If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Of Accidents and Art

The story of this photograph started off with an accident. I was watering the plants on my backyard deck, and I tripped and slopped water on the wooden boards. Suddenly there was a pretty little puddle at my feet. I spill stuff all the time when I'm gardening – dirt, mulch, compost. And since Mother Nature is not known for being overly fastidious, I don't bother cleaning it up.

So the puddle stayed. And it wasn't until I finished my chores and started back inside that I noticed it again. Only this time, it looked very different.

The angle of light was such that the sky overhead reflected in the still water like a mirror. The white clouds, green-gold new oak leaves, and slick black tree limbs were all backgrounded by a sky so clear and blue it looked freshly painted.

But this was no mirror, no flat oval of silvered glass. The water took an organic form, spiky at the edges, like a starburst. It shimmered with liquid grace, following rules of physics to arrange itself there. There was no design of mine in it. There was only this puddle, and the late afternoon sunshine, and the green spring bursting above it.

Soon the sun sank lower, changing the angle of light, and the puddle became a puddle once again. I am writing this post on another brilliant spring day, and I am tempted to try to replicate the effect. But I don't think I can. My intentions would get in the way.

Some artists are spectacularly good at getting out of the way of intention, Jackson Pollack being one of the best. His paintings incorporate fractal patterns typically found only in nature, patterns that at their deepest level cannot be ascertained by the human eye. We see only seemingly random drip and drops, splatters and splashes. And that's what most abstract work painted by humans looks like under the microscope too – a random mess. But Jackson's work, just like Nature's, has an underlying order. Spirals loop together into elegantly mathematical forms, graceful and precise.

I think of this process, the tapping of the underlying order in the chaos, whenever I sit down at the page. We writers are working with limited materials – in English, we have twenty-six letters and a smattering of punctuation marks at our disposal. You'd think we'd run out of interesting new combinations, that perhaps Shakespeare or Morrison or Dickinson would have used up all the really good patterns.

But no. New stories still abound. It's only natural. Our DNA works with only four nucleotides, and look at all the variety there. We writers haven't exhausted our twenty-six building blocks, not by a long shot.

So the next time you end up with a mess, whether wordy or watery, consider the beauty there ripe for the beholding. Perhaps like me, you'll find a rainbow in the ruin.


Jim Jackson said...

Fun picture that you caught, Tina. Not only do we get to write new stories by using the same words in different orders, we also can invent new words. We can read Shakespeare (with a little assistance for ancient meanings); I suspect Will would have some difficulties reading modern stories that rely on cell phones, airplanes and the like.

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm deep into revisions and I needed to hear this today: "So the next time you end up with a mess, whether wordy or watery, consider the beauty there ripe for the beholding. Perhaps like me, you'll find a rainbow in the ruin." I hope you are right. I have quite the wordy mess on my hands right now, and I'm excavating for beauty.

Love the photo and the happy accident that made it possible.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'm wading through words searching for the beauty within. What a lovely moment to capture.

Tina said...

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but I think accident may be the father. The hardest thing I do as a writer is fight the urge to clean up every mess I make on the page before it's had a chance to soak in, as it were. I'm happy to hear that other writers have their own wordy messes (although I wonder if Shakespeare ever did).

Paula Gail Benson said...

Tina, I love this photo and love even more the words you've used to describe the situation and what you learned from it. In the words of a song from the musical SOMETHING ROTTEN (about the brothers who came up with the first musical while competing with William Shakespeare for an audience), "it's good sentiment and good advice."

Kait Carson said...

Breathtaking. The post, the photo, the concept.

Warren Bull said...

seriously cool

Tina said...

Thank y'all! It makes me happy that y'all enjoyed this little accident.

Gloria Alden said...

Tina, I loved the pictures and the message in your blog. I often find my inspirations while walking in the woods, especially for poetry. Same walk everyday, but there always seems to be something new to see and marvel at.

Tina said...

And that's exactly what poetry is for -- to capture the sameness that is always new.

Shari Randall said...

I can only marvel at this photo. It's amazing, like a magic portal that lets us peek into another world. I bet some people think you did it with Photoshop.
I'll take your message to heart - lots of messes to ponder on the page today - but I'll let them rest and see what happens.

KM Rockwood said...

We need to be open to what's out there if we really want to see what nature provides for us.

Tina said...

A lot of people have used that word, Shari -- "portal." It does have that feeling, like a glimpse into another reality. And no, no technological tinkering of any kind (I haven't the know-how). I am glad I managed to be open that day.