Where Do My Stories Come From? Strange Places.

When a story idea springs into my mind and takes over my neural pathways for a time, the idea is almost always inspired by a setting – a place.  Before I know anything about the characters, the sights, sounds, and scents and texture of the place where they will act out their lives, meet their challenges, be defeated, be victorious, be in love, be embittered becomes real to me.  Why does it become real first?

Usually, it becomes real because I find myself walking through it.  Sometimes the setting becomes a place to me in a dream, or in a photo or painting.  Sometimes the setting becomes a place to me because while walking about in the place, the story takes hold of me and demands to be written.

Today, a tiny hamlet on the Carquinez Strait whispered to me, “tell this story”.

Continue reading “Where Do My Stories Come From? Strange Places.”

Is Facebook Dying? What’s Killing It? | Kristen Lamb’s Blog; Reblog with Commentary

There is a new trend that is piquing my interest and I think it is going to make a revolutionary change in social media that might even have the power to topple the mighty Facebook.

Source: Is Facebook Dying? What’s Killing It? | Kristen Lamb’s Blog

This is a fascinating article on several levels. I was most intrigued by her comments about the Pokemon Go phenomenon, but her observations of the way Twitter has been choked to death by automation, and Facebook is twisted about by ever-shortening cycles of toxic reaction over the next trending outrage also resonate.

I think Pokemon Go is just the beginning of Augmented Reality gaming. Many game franchises can be adapted to the geocaching quest style of play. And businesses are finding ways to get in on the game. Buying lures to attract pokemon (and players) is a huge payback for a dollar or so an hour. Becoming a PokeStop or Gym, even more so.

There is a PokeStop at the pool across the street from my home. I’m pondering how to take advantage of this geographic opportunity!

Having friends who suffer from depression and anxiety, and who struggle to make themselves get out into the world, the mental health benefits of this game are already obvious and immense. I very much look forward to seeing where Augmented Reality games take us in the coming weeks and months. And beyond!

Brexit, Remains, and the Ruins

I, like many people around the world, have followed developments in the UK and Europe with curiosity, confusion, concern, and since early June 24 incredulity and trepidation.

The Remain cause and arguments made sense to me.  The Leave arguments seemed misguided, basically blaming the EU for economic decisions that the Tory-led UK government had made.  The faces of the Leave supporters on news and in social media were, for the most part, unsympathetic portraits reminiscent of Trump supporters baying their prejudices and resentments in full voice.

And in the wake of the vote, a 57% rise in reports of hate crimes in the UK doesn’t do much to counter that impression.

It’s not that simple, though.

Continue reading “Brexit, Remains, and the Ruins”

Sourdough Adventures: Whole Wheat Fruit and Nut Bread

This whole wheat breakfast bread recipe has taken several tries to elevate from an ordinary sourdough bread to a loaf worthy of the “Artisan” label, and today’s variation turned out beautifully.  The secret?  a few grams of spelt flour substituted for some of the bread flour. Spelt is an ancient grain, a relative of Durum wheat.  It originated in the Fertile Crescent over 8 thousand years ago, in the Late Neolithic period. Spelt was carried throughout Europe as civilization spread, and was a favorite baker’s ingredient in Medieval Germany. It is more easily digested than regular flour, and some people with wheat intolerances can eat spelt-based bread, even though it’s not gluten-free.  Bread dough made entirely from spelt is extremely fragile and likely to collapse and deflate at the most inopportune moments during early baking.  But, adding spelt to whole wheat flour lightens the dough and improves oven spring dramatically.  Spelt has a delicious nutty taste which does very well in this recipe.

Continue reading “Sourdough Adventures: Whole Wheat Fruit and Nut Bread”

Finding My Narrative Voice

What is a narrative voice?  Do I have one?  If not, should I?  According to Gaia Amman there are three key elements to narrative voice: style, practice, and literary devices.

I considered including this discussion in the latest Weekly Writer’s Roundup but decided my thoughts about the topic are too expansive to include in a buffet-style article.

Continue reading “Finding My Narrative Voice”