Friday, April 9, 2010

Random Thoughts

Do you ever go back and read the books you've written years before and wonder "where on earth did that come from?" When I've needed to refresh my memory about something in one of my books or one of my characters, I've always been surprised at what I found there. I really don't remember writing that! Of course, it may have something to do with my increase in years, but, good grief, I wrote it! Why shouldn't I remember agonizing over those words and phrases and inventions?

Do you "take time to smell the flowers" when an opportunity arises? Especially when it is a short term opportunity? I missed an incredible one once. Christo had done one of his "world wonders" within driving distance of our home. Instead of wrapping a famous bridge in France with a million yards of pink silk or a famous building with flags, or whatever other wonderful, preposterous work of live, visual art he does, he had installed huge bright yellow umbrellas on a hillside 30 minutes from our home on I-5 by Gorman, California. They were going to be there for months, so I by-passed the beautiful spring days when I could have seen them all, and even taken my friends from the retirement center to see them. They get out so little to do something fun and exciting.

But the genius didn't take into account our California winds, especially near the pass, and though he had designed them to withstand a goodly wind by planting them in cement, one deadly gust uprooted one umbrella and either killed or injured a woman who had been photographing it. Thus they were condemned and removed. I did manage to see them on the day before they were to be taken down - a very gray, drizzly, foggy day - when only half a dozen were visible. I wanted to cry at the missed opportunity. I've kicked myself ever since.

This week, I decided I would not miss the da Vinci exhibit at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, even if I had to go by myself. As luck would have it, my daughter was working from home and able to bring 14 month old Julian to view it with me. It was a glorious day, sunny, warm, absolutely perfect. We saw the exhibit - marveling at da Vinci's incredible and varied talent, had lunch where Julian experienced his first dill pickle and loved it, and then wandered through the Illuminated Manuscripts in Architecture exhibit. That was even more awesome than the da Vinci exhibit. And upstairs in the North gallery, we were astonished at the wealth of art that survived from the 1300 and 1400's!

Unfortunately, Julian gave out before we did, and we ended our tour there. I turned around and drove the 1 1/2 hours home again. (It only took Shelley 15 minutes to get there!) But what a fun day. I really had two dozen things at home that needed fairly immediate attention, but I figured I could burn the midnight oil preparing the RS lesson for Sunday, and put off until next week polishing the presentation on organization I've been asked to give in Relief Society. How often is the air so clear in Los Angeles that you can see the ocean from the Getty, even though it is only a few miles and the Getty is on a hill overlooking Santa Monica?

On another, but related note, when we visit our kids in Louisiana, we usually drive directly there, not dawdling along the way, spend a few days, then hurry home again. This year because of an unexpected book signing in Arizona, Glenn said we could just go early and make it into a trip. I took that to mean a TRIP and I've been planning to stop and see all the things we've hurried by on past trips.

A day long jeep ride with the Navajos on their reservation deep into Canyon de Chelly; a ride on the Silverton-Durango train; photograph Arches National Park again and Dead Horse Point; explore Mesa Verde again - we haven't been there since Shelley was eight months old. She is now 36. Santa Fe turns 400 years old this year. I haven't been there since I did the research for Turquoise, published in 1998. Then on to Vicksburg, two nights and Natchez for two nights to drink in the Civil War and antebellum sites before we head south to Lafayette, our daughter's home and Jessica's high school graduation. But we'll also take our three granddaughters to Evangaline points of interest. I've never been in previous trips and am anxious to follow the Longfellow-Evangaline thread through Louisiana.

I'm determined not to pass up opportunities when they present themselves now. Fortunately, I have a friend from the Midwest who wants to come and visit her two sons here so she will house sit for us the three weeks we'll be gone. Everyone wins! She doesn't have to disrupt their lives by moving in with them and I don't have to leave my house empty for three weeks! Don't you love serendipity?

And I have a confession to make: I vowed no more fiction, but I have a ghost story I've started and restarted several times over the last 15 years, but never finished as I knew Covenant wouldn't want it and had no idea what to do with it. Now that Michele has pointed the way, I'm going to finish that a story and do the research for it on this trip. You are the first to know. How about that for random!

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