Character Complexity. What in the world does this all mean? A story well told inextricably entwines place and person. The place is filtered through the person’s personality, age, education, experiences, culture, nationality, friends and family. It’s a must have for every story, every chapter, every scene. Show off your people, your place, your setting. Look for ways to enrich your story.
Catskill Mountain House
As Leila and her betrothed approached the Mountain House to vacation before they go out west, she was reminded why she was at once drawn to the area.
In my book, Indigo Sky, Memories of her youth in summer days flashed through her mind. Those were carefree times in the Catskill Mountains, when adventures sent excitement coursing through her veins. She stretched languidly, her mind drifting to games played on the mossy rocks in the brook. She’d challenged each rock to stay steady as she lithely jumped from one to the next until she reached the other side. Oh, to do that again.
“Why not?” Jumping to her feet, she paused as she surveyed the swollen brook. Water rushed over rocks in foaming eddies, leaving a few exposed as it raced to a dark green pool. I can do this.
She left the bonnet on the grass where she had tossed it and stepped onto a moss-covered rock inches from the edge of the brook. Water swirled around her skirt like champagne, soaking her hem. With each step, her exhilaration rose. I wish Hank were with me. She scowled. No, I don’t! The next rock peeked above the water. The smooth black stone sparkled like an iridescent jewel between the mosses, beckoning her. There was enough rock showing for one foot. Gingerly, she set her foot down and stepped onto the rock. She held her breath and jumped to the next rock.
Once stable, she slowly put her weight on another. Buoyed by success, she planted herself. It held. She giggled, once more a child unburdened by the constraints of society. She held her arms out like the spars of a topsail. Halfway across the brook, confidence replaced caution. She skipped across three rocks, laughing with joy—only six to go.
As her tongue poked from the corner of her mouth, she balanced. Her foot slipped on slimy moss, and the rock wobbled. She gasped, searching for a secure foothold.
As her tongue poked from the corner of her mouth, she balanced. Her foot slipped on slimy moss, and the rock wobbled. She gasped, searching for a secure foothold. Arms flailing wildly, she fought to regain her balance and then fell.
She squeezed her eyes shut and hit the rocks with bruising impact. Icy water engulfed her, taking away her breath. She floundered and clutched at the slippery rocks, but the strong current carried her relentlessly, and waterlogged garments hampered her efforts. Now the brook was her enemy. It tumbled her faster toward the pool. A scream tore from her throat before her head slammed into a rock.
The rapids were dragging her down.
Reading A Breakout Novel
Author Donald Maass, in figuring out what makes a breakout novel, writes the following about creating character complexity.
One-dimensional characters hold limited interest because they are limited as human beings. They lack complexity that makes real life people so fascinating. In well-constructed fiction, a multidimensional character will keep us guessing: What is this person going to do, say, or think next? Furthermore we are more likely to identify with them–that is, to see ourselves in them. Why? Because there is more of them to see.
Writing a Breakout Novel, Donald Maass
According to Donald Maass’s book, Writing the Breakout Novel, perception changes as we change. In your stories, can you show your characters emotions, reactions and behavior to where they were then and where they are now?
How can you enrich your stories? Check out Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel.
Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA
Plexiglass in purple, 21st century. Yes, it is comfortable.
Survival of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion is the impetus for a 50th anniversary celebration to acknowledge the Women’s Junior League that saved the Lockwood-Mathews’ home from demolition. A part of the celebration will be an exhibition, a retrospective of the fascinating and tumultuous decade of the 1960s, which will feature artists’ work based on their interpretations of 1960s.
Prototypes. Lower right is a vacuum cleaner! These are reminiscent of the Memphis designs.
The Sixties were the years of throw-away furniture, clothing, drugs, free love and demolishing buildings of significance. Born during this era, new techniques . . . molded, colorful plastics, designs of novelty and glass box-like structures. The industrial aesthetic and high tech became the rage, especially for loft-lovers who enjoyed occupying and living and working in those huge industrial spaces. With the advent of the birth control pill, the decade was labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the libertine attitudes that emerged.
Met life building Walter Gropius completed 1963
Social change saw the American Civil Rights movement, the rise of feminism and gay rights. The counterculture movement dominated the second half of the 1960s, its most famous moments being the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967, and the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York in 1969.
John Lennon by Warhol
Psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, were widely used medicinally, spiritually and recreationally throughout the late 1960s, and were popularized by Timothy Leary with his slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out“. Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters also played a part in the role of “turning heads on”. Psychedelic influenced the music, artwork and films of the decade, and a number of prominent musicians died of drug overdoses (see 27 Club). There was a growing interest in Eastern religions and philosophy, and many attempts were made to found communes, which varied from supporting free love to religious puritanism.
Along with artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol appropriated images from commercial art and popular culture as well as the techniques of these industries. Often called “pop artists“, they saw mass popular culture as the main vernacular culture, shared by all irrespective of education.
Read in Connecticut Plus where Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s events are spelled out. 295 West Ave. Norwalk, CT 06850 – 203-838-9799. Dates: October 8, 2016 – January 8, 2017. Watch for details.
Casa Monica twin towers
The Casa Monica Hotel, its history and culture flaunts the visitor to St. Augustine, Florida, where the city is celebrating the past 450 years. The Spanish founded it in 1513, but by1564 the French took over, only to step back in1565 when the Spanish arrived again. They conquered the French garrison on the St. Johns River and held the coast of Florida. The garrison remains, and you are welcome to walk on the grounds of those that came before.
Popular are the horse & buggy rides
The architecture of the Casa Monica, built in 1888, and very much part of the history of this city, was the best of Moorish and Spanish designs. Built to serve as a hotel, it opened January 17, 1888. Franklin W. Smith, amateur architect and entrepreneur developed the poured coquina (shell aggregate) concrete and built the Casa Monica in a layered type of construction.
Ambiance of the dining areas
According to my research, what makes this work of architecture interesting is that the material was first used to build forts in St. Augustine in the 16th century. The coquina is made of ancient shells bonded together to form a type of stone similar to limestone. The idea was that because it was a soft material, cannon balls would sink into it, rather than crash through it. I have to wonder about that philosophy, but that’s what I found when researching this material.
The hotel is recognized as one of the most impressive public architectural complexes of the late nineteenth century of American history.
Located on the corner of Cordova and King Streets, Casa Monica is a U-shaped building with five towers, some battlemented, some with hip roofs, where all sides slope gently downwards to the walls. The large corner tower boasts a superb exterior spiral column. There are small hotel shops at street level on King Street.
When it was built in 1888, balconies were numerous, some with turned spindle posts and small balconets, which in Seville were called Kneeling Balconies, allowing the faithful to kneel during religious processions.
Tiles, imported from Valencia, Spain, were set in panels in some of the exterior walls. Inside, on the first floor, many rooms were arranged for the pleasure of the guests; sun parlor, drawing room, ladies waiting room, main dining room and private dining rooms. Three hundred guests could be seated at one time. There were 200 rooms, gas lighting, steam heat and electric bells to call for service and one bath on each floor. Metal rings were attached to the walls under the windows and tied to a rope long enough to reach the ground in case of fire.
Casa Monica has gone through growing pains in its 128 years. By 1900 the hotel was converted into an apartment building; in the 1920’s, it served as a low budget hotel. And in 1932, the depression forced its closing and it was idle for thirty years.
In 1962, it was used as a courthouse; by 1997, it was sold to Richard C. Kessler and then restored. Today, Casa Monica is an elegant, upscale luxury hotel, and is included in Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The building has kept its architectural and interior Moorish character. The interior is flanked with mahogany columns, Moorish arched doorways, stenciled beams and wall sconces. The furnishings, gleaming chandelier, fountain and numerous palms and ferns give it that Victorian ambiance.
Casa Monica is listed on the National Register of Historic places and recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award.
Services in the Casa Monica are exemplary, including the bellmen and parking garage attendants. Thank you goes to Kayley at check-in and to Holly and Tarrah at check-out. A special thanks to the Assistant Front Office Manager, Matthew.
Our room had strange sounds. Imagine? But I slept well. It wasn’t until the morning . . . when at the bar . . . I met Mr. Parrish . . .
Tune in for more next week . . .
I was alone. A sultry day in July, the air was blazing, the temperature in the nineties. Jumping into the giant soaring waves was revitalizing, refreshing, exciting. I waited for the next, then the next and jumped into it as it pounded down around me. Suddenly, I found myself under the waves gasping for air and flailing my arms as the force of nature pulled me under. Would someone see a child in distress and come to my rescue? I never noticed a lifeguard on duty, who even thought about it? I tried to scramble out onto the safety of the beach, but instead, the undertow pulled me further into the ocean. One more time, and I thought I would drown. With all my might, I pushed myself up towards the beach, then finally, finally I stood up and with difficulty moved by feet through the pull of the water to the beach. Are you questioning how I could remember? Since that day, I have told the story lots. Never, I promised myself, will that happen to me again. And it hasn’t. I don’t go into the ocean when the waves are bigger than me. I was pretty tall for my age of eight, and was a good swimmer, but it didn’t make a difference. I was at the mercy of the ocean. We had a cottage just up the street, in Rockaway Beach. That’s in Queens, New York. The experience put a damper on being an ocean lover. The almost drowning is what I think of when I witness gigantic waves like the ones at Jones Beach. I spent many a summer at Jones Beach watching my kids jump in and out of the waves. Can’t stop kids from doing their own wave challenges, but I was ready in a moment’s notice to jump in if one of my kids needed me.
New York beaches are far from innocent, not only are there dangerous undertows, but now there is an increase in shark population. Be on the lookout.
The beaches are rich in culture, have soft sparkly sand and clean water to swim. Jones Beach is actually a state park, founded by Robert Moses. It has bathhouses, an outdoor arena and a long boardwalk. When Moses’ group first surveyed Jones Island, it was swampy and only two feet above sea level; the island frequently became completely submerged during storms. To create the park, huge dredgers worked day till midnight to bring sand from the bay bottom, eventually bringing the island to twelve feet above sea level. Another problem that followed was the wind—the fine silver beach sand would blow horribly, making the workers miserable and making the use of the beach as a recreational facility unlikely. Moses sent landscape architects to other stable Long Island beaches, who reported that a beach grass (Ammophilia arenaria), whose roots grew sideways in search of water, held dunes in place, forming a barrier to the wind. In the summer of 1928, thousands of men worked on the beach planting the grass by hand.
In 1930, Robert Moses hired Rosebud Yellow Robe as Director of the Indian Village at Jones Beach State Park. Rosebud became a public celebrity to thousands of children who visited the village every summer from 1930 to 1950, It was created as a Plains Indian village with three large tipis. The large Council Tipi contained museum cases with artifacts borrowed from the American Museum of History. The other tipis served as clubhouses for the children. Rosebud told stories and folklore of the Lakota and local Eastern Woodlands tribes.
Rosebud worked as Director of the Indian Village
for years, and taught tens of thousands of school children and several generations of New Yorkers about Native American history and culture. Rosebud recalled, “When I first lectured to public school classes in New York, many of the smaller children hid under their desks, for they knew from the movies what a blood-thirsty scalping Indian might do to them.”
Jones Beach is accessible by car, boat bicycle, and in the summer season by bus or even the Long Island Rail Road to Freeport and then a bus. There are fire works at Zach’s Bay on July 4th. There is a $10 cost for parking. A $65 New York State Empire Passport can be used to park for free.
New York beaches are all over the state. Do you like the beach? Where would you go?
Protea cynaroides tropical flower of South Africa that Charl pointed out to me and is the “Flower of South Africa”
I have a most unusual editor. Charlotte Firbank-King is not only a great editor, but she is also an author and does whatever else an editor does, balancing clients well (I know, I am one of them), but she is a brilliant, I mean mega brilliant, amazing, well-known, South African artist.
Charl, as she is called, has taught me about South Africa, and continues to intrigue me with bits and pieces of her land and its people, where fossils are found from millions of years ago. She has been asked to create a painting for a national show to promote Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape. I can’t wait to see what she will paint. One of her works that she directed me to on her website, and to use, is called The Ethnic Map of Southern Africa. Her painting is meticulous and depicts the ethnic people and their villages as they are traditionally.
Ethnic Mapping painting by CF King.
The map covers South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the southern region of Mozambique. The original people of these areas are represented in their traditional dress, there are 121 human figures–each one is three+ inches (8cm) high in the original painting. The artist also included the flora and fauna relevant to each area and historical shipwrecks and buildings. The map is surrounded by a border drawing from the designs and objects of the ethnic people. Some of the more intricate sections were painted using a magnifying glass. The original work was sold in 2000 and can now be seen in the museum on Southfork Ranch, Texas, USA. The print comes with an indication map, which names all the subjects and a booklet provides information on everything in the painting. In order to purchase, please contact the artist. The website is currently being updated, prices, shopping cart, etc, and is available only for viewing. To purchase, please refer to her website link below and go to contacts to communicate with Charl.
The terminology—ethnic—refers to a social group of people who have various things in common, like culture, ancestry, history, religion, dressing, physical appearance, and of course, language. Which brings me to talk about a group of people that speak with a tongue click. When Charl mentioned these people to me recently, I remembered hearing them speak when I was at the Rift Valley in East Africa visiting missionaries. The Khoisan language has click consonants. The sound is quite musical and has a rhythm. If you want to explore further, Google Khoisan language.
There’s a perception people generally have of the indigenous people of the world, seeing them as inferior with no knowledge of what is happening in the world. It seems there is some kind of seclusion as they are looked at as uncivilized. Today, South Africa is a country of many cultures, languages and traditions. Yet, at one time, the country was populated only by the Khoisan. Please see and hear the Khoisan people In the video link below.
The Khoisan people were hunter gatherers, living in harmony with the ecosystems of the time, a magnanimous variety of plants, and teeming game provided them with everything they needed for a harmonious life. Today, the Khoisan are a small group of nomadic hunter gatherers who still strive to live in relative harmony with nature.
They live in small groups and settled in beehive huts made from available materials such as twigs, grasses or reeds until resources become scarce. The search for new resources will move the group to a new site.
Men are the hunters, using bows and poison tipped arrows, and bring home game, while the women gather wild vegetables, fruits, berries and water, as well as the materials used to provide shelter. Men are highly respected for their hunting and tracking skills and their knowledge of the natural environment. Women are equally respected for their knowledge of edible plants and abilities to find water, and especially their ability to give birth and nurture their young. Khoisan tribes who have been studied by anthropologists, has shown that not only do they have a vast knowledge of the plant and animal life, but also a sound knowledge of women’s monthly cycles according to the moon, knowledge that pregnancy occurs through sexual intercourse and knowledge of the average length of a pregnancy.
Motherhood, in Khoisan culture Bushmen, brings status and social recognition to the woman after she has navigated the journey of pregnancy and birth. Unlike our attitude in the modern world where women are offered pain relief at the slightest twinge that labor may have begun, a young Khoisan woman is actively taught that she must face the pains of natural childbirth with courage and fearlessness. Most women will give birth alone in a squatting position, a short distance from their settlement. This is regarded as ideal, although mothers giving birth for the first time may have a helper at hand.
Bringing a child into the world is a gift to the tribe and a young mother is taught that how she feels and thinks during the pregnancy will affect the labor and birth of the new baby. Other members of the group will assist by helping to carry other children or food. A pregnant woman is expected to continue with her normal duties such as gathering food, cleaning, caring for other children and should not complain. This renders a woman fit and healthy during her pregnancy – there is no room for slothfulness or overeating in this society. A pregnant woman is rarely overweight and an unborn baby is likely to grow to be the right size for the mother to give birth. After the arrival of other African tribes, the Khoisans’ hunter gatherer way of life remained predominant west of the Fish River in South Africa and in deserts throughout their region, where the drier climate precluded the growth of crops suited for warmer and wetter climates. With the arrival of the Europeans, Mediterranean crops in the 17th century became more popular with African farmers and later white Boer farmers, to spread to the rest of the country and began replacing the Khoisan population. During the colonial era, the Khoisan survived in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Today many of the Khoisan live in parts of the Kalahari Desert where they are better able to preserve much of their culture and lifestyle.
It is a sad part of South African history that these vibrant and culturally-rich tribes are now almost extinct, with Khoisan culture pushed to the periphery of society. But they have left an indelible mark on Southern African society.
The distinct clicks of their language, once found nowhere else in Africa, have been incorporated into Zulu and Xhosa speech. They have also contributed to the richness of Afrikaans and South African English with words such as ‘eina’ (ouch) and ‘aikhona’ (absolutely not). And place names like Karoo and Keiskamma.
Beyond the sphere of daily chores, Khoisan traditions include snuff and makaranga tobacco. This is a very strong tobacco that is mixed with wild honey and made into a paste before being allowed to dry. In Namaqualand, traditions include distinct dress and music adapted from their heritage and early Boer influences.
What do you think of their methods of childbirth? No one seems to need to lose weight, why is that?
Have you checked out Charl’s website? http://www.charlottefk.com
Daniel Libeskind Designs Milan Expo Pavilion for Chinese Developer Vanke
New York-based architect Daniel Libeskind has proposed a twisted reptilian structure for the first ever expo pavilion for a stand-alone Chinese company.
Ancient Chinese teachings and Renaissance art are cited as some of the inspirations for the building, whose twisted shape is intended to create a “continuous flow” between inside and outside spaces. A staircase will also curve around the exterior, leading up to a rooftop terrace.
Responding to the Expo theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, New York exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum and Chinese graphic designer Han Jiaying will work with Libeskind to create an interior described by Vanke as a “virtual forest”. This will feature 300 multimedia screens, offering a look at the role of the dinner table in Chinese communities.
Designed for Vanke, China’s largest property developer, the Shitang pavilion is already under construction at the Milan Expo 2015 site, and was conceived by Daniel Libeskind as a sinuous volume with a scaly outer skin.
“In keeping with the theme of Expo Milano, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, we proposed the concept ‘Shitang’ for the Vanke Pavilion,” said Vanke chairman Wang Shi.
“Shitang in Chinese means ‘table’. We thus want to express our idea of urbanisation and community through the experience of food. Indeed, food is one of the most effective ways to understand a culture: the ritual of eating and talking together is important in every community because by eating together it is possible to get to know each other better,” he said.
Libeskind has previously said that he would not work in China on ethical grounds and urged architects to “think twice” about building in the country. Later that same year it was revealed by UK architecture newspaper BD that his practice was working on a 25,000-square-metre public building in Hong Kong.
“This is not a dogmatic idea for Daniel,” Nina Libeskind told BD in 2008. “Its a personal thing for him. We’ve seen what has happened in Tibet, but there is a rule of law in Hong Kong that Daniel is comfortable with.”
I was thrilled to find this pavillion through architectural news on Twitter and written up in de zeen magazine. I went exploring. This edifice is a fascinating structure with its twists and turns and will be available for all to experience in 2015 in Milan. Plan to go now.
Should we all go together?
Sagrada Familia Church, Barcelona, Spain
Antonio Gaudi died under the wheels of a tram and was to be buried in an unknown grave. Yet, he is known for his Barcelona Gaudi Architecture – Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló in Barcelona. He was an enthusiast of the nineteenth century popular style of Art Nouveau, a style celebrating art for art’s sake. A style that did not relate to any designs of the past. The style was an invention of a new kind of ornament based on the asymmetrical flowing lines of plant forms. Gaudi impressed the architectural community with his wild, vehement and whimsical forms of the curls and furls of the style. The stone and iron used in his work were bent and warped creating surfaces of great complexity that flow like molten lava. He used outlandish, original, colored mosaics and toyed with ideas in architecture, both interior and exterior, that bring visitors and tourists to Barcelona by the millions.
Unless you have been there, you cannot possibly imagine the overwhelming pomposity, grandeur, and fantasy of this church. I have traveled the world over, from the USA to England, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, Bangladesh, Africa, and to other countries. I have seen churches, I have studied churches, I have painted churches . . . and to clarify before you have a chance to verify, the churches I painted were on canvas. Never have I seen, explored, or experienced any like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. His work has been described as “melted butter.” The towers here, in the above image, with the rippling contours of the stone facade make it look as though Sagrada Familia is melting in the sun.
The holy figures of stone imbedded into the fascia are unbelievable. From afar, the details blur some. This image shows the details. The church began its life in 1882. From 1883 Gaudi worked on the architecture until his death. He left a legacy of information. The church, in the lower level, has models, architectural drawings, and yards and yards and yards of information to continue building to completion. And so it goes. There are always cranes on site. Always workers on site, always lines of onlookers on site. The church is open to the public everyday all year except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Gaudí’s funeral (12 June 1926)
On 7 June 1926, Gaudí was taking his daily walk to the Sant Felip Neri church for his habitual prayer and confession. While walking along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes between Girona and Bailén streets, he was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. Eventually a police officer transported him in a taxi to the Santa Creu Hospital, where he received rudimentary care. By the time that the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, Mosén Gil Parés, recognised him on the following day, Gaudí’s condition had deteriorated too severely to benefit from additional treatment. Gaudí died on 10 June 1926 at the age of 73 and was buried two days later. A large crowd gathered to bid farewell to him in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Família.
Gaudi is dead, long live Gaudi.
Roof architecture at Casa Batllo
The towers of Sagrada Familia can be seen from almost everywhere in Barcelona. Buildings . . .architecture, set the tone, the culture, for a town, a city, a country. Architecture is a live, breathing, functioning sculpture. You cannot hold it in your hand, but you can become part of it. You can love it, hate it, tolerate it, but like it or not, architecture sets the pace by which you live and survive.
Are you familiar with the architecture surrounding you? Are you aware that architecture is public art?