Archive for the ‘Many Things’ Category

The Eyes-Closed Perspective and a Decent Chardonnay

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

On the way home from the Arizona Library Association’s YA Summit in Prescott, AZ last week, I was invited to my niece Jenna’s birthday party at Art Therapy in Phoenix. As you can see from the photo, they had a great . . . something. My niece and her mother, my sister, are super achievers and take their “doing” very seriously. I, however, do not so much. I tend to fall in love with the idea of making something interesting and so experiment with these kinds of crafty, arty and music-making experiences. I learned long ago that I’m good for maybe a series of classes worth of said experience, then I move along, move along. One reason being–what the heck do I do with the end product of that experience? How many poorly crocheted bikinis (yes, I actually did one of those back in the early 70s) or sloppily knitted potholders does one need?

 

Jenna and Rhonda  Find Birthday Joy at Art Therapy.

Jenna and Rhonda Find Birthday Joy at Art Therapy.

I love doing the painting BYOB (and snacks) events with fun people. So far I have “done” three such parties. I’d like to say that each painting I turn out is better than the last . . . but truth be told, NAW.  I’m not interested in getting better at painting these studies in standardized acrylics, but I’m all about going to hang out with artistic hopefuls who like to play, drink wine and graze on really good snacks–which ARE getting better each time I go.

The Process. There is a process to this artistic creating. In fact, it’s so standardized and easy everyone’s paintings look pretty much the same. About thirty minutes into the teaching and our putting paint to canvas, I begin to feel kinda bored. I know what the end product in front of me is going to look like. That observational power isn’t born of second sight or prescient ability. I’ve simply looked at the paintings-in-progress around me. And if I continue to follow directions my picture will look like that, too.

Enter snacks and Chardonnay, yay! I wander over to the goodie table where we’ve laid out our extensive display of tastiness and indulge as I consider my artistic options concerning the Old Door in a Wall project. Full glass in hand and a plate of yummy in the other, I return to my seat to sip and snack and think. Then it hits me–my individual artistic interpretation. I paint the door dark blue, paint in lighted windows at the top and on the plate beside the door the number eleven. Tah Dah! The TARDIS and my favorite Doctor, Number 11 just landed in my painting. It’s brilliant! And as is the way with such endeavors, no one gets it. No one! Except after the class, the instructor/shop owner came round and exclaimed, “It’s a TARDIS! We’ve never had anyone do a TARDIS.” Turns out her husband is British and began to tell me all about his watching very early Doctor Who back in the 1960s. Personally, I wasn’t a fan then, not until 2005 and Doctor #10, when the show was retooled.

As you can see from my photo on the right, my painting looks perfect in my closed-eyes perspective apres Chardonnay. But then what doesn’t?

Mmmmelinda Closes Her Eyes and Gains Perspective

Mmmmelinda Closes Her Eyes and Gains Perspective

Speculating On The Best of Times

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

I enjoy speculating that rather than a being fixed position along a continuum, Time might be a fluid subjective awareness. Besides being fun, that kind of conjecture may keep me open to the possibilities of NOW.

A concept of Time can be expressed in context, such as I keep reminding myself that now is the best time in the history of publishing for a writer with a story to tell and sell directly to the reader. As such a writer, I’ve been serving as a facilitator of a Promotional CoOp of writers that is a subsection of the Oro Valley Writers Workshop in Tucson. We combine the best of past publishing experience of our members with emerging publishing alternatives and promotional opportunities in cooperative marketing operations.

The idea of a promotional cooperative occurred to me as I attended the OV Writers Workshop meetings.  I and one other author are usually the only ones with experience in traditional publishing. Most of the attending writers want to publish and are eager to learn how they can get their work to the readers, only to find that publishing the book may be the easiest part. Actually attracting readers or finding an audience can be daunting if almost a mysterious dark art. I’ve long heard, “I hate promoting. I just want to write” from multi-published authors throughout my career.

After our Promotional CoOp’s last meeting, I expressed the following to the CoOp members: As authors seeking publication today, either traditional or Indie, we’re all in business. More than any other time in the history of publishing, we authors have vast choices in how we can reach our readers. It’s my intention at Promo CoOp to demonstrate some of those options which I’ve experienced as a traditionally published, small press and now a self-published author of my backlist. As an Indie publisher, I continue to study the evolving market, the many publishing opportunities and new promotional venues going live every day. It’s a very exciting time for all of us as we each choose how we will participate in this new market. To that end, let us, as Captain Picard of the starship Enterprise (my husband Bob is often mistakenly for Sir Patrick Stewart who plays Captain Picard) says, “Make it so!”

Consequently, concerning the concept of Time in the context of Indie publishing today, let’s go with, “It was the best of times . . . .”

Mmmmmm NEWS

haunting-josh-westonHeading north to Prescott, AZ where it’s been snowing big time. Going to play with the librarians at the Arizona State Library YA Summit. I’ve just entered the PNWA 2017 Nancy Pearl Literary Award contest for published books. Hope my award-winning YA, The Haunting of Josh Weston, does well. I’m also the Sponsor of the YA Category of the PNWA 2017 Literary Contest.

 

 

Living in Translation

Friday, August 19th, 2016

My darling daughter-in-law called me yesterday on my birthday and followed the Haynes tradition of singing the happy birthday song. She has a lovely voice but is self conscious about her pronunciation. English is not her first language, but a fine second. You know the voices you hear in your head? Probably speaking English, right? She hears Korean and translates to English. Everyone and everything around her speaks English, even my son’s Airedale. However, her Westie, who came with her from Seoul and whose first language is Korean, has rapidly become bilingual. My daughter-in-law speaks beautiful English. I often think of her not just coping here in a foreign language but thriving!

MelindaI was a Spanish literature major. While in university and when I was teaching, I spoke fluent Spanish. When I traveled to Mexico I would even begin thinking in Spanish. But ten years later when I lived in Brasil where they speak Portuguese, I often struggled to communicate in a sort of Portanole–Spanish Portuguese mix. I could stand right next to an Argentinian speaking Spanish to a Brazilian and try to speak Spanish to him as well but he would not understand me. My Spanish was correct, if university level with a bit of a Mexican accent. Hers was Argentinian Spanish. The Brazilian and she communicated. He and I did not. If I had to speak on the phone where I could not see a speaker’s mouth, I had great difficulty understanding what was said. Once, the concierge of our service flat called to tell me something about the phone system in the building. I could not understand him. Next thing I knew he was pounding on the door. I opened it and he roared into the room, picked up the phone, yelling and gesturing about how I should use the phone. I saw his lips. Heard his inflection and got context clues from his gestures. We communicated. I also understood that he thought if I didn’t understand I must be deaf, so he yelled and spoke slowly with big, broad gestures, because I apparently was not only deaf but a bit developmentally delayed.

I get what my daughter-in-law is dealing with in this adventure in foreign living. I understand her concern, her constant vigilance in translating and communicating, being understood and not embarrassing herself or her new family. I’m dedicated to praising the fabulous job she’s doing so that she will be as proud of herself as we are proud of her. Oooooo , if only I could speak Spanish with the fluency that she does English, I would be not only simpatica (Spanish speakers and Brazilians always called me that as I was kind and friendly) I might be writing delicious magic realism like Gabriel García Márquez, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Isabel Allende. Ah, now there’s a dream worth pursuing. 

A Short Fable by Suzanne Gunn

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

She had three cats and a dog and a lame vegan tiger named Spritz.

Spritz had been donated by a circus that could no longer afford the liability insurance.

At first the cats and dog were terrified of the great beast but over a period of weeks they grew to be a family. The biggest cat, Papa Grey, couldn’t understand why the new cat wouldn’t hunt and started to bring Spritz nice freshly caught mice. Finally Spritz ate one and immediately craved another. It had been warm and soft and rich to the palate. So much better than oatmeal and soy gruel. In his heart and mind ‘something’ clicked into a new position and he began to change inexorably into a very real tiger.

Two cats and the dog were missing when she realized that Spritz was somehow different and scary. She went outside to call Animal Control and watched through the window as the tiger sprayed his scent on her recliner. Ah, she thought, Spritz was more than a name.

The Animal Control officer was kindly. He called for assistance from the zoo and, after the tiger was gone, helped her remove the damaged furniture, wrote her a ticket for harboring a wild animal and asked her out to dinner.

“All in all,” she mused over a perfectly chilled martini, “a rather nice ending.”