Wordless Wednesday: Gifts for the Fay

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 in news & muse, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday


Recently photographed in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn during one of my daily walks. I can’t help wonder whether the local squirrels have hidden some faery gifts inside this tree.

Wordless Wednesday: Japan in Brooklyn

Posted on Dec 10, 2014 in news & muse, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday


The entry to the famed Japanese Garden of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Photographed this autumn using the Hipstamatic tintype app.

Creativity Friday: The Bureau of Memories

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 in creativity, events, friends and colleagues, news & muse, stuff I like, the world around me


For today’s Creativity Friday post, I’m featuring the work of one of the most creative people I know: my husband, Thomas Ross Miller. Tom is an anthropologist, artist, musician, curator, professor, world traveler, and oh-so-much more. Besides all this, he’s a member of Ethnographic Terminalia, a curatorial collective that exhibits anthropological research in collaboration with contemporary art practices.

For their 2014 exhibit, Ethnographic Terminalia is presenting The Bureau of Memories: Archives & Ephemera, December 3-7 at Hierarchy gallery, 1847 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC. This immersive installation, held jointly with the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, features works by some two dozen artists and anthropologists. Re-imagining and remixing 20th-century media including 16-mm film, short-wave radio, land-line telephones, photogravure and paper documents, the exhibition invites visitors to encounter voices and images from the past in a 21st-century technological space.

More from the press release:

In a time of virtual reality, history haunts the present through the incomplete digital reanimation of traces from the past. Many analog collections built to preserve knowledge are becoming lost in the digital age. The Bureau of Memories considers archives as sites of both official records and broken fragments. The installation draws out anthropology’s uncanny specters, reinterpreting archives not only as repositories of information, but as generators of absence and obscurity. The international array of works on display includes prints, sculpture, textiles, video, and sonic artifacts from wax-cylinder field recordings to classic African radio broadcasts to a 3D-rendered audio spectrogram of the famous 18½-minute gap in the Watergate tapes.

So if you’re in the DC area, I hope you’ll stop by to experience The Bureau of Memories! The exhibit is open to the public. Gallery hours are 12-8 pm Wednesday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, 12-6 pm Sunday. Admission is free.

Above image: Craig Campbell, Ethnographic Terminalia

Wordless Wednesday: A Life Lived in Fear…

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 in news & muse, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday


…is a life half lived. Recently photographed in Brooklyn Heights.

Metapost: Quick NaNoWriMo round up

Posted on Nov 24, 2014 in news & muse, Snippet Sunday, the Next Novel, the world around me, travels


Now that we’re three-quarters of the way through November (aka National Novel Writing Month), I thought I’d give a quick update as to my progress. If you’re not in the know, National Novel Writing Month, known more colloquially as NaNoWriMo, sets writers the challenge of writing 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. These 50,000 words can be for a new novel, or added to a novel-in-progress. In 2009, I wrote the first 50,000 word draft of the novel that would become A GATHERING OF SHADOWS; this year, I chose to add 50,000 words to the first draft of my Next Novel to help bring it to completion in time for my January 2015 fellowship residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Here’s where I’m at right now:

1. As of this morning, I’ve written just under 36,000 words of the Next Novel this month.

2. This has brought me up to a total of 85,000 words for for my draft.

3. I’m intending to do all I can to hit my goal of 50,000 words this month, though I know it will be tricky with Thanksgiving close at hand.

4. The major difference between my 2009 NaNoWriMo experience and my 2014? I totally pantsed it in 2009, which made much of that draft exploratory in nature. I had no idea how my story would end; I only had a basic idea based on a fragment of a dream I’d had two nights before beginning. Even so, it astonishes me how many of the characters emerged fully formed from my imagination. They didn’t change very much from my first draft through my last, just became more rounded and realized.

5. This year, because I’ve already written and researched much of the Next Novel, I’m working from a detailed outline. In other words, I know how my story is going to end.

6. That written, despite having a detailed outline for this year, I still find the process of writing to be a process of discovery: my characters are surprising me with their histories and peccadillos and unexpected connections. That makes me very happy—I love that my subconscious is working in unexpected ways.

7. Even if I write 50,ooo words this month, will NaNoWriMo leave me with a completed first-chapter-to-last draft of the Next Novel? I’m uncertain. While I’m working my way through my outline, I’m finding places where I’m probably writing more than I need. I suspect I will be cutting or condensing in future drafts.

8. But that’s okay. I understand that this superfluous writing is part of the process of discovering the world of my new novel in all its rich and messy glory. It will also leave me 50,000 words closer to completion than I was on October 31st. For these reasons alone, I am so glad I participated in NaNoWriMo.