Old Churches 2: Let’s Put on a Show!

You got yourself an old worship space. Certainly the place was designed with the best acoustics achievable at the time. Lots of seating, too. And with luck there’s plenty of parking. Does that say theater to you? It does to me!

And this is not as sacrilegious as it seems. Before it was a secular entertainment, drama was an act of worship. The statue of Apollo, god of art, is set up this theater, the Roman theater at Orange in Provence, and performances began with prayers and sacrifice. Continue reading


A Woman Crosses Death Valley

First trip post-vaccine protection: Palm Springs in April. Can’t wait! The girlfriend and I will hit the town. The husband disdains hot places, although P.S. in spring, nestled in its desert valley, can be chilly at night and tepid during the day. And anyway, someone has to babysit the furbabies.

I love the desert.

This morning while I was browsing Instagram, I saw a post from Death Valley National Park about a woman named Edna Brush Perkins. Writing in the early twentieth century, she published two books about deserts; one about the Mohave and Death Valley, the other about the Sahara. She loved the desert, too. Ok, I thought. I’m in.

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The Rambling Writer’s Italy, part 8: Trastevere and the Forum Boarium

Your virtual Italy vacation continues as Thor and I ramble across the Tiber River to Rome’s Trastevere district, and more.

NOTE: Since travel is still on hold with the pandemic continuing, I’ve started a new blog series offering a virtual vacation and time-travel to my first big trip with Thor in 2008. Italy! Starting with highlight photos posted here on Saturday, Jan. 30, I’ll continue every week. Join us in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Milan. Buon viaggio!

A friend with deep Italian roots urged us to wander around the colorful Trastevere (“across the river”) neighborhood across the Tiber from the main tourist attractions, and we thoroughly enjoyed the twisty, cobblestone lanes opening onto unexpected cul de sacs. Established as a Medieval settlement, it continues with a Bohemian, independent vibe. Continue reading


New Worlds: Poetry

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

What is poetry, anyway?

At school you probably got taught about things like rhyme and meter (certain arrangements of stressed and unstressed beats in a line). These are frequently found in English-language poetry, often in set forms like the sonnet or the villanelle — but not always, as we also have free verse, which eschews any consistent pattern of such things, and prose poems, which have no line breaks, but rely heavily on the imagistic devices of poetry. In other languages you find different features, like the syllabic count of the Japanese haiku or the alliteration and mid-line caesurae of Norse and Old English verse. So there’s a sense in which poetry is anything we deem poetic, i.e. written with a strong focus on the aesthetic use of language.

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Island Life: Spring Is Coming

It isn’t literally true that now that spring is making its presence known, my husband has left me for the garden–it just seems that way sometimes.

Actually, I jest: I thoroughly approve of his efforts out there. If I wasn’t RECOVERING FROM SURGERY, I’d be right out there with him, digging and clearing and pruning and planting…as it is, I have to watch from a genteel distance, observing him out the window, strolling through the yard taking photos.

It’s so cheering, so encouraging, when the sun returns to our northern climate…I won’t say the warmth, that’s still a ways off, though it is slightly less frigid than it has been. When I go outside now, I don’t need to put on the extra sweater and the wool scarf and the thick mittens and the wool hat with ear flaps and the big jacket and the heavy boots…just a medium jacket will do, and the outdoors-sandals (with socks of course).

(Good thing, too; I cannot bend over to put on the heavy boots; I am, as I mentioned, recovering from surgery.)

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A Shot in the Dark

Like many people, for the past year I’ve been holed up in my house while the country and its economy has crumbled around me. My income, a survivor’s benefit from Social Security, is small but entirely unaffected by the pandemic. My house is paid for, and I receive enough to pay the bills and feed myself. Safe to say, I think, that I’ve weathered the bitter end of the Trump era better than most of my economic status. My children and grandchildren are alive, healthy, and solvent. I’ve become accustomed to the solitude. I like television and books. My son comes for dinner sometimes, and during lockdown we functioned like a single household. Online friends are as they ever were, and so very little of my life changed. Now I wonder how much of my old life I want back. What do I really miss?

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BVC Welcomes Paul Piper

Paul Piper

Paul Piper’s new novel The Wolves of Mirr is a new release this month at BVC. Look for a sample here.

We interviewed Paul about his experience and creative process.

Paul, your previous publications have been poetry. What made you pivot into long form fiction, and specifically a dark contemporary fantasy novel woven with myth and folklore? Continue reading


BVC Announces The Jaguar Queen of Copal by Brenda W. Clough

The Jaguar Queen of Copal by Brenda W. Clough

The Jaguar Queen of Copal
The Thrilling Victorian Adventures of the Most Dangerous Woman in Europe
Book 3
by Brenda Clough

Walter Hartright returns to Central America to search for the leader of his expedition, and Marian’s husband Theo goes along, which leads to problems when they are kidnapped.

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Cosmic Quakes

[Jab update: Fatigue was my grade two (moderate) reaction symptom from shot number one. The husband and I both found ourselves taking a lot of naps—although that could also be a symptom of general SARS-CoV2 pandemic malaise. Or that we just like to take naps.]

Escape From Boring, Jane Park

Some of the things I did this week: I rearranged my work space a little, moving my desk (table) and a screen. Shifted a director’s chair around. We spent way to much money on seeds and plants and compost potting soil. And an electric chain saw for the same park’s plum tree that besieged our yard during the ice storm. And an electric leaf blower/vacuum for whatever—maybe the leaves on the roof that the soon-to-be-not maple deposits there every autumn, that is if I can find someone who is not busy culling trees from last year’s wildfires or removing fallen branches from city streets after the ice brought them down.

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