Great Beginnings Thursday, Jul 24 2008 

Auntie M is working on the content for a writers workshop she’ll run in Cambridge (oh, that it would be the UK one!), Mass with two other writers.  We’ll focus on Great Beginnings of manuscripts.  Attendees will send in the first page of their works, everyone attending will get them emailed to read and critique before the event, and then we’ll meet for a long weekend session.  After intro’s and ice breakers, we’ll have a session on what hooks readers and keeps them reading.  The all-day Saturday session will focus on their work and how to strengthen it–that evening the A’s will read more to us, either from that piece or another.  We’ll probably chip in for that, too.  We’ll also hit cliches` and how to avoid them during the workshop.  And play some games. And maybe drink a tiny bit o’wine in the evenings.

I enjoy these workshops because they let me have contact with writers whom would never otherwise cross my path.  I like the interaction, the discussions, and especially the huge range of writings out there.  It reminds me how many talented people there are in this world, if they would only give themselves permission to let it out.

For anyone in the Cambridge-Somerville area, the weekend is October 17-19.  Let me know if you wish details.  Two lunches included.  But for the rest of you, don’t let the thought of a blank page keep you from creating, if you wish to.  It all happens one word, or one keystroke, at a time.

Birthday Saga continued Thursday, Jul 24 2008 

As the 75th bday for Mom draws nearer, Doc asked me today about what I was doing for a cake.  MY plan was to order one, a double decker, with pale blue icing, Mom’s favorite color, and white lacey tracing on it.  I described the top, composed of things that reflect Mom: a tiny willow chair that usually sits on the ledge over my kitchen sink, and on that chair an open mini-book and a pair of mini-glasses.  Next to it will be a small black dog with a tag reading Pixie.  That is was my plan.

Doc: “No, I don’t mean the top, I mean the cake itself.”

Me: “From A Slice of Heaven, of course. (where Auntie M holds the Writers Read program.)  I know Rebecca will do a good job for us.”

Doc: “That sounds awfully expensive.”

Me: (Knowing where this is heading. . .) :I already checked with Chef Duff and Charm City Cakes start at $500, so this will be a breeze and a helluva lot closer.”  (Big grimace–wait for it, here it comes.)

Doc: Why don’t we just make it ourselves?

I refrain from stating the obvious: a really nicely decorated cake for 50 people, are you nuts?  And say instead:

“Now that’s an idea.”  You ARE nuts!

Tonight I have printed out the recipe for mom’s favorite cake, an Italian cassata cake, which has a sweet creamy filling with chocolate chips, just like the inside of a  cannoli.  Have I ever made this before?  That would be a no.  Has Doc, king of cheesecakes only?  Ditto NO.

As for the blue and white tracery, we now own every conceivable frosting device known to man and then some, including a bag of gum paste for making our own flowers.  See, I told you I knew where this was going.  I know Doc.  Oh, and did I mention he thinks we need to go for 3 tiers, and each one should be half vanilla and half chocolate–

See, the problem here is that Doc loves to learn new things and to tackle them.  I do, sometimes, too, but not when I’m in the middle of revising my own 275 pg novel, editing a 435 pg novel, proofing another of 175 and working up the program for an October writers workshop I’m moderating.  But hey, let’s not let those things get in the way. . .

On the bright side, mom’s cousin sent me some snaps of them together as children, toddlers and teens to copy and return.  Pat was mom’s maid of honor at her wedding.  I plan to mount these on a board that I’m decorating with cut out roses from mags and catalogues I’m been saving (her favorite flower) and scatter photo’s of mom, if I can find a few where she hasn’t closed her eyes.  These will be a great addition to the board and I made the copies today.

One really got to me.  Mom is about 9 and seated in a toy boat on a ride at Coney Island.  What got to me is that she looks like me at that age!  I mean, I guess I never realized how much I looked like her at that age.  She looks sweet with her hair newly permed and if I were a better blogger I could figure out how to get it onto this blog to share (don’t hold your breath).  In any case, today when we were in the Emerald City, otherwise known as Greenville, I had a copy of that one blown up nicely to put right by the cake.  The one we’re now making, for better or worse. . .  DO keep your fingers crossed on that one for Auntie M~

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"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

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