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1. Minions Get A Fine Art Makeover (Poster Gallery)

“Ceci n’est pas une banane.”

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2. 8 Tips on Book Promotion and Getting Reviews - Part 9

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3. The lineup for the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival…

Mississippi Book Festival logo

…is taking shape. And I’m pleased to say that I’m among the authors who will be participating in Jackson on August 22.

Where better for me to share The Amazing of Age of John Roy Lynch with the public than in the city where he began his political rise?

In 1868 the US government

“In 1868 the U.S. government appointed a young Yankee general as governor of Mississippi. The whites who had been in charge were swept out of office. By river and by railroad, John Roy traveled to Jackson to hand Governor Ames a list of names to fill those positions in Natchez. After John Roy spoke grandly of each man’s merits, the governor added another name to the list: John Roy Lynch, Justice of the Peace.”

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4. Sprout Wings

Hi folks, I struggled with this blog. So many pressures from every side. Writing is not in a vacuum. It is in the real world, and this world is full of troubles, big and small.  I began to think about an idea I have always held this weekend.  If you fall in a pit, get up on the side closest to where you to want go, crawl out, and keep on going. A new idea came to me. 

Why don’t you just sprout wings and fly away?

How? I mean sprouting wings would be a pretty big miracle and this is the age of information and reason. We don’t live in a world that is NOT clinging to mysterious. I wondered about the idea of sprouting wings. It felt very evolutionary to me.  You know, life adapts, and a lifetime of crawling out of pits made me long for something more. An evolutionary step seemed better than the same old reaction to stupidity.

Perhaps this is the heart of what makes us human -- three dimensional thinking. Your stories will pop if you think about making your characters evolve.  We tend to the ordinary, consider the extraordinary.  I think the best writers don’t wrap it all up. They deal in imagery and theme.  The unseen world is how they live their days.  Writing is to akin to dreaming, except you are awake. Our dreams can be chaotic and meaningless, but they can also help us make sense of the chaotic meaningless world.  Those words you are putting on the page, you are bringing light into darkness.  Keep going!

Finally, I considered my idea of sprouting wings. There is nothing new under the sun. An old scripture whispered within me: They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They shall soar on wings like the eagles. It is strange how the words of the Prophet Isaiah from around 720  BCE  resonate within me today. I love writers. They are thinking ahead. They are reaching to the ages ahead.  They see into the murky darkness of the future and they see you.

As you write, think about shining into the darkness of the future. You have the potential to transform the world. 

I will be back next week with more of TEENSPublish. I hope that you keep writing. Someone needs those stories. 

A sneak peek at an illustration for my soon to be indie published picture book: CHICKENS DON'T TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN!

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint 

Isaiah 40; 28-31.   Write this on your heart, folks.  

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5. “Literary employments are so vexed with uncertainties”

“…I found the July days fly fast, and it was not until I felt myself confronted with too great pride and pleasure in the display, one night, of two dollars and twenty-seven cents which I had taken in during the day, that I remembered a long piece of writing, sadly belated now, which I was bound to do. To have been patted kindly on the shoulder and called “darlin’,” to have been offered a surprise of early mushrooms for supper, to have had all the glory of making two dollars and twenty-seven cents in a single day, and then to renounce it all and withdraw from these pleasant successes, needed much resolution. Literary employments are so vexed with uncertainties at best, and it was not until the voice of conscience sounded louder in my ears than the sea on the nearest pebble beach that I said unkind words of withdrawal to Mrs. Todd.”

—Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs

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6. 2015 Clallam Bay Comicon

Contact: Donna Barr, phone 360 963 2935, email donnabarr01@gmail.com
CLALLAM BAY, WASHINGTON - The Clallam Bay Comicon is July 11-12, 2015, at the Lion's Club at 90 Bogachiel Way, Clallam Bay, Washington. Free admission. $25 tables. For more information: 360 963 2935 or donnabarr01@gmail.com

Donna Barr: comics * illustration * portraits * storyboards * murals * bookstore: http://www.donnabarr.com

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7. Mystery Eggs

Why do long holiday weekends go by so fast? Probably because I try and cram so much into them. And did I ever cram this weekend.

The garden is doing great. I picked so many peas this week I couldn’t keep up and had to start freezing them. This makes me very happy because I love peas so much and now even after the peas are done producing I will have some for a little longer especially since I have only just begun picking them.

Black raspberries

Black raspberries

Last week I mentioned the black raspberries were turning red, well, once they go red, they don’t take but a couple days to turn black and ripe. So I have started picking. The netting has done well to keep critters away. I have never had black raspberries before and was expecting them to be a bit tart like the red ones but they are slightly sweet, rich and kind of earthy, if that makes sense. Very tasty. Since this is only their second year there aren’t a huge amount but there will be enough to make into something, so as they get ripe I have been picking and then freezing them. Once they are all ripe we’ll see how much there is and go from there. I like them very much and may just have to plant some more in the chicken garden.

Last week I said I wasn’t going to bother to pick the elderberries but I changed my mind. I picked about a dozen very ripe berries and then froze them. The gooseberries are starting to get ripe and I even have a few



red currents, so I am freezing all of those too. I figure between gooseberries, currents and elderberries I might be able to cook up a tasty bit of jam. Why is it that so many berry bushes have thorns? The black raspberries have tiny ones but they will still get you if you aren’t careful. The current has very tiny ones that are just big enough to get your attention. The gooseberries have big, dangerous thorns that hurt like heck. When I am picking them I sing a little song called “Ouch” over the shrub. It has not yet drawn blood but I suspect it is only a matter of time.

I picked a bunch of radishes this week too. I had some sliced up on my tempeh sandwich today along with broccoli sprouts and a little mustard. So tasty! When picking radishes I realized I have to get better at thinning. I had thinned them but not aggressively enough which means much smaller radishes in spots where they are crammed together. If I had thinned them better I would have fewer radishes but the ones I did have would be much, much larger. I had to thin the beets and I think I did a better job at it. We shall see.

Looks like snake eggs but is really a fungus, darn

Looks like snake eggs but is really a fungus, darn

Here is the garden mystery of the week. Bookman was weeding and found a nest of eggs. They were in an especially sandy part of the garden and all together in a clutch, each one about the size of a walnut. What could have laid them? I investigated. They are white, felt firm and smooth but a little leathery. They look very much like snake eggs. So I did some snake research. Minnesota has 17 different kinds of snakes and of those only nine lay eggs. Of those nine two are very rare. Of the remaining seven because of range and habitat I was able to narrow down the possibilities to two. I decided that it wasn’t a gopher snake because they like to eat rodents, frogs and small birds and our garden isn’t exactly a prime food source for those critters. Squirrels on the other hand… So I decided the eggs must belong to a smooth green snake that solely eats insects, especially crickets of which we have an abundance. I was so excited about the prospect of having snakes in the garden that I’d go out an check on the eggs every evening to see if they had hatched.

Today when I checked on them I discovered that they aren’t eggs at all! It turns out they are a species of fungus called mutinus elegans, also known as elegant stinkhorn, dog stinkhorn, headless stinkhorn and, my favorite, devil’s dipstick. We’ve had the single red fruiting stalks pop up around the garden last year but they are in abundance this year. Turns out the red stalk grows out of the white eggs. When I checked on the “snake eggs” today, there were a number of the red stalks growing out of them. Fungi are good and this one is a rather weird, if rude looking one (Bookman says they look like a dog’s penis, which is true and which also might clue you in on why one of their common names is “devil’s dipstick” wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Still, I can’t help but be disappointed that I won’t be mothering any baby green snakes.

We’ve had a setback with the chicken garden, the area formerly known as garage. Bookman and I went out with rakes to rake up the sand into a pile and get to work on breaking up the compacted soil beneath. It turns out the one place we had dug beneath the sand is just about the only place in the entire area that has actual dirt under it. The rest really is nothing but sand. Well and so, there is more work to do to than previously thought. How does one go about turning sand into soil? One must add lots and lots and lots of organic material. To begin, we set up the old round black plastic compost bin we took down from the main garden last year when we built a two room post and wire bin. Good thing we saved the old plastic bin! We put it in a spot close to where we think we might plant a cheery tree next year. Since our two room bins are full we have already begun adding to the plastic bin.

Before the garage came down I was assuming there would be dirt beneath it that would need help and bought several different annual cover crops. I don’t know if they will grow in sand. An experiment is in order. I marked off an area and seeded some buckwheat. If it sprouts in a week or so I’ll mark off a few other areas and sow more. If the buckwheat doesn’t sprout I have some hairy vetch and winter oats I can try. If those aren’t successful then an inquiry into having topsoil delivered is in order and/or raised bed gardening until the soil in the whole area is generally improved. No matter how you look at it, those chickens are going to have their work cut out for them. Actually, all they have to do is poop, all the work falls to me.

We have the fence installation arranged but the work is 6-8 weeks out on their schedule. In the meantime, we are in the process of ordering the shed kit and arranging its delivery. Then we get to build it. Once the shed is up we’ll start work on the chicken coop. Huzzah!

I can happily report that Astrid and I are crash free this week! My scrapes are healing and my bruises have reached that oh so very colorful stage. It was nice to not add any new ones. It also made for a better ride. I am really liking “my route.” This week I thought I would add a bit more distance but instead decided to keep the same distance but just do some sprint intervals in a great section of trail that is paved, flat, fairly straight, wide, crosses no vehicular intersections for a several miles and is not crowded with slow moving cyclists or people out walking their dogs. It worked out really well and I had fun and was pleasantly tired when I got home. I’m looking forward to doing it again next week.

In spite of the summer warmth, Bookman has been getting out on evening rides with me a couple times a week. As long as he keeps moving he doesn’t overheat and doesn’t feel the fatigue (both are MS symptoms). We have a 22 mile/35 km route we’ve done a couple times that seems to work well for him.

We had been planning on doing the half-century route In October at a ride in Mankato, Minnesota but it is close to an hour and half drive to get there so we decided to do the 60-mile route at Jesse James Days in Northfield which is less than an hour’s drive from us. Plus 60 miles is a metric century so that’s something! They have a 100 mile /161 km route that we will do next year. The Mankato ride offers pie at one of their rest stations which is a great temptation, but the Jesse James ride has free massages at the end. If only there were a ride with pie and a massage that would be be oh so heavenly.

Filed under: biking, gardening Tagged: blakc raspberries, chickens, cover crops, Elegant stinkhorn, Jesse James Days, smooth green snake

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8. Meet Bess Crawford

A Duty To The Dead. (Bess Crawford #1) Charles Todd. 2009. HarperCollins. 336 pages. [Source: Library]

Bess Crawford is a war nurse during 'the Great War.' One of her dying patients, Arthur Graham, asked her to give a message to his brother, Jonathan. The message made little sense to her personally. Something about him being sorry for having lied, and, how it was to protect their mother. She doesn't know for sure if he'll understand it either, but, a promise is a promise. So several months after his death, and, just a little bit after her own close call--the ship she was on sank--she sets out with her message to visit the Graham family.

I loved, loved, LOVED A Duty to the Dead. I loved it for so many reasons. I think Bess Crawford is a great heroine--narrator. She's sympathetic, patient, and observant. She has a way of seeing right into people, and, not jumping to conclusions in the process. Always one to give the benefit of the doubt, I suppose. She has seen a lot, heard a lot that's for sure. But Bess isn't the only reason I loved the book. Far from it. For having a good "detective" only takes you so far. What I appreciated was the depth of the characterization of the other characters. Primarily of the Graham family, but, also of others in and around that community and her own. We briefly get an idea of what her own family is like. How much she loves her father, and, appreciates a close friend of the family, Simon.

So. The mystery itself I loved. It begins, of course, with her delivering the message to the Graham family. But that is just the start. She doesn't deliver the message and go, no, it turns into an at-times-very-awkward social visit. Soon Bess finds herself piecing together all the clues of a HUGE family secret. And she can't leave it alone because it's so outrageous...

The writing was excellent. I loved the setting and tone. I appreciated the characterization even if some of the characters were super-creepy. It is a great start to a series I'm eager to read all of!!!

Have you met Bess Crawford? I'd love to know what you thought!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. ‘Bartkira: The Animated Trailer’ Pushes Bartkira Meme to the Next Level

The 'Bartkira' meme goes to the next level: an animated trailer.

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10. Mary Lee Adler: a sculptor, a friend (Remains to Be Seen)

I met Mary Lee Adler in Miami. She was (in her smart, loving, embracing way) overseeing the young writers of the National YoungArts program. Making sure they were heard. Making sure they were seen. Making sure they were experiencing all that week-long program had to give them.

But here's the thing: If those YoungArts writers did nothing more than meet Mary Lee, their week in the Miami sun would have been worth it. I've rarely enjoyed conversation as much as I enjoyed my conversation with this reader/maker/doer. I've rarely felt so privileged.

A Vanderbilt graduate with an English degree, a woman who has traveled the world, a woman who doesn't give up on love or its possibilities, Mary Lee is also a sculptor—a maker of exquisite urns, among other things.

Today I'm celebrating Mary Lee and her artful renditions of the everlasting. Please visit her web site to learn more.

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11. Mecha Gorilla....One Day......

Meca Gorilla is something I think the Japanese will know!  Not that any Japanese read CBO.  But, one day, when I strike it rich with that Black Tower Super Hero movie....I'm gonna get me this toy.

Got a problem with that?

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12. एक सैल्फी स्वच्छता के नाम

selfie with toilet  बेशक दुनिया में सैल्फी का इतिहास बहुत पुराना हो पर अगर अपने देश की बात करें तो बात ज्यादा पुरानी भी नही है…लाखों  लोगो को सैल्फी का मतलब ही नही पता था… चुनावो के दौरान जब मोदी जी ने अपना वोट डाल कर अपनी फोटो ली और वो सोशल मीडिया पर खूब चली तब पता चला कि ये सैल्फी होती है फिर तो मानों सैल्फी की बाढ सी ही आ गई थी और तब इसका प्रचलन शुरु हुआ. मोदी जी की सरकार आने के बाद सैल्फी को बहुत बढावा मिला और साथ ही साथ सोशल मीडिया भी बहुत सक्रिय हो उठा.


PICS: ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

बीबीपुर गांव के सरपंच सुनील जागलान ने प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ अभियान से प्रेरणा लेकर इसी महीने पंचायत की तरफ से बेटी बचाओ सैल्फी बनाओ प्रतियोगिता का आयोजन किया। सरपंच की यह मुहिम खुद प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के मन को इस कद्र भायी कि गत रविवार को उन्होंने रेडियो पर मन की बात कार्यक्रम में इसका जिक्र कर डाला।

यह पहला मौका है जब प्रधानमंत्री ने अपने मुंह से किसी गांव के सरपंच का जिक्र किया हो। पीएम मोदी ने रेडियो पर प्रसारित अपने मन की बात कार्यक्रम में बीबीपुर की पंचायत द्वारा इसी महीने आयोजित बेटी बचाओ, सैल्फी बनाओ प्रतियोगिता को लेकर कहा कि हरियाणा के एक छोटे से गांव बीबीपुर के सरपंच सुनील जागलान की बेटी बचाओ-सैल्फी बनाओ प्रतियोगिता की पहल से देशभर में पिता अपनी बेटी के सोचने के लिए मजबूर हुआ और उन्होंने इसमें बढ़-चढ़कर हिस्सा लिया।

हरियाणा जैसा प्रदेश जहां लड़कों की तुलना में लड़कियों की संख्या काफी कम है, वहां लड़कियों के सम्मान के लिए इस तरह की प्रतियोगिताओं का आयोजन करना प्रशंसा के काबिल है। प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा कि बेटी बचाओ-सैल्फी बनाओ प्रतियोगिता मजेदार थी। समाज में लड़कियों के सम्मान के लिए बेटी बचाओ-सैल्फी बनाओ को जन आंदोलन बनाया जाना चाहिए। उन्हें भी इस प्रतियोगिता से प्रेरणा मिली है और वे भी इसी की तरह सैल्फी विद डॉटर कान्टैस्ट का आयोजन कर रहे हैं।

इसके लिए जो भी पिता अपनी बेटी के साथ सैल्फी कर बेटी के लिए अच्छा-सा स्लोगन लिखकर पोस्ट करेगा, आए हुए पोस्ट में से जो सबसे अच्छी सैल्फी व स्लोगन होगा उसे वे वापिस रिपीट करेंगे। वहीं पीएम द्वारा शुरू इस मुहिम के लिए सोशल साइट ट्विटर पर अपनी बेटियों के साथ देश भर से माता-पिता सैल्फी पोस्ट कर रहे हैं। प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी द्वारा रेडियो पर अपने मन की बात कार्यक्रम में गांव की पंचायत द्वारा हाल ही में आयोजित बेटी बचाओ, सैल्फी बनाओ प्रतियोगिता का जिक्र और इसकी तारीफ सुनकर बीबीपुर गांव के सरपंच सुनील जागलान गदगद हैं। सुनील जागलान ने कहा कि प्रधानमंत्री के मुंह से अपनी तारीफ सुनना उनके लिए अकल्पनीय था। See more…


PM was stuck on the idea of sarpanch , ‘#SelfieWithDaughter’ hit on Social media

नई दिल्ली। प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने आज आकाशवाणी पर एक बार फिर ‘मन की बात’ कार्यक्रम के तहत देशवासियों को संबोधित किया अपने संबोधन में उन्होंने अंतरराष्ट्रीय योग दिवस की चर्चा के साथ-साथ हरियाणा के बीबीपुर गांव की चर्चा की।

पीएम ने कहा कि बीबीपुर गांव के सरपंच ने ‘सेल्फी विद डाटर’ मुहिम चलाई है। यह मन को आनंद देता है। मैं आग्रह करता हूं कि आप भी अपनी बेटी के साथ सेल्फी निकालकर ‘सेल्फी विद डाटर’ पर जरूर पोस्ट करेें। उन्हाेंने कहा कि ‘बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ’ इस विचार को ताकत देने वाला टैगलाइन लिखकर दें।

सोशल साइट पर ट्रेंड कर रहे ‘#SelfieWithDaughter’ की कहानी भी कम रोचक नहीं है। कैंपेन हरियाणा के बीबीपुर गांव से शुरू हुआ। गांव के सरपंच सुनील जागलान ने ‘#SelfieWithDaughter’ नाम के कैंपेन की शुरुआत की थी, जिसमें उन्होंने अपनी बेटियों के साथ तस्वीर पोस्ट की। और पीएम मोदी ने कैंपेन का जिक्र ‘मन की बात’ कार्यक्रम में किया जिसके बाद ये कैंपेन सोशल मीडिया पर वायरल हो गया।

#SelfieWithDaughter’ कैंपेन के सोशल मीडिया पर हिट होते ही बीबीपुर गांव के लोगों में खुशी की लहर दौड़ गई। लोग अपनी बेटियों के साथ तस्वीरों को सोशल साइट पर शेयर कर रहे हैं और कैंपेन लगातार ट्रेंड कर रहा है। Via jagran.com

हालाकिं इस सैल्फी की बहुत लोगों द्वारा आलोचना भी हुई कि इस से क्या भला होगा वगैरहा वगैरहा … इस सारे धटना क्रम को देखते हुए मन मे विचार आया कि क्यो ना स्वच्छता पर ही एक सैल्फी ली जाए और स्वच्छता की बात करें तो शौचालय से अच्छा उदाहरण और क्या हो सकता है… देश की बेटिया इस लिए भी मर रही हैं कि घर मे शौचालय नही है … शायद इसे देख कर वो भी अपने अपने घर के शौचालयों की सैल्फी लें और इसी बहाने शौचालयों का निर्माण ही जाए …

एक सैल्फी स्वच्छता के नाम :)

The post एक सैल्फी स्वच्छता के नाम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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13. ‘Amaro and Walden’s Joyride’ by Tim McCourt and Max Taylor

Meet Amaro and Walden, two rowdy boy racer-hipsters who don't give a bleep.

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14. This Month for Writers - June 2015

Once upon a time, Adventures in Young Adult Publishing used to post a weekly roundup of all the best writing related links around the web. These were huge resources that collated an amazing amount of information all in one place ... but then they got too big, and too difficult to keep up with, and we stopped producing them.

Starting from today, we're reinstating those roundups. They'll come to you on the first Sunday of every month, and we're taking the effort to make them a little more user-friendly. They won't be huge long lists anymore, but rather a smaller list of links that we found particularly helpful or insightful - we're going for quality over quantity. In addition each link will be accompanied by a short description of why, exactly, we think it's so great.

We hope you'll like this new, more streamlined approach! Take some time to browse the links below, and don't hesitate to pop back to this post over the coming months to add your own suggestions for the next roundup in the comments.

Read more »

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15. Backmatter

Five reasons why backmatter is important in nonfiction.


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16. DC Comics Needs To "Up" Its Game

It seems to be a trend people are noticing.  DC Comics items get only half the views as items about Disney-Marvel Comics.  Back in the 1980s/1990s, fanzines and other news from either company got equal reactions/views but since the internet DC really does appear to have dropped down the hole more.

Ignoring the pundits who are calling the various so far not released movies "failures" Marvel comics still attracts more attention.  Interestingly, Comicgirl19 just uploaded a non-spoilers review of her viewing of the movie at the premiere of Ant Man -she loved it.

Quite obviously, DC needs to push the PR more.  Push and promote action figures, trades and so on because those you find online are VASTLY over-priced based on the fact that the Batman V Superman movie will feature Wonder Woman and might feature other DC heroes so, as with the Sub-Mariner merchandise hyped prices -I made it as clear as I could that there was NO Sub-Mariner movie in the works but ignore me. Pay incredible prices for stuff that...well, is not worth 0.2% of what you paid- so the scum traders are pushing "rumoured to be in the new Batman-Superman movie!" to sell over priced items.

DC comics never read CBO (I understand their focus is on Tales From The Kryptonian) but, guys -info!!

"Super-Man fighting is poised ready to take on the World's villains. This official licensed product from Schleich is hand painted and intricately modelled. It is the perfect gift for any DC Comics/Superman/Justice League fan or collector."

$5.14.  Yours for $17.50   In the UK new and boxed from a shop -£5.49 -on Amazon or Ebay -£9.95, £11.00, £17.00+  exploiters are drooling.  Incidentally, in the UK £9.95 -free postage" is NOT free postage because that price includes postage more than you'd need -seller extra profit.

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17. Food truck

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18. 48 days, day 21-22: what's asking for expression

{{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}

Jim: "We are ready for an ice age."
Jim's brunch at Homegrown this morning with family.

out-of-focus bean blossoms. too excited to focus well. bean blossoms!
the cosmos! the cosmos! the cosmos! -- not carl sagan
jelly bean tomatoes growing in the front yard flower bed. WE ATE THEM. yes we did.
moving ferns to the rocks next to the new walkway. to the right is that ice-age of wood. it is stacked in such a way that I can take a shower outside and use the wood as one of my shower walls.
john mullin and jim discuss matters of great importance.
 Shhhh. Finally. Let me not torture myself with why it took me three weeks to settle into words, lots of words, on the page, lots of hours at the page.

Let me not ask why-oh-why I am not writing Book 3 or revising Rachel, but am instead writing an essay about growing up in Mobile, Alabama, where I was born and lived until I was five, and going, at night with all the lights shining in the inky dark, to a tiny dirt track in the middle of nowhere with my father, mother, and brother, to the stock car races.

Let me not question good writing energy. Oh, let me just gather it to me and go go go. GO GO GO. It feels so good to be creating something. Something that didn't exist before this moment. What power that is, what empowerment, to pull from thin air (moments, memory, meaning) something that makes me lose track of time.

I must remind myself that nothing is wasted, that it all connects, somewhere. You wouldn't know it to hear me tell it:

1. We got our last cord of wood from John Mullin and spent the drizzly morning stacking it and visiting with John. John -- who services our cars and grows the best tomatoes and sells firewood and god-knows-what-else -- was 21 and in the Navy in 1969, stationed at Floyd Bennett Field in NYC. He was on one of the many helicopters that landed near Yasgur's Farm and delivered food, water, and medical supplies to the revelers at Woodstock. Our conversation ranged from Woodstock to NASCAR to barbecue to water management to soil sweetness. By the time John left, the sky had cleared and we had beautiful weather for the Fourth -- and I didn't have to water.

2. I started reading about Woodstock and segued into Los Angeles in 1969 (since I will BE in Los Angeles at the end of this month), got off on a tangent about "courtyard housing" which is coming back in L.A., which led me to thinking about the courtyard housing I lived in when I was single and poor and raising my first two kids, and that led me to A PATTERN LANGUAGE by Christopher Alexander, one of my favorite books in the world, and the book I used extensively as I renovated this house (and yard).

3. I decided "Courtyard Housing" would make a great name for an essay. Or a book of essays. Hahahahahahaha.

4. I wandered back to NASCAR -- John will watch two races this weekend while he eats his bbq, sitting in his garage, watching his big-ol' television, bay doors open front and back, fans whirring, nobody's car to fix, Happy Fourth! I can hold my own, in the early talk of NASCAR. I spent two years in Charleston, South Carolina in high school, and all the boys talked about was the Yarborough family, especially Cale, and the Allison Brothers and Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

5. Didn't I go to the races as a little girl? I did. I remember it clearly. I might have pictures somewhere. The last race of the night was a demolition derby. They'd wet down the field for it. Where was that? Mobile? Outside of Mobile? ::check for dirt tracks around Mobile in the late fifties::

6. "Demolition Derby" would make a great title for an essay. From the beginnings of the family I grew up in, to its rather spectacular demise. I cut my writing teeth on essays and memoir -- it's all I wrote, when I started out, and I have a file cabinet full of clips from magazines and newspapers, a bookcase full of inspiration.. ::pull my favorites off the shelf::

E.B. White, Noel Perrin, Russell Baker, Sue Hubbell, John McPhee, John Burroughs, Donald McCaig, Pat Leimbach, Betty MacDonald, Barbara Holland, Anna Quindlan, Donald Hall, Andy Rooney, Erma Bombeck (Yes. She was good.). This is the kind of essay I wrote, full of love of the natural world, home, family, kinship, connection, and belonging. Sounds like my fiction....

7. So this is what I began to write in earnest on Saturday, with Rachel right beside me, staring at me.

Shhhh... I whispered to her. Let me not question this. Let me write what's asking for expression.

What's asking for expression right now?

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19. Audio Teaching: The Christian Hope: Part Four

Click for Parts One, Two, Three here.

I hope you’ll take time to listen to these audio teachings, if not here, then perhaps you’ll consider downloading them and taking them with you?


What the Bible really says about Death, Judgment, Rewards, Heaven, and the Future Life on a Restored Earth. God originally planned for mankind to live on earth, and His plan, though postponed by sin, will not be thwarted – it will come to pass in the future when a new earth is created. The Christian’s Hope shows from Scripture that each Christian will be rewarded in the coming world in direct proportion to the quality of how he lives for God in this world.

Click the arrow to listen to the Hope of Israel.

A Biblical Look at “Hope”

In order to properly understand the Christian’s hope, it is important to examine the exact meaning of the word “hope.” “Hope” means “a desire for, or an expectation of, good, especially when there is some confidence of fulfillment.” It is used that way both in common English and in the Bible. However, the Bible often uses the word “hope” in another way—to refer to the special expectation of good that God has in store for each Christian in the future. This includes the “Rapture,” receiving a new, glorified body, and living forever in Paradise. Today, the ordinary use of “hope” allows for the possibility that what is hoped for will not come to pass. However, when the Bible uses the word “hope” to refer to things that God has promised, the meaning of “hope” shifts from that which has a reasonable chance of coming to pass to that which will absolutely come to pass. To be a useful anchor, hope must hold fast.


Filed under: Abundant Life

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20. Mat Johnson’s Pym

PymEdgar Allan Poe is one of few authors by whom I’ve read everything, at least everything available, including his literary criticism. I was obsessed with him for a while, and in an alternative life where I get a Ph.D. in English Literature, I might well be writing academic papers on Poe (and Hawthorne, and Melville, and maybe Irving).

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is easy to pick as Poe’s biggest failure. It is his only attempt at a novel, and falls short even there, with a series of loosely connected episodes that lack continuity and a proper ending. The problems don’t end there. It is also Poe’s most damningly racist work. Though racist caricatures appear in his other tales, this is the one most informed by Poe’s pathological fear of non-whiteness. However, it also proves to be one of his most influential works, figuring explicitly into subsequent works by some of his biggest admirers, particularly Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft.

The hero of Mat Johnson’s Pym is an African American scholar obsessed with Poe, and especially with Pym. This singular obsession with white authors (and a refusal to serve on the diversity committee) disrupts his academic career, but a series of coincidences leads him on his own fantastic voyage that parallel Poe’s Pym, encountering much of the same…. experiences.

It is simultaneously a pastiche and a critique of Poe, but an effective satire of current American culture: academia, pop painting, junk food, you name it. In some ways it is an academic novel, wise and winking in literary references, casually name-dropping major pieces of the black canon including ones that white readers like me didn’t know about (Equiano, Webb) mixed in with the more obvious ones to the source material (one nod to Lovecraft made me laugh out loud). But it would work without one knowing literary history, purely as adventure/horror and humor. And of course it is book about race itself; a critical reflection about whiteness and blackness both literal and figurative.

I love everything about this book. It centers me in the black experience of America as effectively as Ralph Ellison, and gives me a fix of sharp satire that reminds me of being fourteen and discovering Kurt Vonnegut. It pushes my buttons as literary nerd, but is enjoyable purely as a great yarn.

The American literary canon is racist and sexist because our history is racist and sexist, but what do we do about it? Pointing out the problems is necessary, but doesn’t suggest where to go next. I’m not a big fan of expunging literary history; that itself becomes a kind of whitewashing. Besides, I think there is value in Poe, in Twain, even in Margaret Mitchell. I would rather read those books, then read these creative critiques–books like Johnson’s Pym, or Alice Randall’s The Wind Be Gone–that critique and re-create and re-center the narratives, that subsume and overtake the source material.

I think Johnson takes on a particularly problematic text to show just how brilliantly this can be done; it makes me grateful for Poe’s Pym because it makes Johnson’s possible.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: mat johnson, poe, pym

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21. Rotary July Fourth or What I've Been Doing Other Than Writing

BAR HARBOR -- Months ahead of the Fourth of July, Ron Wrobel, an accountant by day and Rotary Super Hero and Club Treasurer all the time, began his list, detailing the needs and jobs that it would take to feed tourists and locals at Bar Harbor MDI Rotary’s 44th Annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast and Seafood Festival. Then he started recruiting volunteers. Then he started holding meetings, planning, working out the details and then working out even more details. If he ever threw up his hands in frustration, nobody saw it. Even with last minute issues like the increased price of lobster, the need for volunteer t-shirts, and 5,000 other little things, Ron kept his calm, kind demeanor, which is really saying something because the seafood festival is a huge deal.

Bar Harbor is a small town in the winter, but it explodes in the summer with an influx of thousands of visitors who come to the island community to spend the summer and enjoy the Fourth of July, which was voted the #1 Fourth of July celebration in America by the Today Show and has been lauded by other national media like National Geographic and Good Morning America.

To put it simply, the Fourth of July in Bar Harbor, Maine is huge.

It’s a big deal.

A very big deal.

The Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club is a huge part of that and every year someone leads us to make it a successful event, donating time and energy that you really can't quantify. This year, that was Ron Wrobel.

Ron surveys the world before the event. Photo by Rena Wrobel.

On July 3, as Boy Scouts joined Rotarians in marking out the field, setting up tents, tables, chairs and hammering in fencing, Wrobel took a pause to survey the work.

“How are you feeling?” Another Rotarian asked him.

“Happy, I feel happy,” he answered, smiling. “I actually really love this.”

There is a goodness in working with a group towards a common goal. There is a fellowship that happens when you haul grills in the hot July sun, as you watch an enormous event come together.  Wrobel understands that. He knows that this festival is a celebration of possibility and optimism, a belief that people can work together to make something bigger than themselves.

And for years, the Bar Harbor MDI Rotary Club has been part of the celebrations, organizing not just a pancake breakfast and seafood festival, but also organizing community nonprofits all around the ball field so that they can raise money for good local causes.  Rotary has historically been the last float in the Fourth of July parade, calling for people to follow them to the ball field to cheer on the MDI YMCA’s lobster races, eat at the festival or just hang out with friends.

We were trying to look British Album Cover Somber like in the 1980s. This is the back of our float in progress.

The Club itself has just under 70 members. Some of those members are well over 70 years old, yet they come out year after year, donating their holiday to a cause bigger than themselves. They clean grills, flip pancakes, decorate a float truck, work cash registers, clean tables, haul food and water and lobsters, stand over steaming French fry buckets, boiling vats of lobsters and mussels and corn.

And for what?

For the Rotary motto, which is “Service Above Self.”  The MDI Rotary Club has traditionally raised between $15,000 and $20,000 annually at the festival, with proceeds going to charitable donations and service projects. Other local nonprofits around the athletic field raise close to $50,000. The entire Bar Harbor Fourth of July's celebrations from our pancake breakfast to the final fireworks is sponsored by people and organizations who are just trying to make things a little bit better for our community, for the people who live in it and visit here. It can be crowded. It can be wild. But that's what makes it good.


Pancakes served up with a smile.
Hauling boxes for days.
Our new president triumphantly serves up her first awesome pancakes.
Even after working all day, our Rotarians are still smiling.

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22. fantasy

Question: I want to know if this a good plot; 11 year old Ebony Pigment is stuck on a large island, along with thousands of other people. The island is

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23. Cartoon Network’s Imagination Studios Encourages Children To Create Original Ideas

Major network creators like Rebecca Sugar and Ben Bocquelet will participate and teach children how to create cartoons.

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24. संदेशे आते हैं

{व्यंग्य}    संदेशे आते हैं मुझे तडपाते …..!!!! mobile messages photo
यकीनन यह गीत बहुत साल पहले लिखा गया था उस समय मोबाईल भी नही होते थे पर अगर आज के संदर्भ मे बात करे तो यह गीत मेरी दुख भरी गाथा के बहुत निकट है.

आज जब लोगो को देखती हू कि हजार हजार वाला मैसेज पैक मोबाईल पर लेते है तो बहुत हैरानी सी होती है. यहां तो ये आलम है कि एक भी मैसेज आए तो बुरी तरह घबराहट होनी शुरु हो जाती है.
वैसे कुछ समय पहले तक ऐसा नही था. मुझे भी शौक था मैसेज का. मै भी बहुत चाव से मैसेज पढती थी और भेजती भी थी कि अचानक एक दिन रात को सपना देखा कि आफिस मे बास बहुत बुरी तरह से डांट रहे हैं. मै अचानक उठ बैठी.खुद को संयत किया ही था कि मेरा मोबाईल बहुत खूबसूरत ध्वनि के साथ बज उठा. दोस्त का मैसेज आया था.
“मै ईश्वर से प्रार्थना करुगां कि वो आपके सारे सपने सच करे”
मै अंदर तक कापं गई. फिर सोचा कि सपना ही तो है और खुद पर मुस्कुराई. मैने निश्चय किया कि सारी की सारी फाईले आफिस ले जाऊगी जिससे डांट पडने की कोई सम्भावना ही न रहेगी इसलिए एक एक कागज ले गई पर पैन ड्राईव ले जाना भूल गई जो सबसे ज्यादा जरुरी थी और फिर वही हुआ जो नही होना चाहिए था.
खैर, उस दिन की बात तो मैं महज इत्तेफाक समझ कर भूल गई. एक दिन फिर कुछ ऐसा हुआ कि मै पुन: सोचने पर मजबूर हो गई. असल में, बदलते मौसम के चलते मुझे बहुत छींके आ रही थी. हलकी सी कम्कपी सी भी थी सोचा कि मलेरिया आदि का टेस्ट ही करवा लिया जाए आजकल बीमारी का पता थोडे ही लगता है. बस मैने टेस्ट करवा लिया और रिपोर्ट शाम को मिलनी थी. हाथ मे मोबाईल था कि अचानक एक अन्य संदेश आया.
”हमेशा पोजिटिव रहो और जिंदगी मे पाजिटिव ही सोचो”
मै मन ही मन बहुत खुश हुई कि कितनी अच्छी बात लिखी है इसलिए हाथो हाथ मैने अपने दोस्त को मैसेज किया कि धन्यवाद, वाकई मे संदेश बहुत ही प्यारा है. तभी मोबाईल घनघना उठा. मेरा मलेरिया पोजिटिव था. मै बुरी तरह से कांप गई कि अयं ये क्या हुआ. उस दिन से संदेश से डर लगने लगा कि पता नही क्या मैसेज आए और…!!!

काफी दिन तक शांति रही. फिर एक मैसेज भूचाल ले आया. मेरी परम प्रिय सखी मणि ने मैसेज किया कि
आज आपका कोई पता पूछ रहे थे. उनका नाम है सुख, शांति और समृधि मैने बता दिया अब वो आपके घर कभी भी आते ही होंगे.शुभकामनाए!
मै घबरा गई क्योकि सुख और समृधि का तो पता नही पर शांति बुआ तो उतनी चिपकू  हैं कि एक बार घर आ जाए तो महीने भर से पहले जाने का नाम नही लेती. मेरी धडकन जोरो जोरो से चलने लगी. तभी दरवाजे पर घंटी बजी और शायद बुआ….!!!
अब तो यह हाल है कि मै मोबाईल हाथ मे रखने से डरने लगी हूं. मैसेज की इतनी शानदार ध्वनि रखवाई थी पर वही अब हारर फिल्मो के रामसे का संगीत बन कर डराने लगा है. या आज के समय के “आहट … जरा सी आह्ट होती है तो दिल ///  ये लो अचानक फिर से एक और मैसेज  आया…
चलो प्रकृति की ओर ..!! असली सुख वही है.!!

अब आप यही सोच रहे होंग़े कि यह तो सच है प्रकृति के साथ रहना तो हमेशा सुखकर है. जरा मेरी बात तो सुनिए! असल मे “प्रकृति” यहां का सुपर स्पेशलिटी हास्पिटल है. वहां पर बहुत गम्भीर किस्म के केस ही आते है.!!!

हे भगवान!!! क्या करु क्या नही समझ नही आ रहा !!! बस एक ही बात मुंह से निकल रही है कि संदेशे आते हैं मुझे तडपाते हैं ….!!!!

वैसे ये व्यंग्य आपको थोडा अजीब लग रहा होगा क्योकि आज का समय तो वटसअप और फेसबुक मैसेनजर का जमाना है पर मैं यह बताना चाहूगी कि ये व्यंग्य बहुत पुराना है उन दिनों मैसेज का ही जमाना था …:)

पर आपको …संदेशे आते हैं… व्यंग्य लगा कैसा ??? जरुर बताईगा :)


The post संदेशे आते हैं appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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25. The Time Machine Audiobook Review

Title: The Time Machine Author: H.G. Wells Narrated by: Sir Derek Jacobi Publisher: Listening Library Publication Date: June 11, 2013 Listening copy via Sync H.G. Wells' The Time Machine is one of those science fiction classics that I just never got around to reading, so I thought listening to a free Sync copy would be a perfect way to finally get around to it. I've seen the Hollywood

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