We take photographs now so throwaway casually. We may forget how even amongst all of those uncounted thousands – so many of which we simply delete – that there are those that may be extra-special. Some few may eventually develop a deeper resonance and longer-term poignancy for us.
Probably you have something similar in your family and amongst your friends. I was doing some tidying up around the house yesterday, and while doing so I once again noticed this photograph on the wall in our lounge. It is one of my all time favorite family photos because of all it represents:
Although I did some writing on the plane over, I’ve decided to give “Robert,” “Carolina,” “Henry,” and “Marie-Thérèse”, and the others a rest for a few days. They probably could use a short “break” from me, too.😉 While it’s said you should write constantly, you do have to pause now and then and clear your head.
Moreover I don’t want to veer into “killing off” any characters accidentally because I’m feeling briefly somewhat “off” myself. With my mother’s one year death anniversary on the 26th, I’m trying to find a real-life “happy place.” I suppose these Catskills are one of them:
I snapped that photo yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t look like that outside now, I assure you:
…Well, fine. You don’t like Amazon. But you take it out on readers?
A top of the hour news update earlier on Classic FM shared with us that some author – I won’t name him: I’m not interested in giving the person a “nod” even on my site here – is not releasing ALL of his latest book on Amazon. The full version will be available in brick and mortar bookstores only.
First, apparently there’s nothing else going on in the world that more warrants a “news” headline? Second, that’s not “news” anyway. It’s massive and free publicity.
Oh, and why is that author purportedly altering the book based on its retail source?
After posting yesterday about the controversy swirling around out there about a possible “unmasking” of the real person behind the “Elena Ferrante” pseudonym for the huge-selling novelist, I returned once more to my “1794.”
Initially, as I tapped away in Word again, I found myself distracted. The controversy pushed my mind to a related issue: Regardless of whose name is on the cover, “who” is actually inhabiting your fictional pages in the first place? If you write, this question is probably familiar to you.
How much of you is really on those pages, but which no one but you of course truly appreciates? And what are you consciously changing about “yourself”? And what is perhaps subconsciously there that’s “you” despite even your best conscious efforts to alter it?
Writing in the New York Review of Books, an Italian journalist claims he may have uncovered the real-life identity of a pseudonymous huge selling Italian author:
The perpetual “interest” some seem to have in who’s actually “behind the mask” – and in “unmasking” them.
LOTS of “Elena Ferrante’s” readers are apparently ***NOT*** happy about this effort. Social media is full of angry assertions it’s an unwarranted intrusion into the life of someone seeking to remain anonymous and merely write. One fear I’ve also seen voiced is that if it proves accurate it may well mean “she” will never write another book.
Well, my absentee ballot has arrived here in Britain. The election is almost upon us. I vote in New York state, in the 19th congressional district, which is located upstate partly in the Catskills where our house is:
Let me offer a quick explanation of that ballot because this fact might baffle some people. The United States does not have a presidential election as such. It has essentially 51 presidential elections simultaneously – separate elections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (meaning Washington city, which is not in any state but is the national capital named after, OF COURSE, HIM!).
As I vote in New York State, I vote for electors – locals whose names one rarely knows – who gather at Albany in early December. They are pledged to cast THEIR ballots formally for the pair of candidates who had received the most votes back on November’s Election Day.
England is a compact country of cities, towns, villages, and rural areas that often come up right against each other – little “middle ground” between them. While driving, one minute you may find you’re in a town, and suddenly you are through it and in countryside. The change between urban and rural (and vice-versa) is sometimes startlingly abrupt.
“Endless” suburban subdivisions as one sees in parts of the U.S. are virtually non-existent here. Very few homes have American-sized backyards. People live much closer together, which is probably why they prize their boundary hedges, fences, and generally try to respect each other’s privacy.
One also tends to forget England can be hilly, and with that height sometimes you get a broad view you don’t expect. It sometimes could almost be a painting. For example, here’s our Hertfordshire village from a mile or so away, spread out below:
America’s top official in France from 1785-1789, forty-something Thomas Jefferson, came to believe U.S. diplomats should not be overseas more than about eight years at a stretch. He felt if they (and they were then only men) were, they would lose touch with events and opinions at home. As a result, they would eventually be incapable of representing America properly.
He grew concerned also about young men “without attachment” becoming “involved” with European women, and felt their being overseas too long made such “intimacy” almost inevitable. The young women they encountered in diplomatic and social circles (and who, in France and elsewhere on the continent, could speak English) were overwhelmingly aristocrats. He believed “relationships” with those women could damage those “impressionable” young men’s “republican” sentiments and alienate them from the outlooks of most of their fellow Americans at home.
A few years before, a 16 year old future U.S. president became rather “enthralled” by young women he met while visiting Sweden. Yes, it’s a shocker: An American teenage boy loose in Scandinavia notices girls. Yet in that he demonstrated Jefferson’s concerns were perhaps not groundless.
Then lacking the television, internet, etc., that we take for granted, one could see Jefferson’s point about being too far removed from home as well. It took three months minimum for a letter to travel from Europe and to receive a reply from America; and that was usually during the summer months. Far fewer ships risked crossing the Atlantic between December and March – and even navies weren’t keen on it if they could possibly put it off until spring.
I know it does not matter what someone like me says about something like this. And I know I wrote “nice” things about iPhones yesterday morning. And I do like my iPad and my “old” iPhone.
But I want to “note” this regardless. Yesterday afternoon I had a technology horror that, frankly, I have not had the likes of in a very long, long, long time. Immediately after, I did what we do nowadays at moments like that: I vented on Twitter:
What happened was this. I often use Notes on my always within reach iPad or iPhone for, well, “writing brainstorms” for my manuscripts. Sometimes, they are lengthy “notes.”