Archive | April, 2013

Forward to the Past

27 Apr

Writers never throw anything away, or at least they shouldn’t. This week I pulled out an old “almost novel” that I wrote before my first one, The Gate House, was published.

This one, tentatively titled Nara of the Islands, is really the original story of my protagonist who appears in both The Gate House and Lydia’s Story. This book tells of the years just before she and her father moved to England, and her life in the fictional Caribbean island nation of St. Clare.

It is interesting to read something that I wrote almost ten years ago, and to see how my style has changed, and the images of my characters. It is a very different book from the last two in some ways. Although it is somewhat a mystery, there are elements of magic that I let go of in the later books.

I think it is a story that needs to see the light of day, for better or worse. I plan to polish it and at least self-publish on Kindle later this year.

If you are a writer, do you sometimes “resurrect” old pieces to rework them? And readers, what about other types of old projects? Is it fun or frustrating to go back something you worked on in the past?

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What have you appreciated lately?

23 Apr

As I was reading a novel set in early twentieth century China, I was struck by a line in which a character and her friends went out into the garden to “appreciate” the plum blossoms. We admire, find joy, look at beautiful things in our world, but how often do we simply appreciate what we see or hear? Somehow the concept of appreciation is different from all of these. Appreciation contains a sense of taking time to savor, as well as a sense of gratitude. Appreciation forces you to stop for a moment.

I attended a coffee tasting on Sunday, and learned something about appreciating a fine cup of coffee, with notes of flavor as complex as any wine. I appreciate the fine job that two repairwoman did in replacing our basement ceiling yesterday. It is amazing how much brighter the room looks. And I appreciate the sight of a fox who took a walk through our back yard yesterday morning. The bird seed attracts the squirrels, and the squirrels attracted the fox, although I don’t think he has much of a chance of catching one!

So next time your senses encounter something wonderful, take a moment to really appreciate and savor. It is part of the gift of being alive.back yard visitor