Weather, links, a new header

Mid-August, the days noticeably shorter, the nights cooler, and we’ve got more tomatoes ripe on the vine than we can possibly make sandwiches of. Yes, it’s the feel of autumn in the air.

Which reminds me — I was chatting with an editor/writer friend yesterday who was telling me about an article she’s working on, how she’s trying to get the “hook” (first sentence, paragraph) right. Which reminded her of how often people who write for publications like the educational newsletter she edits will simply begin with the weather. Late summer and signs of fall, principals and teachers are beginning to think about school, etc. etc., and in spring, well, the weather’s heating up and the kids are restless, ready for their holidays, etc. etc. Weather is just so convenient as a place to begin, whether it’s conversations at the supermarket or in our writing.

For readers, who are often busy and mostly grazing through all those pages of print we writers and publishers impose on them, opening with the weather is generally boring and won’t “hook” anyone. Which is why good editors like my friend simply scroll a few paragraph into the piece and see that there it is, the beginning — the hook! (Yes, this often works, especially with new or inexperienced writers.)

My inner editor being lazy or off-duty this morning, I started with the weather too, but what I actually had in mind to say was just a couple of disparate things, and that’s it for this lovely sit-outside-on-the-deck perfection of a Friday.

1. Back in April, I reflected on an article in the MB Herald concerning the B.C. conference and Mark Baker. Here’s a news update on that subject.

2. Someone over at CMU Press put together a great set of questions about This Hidden Thing, for book club discussion or study. My thanks to them, and this simply as an FYI for anyone interested.

3. I may (or may not) come back to more postcard excerpts from my grandfather’s postcard album in the header of this blog, but for now, a slice of a photo our daughter-in-law took recently. Her husband (our son) was posing beside his grandmother (my mom) when they were here in Winnipeg several weeks ago to attend a wedding. She caught their faces, yes, but also their hands. I think it’s a beautiful photo and very evocative too of my blog title and theme, of that awareness that we build our lives out of what’s given to us in so many ways, including intergenerational bonds. Of the bones of inheritance (for better or worse) and love.

Here’s the larger photo. (You can view more of D.’s work at her blog, listed under my “Family and Friends.”)

Hands, grandson S. and grandmother T. Credit: Dayna Dueck