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MomGoth Sparks o’ Joy, that is.

First, these guys popped out. They’re hyacinths, in case you don’t recognize them. Hyacinths always remind me of this poem by Medieval Persian poet Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, also called Saadi:

If of thy worldly goods thou art bereft
and from thy slender store
two loaves alone to thee are left
sell one and, with the dole,
buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

And, while you’re at it, how about a beer to go with that loaf you have left? Here is my favorite beer. I first had Killian’s Red at a science fiction convention where a couple of Canadians were throwing a bid party in hopes of having their Canadian town selected to host a Deep South Con. They pointed out that their town was in the deep south of CANADA. They also pointed out that purists could just travel south until they crossed Antarctica and the Arctic Circle and came back around south of the Arctic to Canada. They didn’t win the bid, but they won friends, and Killian’s Red won a lifetime fan. I like it the way I first had it–at room temperature.

On Saturday, Mom and I went to Destinations Booksellers in New Albany, Indiana and its café, The Dueling Grounds, for soup, sandwiches and literature. They have the BEST FOOD! Mom and I split a CheddarCot(tm): white cheddar cheese and apricot preserves. YUM! They must do something else to it than just that, because it’s sheer heaven. I bought Wendell Berry’s BRINGING IT TO THE TABLE, a collection of his essays about farming and food, a must-read for the locavores among us.

Sunday was Easter, of course, and Lori had an awesome message about not trying to take the Bible literally and getting tied up in knots over the disparities between Gospel accounts. She said the Bible isn’t about information, it’s about transformation; it’s about bringing ourselves to it to transform our lives and our relationships with God, others and the world. I’m so glad she came to work with us!

As always, getting together with Charlie’s family for their monthly gathering was a total joy. 🙂 Dolores made this wonderful spread/dip (I loved it, anyway–so much so that she sent the leftovers home with me–*danse-danse, danse-danse*).

Dolores’ Awesome Spread/Dip

Mix and nom.

I’ll be blogging tomorrow at Echelon Explorations and Fatal Foodies, so not sure if I’ll be here. But I’ll be there and there. So.


writing prompt: What did the Easter Bunny bring your main character for Easter?

To this very blahg! At last, something worth reading in this space!

Wednesday, March 3, author D. B. Grady will grace me with his presence. David is the author of short stories and essays, and his just published his first novel, RED PLANET NOIR. RED PLANET NOIR is a hard-boiled 1930’s-flavor PI novel set in the future on and around the planet Mars. When David announced he was setting up a blog book tour, I jumped at the chance to get him on here. Even though he knows I have a readership of one (hi, Mom!), he agreed. That’s because he’s a chump nice guy.

So mark your calendars and check this space on March 3. It’s actual content, so you don’t want to miss it.

In other “news”, the snow is finally beginning to melt. We’ve had a couple of sunny days above freezing, and it’s finally starting to show. Charlie has his truck parked directly over the snowdrops, so I don’t know if they’re showing yet. The crocuses aren’t in bloom yet–or not poking above where the snow is still piled on top of them. But we do have some ground showing, and that’s good.

Youngest grandson’s 5th birthday party is today. I think I’m going to make bread pudding for the grownups. I’ll let you know how that turns out.


writing prompt: If you could meet one author (living), who would it be?

My online buddy Martin Bartloff sent me a free copy of his Young Adult novel, TORN FROM NORMAL, for ages 13 and up. I’m up. WAY up….  He has a blurb from J. R. Turner, author of DFF: Dead Friends Forever, a major YA series. Here is the quote from the book that’s on the back: “Happiness is a disease happy people suffer; I suffer my own diseases, but happiness isn’t one of them.”

I am SO totally hooked already!

To top it all off, he did the cover art and design himself. Show-off! (j/k, Martin!)

I flipped into the book and read a paragraph at random and it really reads beautifully. I’m looking forward to a good read.


writing prompt: What is your main character’s favorite novel from when he/she was a young adult? LITTLE WOMEN? LORD OF THE RINGS? DINKY HOCKER SHOOTS SMACK?

I was busy as a bird dog. I was busy as a one-armed paper-hanger. I was busy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.unsavorypast100209

Friday, Joanna Foreman, Ginny Fleming and I represented the Southern Indiana Writers at Corydon’s Unsavory Past. We had copies of our books GHOSTS: ON THE SQUARE…AND ELSEWHERE…. and THERE’S SOMETHING UNDER THE BED-TIME STORIES for sale. Joanna had her GHOSTS OF INTERSTATE 65 and I had my GIFT OF MURDER anthology. We mingled and schmoozed with the attendees, sold some books, learned some lessons about marketing and venues and had an all-around good time. Didn’t get home until after eleven. Thought I was going to turn into a pumpkin.

Saturday, Mom and I got up and went to the farmer’s market (nothing for me–we have green beans, potatoes and green tomatoes, and I still have the sweet potato and turnip I bought last week). Then we went to the art show, a retrospective of our late friend Violet Bruner Windell’s work. She was a fascinating and multi-talented person, and a good friend. We both miss her a lot.

As an additional treat, there was a Boer goat sale at the fairgrounds, and I took Mom to that. For some reason, she’s obsessed with goats. I said, “Okay, let’s go look at them, but let’s not smell them.” She said, “Too late.” Once we got to the building, she decided she’d rather stand outside and look in rather than walking in amongst the pens. The goats were all BMWAAAAAAAA! and ngngngngoat! BMAHHHHHHHH! and hoofing at the ground, nipping at each other and shaking their horns. I was like, “Oh, yeah–I sure want a couple of those in my yard….”

Then we came home and got some lunch, picked up Charlie and went to an organizational meeting in favor of “health insurance reform”. We were like, “Health INSURANCE reform?? What happened to health CARE reform? Where did that emphasis go?” Came home from that and had the evening off lalala.

So today I needed to drive Mom to her church (St. Peter’s Lutheran) because her regular ride wasn’t available to her today, then went to my own church, Corydon Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I won’t critique Marc’s sermon today because, if I did it every week, and if he knew I critiqued him every week, it might make him self-conscious and that wouldn’t be nice. He always has a challenging message, whether I agree with him or not.

Today is a free day again–lots of writing projects, but that’s my joy.

Good day today. I’m aching all down my back and both legs into my feet. I spend too much time in my head. Aching makes me aware of my presence in my body, my presence in the world. It makes me notice my physicality and the physical world around me, and that’s a very good thing.


writing prompt: Describe the world around you RIGHT NOW.

Well, I give up–this post is determined to look weird. Forgive me.

Okay, so I went to the book sale building yesterday, and these are the books I got:

DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE AMERICANS by Frances Trollope, edited, with a history of Mrs. Trollope’s adventures in America by Donald Smalley

This is a 1974 reprint of a book first published in 1832, written by Anthony Trollope’s mother. According to the Introduction, Mrs. Trollope was not favorably impressed and her impressions were not well received in this country. I anticipate reading this book with great relish.

THE ILLUSTRATED PORTRAIT OF YORK by Ronald Willis, Illustrated by Graham Hards

York, England celebrated its 1,900th birthday in 1971. I repeat: York, England celebrated its 1,900th birthday in 1971. This book, published in 1972, gives the history of of the town with line drawings and photographs. Great for research!

Then I went to Destinations Booksellers and got:

MERCY AMONG THE CHILDREN by David Adams Richards

This book won the Giller Prize (Canada’s most prestigious literary award). He’s compared to Tolstoy, Camus, Melville and Thomas Hardy. Since I love all those writers, this looked like a damn good bet.


I didn’t know Larry McMurtry wrote TERMS OF ENDEARMENT! I totally loved the movie, and I usually (almost invariably) like the book better than the movie, even if the book is a novelization (this isn’t a novelization, I’m just sayin’), so I snapped this one up.

SALAMANDER by Thomas Wharton

Wharton’s first novel, ICEFIELDS, won a couple of Canadian book prizes, and he is compared to Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. I mean–dang!

THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan, being book one of the PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS series

I know it’s a children’s book, shut up. My youngest daughter, who works at Borders, read it and loved it. She has books two and three and loaned them to me, and now I can read them ’cause I have book one. The premise is brilliant–that all these learning disabled children are dyslexic and so on because they’re actually children of one mortal and one Olympian God. Who can read English when you’re genetically coded to read Ancient Greek?

So I have a lot of good reading to look forward to during these long winter evenings.


writing prompt: What does your main character do on long winter evenings? What does your “bad guy” do?


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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