See Another Walk In The Woods on my photo blog, Phall Photos http://wp.me/p3J4Ab-dG
Phall Photo Friday is a weekly feature here.
The Memoir Monday feature will be posted every other Monday. Sometimes very late in the day 🙂
Sometimes I send out an almost empty blog post, maybe a nice photo…actually, I have never sent out an almost empty blog post. I’m a writer. I write.
However, it is almost 9:30 at night in the Pacific Northwest of the United States…even if I were to get it out by 10, you are probably in bed then and won’t read it until Tuesday.
Here’s where I’m at. I have more memoir notes to post, and I even cut and pasted some in at first. Then, I get that ugly feeling that nothing I say is going to move you or entertain you. I have spent most of the day, on and off, at this desk. It hasn’t helped. Every start is a false start. I scanned for interesting memoir news and found some interesting bits. Then I erased them. I have a handful of online friends who are about to, or have published memoirs. I could add links to their books or sites. I can’t.
Here’s what I’ve learned today. Have scheduled posts ready at least three days in advance. What if you wake up and other things are weighing so heavily on your mind, that the scheduled post is just frozen inside you? You bomb.
I bombed, but I will be back to try Memoir Monday again in two weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you had a good Memorial weekend.
The picture is from WWI, part of a collection that my aunt was selling at the swap meet.
See Mount Rainier and The Beauty Below Her on my photo blog, Phall Photos http://wp.me/p3J4Ab-cV
Phall Photo Friday is a weekly feature here. Phall= P(atti) Hall.
3 views of a bouquet that my friend, Greg, picked in his yard at the beach and a few of the secret garden…
Here’s a brief sampling of news items that I found interesting enough to pass onto our community. I hope you find some nuggets in this week’s writer-reader news roundup. Patti’s News Day Tuesday posts every other week.
“Smashwords, an e-book self-publishing platform, and digital library vendor OverDrive have reached an agreement to distribute its titles via the OverDrive network of public libraries. The deal will make more than 200,000 Smashword titles available for borrowing and for-purchase through OverDrive.”
This is huge. How do you feel about your Smashwords book being distributed for free? It will be interesting to see how this goes. On one hand, many more readers will have access to your work. On the other hand, most will probably not be buying it. If you have a good book, and it shows high readership, will that be enough to raise sales and/or to fulfill your needs as an author? Hmmm
“PW will introduce BookLife, a new website for self-publishers, at this year’s BookExpo America. Simultaneously, we are integrating reviews of self-published books into our regular review coverage.” More good news for indies?
A quick article about the two main ways that retailers, publishers and indie authors can “fix” the e-book industry. No one can deny the first fix, but what do you think about the second one?
Looking for a good book to read? Here is the scoop on the top 5 sites to go to for book recommendations. Many of us do book reviews on Goodreads, but what about these other sites? Where do you go for book searches?
Where do you get your writer-reader news? Please share a link or two in the comments section.
Happy Newsy Things,
Out gallivanting and missed my deadline to post photos on Friday. Have fallen far behind on posting them on my photo site, but hope to catch up this coming week, when I’m done gallivanting. I love that word!
I had a unpacking some old boxes, installing cupboard, gardening, crafting and repairing frenzy Thursday night and Friday morn. Finally got in my truck to head to Leslee’s near Olympia for a visit. She is still pretty frail from her stomach surgery and broken shoulder. Leslee doesn’t let anything stop her for long.
We had a wonderful visit and I took her some irises, then planted them and a few other plants that needed my help. Two big tomato plants, a bleeding heart, a phlox, the irises, along with a few stray bulbs? maybe daffodils or tulips? She sent me home with all sorts of home and garden goodies.This is an iris that I finally got planted in the secret garden. They got tugged out of the earth in late fall and spent all winter and spring on the lawn in a black bag. The one in the photo has 3 blooms! The ones I planted in Greg’s yard and our shared front garden are purple and blooming away. Hopefully, Leslee’s fares as well.
I had to call her on my way there, because I kept stopping to take pictures.
I hope you enjoy. I’m off to more gallivanting and visiting family and friends for the rest of the weekend.
The Memoir Monday feature will be posted every other Monday.
This memoir writing is tough stuff. Many of my online friends are from a circle of published or soon-to-publish memoir writers. Most are based on hard subjects; illness and injury, death by disease or suicide, and abuse or neglect. You have to wonder why these memoirs are so widely read. At first glance those subjects are sad or depressing.
Why do we read them? I have always read memoirs and biographies. Sometimes I’m drawn in by pure curiosity, other times the author is covering an experience that I have had, or someone close has had. I want to know how they got through it. I want a blatant or even a subtle message of hope. Yes, hope.
The author lived to write about it, so maybe they have a secret of survival to share with me. Maybe they write so well, with that just-right stroke of humor, that I will be whisked away on their magic carpet for a few hours. I hold onto the hope that the author not only survives, but thrives after their crisis. Hope. I read memoirs for hope.
Hope may also be the reason that I keep hitting delays in my own memoir. August will be five years since Paul’s death. The memoir keeps pulling me back to the hard memories, when I am beginning to see the light of happy memories of Paul, in my everyday life. Yet…we both truly wanted to share our journey with others. We wanted to offer help along the way, for others in a health crisis, and we wanted to offer hope.
That is why I took on Memoir Mondays. I need to get this show on the road! I want to share this part of the journey with my community. I would love some feedback. I plan on exploring the topic of memoir, as well as some resource links for others who are writing memoirs. I’ll review some memoirs and announce it when my friends publish their memoirs. There is a large community of memoir writers online, so this won’t all be new information, but it will be what I think is interesting, and what I think you might enjoy.
In the mean time, here is some of the writing from within my own thick “Memoir” file.
A little background: My husband, Paul, spent a year in and out of hospitals, and in short-term housing near the main hospital, while fighting Acute Myeloid Leukemia and the Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) that he got as a result of a bone marrow transplant. During that year, I kept family and friends updated by way of an online patient journal on Care Pages. The following excerpts are from the memoir I’m writing, and were written during a few days of the last hospital stay:
June 13, 2009 Last night we had our best sleep in a long time. That’s good, but really, we’re funnier when we go sleepless in Seattle. Since yesterday, Paul has a bit of medication-caused edema in his belly and arms. He is still taking walks around the hallway loop, 10-40 minutes a day. He’s trying to do his exercises, but his belly argues with too much movement.
The biopsies from Tuesday’s procedure showed that Paul has adeno virus in his stomach now. They have added two more drugs to fight it, and more fluids before and after the new antiviral. It’s a toss up which is worse, the virus or the treatment. The other drug protects him from the damage the antiviral causes. What a viscous circle. They continue to try and balance his glucose, but it keeps dropping low , then spiking high. They began a new plan today and it has stayed pretty even so far. Through it all, Paul pushes on to do everything he can to get better.
Wishing we were there,
Patti & Paul
June 14, 2009 (warning–talk of needles) Paul is doing better today. His cramping belly has let up a lot. This was ATG day, when they pre-medicate him, which sends him off to a pretty deep sleep. This eve he had his weekly x-ray. We walked earlier, and will walk again later.
Tomorrow is ECP day, when he is hooked up to a machine in his room for 3 1/2 hrs. I can’t remember if I told you all about it or not, but they put a large needle in a vein, then strap his arm to a small board to keep it immobile and straight. They take blood out, separate it, take one layer and treat it with a photosensitive drug, then pass the treated portion under UV lights, then the machine puts it all back inside Paul’s vein. I have read some encouraging studies about this therapy, and we are hopeful that it can help clear out the GVHD.
Everything they are doing will take time, so we are settled in for the long haul. We’re up for it, though. Whatever it takes to get us back home and Paul healed.
Husky stadium is outside our window, so we have been watching the flurry of graduation taking place this weekend. It is surreal to watch all these young people celebrating starting out their lives full of hope, from a hospital room window, where we fight for Paul’s life.
Paul says to tell you all, “Hi!” and thanks for all the support.
Paul & Patti
More background. Paul passed away in our bed at home on August 9, 2009. Less than a month later, I started back with my emails to friends and family, while I tunneled through grief and estate issues.
Just tonight, I realized that I miss doing the updates about Paul’s health and our daily lives as fighters-for-his-life in a foreign land (hospital in Seattle). I thought that I could continue in a private journal, although the feedback is disappointing :>) So now I will write about me fighting for my mental life in this foreign land of Paul Is Gone. I will share the journey with you, because it is a habit that I still need.
I went to the doc today because a sore throat kept me up all night. I just have some infection in my throat and sinuses. With a few antibiotics I’ll be on the mend. I feel like hell, okay? I’m only up now, because Mark (family friend, lives close) signaled with his gate bell, that he was dropping off provisions, along with a mocha from my Aunt Judee. I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up to see if no news was still good news—yes, it is! That means no evil attacks about the estate today. Someone spread the “rumor” that there was going to be a sale here this Saturday. Friends and family think the rumor was spread just to worry me, ahhhh, success for whoever started it!
From the long, wide deck overlooking the back yard and acreage; A little after 8 P.M., and here comes that moon, right on time. That was my entertainment last night; watching as Jupiter chases the moon up the hill and over the tree tops. Much better than My Name Is Earl—sorry, Paul, but anything is better than Earl. I just realized that the moon actually rises in front of, and then above Jupiter. When the moon finally takes the lead, Jupiter resumes the chase across the sky. That’s way better than that episode when Earl got stuck in jail. I do not miss television. I would watch unlimited hours to have Paul back.
Thanks for being here,
ONE NIGHT THIS WEEK: Kevin is in the kitchen making one of his irresistible pizzas, while I work
in the office space he set up for me. The wild back yard here is carpeted with large, thin Vanilla Leaf plants and Kevin brought me a bouquet of them for my desk one morning.
Vanilla Leaf, achlys triphylla, also known as Deer’s Foot and Sweet After Death. That last name is in reference to the vanilla smell of the dried leaf. Both dried, and fresh leaves, are said to repel flies and mosquitoes.
When I got here to Kevin’s house in Packwood, WA last Friday, we set straight to unloading the gardening goodies that I brought. The seeds that we started in March, along with those Kevin has planted since then, are all ready to be transplanted to their own pots. Just before I arrived, Kevin got a small box in the mail from my mom. She sent us some yellow fragrant day lilies from her Alaska garden!
We’ve been rained-in since then. One day, I kept looking at the vanilla leaf bouquet and thinking about all the amazing understory plants that were coming up in the nearby forest. There is a very distracting book shelf next to my “new” desk and I just couldn’t help myself…I found a favorite, which I also have at home, Northwest Foraging by Doug Benoliel (1974). Each plant has line drawings by Mark Orsen that are almost as good as color photos, especially when coupled with the perfectly detailed plant descriptions.
Then I came across the 1984 edition of Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest by Eugene N. Kozloff. There are 3 sections with very good color photos of the trees, plants, moss, fungus, snails, slugs and a few common bugs in our woods and fields. That’s it, I proposed a walk!
Next, a bright pink flowering fruit? tree in a neighbor’s yard. I’m still using the camera in my phone and downloading to email, then to photo file on my hard drive is a tedious, slow process. Kevin brought his camera, but had battery issues. I don’t care. I am maddeningly determined to show you our woodland discoveries!
Entering the forest trail, the first plants are the Vanilla Leaf, Oregon Grape, and the delicate and mysterious Fairy Slipper, calypso bulbosa. She’s a pretty one, but aside from several dozen at the beginning, we (Kevin) only saw one more all the way to the falls and back.
Hugging the ground in sunny spots, were the white little wild strawberry flowers. The Indian Plum/Oso Berry, oemleria cerasiformis rose from waist high, to above our heads. They were still dripping with flowers and bright green new leaves, which smell like cucumber when crushed. These small trees will yield the first ripe berries in the woods, but the birds eat them so quickly, humans rarely get to see them.
There were ferns, chickweed, mosses, fungus, and a lot of Trail Plants, adenocaulon bicolor, which we always called Pathfinder Plants, because the backs of the leaves are silvery and easily show where someone has walked through them. There were plenty of Cleavers, galium aparine and Avens, geum macrophyllum.
When we walked this trail to the waterfall in March, it was pretty quiet. Today the air was filled with the trilling birds serenading us all along the path. I recognized the American Robins, round from a plentiful diet of worms, and chickadees flitted everywhere and nowhere, never landing long enough, or close enough, for us to catch sight of them.
Some spiders had a busy spring weaving webs in interesting places.
It has been many years since I walked the woods, then came home and learned about the flora and fauna with my children. Much of it comes back, as I wander through these woods with Kevin, and reacquaint myself with my old green friends. In the past, I have made salads, and medicinal oils, tinctures and salves from wild things in the forest. For now, I’m satisfied photographing and sharing them with Kevin and you.
I apologize about all the spaces in this post.
Also see Jill Swenson’s recent post here about spring surprises on the east side of the country.
I hope you enjoy this back woods tour,
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A Blog for the stewardship of green spaces and the people who love them!