Sunday, May 21, 2017

Celebrating a Good Book on Writing

But first: Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. )

So: the good book I'm celebrating is one that Fred and Joan, our neighbors across the street in Sacramento, gave us before we left on our trip. I've been dipping into it from time to time, as we've been very busy since arrival — first with our water problem I mention in the last post, and then socializing with friends and neighbors we hadn't seen for a while.  Sometimes when we're driving to town I read from it, and sometimes in the evenings I take a shot at it, although I fall asleep far too easily after all the galavanting. Luckily, it's the kind of a book you can read pleasurably in bits and pieces:

How To Write Like Tolstoy, A Journey into the Minds of Our Greatest Writers

Cohen is an author, but also an agent and editor who has handled works by several pulitzer prize winners and authors who have been on the NY Times best sellers lists. His approach to the art of novel writing (the main focus in this book) is fascinating. Each chapter heading deals with an aspect of novel writing, and in sequence, so that the first chapter is about first chapters and book beginnings; then settings and characters, etc. In each chapter, he shares what great writers of classics as well as modern day successful writers have said about each chapter theme and how they approach the problem. This book is a keeper, and meant to be re-read many times. Such a wonderful gift. (Thank you, Fred & Joan!)

Cohen's website is HERE, if you want to know more about him or his books. Also purchase sites for this one, including, but not limited to Amazon HERE.

How about you? Have you discovered any good books on writing? If so, please share titles. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Not the kind that you see in these two photos from last spring, although we are having plenty of rain, here in Trasulfe. Cold, windy rain. (And, it being mid-May, forgetting the fickleness of Galician weather, I packed summer clothes.) Right now, I haven't had time to take new pictures, but this is what Galicia looks like — only moreso!

No, the water I am celebrating is the water tanked into our village that allows for cooking and bathing. Like — the water system. When we arrived Tuesday, the tank was empty and we were lugging 3-liter bottles of water from the grocery stores for two days. Then we gave into the situation and have been staying at a casa rural for three days. Lovely, but not our "home away from home". You can read more about it in the Facebook posting I've copied:

"The continuing saga of the village water: So we booked rooms at Torre Vilariño for Thursday and Friday nights, right? Possibly for the whole week-end, too, we told them, since we didn't know how long the problem would last. Friday a.m. we drove back to our village (Trasulfe), and lo and behold, we had water! What a thrill. We called Torre and said, no, no need for the week-end. (We were worried they might lose another booking from saving the room for us.) Then we went out to get a bite to eat. 
     "On return, bad news: The water was gone again. Called Torre to say, "Yes, we need the room this week-end," because by now it was Friday afternoon, the problem not solved, and the workmen wouldn't be working on it over the week-end. Then we talked to our new neighbors down the lane. The workmen there were working on it, lifting manhole covers in the road, turning metered faucets on, etc., to no avail. In the meantime, they had managed to turn off Eva & Manolo's water — two of our neighbors who did have water until that point.       
     "More tinkering, with conflicting explanations of what had happened: Explanation #1: It was the incline of the land, given that the water is pumped in from a place near Escairon. (But the land has always been sloped before, right?) Explanation #2, the tank that serves the community was empty. Possible. (But why?) Just as we were about to leave to go back to Torre, everything started working again: We tested the faucets in our house. We had water. But, could we trust this? 
     "We compromised and called Torre: We only needed the room for Saturday night. (We weren't sure that we did, but they'd been so flexible with us, we thought we should show up for at least part of the booking, and, if the water conked out again, we could always rough it out one more day and then go to the town hall Monday to complain. 
     "So, this morning we came home (although we are going back tonight) and checked everything out: YES! We have water! The whole village has water! Including Manolo and Eva! All fixed. New explanation: the tank that serves the community had become clogged from debris, etc., that somehow fell into the tank. They had to clean it out. Ah well, such is life and its little surprises. We had planned to go to the wine festival in Ferreira today, but the weather is cold and rainy and windy, and it feels good to stay home and nap and then meet friends at Torre for dinner on our last evening their. Alls well that ends well. "

How about you? Have you ever gone off for a vacation and found big surprises waiting for you?

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. )