Spring Break and more …

Greetings and happy Spring Break! Obviously we made it back to Valdosta. The Honors Conference in Greenville, SC was great and the evenings we spent wandering about the downtown area were wonderful. Many small cities could learn a lot from the Greenville model. The many restaurants, galleries, and shops were complimented by the live entertainment and the atmospheric lighting. It’s working for this city as evidenced by the large crowd on hand to enjoy the atmosphere. I plan to go back sometime just for relaxation and enjoyment.

I writing this from Starbucks having become stagnant in the home office! I often find it motivating to work amid the hubbub of a place like this. I wrote my entire dissertation with the TV on in the background, just for company. Occasionally I crave complete silence, but not often! Anyway, I’ll try to get a few pages down here and then it’s off to the grocery store for the weekly shopping. Since I don’t have any classes on Monday, this doesn’t really feel like spring break yet.

On Friday I’ll be up early and off to Clearwater, FL for my annual spring training trek (I know – you’ve heard about this before!). It’s about a four hour drive and I’ll go right to the ballpark, then check into the hotel after the game. The Phillies seem to be having their usual issues again this year – injuries! My weekend is a bit later this year, so perhaps the roster will be more solidified than in my previous visits. One of the highlights of this journey is breakfast on Saturday and Sunday at Lenny’s restaurant which is a little bit of Pennsylvania transplanted to Florida. It’s the only place I know to get my “scrapple” fix and I look forward to it every year! If you don’t know about scrapple, you’re probably better off! Suffice it to say, “It is what it sounds like!” But – I grew up with it and absolutely love it, especially with eggs and home fries for breakfast. Lenny’s imports the stuff from Dutch country and it’s authentic!

Saturday afternoon and evening, I head for Pier 61 and take in the artisans and vendors on the pier, check out the beach bunnies, and take in the shows presented by the various street buskers. Around dinner time, I’ll find a seafood place and then hang out on the beach to take some photos of the fabulous sunsets that always happen there. After the game on Sunday, I’ll head back and arrive home around 9:00 pm. And, having no classes on Monday gives me a day to recover!

In my writing world, I’m getting ready to charge into chapter two of Venice Key which is a conflict chapter where the protagonist, Adrian Stone, begins the difficult task of identifying a skull left on top of an Indian burial mound. Since this is the first draft, I’m trying to just get words down, but it’s difficult for me not to edit as I go, which slows the process down considerably.

In my reading world, I about to finish up Dear Old Dead, Jane Haddam’s Father’s Day book featuring Gregor Demarkian. I think I will go to Tim Ellis next. Ellis is a fascinating author I discovered on Amazon/Kindle where he was selling books as an indie author for about $1.99. I was attracted to him because he had several careers before he settled on being a full-time author. He was even a former educator! Anyway, he is prolific in several genres, but I fell in love with his Parish & Richards series about a middle aged inspector who marries his young female partner’s mother and then adopts her thereby becoming his partner’s stepfather! Ellis’s wit and sarcastic dialog has endeared the series to me and I’m excited to begin Deceit Is in the Heart, number 15 in the series. If you want to check out this series, start with A Life for a Life (No. 1).

In my composing world, I waiting on word from Colla Voce about a choral piece, When Christ Was Born of Mary Free. These notifications always take longer than I want them to, but I think this is a good piece and I hope they will add it to their library of my works. Meanwhile, I’ve started a new setting of the traditional text, There Is No Rose. This has been difficult because I idolize the Britten setting and I’m not sure there can be a better one, but this sequence of pitches kept haunting me and they just seemed to lock onto that text. I’m pleased with where it’s going so far. I’ll keep you informed as to the progress.

This is plenty long now, so I’ll leave the university update until next time. If I can put a similar amount of words (750) into Venice Key before I leave here, I’ll be pleased. I’ll start on that now and then off to grocery shop! I’ll see you online, and – Cheers!  -Jim

PS. Thanks for the comments – keep them coming, please!  -J

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