Friday, January 29, 2010

Slow, Reading and Writing Ahead

I appreciate our weathermen, but they did try my patience this time. Two days of hand-wringing over the coming blizzard left Wal-Mart with emptied shelves, schools closing ahead in fear, my friends racing for their last icy Sonic before being housebound, and even the street department was cindering--with not a flake in sight. Because it is still January, I could take the 6-8 inches they feared, but this morning the snow storm looks more like a snow burp. Well, I am in blizzard mindset so I believe I will stay in my robe, brew a pot of tea, and continue as if there were a raging storm out my window.

First, I will do a tad of writing. Persimmon is an online magazine for women writers over sixty. They are adding a new feature called Short Takes to their publication. This will be short pieces of 250-500 words on a given topic. The first topic for the Summer 2010 issue is First Thing in the Morning. Maybe I will write something about facing snow first thing in the morning. For submission information go to

Reading in winter often means rereading or dabbling in books, as well as tackling some big novel I might have at hand. Thanks to fellow blogger Becky Povich’s inquiry about a favorite but lesser known book title, I recalled wanting to reread Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden. This is a delightful small book about an older woman living in South Carolina and her famous 30 X110 garden. She and her garden were highlighted on 60 Minutes a few years ago. It is a pleasant and charming read, as is the follow up Mrs. Whaley Entertains.

As often is the case, one good book leads a reader to another title. In searching for a used copy of the Whaley books online, I ran across Dinner at Miss Lady’s by Luann Landon. Another small book, this one has both essays and recipes. The recipes swing from elite to simple, and the fare is Southern for sure with heavily sugared lemonade, hand-rolled biscuits, Whiskey cake, and corn spoon bread. Landon captures her unique and eccentric Southern family in this tiny memoir. It is a charming read on a snowy day.

Sometimes the mood I am in affects what I think of a book or work. While I loved lines taken from Billy Collins, I never truly warmed up to his full poems. However, this morning I have a deeper appreciation of his work as I reread The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems. My marker has highlighted many passages, and I have groaned with pleasure at some of his images. He describes the importance of a window to a poet’s work by comparing it to miners going down a mine, to chefs chopping in their kitchens. A window is where a poet looks out for inspiration for writing--that he does not get paid for weekly! Collins tells us that the trouble with poetry is that it “…encourages the writing of more poetry…” which is true of prose as well.

I hear the kettle bubbling so it is time for tea until some lunch of comfort food like pancakes with sausages or maybe navy beans with cornbread. I have books to read and lines to write until then!

1 comment:

BECKY said...

Hi Claudia! I thought I left a comment on this, but obviously I didn't! What wonderful information. I can't wait to look for the books...but I CAN wait to write for Persimmon!! I don't have a whole lot of years before I hit the Big 6-0, but I'm in no hurry, either! :)
Thanks for the mention, too, BTW.