Friday, December 27, 2013

Books of 2013

     While I'm not sure of this, I would wager we writers/readers march into every new year with a promise of reading books––and sticking to the promise. First, we need to create a list. Trés importante! Second, find the time. Trés, trés importante! Third, READ and WRITE!!!!!
     I began 2013 with a list (same as with 2012). I end this year (as I did the previous) without having had enough time for #s 2 and 3. And if you could see me now, you'd know I'm shrugging shoulders, turning down corners of my mouth while simultaneously raising my eyebrows––much like a c'est la vie! expression.
     A new plan is warranted. I've been mulling over a few scenarios in the last week, and I think I'm onto something for the new year. I'm not overloading the reading list. Period. So simple! I am adhering to "read & write" each day. Period. So simple!
     As ideas sifted in my head about how I would (if ever) catch up, how I would enter new titles on the upcoming list and read them, and still write––I remembered a blog I posted in July titled Setting Priorities. I searched back for it. Read it. Digested it. Accepted it.
     For 2014, I will include the following "catch up" on my reading list:
  • Unread issues of Glimmer Train;
  • Unread issues of The Sun;
  • McSweeney's 15
  • Sing You Home, Jodi Picoult
  • My Ántonia, Willa Cather
  • The Red Thread, Ann Hood
  • The New Desert Reader, ed. Peter Wild
  • Homer & Langley, E. L. Doctorow
THEN, and only THEN will I begin the reading list designated for 2014, which I will limit so as to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE in the between!

     By Easter, which is designated April 20th, I should have wended my way through the "catch up." I will remind myself to tell you how this proceeds by that time. Now, astute readers, remember that Glimmer Train and The Sun will still be arriving in my mailbox, and something will have to be done with those, right? 
     Of course, I had a rich reading year of what I did read. Yes, indeed. Should you be interested in some of those rewarding titles––whistle, and I'll be happy to pass them onto your 2014 Reading List. In the meantime, I wish you a healthy, happy, and productive reading and writing 2014.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas, 2013

It's that time
Christmas time is here
Everybody knows
There's not a better time of year *
     It's been a tradition for the last thirty-odd years to amass a family Christmas CD and VHS/DVD collection by making one purchase of each genre at this time of year. As time passed and the collections swelled, we'd spend many a fine December hour listening to a CD or an evening watching a video.
     Last night was one of the "watching" nights. We chose National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase. It was well worth waiting for. Such wit, heart, and goofiness. It ranks right up there in our assembled collection of Christmas cheer!
     Of course, listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies is not meant as an excuse for a slacked-off writing and blogging schedule. No. No, indeed. 
     The last four months have been a whirlwind of personal busyness: beekeeping education and two beehives; conjunctival graft to correct an ulcerated eye on our mini-Schnauzer; torn ligament in our Silky Terrier; and, time with family at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, and the passing of a dear family member there. Thanksgiving came and went, and before I knew it––Christmas was upon our family. The angst grew proportionally. And I grew in the process.
     Rather than living in a bubble of stress, I picked "my battles." I made choices. I accepted missed self-imposed deadlines, especially if it meant that otherwise I might slip the slippery slope of slop-piness. I spent time with those who needed my time, and I was where I was supposed to be when love and support was needed. Two holiday parties were RSVP'd negative, because I felt it was more important to have the family hearth prepared. And, you know what––it's okay. Another year is on the wing.
     I am dedicated to the meaning and feeling of Christmas. My wish for you is that you be filled with the beauty, the peace, and the wonder that is Christmas.
* Title Song: Christmas Vacation

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Typography and Fonts

     A day late, but for good reason. I haven't informed you, dear readers, that I've taken on "yet one more thing."  Beekeeping! 
     There. I've told you. It's said, but you, my readers are astute enough that you knew that just by seeing my beekeeper's badge displayed here. Oh, I've digressed too far. I'll return to this wonderful preoccupation at a later time, AND the wonderful place it now holds in my writing world. Who knew!

     Moving to the post for today, typography. 
     I follow several blogs. Blogging that covers a wide range of personal interests. Bloggers who are, I feel, like kindred spirits. As time permits, I write comments on something that has resonated with me on those blogs. I regret I don't let everyone know I appreciate this/that/or the other about what has stirred them enough to dedicate time and effort to an idea, thought, or observation. But I read them, nonetheless, and many times I smile.
     So it is with blogger Rob Bowker and his blog, Typewriter Heaven.
     Rob writes on and ruminates about typewriters––old, manual typewriters that he studies, acquires and repairs. Visit his blog, and you'll find the full range of his interests is done through typecasting. His posts speak to me, a doe-eyed "wanna have" for '50s/'60s manual typewriters. Through Rob and his blog, I'm learning. Ahem, thank you Rob.
     In mid-November, Rob posted an animated film that he credits his sister for passing along to him. I have watched this delightful short many times, and am grateful for its opening up "yet one more thing" (read that as yet one more "interest").
     Without further ado, I share The History of Typography––Animated Short, a paper-letter anima-tion done by Ben Barrett-Forester about the history of fonts and typography. I hope you'll enjoy it.

     While you, dear readers soak up this film, I must check my third (and new) hive. Winter in South Florida moves in even as my fingers move across this keyboard, and I must "feed" my darlings.
In the meantime, I hope you appreciate the next newspaper, journal, or book you read for its legacy of the printed word.