Old Moon

Monday, December 28, 2009


There are snow-falls and there are snow-falls. The one happening here in northwest Connecticut as I write this looks like the concluding scene of a sentimental movie with a happy ending. Precisely what you want to see if you're in a warm place in midwinter. Nature supplies more suggestions for expanded links with ideas than any other entity, of course.

Forever on the lookout for useful metaphors (an occupational hazard for anyone who pretends to be an artist),  I'm trying to think of how to make the best use of this apparently gentle beauty. Perhaps a little contest? Prizes (metaphorical, of course) to be awarded on the basis of originality and appropriateness.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I've just read a short and telling essay on the holiday season by Kathryn Stripling Byer. Many have said almost too much, and more will later be added to these millions of words, but not many will get to the heart of universal human solace at this time of the year as beautifully as Ms. Byer, with her remarks about LIGHT.  The calendar reminds us that darkness is shrinking, that light in every sense of the word is gaining strength. Please visit Netwest Mountain Writers and Poets and read "Words Shining in the Night."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Still Learning

Lesson for today:

There certainly isn't anything like a new location to give a new slant. We were expecting to be here in Connecticut by today, but not (as it turned out we were) by yesterday. The storm warnings impressed even my intrepid daughter, so we rescheduled everything and took off a day early from North Carolina. Since the route goes via I-77 and I-81, we're mighty glad we did! So here I sit in a busy household where my son-in-law is baking cookies like three of Santa's elves rolled into one, for his annual office party, a real wood fire makes the ambience everything an illustrator could invent. Yet, it could be any winter day, too far from what I now look on as "home," rather than almost the eve of the most-celebrated holiday of the year in the western hemisphere.

The fact that we have snow due in an hour or so, that the decorations are lavish, pretty, traditional, and that I'm in the bosom of my family seems as though I should be not only grateful (which I certainly am), but also "in the mood," which I'm afraid I'm not. Immediately after that remark, we all think of the conventional wisdom of looking for the important things and not seeking satisfaction from the wrong sources. That advice is still perfectly valid, and still does little to reconcile me with my place (I mean where I am in a physical sense). One more time, I am reminded of how inescapable one's geographical location is in one's emotional and spiritual status.

An effort of will is sometimes less than sufficient to the job.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Finally, the second novel is out in paper. I wish the cover were the same as the e-reader version, but I have hopes for a tidier text.

If you have a taste for a story about a time many of us can remember, though it is likely past for good, this novel of how three siblings deal with facing a future changed by "progress" and loss for each of them, you might enjoy meeting the Adams family.

When you love your story as it unfolds under your fingers, completing it feels like a mixed blessing. When you then wonder whether it will ever see the light of day, you can begin to regard it as a curse. Nobody who writes for publication will fail to understand what I mean. During this waiting time, you become convinced that the book is too poor for anyone to want to read it anyway. I hope this feeling will pass soon!

I'm happy to wish myself a happy holiday now, while I also wish for happy readers.

Amazon and the publisher Cambridge Books are the primary sources, but most booksellers will order.

Now I can proceed to the last of the Christmas cards and packing for the journey north to spend Christmas with my children.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Letting It All Out--or Not?

A novel in one month? Good or bad, that deserves congratulations. I've been following the progress of this project for a couple of years and can only wonder at the energy and (forgive me) chutzpah of those who try it. From my point of view, it would be just what I most do not need to do. Of recent years I've been spending a lot of time and some money in an effort to get good editing. I often wish I had the kind of mind that seems to be trained into the top ranks of British students so I had instant recall and could quote everyone I'd like to without pausing to think about it. I can't, so I'll just mention that someone said that 90% of good writing is good editing. THAT is a rarer thing than good writing.

If any reader is trying to do what I am in an effort to be ready for Christmas and all it entails, I wish them not only strong bodies and quiet minds, but also the good fortune to find the editor(s) they need. For some of us the flow is less of a problem than the polishing of what has poured or squeaked out of our psyches onto the page--poetry, fiction, or essay. We have to get through to the new year with the hope of greater success than in the last one. Best wishes and godspeed!