Saturday, March 28, 2009

Unexpected delights - add water

There's snow in Amarillo, TX this weekend. Snow! Fortunately, in the DFW area the wind is merely howling to remind us that March provokes reaction. Brrr - my feet froze into blocks of ice this morning as I helped with registration for the 2009 Fort Worth Walk - the Multiple Sclerosis Society - Join the Movement. What the heck - for a worthy cause, it's worth it to brave the cold. Now, last weekend (yes, it's a flashback - see all pictures), Ray and I wandered Clark Gardens, enjoyed balmy temperatures, and I contemplated action sequences.
Stroll garden grounds. One pictures flowers, green grass, and shrubbery. Quiet. Calm. Perhaps a butterfly wafts overhead and a bee gathers nectar. An impish cherub turns away.
Actually, add water and you've got action overload. Fountains spray, water features burble, creeks babble, and a lion trickles. You want to read ahead in the story or run ahead to see what's around the next corner.

Splendor on unexpected surfaces. That's a key to a story - underlying tones and action. (And today, let's add some warmth)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Woo with Words

Strolling the grounds of the Clark Gardens, Weatherford Texas, we watched this peacock strut. He sensed the white feathered female nearby but she ignored him, so he worked harder to get attention.
Whipped up the razzle dazzle. Still no luck. I think she yawned, if that's possible.

Finally, he unveiled the show. Spectacular color, massive plummage, he tapdanced his heart out. Alas, she scurried away.
If only he'd written her a poem, wooed her with words - well chosen words. Rid himself of unnecessary adjectives or adverbs, and honed in on action verbs. He thought about the video production, but didn't have the right script.
It's all about word choice.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

When do you have too many flower pics?

Can you ever really have too many flower pictures? Here's more shots from last weekend's trek to the Dallas arboretum. So much material to work with, it's flowers on steroids.
I liked these two hardy souls.

The Arboretum theme is Storybooks. Hmmm - Dr.Seuss "One Fish, Two Fish..." I've read this a thousand times to Abigail and she never tires of the rhyme, nor do I. It becomes almost pathological.

Gotta root for the cactus. Hardy and almost belligerent. Domineering in its environment.
Are you tired of haiku? I'm not, though I might wear out my fingers counting syllables.
should learn flower names
bask in bountiful purple
bell shaped loveliness
P.S. I'm still jacking with the tile contractor and the pool's still green. The zen of the arboretum keeps me from being crazy. I need to return when the azaleas go berserk.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I wasn't going to write a thing.........

A friend, Linda T., and I succumbed to the beauty of the Dallas Arboretum. It was a tad gray outside, but it wasn't windy. Hence, tulips were not flying off the stems as we strolled the property. Glorious color, fabulous fields of 450,000 bulbs. These folks are insane in their plantings. It is poetry.

So, I wasn't going to write a thing......but here's a haiku I wrote a few weeks ago. Must share with the world.

fleeting harsh march winds
morose keen and winter pale
single yellow tulip

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reading Revelry

Reading begats writing. One of my favorite presents as a kid was receiving my very own library card. My name. My gateway to the North Wales Library (in PA) and a lifetime of books. Now I have a ton of material on writing as you can see - dictionaries, thesaurus, slang word books, writer market books, literary journals. It's important to check out the competition.
In my "pretty room" ( so named because there is NO television and when the boys were young there was NO fighting allowed here), I keep a pile of reading material handy. Daily, I read the Dallas Morning News. Weekly - it's Time and Entertainment Weekly. Then Writer's Digest, plus other assorted periodicals passed on by friends.
Current books in the pile - Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster (hysterically funny). State by State - A Panoramic Portrait of America edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey (50 writers, 50 states. I just finished New Jersey's section written by Anthony Bourdain, in his usual sardonic style). The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser, New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 by Mary Oliver, The Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop (all of these poetry books were inspired from the workshop two weeks ago), and Closing Costs by Seth Margolis (haven't started this yet, but he was a keynote speaker at a TWW conference two years ago. This book is a loaner - sorry Seth, no royalties from me).
Am I currently reading anything in my novel genre? No, but I love variety. I can't imagine life without reading. What's in your pile? Anything to recommend.....or lend?!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mulch Madness

Morose. March, for me, is frustrating. I want spring and flowers. Yet the reality is monsoons (we hope) and crazy winds. I've been burned by planting too early. So, we (Ray) tilled an area, added manure, re-planted a hardy sage, and mulched.

Mortar - we knew water was seeping away. We knew we had to face the reality of pool repair. Alas, the project turned uglier than expected. (Then again, were we shocked?) Our contractor dug deeper and now we await fresh construction.
Madness - Like any March project, one must dig deeper, remove the crumbled mess, and slowly rebuild. My November 2008 NaNo novel rested fallow for December and January. February I hauled it out, re-read it, and was still enamoured by my words. March, on about the fiftieth reading and with generous sharp eyed critiques from fellow writers, I realized it had festered on a tipsy foundation. "Ambitious Whine" needs an overhaul - patchwork fixes (like our past summer's silicone slapdash pool solutions) will no longer do. I need to work tile by tile, word by word, and give my characters a decent platform to launch their adventures. Perhaps, spread a bit more manure, too!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

breaks and ....pauses

Trinity Writers' Workshop held a poetry seminar for members on Saturday, Feb. 28th. The guest speaker, David Evans, is the Poet Laureate of South Dakota. A charming and thoughtful man, he eased us into the world of poetry. Discussing structure, beat, and word choice, he emphasized that poetry should be accessible. We looked at proverbs, rhymes, one liners, and prose poems. He engaged us in writing exercises and encouraged us all. One form I hadn't given much thought is Haiku - three lines. Syllable count is five, seven, five. Brevity and thoughts on the physical world are key. I'll give it a try based on the ROCK in the Outback of Australia. See pictures above. First the night
Reds to purples fade
light switch of sun flickers once
slate blue gray nightfall
And day:
Raw red rock rises
majestic sparse glare and heat
It's fun to distill a picture into a few words, hopefully an accessible image.