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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alaska in February?

Elizabeth, Jim, me, Allison, Mandy
All my friends who travel in the winter were going south. Naturally. Seems the likely thing to do.

But I spent Valentine's Day with my sister and her family in Anchorage, thanks to special friends and family thinking of and then carrying out the idea.

Allison and Mandy Turnbull arranged for me to fly from Minneapolis to Seattle to Anchorage in order to surprise their mother, Elizabeth Jane, as a Valentine and early 40th anniversary present.

Man, was she surprised! What fun to astonish her by walking into her cancer treatment infusion room behind a bunch of red balloons.

Elizabeth Jane and Lee Joanne

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


NY Times -1964 political ad
When I was a girl I had a favorite (78 rpm) record that told the story of "The One String Fiddle." The boy in the story wanted to win a contest with an original fiddle song he was composing. It had to be "all, or almost all, out'n [his] own head." He started with "Turkey in the Straw" but as he walked along listening to birds and streams and winds and other musical sounds around him, they all blended into his own creation--which won the contest, of course.

"all, or almost all, out'n my own head"
This defines, at least for me, what fiction is.
My novel TOO MUCH LEFT UNSAID is such a creation:

I started with some characters, based very loosely on people I know, but I invented wholesale the events of their lives. I read history books and newspapers and articles about world events and tied them in with the daily lives I was making up for my people. Some of the historical events I remember clearly, and I recall the feelings of celebration when good triumphed. I also recall my mourning at losses or defeats.
There is a real, historical setting that is the stage where my invented characters 'live' their lives . I imagine Mattie and Ron, Josh and Kathy, and the other people who stepped out of my head onto the page doing and feeling what I said they did and felt.

It's fiction, after all, but I hope when you read it you'll relate to their lives.

How would you define fiction? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Decluttering Vs. Organizing

One of my hobbies is reading about organizing. Notice, I didn't say organizing, just reading about it.

One of my favorite books is The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of your Life. I have bought at least three copies to give away, and I have it on my Kindle for quick referencing. Lorie Marrero, the author, also has a web site, a weekly newsletter including a three minute video each week and a consulting service you can subscribe to. I love to read her and listen to her, because she reminds me that:

"'Good Enough' is good enough! Perfection is an unattainable illusion."

Yesterday I added to my Kindle two ebooks by Dana White:

Drowning in Clutter: Don't Grab a Floatie! Drain the Ocean!
28 days to hope for your home.

Huge insight here:

Decluttering and organizing are not the same thing.

In fact, you can't do both at the same time.
Seems that I should declutter first, and then organize only what is left afterwards.

I might even actually get both done with this new insight.

What about you? Maybe you knew this all along, but maybe this will help you, too. Leave a comment or send me a note to