Epic Journeys

27 Oct

Epic journeys have become legendary thanks to those who penned the experience. Dante wrote of the epic journey through heaven, hell and purgatory (“Divine Comedy”). Jack Kerouac wrote of his epic journey across the United States (“On The Road”). Even if your epic journey consists of you epic feat of successfully dragging 3 screaming, crying children to the supermarket, then the toy store to quell their tantrums, it’s yours to express in writing.

The reason I’m approaching the subject of epic journeys is because I will be heading on a not so “epic” as it will be “entertaining” journey across the country to my old stomping grounds of San Diego, CA. It’s been a while and I suppose the epic journey will consist more of enjoying my time there, remembering with fondness the time I lived there and forcing myself to get back on the plane to my reality on another coast…but a girl can and will dream of warmer surroundings.

Fall / autumn / aka the seductive neighbor of winter is duly upon us north-easterners. Over the past few days the temps went from open-toe shoe weather to “where’re my wool socks!” weather. Digging for socks in the dark at 7am isn’t my idea of fun and it’s just a chilly reminder colder weather is imminent…

ANYWAY, this seasonally-induced nostalgia for all things warm and snuggly came at the perfect time for in less than one week I will be returning to lovely San Diego, CA where, as of today’s reports, is a perfect 70*F/21*C and sunny…thank the Lord! So, in haste, I make my way on a jet plane to embark on a sunny, perfectly warm journey to my old stomping grounds.

Now, this journey is more of a friendly vacation away with some friends who happen to be relocating there and a fun reuniting with friends still living in San Diego (not exactly the “Divine Comedy” type journey), but still epic in the sense that it’s been over 3 years since I’ve been back and there are a lot of faces and places that have changed and that I can’t wait to reconnect with. Inevitably, there will be stories and misadventures along the way that will inspire some rant or that, so stay tuned & happy writing!!

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The cute little devil

23 Oct

A sweet moment with a cute little devil…Happy (almost) Halloween!

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Pictures to Paper

21 Oct

Sometimes all you need is some visual inspiration…

I just came back from a brief trip to Paris and southern France and the images of these places incite so many romantic, beautiful images in my mind. Stopping to review my pictures (below), I find my imagination wants to gobble up all the visual stimulation and write endlessly. I hope it has the same effect on you.  Here are some shots from my recent trip that I hope you will enjoy!

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Underwater Inspirations

7 Oct

Today’s inspiration: water & the amazing life that lives under the sea.

Found these beautiful pics on the worldwide web…they aren’t mine, just as an FYI.

Das Wort des Tages aka Words of the Day

6 Oct

I’ll be flying off to Germany and France soon and in anticipation of this work-related, though exciting trip, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s post to some words of the day in German & French.

Learning new languages – Italian, in particular – have made me very excitable around dictionaries and writing because there’s always something new to learn when you delve in. Even in the English language, it’s so interesting to learn the story behind why one word is used instead of another in our vernacular, and even more hilarious/scary/exciting are the stories behind various expressions.

 

Today’s phrases of the day are…

 

Das Wort des Tages – German Word of the Day (well, phrase, really)

den Kasper machen – To act/play the fool

 

Mot du Jour – French Word of the Day **my favorite 

quand on parle du loup (on en voit la queue) – Speak of the devil

(Literally translates to: When you talk about the wolf (you see its tail)

 

What are some of your favorite expressions in English, Slovakian, Greek, whatever! I’d love to hear them…and don’t forget to include the translations! 🙂

 

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Go ahead. Be a Reading Rebel.

5 Oct

I’m 4 days late, but happy belated Banned Book Week!

Go ahead, be a rebel.

I dare you.

Do it.

You know you want to!

The ALA (American Library Association) has recorded hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have the following “outrageous” books removed from libraries and classrooms.

Go ahead & Rock Your World with these literary temptresses if you haven’t already:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Also, check out Wikipedia’s list of Books Banned by Gov’ts around the world… here.

Thank you, E.L. Doctorow

4 Oct
Cover of "Homer & Langley: A Novel"

Cover of Homer & Langley: A Novel

For this poignant quote:

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

And we all know it to be true.

Characters invade our brains, our lives, our dreams and unveil themselves to us through writing. Their voice, their mannerisms, their attitudes may come from an author’s observations of others or of themselves, but in the end a fictional character comes alive thanks to an author’s ability to create an alternate reality in which each character lives and breathes.

Here’s a fun exercise to help yank on your latent writing-induced schizophrenia:

Describe, in every detail, your character’s kitchen sink. Are there dirty dishes? Is it pristine? What food do you find on the counter or gunked up in the drain? Take a look around. What type of stove, if any, do they use to cook? Are there windows over the sink? What is their view while washing dishes…or while avoiding doing them? Can you tell who cooks in their kitchen – the mother, the father, the children, the room mate? 

I reference the kitchen sink and its organization because this post was inspired by an article about E.L. Doctorow‘s novel, ‘Homer & Langley’, which follows the lives of 2 brothers who happen to be hoarders. The novel was based on the true story of the Collyer brothers who lived in early 20th century Harlem in a lavish Victorian- style mansion. The two died and were discovered years later in their home having died in their own mess. Very tragic story, but one that I’m sure had E.L. Doctorow feeling a bit schizophrenic trying to imagine the cramped world these two characters created for themselves. The mess in the kitchen sink was the least of their worries!

 

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