For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today is . . .

Today is . . . lavender in scent and color, frothy ferns moving gently in a breeze that hovers between cool and warm, contemplation, wilting, resting, light percussion and solemn notes, protected and watched over.
See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recently read: Tony Cape’s The Cambridge Theorem

This is an author who is new to me. A quote on the cover notes it’s a combination of P.D. James and John le Carre, both favorite writers of mine. The book did not disappoint. Engrossing, with a series of surprises, the story takes place during 1982 when the Cold War was still being bitterly waged. Cambridge students, professors, police and espionage all mix together, with a few glimpses of an old spy in Moscow. This book is worth reading. I do have to comment on the publisher, Felony and Mayhem Press. I’ve never seen such a strange printing. I can’t imagine how this happened, but throughout the book, new paragraphs are started arbitrarily right in the middle of sentences. Very disconcerting! If the book itself wasn’t so good, I would avoid anything else by this publisher.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New series: Writers write.

Some common exchanges we writers often have (not necessarily willingly) are:

“And what do you do?” asks the new acquaintance.
“I’m a writer,” answers The Writer.
“Oh, how fun! I always wanted to be a writer!” the new acquaintance enthuses. “I’ve got the perfect idea for a novel and as soon as I have time, I’ll write it.”

Yeah right.

If you are a writer, you MAKE time. Writers write—we don’t make excuses for not writing (as much as some days we’d like to). Over the winter, I’ll be featuring writers that I know—people who write no matter what—in my new series “Writers write.” Some of the writers have other jobs, which are often fulltime. Some actually write for a living.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gone from my sight

Glenn Hanson April 10, 1921 to December 19, 2008

Henry Van Dyke, the American poet, educator and clergyman, wrote these words that to me, say it all:

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!”

And that is dying.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Recently read: Michael Dibdin’s Cabal

A man falls to his death during mass at St. Peter’s in the Vatican. The Vatican asks for and receives the help of Aurelio Zen of the Criminalpol of Rome, who has to tread carefully between Church, State, and the relations between both. I always like these books. Dibdin does an excellent job creating the intricacies of life in contemporary Italy, including not only the investigation of crime, but the perils of being in love. Zen has to maintain his focus even while he believes his affair with Tania is unraveling. Another body turns up, family relationships become murky, and the Knights of Malta appear to be involved. Well worth reading this winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today is . . .

Bitter ice and whirling like dry leaves blown across crusted snow, air smelling like a Northern winter that burns cold, winds that whip like angry angels, green warmth and comfort is a memory only.

See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Artella’s AlphaBetter Workshop

The frontispiece of my Book of Muses I'm creating through this workshop.

I’m in the middle (actually, at letter K) of a wonderful workshop created by Marney Makridakis, founder of Artella and inspirer of many. In this, the AlphaBetter Muse Workshop, participants receive a new lesson every four days. We’re working our way through the alphabet with thoughts, ideas for art and writing, journal prompts, and suggestions for new ways of looking at life, at creativity, and at ourselves. Each of the three days between Muses, we receive a “Muselet” with an inspiring quote and prompt. To conclude each lesson, I’ve been following her suggestion to create my own Muse for the letter of the alphabet. This is fun and inspiring!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recently read: Brad Meltzer’s The Book of Fate

I’m a sucker for the genre of thriller that weaves arcane mysteries into modern day suspense. In this novel, the first one I’ve read by Meltzer, the Freemasons are the subject. Their secrets laid hundreds of years ago in coded messages embodied by the buildings of Washington, D.C. possibly hold the key to a mysterious death of a presidential aide. Everyone is suspect, including the Secret Service, the FBI, even the ex-President himself. The protagonist is a young man whose face was terribly disfigured during gunfire surrounding the aide. He is helped by a fat and feisty journalist who never takes her eyes off the story—well, almost never. I enjoyed this. It is a good, light read for the winter months.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Emerging writer’s network

This is a place to check regularly for updates on writing news, reviews, and reading other writers’ work. I haven’t signed up yet, but it’s on my increasingly long list of writer communities that are worth keeping in mind. See

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Today is . . .

Image from

Pale green edged with ivory veins, twined with deep forest green, stars scattered in winter skies along Orion’s Belt, tinged with light in the west where the cities grow. Scented with cold, tasting of church bells, enveloped in nightshades of blue and silver, whispering of sleeping creatures and childhood dreams.

See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wisconsin Wrights

UW-Madison campus and Lake Mendota (photo from the UW web site)

UW-Madison Continuing Studies in Theatre, the University Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, and the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre are again sponsoring the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Development Project. Three finalists will receive a one week residency at Edenfred (see my December 3, 2008 posting). They will also participate in workshops and readings of their work as part of the University Theatre Summer 2009 season. One finalist will be featured as part of the 2009 Madison Repertory Theatre Madison New Play Festival and one finalist will be selected by the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre for a staged reading in 2010.

They are already accepting entries. You must be a current Wisconsin resident. The deadline for submitting your play is Monday, February 2, 2009. There is a $20 entry fee. For more details and specific submission requirements, see

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Edenfred: dedicated to the arts and culture

The veranda at Edenfred in Madison, Wisconsin

Edenfred, which means “peace” in Norwegian, is a 1916 mansion dedicated to providing creative artists a peaceful setting in which to work. Located in Madison, Wisconsin, it was established by the Terry Family Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization. Edenfred has three programs: Resident Fellows Program (open application); Day Fellows Program (local/regional) and Cooperative Residency Program (partnerships with local and regional arts groups). For more information, see

Monday, December 1, 2008

Recently read: Charles Todd’s A False Mirror

This series of historic British police procedurals is good. A favorite genre of mine, I hadn’t run across Todd until fairly recently. Set shortly after the end of World War I, the books combine the details of how police solved crime before DNA testing and photocopy machines with historical fiction. Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge heads to a tiny town on the southern coast of England, where a man he knew from their military service in the War is the main suspect in a nasty beating that ended in death. A well-done look at history, England after the War to End All Wars, and a good mystery to boot, I plan on reading more of Todd’s books.