Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good reading from a good friend


            Joyce DiPastena   * * * * *

Joyce’s second historical romance novel, set in 1179, uses characters who played secondary roles in Loyalty’s Web to carry the plot forward into new dimensions.  Siri de Calendri arrives from Italy where her dying brother had liquidized their entire estate and sent her to the trusted friend he had made while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. She brings a sealed document making her Triston’s ward.  The complicating factor is that Siri looks amazingly identical to Triston’s dead wife, Clothilde. 

DePastena weaves a thrilling tale of swashbuckling sword fights, sweet love scenes, and political intrigue.  An understanding that could have been a satisfying ending occurs a hundred or more pages before Triston and Siri finally battle their way through several challenging complications to more complete fruition.  

DiPastena's  ability to sketch realistic backdrops as grounding to depict strong yet tender emotions, shows with enchanting clarity. For instance, she has Triston idly pick a ripe peach in the garden as he converses with Siri.  He first caresses the fruit, then grasps it, increases the pressure until he finally hurls it to smash against the garden wall, a realistic barometer to his rising emotions.

I look forward to hearing more of Triston's frustrating, yet charming, young cousin who aspires to be a knight and seems to be readying for a leading role in a third novel.

This is a very good read, to which I give my highest praise of five stars.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Knitting

     I've often wondered when and where knitting first began, so just now I stopped to google it.  The simple answer is, nobody knows.  It is supposed that it started in the 6th century, but maybe not until medieval times. 

     I do know when I first learned to knit.  My mother taught me when I was about eight years old.  I remember she unraveled an old, red, worn sweater and I proceeded to make a scarf for my brother Don, three years my senior.  I thought I was pretty hot stuff as I knit away in garter stitch.  My  biggest trouble was that I knew so little that I couldn't always tell if a bunch of strands was only one stitch or if it were two or three.  Hence my finished scarf had enough curves to vie with the most voluptuous woman around.  My brother utterly refused to wear it.
     For a brilliant woman (a fact of which on rare instances I perceive a hint of proof) it's amazing to me that it took me half a century to realize snug, smooth knitting stitches both look and wear much better than loose uneven ones.  I blamed my untidiness on my continental, or right-handed, knitting style. I'm getting better.  The holes in the dish cloth I happen to be napping over in the above picture are there on purpose for the design.  
     My mother-in-law taught me to crochet, but that's another story.  Between the two, I've finished and given away many times more articles than I have ever written and edited, yet I claim to be a writer. 
     There just might be another someone out there who's weird enough to have taken a challenge to stockpile enough hand-knit or crocheted dish cloths to give one to each and every person who is kind enough to attend my funeral.  I just don't know how many that will take.  However, I'm optimistic (and have lots of relatives) and already have about four hundred sixty tucked away and waiting. Enough where I've at least slowed down. Crazy?  Of course.  But it's a fun challenge.  It also gives me a false sense of comfort -- of achieving busyness when I don't really want to clean house, or write. 

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's High Time

I'm amazed that it's taken me so long to get back to this blogsite.  The whole month of July I spent most of my writing time on my memoirs.  I've been working on this project for several years now, and have rough drafted somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 words, getting me only up to 1964.  It tires me to think of all the cutting and editing I'll have to do.  I find sometimes I'm excited to write, but much more often it's closer to drudgery.  However, I love to have written, so it's all worthwhile.

In keeping with probably most of earth's inhabitants, I think my life history is quite unique.  Oh, sorry.  That could be misread.  I believe everybody's life story is unique in some way or other, and should it be well told, could bring inspiration to many, especially descendants and other relatives.  That's why I'm spending so much time and effort on mine.

I'd love to tell my own story with the charm and gusto of a classic novel.  Where I can't quite remember little details, or exact dialogue, I hope to use my creativity to fill in.  However, the plot is pretty well set.  What happened is beyond changing, leaving only the present still malleable.  Or is it?  Can one alter a story simply by what is told and what is left out?  Or even which synonyms we choose?  Hmmm.

Or consider point of view.  When our middle child was born at home after only about a dozen contractions, my mother, my husband and I tell three widely differing stories, each of us assuming a starring role. We all agree he was born, but who cut the cord?