Wkly Brief: One Writer’s Canvas

Florence, Italy

Rucellai Palace, Via della Vigna Nuova, Florence, Italy

My pen flies across the pages sketching, sketching, sketching. First my protagonist’s body is roughed out, then the articles surrounding her. Black and white, fine lines. The scenes are flickering in fast forward and I must work non-stop to capture a vision with a sentence, a motion with a word. The bare outlines of the images that race through my brain are transferred to the page. The contours, the colors, the shading will wait for now.

I envision my empty pages as a wall-sized canvas. Just as an artist fills a canvas with a cohesive, amazing set of artwork, the writer fills pages. Vibrant colors will stimulate, shading will draw you deeper, and contours will smooth rigidity. But right now, my canvas is empty and waiting. With words as my tools, I start sketching.

Today I outline the beginning, the protagonist’s hair Continue reading

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Hogwarts Summer Reading List

Type Hogwarts Classes into your browser search tool and you will receive a barrage of messages along the line of “You can now take Classes at Hogwarts” (Buzzfeed) and “Muggles Rejoice: Hogwarts is Here to Offer Online Classes” (Mashable).

I can hear a collective groan from people who are terribly tired of all things Harry Potter, but perhaps, in the guise of whimsy, you will let me share some reading material for the hot August days ahead of us.  Here’s my summer reading list to prepare you for your upcoming Hogwarts courses:

Moon over Trees


Goal: Fill in star charts, find planets and other celestial bodies.

Recommended Reading: Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This is a young adult (YA) story of Muggle children who travel across time and space to save their father. Continue reading

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Wkly Brief – Cool Encounter #1 Boston

Prudential Center Boston

“USA-Boston-Prudential Center1a” by Ingfbruno – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USA-Boston-Prudential_Center1a.jpg#mediaviewer/File:USA-Boston-Prudential_Center1a.jpg

We were sixteen, from a parochial school in Western New York, which had released us onto the city streets in Boston. It was our last day, the tours to The Garden, Rockport, and Faneuil Hall had netted us some plastic memorabilia and a live lobster pet that was residing in our hotel ice machine.

We had two hours before curfew. We stood by the Government Center T entrance in the fading Spring light, four heads together over a map and zeroed in on our next target: the Prudential Center’s Skywalk Observatory.

“It closes at 8. There’s just enough time.”

Clearly the ringleader, Sharon, a leprechaun of a girl with short sandy curls and dimpled cheeks, folded the map and started down the stairs. The other girls, not much taller than Sharon, and my tall, gangly frame followed. As we stepped from the cool night into the warm subway air, the steel-string strumming of guitar music wafted from a distance tunnel, and then slipping through the turnstiles, the chords were smothered by the rumble of our arriving train. We ran the last leg and slipped on the Green line as the doors eased shut behind us.

“Does everybody have enough to get in?” Sharon asked. Her hand was in her pocket and we could hear the few coins she had left jangling in her pocket.  “I checked, I have enough with a little to spare for the trip home.”

Rather than fight the roaring sounds of subway and murmur of voices, we all nodded, and held to the silver bar, swaying with the train. Continue reading

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Info-bytes and Interruptions

Cell Family

“Claire wakes jonesing for data. She fumbles on the crowded table for the blackberry; takes a digital hit.”1 -Jess Walter

  The father, mother and daughter sit together, waiting for an appointment. Dad’s Timex-clad wrist rests on his knee, black cell phone extended within reading distance. Mom, sitting rigidly next to Dad, smiles gently at the white smart phone held inches from her belly. A younger version of Mom: red curly hair, white shirt, sits slumped in the waiting room chair, thumb-punching letters and numbers into her sticker-covered best friend. The American family: arms touching, a world apart.

Post Too LongThis scene isn’t much different from a family waiting for an appointment in the ‘80s. In the ‘80s the family probably had a shoe-box size car phone, but in the waiting room they would have sat side-by-side with magazines and books, arm touching arm, still a world apart.

It was in the ‘80s that the Walkman became popular.2 I know, because I blame it for the first of many breakups with guy friends that didn’t understand that we were on a date. Carl3 had invited me to join him and some buds to see the UNH Hockey Team play Team USA. This wasn’t just any Team USA, Continue reading

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Info-Bytes and Interruptions – Short Version

Because attention is snippet-driven these days, I worry about having written such a long post, hence this briefer version. Continue reading

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