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Nature naturing

Posted in A Writer's Desk

Would you be impressed, if you were a hen?
Would you be impressed, if you were a hen?

And in other news, today we were woken up by urgent, loud, gobbles echoing through the bedroom window from the lower slope of the orchard, where two wild turkey jakes, puffed up in full display, were following a couple of hens with clear, if stately, intent.

The slow procession wound its way back behind the root cellar. Don’t know how it will all come out, but I expect to see poults in a couple of months.

One of the jakes was completely white — a domestic turkey somewhere in the woodpile, no doubt, or perhaps an albino. Surprising that he survived his first year without the benefit of camouflage.

Decorative elements for The Chained Adept

Posted in Artwork, and The Chained Adept

One of the pleasures of working with a cover artist is that you can request extras as part of the arrangement.

For the series of which The Chained Adept is the eponymous first entry, I asked for my usual decorative bits for inside the book (ebook and print).

ChainedAdept-Extras-SketchesThe top one will get used for the Title page and for the End-of-Book marker, before any name index or other back matter.

The middle one will be used as a Chapter divider, and the bottom will be a Scene separator.

 

Tomboys

Posted in Characters, and Heroes

Jo March (left) & Family (Little Women, Louisa May Alcott)
Jo March (right) & family (Little Women, Louisa May Alcott)

What is a tomboy, exactly?

I participated in a discussion recently about the tomboy character in literature. We discovered that we all had very different opinions of what constituted a tomboy. If you search online these days, you’ll find definitions associating tomboys with lesbians and transgenders, which I think is wrongheaded and anachronistic.

I know what I mean when I say tomboy, and I think of it it as an example of a story character archetype which, like all archetypes, reflects something in real life.

Let’s try this definition:

A tomboy is a girl or young woman, typically pre-pubescent or at least virginal, who values highly the same male virtues that appeal to boys of her own age, and values less the virtues that appeal to girls of her own age.

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A Family Story

Posted in A Writer's Desk, and Research

StatueOfWisdom-regildedI’d like to introduce you to someone.

This is my great-grandmother, Clara Gasperov Mayerovich (Myers), as the Statue of Wisdom, freshly re-gilded in 2014, atop the Capitol Dome of the State of Maine, in Augusta.

(You can tell there has to be a good story behind this, right?)

Every now and then a family story is corroborated by external evidence. Clara and her husband Sam Myers left some things behind — newspaper articles and the work of their hands. And, of course, their descendents.

Samuel Nathan Mayerovich, first-born son of Nathan Meyerowitz, was born circa 1860 in Odessa, in the thriving Jewish community of that cosmopolitan city. The family stories that came down from my great-aunt Bertha, one of their daughters, remember a family that thought of themselves as native Odessans, and musicians were common.

Sam made the leap first, as so many Jews did, leaving the Russian Empire where strikes were disrupting life in the cities and arriving in Boston circa 1903, where he began a career as an artisan.

Clara stayed behind in Odessa with her three children (aged 9, 6, and 3 in 1905 — there would be two more later) and prepared to eventually join her husband. Bertha was the three-year-old, and the nine-year-old, Luzen, would become my grandfather, Louis Samuel Myers.

Perhaps you know what happened in Russia in 1905? In Odessa, a new wave of strikes began in sympathy with several cities, and the most important naval mutiny occurred, that of the Battleship Potemkin, in the port of Odessa, on June 27, 1905. (Which is really June 14, 1905 in the rest of the world, since Russia didn’t convert from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar until 1918.)
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