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Soemthing we did together in writing club - I had fun with this one! Enjoy.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Sturm und Drang. Yet again Sturm und Drang, thought the man sitting on the floor in front of the legless piano. "God Damn!" he muttered to himself. "I just saw lighting, but I can't even hear the thunder. No, not even that."

But then a sharp crack and a sound like tearing filled the room. The man smiled. He wasn't deaf, after all. Not quite.

Ludwig turned to the piano and began playing the storm.

On Bullying, and violence in politics

Fair warning, everyone - I am a Bernie fan. I think he's great! But not perfect. That said, I fail to understand why the man is being blamed for the (apparent) acts of a few of his supporters. He said, quite clearly, that he does not support violence and that nobody ought to be threatened. Could he have offered more sympathy to that poor woman in Nevada? Yes, I think he could. She by no means deserved this horrible treatment. No one does. Still, Bernie has never advocated violence against anyone, unlike the other two candidates. Which brings me to my main point.

The Donald, Heaven help us! How did we ever get to this point? Well. Here is one way. He's a bully. And-

We live in a country in which bullying is not only acceptable, but effective.Read more...Collapse )

The Transit of Mercury

Today, by great good luck, I saw something remarkable. The local astronomy club in CT had set up telescopes for viewing the transit of Mercury across the sun. After a solid week of raw, rainy weather, we had a brilliant day. There was a strong wind – the guys told me the wind had actually played havoc with the telescopes – and scarcely a cloud in the sky. I got to the field about a half hour before the viewing period ended and got to look at or through three of the scopes.


Read more...Collapse )

Steering the Craft

I am now reading Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft, and have shared a couple of the writing exercises with my creative writing club at the library. One of them was to write something completely without punctuation. This is what I came up with.Read more...Collapse )
Warning - this is a bit of a rant. And I'm sure others have said similar things, and gone into greater depth than I do here. But it's been on my mind.

How to Silence Marginalized Voices-
a Brief Instruction Manual


1. Discount oral histories, because they are only memories of old people, not facts.
2. Dismiss memoirs, also. They are personal, not scholarly.
3. Insist that the marginalized people should produce scholarship that is up to your standards, despite being denied your sort of education. Feel free to change the standards if someone actually manages to be scholarly. For example:
4. Dismiss scholarship produced by expatriates, because they are expatriates.
5. Also, dismiss arguments you don’t like as opinions, not facts.Read more...Collapse )

Mulled Ale - another Telakan recipe

This one is adapted from the recipe for Glühwein. I am going to try it again this weekend with orange juice and non-alcoholic beer. Here it is!

Mulled Ale


Ingredients: Water, juice of one lemon or equivalent amount of orange juice*, 1 to two tablespoons sugar, 3 or 4 cloves, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, one 12 oz. bottle of beer.
Read more...Collapse )

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Here's a picture of the actual stew, which I cooked during the blizzard. The recipe follows:

Kassin Harbor Bean Stew

Ingredients:
1 lb (about 400 grams) dried beans, or two large cans.
4 shallots, 2 sweet red peppers, I yam or sweet potato, ½ to 1 bulb fennel.
4-8 oz (100 to 250 grams) salt fish (I’ve used both pollock and cod.)
1-2 tablespoons olive, canola, or good quality oil. 3 or 4 teaspoons curry powder, at least 2 teaspoons cumin, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a clove or two, hot red pepper, salt, and black pepper to taste. You may substitute an onion for the shallots, green pepper or celery for the fennel, and you may add 1-4 cloves garlic if you like it. The fish is optional, too; you can substitute ground meat or simply make a vegetarian version. Read more...Collapse )

Merry Christmas!

To all who celebrate, and happy New Year to my friends who don't. I'm learning this for one of my choirs,and it's truly a prayer for peace. In this video, the composer is conducting in Belfast Cathedral. May we have peace and may we help to bring it!

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Hunger is a mountain - a writing prompt.

(crossposted from my author page)

Patricia Dunn, author of “Rebels by Accident”, came to our creative writing class last spring and did some really neat writing prompts. This autumn, I tried her method again. One of the prompts was “hunger is a mountain”. This is what I came up with.



Hunger is a Mountain

(A Writing Prompt)


What does this mean? How can a mountain be hungry? It grows and dies so very slowly, and when does it ever eat? What feeds it?

I can’t imagine being in a mountain’s skin. One of the old, metamorphic mountains of New England. Every summer, hordes of tourists and locals climb through its green, damp woods and cross its streams. They are hungry, as the wild creatures are hungry, for the little dark berries that grow on the bushes ringing the mountain’s bald crown. They call it Blueberry Mountain.
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The mountain is generous. It feeds the foxes, the chipmunks, the squirrels, the porcupines and birds and deer and people. The people climb up hopefully and walk down again carrying buckets full of blueberries. Then they eat. They eat blueberry muffins, blueberry dumplings, blueberry turnovers, blueberry pies, blueberries with cream and ice cream. They eat blueberries fresh and frozen and canned. And every time they eat, they think of the mountain and how they’ll go back the next summer and pick blueberries again.

The dragons of Sekkess: a tourist brochure

I went to the Unicorn Writer’s conference on Saturday and had a lot of fun. One excellent class was given by Paul Witcover. He asked us to write a tourist brochure for an imaginary setting, and this is what I came up with.



For those who love the wildest wildlife in our part of the galaxy, Sekkess can't be missed. The gentle, generous and intelligent Sekkessians will be sure to make your stay comfortable. You will live in houses among the treetops, with a clear view of the greenish sky and Sekkess' one small moon. You will hear birdsong and rushing rivers and feast on leni fruit and other delightful Sekkessian cuisine. But the high point of your stay will surely be your first view of a dragon. Sekkessian monitors, or dragons, are three times the size of the monitors on terra, with gorgeous iridescent scales. To view a hunting monitor is an extraordinary experience you will surely never forget. Be sure, however, to attend to your Sekkessian guide at all times and enjoy the dragons from a safe distance. Beautiful and unique though they are, Sekkessian dragons are wild animals and they can be very dangerous. You will be perfectly safe if you stay on the treetop paths or inside your mobile viewing dome.

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