Rosemary Daniell and the Zona Rosa writing group

Last Saturday was a day of spiritual and creative breakthroughs. My writing teacher, Rosemary Daniell, the High Priestess of the Zona Rosa writing group, was in town giving a workshop to the Austin/San Antonio Sub-Rosa women who are obsessed with writing. I attended a prior workshop last May, and immediately knew that this was the place for me. Rosemary, author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa, The Woman Who Spilled Words All Over Herself, Fatal Flowers, and others, was as usual, a rock of support and information. Mainly, she brings out the best in any writer. Her books on writing are among the most down-to-earth, just-in-time, get to the guts of the matter how-to books I've ever come across.

And the woman is a goddess. A genteel, sexy, brilliant, competent recovered Southern Belle, she has influenced the works of many of today's well-known authors. She is a consummate editor, and delivers the goods in a loving manner, tinged with a saucy Southern flirtatious approach.

She encourages women to write their truths, and helps them do so in a professional, confident manner. She believes that women have a vital imperative to reveal their inner selves in a way that is most natural to them. At the same time that she gives writers invaluable tools and cues to tighten and craft words to their greatest effect.

Rosemary is a breath of fresh air, a scintillating jewel, and writes like a fallen angel. I am proud to link to her Web site, and I urge any writer to take advantage of her wisdom and experience and juiciness.

You can buy her books on Amazon (only four left in stock, more on the way), Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books sites. If you're a woman, and you're serious about writing, Rosemary is your go-to guru.


Love and lemon pie

A sister Zona Rosan, Peggy Grose, has published a book called Love and Lemon Pie--Recipes for the Body and the Soul. The cooking directions are quaint, useful, and delicious, but the main dishes are pearls of wisdom Peggy has polished over the years as a counselor. I have a copy, and found that I was as intrigued by the tips to better commuication as I was by the comfy, home-style recipes. Peggy and I go back a long ways--she was a part of my recovery in Al-Anon in an out-patient treatment program for alcoholics and their families.

Her tiny, brilliant gems of gourmet communication tips and tools is well worth the price of the nicely bound and illustrated cook book. Along with the simple, inexpensive recipes, Love and Lemon Pie is a spiritual and gastronomical delight.


John Miles

Here's one of the articles I mentioned earlier about Mr. Miles, icon of Negro League Baseball. At 83, he is just as passionate and energetic about promoting the memory and history of the game as he was a powerhouse hitter in the day. Here's the Daily Texan article.

Read them both for insight on a fascinating, gracious, very sweet and accomplished man.

Then go check out the Negro League blog for information on the Negro Leagues, and the important part they played in baseball history.

Texas Weather

No, not the band, the real meteorological events. It's 68 degrees in Austin, and 17 degrees in Amarillo. Granted, there's a 500 mile differential, but it's coming. Time to stock up and stay off the streets. Austin drivers are homicidal/suicidal in bad weather. Can't count the number of wrecks I've seen caused by folks driving too fast for the conditions.

This system is bringing thunderstorms, tornados, sleet, ice, and maybe even snow. I have gas heating and cooking, so I don't have to worry about the electricity going off, except that I can't use the computer or watch a DVD.

Like they say here in Texas, if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes. It WILL change. Even in the hot, broiling summer, we can get a hailstorm, and tornados seem to pop up most any time of the year.

Asi' es la vida en Tejas...

Gender issues in wikipedia

Recently tripped over a new group in Wikia called wikichix, a listserv comprised of several WP editrix, plus interested individuals who have some concern over the preponderance of articles which seem to display gender biased slants. Not to belabor the pc POV, after hearing of the battles fought behind the scenes over these issues, I'm taking a fresh look at Wikipedia, with an eye to lending a hand where appropriate. For instance, there are several entries about derogatory terms vis a vis females, but none on male derogatory terms. We all know that WP is not the be-all and end-all, but it's a good idea, I think, just needs some balance.

The discussion is even more interesting to me in that several of the members are in their 50's-70, and have the long view of the feminist movement to draw from. What's scary is that gender bias is still around, after so many decades of addressing the issue. What does that say about American values? I also realize that other types of bias are still in play, it's not limited to gender. Makes it even scarier.

Not that I'm Snow White. I found myself sliding down the slippery slope of ageism. It cuts many ways. I'll be interested to see how this all plays out. Stay tuned...

Back to Butterfly

Found the BLO program book from Madama Butterfly nesting in a pile of clothes. You can see the fabulous costuming and stage setting on their Web page. Perusing the bios, I corroborated that my ear did, in fact, pick up that the unevenness of the voices, probably because this was the debut performance of many of the cast. It in no way detracted from the wonderful work of Kelly Kaduce as Cio-Cio San or Honduran mezzo Melina Pineda as Suzuki.

Or the wonderful costumes and sets. The stage director, the venerable Sir Colin Graham, chose the sewamoto, or domestic mode of Kabuki theater, which yields more natural, as well as stylistic movement. Also learned that the Chorus Master, indeed masterful in preparing the difficult choral sections, is also director of choral activities at MIT and on the conducting faculty at the Boston Conservatory. No wonder the "Humming Chorus" was impeccable...

I took a hiatus from singing after AVAE's Oct. 29 performance, and I'm really looking forward to rehearsals beginning next week for our March performance of contemporary American composers and music. Listened to a lot of music over the holidays, and was asked to sing something at a colleague's home, which threw me a bit, since I was a little rusty. Plus most of my singing is in an inner part in languages other than English...I did hasten to reassure the guests that they were in no way to judge AVAE by my singing that day--by concert time, we will all be well-prepared.