Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Image is not available
FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
previous arrow
next arrow

Words as Placeholders

I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks because I’m vacationing in France and thinking about how limited words are in capturing the essence of a person, place, or thing. They are temporary placeholders, but they rarely accurately depict what they are trying to describe.

Before I visited France, the words Provence, Dordogne, and the Loire Valley were just shells, empty of much meaning. Just words. But now that I have seen all of these places, the words have become worlds, vast and deep, full of resonance, sights, and sounds.

20170625_215402When people spoke about visiting Provence, they gave the place a mystical quality. Provence! It seemed to epitomize French culture in a way, the focus on good food made from local products and excellent wines, all digested within a framework that encouraged the enjoyment of such things at leisure. After living in the fast-paced San Francisco Bay area for so many years, I had to shift down to a lower gear so I didn’t race through this experience. But it wasn’t until I set foot in Provence that I could enter the word and truly know it. The word has been fleshed out because I’ve had personal experience of the French people working, playing, eating, and drinking in an environment that supports such a life.

Similarly, when friends told me they had visited the Dordogne region, it had no impact on me. The word itself was interesting with its string of hard consonants, but I couldn’t have envisioned an area named that until my husband and I drove our rental car to the restored barn we had rented for a week that overlooked vineyards, grain-growing fields, and groves of trees. I couldn’t have imagined so much green or so many villages rooted historically in the past. The restored barn we rented was 700 years old, and while the owners had added many modern conveniences to it, they also preserved much of the original stonework and wooden beams, outside and inside, so we were constantly reminded of the structure’s past life housing animals and people (the farmers would have lived on the second level with their animals roosting in the floor below). Now when I hear “Dordogne,” I have many visual and sensory hooks to hang the word on, so many that it overflows with meaning.

Coincidentally, both the Dordogne and Loire Valley are named after major rivers that run through those areas. While the Loire also is lush, it is more agricultural, though it also has some vineyards. Everywhere I look in the countryside I see forests and golden fields interspersed with timeless villages. Yes, modern life also shows its ugly head in occasional billboards and large stores (Intermarches have sprouted everywhere). But it can’t completely obscure the characteristics that make these regions so distinctive and vibrant, the qualities that contribute to French culture as a whole. Of course, the tolled motorways bring speed and efficiently connect these areas, but the real delight has been driving at a leisurely pace over the secondary roads, stopped frequently by roundabouts that remind us to slow down and look around before moving on.

When I return to the Bay area, I hope to bring some of these qualities with me—a slower pace and a greater appreciation for what makes life worth living: good food, good wine, and the time to enjoy them both with family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous

Russia is much in the news these days and a Russian was the first governor of Alaska: Learn more in MASTER OF ALASKA!

Next

Words as Animals

1 Comment

  1. Oddly, I wrote about Mexico City for my novel FLING! before I had ever visited it. When I finally did, I was surprised at how accurate I had been. Of course, I had visited other parts of Mexico, and that experience definitely helped me to create Mexico City from my imagination

Comments make my day. Please leave one!

%d bloggers like this: