The Writing Life



Exploring a Bit of Boston

Posted by on Sep 12, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

Putting on a travel writer hat. It feels good.

Just what is the Back Bay?

If you have a few days to enjoy Boston, think about the Back Bay neighborhood. Reclaimed from a bay in the late 19thcentury, it’s now an affluent neighborhood of charming Victorian brownstones, historical churches, museums and great places to eat.

Accommodations

Our room on the 31st  floor of the Westin Copley Place hotel on Huntington Ave. offered a beautiful view of the Charles River and is within walking distance to – well, just about anywhere in Back Bay. Mother Nature cooperated for the three days we were there in mid-August. We had sunny days with cool breezes. Back Bay folks apologized for the heat. “No problem, we’re from Arizona.”

Places that inspired us

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a half-hour walk from our hotel, designed after a Venetian palace and built by Isabella in 1903 to house her extensive European, Asian, and American art collection- paintings, tapestries, furniture, and decorative arts. She had inherited $1.75 million from her father so she had a bit of spending money! You can take an audio tour on your phone or browse through each room and use the large print (thank you) cards describing each piece on the N, S, E, and W walls in every room – three floors chockfull of art.

The Museum of Fine Arts is within walking distance of the Gardner Museum. We didn’t go in but the artwork around the grounds is … interesting.

Heading back to our hotel, we stopped in at the Shops in the Prudential Center on Huntington – found a Lord & Taylor store! Then took a ramble to see the shoppes on Newberry Street, ranging from elegant to trendy to funky.

We stepped back in time to visit the Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, the Public Gardens with the famous Make Way for Ducklings area on Charles St., and the Copley Square Market.

Of course we needed sustenance

We enjoyed breakfast in our hotel before each day’s outing, a dinner at the Summer Shack– very casual and delicious fish. A great lunch with clean and colorful food prepared fresh daily and organic coffee at PRÊT a Manger on Boylston- with a nice patio, and just across the street from the Boston Legal “building.” A surprise find was a French restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the Bar Boulud on Boylston Street – French cuisine with Boston dishes and American burgers. Take your pick.

A sunset walk along the Charles River ended with the pleasant discovery of The Met Back Bay Café on the corner of Newbery and Dartmouth with supper on the outside patio.

Just for fun and an interesting overview was the Duck Tour around Boston. 90 minutes past just about every top spot in Boston with an outstanding narration. An hour on land and half hour on the Charles River gave us great ideas of places we’ll visit when we return to Boston.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. Ethel is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

“I’m Not Afraid of Cancer”

Posted by on Sep 3, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

I’m reposting this blog because it gives me hope. Reading and sharing how my friend approached her cancer diagnosis refocuses me to be proactive in my endeavors to help close friends and acquaintances who are dealing with this disease. Thanks and appreciation to my Toastmasters colleague Laura Lohner for the original idea in 2016.

“I’m Not Afraid of Cancer”

A Little Background

When I was seven the modern mode of communication in our house was our very clunky rotary dial black phone with a jacketed (material) round line cord that stretched two feet from the phone to the wall. It was at the hub of our house in the tiny hallway that opened to all the other rooms–living room, kitchen, bathroom, upstairs to my older sister’s room, my room shared with my Finn, and my parents’ bedroom. A hub with no privacy.

If you grew up in the 1950’s and had a phone, the word privacy was further blocked by being on a party line. A live operator connected you to your phone call, but then no one else on the party could use their phone. Often when you picked up the phone you could hear other people talking.

So when my mother got a phone call one afternoon, we heard:

“Hello.”

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

“I see.”

Then there was murmuring as she dragged the phone into the bathroom, the semi-private area of our house. It only took a few minutes, then clickand clunkas she hung up and put the phone back on the little hall table.

My sister and I were experts at “reading” moods, atmospheric tension, and body language. Since we were in our room and Mom went in the kitchen with Dad, we heard one six-letter word. Cancer.Then “my mother.” “Funeral.” The air felt thick, almost gray. I learned early on to label it “fear.”

After that phone call I don’t remember any discussions with us. Most of my childhood information came from my peers (the Big C), or books in the library (definitions of malignant, surgery, drugs, fatal).

Words are Powerful

It starts with a six-letter word. Cancer. Then it gets personal: Your neck, brain, skin, lung, breast, bone, soft tissue, sinus, pancreas, uterus, pituitary, renal, vascular. Then it gets specific: Tumor, lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and neoplasm sarcoma. It gets more specific and more complex- Rhabdomyosarcoma. Esthesioneuroblastoma.

Being Proactive

Over the years I did what worked for me to diffuse fear of not knowing when a medical issue arose. I asked friends. I went online. I read books; I had good rapport with my doctors.

It helped – some. My grandmother’s cancer was fatal. My sister-in-law died of cancer. My husband’s mother died of cancer. In 2014 my stepdaughter was been diagnosed with lung cancer, which had metastasized, to her brain. She lived in New Jersey; we were in Tucson. We lived in fear and apprehension every time the phone rang.

One evening a Toastmaster colleague Laura Lohner was on the meeting agenda as a speaker. Title of her speech: “I’m Not Afraid of Cancer.” Cancer. The big C. I was back in the gray atmosphere. Not afraid? Come on, who is she kidding?!?!?

I forced myself to listen. Laura’s cancer survival was the first I heard where a patient was ultra-proactive. Of course she got info from her doctors; she’s a Toastmaster and we Toastmasters talk and listen. But Laura did more. She incorporated seven areas of her life that underwent ‘training’ to protect her and help do battle with her cancer. “I made that list based on my research; I didn’t even realize it was seven things until just before giving the speech –  I counted them to ensure I repeated the list without missing one. I’m pleased to provide it here:  diet, sleep, stress management, exercise, community, faith, and freedom from toxic exposures.”

I copied the list to remind myself to personalize this – diet can be the cancer fighting kitchen diet, or go green, or macro, or Mediterranean. Stress management can be yoga, meditation, affirmations, tai chi, walking, journaling. What I came away with was being pro-active and having an inner locus of control can cancel out the debilitating emotion of being a victim.

When a close friend was diagnosed with cervical cancer two years ago, she heard the word cancer, and then echoes and a buzzing sound for the rest of the “test result consult.” When her partner read back some of the information he had written down the next day, he realized there were gaps in the notes he took. That one word and the meanings and experiences attached have caused countless emotional and physical reactions.

Sadly and yet thankfully they both knew people who had gone through treatment and could fill in some of the gaps. They also were online in the next 24 hours, and in touch with her doctor, and the Cancer Society. In the last two years, more people in my life have been diagnosed, battled and won (some more than once), and some have lost the battle with this horrible disease. Some are still holding the line. Friend B. emails me her numbers are down. “The doctor did not see any other areas of cancer. I’m so happy.”

Just this week I read Mary Maas’s book Sisterhood of the Wounded Breast. It’s a journey alongside 22 courageous women gathered by the equally courageous cancer survivor, Mary Maas, who gathered the memories and stories of survivors of this horrendous “equal-opportunity” disease.  Some of the women state the facts of the tests, discoveries, and decisions to fight their disease. Others open the doors of fears, indecision, searching and living for months not knowing the outcomes. Those were the hardest to read and yet the ones I appreciate the most. Most survivors shared heartfelt stories of the support of partners, spouses, churches, medical professionals, friends and their own personal spiritual power that will surely boost a reader’s faith in humanity. I could only add up my minimal aches and pains and find I was filled with sorrow for their harrowing times mixed with admiration for the determination of these 22 women. It’s a hard read but one I am grateful to have read.

Empowerment

Laura Lohner emailed me, “If nothing else, I hope that learning there are options may help folks feel empowered to help heal themselves, which all by itself can do wonders for one’s outlook and attitude.”

My friends and the survivors in Mary Maas’s book leave me speechless. How do they do it? More than one survivor has said something like “You wake up each day and get out of bed. You put on clean clothes, look in the mirror and say, “I love you.” Close your eyes and say, “Thank you. I can do this.”  You have a friend or family who look and you and say, “I love you, we can do this.”

So what’s the takeaway from this? I’m certainly less apt to take my good health for granted. I’m more aware of being compassionate, helpful, willing to offer specific help and to continue to learn, in any way I can about health and healing.

A Request

Please send comments, share your experiences and thoughts about dispelling fear when it threatens to take over. We can do this.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

Labor Day Weekend

Posted by on Sep 1, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

Friday morning my intention was to “get stuff done.” Paint those baseboards that were kind of chipped, update some work documents, research for a client, organize our recent Boston and Adirondack vacation photos. A mix of mental and physical work, but all under the category of “projects.” Desk folders lined up, documents in sequential order. I had downed one big mug of bulletproof coffee and was totally energized, courtesy of a really nutritional breakfast of two eggs, and two slices of bacon.

Before I headed down the hall to my office to start work, my husband Hank and I each chose a Universal Angel Card to set our intentions for the day. Did we get a card that said “responsibility” or “work” or (our least favorite) “obedience”?  I mean, I was totally geared up for that. No, I got “play” and H. got “delight.”

“How do I take a sense of play to my office to WORK today?” This led us to talk about work and the careers we had had in our lives. I loved each of my jobs. When it wasn’t the love I had for children I taught, it was also the sense of breakthrough that happened with clients as a counselor. Sure, it was hard and work, but what a sense of purpose and caring knowing I had earned the trust of a client. Later years, planning a presentation for seniors, or kids, or college students called for hours of research, writing, rewriting and practicing. But sharing practical ideas and experiences that worked in relationships made it so worthwhile. It really wasn’t like “work.”

Singing, dancing, laughing, improvising – all had their beginnings in my childhood. Just because that was over half a century ago, doesn’t mean I have to let any of it go when I work today.

In 1997 my writing life began. Writing a memoir is personal, exhausting, fun, scary and ultimately, for me, a cornerstone in the building of my life story. I spent hours looking over photos, researching places that no longer existed but had been a part of my summers in Miller Place, Long Island. It wasn’t work like toiling, or struggling. I’ve loved this work of writing for more than two decades. I love the sound of words, arranging words to create pictures, and show the story and emotions that drove the stories. Observing people, hearing their stories, making up new stories and then sharing them. Toil? I don’t think so. Even the business of writing – marketing, filing, promotion – yes, that’s work, but enables me to enjoy the fun parts of a writing life.

I realize there has always been a sense of play in my work, laughing with colleagues – even over oddly worded rejection letters, or listening to Deva Premal or Nora Jones while I reconcile my checkbook.

Sitting at our kitchen table, coffee cups in hand, and morning sun coming in the east-facing windows, Hank and I smiled. We can play wherever we are. An attitude of play is all we need. We often remind each other to look for what’s funny in a situation. Where do improvisation and laughing and curiosity come into play in play? What better job for someone who loves to play with words than being a writer?

How do you combine work and play?

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

Summertime Visuals

Posted by on Aug 15, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.  ~ Sam Keen

Even the fog is lazy

 

2 trees +1 hammock= summer relaxation

 

Hangin’ out in the pool

 

You steer, I’ll relax

 

Nowhere to go and that’s fine

 

Patio peace

 

Go horizontal

 

Lazy summer conversation

 

Oregon coast sunset

 

Water= Calm

All photos property of Ethel Lee-Miller

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

BLD and Books I’m Loving These Days

Posted by on Aug 9, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

August 9! It’s Book Lovers Day!

How and Why I Love Reading

To gear up for BLD I wrote about what got me started loving books. There’s a bit of a gap between then and now, but this is what I’m loving to read now. It’s quite an eclectic range. There’s 11 of ’em, so read on. From memoir with a political tone, to a non-fiction exploration of how we care, or don’t care for the aging populating in the United States, to inspiration from Eleanor Roosevelt, to a current food plan book about Whole30.

Part of why I love reading books is for “where” they can take me. I also relish the connections and memories that stories stir in me. I know I’m enjoying a book when I think, ”This reminds me of….”

 

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

I got this on Kindle after watching the Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts. A lonely childhood with a definite absence of warm family fuzzies. From where did she get her resilience? What instilled this sense of integrity? I’m finding out.

 

Cowgirls: Women of the American West by Teresa Jordan

After our early summer trip down to the Chiracahuas and a recent visual treat through the Phippen Museum up in Prescott, I pulled out Teresa Jordan’s Cowgirls: Women of the American West. Ms. Jordan is a prolific writer and part of a fourth generation of ranchers. Her bio alone reads like a pretty active story. The almost thirty Western cowgirl stories she has researched and compiled are vivid, exciting, and inspiring. These were and are strong women. What a great read!

 

Elderhood: Redefining Aging by Louise Aronson

For years, “old” was always ten or fifteen years older than I was. When I hit seventy some undeniable signs had me sliding into the category of  “those people are really getting old.” Those people now include me. But I cringe when I hear folks say, “Well, I’m getting old and I can’t ____, or ____, or _____.” Fill in any number of activities someone thinks they have to give up because they are “old.” Maybe I won’t go skydiving now but it’s because I’m scared, not old.

Elderhood is helping me accept that yes, I am getting older, and old is not a synonym for “infirm.” It means relishing my accrued life experiences. I am becoming an elder in my family, my community, and my society. I am sharing experiences and being grateful that I’m enjoying my eighth decade of life. Childhood, adulthood, elderhood. All part of the progression of life.

 

In the Mystery’s Shadow: Reflections on Caring for the Elderly and Dying by Susan Swetnam

With decades of cultural training and often horror stories of mismanaged health care for the elderly, who would want to read about caring for the elderly? Add to that, the cultural perpetuation of death being a top fear along with taxes and public speaking, and this book’s title sounds like it could be a tough read. But for anyone who has loved, cared about, or cared for someone who is aging and declining, the author brings comfort, hope, and a sense of wonder at the opportunity to be a part of the connection with people who may be, as my friend says, “On the down side of the mountain.”

As I read this book, it brings back bittersweet memories of caring for, visiting with, laughing with, crying with, and coming to respect and adore my aging mother. I see the last five years of her life that I spent with my mother as a gift. Reading this book links similar experiences with my father, my brothers-in-law, and my stepdaughter, and eases my mind about their final journeys.

 

 A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren

Is Elizabeth Warren this decade’s champion or is she pushing too hard? Reading her 2014 memoir may provide grist for the mill. Her memoir combines a readable mix for me of biography and politics.

 

The Lido by Libby Page

This was recommended to me by my older sister. The Lido tells the story of a friendship between an octogenarian and a twenty-something reporter. Two very different generations. I keep pausing my reading because scenes in the book remind me of the friendships I’ve had that have crossed generations, as the two main characters in this charming book do.

Of course, the friendship that developed between my mother and me in the last years of her life is at the forefront.

I also had the privilege of befriending senior writers, not a few who were nearing or at the century mark. I was “teaching” them about the writing process. They taught me about dignity, resourcefulness, resistance, and resilience.

A “chance” meeting at a Habitat for Humanity outing with a local artist when I was in my forties and he was moving towards eighty was a gift to us both. We both, for our own reasons, knew next to nothing about building a house, but the organizer put a caulking gun in my hand and extra tubes of caulk in Marc’s. We worked our way through each room of the newly-built house, and over the next decade shared our life stories and friendship.

 

Repeats:

Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. My bedside reading table go-to for remembering simplicity, the ideas of walking or standing as a meditation. Keeping it simple.

What a Writer Needs by Ralph Fletcher. This book was first introduced to me when I was teaching writing process to second graders. Thanks to a recent visit with my friend Bryn, I stayed in her guest room which has one whole wall filled with books. And there they were. Books about writing, emerging writers, and beginning readers that brought back fruitful lessons and the writing celebrations we had in the classroom. Most of all was the excitement of giving young children the belief that they were the bosses of their writing. And I was the boss of my writing. Fletcher’s book is timeless. More than twenty years later, it still works.

Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. I first followed this food plan in 2015 and lost 15 pounds. That felt great. Four years later my motivation is to reclaim the energy that had been depleted over the last two years of stress, loss, and foolishly putting some issues before my health. Whole30 does work. On June 1, 2019 my husband and I committed to thirty days. Having him join me in this commitment earned him a renewal of his National Treasure title. I have kicked the sugar craving, lost weight, and have incredible energy. The very astounding thing is I have discovered I can not only prepare nutritious meals, but can experiment and create new combinations of foods that taste really terrific.

A Small Toot of My Own Horn

And finally… Remember the quote by Toni Morrison? “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So I’m also rereading two of my favorites, Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.

Contact me if you’ve read any of these. Let me know what you think.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

Book Lovers Day- August 9

Posted by on Aug 8, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

What I’m reading these days is an eclectic grouping, that’s for sure. These are some the books I’m loving. Check back on BLD, Book Lovers Day  August 9 to read a snippet about each one. You may like them.

What are you reading?

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

I Just Want to Stay in Bed

Posted by on Aug 7, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

Some days I just want to stay in bed. My bed is really comfortable. I have a Goldilocks mattress, not too firm, not too soft, just right. Three pillows assure me of neck and head comfort. There’s the three I start with at night almost sitting up; the kind of firm one that I use as I slide into sleep, and the really soft one that takes me through ’til morning when I somehow end up totally horizontal.

Early morning sunlight slides through the slats of the shutters, diffusing the light so the room is hazy with a soft white light. The AC air is cool. Under the sheet I’m just warm enough. Have you felt that? There’s a very slight stretch where the purpose is not to elongate muscles and tendons to get up and get going, but to open and then curl up again and… stay in bed. For just a short period of time. In that halfway space between sleeping and wakefulness, there’s a lazy path of thoughts. Not the to-do list.

But sometimes, “what ifs?” What if I stay in bed all day today? What if I go out on the patio and slip into the pool before the sun rises? What if I get on my bike and just ride with no particular goal of where to go?

Sometimes the “I wonders” start. I wonder what my sweetheart is dreaming about right now? I wonder what my sister is doing? Are folks in another time zone eating breakfast? What do other writers do when they wake up?

Sometimes I do an in-bed meditation. Just breathe. Do a mental gratitude list.

~~~~~~~

Sometimes I just want to stay in bed. But I don’t want the light. I want to pull the sheet and comforter over me and block out all the light. Mostly I want to block out thoughts that have crept into my bed with me. “Why is there so much violence in our world?” “Why haven’t I heard from you?” “Why do I feel so alone?” There’s an opening in me that can let in self-pity, or anxiety, frustration, anger, fear. If I’m not aware, the seeds of those thoughts can sprout and take hold. I know it’s happening when I realize I’m clenching my teeth, or holding my breath, or my thoughts leap from one dark shadow of thought to another.

“Move a muscle, change a thought.” I think I’ve used that phrase for almost four decades to shift the mood. If I can just sit up, not get up. Or just force one arm up out of the covers. And remember:

Fate whispers to the Warrior,

“You cannot withstand the Storm.”

And the Warrior whispers back,

“I AM THE STORM.”

A few words like that have the power to remind me what’s true. I am a warrior when I need to be. I can take care of all the scared and soft and vulnerable parts of me. I am not alone.woman standing on rocks arms up victorious

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

Book Lovers Day is Aug. 9

Posted by on Aug 6, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

August 9. BLD.

Huh? Yes it will be BLD – Book Lovers Day, celebrated internationally, according to Wikipedia.  “This is an unofficial holiday observed to encourage bibliophiles celebrate reading and literature. People are advised to put away their smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read.”

 

How I Got Started with Books

I’ve always loved books, starting with The Funny Bunny when I was a pre-reader, moving to Fun with Dick and Jane which introduced me to my first literary friends group: Dick and Jane, Sally, Puff and Spot. In retrospect, of course, Dick and Jane had a pretty thin story arc, no antagonists, no climax, and no dénouement. But at five years old I loved going through the book and finding the strings of letters that looked the same. My sister and I used to laugh at how the “a” was not like any a that we wrote. And the “g”? It was so much easier to make a sloping g rather than all those squiggly lines. But we accepted the a and g, and were on our way to decoding words.

 

Trixie Belden Books

The first books that “took” me somewhere were Trixie Belden books. We had a whole set of what must have been first edition Trixie Belden books at home which I read and reread.

Trixie regularly walked along the path in the woods from her house to her friend Honey’s house. No big excitement, just a teenage girl setting off on her own to see a friend. How many times did I replicate a trip like that through Poison Ivy Lane, the wooded, and edged with poison ivy, lane my dad cleared each summer to get to the beach during our idyllic summers in Miller Place Long Island? Was Trixie the impetus for loving hikes along trails in the Adirondacks, High Point New Jersey, and now up on Mt Lemmon in Summerhaven Arizona? A seed of a writing idea to be explored another time.

For BLD, what matters is that all those squiggles made words, then sentences, and then stories that entertained me, educated me, advised me, and inspired me to write my own stories.

 

The Covers of My Childhood Favorites:

The images are ones I grew up with. I’m a first edition reader on these!

 

 

 

 

So here’s to August 9!

When the digital date on my laptop flips to August 9, I doubt if I’ll put away my smartphone and other devices, but I plan to spend a few hours sitting in the big chair in my office – reading.

A Question for Readers

What are you reading? Post your favorites then or now in Comments

Check in with me on BLD (August 9): Books I’m Loving These Days

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 

Sweet Memories of Summer

Posted by on Jul 14, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

“If you’re not barefoot, then you’re over dressed.”

Thoughts of my childhood summers wrap around me like a well-worn quilt.

Over the years the clarity of the square pieces have faded, some colors have run into others with multiple spills and washings. But the feel of it is always soft and smooth, a tactile connection that takes me back to lying on the wicker couch on a rainy day in Miller Place. It’s not really cool enough to need a blanket, but it is cozy and safe.

If you need a summer escape, reading a summer book may be the answer.

Especially if you are unable to physically get away, make your escape in Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort. If you summered on Long Island, this may just do the trick.

(Contact Ethel about getting your copy)

 

The MP Historical Society captures that feel of a country town on Long Island

The brick “dedicated” to the book.

 

 

A Handful of Writing Prompts Using Summer Quotes

Posted by on Jun 25, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

What musings/stories/essays might emerge from these quotes?:

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.   ~Nat King Cole

Summertime and the living is easy.   ~George and Ira Gershwin

Yes, in summer we all live in the dreamy palace.   ~Mary Oliver

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.  ~Sam Keen

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  ~John Lubbock

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic.