Monthly Archives: August 2014

Progrep 65: Word-sick

Part three has begun. Maggie is back home, but her troubles haven’t ended; she is sick of words and of having trouble communicating. She wants to paint!

Back at Work

Here I am, back in my office in Wheeler Hall on the UCB campus, after finishing the first class on the first day of fall semester.


I’m not sure what my expression means.  “We’re gonna do this thing”, maybe?


I spent the last eight hours, without a break, on class prep. Socrates, sorites, software . . . progress of a sort. But I want to write my novel, not prep my courses. Strange to think that my students, too, are probably wishing they could do something else instead of head back to class.

We’re all ingrates in the moment.

Updating Blog and Site

I’m thinking about moving my domain to WordPress. It would make life simpler, because if I don’t move the site to WordPress, I’ll have to learn responsive web design, and I’m not interested in learning that right now.

I’d have to pay WordPress, but I suppose that’s only fair, considering I’ve been using WordPress for free since forever.

We’ll see.

(Update:  I updated!)

Sun Plunge

We played Solarquest for game day.  In the photo, Cathryn’s blue marker plunges into the sun after Paul bankrupts her.


Garden Honor Wall

Inscribe my garden wall with a list of the ailing and fallen: the old apple, dead of fireblight, the young apple and pear, soon to perish, the aged and deformed peach, the long-gone dogwood, the defunct nectarine.

GSI Presentation Skills Workshop

Today I teach the usual pre-semester Oral Presentation Skills workshop for graduate student instructors. Here’s the handy-dandy visual aid I give them so that they have something to point at during practice.



pillow-optWas going to make a couple of pillowcases today. Made a couple of pillows instead, using interestingly subtle Japanese fabric for the body, and three of the Moda “Grunge” fabrics for the Seminole piecing.

The photo’s colors are really off.  What looks blue in the photo is grayish green in reality, and what looks red is far more pink in person.  And the whites are tinged with yellow brushwork.  Oh well.

Progrep 64: Happy

Right now, I’m stoked.  The first reader of parts 1 and 2 says that the novel is working. I can stop worrying about part 2!

Thank you, Stephanie.

(Wanna read some mind-blowing fiction?  Visit Stephanie’s blog, .)


Progrep 63: Deleted Scene

IRL, I’m still wrassling with bCourses (may almost have the critter tied down).  In the meantime, no new words written in the novel, so here’s an early scene I plan to cut from the first draft of part 1.

Deleted Scene, First Draft, Part One, Eyes on the Mountain

After the ceremony celebrating the installation of her painting at Sony Corporation’s Tokyo headquarters, Maggie went shopping near Mt. Fuji in a small district that specialized in local artists’ wares. It was there that she saw the kokoro box.

The proprietor of the shop, a bent-backed elderly woman in a dove-gray scarf, pulled the brightly colored box out of the display case and laid it across a silk pad on the case’s glass top. “Hand made,” the proprietor said, rotating the wooden box slowly so that Maggie could view each of the four sides and the top and bottom all covered with paintings of cranes flying across natural and artificial landscapes rendered in vivid jewel tones.

Maggie smiled. “It’s beautiful.”

The proprietor nodded and opened the first box to reveal another nestled inside. She lifted the second box out, set the first box aside gently, and opened the second as if handling a great treasure. Inside sat a third, still smaller box.

“It’s like a Russian doll,” Maggie said.

The proprietor fell silent, her hands still, then coughed softly. “I see. But.” Her hands moved again: a fourth box, a fifth. “I think, not Russian. Not doll.”

Maggie watched, enchanted, as each box was opened to reveal another, each new box smaller and differently decorated than the preceding. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten ….

The proprietor set the tiny eleventh box in the center of her wrinkled palm, cocked her head at an angle, and looked at Maggie out of the corner of her eye. She held the box up, as if inviting Maggie’s close attention.

“Is that the last?” Maggie asked, bending down to study the box. It was made of whitish wood carved so that the surface was bumpy like chicken skin. One of the bumps was dyed a soft blue.

The proprietor raised a finger and pressed the blue bump. Instead of opening like the others had, this box unfolded to lie flat; the four sides separated at the seams and fell away from the center, one side carrying along the hinged lid, which lay equally flat on the woman’s palm.

In the center of the flattened box sat a diminutive carving in dark wood. Maggie leaned closer.

“Kokoro,” the proprietor said, lifting the carving out and placing it into Maggie’s hand. “Means ‘heart’.”

Maggie ran her forefinger over the wooden carving. It was a shoe. An empty baby shoe.

Like a pallet knife to the heart, the memory came: Samuel, her precious baby Sammy, face gray in death.

Maggie closed her fist gently around the carving. Her other hand shook as she reached for her wallet.