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Sunday, May 28, 2006

A DREAM OF WRITING

"Writing is nothing more than a guided dream."
Jorge Luis Borges 1899-1986 "Doctor Brodie's Report" 1972 Preface.

"A Dream of Writing" was the keynote address given by Stephen Osborne, editor of Geist Magazine at the Federation of B.C. Writer's AGM Friday night. He read a writer's memoir, how it all began for him as a writer/editor, launching the Pulp Press back in the late 60's/70's which later became so successful he now published Geist a local literary magazine. The topic of his reading reminded me of the day before when I had attended the Youth Writer's Conference and had been reminiscing about my youth, when I had dreamed of being a writer.

I guess all of us have had that dream at some time in our lives, and that's why we still write, some of us very successfully with publications. Who would have dreamed back in my teens that one day I'd actually be instructing writing classes and participating in presentations to kids.

In living the dream though, there are sacrifices to be made. You don't get there without a lot of dedication and discipline (that's the hard part!) and willingness to be poor sometimes, to make do without in order to have the time to write. I never regretted quitting my full time job as a daycare supervisor back in '94 in order to take more time for writing. Sure, sometimes I've been dirt-poor but somehow I've always survived. I haven't had a big piece of work (novel) published yet, but lots of smaller publications (travel articles and a very small amount of short fiction). But the pay-off is there. Two 'free' trips gifted to me by the Travel Writers' Assoc. and at the FED meeting I won a $50 book certificate. Things have definitely been looking up!

I'm still toiling away at the novel and one of these days it WILL be finished. Meanwhile I am doing lots of other writing too, as well as teaching. And the workshop I've been conducting privately has really caught on so it will continue through most of the summer. How do I make a living from my writing? By instructing others. And I love it as it's a learning experience for me as well.

Yes, I grew up dreaming of writing and it eventually became a reality. I can call myself a writer -- full time! And one of these days I will call myself a published historical fiction novelist.
That will be a dream come true!

"He (the writer) must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed -- love and honour and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice."
William Faulkner 1897-1962 Speech on receiving the Nobel Prize, Dec. 10, 1950

Friday, May 26, 2006

THE YOUNG WRITERS

"She was quite young -- about twelve or thriteen. Her wide, frightened, blue eyes looked up piteously at the Canadians. Her long braids were the colour of dark honey. She was dressed in a threadbare white blouse and a blue skirt. The shoes she wore were old and ragged, and one of her stockinged toes peeped out from the shoe leather. Her only cloak was thrown over the still form of her companion. She looked up again at the soldiers and then to her brother.
"He is my brother Karl," she said. "He is sick. Maybe you can help?" Then she smiled at the sergeant. It was a cute smile -- the way all girls smiled. Her bottom lip seemed to curl in between her pearly teeth, and two dimples appeared on her ruddy cheeks. The soldiers' hearts were touched."
written by Wynn, age 13. My first publication in the Girls Guides of Canada 1948
from a novelette "The Real Peace" a character study of a Dutch war orphan, Janni.

I started writing things when I was about 8 years old. By the time I was 10, I was writing plays for my classmates. It was during WWII and most of us kids had dads, uncles, grandpas or brothers serving overseas. I wrote little propoganda plays about the war for school and at home I composed fairy tales to entertain my neighbouhood playmates. When I was 12 and the war ended, we travelled by train across Canada to the West Coast. I was enthralled by the vastness of the Prairies (where I was born and lived til I was six) and imagined what the life of Pioneers must have been like. I began writing their stories in little scribbler books in pencil and pen with my own illustrations. By the time I was 14, I had switched my historical interest to Romans and stories set in Palestine (influenced by Bible stories). And in high school I was introduced to Alexander the Great and began my long love-affair with all things Greek.

My first job out of high school was in a newspaper editorial department. I had aspirations of becoming a journalist. I was also a playwright and wrote/produced a play about kids using heroin (something dreadful and unheard of then, but it had happened to my boyfriend and his pals and was so horrifying I had to write about it.) That play was later rewritten, updated and produced successfully in 2000.

All during my school years my only wish was to become a writer. But there was little encouragement. In fact often my mother was called to the principal's office and informed that if I spent more time concentrating on Math and Science and less time off in my own dreamworld or with my nose stuck in books (usually historical fiction or research) then I would be a better student. I barely scraped by with a 'pass' out of High School but I didn't care as long as I got to write and be around writers.

Yesterday all these school-day memories flooded back to me when I spent the day at a Youth Writer's Conference where I had been invited to present as a travel writer. The conference was sponsored by the School Board and organized by a friend of mine, a writer, who teaches elementary school and used to be one of our Scribbler's group. I was thrilled to be invited and be able to speak to kids about writing, remembering how I had longed for such attention when I was their age.

These were kids 10 -13 yrs old from various Vancouver schools, all invited because of their keen interest in literary things. In fact, each of them had contributed to an anthology of student writing which was presented to each of the instructors.

The auditorium was full of kids, teachers and assistants. There were many different presenters including writers of novels, plays, humour, and history. A number of presentations were given: a children's book writer/illustrator; several slam poets; a reading by an actress/playwright; comedy sketches by the comedy writers and the main speaker,
James Delgado, a marine archaeologist. Several students were also chosen to read their work from the anthology.

I had two separate groups of kids who came to learn about travel writing. I spoke to them about my experiences as a writer, from childhood to present. I showed them some of my writing from when I was their age and also some of my travel articles -- the ones I thought that would capture their interest most. They were given a short exercise, to write a lead and start a story about a trip they'd been on or wished to go on. It was amazing how talented these kids were, and how keenly interested.

When the readings were given by the chosen students, I had a flashback to my first experience at reading my own writing in front of an audience in the school auditorium. It was the first time I'd ever been in front of such a large group of my peers and the first time I'd ever been introduced to a microphone. When I stood up to read and got the echo and amplified sound back off the mike, I froze. It was like a hand closed around my throat and I was absolutely speechless. I couldn't read a word, I was so terrified by stage fright. It was one of the most embarassing moments of my youth. These kids who read yesterday were so self-assured and articulate. I was impressed!

When the keynote speaker got up to address them, everyone was enthralled. Mr Delgado told some amazing stories of searching undersea wrecks off the coast of Japan -- a Mongol fleet who had come to invade Japan had been scuttled by the Samurai. The legend was that a wind (the kamakazi) had come up and the storm sank the ship. But when Delgado and his colleagues began searching they found instead that the ships had been set afire. He told how they'd come across the remains of a man who had worn leather armour, and where his outstretched hand had been was a cup with his name on it "Wang". He was identified as the commander of the fleet. To parallel this story, Delgado told about descending to the depths of the Atlantic to explore the wreck of the Titanic. He talked about seeing parts of the ship which he related to stories of that fateful day -- the place where the captain had stood, the broken mast and crowsnest where the bosun had first spotted the iceberg. And how he had seen clothing, left from those who had perished including a pair of leather women's lace-up shoes. The story brought tears to my eyes and there wasn't a sound in that big room, the children were so enraptued by the tale.

It was so inspiring and rewarding participating in such an event, with children who are so passionate about writing just as I had been at that age. I've spent time in classrooms before on the "Off the Page" program that I participate in each year through the Federation of B.C. Writers and it is always a rich experience.

This week has been a particularly dense writing week. Starting last Saturday when I spent the afternoon with two other writers screening entries for a one-page contest (and thrilled to recognized that two of my night-school students had their entries make it to the finals!)
All week I've had my critique groups, workshops, and classes -- yesterday's Youth Conference being the highlight. Tonight is the AGM for the Fed, more writerly activities, speakers, and generally schmoozing with literary folk. I'm feeling super motivated by all this and anxious to get back to my novel again, feeling somewhat empowered.

Listening to Mr. Delgado's talk yesterday made me realize how much I have missed the company of my scholarly friends in Greece, the Classical Scholars and archaeologists I know there who have helped me so much and kept me grounded in Alexander's world. Something has been missing for me for some time now and I recognized it yesterday. Perhaps that's what made me feel so emotional. It's a lonely enough world being a writer but when your mind is way out there in a far distant past world, it makes it seem even lonelier somehow. Thankfully, though, I do have a lot of writer associates. And those discussions I have with my workshop group and classes are like adding fuel to the fire.

"I was never allowed to read the popular American children's books of my day because, as my mother said, the children spoke bad English without the author's knowing it."
Edith Wharton 1862-1937 "A Backward Glance." ch 3


Sunday, May 21, 2006

I AM OLYMPIAS

I've been tagged by Gabriele to participate in this historical fiction meme "Who Am I?"
Her character "Charlemagne" challenged my character "Olympias". "Who Am I?" you ask?

I am Olympias, widow of Kiing Philip II of Macedon, mother of Alexander, the greatest warrior-king the world has ever known. I was given the name of Myrtale at my birth, but I knew that I deserved a more majestic title. So after I married Philip, I changed my name to Olympias because
"I am one who dwells on the holy mountain Olympus, with the gods."

I want the world to remember me, just as they remember my kinsman Achilles and my invincible son, Alexander. When I was a child, I wanted my mother to dip me in the Styx so I could become immortal just as Thetis had dipped her son Achilles (who unfortunately was left with a vulnerable heel). So I went to the River myself, and dipped my whole body in the sacred stream making certain not one inch of me was left unwashed.

I wish the world would remember me not as an over-possessive, vindictive, murderous witch (or so they have called me!) but as the magnificent powerful woman that I am.

I hate those desipicable men who published slanderous stories about me. I especially detest the Antipides clan, in particular that old goat Antipater who ruled as Regent for my husband and son. Mostly I despise his evil son, that slime, Kassandros, who I hold responsible for my son's death (and later, my own demise and that of my grandson, thus putting an end to our illustrious and powerful dynasty)

I miss my son. I have never recovered from his death, nor for those many yeasr we were separated whle he roamed the world. And I also miss the shady groves of Dodoni where I worshipped in Zeus-Ammon's sacred grove and danced with the maenaeds in the forest.

I fear nothing. I am blessed by the gods and privileged to carry the seed of Ammon. I was visited by His golden snake, which impregnated me and thus I bore my marvelous son Alexander. Zeus Ammon protects me. Even on the day my enemies surrounded me and stoned me to death, I was not afraid. I kept my eyes on the holy mountain because I knew my soul would be recieved by the gods there and I would dewell eternally on Olympus.

I hear many rumours about my life. People claim that my son as not concieved by the God, but by his mortal father Philip. It swear it is not a myth that I was visited by Ammon's golden snake. The deposed shaman Pharoah Nectanabo can verify this because he was there. (Yes, I know there are some nay-sayers who claim the Pharoah gave me magic potions and tricked me into believe my son was conceived of the god. But I know it is not a falsehood to say that Alexander was the son of Ammon and this was proven by his magnificent deeds!). I have heard of the many slanderous stories that are told by writers of histories and other who hate me because they are jealous of my power and my outstanding beauty.

I wonder what would have become of Macedon if Alexander had not died in Babylon. He had so many more worlds to conquor. And after he died his greedy Successors quarreled and divided his Empire until finally it all ended in such extreme tragedy.

I regret that I did not go to Babylon even though Alexander did not invite me there. A foolish slight on his part. He often quarreled with me -- thought I meddled in his affairs -- but if he had allowed me to come there, perhaps he would not have died.

I am not the murderess, the husband-killer, as people have portrayed me to be. I only acted in self defence or in defence of my son, and later on behalf of my grandson. I did not have a hand in Philip's assassination, although I will admit to the world that I had grown to hate my husband for his drunken philandering and for his slights to Alexander and me.

I would dance on the graves of my enemies if I could. I admit that I danced with happiness when my husband died and rewarded his assassin with special homage.

I sing in praise of Zeus-Ammon and in honor of my illustrious son, Alexander.

I cried with indescribable grief over my son's death. And so would I have grieved over the death of my grandson, though by then I had already crossed the River.

I am not always given the honours due me. I was born a princess of Epirus, became the Queen of Macedon and later I ruled the Molossians on behalf my other grandson, Neoptolemos. (That stupid daughter of mine, Kleopatra, abandoned her children in my care and went off to Syria hoping to marry Alexander's first-in-command General Perdikkas. Unfortunately Perdikkas was assassinated in Egypt before the marriage could take place and as a punishment, Kleopatra was exiled there on command of the Regent, Antipater.)

I made a pact with my son that I would not allow anyone to stand in the way of him inheriting what was rightfully his - the throne of Macedon. I kept my word, and saw that anyone who threatened his inheritance was quickly disposed of. That included my husband's new wife and her offspring. After Philip's death how could I allow that young trollop free reign in my rightful place or risk the chance that her brat would claim the throne?

I wrote many letters to Alexander warning him of the Regent's ambitions and complaining of the way Antipater treated me. Later, when that scum Kassandros tried to seize power for himself, I wrote to my son's allies, especially Eumenes who had been the chief secretary, and asked for his help in protecting Alexander's empire. None of the Successors were as capable as Alexander, or strong enough to keep the empire from falling into chaos. Ptolemy was the only one who amounted to anything, really, with his satrapy of Egypt. But he was another one of Philip's illegitmate by-blows and although I know my son admired him, I did not approve and would not ask him for his help. In the end Ptolemy sided with that evil scoundral Kassandros because they were bound by marriage ties. Eumenes was the only one I trusted, though he was a Karian Greek. Unfortunately he, too, was killed.

I confuse some who thought my marriage to Philip was only a political union, designed to help him seize control of Epirus. This is wrong. In the beginning we were passionately in love. We met at the Temple of the Great Gods in Samothraki. He was enchanted with me from the very first moment he laid eyes on me. I was only fifteen and a noted beauty who came from an esteemed royal line. I was also an initiate into the cult there -- as well as other cults (some people have accused me of being a witch). It was later, when Philip put me aside in favour of lesser women (mere sword-brides of no account) that I began to hate him. He was a brilliant commander and strategist, but he was also a brual man, a drunkard and had an insatiable penchant for youths and maidens. Most of all, I could not tolerate the way he treated our son.

I need the world to remember me, because without me Alexander would not have become the King of Macedon and heir of Philip's empire.

I should have followed Alexander to Babylon after he left me but how could I have known that I would never see him again -- that after those ten long years he would die so far from home. Some claim he died of illness -- he had many wounds and suffered from various ailments contracted during his campaigns in those snake and mosquito-infested lands. But I know, will proclaim to all the world, that he died of malice. That Kassandros and his young brother Iollas, who was Alexander's cup-bearer mixed his wine with tainted water and poisoned him.
So, I hold Kassandros accountable for his death, and eventually for the fall of Alexander's dynasty.

I start each day making sacrifices to Zeus Ammon and give tributes in honour of my son.
And after I serve the Gods, I burn magic potions and send curses to my enemies, especially Kassandros. My he die a death of misery, eaten alive by worms.

I finished my life with dignity, at the hands of my adversaries. It was a pitiable ending -- trapped in that dingy old sea fort at Pynda -- everyone was starving to death (they even ate the elephants) and worse -- all my beloved snake-daimons perished. I watched my little grandson grow thinner each day. I had grown fond of him and his mother too -- though she was a foreign girl and I would have prefered Alexander to marry a Macedonian. I could not see them die the way the others had. There was no way out. Kassandros had trapped us there like rats in a rat-hole.
I surrendered myself to his people (he sent the families of of his clan whose kinsmen I had ordered killed). They surrounded me and pelted me with stones. I did not flinch. I had lived a long life and would die with dignity. I simply stood tall, and kept my eyes on the high snow-capped peaks of the holy mountain, Olympus. I knew that when I died my soul would go there and I would dwell there forever with the Gods.

I tag Mira Deb. over at pendrifter, will you take up my challenge?
I wish I could tag my friend Susan too, so that you could hear Freydis, Eriksdotter speak. But alas! She does not have a blogsite.

note: This was fun. I have reached a point in the conclusive chapters of my novel when Olympias will take an active role. Til now she has mostly been mentioned but has not had much chance to 'star' on her own in the drama, except for a much earlier chapter when her daughter Kleopatra, announced she was going off to Syria in hopes of marrying Perdikkas. So by doing this exerice, it helped put me right into Olympias' head and this is very important when building strong characters in our stories. Thanks, Gabriele, for the challenge!


Monday, May 15, 2006

FORTUNE SMILES ON ME

"Do you wish to roam farther and farther?
See! The Good lies so near.
Only learn to seize good fortune,
For good fortune's always here."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832 "Remembrance"

I was looking for the Muse and she came to me, bringing great good Fortune!
This past week has been incredible. Aside from the computer hassles a lot of interesting, good things happened. First, I have booked and paid for my ticket to Chile (leaving mid Nov.) I was invited to visit Santiago by the ex-wife of my dear friend A. It will not only be a sentimental journey, to visit the places he loved and told me about, but I will make it a travel writer's trip as well. One destination I really want to see is the home(s) of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda.

On Saturday it was the annual gala for the B.C. Travel Writer's Association. Last year's gala proved very lucky for me as I ended up winning the trip to Malaysia. I wasn't expecting any such great luck this year, but just to enjoy the afternoon with the travel writers, sitting in on the seminar and making a few contacts. I took along one of my friends who just finished my travel writing course and there were a few other former travel writing students of mine attending as well, some who now belong to the Association and have become quite successful travel writers. It was a fun afternoon, and of course the seminars are always very informative.

There are always several draws and both members and non-members can enter these. My friend and I decided if one of us won the spa trip or the mountain retreat get-away, we'd take the other along. Of course, we didn't have such luck to win any of those. I did win a flash thingy for my computer (to store files) and co-incidentally this was a gift donated by Malaysian Tourism and has their logo on it. There were lots of good prizes. Then the big one -- the door prize, for members only. And guess who won plane tickets for two to New York City(plus city tours)!!!

I was absolutely stunned and overwhelmed with surprise. Imagine that, winning the big prize two years in a row! What luck!

Of course I immediately begin to think, "Gee, Chile in November and perhaps N.Y. in September and still the possibility of Cuba in December with my Havana Buddy! Can I do this?" Then again, why should I feel 'guilty' about all these gifts of travel opportunities? After all, I AM a travel journalist!

"So my conscience chide me not, I am ready for Fortune as she wills."
Dante Alighieri 1265 - 1321 "The Divine Comedy" (1310-1321) "Inferno Canto" XV l. 91

My travel writing friends were all thrilled that I'd won. "You deserve it!" they chimed.
But I still can't believe what great good Fortune I have. The gods of travel and luck must be favoring me big-time. I have a lot to be grateful for. It's been thirty years since I visited New York. I had been there in '68 and on that trip I really 'found myself" (wrote one of my Confession stories about it.) That trip changed my life. The second time, I visited my friend and her husband and was just as thrilled, especially because she lived in the neighbourhood where my literary hero, Jack Kerouac, had gone to school. I saw the original show of "Hair" in N.Y.C. and was there just before Woodstock happened. So I am naturally really keen on seeing what N.Y.C. is like now, and especially to take in some shows and galleries. Wow! I can hardly believe it!

I've barely come down to earth today after such a stupendous weekend which included probably the best Mother's Day I've had in years. Calls from my kids, a lovely gift from my daughter, and at the end of the day a suprirse call from my grandson. I spent the day at a picnic with my friend Anne's family and even the weather co-operated with warm sunshine!

So I am starting this new week feeling elated and happy. Even the few glitches still in my computer won't deter me from making the best of things.

As it was Mother's Day, it seems appropriate that I was challenged to write a meme about Olympias, Alexander the Great's mother, so watch for it, coming soon to this blog site!

"Cease to ask what the morrow will bring forth,
and set down as gain each dat that Fortune grants."
Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) 65-8 BC "Odes" bk 1, l. 13


Sunday, May 07, 2006

ROMANCING THE MUSE

MIDNIGHT MUSE

My Muse comes after midnight
Nudges me awake,
Whispers urgently:
"Get up! Write!"
I curse her, stumble across the dark room,
search for matches, light the candle wick.
Where has she been in the daylight?
How many hours did I wait for her,
Listen for her to speak?
"Where were you?" I ask
"Was it your voice I heard
While I daydreamed in the sun?
Or was it only the sound
Of sheep bells on the mountain?"
"Write!" she demands. "Write!"
And I know
If I wait til morning
The words she whispers to me
Will be extinguished
Like this candle flame
as I snuff it out."

Written while living in a shepehrd's cottage, Lala, Euboeia, Greece

After that dismal start last week, things rapidly improved and much was accomplished.
First, I finished the corrections on my Rimbun Dahan article. Now I just have to find a home for it. Every one of my classes last week were dynamite, beginning with the workshop for novice writers I instruct on Tuesday nights, then the Prompting the Muse class on Wednesday, and finally my small but inspiring Memoirs group and the exciting gang in the Travel Writing class Thursday. Who couldn't feel inspired and uplifted by all that super energy?

I did some work on the novel, too, and although it was mostly research (which never ends!) I am making some slow but sure progress.

Friday I went shopping with my friend and bought two books. One is a beautifully illustrated book "Healthy Recipies from South East Asia" and the other, "Zorro" by Isabel Allende.
I was always a fan of the legendary masked hero Zorro and I'm also a fan of Allende's novels, so I couldn't resist buying it even though it adds to the stack of my TBRs which seems to be growing instead of diminishing. (I'm not riding the buses so much at this time so my pleasure reading time is cut down.)

Allende says that as a young child she was in love with Zorro. Like me, she and her friends played at Zorro games and watched the Zorro films. So when she was commissioned to write about him, at first she hesitated (becuse she doesn't write from commissions) but then agreed.
I'm looking forward to delving into the life of this swashbucking hero. He ranks along with the pirates I used to read so much about. In my imagination I was one of them! (And by the way the pirate t-shirt I bought in Malaysia is making a big hit every time I wear it!)

I had a very enjoyable weekend, from dancing salsa on Friday night to hanging out at home last night putting together my photo-scrapbook about Malaysia. Today I'm having lunch and dinner with friends and in between my novel awaits. I feel in a much happier frame of mind now, thanks to the Muse. It should be a good week ahead!

"...But the Muses loved me.
For my suffering they gave me a honeyed gift:
My name survives me, Thanks to the sweet Muses..."

Leonidas of Tarentum 290 - 220 BC
"From the Greek Anthology" 1973 translated by Peter Jay, ed. no. 189


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

O! FOR A MUSE OF FIRE!

"O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!"
William Shakespeare 1564-1616 "King Henry the Fifth" Part II, chorus 1 - 1 (1598-1599)

I'm in a blue mood though the reasons why are complex and not even clear to me, and perhaps insignificant, maybe even 'childish'. Just one of those days (weeks?) I suppose. Actually, things are going well in many respects so I don't know why I feel so grouchy! Yesterday I spent five hours working on my Rimbun Dahan story. (That's the centre for contemporary and traditional art I visited in Malaysia. see www.rimbundahan.org). Today...in a few minutes...I'll be working on my novel again.

This morning I went to water fit. The sun is shining. Tonight my private workshop group meets here (the one I instruct which is a spin-off from my night school classes last semester). I just love my classes and the incredibly talented and interesting people I meet who come to them. And it's always a pleasure to help out someone who is just finding their voice and beginning to write. Besides the workshop, I have two other classes this Spring: "Prompting the Muse" and "Travel Writing". And of course I have my wonderful Memoir group on Thursday mornings, though it's a tiny group this time. Last night I went to my own critique group, Scribblers, though I didn't read. Since last week I feel unsettled, frustrated and even kind of ticked off because of a small turn-of-events to do with our planned retreat next month. Oh well, it will probably all blow over, once I get into a better mood.

I know once I get writing I will forget about everything else. Yesterday was excellent, finishing up the R.D. story, although I still need to do some editing. Now, hopefully, the Muse will co-operate when I return to the novel. No sense getting discouraged!

Anyway, off I went last night, all spiffied up in my new jeans with the sparkly bum-pockets, and new pink dancing shoes, super empowered because my writing day had been so successful, only to feel shot-down again. Aaargh! Maybe I'm just being childish
because part of it is all to do my my up-and-coming birthday celebration which was supposed to happen the weekend of the retreat, which, I thought, we'd celebrate with the traditional Gemini Party. Now, it seems, the plans are changed and I feel kind of let down. Long story, but it's thrown a bucket of cold water on my parade.

To add fuel to my snarky mood, when I got home last night I was outraged to receive an email from a cousin in U.S. that quoted some Republican senator in a tirade of the most obnoxious right wing racist propoganda against Latinos that I have ever heard. It disgusts me to think that sort of rhetoric is allowed to go on in the States. Putting up a wire fence across the U.S. Mexican border? Isn't that a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has already escaped? Give these people an amnesty and THEN take a good hard look at future immigration policies.
Oh, I wish I'd been in California to join the march! (Of course all this brought back so many memories of my Chilean friend, Anibal, who would have been completely livid about the state of affairs.)
Meanwhile, in Cuba, Fidel was making one of his famous lengthy May-day speeches while the Cuban people danced in the streets. But I shall not comment further on this as I didn't intend this blog to become a political rant against U.S. policies. (Instead, I shall go back to sorting out the somewhat similar state of events in Greece, 4th C. B.C.)

Ah well..back to the Muse...I have the rest of the week to enjoy my classes and as I'm not working any days this week, I have the whole day to write. How lucky is that?

I try to keep a decent schedule for myself. Usually starting at 11 a.m. and working through the afternoon is the best writing program for me. It gives me a bit of lee-way for getting house chores done and a minimal amount of procrastinating. Somewhere in between I'll stop for lunch (if I remember, as once I'm on a roll I'll keep on going for hours!) So today I've used up all the morning as I didn't get home from the pool and shopping until late. Which means I better sign off and leave this Pity Party. I hope to be in a better mood when I return, and have at least another chapter finished!

And, oh yes...off topic but still a big event in my life: I joined Weight Watchers last weekend.
And this week's entertainment news: I'm meeting my Havana Buddy at the L.Q. to listen to jazz after my class Wed. night. Cool! See? My life is really nothing to be grouchy about!

"An inveterate and incurable itch for writing besets many, and grows old in their sick hearts."
Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenales) AD 55 - 130 "Satires" VII - l 51