Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Easter resolution

My Holy Week revelation and Easter resolution:

To try not to be such a damned pharisee.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fun to come with Little Bitz!

I have news!

Merrimack Valley Magazine has offered me the Little Bitz column; a section in each issue which contains 3-5 short pieces on a wide range of topics.

I'm thrilled!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eureka. And pshew.

Hurrah! I finally found the Facebook code that was creating the annoying red warning text to appear at the top of the site! It's gone! Yippee!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Yes, I know.

In case you are wondering, I am all too aware of the weird red "security warning" messages which are inexplicably appearing on my site. There doesn't appear to be any malware in play, thank goodness. Googling indicates that it is a problem with a Facebook API, and so I have dutifully removed all vestiges of Facebook I could find.

And still they come.

Please bear with me as I try to figure out the culprit. And thanks to my geekish friends who are trying to help.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stories in a single picture

Sometimes I come across scenes or images that say a lot in a single glance. I decided to start capturing them here.

Hope you enjoy.

March 14, 2013: A decrepit shed.

March 13, 2013: Vane vine?

March 12, 2013: Bag of bras.

March 1, 2013: Butt bottle.

January 27, 2013: Cindarella's sister stopped by.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When is a drill not just a drill?

I've been thinking about drills.

Or more precisely, a drill: the DEWALT that we bought for DiDi when we first moved to Newburyport.

Normally I don't think about the drill. I just know it will make an appearance when needed. But recently it's been at the forefront of my mind.

You see, after a nearly year-long experiment in car free living, I put my neglected little champagne-colored Toyota back on the road last week. Part of that process was, of course, attaching license plates. And what holds the plates on?


So what did we need?


The plates went on with a bit of fidgeting and fuss, given that I was the one driving. (DiDi has mad drill skills, but it was a ceremonial occasion, and she wanted me to enjoy the moment.)

But here's what happened. After we went on our first joy ride, I couldn't find it. The drill seemed to have disappeared. The only thing I could think happened was that I left it in the road, a cloud of dust surrounding it as we peeled out.

It took me a bit to realize that it was gone, and then it took a bit longer to conclude that the search was fruitless. Meanwhile DiDi walked around with a sad face, and a tiny voice squeaking "My drill..."

I'm not going to lie. It was a little heart breaking.

I knocked hopefully on the neighbor's door, to see if they happened to find it. I considered posting a "Lost Drill" sign on the telephone poles on our street in hope that someone would turn it in. The sign would include a picture like the one at the top of this post, and a comment along the line of "Family misses it terribly."

It got me wondering, that sadness. DiDi's sense of loss. What was it about the thing that so connected with her? Why was it so important?

I thought about the function of a drill. It anchors things. It fixes things. It takes things apart.

It solves problems.

It gives you power over the physical world, beyond what you would normally have. It provides a small measure of control over an uncontrollable universe.

I should explain that DiDi is dealing with severe nerve pain that has lasted more than six months. She walks with crutches due to muscle weakness and shooting pain which causes her leg to buckle. For any kind of distance, we use a wheelchair. She is way too young for this level of debilitation, and is frustrated.

Very frustrated.

If we had lost the drill a year ago she would have been sad. But not quite this sad.

The good news is that the miraculous happened. The other day, I opened the hatchback and shifted around some of the stuff that accumulated in the back when the car was off the road and acting as a storage locker. Can you guess what I found?


It was a happy day indeed.

So I've been thinking about this particular piece of multi-functional equipment. And I came to a conclusion.

Sometimes a drill is not just a drill.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hot off the Press: Hooked on History with Anne Easter Smith

Today I found the latest issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine in the mail, which looks like this:

The issue contains an article I wrote on the popularity of historical fiction (think Downton Abbey, Lincoln, and Les Miserables), featuring acclaimed author Anne Easter Smith. 

The photos of Anne are lovely, and were shot by Adrien Bisson, on location at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport.

Get your copy at a local newsstand now!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kickstarter lays it out there.

The Kickstarter project for Hello Mommy is now live!

I hope you do view it. And I hope you aren't offended. But I'll warn you ahead of time, you may be.

As I explained to a friend earlier today, the book stands on it's own as a lovely, lyrical story that kids and adults will both love. Children are fascinated by the idea that at one point they did not exist, and Hello Mommy lets them explore the concept in a way that is safe and loving.

It works as a story, completely separate from an agenda of any kind.

However, I did write it with a goal. I am a casualty of a particular era, and bear scars with stories attached. I don't want to push dogma or politics down anyone's throat. I simply want this story to speak it's simple truth.

The Kickstarter project lays it right out there. It could cost me potential writing gigs, or the loss of Facebook friends. It could result in a pileup of criticism and scorn, which I'll have to sweep up and process and try not to let bother me.

And if that is the case, so be it.

Meanwhile, I will be excited. I AM excited. The book is already beautiful, and it will become even more beautiful as it unfolds. It will be the kind of book that children demand to be read over and over again, and parents and grandparents and caregivers won't even mind obliging.

The book will BE.

So have a look. And if you are able, and willing, please help me get it published.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I made it!

Sample Hello Mommy illustration, created by the incredibly talented Carol L. Douglas.

I did it.

I made my self imposed deadline to get a Kickstarter project for Hello Mommy finished by March 1.

I submitted it at about 9:00PM last night, and am waiting for it to be reviewed for adherence to guidelines.

It's a rather arduous process, getting one of these projects set up. Or at least getting one up that you hope has a chance of success. There's a lot of thinking, and writing, and production work involved. I started on it months ago. DiDi and I brainstormed and researched, studied other projects and created budgets, planned rewards and played with video editing.

All that work eventually gets rolled in to a few screens, until finally the day comes when you cross your fingers and click submit.

And then you wait.

Creating a book is like birthing a baby, and in this case, the Kickstarter process is part of the labor.

Today, I'm recovering.