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.