Thursday, March 25, 2010

Um. Yeah.

So you know me a little, right? Granted, we may not have met in person, but if you've been coming here for a while you do know a little about me. You know my faith. You know some of what's important to me. You know my heart. Right?

I signed an exclusive contract with AOL some weeks ago to write for them. The idea was a "mood food" type column filled with recipes, food pics, stories from my life, the like. I gleefully jumped into the challenge of being a paid food columnist. Are you kidding me? I was ecstatic. But I did have some reservations about submitting my work to editors with full creative control and license over my writing. That was a big deal for me. They can change things up and publish them however and wherever they wish, I told my parents. They'll own the rights to my writing. But maybe I'm just a control freak. I'm sure it will be okay.

If anyone's read the article(s) coming out with my name on them, please know: they have been edited. You know me. And I hope you'd know I didn't write some of the things, titles or comments that are out there. We live and learn.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To Do List

Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your To Do list.
That way, you'll get at least one thing done every day.

Eat chocolate chip pecan pie today? Check.
Now I just need the recipe....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mingling Souls

Still writing letters, papering them in stamps, and sending them far and wide. For, as John Donne mused, "more than kisses, letters mingle souls".

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My New, Old Thing

Letters are among the most significant memorial
a person can leave behind them.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My Grandfather wrote letters to my Grandmother during WWII; letters I found bundled in her garage last year. The tightly-tied parcels were like paper presents, the writing unfamiliar to me... the stamps and markings both foreign and strange. The crinkled pages inside the envelopes told of feelings and promises that exist now only in my Grandmother's fading memories. And in the significant memorial my wonderful Grandfather left.

I decided after reading the lot that I would become a letter writer. A dying art form, to be sure. But an entirely lovely one. I mean, how often do you get a handwritten letter? A card, maybe, with a line or two penned at the bottom. But a letter? Rarely. I miss letters. I want to send and receive letters. And I wonder: in an era of email and text and Facebook, what are we leaving behind for our grandchildren to find fifty years from now?

So I write. I write people I love, people I've met, people (like a daughter?) I have yet to meet. I have a new, old thing: letters. Stamps. Stationery. Ink. I'm snatching up creamy, heavy pages... old, beautiful postage... and cork-capped bottles of liquid inks. And I'm writing.

With each bundle that leaves my hand bound for someone I love, I realize: my letters aren't just chaining souls; they're building my memorial.

If you're interested in letters, too, here's where I started:
Vintage Postage reclaimed by VerdeStudio
Stationery from Kate's Paperie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I always say, keep a diary and someday it'll keep you.
-Mae West

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Perfect Pool and Pattern

Photo credit: Anna Maria Horner

This afternoon is gorgeous. Perfect, even. Sunshine and fluffy clouds and spring breeze perfect. Millie and I are sitting by the open door some 15 feet away from the rippling hotel pool. I adore watching the light-and-water dances in pools. Mesmerizing, like fire.

Have you seen Anna Maria's new dress pattern? As soon as I find a second I'm ordering this pattern... ordering this material... and not getting up from the sewing machine until I have this dress. I want to paint my toenails pink and call a friend and sip on a glass of lavender lemonade and sit by the pool in this dress.

This weekend. (Maybe this weekend.) It's on.

P.S. If you're an Agatha Raisin mystery fan, I have five of my M.C. Beaton books up for auction to help benefit To Write Love On Her Arms. Check them out here.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

To Write Love on Her Arms

I found it in a bin in a dusty store in Kansas. Useful Drugs. A book that made its way into this world in 1936 and was, that very year, chosen. Read. Marked. Studied. Consulted. As I thumbed through, papers fluttered to the floor: a 70-year old note, a card, and an old, old prescription from the Stanford School of Medicine.

An amazing find. I bought it, wishing I knew a Stanford grad, a doctor, pharmacist, drug rep, or medical or pharmaceutical student who would get a kick out of it. I mean, wouldn't this make the best gift or material for a scrapbook or artist-dreamed keepsake for someone in the medicine world?

It's time to pass it on, so there's an auction over here, part of the proceeds to benefit To Write Love On Her Arms, an organization that's on the front lines helping people who struggle with depression and substance abuse. And there will be other items added throughout the week, all to help the same folks.

I wonder: how many could put down the bottles... the pills... the Useful Drugs... if only someone would write love on her arms? -Brin

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Outside it is raining. Inside, my feet are cold, a movie is playing, knitting is tossed aside, and The Pleasures of Cooking For One is open to a page that makes me happy.

I'm still on this away job... this project that demands so much, including requiring me to board myself and Millie in a motel. It segregates me from real life. Sometimes I welcome that; right now it's tiresome. I chide myself for complaining. So many would be so grateful for this work.

But I'm ready for roots again.

I sense myself skimming through this slow part, eager for scenes in the next chapter.

Time, as it's always faithful to do, will tell....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Lacy List

I am blessed with amazing friends. Brilliant, captivating, compassionate, sparkling friends. Go-to friends. These folks are there... so patient with me and my little life... and I depend on them. A lot.

And they never stop giving. No worry or favor or crazy thing I'm into now has ever been too much for them. They don't throw up their hands and run away from my messy self, which astonishes me every day. They're my everything, and they deserve recognition:

Sara Elisabeth









and Lacy

You people make my world happy. I wanted to say Thank You.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to catch up with a few of them. Lacy and I even spent time knocking around Barnes & Noble, which is my idea of a super time. Several of my friends are English teachers/professors, and Lacy is one of the highest caliber. Her mom's a librarian, so Lacy was born with books in her blood. And when Lacy says you should read a book? You read it. You buy it right then and you read it.

Between us, this is Lacy's Latest List. These are the books I bought over the weekend based on her recommendations. Here's what I'll be flipping through this spring... and what I'm reading right now:

The Book Thief

People of the Book

The Handmaid's Tale

The Know It All

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Just in case you don't have a reading/book/genius friend like Lacy, I thought I'd share.

I'd even share the rest of my incredible friends, too, only we better not mention I sent you. Much more from me and they'll probably assume a different name and move to the mountains of Uzbekistan.

(Are there mountains in Uzbekistan? I'll bet Brian would know....)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to Hold

I have held many things in my hands,
and I have lost them all;
but whatever I have placed in God's hands,
that I still possess.
-Martin Luther

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It was one of those March days when
the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
-Charles Dickens

It's painted into the sky and pushing up from the ground: Spring is coming.

Happy March. -Brin