Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Storybook Trees

Storybook Trees ImageHere in the lowcountry of South Carolina we are blessed by being surrounded by a few thousand of our favorite friends—live oak trees festooned with almost Christmas tree like decorations of Spanish Moss. Just up the road near Charleston, you can visit Angel Oak Park—imagine: an entire park devoted to one tree!

The Angel is not just any tree; it’s said to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River. That could be as old as 1,500 years! It towers more than 65 feet and has a trunk circumference of 28 feet (about the size of a city intersection!) It’s home to bugs, reptiles, mammals, birds, owls, woodpeckers, hawks, and more. It’s impossible to stand beneath it and not send a prayer up through its branches.

Once, children were allowed to scamper across the tree’s maze of branches, which today still soar high, but also dip and rest in the sand, then elbow back up to continue to grow. It’s a protected treasure, protecting us with 17,000 square feet of shade.

Oh, to have a hammock and a book!

Watch this blog space for more on Storybook Trees that I’m collecting, not all as majestic as the Angel, but some quite mysterious and intriguing. Do I feel a book of stories coming on? LOL, as they say!

Books to Love

What Books Blog ImageSomeone just asked me, “What books do you LOVE?”

Here’s my short answer:

Love in the Time of Cholera by Nobel prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez…the only book I ever read that on a single page suddenly transported me into the scene so realistically that I felt like Alice through the looking glass or that rabbit down the hole—very strange, very wonderful!

I also love any book that I just finished writing!  Finished.  Done.

Yay!  Hallelujah!

I love any book that I’m reading that I’m enthralled with; right now that is Spooky Action at a Distance, a book on physics.

I love any book I order from Amazon that just came in when I actually have time to read it!

I love…oh, well, nevermind.

 

Lucky is as Lucky Does

Lucky is as Lucky DoesI believe that it was Alfred Einstein who said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  Indeed it does.

Have you met kids (and adults) who complain that others are lucky, implying that they are not?  Yeah, we didn’t all win the Superball yesterday, no doubt, but we can be luckier than we think.

Luck…kismet…serendip…fortune—whatever you call it, it is far more in your reach than you might expect!

Some lucky tips for getting lucky:  (Uh, you know what I mean!)

  • Expect to be LUCKY. The more positive, self-confident, self-assured that you are, the more likely you are to do or try new things that lead to good luck. Be open.  Be willing to try.  To change.  Luck is often just around the corner, but you gotta turn the corner!
  • Beckon luck your way! If you keep your circle of acquaintances small, you might not network enough to encounter new friends, experiences, chances, even obstacles, to bump into good luck. That new friend, husband, date, business partner is just waiting for you to crook your finger at them.  Crook it!
  • Silver Linings Playbook: “What bad luck!” I thought. “I did not win that writing award.”  So, I submitted my book elsewhere, and won a much bigger, more prestigious award!  Transform bad luck into good luck by believing that it can happen.  All those failures and “mistakes” are how most scientists make great discoveries, inventors create amazing new things.  I goofed, made a wrong turn, embarrassed myself—lucky me…look what wonderful thing happened next!
  • Listen to luck. Trust that still, small voice you hear in your head and heart—it’s whispering luck to you! Don’t do this, do do that, skip that one, try this one—chance really does favor the mind that believes, prepares, and even recognizes good fortune when it comes its way.

Honestly, some days I think I can’t lose for winning…how lucky is that?!

Our Prince of Tides

Prince of Tides Image IIAs everyone knows, the inimitable prince of the Lowcountry, Pat Conroy, has died.  Maybe that was just a footnote in your local paper, but down here in his beloved home of Beaufort, his passing was not just front page big headline news, it was multi-page special insert news, and rightly so.

Maybe you’re a Pat Conroy fan, maybe not.  If you aren’t, I hope you do love some author as much as I loved Pat, or his writing at least.  For forever (maybe even before his inspired book title?), I have proclaimed, “I am a princess of tides and my heart belongs to the Lowcountry.”

Like Pat, I adore the scent of pluff mud, inhale and exhale with the tides, praise the giant oaks with their Spanish moss hair, and know God created oysters and shrimp just so my soul, as much as my belly, would not starve.

I had a tough childhood, but Pat’s was scathing.  I had a coming of age job, but I did not get to take a boat to Daufuski Island to teach kids who had never been to the mainland.  I could go on, but I need not.

Pat will forever go on with his amazing array of books that struck St. Elmo’s fire lightning in our hearts as we tried to keep up with characters so true that they could surely not have been fiction, as indeed, they were not.

If I have been blessed, and I have, in this life, outside of husband, kids, family and the good luck and joy to be a writer, then my other Big Blessing is having known (in one way or the other) the likes of Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Wolfe, Sidney Lanier, O. Henry, and…Pat Conroy.

If oysters also go to Heaven, Pat will be a happy camper.

My Oyster Knife

Oyster Knife BlogDo you have a prized possession?  I do:  my oyster knife.

Sounds silly, I know, but I never had my own oyster knife before when I got this one.  It’s like me after all these years:  in pretty good shape for the shape it’s in.

I guess you imagine I use it to open oysters?  Not too much; Bob does that for me.  (There are indeed times to pull a Scarlet O’Hara and act like a Southern damsel in distress—oyster shucking time sure falls into that category.)

Just a few ways I’ve put my OK to use:

  • To carry on the beach when I walk alone; nobody better mess with me!
  • To prize or open or flick or nick or wedge, etc. something that just won’t give without a little help.
  • To give me mystery book ideas: I plan to write a mystery where an oyster knife is the weapon—only problem: at the oyster roast scene of the crime EVERYONE had an oyster knife, all now piled into a haystack, each covered in something red…cocktail sauce, blood?

Here’s my favorite oyster recipe I always make on New Year’s Eve:

On a foil-lined cookie sheet, place a dozen pre-toasted French garlic rounds, touching.  Saute oysters in butter in a small pan on the stove.  Drain and put an oyster on each round.  Sprinkle generously with fine bleu cheese crumbles.  Cover with panko breadcrumbs, cracked black pepper and dried chives.    Broil until the cheese melts and the cracker crumbs are slightly brown.  Serve with cocktail sauce, or, uh, whatever.