What about doing it, if not on the beach, then in bed? Reading that is—it seems nowadays the only time I find to read is when I stumble (an exaggeration, but not by much) up the narrow backstairs to my bedroom. Less than two feet away from my bed, several shelves line a brick wall. At three a.m. I grab a magazine from the stacks and stacks of New Yorkers. Why can’t I throw a New Yorker away? Am I deluding myself into thinking I’m going to read them sometime? But I do read them, … Continue reading Insomnia Meets Cartoons
I read your obituary in the paper today. It said you were 49 years old when you died. You left to mourn a wife, three children, one grandchild, a sister, and foster parents who steered you in the right direction. You worked for a construction company and were a volunteer fireman. It had been so long since I’d seen you. I was nine and you were ten. You came to school mid-year, after everyone had been assigned a desk and knew their place on the bus. I was in third grade and you were in … Continue reading Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker
I’ve always been irked by those lists of “beach reads” that turn up online and in magazines every summer. In the first place, it’s difficult to actually enjoy the experience of reading while on a beach. You get put off by the glare, the blowing sand, your children who stand around and drip on you. The only time I really took pleasure in reading at the beach, it was a subversive pleasure. I lived in a seaside town where the public library was ruled over by one of those martinets who is drawn to the profession … Continue reading Un-beach Books
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying. I suspect the above is familiar to most readers, even though it was written mid-seventeenth century and so much from that period would seem totally closed to us, or at least, unfamiliar. It’s from a poem called, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by the Cavalier poet and clergyman Robert Herrick. It was a big hit at the time and it seems to have stood the test of time. … Continue reading Whaddya Mean Rosebuds?
Our guest blogger this week is Miles Fowler, who lives in Charlottesville. In this blog he talks about the Shakespeare Controversy and a part played in it by one of his own relatives: At the same time my mother told me about the Shakespeare authorship controversy, she told me one of our relatives was an anti-Stratfordian, someone who believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon (1564-1616) was not the true author of the plays and poems attributed to him. Later I got to know that relative as “Uncle William.” William Plumer Fowler (1900-1993) was an attorney, … Continue reading Uncle William and the Bard
I’ve been reading some of Ruth Rendell’s work lately. That sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? Just picked up a couple of her latest, enjoyed the experience, had a nice day, eh? The fact is I have, over the past couple weeks read every single one of the Inspector Wexford series that the Charlottesville Public Library could provide for me. The whole series comprises twenty-five books, but that would be expecting too much. I did find some twenty (or rather, they were found for me), going back to From Doon With Death, 1964, and ending with … Continue reading No Spoilers Here
Meet Anna Bryant, a local painter/Montessori teacher/mother/wife/friend of mine. Currently, her exhibit, “Daily Feast”, is running at New Dominion Bookstore. I advise you to stop by when you’re downtown, but try to go after a meal; aside from their visual appeal, her paintings might stir up the munchies. As the exhibit name implies, Anna’s pieces are 6″ x 6″ snapshots from the kitchen table, done in delightful colors applied with thick brush strokes. They’re part of an artistic exercise she embarked on recently–a commitment to to create one painting a day–and though my artistic genre is … Continue reading Daily Feast: process before product
I’m very happy to be a guest blogger because I can write about two things that are very important to me, Virginia Writers Club (VWC) and our annual VWC Symposium at Piedmont Virginia Community College on Saturday, August 3. I have the honor of being the president of VWC this year. This state-wide writers club has been around since 1915 and has ten chapters from Northern Virginia to Abingdon, from Charlottesville to Hampton Roads, from Manassas to Roanoke. Chapter members share their work, learn about writing and publishing, do book readings and signings, and listen … Continue reading Virginia Writers Club Sponsors Symposium by Betsy Ashton
This summer I planned to finish a manuscript, but a vacation to L.A (to see family) and later a trip to northwest Spain and Portugal (I don’t expect sympathy) disrupted the writing and since my return to Virginia, I’ve experienced a persistent numb resistance to putting pen to paper, fingers to keys. I wonder can it be summer’s slow siren, distracting me from the habit and pleasure of writing? Does summer trigger something in me that makes me want to get nothing done? Back home in the heat and haze of long days, after my … Continue reading Am I Still Writing In Summer?
My grandmother was a card shark. Not that she would have appreciated being called one. In her day, that usually meant someone who cheats at cards. But usages change and words evolve. Today, according to grammarist.com, among other sources, “card shark” (as opposed to “card sharp”) is generally understood to mean someone who’s skilled at playing cards and it no longer has a negative connotation. I’m pretty sure my grandmother would appreciate the whole idea of words and phrases evolving over time, because, in that same positive sense of the term, she was a word … Continue reading The Last Word