~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Friday, January 31, 2014

Rhetoric and Bits

a canopy of citrus trees on the UA campus
This semester's English Comp teacher is intensely focused upon rhetoric; he's clearly passionate about the art of persuasion. Me? Not so much. I'd rather share a perspective than try to cleverly convince someone of my view. (In full disclosure, I'm thinking that my distrust of classic rhetoric probably stems from spending nearly twenty years as a secretary to attorneys.) Supposedly, there is no such thing as conversation without rhetoric, but then that depends upon how one defines it, yes? That said, I am happy to learn about rhetoric and to figure out how it fits into my own writing style.

Coincidentally, this morning I was listening to one of Krista Tippett's On Being podcasts and it mentioned rhetoric in the context of science, and how scientific rhetoric can express lack of appropriate humility in light of our vast ignorance as we creep along learning bit-by-bit. The podcast is titled "The Mystery We Are," which can be heard HERE, and is a facilitated dialogue between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson and Professor of Physics Marcelo Gleiser. This is a fascinating conversation!

Finally, for those of you who like my freestyle metaphorical writing, a new piece called Leaf on the Wind is over On the Gaia Path...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Digging Up Character

One fun thing about writing a novel is the ability to explore all kinds of personalities, lifestyles, and occupations. I've mentioned before that my current fictional WIP has been morphing and expanding. With that evolution, I found myself diving further into the history of the protagonist's parents. I mean, maybe other writers do it differently (probably do), but I find it difficult to flesh out my lead character without knowing her past and the ghosts that may be haunting her.

In addition, since I'm envisioning this story as the first in a series, I want to start as I mean to continue, and that, for me, means understanding the forces that drive the characters.

This first book is seated in the "father story" of the protagonist. I didn't intend it to be this way, it just happened as I moved deeper into the storyline. With that in mind, I'm not only reading some psychology books on fathers and daughters--Daughters of Saturn, Leaving My Father's House, The Wounded Woman--I'm also reading some books that focus upon the career I gave the lead's father, including this one called Accidental Archeologist.

The previous two novels I've written were not as complex as this one, and I am enjoying the challenge--a challenge that would have sunk me earlier on.

This coming week, my second semester at UA starts, but for now … on with story-building!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Healthy Finger Food

Roasted Chick Peas, Sliced Yams, Asparagus, and Kale
This is one of my favorite easy dishes for dinner. It serves two purposes: dinner and snacking! Now, granted, my husband isn't as fond of it as I am, but since I'm the cook, I decide, and sometimes that means we eat what I'm craving. The roasted chick peas are seasoned with a masala specific to easing the dry, cold Vata-deranging season of winter, while the yams offer sweetness. The kale and asparagus are rubbed with olive oil and tossed in at the very end of the roasting period. YUM!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Language & The Brain
Thank you, Latin, for firing up my neurons! I've often read that learning a new language is one of the best, if not the best, means of boosting memory and brain activity by creating new pathways. It sure seems to have worked for me.

About halfway through the semester, I suddenly began to experience the Latin on a deeper level. Not that it became easy or simple, but rather that what I was learning made sense. Further, everything else I was reading also became clearer.

In fact, during this winter break, while re-organizing my novel manuscript, I pulled out a book I'd purchased as research. The book is "Daughters of Saturn" by Patricia Reis and when I tried to read it a few years ago, the writing felt so complex that I simply could not get through it. I felt like the material was way over my head. Guess what? It now makes sense. How weird
is that?

Why do I attribute this new clarity primarily to learning Latin? It's because over the years I've taken other courses on a myriad of topics, but none of them created this kind of recognition, of clearing, like a film has been pulled away.

This week, I am cracking open my Latin books again. They've been sitting beside my desk this entire break because my intention was to review vocabulary once a day to keep it all fresh. Alas, that fell by the wayside because I was so relieved that all the pressure had been lifted for a while. But now, with classes looming ahead next week, I want to feel prepared, so… Hello again, Latin!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Giggle, Dance, Wriggle with Joy

Good morning! 
It's one of those days when I'm compelled to put on an eclectic music mix that I call 
"Innocence and Joy." 
Do you have one of those? 
What's your favorite song to snuggle into, 
or dance in your socks sliding across the floor, 
or simply giggle?
Have a beautiful, joyful day!

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