Seen From Below

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Keep looking up!

Seen From Below

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

Happy New Year!

It was thirty-three degrees Fahrenheit and not-quite-raining out as I went outside to see the new year just now. I opened the door to let the old year out and the new yer in and then, as is my own tradition, I stepped out to see what the year and the night held. Only some muffled fireworks could be heard and a little wind through the trees.

The house was feeling nice and warm afterwards and my even warmer bed awaits.

All the best to all my family and friends out there in the world. Find good things and fun things and important things in the coming year!

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.
— James Dean

And may all your colors be genuine in 2020!

Happy New Year!

Tripod Day!

Alas not the Williamstown Tripod but….

Peak Design Travel Tripod, just jetted in from Hong Kong!

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Tripod Day!

Rummaging Through Bookmarks

Remember when bookmarks were something slipped between two paper pages? I have a bookmarks folder for names in the world, and another one of cool things rummaged while writing, often on the way to something else. This is one of them

The Black Book of Carmarthen, digitized by The National Library of Wales (which is where I saw it), “A collection of Welsh poetry compiled by one scribe during the mid-13th century, and containing verse composed at various times during the period between the eighth and thirteenth centuries. The volume includes triads (p. 27), religious and vaticinatory poetry, eulogies, elegies and numerous poems relating to the Myrddin Legend.”

Rummaging Through Bookmarks

Almost the end of November

Did you wonder where I was? Yup, November brings NaNoWriMo. I knew there were some days at the beginning of the month that no writing or at least little writing would be possible – a wedding and some other things but I wasn’t prepared for the struggle of what would happen next. I had no idea. Which is why, frankly, no writing to get to the end of this story had been happening.

But now, when I could be working on it, even house chores seemed more appealing. I tried new tacks such as hand-writing notes to myself about things that might happen next. I wrote a sketch of a big thing that I knew, or hoped, was going to happen. I dabbled quite briefly with a different idea I had, thinking it was a short story and putting it back in the drawer when it seemed much larger.

I had a few big word count days and a whole lot of low word count days. Which adds up to a half-NaNo but which did indeed bring me almost to the very end.

Here I will say that despite the help that hand writing notes (fountain pen and tiny softcover Moleskines, how writerly, eh?) the power of digital tools is immense. November first, at our local launch party, a big storm came up just before I was packing it in. There was a tiny power blip. My BBEdit screen, non-responsive. I ended up screenshotting it just to save the few inches of paragraphs that were visible, a tiny bit of what I’d done. Came home and finally had to shut down the computer. I chose re-open windows of programs that were open, not holding out any hope for the unsaved document. But there, BBEdit (because it doesn’t suck) opened, opening two other windows and the unsaved document in its entirety.

I so love the Barebones Software guys that when I discovered there was a paid upgrade available that night, I gladly plopped my money down for it and sent them a big thank you.

I also love that as I worked on what a character was reacting to and feeling, I could cut and paste the whole ending-to-date into a new document and change it over into something that seemed better, more coherent and tweak it, free from the rest of what had been written. It finally got added back, replacing the old not-quite-right part. Yeah cut and paste!

So here we are at the end of November, and there’s a new pile of words for this book. I’m good with it.

Almost the end of November

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The Gettysburg Address