Free-For-All Friday

(What is this? My very own meme, which could take the form of other Friday memes out there — random five or ‘fessing up — or non-Friday memes, or anything! Point being to have a little fun and get a little interactive. Feel free to snitch my logo at left and do your Friday thing!)


Today for my meme I get to respond to another meme. This one is a commenter’s meme. I ask you, who thinks these up? People have good imaginations out there. I was tagged by Charlotte over at Charlotte’s Web.

(Addendum: Forgot to post this and now it’s outdated! I’m too lazy to update for Pete over at Couch Trip who left a nice comment today. Also, Caroline left a comment but doesn’t have a blog (yet?) –“hi” to you!)

The rules:

1. List the last 10 people to comment on your blog.

2. If you’re on the list, you’re tagged.

My last 10 commenters:

1. Terry at Mr. Wandering Writer

2. Sandi Kahn Shelton

3. mari at cha no ma-ri

4. Charlotte at Charlotte’s Web  (What’s the rule on this? She tagged me!)

5. oh at Oh! Books…Paper…Real Life…

6. Becca at Bookstack

7. DeAnna at Writely So

8. tracer at Twilight Spy

9. Lane at Lane Scheideman’s Photography

10. The Girl In The Cafe

Here are the questions:

1. What’s your favourite post from number 5’s blog?

oh’s a great photographer. I always like her Six-Word Saturdays with an image and a caption. This one was especially nice.

2. Has number 2 taken any pictures that moved you?

I remember one photograph that had me drooling. This was Sandi’s idyllic summer writing spot. Also, check out the cover of her latest novel, Kissing Games of the World. Talk about moving.

3. Does number 8 reply to comments on her blog?

I can’t say that tracer replies. However, I know this blogger in the flesh (not just virtually) and I know it’s not personal!

4. Which part of blogland is number 4 from?

Charlotte is from the part of blogland that speaks to any of us. She’s a writer, sure, but I don’t consider her blog just about writing. Also, because she’s a South African living in Germany, she adds a nice international flavor to my blog experience.

5. If you could give one piece of advice to number 5, what would it be?

Personally, I would love it if Lane added some text around his photos. (Everyone: another wonderful photographer.) Some of the technical or inspirational context. What was going on with him during the shoot…You know, just commentary.

6. Have you ever tried something from number 1’s blog?

Terry drops in every once in awhile, which is great. I can’t say that I’ve tried anything from his blog, but then, he doesn’t have that kind of blog. He shares his short fiction, which is far more brave than I have been so far.

7. Has number 3 blogged something that inspired you?

mari bakes the most delicious-looking cookies, and her photos look too good. Her series of VOTE cookies before the election put a smile on my face and kept me hopeful.

8. How often do you comment on number 6’s blog?

Not often enough! But only because I haven’t read most of the books that Becca has so have nothing to add to her reviews. (Get lots of reading ideas from her!)

9. Do you wait for number 10 to post excitedly?

Personally, I like it when The Girl In The Cafe posts madly or sadly. Just kidding — that’s an oddly worded question. Currenly, TGITC is working on a film so I look forward to her updates. I also like her commentary on film in general.

10. How did number 7’s blog change your life?

DeAnna Cameron’s blog? I gotta tell you, when I land a book-publishing contract, I’ll be reading every one of her posts again because her novelist interviews include TONS of tips about publicity and marketing. They’re very insightful.

Free-For-All Friday

(What is this? My very own meme, which could take the form of other Friday memes out there — random five or ‘fessing up — or non-Friday memes, or anything! Point being to have a little fun and get a little interactive. Feel free to snitch my logo at left and do your Friday thing!)


cannonbeach8Today’s a question-for-you day because I’m feeling thoughtful:

What arouses your serene melancholia?

I describe this as a longing, or yearning, that’s unspecific, that feels like it’s one of the mysteries at humanity’s core. It’s a sweet sadness for no reason. It’s serene because it doesn’t require an answer.

Does this make sense? (It might be that I’m a melancholic personality, I don’t know.)

cannonbeach9In any case, the reason I pose the question is because walking into winds on misty beaches arouses my serene melancholia. (Took these photos the first day — before the mist and wind arrived.)

It’s something about the way my eardrums throb with the cold.

It’s something about the way my ears turn into echoing seashells.

It’s something about the way the wind almost drowns out the sound of waves.




cannonbeach10Now, one more dose of serene melancholia before I return to Portland, where the last 30 pages of manuscript quick-reading await me. Didn’t quite reach my goal for this retreat, but that’s okay.



And one last thought. Saw the following written in sand. “Isaiah 53:5.” It got the storyteller in me wondering why. Nearby, the same person (Robert?) had written “Robert + Kate.”


What do you suppose these lovers on their romantic stroll (because it was a glorious twilight) were talking about? Isaiah 53:5 says,

     But he was pierced for our trangressions,
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
        the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
        and by his wounds we are healed.

I don’t know the Bible, and I’m not religious. This quotation doesn’t inspire serene melancholia, only uneasiness. However, that said, in pondering Isaiah 53:5, perhaps Robert and Kate felt their own kind of serenity.

Free-For-All Friday

(What is this? My very own meme, which could take the form of other Friday memes out there — random five or ‘fessing up — or non-Friday memes, or anything! Point being to have a little fun and get a little interactive.)


Two items I ran across that made me uneasy: This goes to the state of the publishing biz and our lot as novelists within it.

The Independent carried a piece about how novelists are under pressure to “dumb down” so as to appeal to a wider readership. It could be that publishers are rebranding certain authors more commercially — I call this the cult of personality in action — rather than let their work stand on its own.

Granted, these novelists stand to gain in the moulah-department if the publishers succeed in the marketing “remarketing.” But, I ask you, would you really want to see Cormac McCarthy rebranded as a thriller or action writer?

Simiilarly, The Guardian ran a piece about authors as “branding machines.” I’m going to quote a portion, because, for me, it says it all:

“…the obsession with “branding” authors is threatening to hamper new talent. Writing a book a year is the absolute minimum for an aspiring genre novelist, and this treadmill approach allows no let-up. Will new crime writers get the freedom of say, Dennis LeHane, Thomas Harris and James Ellroy to write the books they want, when they want? Or will they be squeezed out by rivals willing to fire off three or four books a year to establish themselves?”

Seems to me this scenario is pertinent to most novelists, not only crime writers. What are your thoughts?

An item that made me think: Sometimes another blogger’s pearl of wisdom takes me by surprise. One wee sentence on Quantum Storytelling’s blog was a welcome slap in the face: “Procrastination is caused by indecision.”

We could discuss whether procrastination is always caused by indecision, but, in point of fact, when I read that statement I realized that my procrastination of past weeks had indeed been caused by indecisiveness! Yowza. I outlined my tangled thoughts in a post last week. This week I decided to tackle point number one from that post (finish a revision). Low and behold, this week my work routines settled back into their good groove.

And, an item that made me smile: A writers-retreat-friend is doing well for himself these days. His name is Eldon Thompson, and he writes epic fantasy. I enjoyed perusing his website this week — and I’m happy for him. The bit that made me smile came out of an interview. He said this:

“…Most importantly, perhaps, it has taught me to simplify things—to toss out ideas that are too complex and to really focus on the emotional response of characters to whatever obstacles are thrown at them.”

I smiled because I tend toward too much complexity in my first drafts. Glad to know that I’m not the only one that’s learned a few lessons around this!

Free-For-All Friday: Fun Bookish Meme

I like the idea of writing a fun Friday post, possibly one that’s interactive, or maybe one that contains random stuff or a weekly round-up (which were Friday memes that went around at some point). I did this for awhile. Maybe I’ll do a Friday-something again for awhile (but probably only for awhile because I’m no good with routines).

I’ll call these my Free-For-All Fridays so as not to confuse them with other memes (not that this is a meme — but it can be, I suppose — anything goes).

Saw a meme on One Word, One Rung, One Day. Goes like this: What’s the closest book on hand — no thinking about it! If there are many, choose one at random. Turn to page 56 and cite two to five lines. Tag people if you want. Cool way to get to know my readers!

My book was sitting under a paper pile on my desk. I’d scribbled Irish-slang notes all over the inside covers. From Tana French’s The Likeness:

I was having a hard time breathing; the air felt too thick, almost solid. One of the flourescents was on the fritz and it gave the room a shimmery, epileptic look, something out of a fever dream. A couple of the big binders lined up on the filing cabinets still had my handwriting down the spines. Sam pulled up his chair to his desk and glanced at me with a faint furrow between his eyebrows, but he didn’t say anything, and I was grateful for that.