As you read this, Len and I are on a little road trip—we don’t know where we’re heading.
We were supposed to be enjoying the Pacific Ocean from the Oregon coastline. But with over 500,000 people having fled because of statewide fires, we opted to head east instead.
The one thing I do know is that Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, hits the shelves on April 6th. Here’s an excerpt. Enjoy:
“Much like a brilliant, multi-faceted gem nestled on the ragged hemline of the northern Pacific coastline, Pines & Quill, a wooded retreat for writers, sits Zen-like overlooking Bellingham Bay in Fairhaven, Washington, holding space to unleash possibility. The mango-colored sunrises and blood-orange sunsets compete in their breathtaking showiness, each vying for the rapt attention of would-be onlookers. One heralding the beginning of day, the other bids adieu, sending it off into the ink-black night sky.”
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I’ve turned comments off for this post, but I wanted to share a glimpse of this beautiful location with you. Enjoy!
Last year, on a road trip through Oregon, we saw endless miles of wire fencing stabilized every hundred feet or so by wire-wrapped “pillars” of smooth fieldstones.
The labor involved in that task—harvesting millions of fieldstones and placing them in the wire enclosures—was massive, but serves a practical purpose. The “pillars” provide stability to the fence, keeping it upright.
It’s rare for me to despise something. That’s a strong word, a strong feeling—contempt, deep repugnance. But it bubbles to the surface when I encounter indifference, a complete lack of interest, concern, or sympathy for anyone or anything.
In researching why I feel this way when I encounter it, I came across many quotes, one of which I share here. No wonder it raises my hackles.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ” —Elie Wiesel
Does anything raise your hackles to the point of contempt or deep repugnance?
I enjoy writing and photography (and of course, I love red licorice).
My next book, Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, takes place in the Zen-like wooded acres surrounding Pines & Quill, a writing retreat in the Pacific Northwest. And while Pines & Quill is fictitious, the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham, WA, where the story takes place is very real. In fact, we took a trip there to take photographs for book promotion purposes. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen some of them.
While watching a video of Zen Master John Daido Loori, an incredible photographer and author of Hearing with the Eye: Photographs from Point Lobos, he said:
“The moment is where our life takes place. We miss the moment—we miss life.”
I realize that the “big picture” is important too, but in my experience, the moment is essential.
Are you more of an “in the moment” or “big picture” person?
Walking out the door one morning, I heard a chorus of cooing. Looking around, I located the source of the birdsong on the roof of the neighboring house. A trio of birds was amicably roosting. One of them was clearly the king—or queen, as the case may be.
It brought to mind playing “King of the Hill” when I was growing up. A group of neighborhood friends would find a mound or hill, and whoever got to the top first would try to maintain their position—unfortunately, by pushing opponents back down.
As an adult, my only “opponent” is me. I compete against myself. Sometimes I’m “queen of the hill,” other times I’m in a slipped-down position, waiting for the right moment to recapture the hill.
If you were playing king/queen of the hill, what’s your current position?
We’re currently camping at the Garden Valley Airstrip. It’s a popular fly-in picnic and camping spot for experienced pilots because of the mountainous location next to the Payette River and the excellent maintenance of the grass landing strip by the Idaho Division of Aeronautics.
The camping facilities include shelters, tables, fire-pits, flush toilets (hallelujah!), and hot showers. It’s a great place to get a lot of reading and writing done.
I’ve turned comments off for this post because internet connections are iffy at best up here. But I wanted to share a glimpse of this beautiful location with you. Enjoy!
When I hopped out of the truck in Sisters, Oregon to take this photograph, my immediate thought was “line of sight.” I wanted to write about unobstructed vision, and how very few things we actually see that way. Easy peasy, right? Not!
I started my online research. As a suspense/thriller novelist (#seanmcphersonnovels), I already knew about line of sight as it relates to firearms.
I didn’t know about:
Line of sight in electromagnetic radiation
Line of sight between missile and target
Line of sight as it relates to mental illness, particularly schizophrenia
Line of sight in the world of gaming (who can see what)
Line of sight in mathematics (projective geometry)
Line of sight as it relates to the production of pipelines
Line of sight in art is when an artist uses a horizontal line that runs across the paper or canvas to represent the viewer’s eye level and delineate where the sky meets the ground
Who knew?! Clearly, line of sight is more than meets the eye.
Among the many cool sights we saw during our road trip to Montana in July were two fascinating trees:
One tree is growing near the Bitterroot River and has two ninety-degree angles in its trunk. This tree seems to have specific ideas about what it wants to do and where it wants to go—up, out, and up again.
The other tree is growing in Hell’s Half Acre, and its trunk is swirling every which way. This tree appears to be spontaneous—ready to go every which way.
I’m a cross between both tree styles—I enjoy planned spontaneity. Approximately seventy-percent of what I do is pre-planned. The remaining thirty-percent I block in my planner as free time and spontaneously decide how I’ll use it.
While walking Willa in the Laura Moore Cunningham Memorial Arboretum, I saw this small cairn.
Used by people around the globe, cairns—a human-made stack of stones—serve many different purposes:
Utilitarian: to mark a path, territory, or specific site
Spiritual: inviting passersby to stop and reflect
Ceremonial: when placed within a circle of enclosing stones
Memorial: when friends and family members voice a fond remembrance of a loved one while adding a stone
Symbolic: the uses are endless including love, prayer, and artistic expression
In Scotland, it’s traditional to carry a stone from the bottom of a hill to place on a cairn at its top. In such a fashion, cairns grow ever larger. An old Scottish Gaelic blessing is Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn — “I’ll put a stone on your cairn.”