Next week, I will be joining a handful of amazing writers and friends whose main purpose is to survive running 5 km. When I say ‘running’ I want to be all inclusive. Jogging. Power walking. Strolling. Walking the dog. Stopping for rests along the way to take in the view. Maybe even have a mid-way pit stop where we can discuss the virtues or lack thereof of famous writers from the 16th century. Seeing as the run is women only, we could debate the first female writer published. The point is, we will all line up, with a number tag on our shirts and began something close to running. We won’t stop until we cross the finish line. Read more
First, my short story Singapore Wept was published in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. The story is short, five or six paragraphs, and worth reading. Very relevant in this age of gun-related violence. If you have the time, hop over to it and give it a quick read. Also, every time you click on the link, it helps the spider bots of the internet with searches related to my name =). Read more
In 2017 a couple of members from the Stockholm Writers Group participated in a writers conference in the United States. When they came back, one of them took a look around and wondered why we didn’t have anything close to that in Stockholm and decided to do something about it. Read more
As some of you know I’m a member of the Stockholm Writers Group, a select group of writers founded over twenty years ago to provide feedback, encourage each other, and support each other with their writing goals. We meet on a regular basis and offer feedback to those who’ve submitted their work. In addition, we pair up with a writing buddy. Some terms we switch buddies, some terms we keep the buddies we have. At the moment, my buddy is a wonderful writer named Rebecca, and this past week when we met, the conversation turned to blogs.
We’ve decided to both revisit our blogs with a concentrated focus. She’s studying craft books and enjoys the exercises these books provide. She’s decided to focus her blog on those exercises, or insights she’s gained from the process. Read more
Most of the holidays I see advertised are always ‘National’. National Friendship Day, National Novel Reading Day, or National I like the Color Yellow Day. Sometimes it bothers me, this ‘National’ business, because I want to point out there’s an entire world out there. Why can’t we have more International days? But then I decide it’s all good in the end anyway, because I can’t keep up with all the different holidays. Read more
One of the first things my husband told me drove him crazy about Americans was our fascination with small talk. To him, small talk is fake. And pointless. I disagree. I miss small talk. I miss walking into a store and knowing you could speak to the guy next to you if you wanted to. Small talk allows you to connect with a real person and I rate it higher than Facebook, which is more like a mask for our lives than anything else. But I can understand how some people would think it’s fake. Who hasn’t taken part in a conversation that just drips with insincere phrases like, ‘Let’s do lunch!’, ‘You’re right! We should set up the largest snow-cone machine Colorado has ever seen!’, or, my favorite, ‘Call me anytime.’ (Although most of my friends actually do mean that last one. I have heard first-time acquaintances utter those words and wondered why. Do they have a shed full of axes? Are they trying to unload all their Kikkoman sauce on me? Oh God, they’re trying to sell me blocks for the Great Pyramids, aren’t they? Maybe I have a sinister mind, though). Read more
Autumn! This used to be my favorite time of the year. The world exploding in color, the crisp air, the smell of southern pines in the wind. Harvest festivals and masquerade parties. Apple pie. The smell of chimney smoke when people light up their fireplaces. Piles of leaves to dive into. Not to mention my birthday, which falls in late September. Why wouldn’t you love this season?
Then I moved to Sweden where it rains almost every single day until the snow shows up. I no longer wanted to walk through the leaves anymore because I came out all muddy and wet. An umbrella was required when you left home and, yes, it’s cold, but most years Sweden skips over ‘crisp’ and goes straight to ‘bundle up it’s freezing outside.’
This year, it’s different. I guess the rain came early, or it’s waiting to surprise us–either way, I’m thankful. It’s gorgeous outside! To celebrate, I thought I’d share a few photos. Read more
On Thursday, September 10th and Friday, September 11th the English Bookshop in Stockholm hosted two visiting authors, Jen Campbell, author of the hilarious Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and Marie Phillips, author of The Table of Less Valued Knights. Stockholm Writers Group member Karen Hagersten reached out to the bookshop and organized a wonderful evening for the group, and hopefully the authors.
For Jen’s talk, the bookshop was packed! Some folks were even sitting on the floor. But it was all worth it. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine, a great interview, and a chance to not only get a book signed, but also to chat for a moment with the authors? After Jen’s talk, we took both ladies out to dinner and a number of us returned the following morning for the breakfast talk with Marie Phillips. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the breakfast talk. I’m bummed, too, because Marie was so funny and I really wanted to hear more about her book. The way she described it at dinner was–and I’m paraphrasing here–‘You know how King Arthur had the round table knights? This book is about the other knights–the ones who didn’t make it to the round table.’ My kind of book.) Read more
Words are funny little critters. Maybe my fascination with them began during college when I worked at the local bookstore. The part-time job supplied me with access to unlimited books, just enough social engagement to make me happy, and a little pocket money to buy things any college student needs, like beer and pizza. Every year, just before Christmas, the bookstore ran a calendar kiosk in the center of the mall and every time I pulled kiosk duty, I’d pass the time by opening the 365 Words block calendar. I peeked at the pages without trying to ruin the calendar and tried to pronounce the strange-looking words. I’d read the definition and wonder if I could ever find a way to slip pervicacious into my daily conversation. I never did. I don’t even think I ever remembered the words years after I had left the bookstore, but they were fun to say out loud. I must have gotten a semi-education along the way, too, because now I look at the words and think, ‘Pfft! I know these words. I could use them if I wanted to.’
I still love new words and I still fail to incorporate them into my daily vocabulary, unless they make an impression on me. But my vocabulary is already rich with fun words. I have so many, I end up categorizing them. Read more
On August 10, 1628, the Vasa, the crown jewel of the Swedish Navy, made her maiden voyage. She got a grand total of about 1300 meters before she keeled over. For those of you who like comparisons, that’s about the same distance as four and a half Eiffel Towers or five New York City blocks. In other words, not very far. The problem? Not enough ballast. Which would ultimately be a construction issue in my book, though some say the disaster was the captain’s fault because he sailed anyway. I guess that’s true, but I still think the designer should be held accountable, you know?
Despite her tragic end, Sweden is quite proud of this ship. They rose her from the depths of the sea and turned her into a museum. My husband and I spent Saturday walking around and learning all about her. Read more