Monthly Archives: December 2012

A New Writer’s Conference in Eugene, Oregon

The organizing committee of a prospective new writing conference in Eugene, Oregon, has formulated a survey so that the committee can design the conference to address the needs of the attendees. The short (3 minute) survey covers writers, presenters, attendees, and volunteers, so if you are or have been any of those, we would like to have your input.

Please take the survey (only once) and then pass the link on to any writing friends so we can have as broad a perspective as possible.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/eugenewriters

Thanks! And have a wonderful 2013.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2013: Year of Sustainability

I’ve been naming my years lately. 2009 was my Year of Hesed (lovingkindness). 2010 was my Year of the Tao. 2011, my Year of Living Simply. 2012, my Year of Forgiveness. I did a lot of forgiving this past year, both of myself for my gaffes, stupid comments/acts and poking my nose into other peoples’ business, and for others who did the same to me or in my presence. I have a long way to go toward being the type of loving, non-judgmental human being I aspire to be, but a healthy dose of forgiveness goes a long way toward achieving that goal.

In 2013, I want the focus to be on sustainability.  I want to think “Sustainability!” in every area of my life, with the hope that the things that I do and say prompt others to start thinking in channels of sustainability. I’ve already begun eating a plant-based diet, as our meat and dairy production facilities are unsustainable for the world.

Theologian Matthew Fox, in his amazing book A New Reformation wrote: “Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable, and what is unjust is not.”

This is as good a definition of justice as I have ever heard. As “Social Justice” is one of the new buzzwords these days, I’m not sure those who promote it can define it. This is a good definition, and I hope all will eventually adopt it.

This year I will be mindful about my consumption. I will work for sustainable causes, whether it be in education, in social reform, health care, politics, or self-expression. I believe that the planet teeters on the brink of a sustainability revolution, and if I can help to push awareness over the brink, I will.

Happy New Year, everyone!

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Writing Violence

All writers know that conflict is at the center of a good story. The greater the conflict, the better the story. The badder the bad guy, the greater the conflict, the better the story.

Well, maybe it’s time to change that. Maybe it’s time for a new paradigm in storytelling, where the better the good guy, the better the story.

My new novel has violence in it. Gun violence. The bad guys are pretty bad, and now I’m questioning the entire premise of our reading culture and my role in it. Are those of us who write thrillers perpetuating all the wrong values, even if these books have happy endings, even if the bad guys get their comeuppance? Or is seeing the bad guys get what’s coming to them the part of the story that readers really want to read? Is that the part that validates our stand against violence, against bad guys? Is that part the light at the end of the tunnel, the glory that Truth and Justice will eventually win out?

My new book will come out, because it’s already in the process. Spoiler alert: Really bad bad guys, satisfying ending. But in the wake of the horrific events in Connecticut, I think I’ve lost my taste for writing such things. I think I’ve lost my taste for reading such things.

There are other stories to be told that don’t include the kind of violence that has been a staple of our collective body of literature, and I think it’s time for them to have their day in the sun.

2 Comments

Filed under My New Novel, Writing

Adventures in Vegetarianism

Make no mistake: I’m a born carnivore. My diet has always been reasonably balanced, meaning meat, starch and vegetables with a big glass of milk. That’s the Mid-western way I was raised.

Then I had lunch with my son and his wife, and they had just taken a 7-day juice fast, and told me about a great movie, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. I got the movie from Netflix. Loved it. Very inspirational. Got my juicer out of cold storage, cleaned it up and started juicing.  I mentioned it to a friend, and she said, “If you enjoyed that, you’d enjoy “Forks Over Knives.” Got that from Netflix, too. watched it, loved it.  I was convinced at that point that meat was not all that healthy for me, but what really knocked me out was that my husband, at the end of the film, said, “Let’s talk about our diets.” I’m a lightweight carnivore compared to Al, who hunts and fishes and brings home the well, not bacon, but goose, duck, salmon, and the occasional elk, venison and bison steak, roast and/or sausage.  If he wanted to make a change to his meat-eating ways, then maybe I ought to listen.

Then a trip to the doctor dealt the final blow. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, big number on the scale. What? I’d always been so healthy. Whoa. Not any more. I’m a little older now, though it’s hard to imagine, and apparently, things change.

So we went meatless. I went completely meatless, having seen the light in the doctor’s office, Al, almost so. Cooking became an adventure. I bought vegetarian cookbooks, consulted vegetarian friends, started frequenting vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Discovered the joys of miso. Discovered tempeh. Discovered seitan. Did not miss meat at all. Bought a treadmill.

Then, in my musings, I came across The China Study, purported to be the most comprehensive study of human nutrition ever conducted. I read it on the treadmill. Every day after I’d read a chapter, I’d run to Al, working on his fishing baits, and read the chapter to him. The one on heart disease. The one on diabetes. The one on nervous system breakdowns. The one on cancer. The proof is indisputable.

And suddenly, I was no longer just a vegetarian, I was a vegan. No more milk, cheese, or yogurt for me. Yikes. I’d always wondered why we drank so much milk, when no other mammals did after weaning. My cat used to like it, but then she’d puke it up fifteen minutes later. Cow’s milk causes those horrible ear infections in children…and more. Lots more. Milk no more. I bought a soymilk maker. Now instead of paying $4 for a quart of soymilk, I pay about $.29 for a quart of fresh soymilk.

Five months later, we’ve both lost over 20 pounds, fairly effortlessly. My cholesterol is down 30 points, so is Al’s. I’m a believer, and I feel great. I buy local, or eat fresh from the garden. The food we eat is beautiful on the plate and delicious on the tongue.

The other night on the news we watched a story about how some pork right now is infected with something or other. We just looked at each other and smiled.

2 Comments

Filed under Aging, Cancer, Diet