The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon: The Case for the Closet Creative

My son was the most creative child I ever knew. Because he grew up as an only child in a neighborhood without other children nearby, he developed an entire world of creative projects to keep himself occupied. From the age of three until adulthood, he lived and breathed for this imaginary universe of characters which he wrote about, drew in cartoon adventures, and made video and audio recordings. He had his own little franchise and it occupied nearly all of his waking thoughts. He was so focused on these creative projects, and they were so important to him, that school always seemed like a huge waste of time, something he did only because he had to, a task to hurry and get out of the way so he could return to his “real work”.  Nothing made him happier than the hours and hours he spent creating. 

Whenever I’m tempted to throw my own creative endeavors under the bus in favor of “being productive” with my time, I try to recall my son’s creative fervor in his childhood days.

The Sunday Salon: Drawn In

It finally happened.

Winter arrived today. 

Icy rivulets ran down the windowpanes in harmony with hot coffee streaming into the pot. Howling winds battered the house as a Mozart Piano Concerto danced gently on the stereo. 
Leaden gray skies hung heavily over us as warm firelight flickered in the living room.

We are making the most of this wintry Sunday morning.

Naturally books are part of our response to winter.

The Sunday Salon (Monday edition): Best Books

It’s that time again - the annual Best of the Year Lists. 2015 was the first year I’ve used Goodreads to catalog, rate, and track my reading, which makes compiling my Best Books list a little more interesting than in past years, when I’ve simply perused the pages of my reading journal for those entries I’ve starred as favorites.

My personal criteria for a Best Book classification? One that captures my emotional interest; one that has appealing, believable, fully developed characters; one with an interesting plot or story line; one that makes me feel “writerly” (to quote my friend Melissa- in other words, a book that makes me itch to get to my own pen and paper and start writing myself). The final requirement, and probably the most important one, is that it must be a book I can imagine myself re-reading, either in a year, five years, or even 10. Even as was writing this list, I felt the urge to go downstairs to my shelves and grab each one of these to re-read.

The Sunday Salon: The Challenge Year

About 20 years ago I started keeping track of the books I read in a book journal, usually a 5x7 hardcover lined notebook. It wasn’t a particularly elegant system - I simply listed the title and author of the book, using a separate page for each month. If the book was a particular favorite, I might jot an asterisk beside it; if it was the second (or third or fourth!) time I’d read it, I would note that too. At the end of each month, I totaled the number of books read during that time, and at the end of the year, I skimmed through the year’s reading and made a “favorites” list. 

The Sunday Salon: Washing Ashore

One can’t help noticing the irony of it, here in this season where cards and carols proclaim “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men,” that acts of violence and terror seem to abound both far and near. As fear, intolerance, and hatred breed a global culture of paranoia and hate, it’s sometimes difficult if not impossible to find the spirit of our Christian holiday.

This week I’ve been immersed in the latest installment of Louise Penny’s Three Pines series, books I love for many reasons,  but perhaps mostly for the way they transport me to this place in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, this village nestled deep in a valley, marked by three tall pine trees that signify it as safe haven, a sanctuary. 

Oh, do I need a Sanctuary.