I went to a museum in Charleston, SC. I started off with the historic paintings in gilt frames protected under low lighting and I felt somewhat neutral. In my twenties, I’d studied at the Louvre in Paris for a year. I’d stood in front of a Courbet and Caravaggio and Delacroix while a French teacher lectured about each painting and I took notes.KEEP READING >>
At a women’s outdoor adventure weekend, I held a compass in my palm. I stared down at the arrow ready to make things right.
When I was seventeen, I went on a twenty-one day Outward Bound course in the North Carolina mountains, because my father thought it would be good preparation for college.KEEP READING >>
August 2018 was our official initiation into empty-nesthood. But two months after our youngest child went to college, our oldest son moved back in. We both admitted we were relieved. We weren’t yet ready to be set free, our identities still attached to parenthood. Plus, it was just nice to have him home.KEEP READING >>
For years, I complained about my local post office. The lines! The long wait. But as I started putting together a business selling my art prints, I needed mailing advice. I had no idea about package weights, labels and First Class or Priority, so I kept going in to my post office and asking questions.KEEP READING >>
I attended a photography retreat in Burgundy. I took lots of notes but I noticed compared to others, I didn’t take a ton of photos. I was thinking ahead to me back home scrolling through hundreds of photos. It felt complicated. So I kept it simple. Just enough to practice my new skills in letting in or keeping out the light.KEEP READING >>
I went to the beach in June to make a decision. The question, Should I start a business selling my art prints? was simple. But it felt overwhelming because I’d never run a business. Packaging, shipping, staying organized, these thoughts floated like UPS trucks through my brain. I sat on the porch and rocked and contemplated.KEEP READING >>
Pay attention—two simple words essential to creative writing.
One definition of “pay” is to “give or bestow.”
The word “attention” derives from the Middle English word “attend” or to apply one’s mind—one’s energies to someone or something.
To me, paying attention means being present with a purpose.KEEP READING >>
My favorite Coen brothers’ film is Raising Arizona. It’s the story of a soft-hearted, ex-con husband H.I. McDunnough and his infertile wife, Ed, who decide to kidnap a quintuplet in Tempe, Arizona because his real parents already “have more than they can handle.”
It’s full of frantic fun and makes me laugh out loud and the dialogue is the best.KEEP READING >>
The way Georgia O’Keeffe lived her life inspires me—from her art to her clothing to her home design.
O’Keeffe was born in Wisconsin in 1887. Her family then moved to Virginia. She went on to study art at various schools, but it happened to be one particular art professor at Columbia University in New York who greatly influenced her.KEEP READING >>
In 1987, I was studying art history at the École du Louvre when I met an older German man named Peter.
Peter was stern, didactic, exacting, prickly and super intellectual. He relished arguing loudly at dinner for the fun of it. Something a young twenty-three-year-old Southern woman wasn’t used to.KEEP READING >>
The opening line. That ever important first impression. The way to draw the reader into your story. Those previous words were easy to write. But the real thing is not.
Every writer struggles with the first line of his or her novel, because they know that if that first sentence is killer,KEEP READING >>
Some say there are only two plots in the world—a stranger comes to town and someone goes on a journey.
My novel’s plot definitely falls into the latter journey category. So I decided to find out a little more about the Hero’s Journey.
I was familiar with Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces concerning the journey of the archetypal hero in world mythologies and that Campbell made famous the term “monomyth.”
Interestingly enough,KEEP READING >>