Kittie Howard

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Off to Italy; Blog on Mini Hiatus

Italy beckons -- the day that seemed a million years away is tomorrow -- wheee!

We'll fly to Vienna, Austria, spend the night at the NH Hotel (exit airport, cross street, go to room, crash), then catch an early a.m. flight to Venice (taxi to the Ambasciatori Palace hotel in Lido de Jesolo, go to room, change clothes, go to pool, start reading under shade tree, and zzzzzz and read and . . .).

Along the way, I hope to get caught up in Blogville and with my WIP as I've fallen woefully behind in this crazy month June's been.

Venice -- I liked how the bird perched on the post and enjoyed the breezes.

The nearby island of Burano and my favorite ferry stop. We go early, get a coffee at an outdoor place by one of the canals and watch the island come alive.

I walked around after our coffee to take some pics. A bicycle always pulls me closer. Burano is laid-back, not as commercialized as Venice. 
I can't resist these caloric bombs! Ohhhhh, pure bliss! Not too sweet with a hint of almond. *sighs*

The chocolate-creme torte hub surprised me with on my birthday last year! Very light, not too sweet *sighs again*

The beach/Adriatic Sea view from our room. We've had the same room the past six years. The shadows in the foreground are the trees by the pool. The heart shape in the sky is from an air show by Italy's air force. The horizon's grey cross the sea is Croatia. A few years ago we drove around the land hook and explored Croatia. Gorgeous scenery but few hotels and absolutely brutal prices for everything as their tourist market caters more to the enormous yachts that drop anchor.

Hub's favorite . . . no canned mushrooms and fake cheese . . .
. . . right around the corner . . .  on Sunday morning this area's more like Hangover Corner. Every Saturday night there's a huge beach party that draws kids from as far away as Milan -- very rich kids with incredibly expensive cars, parked wherever they can find a spot, convertible tops down (people admire but don't touch cars that are more like works of art) -- anyway, the party's loud (we bring ear plugs) and goes into the wee hours. Italians harness rather than fight rites of passage. When these kids learn to control their wild horses, they'll tolerate the same parties they're recovering from. And, counter image, Italy's got some really tough laws, as does all of the European Union, actually. No one even thinks of taking a sip of wine and driving, nononono!

Tiles by the pool . . . this is more our speed.
Happy Summer, Everyone!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vanity Fair and Mary McCarthy's "The Group": Advice for Writers

Vanity Fair, Food & Wine, and Architectural Digest are my magazine treats, when I flop on the sofa and get lost in their pages. "Vassar Unzipped" by Laura Jacobs in the July issue of Vanity Fair, however, had an interesting point I thought would also catch your eye.

Jacobs does a great job of fleshing out backdrop stories surrounding Mary McCarthy's "The Group," her 1933 book about eight Vassar girls that was on The New York Times best seller list for almost three years. And, in the process, Mary McCarthy revolutionized much for female writers.

As Jacobs summarizes her article about McCarthy's career, she writes, "Novelists lift material from life because they must. First novels are invariably autobiographical, which is why second novels are so difficult: the writer needs to recede and let the characters create themselves. McCarthy never learned to back off and loosen her grip." (page 119)

Can you relate to what Jacobs wrote? I know I can. My first novella became more autobiographical than I thought it would. My second novella gave me fits until I instinctively realized I had to let a couple of characters do what they wanted to do. But, if I'd known to back off going into the second novella, I could've saved myself a lot of time and frustration.