Wednesday, December 28, 2011
When my kids are off from school, I like to go exploring with them, and last week my son and I spent an hour savoring the serene atmosphere at the Pritzker Military Library, which we had not been to before, but which we had noticed many times driving by. They currently have a stunning exhibit of Associated Press photos from World War II - several of which I was familiar with, such as the famous one of a sailor and a nurse kissing on the street in New York, but many I had not seen before. The photos are still copyrighted, so I can't show them here, but you can get a feel for the exhibit on the Pritzker Military Library site.
It was a contemplative hour of seeing those photos in the original, all the while taking in the serene atmosphere of the Library. Their reading space alone made me want to come back to just savor the quiet.
On the northside, the library looks out at the University Club building, and I love how the giant wreath plays against the ornate facade of that building. It has such an Old World feel to it. The Twelve Days of Christmas are still on, so this wreath is a little Christmas greeting to all my readers who celebrate Christmas - I hope you had a good one and are enjoying this time between the years.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Digital voice recorders come in all levels of simplicity. Mine is very basic, but it still allows me to store things in different files according to which manuscript it’s for or even what chapter. Yes, there are folders within folders for chapters! Some of the more expensive models even transcribe your thoughts to your computer. I prefer to type my thoughts into my drafts myself. While you have the option to let your thoughts sit on the recorder for as long as you’d like, I typically get them on screen the same day. I feel better having everything in its place.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The second point is that ideas always tend to occur when the hands are busy: cooking, brushing, soaping, knitting. So there must be something to that as well: Keep the hands busy and inspiration will come.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Given that I have a list for making sure I "have a summer," and a list for fall to savor my favorite season, I figure I better have one for winter as well. After all, there are many things that make a winter. For me, they are:
- Go sledding
- Go iceskating (perhaps, this year, even some ice skating lessons)
- Sip Glühwein (hot spiced wine) at Chicago's downtown Christkindlmarket
- See the play A Christmas Carol
- Make S'mores in the fireplace
- Bake Striezel (my grandmother's braided sweet yeast bread)
- Knit something
- Photograph homes with kitschy Christmas decorations
- Have a Chanukah Open House
- Roast chestnuts
|Leaves gathered during our hike in Starved Rock, now pressed|
my guide book.
Did you have a list for fall? And how about one for winter? Even if winter isn't your favorite season, there are still plenty of things to enjoy, and it's especially good to think beyond the holidays to counteract that January slump in spirits.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Elizabeth: What I learned from spending a two week residency at VCCA (where I met Annette) and later going to a residency at Jentel on a cattle ranch in the wilds of Wyoming, was how different the experiences of residencies can be.
At VCCA, residents were arriving and leaving regularly, and meal time conversations were stimulating with a wide variety of artist companions, often followed by evening presentations. One night I might share a table with five writers of memoir and the next with a composer who performed jazz trombone and ukelele. We visited studio presentations with painters of cows, archways, installations, and mazes. Each day, I returned to my studio jazzed to research other people's suggestions, to read, and to plug away on my project.
|Houses and studios at Jentel in Wyoming.|
|Jentel in the snow.|
Clearly, residency programs have different flavors and styles. The trick is finding what programs seems like the right match for what you need.
Monday, December 5, 2011
|Driving towards downtown Chicago recently|
It seems like all the color is gone now outside, and days like the one in my photo here are more prevalent. Thus, the color for December's exercise is gray.
For the uninitiated, the idea here is to come up with ways to evoke gray without mentioning the color itself because one of the challenges in writing effective descriptions is getting the color just right. Each month on this blog we work on one color, so far we’ve done brown, orange, red, green, pink, blue, and yellow.
Since you all did such a great job in coming up with shades of brown, I shall just tip you off again with a few words for gray, and see what else you can contribute:
Thursday, December 1, 2011
|When you first approach the Midway, you wonder: |
What shines so bright between the trees at night?
|Looking west, the sabers frame the sunset.|
Now it's a brave new world with brand new concrete sidewalks that curve around those light beams that beckon through the trees. And lots of people are walking back and forth since there's a new dorm south of the Midway. But mainly it was a treat to see how those beams of light enlivened a formerly dire area, and how they played against the cobalt sky and the black silhouettes of the trees.