Born in 1952, to a scientist and a mystic; bounced from coast to coast several times by age six, her family finally settled in, allowing her to finish grade school andhigh school on either side of New York City. The next five years were spent in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was a student of life, anthropology, and natural sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
CL survived various ill-advised adventures over the next few years, including a hitch-hiking trip cross country and five weeks on a remote island off the coast of northern Vancouver Island, watching whales and other things that flew, swam, and drifted by. She later married and moved to the Pacific Northwest, where three children were born and raised.
Literature has been a theme throughout, the persistent impulse to edit and write coming at an early age. CL's interest in science and mysticism, likewise, has persisted through the years. Many who have met her come away baffled; others, just amused.
Things We’d All like to Know
We would like to understand what makes you tick…your character, what, why, and how you write. We’d like our readers to get to know you. With that in mind, we’d like you to please answer the following questions as thoroughly, and as humanly, as possible. Go ahead, be yourself!
You, the Author
- Why do you write? Words have always been my toys, books my playground. Word games were one of the best places my father and I connected, and he trained me to his high standard. Of my own nature, I have always been impatient with inadequate writing, and so determined to learn how to do it write (heheh... sorry... reflex there... I mean, right. To do it right.)
- What do you write? I have written a lot of poetry over the years, starting as an angsty adolescent, and moving on to a more mature outlook on life. I have a body of philosophical/mystical essays, journaling, travel and opinion pieces that I have offered up since 2003 online in forums such as lotrplaza.com and blogit.com.
- Who inspires you? JRR Tolkien has long inspired me to poetic explorations of his remarkable vision. People I have loved: many of them have poems of themselves, though not all of them know it, and some never will.
- Who are your influences? Both good and bad writers: Good writers show me what works, bad writers show me what doesn't.
- What are your three most favorite books and why? Easier to answer in terms of authors: JRR Tolkien--because of the richness of his whole vision, creating a world of sublime beauty and terror, of religion-free morality and subtle mystical presence, and simply appealing characters; for the lyrical quality of his prose, that makes it a treasure to those who love to read aloud. Terry Pratchett--because of his wondrous, never-ending dry dissection of human foible. Will and Ariel Durant--for their exploration of world history (The Story of Civilization in 10 volumes) that carries me from cover-to-cover, volume-to-volume, expanding my worldview and entertaining me at the same time.
- How do you write? Intermittently, whenever inspiration hits; when I am bored and simply begin to play with words; sometimes for hours and days on end... then not again for a while.
- Where do I like to write? Wherever... Restaurants, while waiting for my food to arrive, have produced some interesting poems.
- Do you set a goal of so many pages per day or something else? When I am working revisions on my long-running project, a novel, I will set a general goal, and try to exceed it.
- What programs or tools do you use to write? My first major effort was 100 pages of fan-novel written in pencil on legal pad. Pen and paper were my friends for years. I flunked typing in high school: if word processors had not come about, I would not have ever written, out of pure frustration. Now I use whatever is on the computer I am working on. On my laptop, that is WordPad. The novel, on the desk computer, is on some old version of Word. I approach computers as some wary folk do a strange dog.
- What do you do when you get stuck...? I walk away for a while, and let life show me a few things, occasionally consider the problem area, and see if anything pops up, some new angle or approach. I go back now and then and consider where it started to head into the corner, and if I need to go back and start the scene again, or alter the set-up. Sometimes I will rewrite an entire section, cutting and pasting the original words to a WordPad doc, just in case I want it back later. In fact, I have never resurrected one of those excised pieces.
- Do you envision the whole story at once...? With poetry, it may be a single rhythmic phrase or couple of lines that gets me started--then, one thing simply leads to another. Sooner or later, I realize I have said enough. A novel or short story may start as the exploration of a character, creating a bio, and then putting that character into situations. Sometimes, by being true to what I have established them to be, they surprise me, and force the storyline in a direction I never saw coming. Pretty soon, it becomes necessary to decide what message I want to convey through this character and story. This sets the direction for situations, and sometimes calls for some serious revision and rewriting of earlier scenes. A writer, like any artist or craftsman, cannot afford to be 'precious' and must sometimes ruthlessly cast away wonderful words and images because they simply are wrong or extraneous.
- What do you have the most fun with during the creative process? I get great satisfaction from revising and improving a work. Research is also a lot more fun than the experience of high school papers leads one to believe: the words, "Hello, I am working on a writing project, and I have some questions for you... " opens some wonderful conversations and experiences!
- Do you have any special rituals or superstitious behaviors you must follow when writing? Not particularly.
- What is a cherished memory from your life you'd like to share? Watching my son and elder daughter dance together at her wedding. Watching my younger daughter and her husband dancing together at another wedding.
- Do you prefer coffee, tea or something else entirely? A mood thing completely. I wish profoundly that Postum was still available.
- Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? There were eggs in the world long before there were chickens. I like eggs poached in chicken gravy. They don't have to be chicken eggs. Eggs make my brain work better. A good chicken is tastier than a mediocre turkey. As pets, turkeys are more impressive than chickens. That's all I have on eggs and chickens.
- What is your favorite...??? Radio stations: classical or public radio. Musicals: The King and I; Cats; Camelot; Fiddler on the Roof; Les Miserables. Modern Movies: The Three Musketeers (1971 version); Doctor Zhivago; Raiders of the Lost Ark. Old Movies: Casablanca; Frankenstein (uncut); The African Queen.
This Particular Story
- Who do you identify most with in this work? The photographer in The Money Shot is me.
- Why this story? This was a dream, actually, that I woke up from, with the images whole in my head, especially that of the cathedral bell tower. It begged to be put into words and shared.
- Who do you think would be most affected or touched by this work? A photographer, or any artist who has been undervalued; anyone who is moved by ending-of-the-world stories.
- What is a profound memory from this title's writing process? The images of the immense moon in the sky, of the cathedral tower: how clearly these images remained in my mind when I awoke from the dream and how the story flowed from that same place: usually, dreams don't turn out well when I try to write them.
- What do you hope the reader will take away from reading this story? Humanity trumps logic and reason every time.