Blogging, Sugar, and AWP (and a Sure Sign of Spring)

April 5, 2015 § 2 Comments

First, it’s good to be back blogging after a two-month reprieve. I needed the break, am grateful I took it, and learned that sometimes it’s okay to hibernate.

Second, happy Easter to you and happy end of Lent to me. This is my fourth consecutive year of giving up sweets for six-plus weeks. I’m certainly a bit surly in the days leading up to the end, impatient to get to the jelly beans, my Dad’s lemon meringue pie, and Cadbury mini eggs. And while I can readily admit that I overindulged today, I’m finally relaxed and content loaded down heavy with plenty of glorious sugary goop. I’ll go back to salad tomorrow (and will gleefully chase it down with a chocolate bunny).

Third, AWP, the largest literary conference of its kind, arrives in my hometown on Wednesday. It’s my first. For months I’ve been fretting over it, and for weeks I’ve been planning my schedule and navigating which off-site events to attend. I still have difficulty calling myself a writer and am already intimidated by all the talent I have yet to meet this weekend. But now that I’ve had this blog for three years, taken multiple writing classes, tried to get published, done a few readings, and had business cards printed up that say I’m a writer, well, I guess I can lay claim to the title. My goal is to survive the mayhem, learn a thing or three, and connect with a lot of great people who love the written word as much as I do.

Happy Sunday, happy Easter, happy AWP, and thanks for sticking with me through the hiatus.

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Mom says red branches are a certain sign of spring: 

Back in the Great North Woods

April 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Naturally Occurring

January 18, 2015 § 2 Comments

Reds, yellows, blues, purples, and, yes, even greens are out there in these early days of winter. You have to look closely, however, or you may miss all of that color hiding among the white and gray.

Black and White and Brown and Gray

January 16, 2015 § 2 Comments

My “real” camera hibernated for most of the last two weeks, so I took many photos on the fly with my dying iPhone. I can’t say I’ve liked many of them.

However, a three-day weekend is dawning, and I plan to a) reintroduce my camera to the great outdoors and take some solid photos in temperate (for Minnesota) weather, and b) purchase a new phone so I can have a decent camera with me on days when I don’t feel like lugging the big one all over civilization.

Today I had a moment to take a short walk with my favorite camera during daylight. Although these pics lack color, I thought a few turned out swell.

Below Zero

December 28, 2014 § 3 Comments

Frost

Frozen River

November 25, 2014 § 5 Comments

And mailbox, near Floodwood, Minnesota: Frozen river

Mailbox

Pop Color (and Reads and Recs)

November 17, 2014 § 7 Comments

Little color exists in Minnesota these days now that the leaves have dropped, dried, and been enveloped in snow. This made today’s Photography 101 assignment, “Pop of Color,” challenging, for even human-made color is elusive in this climate.

A few scraps of color peeked out from the drifts and dried stems as I walked a mile in the bitter cold just to find something bright and shiny. I’m content with what I found but worry it’s going to be a long winter of photographing outdoors if natural color won’t rise again until April or May.

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Some recently read works and pieces you may enjoy:

  • From Poems to Paragraphs” by Donald Hall (Slice, Fall 2014/Winter 2015) — An aging poet laureate and essayist reflects on the art of writing and how his fading mind and body affect his process and work. A lovely, and informative, essay for writers of any age and genre.
  • Hannah and Andrew” by Pamela Colloff (Texas Monthly, January 2012) — A painful, true tale of an adoptive mother wrongfully accused and convicted of her troubled child’s bizarre death.
  • A House Is Not a Credit Card” by Bethany McLean (The New York Times, November 13, 2014) — A cautionary opinion piece about the trouble with cash-back refinancing — a problem that should have been addressed during the housing crisis but seems poised to return again due to the lack of regulations and restrictions on using one’s home as a piggy bank.
  • How We Look When We Look at a Painting” by Peter Schjeldahl (The New Yorker, November 13, 2014) — Frederick Wiseman is a genius documentarian, and it’s comforting to see him still churning out perfection. His latest documentary subject, “National Gallery,” focuses on the London museum of the same name, and the film, like all of Wiseman’s work, does not include voice-overs or interviews. Schjeldahl describes the film as eavesdropping on museum-goers and art lovers as they revel in the works that move and fascinate them, leaving the audience to wonder how each interprets a painting or sculpture or relic, how it forms their thoughts, how it heals their hearts.
  • The Humans by Matt Haig (2013) — This book wasn’t on my radar until it came up as this month’s selection for a local community book club some friends and I attend semi-regularly. I had no interest in reading it, turned off by the science fiction plot — an alien is sent to Earth to destroy the person who solves a mathematical problem that will advance humankind and allow human beings to, among other travesties, eventually travel between galaxies and destroy the universe because, well, humans just kind of screw things up (e.g., relationships, wars, the ozone layer). Yet in the end, I was surprised by how much I liked this story and the complicated evolution of an alien who grows to find human qualities preferable to that of his own advanced species. He even finds wonderment in our inherent flaws and disappointments, including the ability to love, which with death or a relationship’s end, leads to unspeakable grief and loss. An uncommon take on what it means to be human.

The Humans

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