Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Gypsy in My Soul

Natty's fur grows shaggy over the winter, as he piles on layers to protect him from freezing during Colville's arctic winters. But now that spring is here, Natty headed for the Pooch Parlor for his lamb cut and dapper bandana.

I'm getting shaggy, too...but not quite ready to trim my locks. Instead I need to find a way to trim my gypsy urges to wander. Though I'm just back from London and Paris, and will be at the University of Oxford in July, I couldn't resist booking a few days in St. Louis to participate in a book signing on June 1 for my first co-created anthology, Not Your Mother's Book: On Travel. Though I'd been the copyeditor on the first three in Publishing Syndicate's new series, On Being a Woman, On Being a Stupid Kid, and On Dogs, in On Travel I worked on primary selection and editing of the stories, and then, with Dahlynn McKowen, shaped them into sequence

Four of the contributors to the book live in the St. Louis area, Sheree Nielsen, Linda O'Connell, Sioux Roslawski and Gregory Lamping. So we'll all gather for a signing/reading on June 1 at Barnes and Noble's bookstore, 320 Mid Rivers Mall Dr., St. Peters, a St. Louis suburb, from 1 to 3.

I've dedicated the book to my late friend, Kelly C. Presley, who shared so many travel adventures with me in the '80s and early '90s. Kelly's brother and nieces and their families live in St. Louis, and I've been invited to stay at Elves Manor, which two of the girls operate, the best B&B in town. So once again I get to indulge my itchy feet and the gypsy in my soul. Poor Natty, though. He'll languish at The End of the Trail kennel for a few days once again, where he'll look properly natty for the benefit of his fellow exiled dogs.

Here's more on Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel.
Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel is an anthology filled with true, first-person travel adventure stories. From the jungles of Central America to the highlands of Africa, from the charms of Europe to the mysteries of North America, from the sacred sites of Asia to the high seas of the Caribbean, these stories will delight and entertain you. Whether you are an armchair traveler or an on-the-road-again adventurer, we invite you to vicariously journey around the world with us. But don’t forget to fasten your seat belt, because you’re guaranteed one hell of a great trip! Not Your Mother's Book is a new anthology for a new century. Series creators Dahlynn and Ken McKowen spent 10 years developing titles for the world's bestselling anthology series prior to launching NYMB. But their series is very different: all NYMB titles are modern, fun and even daring! No sad, sappy or death and dying stories--EVER! Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel is the fourth title in the series. The first hilarious title was NYMB...On Being a Woman, followed by NYMB...On Being a Stupid Kid and NYMB...On Dogs.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Weekend of Great Expectations

I'd been meaning to treat myself to a day off from the past hectic week of unpacking from my London/Paris adventure, laundering and repacking for a Medical Commission obligation in Olympia, reading Edith Wharton on my Kindle while waiting on standby at Sea Tac, and unpacking and laundering once more. I had solid reasons to celebrate!

 Amazon has released my debut co-creation with Publishing Syndicate: Not Your Mother's Book. . .On Travel, plus I'd whipped up a piece for the firm's monthly Wow Principles newsletter, "Seven Reasons Why Compiling an Anthology is a Trip."

Here's links to these two accomplishments...and, yes, I'm bursting with pride:

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So this Dickens devotee decided to corral her fellow adventurer, Jane Conn, and spend a luxurious day in Spokane, lunching at the Davenport Towers exotic Safari Room and seeing the SpectiCast HD filming of London's West End production of Great Expectations at the Bing Crosby Theater at the Fox.
The Safari Room's 11 am to 2 pm specials, "6 for $6" are still offered, so I savored the curried lentil soup accompanied by a garden salad. Great fare for the price, and just filling enough for someone who is trying to trim down a smidgeon before embarking for England in July. (I'm hoping to fit back in to some summer clothes from a few years back!)

Jane and I were astonished that only a handful of Dickens fans showed up to see the filmed drama. I had expected college English profs and students to crowd in, despite Spokane having become a major sports mecca over the weekend, what with the NCAA and Gonzaga seeded #1 in the west, a major national volleyball tournament plus a hockey game. We had the theater almost to ourselves, but didn't regret the 65 mile drive to town. 

Here's what the critics had to say about this first ever London staging of one of Dickens' most popular novels:

Spectacular Adaptation Translates Spirit and Humanity of Dickens's Classic Novel to the Stage

What you need to know:
A stage version of Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations has opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End. Graham McLaren directs Scottish playwright Jo Clifford's adaptation.

Blacksmith's boy Pip is transformed into a London gentleman with the aid of a mysterious benefactor. But even as Pip's fortunes rise, he is haunted by his love for the beautiful, unattainable Estella whom he visited at Miss Havisham's house as a child.
Paul Nivison stars as adult Pip and Paula Wilcox (Chrissie from the 1970s TV hit Man about the House) plays Estella's ghoulish guardian Miss Havisham. Jack Ellis appears as Pip's lawyer Jaggers and Chris Ellison as the convict Magwitch. Runs until 1 June.
What the critics like
Jo Clifford's version of Great Expectations shrugs off the many screen adaptations to create "pure theatre", says Libby Purves in The Times. Clifford wisely drops several strands from the novel, but the heart is there, and "the culmination thrilling".

Graham McLaren's production is "a resounding success," says Tim Walker in the Daily Telegraph. It communicates, in two hours and 20 minutes, "the spirit and humanity of the novel" but also "works as a stand-alone piece of drama".
This Great Expectations is "a spectacular affair", says Tamara Vos for the Londonist. It's a "Tim Burton-esque take" on a classic, with an original score, an onstage fire, and "the set is absolutely stunning".
What they don't like
It's an "inventive" production, but one that "sells Dickens's great novel dismayingly short", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. The bones of the story are there and there are "gripping passages" but "the narrative often seems hurried and the characterisation crude".

I found the production absolutely astounding. Then I returned home to watch Gonzaga on TNT try to edge its way into the Sweet Sixteen. I was astounded once again as the Zags fell to Wichita State 76-70. Great expectations dashed for the sweethearts of the Inland Empire!

I cling, though, to my remaining expectations for this weekend. Yes, I have to launder once again...but I have two stories in mind to get written and submitted, and will begin at least one today...perhaps a story on my recent European venture with Jane...she's come up with a title: "Our Greater Journey." And another about waiting at airports through endless cancellations and standbys...and why it pays to have a fully-charged Kindle!