Certain words in the English language make me cringe. The short, staccato sound of them wrinkles my nose, puckers my lips, and stabs my ears. One of the two most wince-worthy in my book of offending words has recently sent me on a quest to finding an acceptable replacement even though the short burst that thrusts forth from pressed lips when expressing it ‘speaks’ for its meaning.

Once I’d set my intention, it didn’t take long. I already knew a German substitute was out. Too sharp. Too similar. The French word didn’t strike the right chord, either. Then I hit the mother lode. Italian. It’s not only a tolerable word in this melodic and passionate language, it makes me want to scent it with lavender oil and bathe in its languid luxury. See if you agree… Continue reading

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The phone rang once. A clipped voice answered, “9-1-1-what is your emergency?”
“grr-rr—umph bwaa—maaa….”
“I can’t understand you. Can you speak more clearly?”
“grr-rr—umph *cough* bwaa—maa *cough—cough*”
“Are you choking?”
“An emergency vehicle is on its way—please try to stay calm, and breathe—breathe as best you can.” Continue reading

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Going. Going. Gone. My Muse is acting like a yo-yo that has been shot into outer space and has lost the energy to return to my outstretched palm. The string, taut at first, went limp eight weeks ago and now dangles from my poised middle finger which, by default, is conveniently flipping her the bird for her delayed return. Continue reading

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Check This Out: The Book Passage Children’s Writer’s Conference

If you’re a KidLit Writer or Illustrator, it’s time to visit the San Francisco Bay Area for this inspiring, fun, and informative children’s book conference. See you in June!

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

I don’t think I have ever talked about conferences for writers on the blog, let alone had someone on who coordinates one. But with me on the blog is the fabulous Pamela Livingston, who roomed with me during grad school. She’s here to talk about the Book Passage Children’s Writer’s Conference in Corte Madera, California.


El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Pamela: 1. I was the Macy’s Easter Bunny.
2. I am the proud owner of both a VCFA MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults degree plus a Picture Book Certificate which I may have illustrated before finally finding space on a wall.
3. My newest aka is “Mama Goose” of Goosebottom Books since purchasing this award-winning publishing house from its founder, Shirin Bridges.
4. I’ve been a circus star stage mom.

El Space: Tell us about Book Passage. What is it? What is your…

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KALAALLIT NUNAAT – The Sun Sets on a Different World

Quimmer. Stranded. Separated from his pack. About as visible as a grain of sand stuck to the smooth side of a seashell, the dog stands on a slab of sea ice floating atop the placid waves of  Scorsbysund. Four days ago, everyone in the east Greenlandic village of Ittoqqortoormiit woke up to a different world than what they had been used to at this time of year.

Mother Nature’s April Fool’s Day prank? Hmmm… Continue reading

Posted in ADVENTURES, ARCTIC WONDER, ROAD TRIP, TRAVEL/PHOTO Themes, VIEW FROM MY SOAP BOX | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

DESERT HIGH – Between Earth And Sky

I’d rather be here, with you, than anywhere else in the world.”
When the man in the mountain spoke, it wasn’t with words. A wave of warm air rippled across his furrowed forehead, crept over his craggy face, and burst from the mouth of a cave carved above his clean-shaven chin. The breath of wind beckoned. “Come,” it coaxed. “Let us walk together in another’s footsteps.”


The distance from the edge of the mesa to the bottom of the rock face might just as well have been the height of the Empire State Building. I thought we’d be maneuvering the 200 foot drop along some wide, gradually sloping, hand-railed staircase, not snaking down a perpendicular footpath where I’d have to stab my fingers into hand cracks to stay balanced and, in particularly narrow spaces, pry my dusty size six sneakers from smooth grooves worn into the pitted volcanic tuff by legions of industrious feet for nearly six hundred years.

Continue reading

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OUT OF THIS WORLD – Journey to the unknown

Clouds of steam rise from bubbling pits on the pocked landscape.

It smells like Beelzebub is venting a batch of burned hard-boiled eggs from his sizzling  subterranean scullery far below our hiking booted feet. Continue reading

Posted in ADVENTURES, ROAD TRIP, TRAVEL/PHOTO Themes, VIEW FROM MY SOAP BOX | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments