Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Something Fun to Do in Paradise this Weekend

I’ve been making pottery for over thirty years. I started in Mr. Bird’s high school art class at Orem High. I learned a lot from my friend Mark Bennion who was a very skilled potter even at that young age. My teacher Mr. Bird was also valuable, not so much for what he taught me, but for his trust in letting me forgo other art assignments and concentrate on learning to throw. It takes a lot of time, patience, and practice to master pottery making.

This week I’ve joined with some local artisans to put on a sale at the Paradise Town Hall. Joining me is Jim Parrish. I met Jim last year at the Idaho Arts Festival where he was selling his photography and I was selling pottery. Jim lives three miles from me and I’ve been by his house hundreds of times over the years, but had no idea such a talented photographer lived so close.

Nancy Olsen is another excellent photographer who is doing our art sale. She concentrates on portraiture and action shots of children participating in sports. She runs her own studio here in Paradise and is offering free 4x6 portraits as part of the weekends events.

Most exciting about this local festival is we have live music on Saturday afternoon from 1 pm to 5 pm. First, we’ll have Wade and Cara. I’m not sure what to call their music because it has influences from all over the world, but they are amazing. I heard them for the first time last year and was blown away by the talent. They have traveled the world performing and we are lucky that they’ve come home long enough to join us once again. They will also have a CD available.

The Sagwitch Basin Boys are our own Western band. They are a group of local men, and one young woman who play a variety of instruments and sing songs from popular groups as well as several originals. The originals are actually my favorites. These guys are toe-tapping fun to listen to and won’t disappoint.

So when is this great event? This weekend, Saturday May 26th from 9 AM to 6 PM and Monday Morning during the Memorial Day Firefighters Breakfast from 7 AM to 11 AM.
Where? Paradise Town Hall—9035 S. 100 W.

Also new this year: Each artist will donate a selected work for a raffle to benefit the Paradise Fire Department for needed emergency equipment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Between Guatemala and Other Stuff

I missed a week writing a blog. It was just one of those weeks. Ginger, our twenty-three year old daughter got home from a four-month stint in Central America late last Sunday. She had done some humanitarian work teaching English in a school in a Guatemalan village and spent a couple of months traveling. She was lucky to find a young woman, who like herself had an adventurous spirit. Contrary to everything I’ve ever warned her about, I found out that they have been hitchhiking while traveling. She said that the “chicken buses,” her name for the public transportation were just too slow and crowded. Basically it sounds like we ship all of our broken down yellow school buses down there and they use them until they die. She calls them chicken buses because people always seem to be carrying chickens in them, and she said they sit three to four people on those tiny seats built for children. Well she made it home, and nothing bad happened, but still it’s a little disconcerting. I told her she should have at least carried some mace and she said she’d told me to send her some—hmm, I guess I forgot.
On our way home from the airport, friends were already calling on the cell phone she hadn’t used for four months. The Internet keeps people connected these days. After a nice meal and about an hour's visit, she was off to see friends in nearby Logan. She only drove for ten minutes and was pulled over for speeding. Ginger who is pretty, young, and charismatic has never been able to talk herself out of ticket, so much for the theory that pretty girls get away with anything.
Anyway Ginger was here for two and a half days and on Wednesday of last week we raced her back down to the airport to head over to Europe. The friend she met in Guatemala is going to meet her over there and they will travel again. There are no chicken buses there, so I’m pretty sure she won’t be hitchhiking again. We had to race her to the airport because she had misread her itinerary, plus we left late anyway. We dropped her off at the curb five minutes before boarding time. And she made it!
On Thursday evening, I went over to my friend Josi Kilpack’s party in Brigham City to celebrate her newest book, Sheep’s Clothing. It was fun to see friends there and to be there to welcome her latest arrival. It’s hard though not to be jealous because this is the third book she’s had come out since my last book. However Josi is one of those people that you can’t help but love and be happy for. She’s very generous in sharing her talents and encouragement with her friends. Also she really does deserve all the attention her books are getting. On my way home from the party I passed by our little church in Paradise and noticed a bunch of cars around it, not unusual, but then I saw a woman carrying a gift sack in and I remembered that I was supposed to be at a bridal shower for two sisters getting married within a month of each other. I taught the two in church for years and felt like I needed to be there. Fortunately since I was already well over an hour late, I’m a potter and have gifts lying around most of the time. This time I found two similar mixing bowls fresh out of the kiln. I tossed in a brownie mix to each bowl and zipped down to the church to celebrate with lots of my friends.
On Friday our nephew got married in the Bountiful LDS temple. And for that we had to leave in the morning—between the ceremony, wedding dinner, and reception, we didn’t get back home again until late, and besides all that my husband’s uncles funeral was the same day. Even though he loved his uncle very much, he made the choice to support his nephew launch into an exciting phase of his life, rather than to be with his uncle’s family at the end of his.
This week is bound to be less hectic. I finally managed to get back to a manuscript that I’m re-working again for the umpteenth time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Static, Enya, or Does Good Music mean Good Writing?

When my husband and I babysat our first infant grandson, we were told that if he started to fuss to drive him around, jiggle his car seat, and turn the static up on the radio very loud. We got awfully sick of static. It made me distressed and fidgety, but less distressed than a crying baby would have, but not much. Later when we visited them in their new place in Colorado, at around five months of age something wonderful had happened to baby Isaiah. He had graduated from STATIC being his listening preference to ENYA music—the louder the better. Driving around the beautiful canyons and mountains near Vail is wonderful with Enya music blaring.

I have found that when I write, Enya is a good choice. It’s inspirational while not being too distracting. Typically though, I have music on 90 percent of the daytime hours. We have a 25 CD player, so I just turn it first thing in the morning and it plays all day--no matter what I'm doing. I do enjoy music when I write, and if the tune is very catchy, I definitely write faster. Right now I have Celtic music on and the beat is fast. Every once in a while I change either all of them or some of them. Currently there are about five Neil Young albums, three Cat Stevens, some Enya, various others from my 70's favorites, and ending with Dave Matthews, Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack, and the last album in the line-up is a wonderful group called The Waifs. The end group represent the tastes I've acquired from my twenty-three year old daughter, Ginger.

Thinking about our grandson’s preference for background noise, I wondered whether my author friends also listened to music while they wrote. Here’s some of the answers I received. Enjoy! You will also note that some don't listen to music at all and yet write great stuff,so I won't make any judgment on what is best.

Annette Lyon said: I generally only listen to music when I'm ultra stressed/feeling blocked (like on a deadline!). I have certain music I listen to specifically clear
out the mental clutter. Works every time. But generally I'm writing in small snatches, on the go, so music isn't part of my writing routine. I don't have the luxury of sitting down, putting in a CD, and getting carried away in the moment. Instead, it's 45 minutes in the dance class lobby, frantically catching a scene on my trusty AlphaSmart Neo while a little first grader in a tutu peers over my shoulder. I guess there's music there, but it starts and stops and could be anything from Disney to (currently) "Freeze Frame" blaring through the building. Yeah, that can be a little distracting when you're trying to get into the historical romance mentality!

Jim Rada said: I like smooth jazz, new age and oldies to listen to while I’m working. I find it helpful to either relax me after a long day of working or get me revved up on weekends to write. I listen to music downloaded on my computer. The quality is not as good, but it’s much easier to select and play the music without having to get up from my chair to change CDs.

Josi Kilpack said: I don’t really do music at all. It’s distracting and I
have enough of that without adding one more :-)

Jaime Theler said: When I am writing my nonfiction it has to be instrumental, words are
too distracting. But when I'm writing fiction, I go for music that
inflicts the mood I am after for the scenes I am working on. I have
certain songs that "belong" to a story - usually the song when the
idea blossomed into being in my head. Sometimes the words of the song
doesn't mesh with the story, but when I'm writing the words sort of
fade away and I am left with just the mood.

As you can tell, I love music when I write. Plus, I can more easily
ignore the phone, the TV, etc. with headphones on. I have to write
around life and that's how I figuratively shut the door of my office,
since my computer is in a public spot in my house.

Crystal Liechty said: For myself, I begin by
listening to music that gets my imagination going-
movie soundtracks (Garden State has been a good one)
or songs with great lyrics that make you wonder what
the story behind them is. I just close my eyes and
listen while I play out in my head what I want to
write. Then I switch to classical for the actual

Tristi Pinkston said:
I can't listen to music while I'm writing because I hate instrumental; I have to have words. And I like to sing along to those words. And I
can't sing and type words that are different from what I'm singing,
hence, no music while I write.

Marsha Ward said: I listen to music as I write, usually stuff I've downloaded to my computer. Neil Diamond has some great mood-setters. MoTab when I want an exultant feeling. Alan Jackson, Rosemary Clooney, Roger Whittaker--they all help me find my groove.

Tamra Norton said: I can't listen to music either and write. Well, except when I go to Whataburger and write, and then...somehow...I'm able to tune out everything (something I have
a hard time doing at home).

These author’s musical tastes are as varied as the group itself. We have some young with their first book—cute and funny Crystal wrote The First Year, which I hear is awesome, and some on the other end of the scale with lots of books to their credit and lots of years as well. Some take their music very seriously and others don't listen, like Josi a young thirty-something who has seven books to her credit, a new one, “Sheep’s Clothing,” released this week. We have some who write historical fiction, women’s issues and relationship, romance, non-fiction, historical romance, and Westerns, and suspense and mystery and some that don’t fit neatly into any category. If you want to know more about the authors I blogged, some have their own blogs or you can go to our website http://ldstorymakers.com

Read,write, and enjoy MUSIC! What's your favorite?