clean her house. I’m not sure whether I should be pleased or mildly offended.