Thursday, 24 May 2018

Fighting the Urge to Nest

When we bought our Tucson house four years ago, the large entry courtyard was rocky dirt with a few succulents and cactus. Since the front of the house faces east to the beautiful Catalina Mountains, there was an inspiring view to reclaim. We wanted to create an inviting oasis to enjoy sunrise coffee or evening cocktails in the shade, surrounded by flowers. And we’re accomplishing that.

Now that the planters’ flowers and bushes are mature and it’s Spring, the quail are determined to move in and prepare their nests in our cool, secure courtyard. They don’t seem to care about the size of the pot. They’ll simply kick everything out they can and settle in. My sister-in-law, Susan Gunn, has shared stories of raising chickens and that after they put them to bed in the evening, she and Sherm toiled in the chicken yard filling holes. This morning I found my fairy garden thoroughly excavated, soil, cottage, and fairies ejected onto the pavers. Now it seems I’m tending a chickenyard. But instead of a shovel and rake, I use stones, larger fairies, and weighty whimsical stuff to fill the prospective quail nest foundations. I had to relocate the frog pond away from the fairy garden because the quail fished the tiny resin frogs out of the pond, only to toss them onto the pavers when they discovered fake frogs weren’t very tasty.

The only pot in the courtyard the quail haven’t yet tried to terraform and move into is a kalanchoe guarded by my pet metal javelina, Pig Iron. However, perhaps one of these mornings I’ll take my coffee to the courtyard to watch the sunrise and find Pig Iron on his side on the floor. A quail couple will explode out of the yellow pot, complaining loudly, laying a dark cloud of soil behind them, only to return after the sun sets on the back garden. And there it is—Clang! Pig Iron hits the bricks, sparking the eternal question—can a dedicated fairy garden horticulturist win against live quails’ urge to nest? Or can she reach detente with both flora and fauna, real and imagined, and declare peace in our garden? Perhaps we’re getting there, if this happy little garden is any indication . . . .

 

 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Eyes-Closed Perspective and a Decent Chardonnay

I was invited to my niece Jenna’s birthday painting party. 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?

King Street Flood
Photo by Euna Haynes

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, NAH.  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.

Mmmmelinda Closes Her Eyes and Gains Perspective

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

It’s all fun!

MMMMmmmmmelinda

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Have You Written Anything Important I’ve Read?

I have six traditionally published novels in the genres of romance, paranormal thriller, and young adult paranormal. My books have won sixteen writing/literary awards. Yet, sometimes when I meet someone and say I’m a novelist, I get this silly question: “Have you written anything important that I’ve read?” On a tour bus in Hawaii, I answered that question with—“Yes, War and Peace!” That felt good. Of course, no one mentioned that I didn’t look like a dead Russian aristocrat, which just goes to show no one on the bus had read the book, or perhaps hadn’t even heard of it. When I got that silly question from my new acquaintance, I cocked my head and asked my usual, “How would I know that?” She answered with a sly smile, “You know what I mean.” Yes, unfortunately, I do. My name isn’t J.K. Rowling or Nora Roberts or Scott Pratt. So if “important” book translates only to “best seller” for you, I probably haven’t written anything you’ve read.

3d-contest-smartsBut hang on, I’m working on two new books coming soon, Contest Smarts: Writing Contest Winning Strategies, a non-fiction how-to, and a fun women’s fable entitled Bitten: Confessions of a Menopausal Vampire, which my publisher of GHOSTLY ACTS has already said she wants! With these two sure best-sellers, maybe I’ll have a new answer to “Have you written anything important that I’ve read?”

It’s all fun! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmelinda