Monday, July 24, 2006

Writerly Update (or How I Fed my Muse While DSL was Out)

Aaack! I apologize for not posting sooner. My DSL's been down. Writerly things I've been doing while unable to post:

1. Met with critique group Thursday for a marathon meeting. Learned I'm headed in the right direction with my ghost story. Key elements to work on: deciding for certain my characters ages so that their voices stay consistent within each scene, and more importantly, finishing the story in time for the proposed anthology.

2. Went blueberry picking with my two youngest girls Friday. Honestly, I consider this activity a writerly thing to do because it endulged my need for a weekly artist date ala Julia Cameron.

Here's why the day was so awesome: I've picked blueberries while camping, but finding a berry here, berry there, doesn't compare to picking blueberries at Tammen Treeberry Farm.

Imagine rows of eight-foot tall blueberry bushes stretching out for as far as the eye can see. Listen to buckets clanking as families, friends, and couples crowd onto hay racks for the bumpy ride into the field. Behold berries so ripe an entire handful drops into your hand after you brush the ripe underbellies with your fingertips. Eat the entire handful then reach for one more and one more and one more. Return with a bucketfull of berries, many the size of your thumb, all for just over a dollar a pound. Imagine all this and more and perhaps you'll understand why this outing filled my image banks to overflowing.

An aside: E loves berries. A friend told her about the blueberry patch the summer before her anuerysm rupture in 2001. She's begged me to go ever since. Unfortunately, she's never been well enough. Felt good to walk the fields. Almost as if we'd finally come full circle.

3. In keeping with a tradition that dates back many years (since high school for me), our family attended the Renaissance Faire in costume on Saturday. This activity indulged my muse as much as it did my family.

S dressed as Tinkerbell so she could frolick with the fairies. E dressed as a gypsy, complete with tambourine. Jewel dressed as a jester. P and I dressed as pirates in keeping with the faire's nautical theme.

For snacks, we carried pouches filled with homemade beef jerky, gorp (our version of trail mix), and grapes. We tied mugs to our belts, refilling them with water to keep hydrated throughout the day. (A must when wearing layers of skirts in 80 degrees-plus weather.)

In between shows featuring harpists, hammered dulcimer players, mud show beggars, acrobats, fighting swordsmen, and more, we remained on the lookout for Queen Elizabeth. A queen sighting meant our oldest daughter L wouldn't be far behind. L's a member of the cast this summer. She portrays Bridget Manners, an actual person from history, one of Queen Elizabeth's most beloved Maids of Honor.

How'd a trip to the faire endulge my muse? Pirates. Women in finery. Men in tights carrying swords and strutting about. Add a children's fantasy writer into a realm like this, and, well, need I say more?

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