Saturday, August 25, 2007


I've decided to go on hiatus here at camera-obscura to focus on writing and riding and spending whatever extra time I have enjoying the transition from summer to fall.

Take care, and check back in later in the season!

QUICK UPDATE on Sept. 13th:

Good week, although hectic. Keil Bay and I had a fantastic lesson yesterday. He is moving like a dream and starting to get so responsive to my half-halts, which makes transitions from walk to trot to canter and back down again so much better. We are doing turns on the forehands and haunches now and FINALLY I'm making some progress getting my legs independent from one another with the leg aids. And working on hands and rein aids as the rest of my body is stable.

Writing group - read pgs. 85-100 today and everyone said HUGE leap forward after the editing. Lots of banter about the characters and the story and where it's going - excitement all around. I am thrilled.

It's supposed to rain a LOT here tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed that it does, as we desperately need it.

Onward with the skeet shooting items on my to do list.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


For some reason I'm ending the week in a state of exhaustion - there has been a lot going on and while most of it is good stuff, I'm drained.

My revision is going well, but it is not a quick process, and every change seems to involve deeper digging to get the exact right tone and voice. It's pushing me to "earn" every line, and I love it. For some odd reason when one ms is going well, ideas for other ones seem to increase exponentially. I have been making notes for other books in progress almost every day.

I've been busy with clients. This is a time when lots of referrals seem to come through. And former clients return for booster shots. It's an honor that also demands balance to do well.

I'm doing Adequan injections this month for the seniors (equine) and that involves, of course, needles. Another energy drain. But wonderful for the equines.

The pony is jumping 2'9 - big wow - not so much that he can do it, but that he's doing it so beautifully. This means he will likely do beginner novice events in the late spring. Lots of work to do toward that end.

The summer is feeling endless and a bit unbearable to me right now. We need rain badly. It feels like a good thunderstorm and an inch or more of rain would clear the air, quench the dry earth's thirst, and boost my spirits.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

look who we met today

His name is Rafer Johnson and he is coming to live with us in the new year, after he weans from his mom, Contessa.

It is just not possible to describe how cute and sweet he is. He's very good at conveying that himself!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


For those following the writing journey here, the above is a direct quote from my writing group today. I've been working very hard on revising my second novel and have specifically struggled with making the two voices distinct. Getting down to the bones worked - today's version won their hearty approval. Yay!

Then I came home and found an email from a new writer friend who recently swapped first 50 pages with me. Her take: "I think your writing is lyrical, haunting and multi-dimensional. Reminds me of Anna Quindlen."

Yay again!

It was a real treat to read her pages as well. The writing life is good right now!

In a few weeks I'll be heading to a 5-day writing sojourn where I'll have the first 100 or so pages in great shape and a goal of carrying that on through the book. And I'm reading again next week in group so will have that much more feedback to tuck in my duffel and take with me.

In the spirit of sharing the wealth, I invite you to comment on your own breakthroughs here. Let's make a big pile of them and celebrate. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

autumn aubade

Yesterday morning summer suddenly turned to fall. The blue of the sky was different, the angle of sun had shifted, and autumn's breeze blew through here like a song.

Today we hit 99 and tomorrow 101, then one more 99 degree day on Friday before the highs drop into the eighties for the weekend. This is how it starts. Hours of autumn and then days. And then somehow it is here.

In the meantime the butterflies are keeping me enchanted.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


It was a long week with the heat, but it broke on Friday and right now it's still in the seventies outside.

The heat and the fact that I had to miss my writing group this week have put me off course with editing. Wednesday evening I came home and worked hard, but not reading on Thursday was disappointing and I haven't yet gone back to the pages. Today's the day, because I've promised to swap my first 50 with another writer.

Yesterday morning I did the usual Saturday morning feed store/errand run, but then met a friend for coffee and we both lost track of time completely - what had been intended to be an hour or so of chat morphed into four hours! It was the angle of the sun that made me think finally to check the time.

It's rare I get the chance to do that these days, and it reminded me of Saturdays when I was twenty-something, and losing time with friends on the weekend was the way of things.

As soon as I got home my children and I took off for my parents' house, where we celebrated three birthdays: a forty -year old brother, a fifteen-year old nephew, and a four-year old nephew. There was steak on the grill, Blue Moons and Cokes, an impromptu pomegranate martini for me, and sips of coconut rum all around. And cake and ice cream, of course.

We got home just before eleven and it felt like I had spent the entire day in one long, continuous conversation.

It was nice.

Now I'm going to create my day by writing it here: a shower and some yogurt with granola, a walk to the barn to deliver a hello and treats, (I had the morning off barn chores, thanks to Matthew) a long and productive writing session, a late lunch, and a ride on Keil Bay when the sun drops. And I plan to end this day with a gin and tonic on the front porch, listening to the horses snorting in the front field.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

102.3 in the shade

The horses lined up when I got the hose going around 4. What a week.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

heavy heat

The temps have gone up again here and we're expecting high nineties all week with 101 on Wednesday.

Our weekend has been quiet, mostly getting outside chores done before the heat sets in, getting horses comfortable in the shadowy barn with their fans for the heat of the day, and offering cool showers with the hose around dinner time, when it seems to be the worst.

Yesterday I did my Saturday morning feed store run (two kinds of horse feed, black oil sunflower seeds, a new natural oil fly spray concentrate) and then stopped by the library. While looking for something they didn't have, I found Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and decided to read it again.

Later in the afternoon, my daughter and I went out to lunch and then to the food co-op for Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap (great for cleaning bits) and eclairs (great for us). On to the drug store for a new stash of hair bands and stain remover for the chocolate I managed to get all over me from the eclairs.

In between, my husband got two loads of hay, 76 bales, which cleaned our wonderful hay grower out of his first cutting of square bales. The feed room is packed now and we're all hoping for more good rain so his second cutting can get safely baled and in the barn. His hay is the best I've seen, and when he runs out my stress level rises. His wife sent us homemade grape jam along with the hay.

After the horses ate dinner and went out for the night, we settled in for the first season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After watching Firefly in the spring and becoming a huge Joss Whedon fan, I'd held off on Buffy. It's not Firefly, but Whedon's sense of humor is very much there and I am getting fond of the series.

This week is going to be all about managing the heat. Thank goodness for cold water!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

getting down to the bones

Today was my day to read in writing group, and I was eager to move on to the next chunk of the novel I'm editing right now.

I've been reworking the structure and now my focus is the voice of the main male character, a CIA agent who is struggling with the ungrieved death of his wife 26 years ago and his 26-year old daughter who has run off, south and west, in response to a marriage proposal.

I'm shifting the Scott sections from first person present to close third past, trying to find a more distinctive voice. What I have captures his sensibility but the expression is too lyrical. Too similar to the voice of his daughter.

Today's advice is to dig right down to the bone of the matter. The rhythm of the sentences and the actual sentence structure itself.

I have an undergraduate degree in English but if someone asked me to parse a sentence I'd be about as horrified as I was taking the GRE math section.

But as we talked about how to tackle this task, a group member read some of my sentences out loud and suddenly I could hear the voice differently. I madly jotted down notes and some very concrete things to try with those sentences.

I might have jumped right in upon arriving home, but made the mistake of opening my cell phone bill and discovered $600 worth of TEXT MESSAGING charges that are NOT MINE - I don't do test messaging!

I'm officially on a tear and have clients tonight so all this will have to wait.

But I have the notes. Will get to the bones. I read again in two weeks and I'd love to knock some socks off. :)