Mt. Lemmon in Southern AZ
Just an hour's drive from the Tucson Airport is Mt. Lemmon, with cool weather during the hot summers and brisk falls for October Fest.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I’m drawn to books that show interesting characters grappling with crucial questions. It’s rare that I find myself reading books that are closely tied to one particular genre (mystery, romance, sci-fi, etc.), but I do enjoy stories that draw on many genre elements. And even in the darkest of narratives, I appreciate the occasional flicker of humor. This blend of textures will be evident to anyone who picks up my new collection, This Jealous Earth.
Did you write as a child?
Happily, most of those scribblings have not survived. I remember with some fondness an enormous short story I wrote for a national contest. The contest was for adults, and I was in sixth grade, but that didn’t stop me from unspooling a long, gangly tale of science fiction, dealing principally with extra-terrestrial exploration. Strangely, the piece didn’t even receive so much as an honorable mention. In seventh grade I penned a one-act play based on the adventures of Sir Francis Drake, aided by his trusty sidekick, Sir John Hawkins. That was my first and last period piece. As I recall, it generated raucous applause in our classroom, which was all the encouragement I needed.
Tell me about your recent writing. Do you prefer short stories, novels, novellas?
What I prefer is… whatever I’m currently writing. I have a novel (Theory of Remainders) coming out in May (2013), and I currently have two new stories as well as another novel in the works. I have also developed a great fondness for the hyper-short: flash fiction. Flash pieces—usually 500 to 1000 words—require a concentration of force, and when they work right, the result can be explosive.
Do you find the writing community online to be helpful?
I find online resources in general to be invaluable. (It’s hard to imagine how anyone managed to write a novel before they had the Internet at their disposal.) However, I keep my involvement in online communities limited. I participate some, but I also realize how easily the hours can slip by when I’m online. The most important thing is to have good, reliable readers—people who can be brutal enough to tell you when something needs work (or needs to be thrown away). A lot of this can be done online, although I prefer to take my lumps in person.
What would you most like to do, which you haven't already, that would help with your writing?
Tough question! How about a month-long apprenticeship with the writer of my choice? There are so many tiny elements of craft to be worked on, that it would be terrific to collaborate with an expert who may have different solutions to certain problems.
Any great lines you would love to have written?
So many! How about, “Let Heaven exist, though my own place be in Hell” (Borges). Or: “Philosophy is inclination dressed in a toga” (Arthur Phillips).
Do you have any blogs or websites that you think are great and want to share?
Of course there’s my own website, which is pretty awesome: www.sdcarpenter.com. My publisher, MG Press is well equipped, too: http://midwestgothic.com/mg-press/. My favorite blog (where I also occasionally post) publishes reviews of the current short fiction in the New Yorker magazine; it’s located at http://newyorkerstorycritiques.blogspot.fr/.
We've searched about and found these quality ideas to get your skin through the winter and maybe even help you like the skin you're in. Heaters, fires and smoke all hurt our overly sensitive skin so this time of year is just as hard on your skin as summer sunshine. Drinking water with ginger and mint will help keep your immune system up and your water intake high.
Cucumber salve is a good cooling solution to rough and painful winter skin. Blind together (in a blinder) two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with half a medium to small sized cucumber and then paint onto your neck and face (and back of hands if that's a problem area). Let set for 3-8 minutes depending on just how sensitive your skin is. Then buff off with 1/3 salt to 2/3 sugar mixture and let a tablespoon of olive oil soak in.
Solvang is a great little village in Southern California. You can read TravFan's guide to this sunny field in our past issues of TravFan.
Man, it's hard out here for a dude
How do you love yourself when everywhere you turn it seems someone or something is telling you you’re not quite good enough? Finding inner joyfulness in today’s world can seem so overwhelmingly energy draining that many of us just give up and go on with our lives without ever committing to living a conscious life. The life we mean to live, with purpose and integrity. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge in the right direction, a quick reminder of something forgotten; our desire to live out our lives with happiness.
What it means to be a man
I have been lucky enough in this life to be surrounded by wonderful men. But the recurring theme of any discussions on their feelings towards being a man today is a deep sense of being shuffled out of the way and ignored. We cannot continue to pretend men are just like women, we loose the value of each gender by doing so. If we can realize that men are inherently different in a lovely way than women then we begin to understand the need to communicate accordingly. Everything from schooling to family life has to work for both genders.
What does it mean to be an emotionally whole person? Even today we can hold the view that men are either big babies or silent, feeling-less stones. Accepting the masculine side of emotions and life is vital to living a full and rewarded life. How men express emotion may not be the standard way we expect women to but they are as passionate and sensitive as anyone else. “Men talk in order to exchange information, to solve problems, or, if they're with other men, to engage in friendly verbal competition. When anxious or angry, men will often seek solitude rather than talk, at least as an immediate response.”
What does it mean to be a whole, satisfied man today? Now that the archetypes for masculine and feminine have all but disappeared it is up to us to decide where we fall in the scale of male or female and it has little to do with gender.
By not only allowing but cultivating a sense of welling being and wholeness of existence in ourselves and our loved ones we give everyone a deeper, richer sense of life. No black and white lines to be drawn but a slow and thoughtful way to live a life filled with all the struggles and joys of a satisfying life.
Doing vs. conversing
It’s safe to say that men are the doers of the two genders, in that they enjoy getting a task done and that in itself is a reward. Finding a balance in life is also about realizing where our strengths lay. Are we fixers, worries, get-it-doners?
What do you feel is your biggest challenge, your biggest reward?
Finding the moments in your life to fully experience something, whether it is a sweet time with your better half or a great swim in the ocean, can so easily be pushed under the carpet of everyday hassles. Yet when we take that moment to hold on for a few seconds to something beautiful it can change us in ways we never thought possible. We allow ourselves to experience something totally, to be engaged in a place and time and to enjoy it fully.
Next time you’re feeling happy make a few seconds to take in the moment and remember this time, it will last for only as long as we remember it.
Since we’re all over-tasked and over-worked already don’t make creating changes in your life for the better a task to get checked off an imaginary, or real if you are record orientated, list. Look at this process as something as easy as sitting down to watch TV. Just as you would watch a show watch your life, critique but be kind and remember all the effort you put into this world and that those around you put into their own lives. Learn to be in the small moments as much as the big ones and start to look over the world around you with a bit of wonder; you’ll be amazed how different the world looks when you look at it with a heart of joyfulness.
Being a man, a happy, fully realized man takes a great deal of work but the reward is the ability to live life with total awareness of both the good and bad. It takes a great deal of reasonability to grab the reins of life and purposely try to decide the course you wish to take.
Vancouver China Town
"Scents greet you first as colors whip around corners."
This Photo Pictorial takes you to Vancouver's colorful and interesting China Town in the great Pacific North West.
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park
"A single photo can inspire the beginning of the greatest adventures."
Streaming Film Review: Friends with Benefits
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