A Good Week for Talking

This is a paper bowl that a friend, Mary Crehan made several years ago. I keep her tag on it and it sits in a drawer to my right with a couple of rusty bits from Australia tucked inside. We became fast friends when we met several years ago and I picked her (an unknown) to room with on a trip to Lake Mungo. I liked that she came from England and no one knew anything about her. She could have been a much less fun person to room with, but was so much fun to be around. We laughed and talked about anything and everything.  Mary came back over to Australia other times to have more adventures with me and a couple that made sure we had transport to good times in Queensland, New Zealand and beyond. So much laughing. So many good memories. When we were getting on separate planes to head home from New Zealand, we could not bring ourselves to say goodbye. She simply said, “Sandy, our problem is we did not meet soon enough.” She was eighty years old at the time. Here is a piece I keep framed in my den of her and my adventures at Lake Mungo. It was made from a hunk of cardboard that was at a sand hill for people to slide down to the bottom. What a simple pleasure in the middle of the Outback.

Well, we did exchange emails and Christmas cards, and over time that stopped. I assumed she was much older now and maybe infirmed or worse, so clung harder to the memories and the pieces I saved because of her. Then the other day out of the blue she sends me a short email wondering what I have been up to because she is now teaching a papermaking class at Ipswitch Institute. She’s 88 and still cracks me up. Naturally, I had to write back all that I was doing at just short of 80. Mary is now, as she was before, my inspiration to stay upright and busy and most of all, happy. I wish everyone a Mary in their lives.

I finally finished fussing in the front entry. While glancing up in my closet on a trek that gives me 250 steps total if I walk into every room and return to the starting point, I saw these twin kantha-stitched bed spreads that I bought at an import store in Asheville. I just could not part with them because they seemed so useful for someday. So I moved the black bench from the porch to opposite the other bench at the front entry, undid the mud cloth to put back where I found it, and ended up with this. I am now through with it and as soon as warmer weather comes will be having wine with neighbors walking by.

Spring is trying to get a foothold here. My back yard is now filled in with mulch and a lovely new red bud tree that has branches spreading out on opposite sides. Perfect for blocking a bit of the view into a neighbor’s porch.

My dogwood is also just starting to bloom.

And lastly, yesterday was my day to sit on a panel and discuss self-publishing. Each of the three of us had totally different approaches. A retired minister showed his books that took  a long time in writing and finding the right fit to get them published. Then myself showing and talking about my books from hand done editions to using KDP from Amazon to make sure I was leaving my words behind and available to friends and family. Then a very good self-publishing, family owned business, presenting the various ways they can help authors. I loved chatting with enthusiastic writers from such varied backgrounds….a man who has restaurants in Sicely and New York where the Mafia eats. He wanted to know what I thought of his book’s cover. I said it was a bit disconcerting…a woman’s head with three bare legs curved around it. He educated me by letting me know they were Sicilian symbols. I liked watching him, black suit just a bit snug around the middle, black patent leather loafers that tapered down to the floor and an old-fashioned briefcase with heavy metal latches. Another writer was enrolling herself into a watercolor class so she could do her own illustrations like I do. Her children’s book is already written and waiting. Others were concerned about lawsuits if unpleasant relatives recognized themselves in autobiographies. And if an author can use a picture of themselves on the back cover when someone else took the picture. The answer there is, no, not without permission in writing from the one who took the photo.

Anyway, I enjoyed the four hours of presenting and answering questions.

My laundry and grocery shopping are finished. Now for a bit of lunch and then getting stuck into a book on loan from a neighbor.

Til later…..