The Road Unsalted is finally on the last leg of its journey from pen and notebook to printed books. It is with my proofreader as I write this, and I’ve made arrangements for its conversion to ebooks for Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and Adroids.
It will be sent to the printer for books-on-paper next week.
It has always been my plan to create a website dedicated just to this series of books. In fact, the second book in the series, Thieves of Fire, is nearly complete, and I’m hatching plans for a third plus a book of short stories.
So in the interests of saving time, I’m going to roll this website into the Carding website which you will be able to find at www.CardingChronicles.com very soon.
Thanks for your patiences while I make this transition.
Jay, Goldie and I started our kayaking adventures for 2013 in the most spectacular fashion on Grafton Pond in Grafton, NH yesterday.
This pond is renowned for its little rocky islands, its many coves, and its wildlife, especially loons.
Jay and I, like so many other folks, just love loons. Their calls are the quintessential harking to nature, at least to me.
But of all the loons we’ve watched from our kayaks, we’ve never seen an adult carrying chicks on her back.
We’ve also see plenty of great blue herons over the years. The lake formed by the North Hartland Dam (Army Corps of Engineers) in Hartland, Vermont (which is close by) holds a heron rookery, and paddling there is pretty much a guarantee that you’ll see some of these great birds.
But we’ve never come close to seeing a loon chick catching a ride or a heron’s nest or even a heron chick.
I know there’s blue sky somewhere.
But it’s not here.
I know that it’s sunny somewhere.
But it’s not here.
I know that someone’s outdoors at a picnic.
But it’s not here.
Stuck indoors again…still…really.
Most of us can probably conjure up an image of an inkhorn, a squat bottle featured on the desk of every letter writer in every historical movie.
But what I didn’t know is that the same word was once used as a synonym for scribbler, a writer of low report.
It also refers to anything bookish as in inkhorn terms, inkhorn words, inkhorn language.
And inkhorn desires, the passion that some of us have for books, writing, and all things paper and ink.
It can also mean someone who uses pedantic language, something I hope you never see here.
Ah yes, I have given in completely to my inkhorn desires.
We’ve had two sets of sibling cats, Fred and Barney then George and Gracie.
We lost Fred and Barney while they were young and vowed after that to keep our cats inside.
When we got George and Gracie, George was fine with that idea while Gracie showed a pronounced tendency to pull Houdini acts whenever possible.
She was hit and badly injured during one of her Houdini jaunts, and we had to put her to sleep.
She’s buried here, in this corner of one of my gardens. The first cairn I built was of the many round stones that Jay’s collected from the river over the years. Last year, without my attention, this garden became a neglected jungle.
But this past weekend, I got out the trowel and the clippers and went to town. Gracie could be a fierce little feline at times, surely a dragon cat. I thought this was fitting.
Is today the longest day of the year? Oh, maybe by a second or two than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow.
But in actuality, we have a week of longest days at this time of year. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, today is the fourth day in a row when we enjoy 15 hours and 17 minutes of daylight.
And we have three more to go.
Then the minutes start diminishing though most of us won’t notice until those minutes have accumulated for a while, say about the first week of August.
In the meantime, snoozing while you’re cruising in a kayak—especially when someone else is paddling—is the best attitude.
A quilting friend of mine (Sue) has a childhood friend who’s a teacher in Moore, Oklahome, the town that a tornado tore up this spring.
When her friend told Sue about her traumatized students, Sue decided to organize a project to get handmade quilts donated for all the elementary school students, ready when they return to class in mid-August.
As I’ve come to expect, the response from quilters is heartwarming. We know what comfort these special blankets carry in their seams, and we know it’s important to share that.
Sue thought it might be a good idea, for those who want to participate, if the quilts had a common theme, and she chose ice cream because it encompasses all children (and a fair number of adults as well). So when I was on the Cape last week, I took the opportunity to visit my favorite quilt shop down there, Tumbleweed Quilts.
As expected, I found ice cream fabric in their food section, right next to the French fries and veggies. I added in a limey green, a full-bodied blue, and a purple-on-purple stripe, planning to make a simple courthouse steps pattern I know as Cobblestones.
I made a test block (thank goodness, I rarely do this) and it was a no go. So I decided on another pattern I know as Kitty Corner, scrappy four patches and simple squares.
But when I measured out my fabric (before cutting—another miracle because I rarely do that either), I realized I would be two inches too short on the ice cream side of the ledger.
Then I remembered this quilt, made by a friend for the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, a sweet Four Patch on point in a strip setting.
Just wait until you see this in ice cream colors.
The latest edition to my series of little-known and under-appreciated words was inspired by this picture of my nephew, Christian.
He was supposed to point his aunt’s digital camera toward his uncle and a colleague.
But somehow, it was far more fun to watch the lens clicking, opening and shutting.
So Christian is the center of attention here.
As I rummaged around in my Oxford English Dictionary this morning for a word to match his priceless expression, I started with the word “gog” as in: He was all agog when he spotted the naked women’s volleyball team.
I always wondered what a “gog” was. (Answer: The object set up as a mark when playing quoits, a game that on this side of the Atlantic Pond we would equate with ring toss at a carnival. So I guess you could say that those cheesy stuffed animals you win are gogs. Who knew? It’s also thought to be used as a corruption of the word god when uttered in the expression: Oh my god.)
When gog didn’t make the cut, I rummaged around in the area of the word astonish and found our selection for today: ASTONIED.
So, when you are astonied, you are stunned, stupefied, deprived for the moment with the power of action.
Some days, you just have to stop and appreciate the heart-squeezing beauty around us. I visited the garden of a friend up the hill the other day. Years ago, she rescued part of an iris collection from a widow who could no longer care for her spouse’s gardens after he died.
Here are some of the results. Just enjoy.
For me, this is the best part, being edited.
I met with my editor yesterday over coffee at a café. She’s a good friend, and we never seem to have enough time to spend together.
She loved my book. There’s stuff that needs fixin’ but that’s OK. Now I know what to fix.
My manuscript is full of Post-Its, marked with green pencil, and I’m happy.
Here’s what good editing means for me. My book has been vetted by the one person in this world who will read it as closely as I will BUT with a fresh eye. She’s a discerning reader, someone who cares deeply about good prose, and my book will be far, far better because of her work.
This is why I have never understood the fear of being edited that afflicts new writers. A good editor is someone to be coveted, someone to be listened to.
If you’re good enough, you can fix the commas, the paragraphs, the way the book starts or ends. What you can’t fix is a book that bombs, that just doesn’t have a cohesive plot or interesting characters. Mending that sort of situation calls for recycling.
But she loved it. And now I have the opportunity to push my novel up the quality ladder so that it’s something I’m proud of, and that readers will enjoy.
And that’s the whole point.