Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Be Prepared

Today we had high wind. Very high wind. On my way home from a Lake Writers meeting at Westlake, I took my usual route along rural Brooks Mill Road. Rounding a turn, I saw a white SUV stopped in the road. In front of the vehicle was a downed pine tree that blocked both lanes. Looked like we were stuck as more and more vehicles came along. In this stretch of road, there's no good place to turn around.

Then along came a pick-up truck driven by an older man. He got his chainsaw, fired it up, and commenced sawing.

A few other guys got out of various vehicles and slung the sawed branches into the ditches along the roadside.

Then another truck came along. A guy got out with a chain to pull the rest of the tree trunk out of the road. Soon the road was clear and everyone continued on their way. 

As I passed by the chainsaw guy's truck and hollered "Thank you," I noticed he had a rifle in his truck's gun rack. Looks like he was prepared for anything.

I drove the rest of the way home cautiously. I was prepared to stop suddenly if I saw trees blocking the road again. A lot of small branches littered the road, but nothing major. I got home with no problem.

I guess it pays to be prepared for whatever might come your way. If this guy hadn't been, a lot of folks would have been stuck for a long time.


Neat Stuff

Yesterday at the Artisan Center, I saw some neat stuff. Faithful readers of this blog know I'm  a sucker for anything involving cats, so is this cat lamp neat, or what?

Actually, I like the dog lamp, too. Both made me smile when I saw them.

Where would I put them in my house? I haven't a clue. Some other things that made me smile were some assemblages by Pendred Wilson.

I loved the wordplay with some of her titles, like this one of "Ava Gardener":

Or Marie Antoinette's infamous words, "Let Them Eat Cake":

Below, the one on the left is "My Grandmother's Arms":

Here's a closer view:

I can't remember the title of this, but it's quite a collection:

These caught my eye, too: I like art that both surprises and delights me.

I like art that both surprises and delights me. According to the poet Robert Frost, "A poem should begin in delight and end in wisdom." Perhaps art should do that, too.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Artisan Center is Official

Today was the official ribbon cutting for the Artisan Center Along the Crooked Road. It was a dreary day outside, but the mood inside was anything but dreary.

The place was packed—with artists, authors, visitors, good food, and good art. Here are some pictures of some of the people:

Vicki Gardner, Leslie Santa Paul, & Nell Frederickson

Rodger Doss & Leslie

Libby Bondurant & her cookbook
And the art . . .

Tomorrow, I'll post a few more pictures.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Different Views

My SCBWI crit group met last Saturday at Cups on Grandin Road in Roanoke. This was the first time in months that all of us were present—Angie (whose wonderful YA novel Memento Nora will be out in April), Marcie, Karen, Erin, and me. Plus, we had a guest, Allison.

The best thing about our crit group is that each member gets an in-depth critique on her work-in-progress from all the other members. We're all writing in kid-lit, so we have a definite focus. Each member provides a slightly different view, though, which is helpful. I came away from the meeting with some really good suggestions to help a chapter I've been working on.

Before I left Cups for my long drive home, I stopped in the restroom. The art there was intriguing—particularly this print:

But what is it, exactly? Well, if you look at it from different views, you'll see different images

If you look at it from the left, you see the tragedy mask:

But if you look at it from the right, you see the comedy mask:

It's all about how you view it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Signs of Spring

Even though we have a month before spring officially begins, signs of spring were all around today.

The horses are shedding profusely. Look what one scrape of the shedding blade produced from Melody's shoulder.

The daffodils are on the brink of blooming.

Chloe notices some others that are just coming up.

Crocuses are blooming near the cat statue.

Jim-Bob pretends he's a cat statue, too.

Soon Eddie-puss and Chloe help Jim-Bob look for signs of spring.

Chloe looks in the butterfly bush, but it's too early for butterflies.

Eddie-puss looks under the rake.

Dylan checks out all the trimming I've done.

Later, Dylan finds something interesting. Can it be—?

Yes! It's fresh catnip!

And it's so gooood!