20 May 2011

100 Word Challenge: Before You

I am attempting to regularly participate in The 100 Word Challenge. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, in response to the word. This week's word: Chasm

Before You

There is a line between the before time and the after time - deep, indelible, uncrossable.
Before you I ate everything without even thinking about it;
After you I eat everything because I might not have the chance.
Before you I wanted to go everywhere so I wouldn’t be here;
After you I want to go everywhere to experience there.
Before you I took pictures through lenses without meaning;
After you I take pictures in a heart without filters.
Before you I feared nothing and faced nothing;
After you I fear everything and face anything.
Death changes everything;
And nothing.

14 May 2011

100 Word Challenge: My Mother

I am attempting to regularly participate in The 100 Word Challenge. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, in response to the word. This week's word: Forgetting

My Mother

Sometimes I have to concentrate to recall how a smile shaped her mouth, pushed up her cheeks, though I can see her eyes glimmer with life’s joys. After a while - minutes, hours, years - her features lose their sharp focus, becoming dreamy soft, as her hugs before disease stripped her bones. Occasionally, I’ll glimpse her hands at the end of my wrists, trace her outline in my sister’s silhouette, hear her pleasure in a Beethoven sonata, feel the pressure of her in my grandmother’s embrace. The tides of memory shift and settle, sharpen and fade, fill and empty me.

06 May 2011

100 Word Challenge: Kitchen Dance

In an attempt to write more, I am going to attempt to regularly participate in The 100 Word Challenge. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, in response to the word. This week's word: Family

Kitchen Dance

The syncopated bursts of laughter compete with the rhythm of her knife. Chop, sauté, simmer, spice. She loves listening to the retold stories the best, the comfort of favorites filling her up as she fills up the pot with stock and stewed tomatoes. Weaving between listeners, her dance builds layers of flavors, future memories.

The spoon scrapes the bottom of the pot in the silence, the last of the gumbo greedily filling one last bowl. All around the room glazed looks and satisfied smiles meet her searching eyes. No hunger here. No hurt now.

The scent of spices lingers. Loved.

ETA: Here are some of the other Challenge posts...

03 May 2011

I'm Not Dead Yet...

just in case any of my miniscule readership was wondering. During the radio (or really, blog) silence of the past several months, I have been teaching writing, working at a children's bookstore, moving, and job hunting, all while I contemplate the next step in my life. Yeah, still haven't figured that one out.

Also during this long silence, I have been reading. A lot. An awful lot. All sorts of interesting things- food lit, mysteries, romance, biography, fantasy. I have revisisted old favorites, and I have discovered new favorites. One such new favorite has inspired me to actually write a review. Yes, I am that excited about this new author. Who knows, I may start to do this on a regular basis.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

This debut novel by Darynda Jones came into my life just after I had finished reading, and loving, the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and that mood definitely colored my enjoyment of this book. It has some of the same flair and funny, with a supernatural twist. You see, Charley Davidson is the grim reaper - she sees, and talks to, dead people. This is great for a private investigator, and for helping out her cop father and uncle. It's not so great for her public image to talk to people no one else can see.

The elements that Charley has in common with Stephanie Plum - law enforcement profession, family troubles, bad boy complications - gave the story a familiar launching point, and, at least for me, highly enjoyable one. But Jones really takes these elements and makes them her own. Charley deals with her troubles with an attitude and sense of humor that engaged me and made me want to know how it works out for her (and hope that it does work out). Her snark and sarcasm, two of my favorite things, kept the pace set at hilarious. It's true that the funny kept me engaged, but she deals with some seriously difficult issues - 'cause, ya know, dead people - and does it in a graceful and real way. Charley Davidson is definitely someone I think it would be cool to know, so if you read for character like I do, this is a character that is worth your time. While I admit that I am not really widely read in the paranormal genres, this does seem to be an original voice and entertaining adventure.

I will definitely be getting Second Grave on the Left when it comes out in August.

01 May 2011

Simple abundance...

My recent move has inspired much introspection, contemplation, and perhaps even angst...

Among the topics, foremost after only the perennial what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, was, and is I suppose, the idea of simplification. This is a subject that always accompanies the hated moving process - where did I get all this stuff? Why do I have so much of it? Do I really need it all? The questioning accompanying this particular move was compounded by others in my world tackling simplification for various reasons - dear friends moving to Korea to teach, another friend's blog posts focusing on the simplification process, my sister cleaning out her clutter, books where the heroines end up traveling with no luggage and are fine... there were other less easily referenced moments, as well. All of these make me want to pare down the things that I own, reduce the volume of possessions cluttering up my life (or stored in my sister's apartment).

Questions of simplification are difficult for me - I have a nester personality. I miss my pretty nick-nacks. Objects are comforting to me. Clutter is cosy. I am predisposed to collect - books, art, cooking supplies. Having to move, and leave so much of my stuff - those books, dust-catchers, kitchen equipment - in storage for now, has created a cognitive dissonance between my desire for my missing objects, my attachment to the objects that surround me, and the appeal of a simplified life.

So, how do I find that balance point?

Another complicating factor is that move coincided with my purchase (finally) of an eReader, and my subsequent discovery that I love it - I love the experience of reading on it, I love the fact that I can have literally hundreds of books with me at any given time, I love the space it saves. And yet... I also love my paper books. How do I pick and choose in which format I want to keep a given title? Cookbooks are easy - they are still better in paper, though if I do get an iPad, who knows if that will change - but for now, I'm keeping the paper. Poetry I am also keeping the paper - the form matters in poetry, and the formatting of ebooks is not yet at a place where the form is well and consistently preserved, so they stay, too. But I have hundreds and hundreds of novels, mostly genre fiction, well-loved and well-read, many of which I now also have in ebook form. And I enjoy reading them that way. How do I choose which to keep, which to pare away? I feel almost as if I have to choose which friends I get to keep and which ones I have to say goodbye to. Due to the issue of storage distance, it is a decision that I don't yet have to make, but it is looming, and occupying my thoughts to the point of minor obsession.

Why can't simple also be easy?