Showing posts from January, 2023

Recent Books: January

For several years, I've been posting on social media about books I read. On Twitter, I often share a sentence for #SundaySentence. On Instagram, I share more quotes and a few thoughts.  But social media is ephemeral, and platforms can disappear at a moment's notice, taking my thoughts with it. So I'm posting here periodically, too. The Art of Map Illustration, by James Gulliver Hancock, Hennie Haworth, Stuart Hill, Sarah King The Art of Map Illustration,  James Gulliver Hancock, Hennie Haworth, Stuart Hill, Sarah King “[A] map tells a story—and everyone loves a good story.” This book is accurately subtitled, “A step-by-step artistic exploration of contemporary cartography and mapmaking.” The four artists who wrote the book and whose work is featured have different, yet similar approaches to making maps. The maps they’re making are highly personal perspectives on specific places, sometimes at a specific (long ago) time. The artists use different techniques, both digital and

Feelings, and the Feeling Feelers Who Feel Them

So, "feelings" have been on my mind lately. (Not the song, but you're welcome for the earworm.)* Since the first of the year, I've been doing a writing exercise to help ground my work in observations using the five senses, as opposed to writing from the thoughts that circle in my head ALL THE TIME, morphing into metaphors and trying to get out.  So senses: We all use sight in writing a lot, and I've enjoyed exploring sound for several years (as in my essay collection). Smell is purportedly quite evocative, a leftover from our reptilian brain, but the winter, with dust and allergies and stuffy noses, isn't conducive to detecting smell, unless I'm baking, which I haven't done much lately. (Hey. I should remedy that.) By the way, I found these exercises in Jeannine Ouellette's substack newsletter, Writing in the Dark. They landed in my inbox at exactly the right time, and they've challenged me all month. Back to senses. Jeannine points out that f

What I’m Taking Into 2023

It’s probably a little late to be posting “new year” thoughts, but I was late to church almost every Sunday morning for most of my childhood (NOT MY FAULT) (although something I've had to work on since), and my father liked to sit up front, where everyone could watch us shamefacedly slink in and take seats, so let’s call it tradition. Here are a few things I’m taking into 2023, some of which I learned in 2022, and some of which I re-learned. Words, part 1.  Naming things is important. Having a name for something can make it real in a way it wasn’t before, which can be scary if you’re as into denial as I am. But it’s also a relief. To have a name for something is to put a limit on it, to say “I know you,” even though you can’t predict the future exactly.  And I know all that’s vague, and that’s how it is for now. Just, words are good. Words, part 2.  I’ve put 80-thousand-plus words into a novel that will be published in 2023 by Latitude 46, a publisher in Sudbury. Making Up the Gods

How I Ended December

‘tis the season For bigger jeans. For fuzzy socks and chunky sweaters. For grandparents’ recipes, softened butter and sugar sprinkles. For vanilla and almond, cinnamon and nutmeg, fir and cedar. For darkness, gathering and dissipating. For candles lit and ancient words spoken. For snowflakes. The world in a drop at the end of an icicle. Frost-whiskers on evergreen needles. For friends. Sharing seed with jays and chickadees and squirrels. Cheering on the fox, waving at deer. For looking: back, forward, within. For walking in someone else’s footsteps, lifting the weight of memories. For mornings and mournings, holding them to the light, turning them, letting them go. Goodbye, 2022.