Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bedtime for Books

The final push for Summerhouse has ended, at least for the time being. Now it's in the hands of the Beta readers. I'm hoping they'll love it.

I haven't written much on here because I've been doing research on a number of things such as hospitals in the 19th century, tuberculosis and its treatments, especially in the 19th century, 19th century Britain, 19th century Switzerland, and my favorite translation site for Latin and double-checking my German.

It's been an educational journey. For instance, I had no idea that hospitals were that bad back then. One actually had to pay them up front for one's own burial when they went in there, because it was a fairly good bet that they'd die once passing the hospital doors. Often their families had to do their laundry and bring them extra food (especially sugar, tea, and butter). The conditions were absolutely appallingly filthy.

If a person caught tuberculosis, they wrote them off as a goner, since for a long time they didn't know anything about how a person caught the disease. They didn't have the long list of medications we do today either. Apparently it was endemic in Europe at the time.

I spent lots of time hunting through houses in Luzern. It took me back for some truly happy hours. I miss climbing around there and walking through the shops and by-ways.

I wandered around Britain as well. Someday (maybe when Summerhouse gets made into a movie) I hope to go there and haunt the places I love to read about and see.

So now it's time to buckle back down and do re-writes and polishing so I can actually send these babies out into the wide, wide world.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Luzern Love Song

I've spent all day researching Luzern, Switzerland for my W.I.P., Summerhouse. All day I've ridden the cogwheel railway up to Mt. Pilatus, ridden a truly kickin' toboggan track down the mountain, wandered the old city, and visited the fantastic museums. Picasso has never looked so good. Nineteenth century landscapes and steam boats jockeyed with wildflowers and mountain sheep for number one...memory.
Back and back I went to the time when I wore skirts every day to high school and had hair so long I could sit on it...
I rode that cogwheel when I was 16. Really. It was an amazing ride. At the time I was greatly annoyed since a few days before, when we were riding the talus slides down a mountain near Innsbruck, Austria, I'd fallen to my knees a few times and chewed up my knees something fierce. So I was relegated to the stupid train along with the three whiny kids who couldn't stand the climb.

When we got to the top, we had to wait for what seemed an eternity for the rest of our party. The waiting part was a dull few hours, let me tell you. Two of the three were the most despised kids of the group, since they had attitudes like jail inmates and wandered around Europe with their noses in their romance books. (Those weren't by any means the only reasons we couldn't stand the 'Harlequin Twins'.) I personally LOVE books, but there is a time for everything. At the top of Pilatus is not the time to read romances.

The Harlequin Twins were in a poisonous mood that day, because they wanted to do something less active, like shopping, or doing their nails. They didn't appreciate being shown up as the wimpy whiner babies they were, and took it out on me, the other youngster of the group. I finally ditched the sob-fest and went outside to enjoy the real reason we'd come up.

In fact, the top of Pilatus was spectacular! The air was so crystal clear that it could have been bottled for health stores. Besides the fantastic air, the peak boasted one of the most unsurpassed views in the world. For a 360 degree view, range on range of alps marched away into the purple mist like gargantuan waves on the ocean.

One of the few structures on top of Mt. Pilatus is a round building which was once blown up in a James Bond movie (one wonders why they'd put a Nazi hideout clear up there, but I guess Nazis were never known for their practicality). I forget for what purpose that building was really used, since James Bond's incendiary show simply can't be topped.

There are wildflowers everywhere! I even found an Edelweiss. I walked around the peak and tried out my newly-rested knees and decided that I should definitely have climbed up instead of wussing out.

That night, if I remember right (we slept in hostels all across Europe so some of them run together in my mind) we slept in a hostel up on the peak. I
do remember wondering why we couldn't just sleep in the hideout. Waking up to that view was stellar!

The next morning, we took off across the mountains on a trail probably made by goats. It had to have been about a foot wide, with plunging drop-offs on both sides. It was definitely
not a romp to do at night. I felt like Liesel Von Trapp escaping from Nazis over the mountains near Saltzburg. I may have broken into a few bars of 'Climb Every Mountain' under my breath, but was trying to be cool.

You see, there were some very cute boys on that trip. I really liked a couple of them, and was hoping to be inducted into the cool side of the German Club instead of the loser side. So, sucking it up and climbing down that mountain was definitely on my to-do list. Even if the guys hadn't been there, that climb was

We saw some of the biggest freakin' goats I've
ever seen! I believe there were gemsboks and a couple of other kinds of boks. I think it was rutting season, because some of them were fighting, and the clack of those gigantic horns crashing together echoed across the alpine valleys and ridges forever. It alway amazed me that those big old goats could hop around so gracefully, and stand on the tiniest ledges imaginable. They were definitely better climbers than I am.

At the end of the climb, there was a lovely ferry ride back to Luzern across the sun-burnished water. It was heaven just to let the waves rock me into a doze, though for some time
my body felt like we were still climbing.

The lights on the water that night were like paints streaming and puddling across an inky canvas. I remember Mom singing the song, 'East Side, West Side' as we strolled along the quay walk. I remember thinking what a magical night it was...

...back when the world was young and I was 16.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meg's Melody

I just got a book yesterday that I've been wanting to read ever since I met it's author, Kaylee Baldwin. And now, unfortunately, I'm already done with it. I couldn't put it down.

I really enjoyed this sweet offering. Meg's troubles seemed to mirror many of my own. I, too, was a divorced mother of a beautiful little girl for some years. Many of those years I wondered desperately whether I'd ever find love again. I, too, had an ex-jerk who pretended to come back, but only to wreak havoc.

I, too, found a man who loves me and who was such a great father to my daughter that I don't remember even one time (except on governmental forms) when she called him a step-father. He was always Dad to her. He had to reassure me several times that he would never leave.

I love that this book allows Meg to work through not just her feelings of inadequacy, but to also come to understand God's marvelous plan for us. I love that although Matt was working through some crushing pain of his own, he never really left Meg to struggle alone.

Thank you, Kaylee, for this wonderful book. I wish it weren't finished.