Entries in Linkage and Lovage (10)

Tuesday
Apr152008

Famous Last Words

(Tombstone image borrowed from the yet-living John Scalzi)

The wondrously fine Bea and the ever-scrumptious Adriana both tagged me a while ago for the Six-Word Epitaph/Autobiography/Memoir Meme that's been floating around Planet Blog for a some time, and I've been trying and failing to define myself cleverly but succinctly ever since.

Here are some great examples of successful memery crafted by bloggers with bigger brains than I have: Bea of Bub and Pie (scroll down a bit); Veronica Mitchell of Toddled Dredge; and Adriana of What I Made for Dinner.

(If any of you other readers have done this meme, and I missed it somehow, leave me a link in your comment. I'd love to see what you've done with this.)

Anything I concocted sounded a lot like Adriana's or Veronica's, but not as good. Finally, I decided to borrow inimitable words from my favorite poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Here's what I would have carved on my tombstone (right after all the clear and accurate vital information courteously provided for genealogists of the future):

Kingfishers catch fire; dragonflies draw flame.

Someone wandering around the cemetery and happening upon these words might wonder about their context. Here's the whole poem:

AS kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 5
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 10
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

What I do is me: for that I came.

I love to write, read, visit with my dear friends, and play with my kids. I enjoy cooking, gardening, knitting, and family history work. I swoon over fabulous restaurants, great art and music, and my husband. I could define myself by any of these daily actions, and much of the time, I probably do. But ultimately, I hope that my life will be defined by my faith and how it comes into play in my every decision.

Here are two links to more words not my own that powerfully express how I feel about my faith: the audio file and transcript of the last public words of Bruce R. McConkie, an LDS church leader who died in 1985.

Elder McConkie died just two weeks after giving this gorgeous and moving address; I do not doubt that the statements of the final few paragraphs proved true. (Warning: if you are not up for something Deeply Christian, don't bother.)

Tuesday
Apr082008

Let's Hear It for the Boys

One of the great things about blogging is meeting people from all over the globe whose interests are similar to one's own. I've been delighted, for example, to get to know several writers who are having wonderful things happen in their careers. Reading about their experiences has been both inspiring and educational for me, and many of them have graciously given me feedback on my own work. Writing can be somewhat isolating at times, so what a blessing it is to find and connect with other people doing the same thing.

J. Scott Savage
recently signed a contract with Shadow Mountain for a YA fantasy series called Farworld. The first book, Farworld--Water, comes out September 5th. To help promote it, Scott is launching a virtual book tour via Planet Blog, with nice prizes (read: free advance copies of the book!) for participants. Go here to read more about it and get involved!

James Dashner is enjoying breakout success with his middle-grade fantasy novel The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters. It's well deserved, too; James sent me an ARC of the book several months ago, and the three older kids and I all loved it. In fact, The 13th Reality is our James's favorite book at the moment. Yesterday James (Dashner) featured a new and exciting marketing tool for his book on his terrific blog; I just had to share it, because I think it's super cool--a trailer for a book--who knew?

The production company for the trailer, Reel Line, has a fun 10-minute interview with James on its website (but James does give away a few plot points in it, so if you are spoiler-averse, don't go watch it until you've read the book).

Congratulations, guys! People like you who 'pay it forward' deserve every bit of success you garner.

Saturday
Jan262008

Work = Play

I've been working on a fun new story, part of Jen at A2eatwrite's Writing Game.
the writing game

Check back here on Thursday to read the results! (Oh, don't worry; I'm sure I'll post something else in the meantime.)

Saturday
Oct062007

Want Feedcrack? Try the Buzz.

I'm always puzzled when I hear writers say that they write for themselves. It's not that I don't believe them; it's just that it's not my experience.

I do a lot of things for myself, but writing isn't one of them. Sure: when I'm daydreaming about a new story idea, playing around with it in my head is good, self-indulgent fun. But translating the dream into just the right words is WORK. Even when it's really flowing and at its most joyous, it's work to write. So why bother? I'm a busy wife, mother, churchgoer, housekeeper, and gardener. I have a lot of things competing for my time and energy. Why add more work to my list?

Why? Because I write for other people. Really: what's the point of telling a story unless someone is listening? I always have an imagined audience in my head when I'm writing. It's usually made up of close friends who love me and my ideas. But even this virtual congregation isn't enough, because I want reactions, preferably as soon as possible.

In other words, I want feedback. Deep down, I think we all do; I believe that's why we write, knit, paint, bake, and blog. We crave validation from those around us, reassurance that what we've created is worthwhile. Recognizing this truth, I coined the term 'feedcrack.'

Feedcrack may be addictive, but it gets the job done. It has kept writing high on the priority list lately, and I've made huge progress in a very short amount of time. So I'll be tanking up on feedcrack for the foreseeable future. I just hope no one cuts off my supply.

I've found a terrific fountain of feedcrack in a social networking website called cre8Buzz. When Brillig invited me to join, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I joined the site to get more exposure for my writing, and I've been thrilled that that has been the case. I've found a wonderful, warm community of writers who have been very receptive to me and to my writing. I've gotten solid constructive criticism and voluble appreciation on a project that had previously been languishing on my furthest-back burner. I'm not sure how else my work would have so quickly and efficiently reached readers who live in Finland, Sweden, western Canada, Britain, and Minneapolis.

After looking over my shoulder, James dubbed cre8Buzz "Facebook for grownups." and I agree with his assessment in the best possible sense. The happy surprise about cre8Buzz is how many nice, interesting, funny people--both inside and outside the writers' community--I've encountered there. It's not spammy or puerile. Everyone is kind and supportive. It's well organized and easy to navigate. Traffic to this blog has soared lately; it's been great.

Cre8Buzz has been in beta since the beginning of August, but it goes public tomorrow. In the next little while, membership to the site will be by invitation only (let me know if you want one; I'll happily send one your way), but everyone in the ethersphere will now be able to view the Buzz's content. We beta-testers are excited to welcome in the world. Drop by and see what you think!

Friday
Oct052007

Penelope's Pies

As the leaves start to turn, my thoughts turn to...pie.

I love pie. Once upon a time, I worked at Marie Callender's. This was fabulous, because at the end of the night, the staff could take any leftover pies home. I enjoyed nearly all the pies they made there, from the ever-popular Sour Cream Lemon to the obscure Gooseberry.

As good as Marie's pies were, I've always preferred homemade. In summer, I love Banana Cream Pie. My mom used to make it all the time: her flaky crust, luscious vanilla cream custard, topped with fresh bananas and whipped cream was a winner. Recently I made a Chocolate Cream Pie from a recipe I got from the ever-reliable Cook's Illustrated. It was perfection: a tender yet crispy chocolate cookie crust filled with the most heavenly chocolate cream custard made from scratch, with whipped cream on top, of course. One grateful recipient of a slice said that the filling was as smooth as glass, and it was. Pure heaven.

As good as the cream pies are, it's the baked fruit pies that really work for me. I have a few specialties I whip up as Thanksgiving approaches. High-domed, deep-dish Apple Pie filled with tender slices of heirloom fruit. The rich yet mellow flavors of Pumpkin Pie made with pumpkin I've grown in my own garden. Mincemeat Pie: succulent, homemade filling finished with a woven lattice crust. Then there is my mother-in-law's outstanding Pecan Pie. Mmmm, pie...I have to watch myself, or I'll drift off into a Homer Simpsonesque reverie.

So imagine my delight the other day to discover that a friend of ours has just launched a website entirely dedicated to pie and its devotees. You've got to see it; Penelope's Pies is adorable and chock-full of good information.

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