Category Archives: People

Kit, Dogs, and Kids Leave

This morning, Shannon and Mike packed the dogs and the cat into the car to begin the long trip back to North Carolina. While there has been flooding in their area, the waters have receded, and their town house, on a hill, remained dry. Other people in North Carolina have not been so lucky, and I expect it will be a long time before some areas recover. How terrible it must be to have your home severely damaged or destroyed, and I always feel so sorry for those who have endured such a loss.

On a happier note…we had a wonderful week with Mike and Shannon. The best part was just sitting on the patio and talking. We are lucky indeed to have a daughter and son-in-law who love books, movies, and art as much as we do. So much to discuss! Also, when it comes to politics, we are like minded, and that is another plus.

Yesterday, as a farewell breakfast, we went to Forage Market in Lewiston, and Shannon and Mike were very impressed with the food. Holy cats, those bagels are good. I bought extra for us to have this morning, and the day-old bagels were still pretty tasty.

The house is quiet now, and as always after our children leave, we feel let down and blue. Fortunately, we have a little something to keep us busy.

The cover for my upcoming fantasy novel, Library Lost, is nearly ready, and how exciting it was to see the proof.  I am thrilled with the cover, which will be a perfect complement to Maya and the Book of Everything.

As soon as Library Lost’s cover is ready, I’ll be posting it on this blog for everyone to see.

And next week, I will return to reading blogs and commenting. This week, with all the talking, eating, and having fun, I just didn’t have the time to keep up with everyone.

Advertisements

More Birthday Brouhaha

As I have written in the past, our philosophy is to celebrate early and celebrate often. Along with escaping Hurricane Florence, Shannon and Mike had timed their trip north to coincide with my birthday, which was yesterday. Since Clif’s birthday is a week from now, we figured a double celebration was in order.

Yesterday was a sunny day—not too hot, not too humid—so off we went to the Red Barn for seafood and chicken. I, of course, had a lobster roll. Utterly delicious, with just a touch of mayonnaise to hold the lobster together.

Then, for dessert, a whoopie pie.

After lunch, it was onward to Waterville to see the new waterfront park by the Kennebec River. Since the late 1960s, when in a fit of urban renewal all the buildings were torn down, a piece of land off Front Street had been empty and pretty much neglected. Not anymore. How spiffy and lovely it looks.

We walked across the Two Cent Bridge, a suspension bridge that connects Waterville to Winslow. Time was when walkers had to pay a two-cent toll to cross the bridge, but that time has passed.

For no fee at all, we went across the bridge, where I took a picture of Shannon and Mike.

Here’s a shot down the blue, blue Kennebec River, toward the Hathaway Mill, which no longer produces shirts and is instead used for businesses and apartments. (You can’t really see the Hathaway in this picture, but it is on the right past the bridge.)

And here’s a shot up the river. On the right is the old Scott Paper Company, which looks deserted. So many factories closed, and while they polluted the Kennebec River, they also provided good-paying jobs. So far, nothing has come to take their place and lift the area’s economy.

But it was too fine a day to brood on a stalled economy. (I’ll save that for another day.) After walking across the bridge and along the river, we went to Cancun, a Mexican restaurant in Waterville, and had drinks at a table on the sidewalk.

Happy birthday to us!

A Garden Visit

This has been a week of visiting with friends and a much-needed break from fiction writing. I decided to take some time off, and I probably won’t return to fiction writing until mid-July.  For the past month, there was a mighty push to get Library Lost finished, and my batteries need a chance to recharge.  Of course, I’ve been thinking about the third book, and I’ve even come up with a new dimension called Down Cellar, which sounds like hell but is really a place outside time.

Anyway, I digress. Today, my friend Gayle invited me to come see her gardens, and that visit was the cherry on the sundae of a wonderful week. Here is the sign that greeted me when I pulled into her driveway.

That sign made this nature lover’s heart leap with joy, and as to be expected, Gayle’s yard and gardens were green and welcoming, filled with bushes, trees, plants, and water—all designed to encourage creatures that scamper, jump, flutter, and fly.

Like me, Gayle has a lot of shade in her yard, but she gets enough sun for various flowers, including white roses,

columbines,

foxgloves,

and a lovely delicate iris.

Most gardeners are very generous, and Gayle is no exception. She even gave me a plant to take home.

This plant is called Brunnera, and it likes shade. Those white patterned leaves are sure to brighten a shady spot in my garden.

Many thanks, Gayle—for the tour, for the plant, and for providing such a welcoming place for wildlife.

So inspiring.

La Reine de Juin

Today, on this first day of summer, is the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. She would have been eighty-two. Ten years ago she died, just before her seventy-second birthday. Too soon, too soon.

But the picture below was taken when she was still young and was just beginning her adult life. (I’ve posted this picture before on her birthday, but I like it so much I decided to post it again.) If my memory is correct, I think this was her graduation picture. Such a fancy dress to wear under the graduation gown. She might have worn this same dress to her prom, but my memory is sketchy about this.

Anyway, here is a little food for thought. Her grandmother—my great-grandmother—never went to school at all. Her mother—my grandmother—only went as far as eighth grade. My mother graduated from high school. In three generations, you can see that progress has indeed been made. (An important thought to hold close during this time when we seem to be taking too many steps back.)

At any rate, happy birthday Rochelle June Dansereau. Surely the first day of summer is one of the loveliest days to have a birthday.

I Have Been Noted

One of the great delights of blogging is becoming friends with people you normally wouldn’t meet. Some of those friends are not that far—in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Others are actually much farther away—Canada, England, Scotland, and even Australia.

One such blogging friend is Quercus, who lives in England. (He has a blog called Quercus Community.) In response to one of my comments on a recent post, he referred to me as “a noted author of YA fiction.”  So very kind of him, but I replied that “noted” might be overstating the case. He wrote back: “I stand by what I said. If necessary I will write a post tomorrow titled ‘A Note About Laurie Graves’, and then you really will be noted!”

By gosh, Quercus did exactly as he promised, and he wrote a lovely post entitled A Note About Laurie Graves – Author, Raconteur and Eater of Ice Cream. 

I was tickled, touched, and oh so pleased that he would take the time to write about me, to, in fact, note me. Also, as an indie author with a budget as big as a minute, readers’ kind words and promotions really help.

Many, many thanks, Quercus, for noting me. And thanks to all my other blogging friends who have bought and read Maya and the Book of Everything and have been so encouraging.

It really makes a difference.

And, Quercus, thanks to you I will no longer hesitate to state that I am a noted author.

 

 

March Is Here, but So Is Poet Claire Hersom

Tra-la, tra la! March is officially here. Although we Mainers put a brave face on it and even go out for ice cream, we already feel the weight of this too-long month, rightly known as Maine’s fifth season—mud season. So far, there hasn’t been too much mud, but we know it is coming. Yes, we do.

Right now, March, in typical fashion, is whipping us back and forth. One day the weather will be mild with temperatures in the fifties, and the next day there will be a blizzard with over a foot of snow— the forecast for this Wednesday. Mainers take it in stride, but we do complain. A lot. In fact, complaining about March weather is one of our favorite pastimes.

Here is a shot of our backyard as it emerges from winter. Oh, the glory, and it’s just going to get worse. Clif will have to put planks on the walkway so that that he won’t sink into the mud as he hauls wood.

But enough of March! Instead, let us turn our attention to a very fine poet, Claire Hersom. I posted this picture of her a few days ago, but it is so cute—note the sly look on her face—that I thought I’d post it again.

I met Claire about fifteen years ago, when Clif and I published a literary magazine called Wolf Moon Journal. Via the Internet, Claire submitted some of her poems, and I was immediately taken with her use of language and her ability to get to the heart of things.  As if good poetry weren’t enough, I also learned that Claire lived less than a mile from me, but somehow, even in our small town, I had never met her. So funny!

Over the years, we featured many of her poems in Wolf Moon, and we became friends. As it so happened, she introduced her nephew, Mike Mulkeen, to our daughter, Shannon, and the two hit it off immediately. This August, they will have been married eight years.

Claire has published many books of poetry, and her most recent one, published in 2017 by Moon Pie Press, is Dreamscape.

What a lovely cover! As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with blue, and it features snappy art work by her talented granddaughter, Eleanor Rose Folsom.

Claire has generously allowed me to use one of her poems in this post, and I chose “Dreamscape,” also the book’s title. Many, Many thanks, Claire!

Dreamscape 

It’s always in the early, dark morning
when a chill lingers from the night air
that we balance and
suspend in so many forms
at the brink of the precipice –
that first glimmer of day, of hope,
the new beginning hardly noticed
were it not for the argument of birds,
the bending, dew-filled pine,
the hollow stamp of deer outlined
in the grass under our windows.
Settled in last night beside you in dream,
they too waited, their warm fawn bodies
of stick-legs and too-big ears listening
for sounds; the same sounds as you,
eyes never too far from a flutter,
never completely at rest.

 

Five for Friday: If It’s March, Then It’s Time for Ice Cream

Yesterday, March came in like the gentlest of lambs, with sunshine, blue skies, and warm temperatures. This was perfect weather for an outing we had planned with our friends Claire and Mary Jane. Fielder’s Choice, which serves delicious ice cream at great prices, opened for the season, and we wanted to be among the first to christen—with ice cream—the arrival of almost spring. As  you can see from the picture below, we weren’t the only ones there. Mainers are wild about ice cream, and we will head to an ice cream stand even if there is still snow on the ground.

And yesterday, there was still snow on the ground. Note the folded up picnic tables resting against the tree.

Since it was opening day, we all decided to go for broke and get sundaes and parfaits.

Here is Clif with his sundae.

Mary Jane with hers.

And last, but certainly not least, Claire with her parfait.

In the warm sun, we stood and ate our ice cream. (Warm for us, after a cold winter, is 50°F.) I had a hot fudge sundae with peanut butter ice cream. How good it tasted. I gulped down the ice cream the way someone dying of thirst would gulp down water. I felt a little foolish for being such a glutton, but then Mary Jane said, “I don’t know why I ate my sundae so fast.” Clif also finished his lickety-split.  Claire might have done the same, except she met an old friend she hadn’t seen in years, and while we gobbled our treats, Claire chatted with her friend.

After ice cream, there was tea around the dining room table at our house. We talked about family. We talked about movies. We talked about books.

And speaking of books…Claire, a very fine poet, has just had a book of her poetry published. We finished tea with Clif reading aloud one of the poems from her new book.

Monday’s piece for the blog will feature Claire, her new book, and a poem she has graciously allowed me to post.

In the meantime, even if the weather is bad—which it certainly is today on the East Coast—eat ice cream.