Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Matter of Perspective

Ahh, autumn. Nature's palette of fiery reds, yellows, oranges, pinks, and almost every color in between, create a storm of astounding color. The poking, prying fingers of chill winds seek to insert themselves under skirts, over cheeks, and into eyes. We snuggle into thick woolen sweaters, waterproof boots, and down laden jackets.

We seek comfort in hot chocolate, spiced coffees, and flavored brandies. Frost on our car inspires us to bake breads and pies, roast turkeys, mix up a batch of cookies.

We look forward to cuddling up with loved ones in front of a campfire or fireplace, beloved pet at our feet, feeling safe and warm and blessed.

Don't you have a cozy feeling? Aren't you feeling good?

I'm not.

My pool is closed.

There are blankets on my bed. The flannel jammies are under the pillow. Sweatshirt goes where I go. My hands and nose are cold. The cat has stopped shedding (okay, that's a good thing). My garden is dead.

Anyone who knows me, knows THIS is me:

But I can write about autumn and make you think I like it because I try to think from the perspective of people who love it.

Just because I write something doesn't mean that it's me. I can write about villains and bad things people do and that doesn't mean it's what I want to do. I'm just looking out from a different perspective.

Can you stand away enough from something to see the opposite perspective?


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Culture Shock

This past weekend, I was here:

the festival of San Gennaro in New York City. My husband's family is Italian and this is a bit of their cultural heritage. To me, it's a little strange that people tack money onto a statue (some said the Madonna, but the sign said the saint of San Gennaro). But we get to stuff our faces on zeppole (fried dough with powdered sugar, a staple at almost every fair), and sausage & pepper heroes, and many flavors of gelato. I'd have to walk to Italy to work off all the calories I consumed. You hear Italian spoken and sung, see people laughing and enjoying familiar aspects of the culture even if they weren't Italian.

I don't always see cultural aspects in novels. Sometimes a story feels too 'melting pot' -ish; there is no discernible ethnic background. Names are not indicative of ancestry (I'm German/Swedish, my husband Italian, and one son is named Alec, one Collin- neither traditional names in our heritage.)

Are we trying to be too PC (politically correct)? Sanitize and homogenize so that we don't offend or leave someone out? Make the story able to 'fit' any ethnicity?

I like having cultural bits as part of the story because my husband doesn't wear a kilt, or my mother read tea leaves, or have family in The Family. I believe cultural tidbits give us a glimpse into different societies and what they hold onto.

With that in mind, I'm trying to incorporate pieces of alien cultures in my Sci Fi novel.

We all need more culture.


Monday, September 9, 2013

That's A Wrap.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a summer gal. I live for my pool and 85+ degree days. Humidity doesn't bother me, and I could get by on 2 weeks of cold (1 for Christmas to feel in the holiday spirit, and one to spend the week skiing, playing in the snow.) That's it. Fall is... depressing. It's the end of my favorite season, end of vacations, end of long days and short warm nights.

I fight it as much as I can, but the day I wake up and have to wear pants because it's too cold for shorts (even if it gets warmer during the day) is the day I throw up my hands and give in to the darkness.

Like losing a pet, moving away, changing your life in some major way, autumn is a time I have to force myself to move forward, not give in to melancholy. Oh yes, there are thick soft sweaters, hot cocoa, burnished leaves, book snuggles by the fireplace.

But I hate the cold and the long dark.

It means jumping out of the shower as fast as I can, wearing socks because my feet are always numb, blowing on my fingers while I wait for the car to heat up. And stumbling around in the dark at 5 p.m.

Yes, this is all very depressing.

I can't live like that.

So what do I do?

I surround myself with beauty.  Here's my house: my kitchen table.

That's my dining room table.

The mantle over my corner fireplace.

A table in my living room.

I have more pumpkins and fall-sy things scattered around the house, but you get the idea. Vibrant color helps cheer me.

So if you have to move on from a rough spot- poor health, loss of a friend, change in lifestyle, rejection of a novel, etc., surround yourself with reminders of what makes you happy.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Crazy Days of Summer...

are done.

On this rainy Labor Day holiday, I'm doing this:

When I'd rather be doing this:

Hope you're enjoying the last day before we get back into the yearly routine.

Because tomorrow it's back to working your a*$ off...