Travels with Chihuly

Before I begin my post today, thank you to everyone who commented on Letizia’s copyright page post last week. I am overwhelmed. It was wonderful to welcome so many great readers to this site, and I hope you’ll return often. But onward in the adventures of an aspiring writer . . .

Most of my life is spent working in the foundational levels of Maslow’s hierarchical needs, so, for me, it is a real treat to visit museums, zoos and other public places that nurture the mind as well as the body.

Chihuly InformationThis past weekend my wonderful niece treated me with a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens, spending an afternoon in “girl time” amongst wonderful plantings, themed gardens and the world-renouned Dale Chihuly traveling art collection.

Wow! Up close or far away these sculptures demand attention. They capture sunlight in glistening reflections, they glow with bright colors, and they make you wonder exactly how you could go about making something like that.  Did I say Wow? These sculptures were amazing.

Picture of Perennial Fiori by Chihuli

Felt like I was walking amongst Truffula Trees.

One of the more common phrases I caught while walking about was that the sculptures reminded people of Dr. Seuss books.  As he’s still one of my favorite authors, I tend to agree, and think the creatives are the two poles that span a very strong magnet . . .

I don’t know how Mr. Chihuly would feel about being compared to a children’s book author.  He has a very serious background with honors and distinctions that go back to 1968 when he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship that allowed him to travel to Italy to study glassworks there. He incorporated his experience in team glass blowing into the work he’s continued through today, and co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington.

Monet Pool Fiori

And to think that I saw it at Denver Botanic Gardens

Theodor Geisel, on the other hand, had his first book rejected 27 times before he happened to bump into a friend who’d just become the editor of the children’s section of a publishing house. Mr. Geisel told his friend he was ready to give up.  Thank goodness the friend asked to have a look at To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

I wonder if Mr. Chihuly ever read that book?

Picture of My niece with Blue and Purple Boat

My niece with Blue and Purple Boat

The Copyright Page — by Letizia

Here’s a real treat for you my friends!  This week’s blog is by one of my frequent visitors, known only as Letizia.  She is a professor at a University that I’m guessing is located in the eastern United States, but her background is Swiss/French.  I’ve been reading Reading Interrupted for a couple of years, and it’s always well worth visiting.  Please enjoy today’s post, and thank you, Letizia, for donating your super reading observations!


I was so pleased when my blogging friend and author, Liesa, asked me to write a guest post.  I always look forward to her posts, her reflections on the creative process, and updates on her beautiful German Shepard.

Holding a book in my hand for inspiration, I started thinking about how I read. I turned the book cover open and realized that I didn’t start reading on the first page of the story.

For me, the first page of a book is the copyright page. I can’t remember when I started paying attention to it, but now, when I open a book for the first time, I always look at it.

Some are more interesting than others, but they provide me with a little introduction to the book.

Jhumpha Lahiri’s The Namesake, for example, gives us the subject terms by which the book is categorized: Young men—Fiction, Massachusetts—Fiction, Children of immigrants, etc.

I notice that she first published it as a novella in The New Yorker

Jhumpa Lahiri copyright page

The copyright page of Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road reminds me that the book was first published in 1961.

I learn that the author passed away in 1992.

copyright page for Revolutionary Road

My French books are different.  Natalie Sarraute’s Le Silence, for example, is very simple, only revealing the actual publication dates.  The ISBN number and other information are found at the end of the book.

Copyright page for Sarraute

If we are lucky, the page can be whimsical, part of the creative process itself.  I particularly like the ones by book designer, Louise Fili, who wanted to move beyond the traditional look:

copyright page for Louise Fili

The copyright page reminds us that we are holding someone’s creation, reminds us that we are about to read the collaborative work of an author, an editor, a book designer, etc.  At its best it gives us insight into the creative process and an introduction to the story.  At the very least, it tells us where and when the book was published, situating it in history.

Heading to Bouchercon 2014

picture of Bouchercon 2014You know when you have the best guy in the whole world?  When you tell him that no, you won’t be selling a lot of books at this upcoming reader/writer mystery conference and he still says, “I hope you have a good time.”

Whoo Hoo!  I’m heading to Bouchercon!

Although I’ve never been to this event, it’s supposed to be one of the biggest conferences for mystery lovers of all kinds with anywhere from 1000 to 1500 people or more converging on a cool location (this year it’s in Long Beach, CA) to talk mystery, sign books, meet famous authors, and generally get psyched up for a great year of reading and writing mysteries of all kinds.  How cool is that?

Some famous Bouchercon attendees . . .

Oh my goodness!  The glittery names are going to be there.  I hope to bump into such famous authors as:

  • CJ Box
  • Lee Child
  • Sue Grafton
  • David Hansard
  • William Kent Krueger
  • David Morrell
  • J.A. Jance
  • Edward Marston
  • Eoin Colfer
  • Jeffery Deaver

Question is, if I do meet these folks what can I say other than, “love your work?”  Still, it’s fun to know that there are real people behind the titles we read.

Good Friends Going to This Event

Then too, I’m looking forward to meeting some friends who I go to writing groups with.  Friends like:

  • Catherine Dilts (Stone Cold Dead series)
  • Shannon Baker (Nora Abbot Native American mysteries)
  • Mike Befler (great Geezer-lit mysteries)
  • Terri Bischoff (editor at Midnight Ink publishers)
  • Peg Brantley (thrilling thrillers and suspense novels)
  • Deni Dietz (author and editor for Five Star Publishing)
  • Margery Flax (the goddess of everything Mystery Writers of America)
  • Catriona McPherson (author of the Dandy Gilver mysteries)
  • and a whole lot more!

So, what do you do at a convention?  Gone are the days of illicit affairs and drunken parties (I suspect those were exaggerated anyway). There aren’t going to be any Hollywood “scouts” looking for their next Academy Award winning concept there. It’s going to be a big group of introverts (writers generally fall into this category) and a smattering of extroverts (there are exceptions to every rule), star gazers (“I want an author’s autograph in every book I buy) and so on.  We’re meeting for the main purpose of sharing our books and our personal stories in hopes of keeping the mystery genre alive and well among readers everywhere.  I’m looking forward to attending panel discussions on conducting a surveillance, murder most ghostly and paranormal, or even murder in a locked room. Heh, heh, heh!

And another good thing . . .

When the convention is over, lots of people will be heading back to their desks, energized to write that next novel.  Some will go home with an arm load of great reading material and names of authors they’re definitely going to try next.

Me? I’m going to visit my daughter and granddaughter. This just keeps getting better and better!

For now, I’ll let you go.  I’m starting to prep and pack already and the event is still a month away.  Can you tell I’m excited?  Hope to see you there!


Over the past several months of writing this blog a total stranger has become something of a friend.  Letizia of ReadingInterrupted. com has often visited here and has a beautiful site of her own on the topic of reading.  She has agreed to do a blog post for us next Wednesday.  I think you’ll really like her work and am looking forward to what she has to say. Please be sure to check in next week, and leave a comment.  Friendships begin with such small gestures and often reward us for years to come.

Have a great week!