"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Thomas at My Porch tagged me on this meme. I'm especially grateful because I wanted to blog today but wasn't sure what to say, since an exhaustive report of my 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM Tuesday would be an uninteresting recitation of a crowded church-and-state (not in that order) schedule. Although it ended in dinner with a friend at Barley House on music night...all good! I think there were 2 bodhrans and about 10 fiddlers and a couple of banjos and some guitars. No mandolins, but there wouldn't have been room!

My Seven Loves fall into fairly easy categories. People, Animals, Flowers, Food, Places, Books, Music.

People: my husband, my immediate family, my various BFFs (hometown, English, author, priestly, legislative, local, etc.). This category also includes the clergy and lay people I know and work with. For a long time I wasn't really sure I was a "people" person because I so enjoy living like a hermit in complete seclusion. But I'm quite sure now that maturity has made me gregarious, and my life is richer for it.

Animals: I know you know who goes at the top of this list--Ruth and Jewel.

Dogs have always been important to me. I was raised by one.

Growing up, I had a horse. We were riders. My family kept dairy goats. And I like rodents--chipmunks best of all, and especially the ones that eat from my hand. I'm a birdwatcher. I have a pet toad in my rose garden. I get excited about newts. And all the local wildlife--bears, deer, ruffed grouse, turkeys. I have a pet fish at the lake cottage.

Flowers: My mother is a rosarian and my paternal grandfather, too, and I've definitely got that gene.

Passion flower, jasmine, gardenia, primrose and cowslips, hyacinths, foxgloves, hellebore, violas--well, really, I have too many favourite flowers to name and grow as many as I can.

Food: I'm a big fan of regional food. All kinds of Southern cooking (fried green tomatoes, pulled pork barbeque, crab cakes, collard greens, cornbread.) New England: chowder, lobster, fried clams (the real, full-bodied kind), quahogs and steamers, baked beans. Ethnic (Lebanese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Chinese.) European: French, Italian, traditional and nouveau British. And pizza, especially with anchovies.

I really enjoy cookery, so long as I'm in the mood. But I'm always happy to dine out in restaurants. I've virtually eliminated fast food from my life, and while it's not exactly a guilty pleasure, once in a while it hits the spot.

I have to add that losing 30 pounds and keeping it off didn't mean eradicating fantastic or favourite foods from my life. In case you were wondering.

Places. I married my husband without really understanding that a shingled cottage beside Lake Winnipesaukee was part of the deal. If you've been to this blog between the months of April and October, you already know my love for the place.

I've visited Britain between 30 and 40 times. Returned a few weeks ago. Already planning the next trip....

Going "home"--to the place where I grew up--is always special. I'm planning one of those trips, too. My other home-like place is Washington, DC, my mother's home-town and a place where I usually have family and even a convenient pied-a-terre just north of DuPont Circle.

Other places I can't get enough of: Montreal, Ireland (especially Dublin & County Clare), Venice, Belgium, Paris, New York, the Isle of Man, Jersey in the Channel Islands.

And other types of places I love...Churches and cathedrals. Cemeteries. Libraries. Historic houses and castle. Islands, all kinds of islands.

Books: It's hard for me to say whether I most like old favourites or new discoveries! I still read my Winnie-the-Pooh books every year, and from time to time I dip into the books I've been dragging around with me since childhood. But I'm always on the hunt for a new fave author, especially a prolific one who will provide me with lots and lots of entertainment.

Significant authors/playwrights/poets in my life (this includes their letters and diaries and memoirs as well where relevant): The Bible, Chaucer, Sir Thomas Wyatt, Shakespeare, Moliere, Dryden, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Edith Wharton, Chekhov, P.G. Wodehouse, Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh, J.D. Salinger, Anya Seton, Norah Lofts, Margaret Mitchell, Richard Ellmann, Richard Holmes, Meredith Daneman.

And a whole lot more. I read tons of history and biography, for fun and research. I love historical fiction (duh). I don't read romantic novels to the extent that I once did, unless it's chick-lit or wom-fic.

Some of my own books represent important phases of my life. I think I even have a favourite. Or two.

Music: Eclectic doesn't begin to describe it. The other day I posted the contents of my 6-disc player in my car as my Facebook status. Lady Gaga, Mark Knopfler, Henry Purcell, Dar Williams, R.E.M., The Killers. Somebody's about to get kicked out to make room for Handel's Messiah and I only know it won't be Lady Gaga.

Let it be said now, if it hasn't been before, that Dire Straits was my Beatles. I'll add that I believe Knopfler's solo work is as strong if not stronger than what he accomplished with the band.

The Chap and I already have our tickets to his Montreal show, by the way. An announcement combining People, a Place, Music, and Food.

My fondness for Celtic, Gaelic, Acadian music and traditional fiddle tunes is partly what inspired me to take up the mandolin couple of years ago. The other reason was that after years of saying, "I wish I could play the mandolin," I decided to do what was necessary to fulfill that wish. In the past I've played the violin, piano, and 12-string guitar. I regard myself more as a music lover who plays an instrument than as a real musician. Maybe that will change.

Overnight company tonight. Dinner guests on Friday. See--this hermit is sociable! The Sociable Hermit. That's me.

I feel guilty--like when breaking a chain letter, which I regularly do--about not tagging anybody. If you blog and you stopped by, consider yourself tagged. And if you play along, you could let me know in the Comments because I'd love to read about
your Seven Loves!

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