Talk Less. Listen More.

Found art. Literally. I was looking at my camera uploads to choose a pic for today’s post and found this. No idea what it is or how it happened, but what a gorgeous mistake. Art can be like that.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Author behavior tips for social media. My answer is a little different this time. 


Fragments of Something

I’m calling it “Fragments.”

Yes, I finally did something with the pot Alex shattered. I planted some little heat-tolerant plants around it, too – they’re just difficult to see in the photograph. All in all, I think it looks pretty decent. And I planted the roses, too.

I thought about calling it “Fragments of a Dream,” but that seemed, well, spectacularly melodramatic, especially since there aren’t any shattered dreams around here. So I decided to leave the title of my found art as just “Fragments” – that way the viewer can fill in his or her own thing that’s disassembled.

I went through The Body Gift, too, and made everything match up (I think, I hope, I pray). Sent it to three of my Critique Partners and one, who hasn’t seen any of it, has declared herself in love already. Big sigh of relief there. The agent I’d love to sign with said to send it so she could read it before the National convention, so I’m going to have to trust in the story and send her off soon.

Yeah, okay, I’m nervous.

And depleted.

My well is bone dry. I think I’ll even take this week off from writing and not even look at any wordcounts. Plus, this will be a busy time. David’s birthday is Wednesday. We go up to Denver for my high school reunion on Friday. Then next Tuesday, I head to the RWA National Convention.

Somehow my Julys always seem to end up really busy. Here’s hoping for a lazy August!

Package Deal

When we were house-shopping in Santa Fe last summer (which feels both forever ago and yesterday), our agent took us to a house on the other side of town.

It was a blatant attempt to upsell us. The asking price exceeded our upper limit by nearly $100K, though she assured us we could ask offer far less than that. Of course, she told us that same story on a couple of other houses, too, and when we did offer much less and they came back with indignant counters, our agent would sound all sad and act like we were crazy to think we could get it for that and the counter was actually an amazing deal.

I didn’t like her much.

Anyway, this house on the other side of town was fun to see. The selling agent met us there – which is also kind of a no-no – and really pushed us on the place. We had to have it, they said. A divorce sell, the house sat on a hillside facing the Sangre de Cristos. The view everyone in Santa Fe wants to have they told us. Never mind that the patio and hillside were so overgrown that you couldn’t actually see the mountains.

One room was a studio with 20-foot ceilings, which was neat, but not very useful if neither of us paints. With the odd shape, size and window-placement, it would have made a very unfriendly bedroom.

What with the stamped concrete, the high ceilings and open space, the house made for a dramatic showroom to entertain guests. It wasn’t much for living in. The real adobe walls (as opposed to the “Disney Adobe” of stucco frequently used) set off the massive and somewhat disturbing paintings that hung everywhere. Divorce paintings, perhaps.

The art, the selling agent told me, with a conspiratorial grin, could be negotiated into the purchase price.

And suddenly I realized who he thought I was.

Who buys the art with the house? Someone looking for their ready-made Santa Fe showplace. It’s like paying a designed to fill your bookshelves with attractive-looking spines, never mind the contents.

Art and books are usually personal things. You buy and keep them because you love them. You love them so much you want to have them right there within easy reach, or easy viewing, at every moment. Like all things, I suppose, at some point that becomes a business. How much will I pay someone to let me have it right nearby? The interesting thing is, it’s not the artist who wants to negotiate that price: it’s the middle man.

Right now, Penguin and Amazon are in a pissing match. As a result, Penguin’s new releases are not available on Kindle. Not just delayed, not for a different price. Just not at all. A couple of those releases are from authors I like to buy. I’d like to read those books. But the lion’s share of my reason for using the Kindle is to reduce the amount of space I devote to books. I want to have them, but I don’t want them on my already overtaxed shelves.

Which means, I won’t buy the hard copies.

The middle men want to make money from what we love. They will always offer us a deal, throw in a little something extra. The thing is, package deals always benefit the seller, rarely the buyer. Otherwise, the sellers wouldn’t love to do it so much.

All I can say is, I would never buy the art with the house.

Found Art

Let me know if you get sick of rain chain photos.

Over the last stormy week, I’ve been fascinated by the pattern of melting and freezing. The resulting designs are like sculpture.

It’s interesting how things come together sometimes. How overlapping events create patterns. It’s like evolution — when people complain that no one could possibly know that, say, finger webbing could turn out useful later for making wings — it’s not that there was a plan, per se, but the symmetry of nature weaves together so that patterns do emerge.

Like in Twitter, for example.

Yes, I just compared evolution and the beauty of nature to Twitter. Hang with me here.

I use TweetDeck, which is an application you can download to your laptop and shows tweets from people in various columns that you can sort. So my left hand column is for the people I follow. There are about 175 of them or so. Some tweet more than others. I can mark them so they disappear after I’ve read them. New tweets pop up on their own and people post them. Some are interesting, some not.

The other columns are for people specifically talking to me and for people mentioning “Jeffe” in their tweets, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, last night we were watching Food, Inc., which was really good and is worth the time, and I was reading a story for a friend. TweetDeck had been popping up the usual chatter, a fair amount of it, it turned out, from people watching the football playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. As the game progressed, the tweets became more frequent and intense. And it became clear to me that I follow an approximately equal number of fans of both teams.

I knew it the moment the game went into overtime.

What emerged was a microcosm of the game. I didn’t need to see it to know how it went. So I saved the tweets. This is the exact order of them. There were intervening non-game-related tweets that I deleted. These are tweets from about eight different people, none of whom were talking to each other.

At least, not directly.

Football Twitter Poem

me thinks the Vikings are trying to give this game away. I dont really care who wins, but would like to see a Colts/Saints superbowl.

Oh yeah!!!! Who dat? Who dat gonna beat dem Saints?

In essence, it’s a brand new game. Can the Super Bowl possibly be a better game than this? (Though, it’s been messy & Favre’s been slammed.)

Sorry, kitteh. Mama’s lap is NOT a good place during a game this important. Geaux Saints!! Kitteh still glaring at mama. Oops!

I’m not sure which is more streesful: watching the #Vikings in OT or watching Mr watch the Vikings in OT.

Percy Jackson starts 2/12 w00t

The #Vikings can’t catch a break with the refs. that was not a first down. not not not not not

And that was not pass interference. not not not not not

Why don’t the refs just put points on the board for the Saints and call it a game?

::sob:: please miss the field goal, please miss the field goal…..*holdsbreath*


We are going to the Super Bowl!!!! OMG Saints are in the freaking Super Bowl!!!! Shriek!!!!!!!!! Thank you Thank you Bayou Boys!

Beautiful kick. Good luck in the Super Bowl, Saints! I’ll be rooting for the Colts.


They were all looking at the same game, so of course that formed the structure. And I brought the point of view, since I selected these people to “listen” to. The pattern that emerged, though, becomes something all its own.

Just like the rain chain is a skeleton for melting and freezing water, allowing a sculpture to emerge without an artist.