Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Southern Style 2

I have so much to do, but I’d rather sit and sip and watch the snow fall.
It started slowly as I left America’s Best with my new contacts.  The snowflakes were so sparse, I smiled thinking ‘much ado about nothing,’ and stopped at Publix on my way home.  I didn’t need anything, but it was on my way.  I picked up a few things that were on special, but even the express lane had a very long line.

I don’t do lines unless it’s an emergency – this was not.  I abandoned my cart and went out the door into snow falling so thick the distant skyline was gone.  Birmingham drivers have difficulties driving in the rain, forget snow. 

I decided home was the best place to be and soon. I have everything I need there for the cat and me: a pantry and fridge full of food; good wine, cold beer, a stack of books to read (courtesy of the library); candles and oil lamps to read by if the power goes; battery TV for the news.
I also have a lot of work to do: a manuscript to edit for a client, paintings for my March show, a poem for an April contest, but it could all wait. 

It would all still be there when this fleeting wonder of nature stops and fades to memory and a few digital photographs that cannot begin to capture the magic of it all.  I put on a few layers of clothes, changed flats to socks and Sketchers, pulled the old beret down over my ears, and headed out for a walk with my camera.

Southside is a small village nestled comfortably in the city limits of Birmingham, Alabama, and I was not the only villager out and about to seize the moment:  children sledded down their front yard’s hill on 15th Avenue encouraging their Mom to do the same; my Asian neighbor was out with her umbrella, sometimes sunbrella now turned ‘snowbrella’; the dog walker, whose large dog pretty much walks her, smiled as the dog tiptoed across the lawn; the new Yankee couple strolled by holding hands laughing at being given the day off for snow; and others too numerous to list.  Kindred souls all – out to play in the snow – smell the proverbial roses.
Home now.  I’m writing this by the window of my aerie, sipping a steaming cup of mulled wine, occasionally glancing at the still falling snow on the street below and contemplating the manuscript awaiting my red pen.

Tomorrow the sun will melt it all; Sunday the rain will wash what's left of it all away. Monday, it'll be as if it never was.  

Winter Southern Style – it's a fleeting thing.

© Perle Champion

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Persistence vs Rejection

Along with the check for a piece of my art sold at the Gallery show last Friday, was a rejection letter. I didn't have to open it to know what it was, as it was one of my own envelopes with matching addresses top left and center. It was an unsigned form letter along with a recently submitted essay. Rejection letters. I have a drawer full.

Well, I have three other possibles for this essay on my submissions spreadsheet, so I'll revise the letter, put it in a new envelope with a fresh SASE and send it off again. I wish all publications accepted e-submissions, but they don't. I'll update my spreadsheet for this essay: one down, one pending, two waiting in the wings.

I keep this quote by Calvin Coolidge taped and/or framed and hung in several places in my home: my studio, my computer, the fridge, my vision board.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

Persistence is the key to anyone's success, and I will persist.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Advice that is Very uh damn uh, Good.

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. - Mark Twain

Very damn good advice. I'm tempted to take that advice. It is easier when editing and redrafting to delete expletives and obscenities than it is to remove extraneous adjectives,

Sometimes, if I stop and read certain passages aloud, I can hear by the cadence of the words where the flow slows.

It's a ponderous procedure, and I think using damn and its literary ken would make my rewrites go very uh damn much easier.

Perle Champion

Friday, February 5, 2010

Art - It's Low-Cal and Lasts Longer Than Roses.

I've delivered all my art pieces to Daniel Day Gallery for their 'Hearts O' Plenty opening tonight.
The pieces are small desktop/tabletop paintings: Lovers By the Light of the Moon on one side and a large heart on the other side ready for you to pen your own message.
I love to paint on rescued wood and constantly haunt construction site trash heaps for good pieces of wood in all shape and sizes.
These particular pieces are courtesy of my sister who installed a new staircase in her Atlanta home. The crew was going to toss these unique standing triangular pieces of wood, so she had them boxed and hauled them to Birmingham in her SUV.

I thought I'd do a themed grouping appropriate for giving as a Valentine. Hence, the title 'By the Light of the Moon'.

There will be other artists doing themed work, and there will be a variety of other art, jewelry, crafts, clothing, etc.

Opening is at 6:30, Daniel Day Gallery, 3025 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama. At 9:00, the band starts up and the gallery will remain open until the last folks leave. 
I'm hoping a lot of folks agree we me, that art makes the perfect gift for themselves and their significant other.


It's low-cal

lasts longer
 than roses.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Editing is Writing, Too

It's a rather gray and stormy but pleasant day. I'm sitting at the window of my aerie; editing/critiquing the first 50 pages of an area writer's memoir; enjoying the journey; taking an occasional sip of brew; and glancing out at the rain. It doesn't get much better than this.

I low-balled my price because, right now, I just need to earn as much cash as I can. I usually charge $3-6 per double-spaced page for light edit and one page critique - quoted $2 on this one. I could get more in Atlanta and even more in New York, but this is Birmingham, Alabama - a very different market.

Editing is a kind of writing, too. It is easier to look at another's words and know how it can be better. It is sometimes slow-going, because as with my own work, I read certain passages aloud to hear their cadence. They have to sound right. After all we're telling a story and if it cannot sing to us when read aloud, it will never resonate on the page. When I'm through, I'll go back to editing my own words with a fresh eye, and a little more objective hand.

The author is a little stiff, but he does have a story to tell. I'm enjoying the read and hope that with my objective help, he will be encouraged to finish the manuscript and might even see publication.

© Perle Champion