Splashing along

As if those 6 months in Europe weren’t enough, Peter and I spent three weeks in the North Atlantic, traveling from the English Channel, up the west coast of Scotland, over to the Hebrides, then to Iceland, then Greenland, then Newfoundland, then down (or up, as a New England friend corrected me) the St Lawrence Seaway, to Quebec and ending in Montreal. One Terrific Itinerary!! We kayaked, zodiaced, hiked and steamed around icebergs, open ocean, craggy mountains, puffin nesting cliffs, tiny fishing villages perched on ancient lava beds, and spent time both on and inside glaciers. Also learned a lot about the Vikings and those early Norse settlements.

Still on the Road

Our six months in Europe is winding down to its last week. We’re in Venice for the month of May, hosting friends and family in the apartment we rented. Sunshine and sparkly water all around. A couple pictures below. More stories on O Lucky Man and Lady.

Grand Canal entrance as seen from the top of the San Marco campanile

Grand Canal entrance as seen from the top of the San Marco campanile

Gondolas galore

Gondolas galore–at rest in the high tide of evening

On the Road

Berber village in Atlas Mountain foothills in mid March.

Berber village in Atlas Mountain foothills in mid March.

Best place to find me these days is on O Lucky Man & Lady!  Lots of travel…

London! and more

From a side trip out to Le Manoir aux Quatr' Saisons near Oxford

From a side trip out to Le Manoir aux Quatr’ Saisons near Oxford

Whilst Peter and I are traveling in Europe, you can follow along with some bits being posted on companion website www.oluckymanandlady.com. Latest post is from London–grocery store tips and more. I love investigating other countries’ grocery stores. Much more fun than hanging out in other countries’ laundromats, although they also provide interesting insights.

Have Words, Will Blog

Books--not so easy to write a good one

Books–not so easy to write a good one

I’m working on a tricky historical nonfiction project, and my editor suggested I read Stephen Pyne’s book Voice & Vision. Which I have just done. Terrific book!! Well, if you are into that sort of thing. But a lot of his advice would work for fiction writers as well.

He’s not a writing teacher, he’s an environmental scientist who’s won a MacArthur fellowship and writes about wildfires among other things. He doesn’t sugar coat anything.

After providing lots of examples and thoughts about the craft and the art of writing, his last chapter is full of this sort of thing:

Books Beyond our Borders

The World!

The World!

American readers don’t pay much attention to contemporary books published in other countries and written by non-Americans. Even when they’ve been translated into English, The New York Times Book Review doesn’t review them much and they aren’t in the front windows of bookstores. So we don’t read them. Our loss, on many levels.

There are a few exceptions—Karl Ove Knausgaard, the Norwegian author of the incredibly detailed and astoundingly everyday-but-not-at-all story of his life, My Struggle and the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami whose latest book has the ungainly title Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Both these books and their authors have “made it” in the U.S. market, to the benefit of us all.

English Time Travel

The good ol' days in Gloucestshire

The good ol’ days in Gloucestershire

 

Those of you who know me know how much I love all things English. I love strong tea with milk. I love narrow country roads with hedgerows on both sides. Desserts are ‘puddings’. People are ‘keen’ on things. Good ideas are ‘brilliant’. I love Jane Austen and Terry Pratchett. I think Jamie Oliver is both cute and principled. Those fast-disappearing red telephone boxes! The London underground! They may have giant office skyscrapers in London, but they don’t name them blustery, braggy names like “Freedom Tower” or “Trump Tower”—their two biggest ones are The Gherkin and The Shard.

Trending Along

I’ve been told that if I want anyone to read my blogs I should write about what’s “trending,” which I think means writing about what other people are writing about.

Like lemmings, are we?

Seems a little unimaginative to me, but I’m willing to give it a try. There’s a lot out there trending like crazy, Most of it, though, is stuff I don’t know enough about to issue a serious opinion or contribute meaningfully to the conversation. If it is a conversation, which I sincerely doubt. Mostly, it seems to be people who’ve already made up their minds writing to other people who have also made up their minds. Either they agree or disagree with each other. Their comments don’t give the impression that they are open to the possibility of altering their own position, come hell or high water.

Remodeling: Tear it Up

Your kitchen: Get used to it.

Your kitchen: Get used to it.

Have you lived through a house renovation and lived to tell about it? Did your marriage almost fall apart after living in a ripped up house for a year or so? Have you had it up to here with construction guys showing up at your house at 7 am 5 days a week for months and months? Are your neighbors tired of the noise and the dumpster on the street?

Seattle

 

Cranes over Seattle

Cranes over Seattle

Seattle is my hometown. Born and bred. We have a historical movement called “Lesser Seattle” which tries to keep people away. We over-emphasize our reputation for rain, hoping that will keep you away. We had a terrible depression in 1970, epitomized by the billboard near our airport “Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights.” The U-Haul dealers in town were completely out of trailers.