Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Jack London

A quote from an article about this writer:
"In 1898, Jack London was trapped in an Alaskan cabin while, outside, winter froze everything to icy stillness. “Nothing stirred,” he wrote later. “The Yukon slept under a coat of ice three feet thick.” London, then 22, had come to Alaska to make his fortune in the gold rush, but all he’d found was a small amount of dust worth $4.50. A diet of bacon, beans, and bread had given him scurvy. His gums bled, his joints ached, and his teeth were loose. London decided that, if he lived, he would no longer try to rise above poverty through physical labor. Instead, he would become a writer. So he carved into the cabin wall the words “Jack London Miner Author Jan 27, 1898 . . .
When London returned from the Klondike, he dove into writing, churning out thousands of words. For months, he got nothing for his efforts but rejection letters—over 600 of them. “Everything I possessed was in pawn, and I did not have enough to eat,” he wrote of that time. “I was at the end of my tether, beaten out, starved, ready to go back to coal-shoveling or ahead to suicide.” Then he sold two short stories, one for $5 and another for $40. Slowly, he began publishing, and in 1903 he wrote three books, including The Call of the Wild. He followed up with more hits—White Fang, The Sea-Wolf, and Martin Eden, among others. By his late 20s, he was the highest-paid writer in the United States. . . "
The rest of the article is here: The first and last lives of Jack London

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Thoughts about writers and writing

Why are writers so insecure?
It's because we KNOW we can writer better. That vision in our head, those voices we hear in our mind dictating the story just can't be matched by the paltry words we manage to get down on the page. (or typed into the computer file) We feel we can't measure up to those who've gone on before - even though we're pretty sure they also went through revision hell and fought the muddy, muddy middle.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Do you have a 'mind's eye?'

Do you have a 'mind's eye?' Can you see objects clearly when you imagine them? Artists can. What about writers?
I'm very face blind (can't remember what people look like and therefore don't recognize them again), but when I write, I 'see' the action played out in my mind and I write what I'm seeing. (no, I don't see faces) Also I hear it. Otherwise how could I, a soft-spoken, slow speaker be able to write a character who chatters all the time, who is occasionally funny, too , whereas I'm very seldom 'funny.' (not like clever David L.)  
I also dream clearly, but again, the people in my dreams (except for family faces) have very vague faces.  
I can draw, but not as well as some in my talented family.  
On the other hand, I've created floor plans for the children's area in two separate libraries and saw them set up exactly as I had planned them. There was some conflict about the second plan. The person in administration threw out my floor plan and tried to create her own. She finally told me that she couldn't set up the children's room with the book (etc.) collection that we had. That's when I learned she had thrown mine out. So I sent mine again, pointing out how this and that fit the space available. After a few questions (and revisions), the room was set up using my floor plan, which I enjoyed working in for over 10 years before I retired.
So, I guess I have a partial 'mind's eye,' but not for faces.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Dark Ages really were DARK

You've heard of the Dark Ages when you studied history in school.
Now you know why -- the whole Northern hemisphere was dark, crops couldn't grow causing starvation and plague.
The Worst Year in History?
This will surprise you
2020 has already been immortalized. It is a year that nobody will forget.
However, when speaking of the worst year recorded in human history there are many to choose from:
The year 1349 saw the Black Death kill half the population of Europe.
In 1520 smallpox ravaged the Americas and killed between 60 and 90 per cent of the continents’ original inhabitants.
In 1918 the Spanish Flu led to the deaths of over 50 million people.
The rise of Hitler in 1933 is often claimed to be the turning point in modern history.
However, many scholars, are unanimous in their choice. The title of the worst year in history is easily held by the year 536 AD.
Medieval historian, Michael McCormick has stated that “it was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year.” (Interview with Science Magazine). The year began with an inexplicable, dense fog that stretched across the world which plunged Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness 24 hours a day, for nearly 2 years.
Consequently, global temperatures plummeted which resulted in the coldest decade in over 2,000 years. Famine was rampant and crops failed all across Europe, Africa and Asia. 
Unfortunately, 536 AD seemed to only be a prelude to further misery. This period of cold and starvation caused economic stagnation in Europe and in 541 A.D. an outbreak of "bubonic plague" led to the death of nearly 100 million people and almost half of the Byzantine Empire.
Historians have often referred this part of the sixth century as the Dark Ages, but the true source of this darkness had previously been unknown. Recently, researchers led by McCormick and glaciologist Paul Mayewski, have discovered that a volcanic eruption in Iceland in early 536 led to the to huge amounts of ash being spread across the Northern Hemisphere. Creating the fog that cast the world into darkness. 
This eruption was so immense that it altered global climate patterns and adversely effected weather patterns and crop cultivation for years to come (Antiquity).
Labeling each new year as ‘the worst year in history’ has become something of a fad these days. We should look back to the year 536 A.D. and cherish how fortunate we are not to have lived in a time when the world was truly in darkness.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Quarantine computer activity

I sit down at computer to enter the title of the latest book I've read into this year's list.
-Activate computer.
-Open Safari to check weather, then get involved in FaceBook conversations.
-Check the online calendar. (nothing happening. I'm in quarantine)
-Close computer and begin to get up.
-oops, there's the book that I need to record.
-Sit back down at computer to enter the title into this year's list of books read.