The flowering quince is one of the first things I planted in the spring of 1976. It was an offshoot of a bush down at what was the Freeman's and is now Justin and Claui's house and it has persisted and spread to the point that every year I hack at it, trying to control its spreading tendency. But those early buds and blooms -- ahh!
Many of my daffodils date back to that spring -- the gift of that same neighbor. Daffodils multiply into big clumps that need thinning and resetting every few years -- another thing for the to do list. Daffodils also seem to be impervious to the various critters that wipe out tulips -- alas for all the beautiful tulips I've planted over the years that are only a memory now.
Forsythia, or Yellow Bells as my neighbor called them, is another vigorous and hardy spreader. It's nice to bring inside for some early blooms and it also roots quite easily, making it easy to share with friends.
So much in my garden that dates back to those early years was the gift of friends and neighbors, and I think of many of them, now gone, especially when the blooms return in the spring -- the eternal return.
I grew up reading Greek mythology and knew those gods and goddesses and their carrying on backwards and forwards. But somehow I was never much attracted to the tales of the Norse pantheon -- for one thing the names were so hard to pronounce (and there are so many of them, even for inanimate objects like Mjollnir and Gjallerhorn.)
And though I was aware that my literary heroes C.S. Lewis and J.R. R. Tolkien were deeply influenced by these stories, I managed to avoid knowing much more than the bare details of Odin, Thor, Loki, and Valhalla.
When I read Gaiman's wonderful American Gods and realized that it was all about the Norse gods, albeit in modern form, I thought to myself that I really needed to pursue this.
But I didn't.
Now the perfect introduction has come along. Gaiman's very personal story telling style introduces the Norse pantheon in manageable doses. And since I have the audio version with Gaiman doing the reading, now I know how those tricky words should be pronounced.
It's not a scholarly approach -- it's a story teller's version. Indeed, in the introduction Gaiman encourages readers to make these stories their own, to retell them -- just as they have been retold down the centuries. As I listened to the tales, I could remember echoes of them in various books and see parallels in other religions and cultures.
I adore listening to Gaiman read. And here he's made these stories his own -- the Norse deities speak, not in the high flown language some might ascribe to deities but in colloquial English -- British English with a variety of accents.
I highly recommend this book on its own merits and because it's a great start -- I foresee doing some more reading, serious reading, to broaden my understanding of this mythology.
HERE is an excellent review from the Washington Post that pretty much coincides with my own reactions.
Sometimes a man just needs to be off by himself . . . Away from the bother of family life . . . The screaming kids, the quarrelsome wife . . . Out in nature on the wild river That flows down to Hot Springs . . . And the hot tubs . . . and the hippie chicks Just off the Appalachian Trail . . . Maybe looking for a real man . . .
But the river keeps running, not stopping for no one . . . Bound for Tennessee and beyond . . . River joining river . . . carefree Sliding through state lines . . . Into the great Mississippi, and down to New Orleans . . . Music and booze, all night long. . . And the women . . . wild and free as the river, they say . . .
One of my Facebook friends posted that she and her wife were considering different plans for Valentine's Day -- dinner out? dinner and a movie? Fancy restaurant? View and Brew? They decided to go with picking up a pizza locally, taking it home, and watching Netflix in their jammies.
I had to laugh -- something like that's our usual choice for celebrations. Tonight we're fixing a Surf 'n Turf -- filet mignons and crab cakes, along with stuffed baked potatoes and green beans and salad. With expresso chip ice cream for dessert. Quick, easy, and indulgent. And we'll be watching Netflix too -- probably MidSomer Murders - a series we've just gotten into. All that gorgeous English countryside and amazing character actors!
A little bubbly and the spicy scent of the Stargazer lilies that were an early Valentine present from John -- how could it be better?
Hoping that you treat yourself to something special!
June 1o - Speaking at a luncheon at Montreat College
June 25-July 1 -- John C. Campbell Folk School. I'll be teaching A Practical Guide to Writing Popular Fiction. Your novel starts here with this intense, week-long class. We will focus on writing realistic dialogue and creating characters that move through and interact with a fully realized setting. We will discuss different approaches to plotting, tricks for building suspense, means of ensuring continuity, and the avoidance of info dumps. We'll also talk about forming or joining critique groups, the ins and outs of self editing, agents and how to query them, as well as the various publishing alternatives available today. All levels welcome. Link to JCC HERE.
July 8-15 Wildacres Writing Workshop. I will be leading a workshop on the novel. Here's your chance to spend a week surrounded by writers of all sorts. The 2017 schedule is not posted yet but you can get an idea of what goes on by a look at last year's HERE.
All images and content are subject to copyright and are the sole property of Vicki Lane Mysteries. If you would like to use something from my blog on your blog or website, please email me and ask first. I'll probably say yes.
I'm the author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell. The series includes SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS in France), ART'S BLOOD, (LE SECRET DES APPALACHES in France,) OLD WOUNDS,IN A DARK SEASON (Anthony Nominee, Best PBO), and UNDER THE SKIN. There's also THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (a spinoff/standalone)chronicling the unexpected life story of Miss Birdie, one of Elizabeth's neighbors.
Currently I have just completed a historical novel, dealing with a massacre in my county during the Civil War.
I came to this weird business late (my first novel was published in 2005) and am still trying to figure it out.
As my novels are set in a place much like my real life home, I thought I'd use this blog to share pictures of our farm and county. I've been blogging for nearly nine years now, on an almost daily basis, and the topics have ranged from writing, chickens, food, books, quilts, flora and fauna of all sorts, to the occasional tiny rant. There's no plan, but there are lots of pictures.
There's more information about me and my books on my web site: http://vickilanemysteries.com/