Brushing with Word Paints

What fun! I had not been to this art class since February of 2020, and our March class had to be canceled. Guess why? No one has to say why because much of everything didn’t happen in 2020.

In May 2016 when I discovered the media of Alcohol Inks, I was severely intrigued. Never heard of it. I did a bit of research on the artist, Sharen AK Harris, and found out loads.   

During the Covid Conjuncture, I began painting and making bookmarks for the many book lovers I know and sold several. I have a huge cache of antique buttons and used some of those on the ribbons. Painting on a very small scale (sort of like writing flash fiction) induced the comfortability of trying various techniques and color combinations without covering a lot of ground.

On this past Monday morning, I woke in a very frumpy mood–no reason, I simply felt out of sorts. Perfect timing because a thoughtful friend, Jane, who we shared classes together prior to covid had made arrangements to go to Sharen’s in the afternoon now that she had opened up her studio again to smaller groups. Maybe this is what I needed. Jane reminded me to bring snacks. Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I whipped up some treats because this is also part of the fun. 

Later that Monday in the early afternoon, four of us met at Sharen’s quaint small studio set up in her home west of Tucson, very close, if not bumped up to, the Tucson Mountains. Natural desert beauty surrounds her home for miles and miles. No tall buildings, only jagged mountains, cacti and a few city lights to the northwest. This landscape showcases sunrise and sunsets, and an array of wildlife which can be found threaded throughout some of her artwork. Even though I have painted in watercolor since very young, learned oils and acrylics, and pastels in my thirties, this freestyle media is incredible.

Alcohol ink is typically made of a mixture of alcohol, pigment, and a binder to help the ink adhere to surfaces. It’s a clear colorless liquid and the pigment provides the color and the binder helps the ink stick to surfaces such as glass, tile, metal, and certain types of paper such as YUPO.

The ink colors move on their own, add more drops of the ink to allow them to drip, or you can blow through a straw to assist further movement to create a wispier and feathery affect. The weight, or lack of it, can easily be manipulated with a brush dipped in the alcohol inks to pat, tap, dot, swirl, and sometimes areas will form sort of a ‘crust’ edge. Powerful.

One of Sharen’s classes pre-covid

Sharen continues to reiterate, “There is no wrong way, if you don’t like it, smear over it and start again. Never throw anything away.” She says to ‘squint’ at your painting because this will help you see a greater definition of values and shapes. Got it, I learned to squint. At one class she grabbed a small white tile, you know the kind, used in bathrooms, backsplashes, and the like, and said, “I am going to show you how to paint a sunflower in sixty seconds.”  Amazing. I can do that…its so effortless. The next day (by now I had bought, ordered, and set up my little studio), I laid out a small white tile, paints, and forty minutes later I was still fussing. So much for my one-minute sunflower. Maybe I didn’t squint.

Back to Monday afternoon, the four of us who attended this class decided we wanted to try pumpkins and leaves since autumn is knocking. Sharen gave us each three different sizes of photo paper (we use the back side; ink will not adhere to the slick side) and all the tools necessary. “Pick one and we’ll do a warm-up.” She showed us one of her paintings and we began. Sharen picks up a blank piece and reminds us how to engage shadows, the look of petals bursting out of the center of the sunflower by pressing lightly and then pulling back the brush, the light and dark on a pumpkin, (lifting off color) and values to give dimension. Two hours later we were all about satisfied with our ‘warm-up’. Warm-up! What will a real painting take us…two non-stop days? We had a good laugh while eating our snacks. But we all had a finished piece and were pleased. 

Alcohol Ink by Sally

In paints, you live with color, make forms, movements, and swirls, to capture images from A to Z. This line of thought segues me into the realm of writing. You paint with words. You paint images, scenery, smells, and emotions with words filled with color using the five senses. (A good resource to learn more about this particular relationship is Rebecca McClanahan’s book, Word Painting) which describes how writing is much like art. Both stimulate and feed off one another to illustrate the vision you have in your mind to capture the eye, whether it be the media of paint or the words of a writer. (More on this topic in a future post.)

Meantime, rid yourself of any morning blues by finding something new to try or something you haven’t done in a very long time, to bring light to your sometimes chaotic moments. And as I am reminded, to find value, ‘squint’. 

(Alcohol Ink on white tile by Sally)

New in the Writing Corner

Please see this place to submit and my piece that was accepted.

Thank you for reading.

Time to Turn…

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven- The Byrds, 1965

Autumn seems to be on many minds, and others are saying adieu to the dog days of summer, the long sunny days now shortening up, missing the lighter evenings that gather into soft late evening twilight. Autumn remains a favorite thus far. A change of season, a change-up coming forthwith. As a season moves aside, it allows a new approach, and we as people also move and prepare in various ways.

This past July was the first anniversary of A Way With Words and we are thrilled with the success due to our readers. It gave us gals a commitment to write every week for you readers, and behind the scenes, we clicked on Zoom for discussions of our writing ideas and styles, our moving forward, or goals, and encouraging one another not to give up on the many avenues we love to do in the space of the writing world.

Beginning this month, our postings will change from three times per week to once a week, and the writing prompts will be bi-monthly instead of each week. In our twenty-plus years of writing group experience, we met on a bi-monthly basis unless a catastrophe took us all to the moon in a paper cup, but alas, it didn’t. We found writing takes elbow room.

As of September 1, Diana opened her new website where she plants many thoughts and ideas whenever and wherever her creative notion takes her. Please be sure to continue to follow her reflections at wonkagranny.  Jackie and I will continue on our group website with lessons learned, to entertain, refresh our memories as well as yours, sharpen thinking skills, and encourage writing. As for Jackie’s other goals, she has a finished memoir that we deeply hope she will submit. She also has a burning desire to write children’s books that include her love of animals. Myself, I am actively working on individual pieces for literary magazines and anthology collections. I do have a serious piece of longer fiction that I will mold into a novella to submit, and segmented memoir pieces to be put in order…and I cloud watch. (see blog post May 17, 2023)


Stacks Book Club

Bookstore & Coffee Bar

Fall-inspired drinks.

Check out these dreamy flavors at this new place! Diana and I will be trying one of these yummy lattes on Thursday morning while we meet with the proprietor to further discuss a book signing event for our book, Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets…a perfect read alongside one of these foamy cups.  

Upcoming: Green Valley Writers Book Fair presented by the Society of Southwestern Authors (SSA) will be on November 25, 2023. (Details to follow) Diana and I hope to see you there!

Thank you always for being a part of our journey.

Adjustments for a New Season

August is about to wave ‘bye’. This month can be up and down and it has. I always look for the speck of autumn that is waiting on the other side of the Catalina Mountain range. I have written about this before, either in poems or essay. On Monday, the 21st when I let my kitties out early, the air was slight. Not heavy with the humidity that the recent half-hearted rains brought in. The impression was like a light step, bouncy almost. These mountains rise willfully to the northeast above the neighbor’s wall and a large Mesquite tree. This early Monday I noticed clouds were barely visible, snuggling up against the lower ridges of the mountain base.

I track this first sighting each year because, in my book, this is a simple ‘remark’ from Mother Nature that autumn is tossing us an invitation. High heat will roll back in for a few days, then wave ‘bye’.  Temperatures begin to edge down, the light begins to change, and the character of fall picks up its step. The sky is no longer blanched looking like faded talcum powder. Blue begins to bite back.

Fall has been my favorite season since the very first time I can remember, perhaps at the age of four when my brother and I first sat on the front step of our parent’s tiny house in the country after a long summer of play and other activities. Mom pulled either a sweater or lightweight jacket over us to go outside.  

Dark-weighted maple trees began their shedding one or two at a time and shortly by bucketful’s. Our collie was alongside my brother and me wherever we explored.  

Down the hill, across a small ‘branch’, up another hill sat mom’s youngest sisters’ two-story farmhouse. Mom forbade me to go alone or at all without her, but guess what? I went alone, climbing over barbwire fences, splashed across the ‘branch’, up through a few of my uncles’ beehives, and into their big flat grassy yard. Their leaves were falling also, trees taller than ours and much more to rake up or blow away. All five cousins were bunched together in a room reading, and napping, or the three oldest ones outside running wild. I spent many hours while we lived side by side at that house, upstairs, and downstairs, laying under the large oak trees reading books on a blanket, sneaking across the gravel road to the barn, stained to the neck picking blackberries and the laughter of our folks playing cards in the kitchen.   

Another sign that fall had landed is when mom moved the double wash tubs back onto the tiny back porch. There went our ‘poor man’s swimming pool.’

Our heat in Tucson is having its last hurrah and knows it. I have begun to sort out the empty pots where plants could not keep up with our summer heat, ordered a Home Depot reward points card to use at their nursery, and made a list to ‘re-do’ for the upcoming autumn parade. Once I jotted down my ‘cloud watching’, it motivates me to begin a big switch-up of cooking styles. I immediately pulled out my autumn recipes because I just can’t wait to filter through the flavors of fall to put on the table. I jumped the gun and decided to begin early.

Apples! – a must in fall cooking. Apple Hash is a superb accompaniment to a citrus herb glazed porkchop in cast iron.

2 Tbs grapeseed oil

2 cups thinly sliced Gold potatoes

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

Salt and pepper

2 cups cored and sliced Granny Smith

1 tsp Tabasco

Heat a large skillet (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add potatoes, and cook, stirring, 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Add onion, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion begins to caramelize. Remove, and keep warm. Add oil if needed, then apples. Cook for 4 minutes, until apples are cooked. Add potatoes and onion back in, add Tabasco, and stir.

Thank you for reading the last post for our month of August and thinking about your autumn ideas. Would love for you to share.




A few years back on a July rainy evening, Linda, one of our original members for many years prepared a delicious chicken salad with curry on a bed of crisp mixed greens with crusty baguette bread. It was her turn to host and give a writing prompt. She passed around blank greeting cards and Diana, Jackie, and I choose one each to write a story from the artwork. Linda’s theme for each woman pictured on the card was ‘transformation’.

These were to be a complete flash fiction story 1,000 words or less. Here is my ‘transformation’.

I noticed Jolene the day she came into her first yoga class. She was tiny, shy, with a few freckles across her nose and strawberry braids. She didn’t look more than fifteen, although she was married at that age and now twenty-seven.

The instructor starts the soft music and dims the lights. Jolene spreads her purple towel and sits cross-legged, a look of relief gleaming across her face as she shuts her eyes. She wore no leotards, just a pair of cut-off denim shorts, worn threadbare, and a pink t-shirt faded from the sun after many mornings on the clothesline. This didn’t seem to sway her determination to come every week, at the same time as clockwork.

Every now and then, she came to class wearing blue jeans. I simply asked, “Aren’t those uncomfortable to bend in?” She said, “Hadn’t had time to wash.” She was too busy canning beans from the garden her husband made her put in. Found out later too from Martha who lives next door, it wasn’t the wash she couldn’t get done, it was pleasing her husband that couldn’t get done. I started to find out too much from Martha about Zeke. He was careful not to leave any of his bullying above the belt line.

I took pity on the gossip and made a point to talk to her more. I asked one day if she would like to go to a movie sometime.

“No, can’t.”

The following week I asked if she would like to come to church with me on Sunday. Maybe she was more religious than social.

“No, better not.”

A couple more weeks passed, and I asked one afternoon after Thursday’s class if she needed anything from Wal-Mart and wanted to go.

“I have to wait on Zeke to take me.” She frowned a tiny bit and slipped out the door. Martha ambled over to me and muttered, “Humph…that no good husband sees a girlfriend on Thursday afternoon, otherwise poor Jolene couldn’t get out of the house without him knowin’ about it.”

I finally gave up and decided to let it ride. I didn’t want to seem like a pest. Ten months and eleven days later, and mind you, not on a Thursday afternoon class, but a Monday evening class, she came in and had a tiny brown mustache drawn across her upper lip. It curled slightly at the ends and matched the curl of her soft peach lips. No one said a thing.

Jolene snapped her purple mat open, not the old purple towel, and sat down like before, crossed legs, hands balanced on knees, fingers pinched together, closing her eyes. The instructor began with an odd look and the lights dimmed and the warm-up began. Jolene sat in her spot and didn’t move. She didn’t rise to do a sun salutation, downward dog, or even the child’s pose (which fit her to a T). Nothing. Just sat with her little, brown-drawn mustache and a slight smile. The darndest thing I have ever seen.

After class, Jolene stood and rolled up her purple mat and came right over to me. I stared at this little pint-size young woman with the silly mustache drawn on by an eyebrow pencil across her lip and blurted out, “You taking too many hormone pills?” Jolene flipped a long strawberry blonde braid off her shoulder and replied, “Naw, I just finally woke up to take care of some business at home.”

Once we finished and ready to read, Linda turned on the coffee pot and served her fresh made strawberry pie with a huge dollop of whip cream to enjoy while we read our very different stories from the greeting cards artwork. This is a writer’s group evening.

Travel Writing from My Chair

I read many blogs of those who are busy traveling. ( and, to name two.  Places I have not had the privilege to explore, and places I have.

My husband and I have not traveled since 2018 on a fun trip. The few years prior was driving or flying back and forth to Illinois to deal with aging parents and squeeze time in-between to spend with other family members. I believe I was still recuperating from those years and allowed 2019 to pass with no concern, then Covid struck, and so did additional health issues for us. Since then, we have played it safe and kept the term Staycation as active as possible. I don’t fret over this because we spent our entire marriage coming and going all over, local and abroad. We did not believe in waiting for retirement. Let me share San Miguel de Allende.

Have you ever heard rain fall on the moss in San Miguel?  This small colonial city evokes the strongest of emotions in sensory perception; the senses of aging, timelessness, roughhewn stones covered in moss, and rattled vines. The cobbled smooth stones curve and wind up and down that form narrow streets and if on a sidewalk, one has to step in the street when meeting another.  

I think of my first of many trips to San Miguel de Allende with my husband, Allen, and the friends who introduced us to this undeniable jewel. This city is located in the far eastern part of Guanajuato, Mexico a part of the Bajío region, and lies 170 mi northwest from Mexico City, and 60 mi southeast from the state capital Guanajuato.

We stay at a lovely old hacienda called Casa Carmen located a block from the main Jardin, the heartbeat. I will jump directly to the food served by their charming three cooks. Breakfast and lunch were part of the package and rated right along with the high-end of go-to dining in the city. Our first taste of Chiles en Nogada captured the flair of the region on a plate. We requested this dish every time thereafter on our visits.   

The handmade plates held poblano chilies stuffed with ground meat, golden raisins and smothered in a white walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds—green, white, and red.  A Christmas dish favorite in certain parts of Mexico. This lunch was on a mild sunny day in mid-July, close to Allen’s and my anniversary. I have since made this dish at home on special occasions thanks to their willingness to share this splendid recipe and how quickly I have become a fan of pomegranates. These cheery sultry red seeds can dress up any room and how ingeniously they can be used…(fresh strawberries, raspberries, squeezed oranges, tequila, splash of triple sec, pureed with ice, and sprinkled with pomegranates) …now come on here!

One day we hopped on a Segunda Clase (second-rate bus) to take a long day trip to Guanajuato. We knew we had to sacrifice lunch at Casa Carmen and whined about it at breakfast. The three kind women cooks surprised us with a lunch of fried chicken, ham sandwiches, plantains, grapes, and bolillos in paper bags for us to take. (Details of these rides will come in another story). Once off the bus, we walked to the city’s largest market, Mercado Hidalgo which is two stories tall. We found a table outside the market with a bright red umbrella and bought cold cans of Modelo Especial. The vendor snapped open the tab, sprinkled salt on the rim, and squeezed fresh lime juice all over and in the beer. Wow! That first swig was an eye-opener.   

While eating, we noticed a handful of young boys eyeballing us. They kept inching closer and began to point at our meal. We gladly wrapped all the untouched and gave to the small boys. Their eyes lit up like small night fires, and they grappled over the brown sacks and contents. We then roamed through the market, found items to put in our big woven Bolsa bags, and grabbed another cold Modelo for the bus ride back to Casa Carmen.

Every minute of the day was full of the thrill for discoveries, enjoying the delight of a warm culture, taste bud virgins to new types of food, and the gravity that pulled us back year after year. My home is sprinkled with these trips and gave me endless inspiration. I can’t wait to share more and a trip to Delores Hildago when we ended up hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere to find the Talavera pottery factory.  Buenos Dias!

watercolor by Sally Showalter

Crusty Writing

Raw edges. Holes in the middle one can peek through. Burned pieces sifted through. Having just finished Abigail Thomas’ latest book, Still Life at Eighty, she once again confirms to me she is a crusty broad.  “I write to see what the back of my mind is doing while I’m doing nothing.” What she does is write. A lot. Now at eighty-two, I hope she has something more for us readers. She says when something catches her eye or keeps cropping up, she writes. These bits and pieces don’t have to get dressed up for the occasions because she explains she is distilling, not decorating. She flat out writes what she is figuring out or figured out, or just plain excepted. I so admire her jagged quality and her style is considered to be passionate and with unwavering honesty.

Her go-to is The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. In one of her short chapters, entitled Death, she goes to this book when she is stumped with a word. She describes what she finds, or thinks she finds because she can’t find her glasses and the light is dim. For a brief ecstatic moment, she thinks dead evolved from the verb flow, to rise in a cloud. She thinks how fun to open a window and evaporate like a mist. She then puts on her glasses and discovers she mistook dheu2 for dheu3 and writes, ‘…damn it, dead has always been just dead. Of course, it has. Dead is dead is dead and there is no story here…one day I will be as dead as a doornail, and what will that be like? Well, I’ll be dead. Dead is an ugly word. I don’t mind death, it rhymes with breath, even if it’s the last.’  Crusty.

Another favorite is Jim Harrison. I saw a movie made in 1990, Revenge, based on a story by Jim Harrison. This movie is crusty, raw, and jagged. A romantic thriller tragedy starring Kevin Costner, Madelin Stowe, and Anthony Quinn. James Gammon (Major League; Nash Bridges) plays the crustiest character I have seen in a very long time. For many years I searched in every possible bookstore, online, even called the Chamber of Commerce in Patagonia, Arizona where Jim lived part of the time to write. I figured I could weasel my way into a meet. He was still alive and writing, one of which, The English Major, 2008, is on my desk to read next. More years passed and each time I watched the movie my desire to have this book would flare up and a search continued. I wanted to read the ‘written story’, not the Hollywood version.

One day in early 2021 while reading a newsletter online, novellas are mentioned along with Jim Harrison’s name and a book entitled, Legends of the Fall, which contained three novellas of his. On Amazon, I opened the look inside, and the first story is Revenge. All these years I thought Revenge was a stand-alone novel, not a novella hidden away among two other short stories. I was ecstatic, just as Abagail must have been when she thought she would float away. (PS – novellas are beginning to be of great interest in my writing world).

Both of these superb authors have influenced my thoughts on writing. As in Abigail (memoir), who writes through the confusion for clarity to find meaning when meaning is hard to come by, and Jim (fiction) who nails nuances of character and honest complexities of storytelling.

These two are darn, good crusty writers.   

Where’s the Almonds?

We experienced a very short, one-day, maybe two, break below 103. Today we begin a climb back to over 107. Every day in July was over 100 and in dire need of something refreshing.

Bing cherries have been bountiful this summer here in our local markets. Knee-deep red with highlights of carmine that glistens in your hand before being popped into the mouth. Delectable.  I have a bad habit of when I buy fruit, mainly in the melon family, if bland, I toss. If only I had some form of roving livestock in my backyard to take advantage of the throwaways.

Produce is being grown in a hurry, using all sorts of wands and whistles to get it picked, packed, and to stores, ready or not. I just will not tolerate fruit that mimics cardboard. This summer, we have found that wherever cherries are for sale they all have been juicy, sweet, tart, and a loaded pop of lush flavor which I cannot get enough of.

Last week my husband came home from our nearby 99-cent store with TWO quart-size bags of dark cherries. What are we going to do with two big bags of cherries before they go bad? He casually mentions, “Why not a cherry tiramisu?” Well, I love making tiramisu. I have a favorite winter recipe when eggnog hits the stores over the holidays. In the summer it is plump strawberries pureed with powdered sugar, fresh orange juice, and Grand Marnier, layered with more strawberries and blueberries intermingled with creamy cheese and whipped cream filling and well-mannered Ladyfingers which I keep a supply in my pantry. Those little delights are hard to come by and when found, I nab several packages.

I quickly googled and found a recipe right away and I held all the ingredients on hand but the mascarpone cheese. I bought three. Cherry Almond Tiramisu. I read the recipe, and while putting together, I kept looking for where the almonds entered into the picture. At the very bottom, after a third reading, it states: To omit the alcohol (Amaretto), make the simple syrup as directed, then add ¼ cup of water and a scant teaspoon of almond extract. (

Ah-ha! Almond enters the scene. Therefore, I name my version Cherry Amaretto Tiramisu.  

Never allow a recipe to fool you into not giving it a go.

This Beginning

In 1979 a few days before this date of the 26th in July, a discussion was in serious pursuit.  Allen and I were about to make a big decision. I said, “Ok, but we’ll see in ten years where we are at.” Would it sound reasonable today, forty-four years later, how the first ten years sped by so quickly? In 1989 we laughed and said, um, we need more time together.  

A couple of days ago while sitting in the living room, a storm possibly brewing down south of us, he said, “That day I was so happy and in disbelief.” My memory easily skirted back to how we planned to leave early from our jobs, change into better clothes, drive to Bisbee to the courthouse, and enter the judge’s chambers at two o’clock. We had told no one. I can feel, see, and understand it as if yesterday. I knew he was happy, and so was I or we wouldn’t be doing such a spur-of-the-moment, lifetime change.  

“Why in disbelief?” He said, “Because I couldn’t believe you would ever marry me.”

I have always kept a diary since I was fifteen and when in my early fifties, I dug those out, glanced at them, and tossed them out forever. Once Allen and I ‘got together’, I jotted down more details, places, people, events, and feelings for years and years. A few months ago, I began reading through all those ‘marriage’ journals. It is amazing what I am finding out. Patterns being set, patterns that should have spoken loudly as to the future but ignored for various reasons. Noting the smallest of details that would end up having more than one huge impact on life actions that could have been avoided or maintained in a better fashion. The things we did, the things others did, the effects of all. But isn’t that part of living on stairsteps, up and down, up and down, all of which take you places?

But in every entry, I also noted the pattern of what it takes to be together, the outlying and underneath sources that bind. Recently, we gratefully reviewed the lessons of the necessity of patience and the value it gives. Waiting on the right moment, the right day, or even the right year. The usage and acreage of patience are broad.

Our story, like many others, is our own. And here we are, having conversations without words required at times and having conversations we enjoy hearing each other say. I could go on. What we are looking forward to is that we are here, in each other’s eyesight, hearing distance, and care.

Knowing what I know now, if to rewind  backward to that afternoon in 1979 when Allen asked me, I probably would’ve said “Ok, but let’s see where we are in fifty years.”

Time goes far too fast — frankly my dear, a true Happy Anniversary!

112…and counting

I was going to write about a little writing workshop Diana and I attended last Friday early evening, but it’s too HOT. I was going to explain how lovely it was to be among ‘live’ people writing, pens humming across the paper, soft sighs easing out before a finished sentence all the while trying not to let the blaring crazy music coming from speakers in the corner nook at a local Bookman’s in Tucson, but it’s too HOT. I believe the temp last Friday was 107 at that time of the evening.

Earlier in the day I took a summer meal to a friend who had light surgery. Chilled shrimp over lemony couscous, fresh snap sugar peas, and a yogurt lemon dressing. It was 109. Fortunately, the bright-flavored dish stayed crisp.

Half my potted plants have paled, withered, and lost desire, just as I feel because it’s HOT. Watering twice a day instead of once is a bit of a perk, but not for all.

Storm thunderheads are late, dallying south and across borders, but one did suddenly appear and surprise Monday late afternoon. The temp that day was 110. Rain and wind blew in with such force, it snapped power lines, blew off tree limbs, and at our house, tipped wrought iron chairs over on our porch. HOT cooled down to a fabulous 75 for a short period.

Did you know people are flocking to enter Death Valley to experience the record-breaking temps of 130 – 132, The entry is called Furnace Creek Visitor Center. I say just go to their local crematory for free.

Monday, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and the day after, 112, 113, breaking records…HOT. My brain is mush, and my desire is worse. I am having a hard time focusing on writing, absolutely no yard work, and ideas for cool meals. Literally ‘cool’ food. While dumping ice into my morning coffee (no HOT) at the moment, I did think of another nice salad for our lunch today.

Stay cool everyone!

Once May Not Be Enough

What draws you back to a book for another read? Do you have books that you reach for over and over again, or are you a one-and-done reader? What about your favorite movies or TV series? What is it that pulls you back in?

I am a one-and-done reader. Not so with movies or TV shows. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched the TV series, Miami Vice, or the movie Gone with the Wind. At that breath-clutching last scene, before the credits start to roll, I always say each time, “Why does it have to end that way?” My husband looks at me as if lobsters are crawling out of my ears. He turns his head away and reaches for the remote. I am always wanting a different ending although I know better. Remember the movie Clue when three endings were written? All were quite plausible and worked!

When younger, I was a huge Frank Yerby fan and read every one of his books. The one I did reach for over and over was The Golden Hawk, a swashbuckling novel of passion on the high seas. A second one I read many times is While Passion Sleeps, a wild rustling tale set in Louisiana to San Antonio in 1836 by Shirlee Busbee. I have dog-eared pages and lightly underlined sentences, all donating a self-taught study for what might lay ahead in the future. Young girls dream too. Although my taste in reading has moved beyond, I hold both of these well-read books in my red cabinet bookcase.

Another favorite that I have read more than once is Shadows in the Sun by Wade Davis. The professor I worked with at the time was doing research and asked me to order this book. As soon as it arrived in our office and I opened it, the name itself pulled the jacket open and I was captured by the author’s stories and essays about traveling and living among various indigenous cultures. I ordered my copy and have read it several times. This was during the height of Indiana Jones, and no doubt, these true stories reflected hidden findings and meanings.

I would like to share this poem I was inspired by three of the chapters in this book ~  

Nightfall in Green

The Amazonian sky remains green.

Clouds fold into patterns of mist and light,

hovers in the dim shafts of jade and musk.

The jaguar crawls along the floor with no earth,

cushions of flora and moss mold his prints.

Instincts throb along the forest spine

calling to timid shadows, fear to quiver

behind shields made of ferns.

Other times dreams are sought by Rufino,

those who survive in the denseness. 

Dreams billow among the partakers of the jaguar’s

nectar. Hand and hand they dance under the sky’s dark face. 

Each spirit takes flight with roots and potent herbs.

They see the edges of the world soften. 

Beliefs breathe among the dense fauna in the jungle 

to move beneath its massive thousand shades

of green canopy. In the dark midst, the jaguar lay

still, his waiting ephemeral. 

My point here is inspiration for writing can be hidden in many places or out in plain sight.

Jake Speed, an action-adventure comedy, written by Andrew Lane and Wayne Crawford, is another favorite movie my husband and I both like to watch, and yes, I ask “Why does it always have to end like that?” He smartly replies, “Because it is not Gone with the Wind.”  He knows by now I have changed that ending to suit me. I turn my head away and grab the remote.

With books, I refer to reading as a delicious solo event. I look for certain passages where I have marked (with a bit more respect using a sticky note, not a dog ear) and revisit them often. I like most endings, and if not, I change it. What if this happened instead? Same as in a movie if I prefer for it to end differently. I chalk it up to another avenue for writing practice.

There is only one Margret Mitchell and one Gone with the Wind, so I won’t tell you about my version of Scarlet and Rhett because you may be the one to reach for the remote.