All posts by dixonl2014

How is Your Summer Going?

sunglasses 17

I had to pause and ask myself, “How is my summer going?”  Initially, I can say, things are going well even though no big trips have been planned. Honestly, I must admit that I do not want to be standing in a line at an airport trying to get through security nor waiting to board a flight.

Nowadays, after I do board the flight, I would have to go into immediate prayer mode and hope that no one loses self-control while flying mid-air.  It may sound comical but in reality, it would be quite unnerving.

After checking into a hotel, I do not want to meditate for calm because the wait staff did not bring back any face cloths or towels or she might choose to ignore the DO NOT DISTURB sign and knock anyway because she wants to finish her rounds. Needless to say, these are scenarios that I have experienced while traveling.

At this juncture, I am having a stay-cation and I must admit that it has been rather nice.  I have been able to sleep later and have breakfast sitting close to the scenic lakefront.  I can think and reflect as I look out over the great yonder at God’s beatific bounty.

I just finished writing a book which is the final installment in a series and I have written a few blog posts.  I have found some more creative ways to market my books and I have read books which have allowed me to study other authors’ writing styles.

I have traveled to the Pacific Northwest through reading Summer Island and Distant Shores both by Kristin Hannah.  Mary Higgins Clark gave me a look into the private lives of George and Patsy (Martha) Washington in her Mount Vernon Love Story.  J. D. Vance shared his Appalachian background in The Hillbilly Elegy.  I privately chuckled because his sharp-shooting grandmother reminded me of some of my relatives.

I have had a few very special outings.  I went to see a play called Pamplona about Ernest Hemingway and I visited a dear friend who happens to live in a neighborhood where I had my first apartment and the place of my humble beginnings.  Our rich laughter and my simple remembrances of days gone by helped me draw a valid conclusion. I would say that my summer is going, “Pretty darn good, all things considered.”

I am now engaged in Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander.  O’Brian’s British Naval Lieutenant Jack Aubrey is about to set sail on a sloop called Sophie.  He has his men in place and the supplies are all stocked as they are about to embark out onto the high seas during a war with Napoleon.  Oh boy!

So, I ask, “How is your summer going?”

Lynn M.                                                                         July 23, 2017

The Breakers

Breakers- outside.jpg

Excerpt from:  Boston and Beyond:  Tyre & Phoenix

The first tour ended and after a short drive away, they were let off of the bus to enter The Breakers. It was a huge house that sat back on a sprawling lawn and the rear of the house faced the ocean. They were told that it had 34 bathrooms but of course, the tourists would only be allowed to see parts of the house. As Phoenix moved through the house, she thought, “Now this is really high end.”Boston and Beyond 2

They had brochures to guide them so they would know what they were viewing. In the Guest Bedroom, Phoenix noticed a two-headed chaise that she fell in love with. She thought, “If it was just a little longer, I could see me and Tyre sitting on this having a real heart to heart talk. If only…” she thought.

There was a Morning Room that was decorated in pink. There were pink draperies, a pink settee and a huge vase of fresh flowers. Phoenix could see how this room would be a great way to start any day. According to the brochure, she saw that eight of the Nine Muses were painted in oil on silver leafs. There was so much to see and she continually took notes while others just moved along quietly. She had to remember what she had seen and this was the best way for her to commit it to memory.

Morning Room.jpg

Lynn M.                                                                                                                   July 22, 2017

The Orchard House

Alcott House

From: Boston and Beyond:  Tyre & Phoenix

Phoenix saw the large brown clapboard-type structure and the colorful sign let her know that she had arrived at the home of Alcott family. It was not quite time for the tour to begin so she went into the bookstore and made a few purchases.  Boston and Beyond 2

She went out into the garden and sat on an empty bench. Fortunately for her, she was alone. The flowers were in bloom and she breathed deeply as she concentrated on writing a quick message to her mother on a pretty postcard that she had bought. She knew that this card would mean a lot to her mother because she used to read parts of Little Women to Phoenix when she was growing up. Those visions of the family stayed with Phoenix and though she liked all of the girls, she most identified with the spunky Jo.

Phoenix’s time in this peaceful space helped her to envision what life must have been like during that era. She checked her watch after a while and saw that it was time for the tour. She entered The Orchard House and stood in a group of about seven tourists.

There was a piano in the living room and Phoenix imagined an amiable family that functioned in myriad ways. The girls had active imaginations and often put on plays and dressed in costumes. The docent showed them the couch where Louisa May wrote.

She was said to be temperamental and when she did not want to be disturbed, she sat the couch pillow up in a certain position and others knew not to speak to her. She would write for eight to nine hours non-stop and when one hand was tired, she used the other one. As it turned out, her writings sold and she became the family breadwinner though it later took its toll on her health.

Piano - Alcott house

Lynn M.                                                                                                             July 19, 2017

The Marble House

From Boston and Beyond: Tyre & Phoenix

Marble house

Phoenix was looking at the picturesque town of Newport and she could see why it was considered to be a resort town. She saw Bellevue Avenue and huge homes stretched out along the way. The bus pulled up and stopped when the driver said, “We will go into The Marble House first. The tour is about an hour and half so I hope you have on some comfortable shoes,” he joked.Boston and Beyond 2

They went from room to room and there were several other people along with those on her tour bus. The tour was heard through an audio recording but Phoenix still tried to capture as many notes as possible. She heard that over 11 million dollars had been spent on marble to decorate this magnificent structure.

They started with The Salon which was very fancy and some of the decorations and the furnishings were modeled from Paris’ Versailles and Louvre. Most of the furniture in the room was upholstered in bright raised gold fabric. The Gothic Room had stained glass windows and a memorable fireplace setting. Fresh flowers were placed around to give the tourists the feel for what everyday life was like for The Vanderbilts during their summer stay.

Gothic room- Marble House

Lynn M.                                                                                                                     July 15, 2017

Hemingway in Oak Park!

Hem 2

 

 

 

 

From:   Boston and Beyond: Tyre & Phoenix

Boston and Beyond 2

Phoenix entered Oak Park and found parking on the street across from the museum. She gathered her things, made sure that she locked the car and crossed the street. She noticed the three oblong green banners that hung outside the museum bearing his name and picture. She knew that she was in the right place as she headed up the steps. Once inside, she paid the entry fee to the museum itself and also paid for a tour to his boyhood home which was about a block away.

She went into the museum and the woman working at the desk told her that it would take several visits to see all of the Hemingway artifacts. She saw several displays like one of his typewriters, pictures from different parts of his life, and newspaper clippings. She could hear his voice in the background which was obviously from one of his interviews. When she turned one corner, she saw old movie reels of men fighting in a battle during World War I.

The Hemingway Foundation had done a remarkable job of preserving his legacy and Phoenix agreed that she would need to make more visits to see it all. There were huge Hollywood posters which had advertised movies that had been made into film based on Hemingway’s books. She saw pictures of legends like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable and Rock Hudson. Phoenix sighed, “What a life!”

                                                        Hemingway inside - Copy

 

Lynn M.                                                                                        July 11, 2017

Where do you write?

Writing 2 7-7

Do you have a specific place where you jot down your ideas?  Some writers dutifully write at their desks and tap out what they need to put down.  Ideally, this is perfect, but sometimes my ideas will not wait until I reach that designated writing space.

While driving, my ideas may start to flow.  I have had to pull over to a safe spot and capture them before they evaporated into thin air.  Or, I have conducted a quick map search to locate the closest public library.  I’ve gone inside, found a big sturdy table and wrote until I had no more to say at that point. On planned writing days, I often drive to the lakefront and write in my car or write while I sit close to the water while listening to the calming waves.

Writing is a solitary enterprise and the slightest disruption can sometimes halt the entire process.  But good writers can tune out a lot of things.  Actually voices, laughter or men working can serve as incentives. Those sounds can act as a backdrop to life’s movements and contribute to describing a scene.

Like prayer, there is nothing neither boastful nor showy about the writing process.  The Bible speaks of the hypocrisy of public prayer and how men should not pray ‘to be seen of men.’  Most writers write out of the view of others and many live like hermits  They want to share their final products with the world, but the actual process is often done in private hovels.

The writer just needs to empty the mind of those dammed up ideas and let them flow out into the universe.  Sometimes it can wait until a specific place is reached but the overflow can happen anywhere. Those ideas are like jumping fish and the net has to be flung or cast out to catch as many of them as possible. Otherwise, some other writer may be the first to put them in a more marketable form.

Where do you write?

Lynn M.                                                                                                     July 8, 2017

 

 

The Public Garden

Excerpt from:  Boston and Beyond: Tyre & Phoenix     

They walked northward and waited to cross Arlington Street when they had the light. They entered The Public Garden. They both paused and looked up. There sat a huge statue of George Washington sitting on a life-sized horse. It was mounted very high and could not possibly be missed by anyone.

George Washington Statue - Boston

“This is absolutely awesome.” His voice sounded like that of a little boy.

“And look how they added birds to his hat,” added Phoenix.

Just as they were taking pictures, the blackbirds flew away. They looked at each other with their mouths open. She started, “I thought that they…”

“Were a part of the statue,” he finished.

She looked at her notes and said, “Thomas Ball built the model and T.H. Bartlett sculpted this bronze piece during the Civil War.” They laughed and took several pictures and headed north to walk across the decorative footbridge. They held hands as they saw The Swan Boats, the beautiful willow trees and even more statues. People were everywhere enjoying the sunny Sunday.

Public Gardens - Boston 2014

 

Lynn M.                                                                                                     July 1, 2017

Boston and Beyond 2

 

Sweltering July!

fireworks 17 a

Sparkly fireworks in the air,
Joyous laughter. Little care.

Vacations here. Time to play,
Enjoy that hot summer day.

Family, friends all around!
Swaying music. Love that sound.

It’s hot sweltering July,
Live each day. Let out a sigh!

Lynn M.                                                                          July 1, 2017

 

 

The Serene Charles

Kayacking on the Charles- 2

Excerpt from:  Boston and Beyond: Tyre & Phoenix

They crossed Commonwealth Avenue and kept going across Beacon Street. After crossing the alley, they saw where the footbridge started and walked up the incline holding hands. They crossed over Storrow Drive and went down the incline and entered the park area by the Charles River.

There were people out with children, dogs and blankets. Some walked and some jogged. There was a slow but constant activity. They looked at each other smiled. This was a good way for their spirits to relax after the high energy of the week.

They were lucky to find an empty bench and took their seats facing the water. There was also plenty of activity on the water itself. There were sailboats, people rowing in canoes both singularly and in two’s.  They saw that some of the sails on the sailboats had numbers and realized that these were students from one of the universities.

They also saw some kayakers with the lead teacher shouting out directions on a megaphone as the athletes rowed in a synchronized manner. Tyre did a quick search and saw that there was a canoe rental place on the other side of the river. He showed it to her and said, “Check.”

She asked, “As in, the next time around?”

“Si, senora,” he said with a wink.

Boston and Beyond 2

Lynn M.                                                                                                               June 27, 2017

The Plaza

An excerpt from:  Boston and Beyond:  Tyre & Phoenix

CS Plaza pic

At the allocated time, Tyre and Phoenix left the Colonnade Hotel and headed south on Huntington Avenue and crossed the street to enter the plaza. The water sprinkler was dotted with laughing children as they played in swimwear and parents watched while seated on the concrete wall.

They could see that the Christian Science Plaza was also enjoyed by the community as they headed south towards the entrance of the church.  They walked pass the older original church which Phoenix mentioned. She had read that the founder, Mrs. Eddy had a reserved seat in this church and it could be seen by those who took the church tour. The older church was still used on a regular basis for certain services and activities.

They were  warmly greeted at the door of the newer edifice and a woman pulled a string to open the welcoming door. They silently noticed the inscriptions engraved into the walls throughout of the building. Some were scriptural quotes and others were quotes by the founder, Mary Baker Eddy.  This was a glorious start for their week long trip to the New England area.

Boston and Beyond 2

Lynn M.                                                                                                       June 24, 2017