TASTE OF INDIA – Jammin’ on the Streets

IMG_1100Car horns honk. Motorbikes beep. Tuk-tuks toot. The wave of sound winds down as the steel herd halts for a red signal, then builds again when the traffic light turns green and the swarm surges forward.

The pack pushes through the streets of Delhi as if it was performing an abstract dance – one that’s been choreographed and long rehearsed, given the ordered chaos it presents.

The moment one bike creeps up and veers off, another seamlessly slips into its space. When oncoming traffic Continue reading

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TASTE OF INDIA – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Taj

IMG_0986Potty talk took on a new meaning for me today when I stopped to wash my hands in the ladies room before lunch. I had just pumped the soap dispenser and turned on the tap when a young voice from inside the stall behind me pierced the silence, “Simon says, ‘Look up!'”

A 10-year-old girl standing at the sink beside me tossed a thick dark braid over the shoulder of her pink tweety-bird t-shirt. “That’s my cousin visiting from America. She loves playing that game, especially when we go to restaurants and everyone at the table is looking down at their phones.”

After a shared laugh and introduction, Meera told me in great detail how Maya had just gotten sick for the fifth time since their arrival in Agra last night. I’ll spare you the colorful details since her story was interrupted when the door flew open and another petite pink clad 10-year-old with a smile like a crescent moon and sparking green eyes rimmed in sky blue flecked with mischief stomped beside her cousin and exclaimed, “Ahhhh – that feels so much better. Now I’m ready to go see the Taj!”

“You’d better Continue reading

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KALAALLIT NUNAAT – Pure Perfection

Whiteout sled
A blank page waves from a single flag pole propped in the vast subcortical network of my mental workspace. When I zero in on it, a hint of color leaches through, teasing me with thoughts of surrendering to the barrage of images suddenly cascading from above. But I’m not ready to abandon the hunt in the recesses of my brain for that perfect sparkling idea on how to proceed with sharing my recent experience in the arctic. Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words, but I’m not inclined to yield to that cliché just yet.

In answer to my pure stubbornness, another flag flaps from the middle of the mêlée and suggests that I jump the timeline and skip ahead to the day of our departure on the sleds.

Waiting to Begin Continue reading

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The Setting Thesaurus Books Are Here: Come Celebrate with Becca and Angela!

Ben the thesaurus and meWhen I bumped into Benjamin Franklin yesterday, he told me to have a seat and tell him what was new. Not wanting to saddle him with the troubles of our time, I showed him the best writer’s resources since Roget’s Thesaurus. Then I mentioned the vault brimming with prizes connected to the celebration of these newly released gems. Well, he nearly jumped out of his bronze skin. “Blazes, my fair lady!” he cried. “Thou must go forth and help spread the word!” And so, I am. Not because he insisted on it, but because I already love using the duo’s other thesauri. Now, read on, and then I’ll race you to the vault. Last one there is a fetid egg…


As we write, we can become consumed by the plot, by the story events that sizzle with conflict, tension, and intrigue. But what often holds readers in thrall are our characters and how they grow and change. Who they evolve into, what fears they push past, how they take on pain to reach fulfillment regardless of the challenges—all of these steps in the character's journey, combined with the plot, can create a fascinating trek through the pages of a novel.

And yet there’s another element that’s needed to meld the story and character arc together: the setting. Choosing the right one for each scene is critical to Continue reading

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KALAALLIT NUNAAT – Sound of Silence

Ittoqqortoormiit

Nature will do it every time – fill me with a sense of awe that is jaw-dropping. And she did not disappoint as our helicopter rushed over the spare landscape toward Ittoqqortoormiit. In summer, the remote village in East Greenland hugs the rocky shore of Scoresbysund like a colorful belt cinched along the edge of the sea. The remainder of the year she rests like a jeweled crown on the headland of a frozen fjord like she did on this day in April, just six weeks ago.

DSC00306At the end of my last post, I planned to continue our dog sled adventure beginning with an exploration of the village, but there is one of many first impressions that I forgot to mention.

Besides the marked contrast of crisp white against vivid blue, the freshness of an unsullied wind, and the inquisitive little ones that greeted us and took such joy in trying out their english on our small group, it was the sound of silence that struck me most. Not in a Simon and Garfunkel sort of way, but a living under a giant pair of invisible noise canceling headphones way…

 

A wine connoisseur might describe it as crisp, yet soothing, with undertones of quietude. I’d say Continue reading

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KALAALLIT NUNAAT – A Dream Realized

PicMonkey CollageAt age seven, when the only thing on my bucket-list was a red plastic beach pail, the Encyclopedia Britannica introduced me to a boy whose life was literally the polar opposite of mine. I was captivated from the moment I saw Moseesee displayed on a narrow metal rack sandwiched between a row of Cheerios and stacked Bumble Bee tuna cans at the Acme. Once I’d liberated him with a book of S&H Green Stamps, I skipped home to vows of visiting him in his Arctic home one day. Moseesee took this promise seriously and dogged my dreams for five decades until I did.

Ittoqqortoormiit, a remote village in east Kalaallit Nunaat, might not be Moseesee’s home on Baffin Island, but Continue reading

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ICELANDIC ANTIPASTI

 

IMG_0271Once I’d heard The Calling, answered it, and set the intention of being so overjoyed with the experience of a four-day dogsled trip in Green-land that I would do it again in a heart-beat, the fear of my eyeballs freezing in their sockets while I slept disintegrated into a spray of silver confetti. The sparkling flecks floated westward to the tune of “Dust In The Wind”  while I traveled east humming “Best Day Of My Life”.

data=RfCSdfNZ0LFPrHSm0ublXdzhdrDFhtmHhN1u-gM,Cmj1EyGsj-XnrMPcvTLLTX1sJU_yJRRtuDDbU9IFKp3APvAuRjSAciCDCGJRTjJIrO_7ZrY_XhteqgBSYLp8gHBHJErH3TATcPQLDtttBUptILzugjfWvLpfo37zjKuwFQhbbLhcfmTVoEk1TfZfWeCSLR0jX-eCP42IzxgrO9cRj4vo4d9OmAN8qJh5a7xx-7loH-O15OVtaIttoqqortoormiit is a long way from California – 4,007 miles as the crow flies. For the rest of us, Continue reading

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