Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Elsewhere. Sun Rising in the West.
The Regular Life

Come October, the rising of the sun (well, our turning toward it) comes later. So that when I, often a night owl, woke early and headed to the pool at the rec. area, the world was still in shadow. Unlike many previous mornings—misty, grey, overcast—the sky was clear. I eased into the water (which, admittedly, seems colder and colder as summer fades), facing west, and began my routine of fast jogging (as fast as you can jog in water, which is slow), the brain going elsewhere. My quiet half hour that starts the day.

The view across the street turned into a stage set, complete with lighting. At the highest tip of the liquid amber tree, its foliage the elongated oval of a giant grapefruit spoon, two lone leaves turned from dull grey to copper as if a spotlight had been turned on. To the north, stand two huge old eucalyptus trees, the bark of their trunks smooth, tinted several earth-tone shades. Another spotlight flicked on, turning uppermost leaves golden.

Copper slowly painted the liquid amber leaves, save for a strange semi circle that remained the dull color of early dawn. And it dawned (uh-oh, little pun there) on me to turn, facing east, to study the shape of the big tree that had been behind me to see how it had blocked the sun from the section of the liquid amber I’d faced.

Instead of following my usual routine (ten minutes in shallow end doing press-downs with empty milk bottles, my uberly expensive exercise equipment, then ten with aqua-belt in deep end, then ten of laps), I kept up the run, jog, walk to watch the sun rise in the west and north. Hypnotically, majestically, more and more of the onstage tree brightened; color climbed down the trunks of the eucalyptus, until the sun kissed the deck, turning a nondescript faded pink to, hmmmm, the color of marigolds . . .

That half hour of nature’s theater took the place of my usual day-planning, plot unraveling, mental guinea pig wheel To Do list. Critic’s assessment? Golden. Riveting. Mesmerizing. Not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 2012. How did that happen? I'm back to Blogging. I promise.

I know. Long time no see. Or no read, as the case may be.

When I do author visits, I tell the kids that I lead three lives, thus the construction of my blog. I’ll report on the Regular Life (everyday stuff—getting the brakes fixed, etc.; you know the drill; you have this life, too), the Reading Life (afraid I’m more than a bibliophile; let’s say biblioholic—that fits), and the Writing Life (and with due admiration for all the writers out there who can concentrate on one project at a time, my hat’s off to you; I’ll bet your houses are totally tidy, too; glad you all don’t have computer eyeballs that can see this office, but much gets done here, often several projects in the works at a time). This three-pronged approach means I can write blog entries about any blips that occur on my mental radar.

For example, I can’t seem to pull my nose from a thesaurus or dictionary. Today, pelagic, which I kind of guessed, but it’s so cool cuz it’s from the Greek pelagos, sea—so it’s “of or relating to open oceans or seas.” Wait. Wait. Archipelago. Yes, arkhi is chief, so the terms first meant the Aegean Sea—being full of island chains; then it was extended to “any sea studded with islands.” (Thank you, Online Etymology Dictionary for that euphonious definition.) Wait. Wait. Found 15 “pelago” words—how about abyssopelagic (you can guess that one) or epipelagic (think “upon” for epi)?

Oh my word (literally), this is what happens when I aim in one direction and end up in another. Focus. Focus.

Back to My Three Lives. Today, a brief recap of all three.

Regular Life
So much going on. Grands back in school. How did two get old enough for seventh grade? A recent school visit at Valley Elementary in Poway—great kids and so well organized; a book sale there the following Saturday where, I kid you not, the temp. was 100 degrees; an AAUW book sale (I’m a longtime member—it’s one of the reasons I wrote a biography of Barbara McClintock; AAUW gave that genuine genius/scientist/Nobel Prize winner early support when no other organizations had yet recognized that McClintock’s research had the potential to change the world of genetics); a really fun baby shower here with a simply delighted and delightful mom-to-be: she got a kick out of everything, and who says a “tea” can’t involve iced tea?! Prepping . . . for this year’s Festival of Books on October 13 at the super-popular Encinitas Library; . . . and a signing at CRA October 20; . . . and an event for the One Book, One San Diego 2012 event on October 25 to celebrate our Armando and the Blue Tarp School picture book being named a companion book to Luis Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North (get it; read it; I loved it) at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido. And cleaning out the garage. And having nice company.

Reading Life
I often have three+ books going at a time. One may be a mystery/thriller (what’s not to love about Hieronymus Bosch, Brady Coyne, Stoney Calhoun, Jack Reacher, V.I. Warshawski and others [I read these with big AAA maps to follow where folks are headed]?). Another may be young adult—currently into great reads by Ruta Sepetys, Gary D. Schmidt, Clare Vanderpool, Karen Cushman, and others); and other meaty books such as Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway, Alan Brennert’s Moloka’i, and Brian Coyle’s remarkable Mink River. And My Name is Mary Sutter, historical fiction about a young woman who want to be a surgeon—the era? The Civil War. Whoa, Nellie. More on the latter later, as it were.

Writing Life
As mentioned, never one to do one thing at a time, I’m working on a project for older readers, a workbook for kids on basic Greek and Latin roots to go along with my CryptoMania! Teleporting into Greek and Latin with the CryptoKids (now available in paperback), grammar blogs at by the Grammar Patrol, plus a group project my Wednesday critique group dreamed up. Crazy, huh?

I love semicolons. And, apparently, brackets within colons.
Time to head back to the writing life . . . although this counts, right?


What are you reading that you can’t put down?