Thursday, June 30, 2011

Comments response

Finally, finally, I learned how to respond to comments on my own blog.

Like Blogger help says, on "comment form placement" select "full page," not "embedded below post."

It worked.

- PJ

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Time constraints of full-time employment force me to be tortoise and hare, cramming as much as I can into precious mornings and evenings that straddle my job. I’m productive, but often feel I’m “held back,” no matter how much I get done. Simultaneously, I anticipate when I’ll be done with current editing, proofreading, queries, submissions, and can once again “move forward,” meaning find new routes to pursue. Completion of current routes is one life force of moving forward, but anxiety pushes its way in, awareness that those routes are the last, until new ones are found. Then finally the moment arrives: current work is complete and I’m free to search for more routes to publication.

That time is now, yet, all I’m coming up with is -- I’m out of ideas.

I love looking out the window at my little Tuscany, but, do I need to be living in New York City, amongst “printed page people,” agents and publishers, as opposed to Los Angeles? What do we have in LA that NYC doesn’t have? Probably more script writers than book writers, and the Hollywood Sign. Not a help for my particular situation.

So was I wrong to think I could get published? Isit cuz m’last name ain’t “Palin”? In Half Italian I wrote about my wish to build a piazza near the new biblioteca, the library, in my grandmother’s village in northern Italy…using proceeds from the book…was I foolish to dream that? I wonder, sometimes, but I’m simply not ready to give up yet. Call me constructively stubborn, a feature I have that’s paid off in the past, and once made a dream of mine be realized.

- PJ

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Follow-up to Father's Day

For those who read my Father's Day post, there's a story on why my dad has that smile. At least that's what my mother's always said. She remembers the day that picture was taken, sailing in that boat. (My dad built several boats; this was the only one that didn't sink.) Someone made a remark that induced this particular smile.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Last night, before it was time to watch The Big Bang Theory,” I quizzed my memory on number usage in writing and concluded that I couldn’t remember all the rules. So I decided to see what the internet offered. There I found a fruit salad of information.

One website said to use numerals for numbers 1-9 and spell out numbers ten and above. Another said to spell out numbers one through nine and use numerals for 10 and above. The one consistent piece of advice was: be consistent.

This morning, before leaving for work, I checked two books, memoirs, and between them I found consistency. Both authors spelled all numbers except temperatures and time of day.

All this sent me scrambling, after work, to check my number usage in Half Italian, to find my productivity was indeed consistent. My memory must be better than I thought last night.

A few minutes ago I checked submission guidelines for another magazine; a periodical which seems less interested (less meaning “un”) in the submission, and more in who’s behind the submission. Well-known only, please.

Half Italian’s number usage is consistent. Half Italian rests on a shelf in my home, for now.

- PJ

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

France, Looking Forward and Back

Since I’m on the topic of France…as I anticipate our October departure I also anticipate a summer visit of relatives from France, arriving in just a few weeks. They’ve never been to Los Angeles, and their two boys have never been to America. They want to practice their English; I can help with that.

I also hope to see the owner of the place where we stayed last fall in Provence, the place I mention in my 10/28/10 post, whose bed & breakfast is located just beneath the hilltop castle in this picture.

Having kept in touch, he may visit California this summer, a trip he anticipates as much as I anticipate my own, in October.

These are the things that help pass the time until October.

- PJ

Monday, June 20, 2011

One Year, and…France again?

I ended my 11/16/2010 post with “Until next time, beloved France!”

“Next time” has come sooner than I expected. I wanted to visit Italy this year, the Amalfi coast. I’ve not yet been south of Rome, and I’d hoped to go in May but I didn’t return to work (after surgery on my hand) until late May. Hi-everybody-I’m-back-and-now-I’m-taking-vacation wouldn’t be beneficial to my employment, or my hand, for which I still attend physical therapy, twice weekly.

My friend and travel companion, with whom I traveled to Provence last fall, organized a trip to Paris this October for a group of friends, and piggy-backing this trip better fit my timing. The group will stay only one week, but my friend has enthusiastically agreed to stay on a second week. We’re throwing ideas around now, for that second week – up into Nord & Picardie or down to Bordeaux are two of them.

Past trips to France provided the stories in my recent submissions to Travelers’ Tales. What will it be this year?

- PJ

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

My dad passed away five years and nine days ago. When I was little, I used to lie across his lap every evening while he read the paper or watched TV. He rubbed and scratched my back, a task at which he was an expert. I’d lay there as long as he’d allow, usually until his legs went to sleep. There was safety and love in his touch. The years passed, and I continued to lie in his lap until I was too big to fit across his chair.

Here’s my dad.

- PJ

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lemon Balm Sunday – or – Experience was limited

A recurring theme in Half Italian is “experience was limited” for my Italian immigrant relatives. “Experience was limited,” in my presentation, refers to a wariness that lived in my relatives’ minds and hearts, induced by limited exposure to the world around them, from geography (traveling beyond their village walls) to eating (anything unknown). Anything unknown brought forth wariness and suspicion, until their exposure increased or someone they knew (and trusted) provided assurances. Don’t take chances.

My mother’s experience wasn’t limited – she was born in southern California (not exactly a medieval village) and she had firsthand exposure to immigrant wariness and its origins; yet, this didn’t broaden her thinking, wariness became learned behavior.

Last Sunday, my mother, nearly age 87, tasted her first lemon balm. In front of K-Mart, I pulled a tiny leaf from one of the lemon balm plants for sale outside and urged her to try it. Her face went through all the same doubtful contortions that my immigrant relatives often did, when presented with something they didn’t already know. What is this you’re giving me; I’ve never heard of it; where does it come from, and is it clean? With the corners of her mouth turned down, she tasted the lemon balm. Frowning, she decided it was okay. Sure wish someone else was here to provide me with assurances about this stuff.

(It’s only lemon balm, Mom.)

- PJ