Sunday, October 26, 2008

Photographic memory

This is how I spent my week, with my camera in hand.

Autumn is still here in all it's glorious colour.

And I have a thing for trees.

So while I try to figure out where Bracken is going, and why Kellie can't allow that, I've been focused on Casey's therapy.

Today it was the hot tub. He's growing. I'm not sure how much longer he's going to fit.

How was your week?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comfort zones

As I've mentioned before there are some authors - JoAnn Ross, Greg Iles, Maggie Shayne, Lisa Gardner, Jennifer Crusie and Susan Wiggs - whose works I buy as soon as they hit the stores. There's another author I've been reading since she was first published - Karen Marie Moning. You don't have to be a romance reader to enjoy these writers. They are all gifted as well as skilled when it comes to the written word. They never fail to enthrall and entertain me.

I'm savouring Faefever, the latest from Ms Moning. It wasn't a series I was expecting to fall into so completely but I have. The next one won't be out for another year so I want to take my time to enjoy the characters for awhile. The fast pace and constant danger don't lend themselves well to that plan. It's almost impossible to put down.

The thing is all the above mentioned authors can suck me into their worlds so completely that I feel like I'm part of the story. They're all known for brilliant characterization as well as intriguing plots. I was thinking about how they manage to make me care so deeply about the growth and well-being of their characters. The emotions are real and messy, not romanticized or polished.

Of course that realization took place in the shower and suddenly I was reaching for my bathtub crayons. Bracken's first scene took shape right there on the back of the shower wall - full of action that showed all of his emotion. He's leaving his comfort zone(thank goodness because I have yet to travel to Scotland) with a ticking clock bundled within his cloak.

I have yet to figure out how Kelli prevents him from reaching his goal or even why for that matter but I'm not too concerned. Once I look at her and how she feels I should be well on my way.

I write in layers. Every book is different from the one before. I suspect this time I'll be writing the emotion first, then the setting and finally dialogue. I have no idea where Bracken is going to end up but I think I need to write outside my comfort zone so it won't be here. My roots are in Niagara but it's time to pull up stakes, fictionally speaking, and check out somewhere new. I just have to figure out where in the world best challenges Kelli and Bracken to grow.

Monday, October 13, 2008


It's Thanksgiving weekend. The leaves have turned orange, red and yellow. The fish in the pond are sluggish. The tomato plants are leggy and ragged. I sat outside with Hell to Pay yesterday and started the final read-through. I didn't get very far. It's so warm outside and the dogs wanted to play ball. Or dig in my garden. Or share chestnuts with me. They were so active that I decided to take a cue from them to live in the moment and enjoy the bonus nice weather while I could.

At dinner later that night, my nephew informed us that he'd like to go work in Australia for a year. This is not the first time he'd said that. It's a plan I heartily encourage. By traveling a great distance to leave home and all that is familiar, he'll truly learn his strengths and desires. The experience will be life changing. I was only eight years old when we moved back to Canada from Germany but those three years taught me valuable lessons that still hold true today.

Living so close to the border, we are heavily influenced by the United States. Our cultural identity can be overwhelmed at times. Listening to my niece's interpretation of Thanksgiving was one of them. Ultimately whether the holiday was started by the Pilgrims and Indians or as a celebration of the harvest isn't as important as giving thanks for all that we have.

I've been particularly blessed this year with great friends and a good family. There have been some tough times and these are the people that have helped me keep perspective or brought me back from the brink of insanity. These are the people who inspire me to keep going when all I want to do is lie down for a month or two. These are the people who point out the irony of injuring my back while setting up a hot tub. Who fly across the country for a house-warming party. Who remind me that spinning and knitting are valuable talents. Who show me the world through amazing photographs and brilliant films. Who bring different cultures into my awareness. Who spend most of Movie Night sharing their own healing trials so that I can benefit from their experience.

These are the people who bring laughter and sorrow, wounds and healing, challenges and rewards, anger and love into my life. These are the people who bring out the worst and the best in me so that I'm as well-rounded as I am.

These are the people for whom I give thanks. You are these people.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Autumn colours my world

There is something about Autumn that has always appealed to me. I suppose the vibrant colours are a huge part of it. Perhaps it's the beginning of the school year. Or maybe the fact that we always moved at the end of September(the military wasn't worried about dependents or their education) It's been a long while since I was a kid getting a hair cut and a new wardrobe to impress the kids at the new school, but the smell of wood and lead as I sharpen pencils is as important today as it was back then.

I like to start new projects in Autumn. It's the season of pre-writing for me. I go out with my camera, play with the colours and lighting and think about the new characters. I imagine how they'd be spending the day, how they feel about the crisp Fall air; the scent of apples, grapes and decay. I wonder whether they enjoy the quiet or abhor it.

It's a season full of opportunities, beginnings, and reflection for me. This is the time of year I fall in love, start fresh with my exercise regime and celebrate the harvest. I try new foods, listen to unfamiliar music, play with textures. I absorb Autumn through my pores and my senses are sharper than at any other time of year.

We bring in the summer's harvest, fill our storehouses and prepare ourselves for the long months of dark to come. While the plants become dormant, the animals hibernate and winter winds keep us indoors, it is Autumn that provides us with the tools to survive. Mulch the flower beds; carpets of leaves and nutrients leach into the ground to feed the roots.

My roots, both literal and figurative, are sustained by the excitement and vibrancy that is Autumn. I stretch and grow and breathe deeper now. I suppose some would consider me to be in the Autumn of my life. Great. This is when I feel most alive. Alert. Exhuberant.

I have no desire to fly south.