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Posts Tagged ‘books’

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion in Athens. Wikimedia photo

A New Word for my Vocabulary

I love analogies, especially ones that are as fresh as the smell of baby powder, as bright as the shine on a new car in a showroom, and as unused as a heavy wool court on a summer day in the desert.

Austrian Parliament Building. … Encyclopedia Britannica.

A writer can say a lot with a few words and a good analogy. But I recently came across one that left me puzzled because it contained a word that wasn’t yet in my vocabulary. The phrase that threw me was: “as straight-backed as a caryatid,” which was part of a sentence in Rosemary Mahoney’s Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff.

What in the heck is a caryatid, I wondered, then copied the word down in the notebook that is always beside me when I read.

Usually I can guess what a word means because of how it is used by the

Intricate hairstyle of Caryatid, displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. — Wikimedia photo

writer, and I usually discover I’ve pretty much hit the mark when I finally look the word up in a dictionary, but caryatid had me fully stumped. I used to actually have a dictionary by my reading chair, but these days, having kept up with the computer age, I use an online version.

When I finally got on my computer, I learned, according to Wikipedia, that a caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support that takes the place of a column or a pillar, and that the karyatides is a Greek term that means “maidens of Karyai.”

Who are the maidens of Karvai, and who are what is Karvai? This wondering mind of mine never seems to stop.

Karvai was an ancient Peloponnese village with a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, where maidens held dances in which they carried baskets of live reeds on their heads, as if they were dancing plants.

But, as a good journalist always does, I went to a second source. And the answers here were a bit different. According to the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica:

A Caryatid, in classical architecture, is a draped female figure used instead of a column. They first as appeared in pairs in three small buildings at Delphi  (550–530 bc), and their origin can be traced back to mirror handles of nude figures carved from ivory in Phoenicia, and draped figures cast from bronze in archaic  Greece. According to a story related by the 1st-century-bc Roman architectural writer Vitruvius, caryatids represented the women of Caryae, who were doomed to hard labor because the town sided with the Persians in 480 bc during their second invasion of Greece.

And so went my morning of research instead of writing. But I did add a new word to my vocabulary.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Something to Think About http://tinyurl.com/lmab4qh And do — in a world gone mightily mad.

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I was driving across West Texas before dawn last month, when the sun began to rise. I stopped on the side of the road to capture it. I drove on with renewed energy and a heart full of thankfulness. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I was driving across West Texas before dawn last month, when the sun began to rise. I stopped on the side of the road to capture it. I drove on with renewed energy and a heart full of thankfulness. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

“A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.” – Mark Twain

These Are Mine

A Southern Idaho sunset.

A Southern Idaho sunset.

My online writing circle’s recent writing prompt was to write about what we considered necessities.

So after taking away air, food, clothing and shelter – which are really the true necessities – I came up with this list:

Sunrises to let me know I’ve survived another day.

Hugs from family and friends.

Interesting conversations from any and all.

Books to make me think or simply escape.

Time to myself to ponder and wonder.

Daily walks to keep my old limbs moving.

Hot baths to ease my old joints and make me feel like I live in luxury.

Art to bring out my creative side.

Travel to explore new places and to learn new things about myself.

Transportation to get from one place to another.

My canine companion, Pepper, to keep me from ever being lonely.

Daily writing, which is as important to me as daily breathing.

Sunsets so I know I’ve made it to the end of the day, and simply because of their wondrous beauty.

Sleep so I can enjoy all of the above.

So do you think I want too much? And what do you consider your necessities?

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Swimming with Green Sea Turtles http://tinyurl.com/kqqd4gp  I once swam with sea turtles, off Buck Island in the Caribbean. What great memories.

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   “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Fall was in full progress when I arrived in Maine, and followed me on my southward return. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Fall was in full progress when I arrived in Maine, and followed me on my southward return. — Photo by Pat Bean

Is Finished

For all of you who have stuck with me for a bit, and followed the writing journey of my book, “Travels with Maggie,” I’m delighted to inform you that it is now ready to go out to the world.

Maggie claiming the driver's seat during a stop for gas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Maggie claiming the driver’s seat during a stop for gas. — Photo by Pat Bean

The 75,000-word travel book/memoir is about a six-month journey my canine companion, Maggie, and I took in 2006. The title is inspired by John Steinbeck’s  “Travels with Charlie,” and I’ve been telling prospective agents it would sit nicely on a book shelf between his book, and Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road,” with Tim Cahill’s “Road Fever” nearby, but that its uniqueness lies in the fact that it was written by an old-broad, wandering-wonderer.

I’m currently in the process of looking at ways to get it published as an e-book, and getting a cover designed for it. Next will come a printed book – I’m hoping.

The journey began in Camden, Arkansas, where my youngest daughter lived at the time, and ended in Rowlett, Texas, in time for Thanksgiving dinner at my oldest daughter’s home. It was a trip of 7,000 miles that took me to Maine and Acadia National Park that wriggled its way through 23 states and Canada.

Any advice those of you who have self-published a book is welcome. Especially helpful would be experiences any of my readers have had with Vook or Bookbaby.

Meanwhile, this is my way of yelling from the mountain top that the third rewrite of “Travels with Maggie” is now behind me.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Two short videos. Footloose and Kevin Bacon fans will enjoy this one, even if they saw it on the Jimmy Fallon show: http://tinyurl.com/oldwfxj And old broads and anyone who loves life will enjoy this one. I smiled all the way through it. http://tinyurl.com/qz8btq6

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The Pain of Living

            “Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

Life is full of rainbows, and life is full of storms. The first without the second wouldn't be as sweet. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Life is full of rainbows, and life is full of storms. The first without the second wouldn’t be as sweet. — Photo by Pat Bean

You Can’t Escape 

            I’ve been reading books for a female memoir writing contest. Several of them deal with surviving the pain of losing loved ones – and most of these books left me feeling a bit cynical. Everyone who lives to a ripe age loses loved ones. It’s part of life’s journey.

If we're lucky we get to smell the flowers along the way. -- Photo by Pat Bean

If we’re lucky we get to smell the flowers along the way. — Photo by Pat Bean

Sure it hurts. I’m still hurting from the loss of my mother, and I can only imagine the pain I will have to live through if one of my children dies before I do. That’s not the order in which life is supposed to be lived.

But why, I asked myself, did some of these authors act like their suffering was the only loss in the world? Get over it, I wanted to tell them.

But one of the memoirs involving death got to me. It was written by a woman whose activities included research involving hospice patients nearing death. She spent time with these people, recording their feelings and coming to care for them.

The researcher became especially close to one woman on the verge of death. This was a woman who had lived a hard street life, and admitted stealing, lying and prostituting herself to get the drugs she craved. “I cared for nobody else but myself,” she related.

And occasionally simply have time to sit and let the world go by. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And occasionally simply have time to sit and let the world go by. — Photo by Pat Bean

Before this woman died, the researcher herself found herself with cancer, and facing possible death.  The news upset the former drug addict so much that she bullied her hospice attendants into transporting her in a wheelchair to the researcher’s side in a hospital.

When the researcher apologized for causing the dying woman pain, the woman thanked her instead.

“For the first time, I know what it feels like to care about someone besides myself. It makes me feel alive in a way that I never did before,” she told the researcher

These words caused tears to flow from my eyes. I, too, in a moment of sorrow had once been grateful for pain. While it was a love that was rejected that had given me the pain, it was this same pain that let me know I still had the capacity to love.

In my book, that was treasured knowledge.

Bean’s Pat: Grateful for one more day http://tinyurl.com/kcnd7fa And hopeful for many more

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Just a Reminder

             “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

Some say the Mourne Mountains  in Ireland were Lewis' inspiration for the land of Narnia.  -- Wikipedia photo

Some say the Mourne Mountains in Ireland were Lewis’ inspiration for the land of Narnia. — Wikipedia photo

The Chronicles of Narnia

            One of the nice things about growing older is the opportunity to go back and reread the books that you loved reading as a child. I recently did that with the “Chronicles of Narnia.”

What fun!

And this is how film makers pictures it in one of the Narnia movies.

And this is how film makers pictured it in one of the Narnia movies.

As a child, I read for the love of the adventure, not being able to turn the pages fast enough to satisfy my need to know what happens next. I still do that. But I also sometimes take time to look for deeper meanings.

It was easy to find them in Lewis’ Narnia, which he wrote about in seven fantasy novels for young people. The books sold over 100 million copies, and are now being made into movies that  have hit it big at the box office.

I guess I’m not the only one enchanted by Lewis’ imaginative mind and words.

More C.S. Lewis

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to earn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

            “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

            “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

            “We are what we believe we are.”

            “Reason is the natura order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.”

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Being Present http://tinyurl.com/pxzl5nk Something worth remembering.

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The woods play a big role in the Tir Alainn series by Anne Bishop, so I thought I would illustrate my blog with a couple of my favorite tree photos. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The woods play a big role in the Tir Alainn series by Anne Bishop, so I thought I would illustrate my blog with one of  my favorite tree photos. — Photo by Pat Bean

Across bridges and into the woods, just like in "Shadows and Light." -- Photo by Pat Bean

Across the bridge  and into the woods, just like in “Shadows and Light.” — Photo by Pat Bean

            “The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

I  Kept Turning Pages

I’m a bit groggy today. It could be because I stayed up way too early – like until around 3 a.m. – to finish reading Anne Bishop’s “Shadows and Light,” the second in her Tir Alainn trilogy.

I only discovered Anne last month when I was browsing the science fiction and fantasy section of the local library. I’m always looking for good fantasy books and new authors. And after I had read the first in this series, “The Pillars of the World,” I was hooked on Anne.

The  main characters are the Fey and Witches – and strong women. What’s so fun about the creativity allowed in fantasy writing is that Anne’s characterization of Witches and the Fey are quite different from how other authors portray them.

It reminds me of the many different King Arthur versions floating around out there. My all time favorite is Mary Stewart’s Merlin series that begins with “The Crystal Cave,” published in 1970. I was a big fan of Mary long before that, hooked on her historical fiction, with mystery thrown into the mix.” I think I read just about everything Mary ever wrote, including “Nine Coaches Waiting, “My Brother Michael” and Moonspinners.

Just thinking about Mary makes me want to go and revisit some of her work, particularly the Merlin books.  But then there’s also my desire to read Anne’s third book in the Tir Alainn trilogy, “The House of Gaian,” – and her other books as well. I find that if I like one book by an author, I usually like their almost everything they write.

I wonder how much sleep I really need?

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

  Bean’s Pat: Life’s Total Immersion http://tinyurl.com/c23slef This blogger better expressed some of my own thoughts about why I like fantasy.

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          “This book is many things – a sketchbook, a journal, an attempt to understand other beings – but it is not a dispassionate recitation of scientific truths about birds. It’s a series of stories that I hope will pull back a curtain on … minds.” – Julie Zickefoose on her book, “The Bluebird Effect”

"The Bluebird Effect by Julie Zickefoose

“The Bluebird Effect by Julie Zickefoose

A Book for Bird Lovers

          I’ve long been a Julie Zickefoose fan, mostly through enjoying her art and painting in Bird Watcher’s Digest, in which she was featured almost every month.

One of the watercolors by Julie Zickefoose included in the book.

One of the watercolors by Julie Zickefoose included in the book.

          Being a writer who often sent articles to the magazine on speculation, and who was rejected every time but once — and then my piece, after being accepted, was killed and not run although I did get a kill fee  – I was jealous.

          Then I learned that Julie was married to the magazine’s editor and I felt a bit better. She had an in that I didn’t. That’s not to say Julie’s work wasn’t worth of being in the magazine every month. I often thought it was the best piece of work in the Digest.

007

          And I was thrilled when I discovered she had written a book, “The Bluebird Effect.” It became the very next book I bought. I buy, if you hadn’t guessed, about a half-dozen books a month, and read those and about a half-dozen more as well.

          Julie’s book didn’t disappoint. Her art work, from quick sketches to colorful and detailed watercolors provided a delightful and enlightening look at birds and nature.

          If, like me, you like birds and art, then I bet you will love this book.

          Bean’s Pat: Julie Zickefoose  http://tinyurl.com/d7w9vud Great blog. And it just seemed appropriate to share more of this artistic writer’s awesome work.

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