Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene, Appreciated Followers & Campaigner 2011

First of all, I joined the Platform-Building Campaign, hosted by Rachael Harrie, so check in for chances to join in the fun and blog-hop. You don't need to be a Campaigner to participate. But if you hop on over to Rach Writes... by August 31st, you can make it official.

Next, I'm thrilled to report that I got two Appreciated Follower Awards in one day, and another a few days later. What an embarrassment of riches! So, I want to thank Kelly Hashway, Dawn Brazil and Courtney Koschel. Take a look at their great blogs and consider following them! It’s funny, they are some of the very bloggers who I would grant an Appreciated Follower Award to. Not so sure the rules allow me to boomerang them back, so my Appreciated Follower Awards (drum roll) go to:
  1. Helen Mallon at WritingNurture
  2. PK Hrezo at Fiction Addiction
  3. Candy Lynn Fite's On the Trail to Publication
  4. Shelley HW at Writ. Written. Wrote.
  5. Cathy Kozak’s When the Dervish Dances
  6. Charmaine Clancy's Wagging Tales

A Hurricane Irene Postscript: I was planning on hunkering down in Manhattan during Irene, but my family cajoled me into escaping to the hollers of the Catskill Mountains. We had three downed trees, including a beloved Willow. We lost power, had major
cabin-fever, and impassioned arguments over what movie to watch, what we should cook for dinner and the true meaning of A Clockwork Orange. We were also unable to drive our son to his dorm on Sunday night as the highways were closed. But, we were safe.

I must confess, I snuck out on the porch, delighting in the crazy high winds and hammering rains. I hope you all were safe!

Any interesting war stories from Irene? Any brilliant theories of A Clockwork Orange or why weather forecasters never get hurricane predictions right? Oh, or the true meaning of life?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Collection of Thirst-Quenching Thoughts

I’m still in summer mode so my inspiration is firing at random, and mostly in between summer activities such as croquet, fishing for trout, and general lazing about
(I even tried shooting at clay pigeons with my sons! My favorite part was getting to drive the electric golf cart). Otherwise, I'm either on my city deck or my country porch. I’d wager a bet that others are in this mode as well. That’s why I’m posting a shortlist of musings.

First off, I want to thank Julia Hones for granting me a Liebster Blog Award. Julia is a very insightful writer and it’s well worth a hop over to her blog, My Writing Life. In her latest post she discusses three powerful short stories.

Next, I’ve been compiling books and essays and novels about writers, artists, filmmakers and other people involved in the creative process, for a freshmen college lit course. If anyone wants to recommend a book or essay that deals in this realm, I would welcome it! To pass muster with my department head, it has to be written by a well known and well-regarded author. For instance, I’m reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard, an unflinching satire of the art world in the sixties and seventies. It is absolutely spot-on, and I’m sure my freshmen art students will get some real belly chuckles out of it (plus helpful insight into the corruption and posturing that goes on).

Have you read a book this summer that has blown your mind, or changed your perspective on the world, yourself or an aspect of something you think about a lot?

Lastly, here’s a cheapo drink that rivals Fizzy Lizzy or Snapple or any summery tall sippa chill. Mix cranberry juice and seltzer, and top it off with a liberal tablespoon of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice. Add crushed ice. Yum. If you like iced tea but hate all the sugar in mixes, make your own. I add a mix of teabags to a quart of boiling water: usually chai with black tea, again, with a spritz of Rose’s. Or cut up a few slices of an orange and let that steep in the mix. You can drink glass after glass with no calorie worries. Twinings has put out cold-brewed ice-tea bags. Not bad, but never quite as strong as tea that’s been boiled and chilled. Good while on the run, though. You can stash a teabag or two in your pocketbook for travels. What are your favorite summery mixes?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Deep in Summerland

It’s August and deep in Summerland. I’ve been to the Cape and to the
Catskills where our summer cabin is. I just got back from the Jersey shore—Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, that perennially edgy beach town, clawing its way back to
respectability. The creepy old Howard Johnson restaurant, built in the early 60’s and made to look like a hokey spaceship, has been renovated with an open bar and palm trees in elephantine-sized wicker pots. The once-abandoned boardwalk that used to have one lone saltwater taffy store is brimming with surf shops and Cuban restaurants. Stay slightly edgy, is my advice!
Things change—except the need to get away from it all in the pit of steamy summer. Attention to television series,
classes, the hustle in general, turns to nature, sea breezes, fizzy and cold concoctions that can quickly cool. The photos at Idea Farm show our first peaches and Winesaps. Also, my potbellied pig, Thistle, who is an ancient 15 years old and plucky as ever!

Are you still trying to write through it all? Or do you tend to take a break from that too—in order to regroup and rekindle? I finished a 2nd polish on a manuscript in the first week of August, including a cut of 31 pages—no small feat. And I’m almost finished manuscript evaluation #2 for my clients. And soon, it’ll be time to call a halt for the last two weeks—to everything but reading and conceptualizing (which looks like loafing). So far, I've read two eye-opening books for a course I'm proposing: POINT OMEGA by Don Delillo and THE COLLECTOR by John Fowles (very disturbing but powerful).

How about you? What are your deep Summerland pleasures?