Chatter Creek Cottage: Witches

img_20161010_115044382Actually I mean ‘bitches’ but for the sake of my blog I’ll be as polite as possible and refer to the last bitch in my life as a witch. Same thing.

Well, it’s been beautiful up here in the Catskill Mountains, the colors have been crisp and bright, often a muted cacophony of deep reds and gold. The landscapes will take your breath away like some great symphony or some brilliant work of art that conjures up emotion with shadow and mood and makes you happy to be human, to be able to drink in life, that canvas that’s all around you constantly evolving into something else.

You might wonder what witches have to do with the beautiful Catskills? Well, autumn denotes change for me and that’s the kind of transitional state I’m in. I’m evolving. I have had it up to my bloody neck with thirty something managers who do not have the capacity to lead. I am sick to death of working for and with people who do not respect experience, who have zero depth, zero insight and a zero capacity to get those that are wiser and smarter. Sort of like your Trump voters? I digress. Sorry.

Anyway, I am changing the course I’ve been on and trusting myself to go into commission sales to pay the bills and not wake up every day feeling depressed because my manager is an emotional and intellectual invalid. I want to be accountable to myself. I want to take the experience I’ve always had with my customers, a nice mutual admiration society, one in which I thrive because my customers know that I know what I’m talking about and they respect me. Then in steps some idiot manager who seeks to break your bonds, deflate your ego and crap all over your success.

I’ve had it. I will soon be waking up in a new profession, on my own and relying on my individual expertise and drive. Not to say by the way that it’s just young female managers who are dreadful, I’ve had some pretty rotten egg men managers who make pretty big bucks making those ‘below’ them miserable. I’ve also had some great female managers who if reading this should not think I’m talking about them. The bad ones are usually around thirty and think they know stuff.

I say this, find a way to be your own boss, take charge of your own life, work your ass off for your own rewards and witches of this world be damned. The happiest people I know have managed to escape the lets take crap for a paycheck cycle.

Oh, Witches! Return to your nerdy, superficial, colorless existence where people like you create disillusionment and harbor false superiority. It’s a little late for me to take the leap but if I had to repeat my experience with the last witch manager that tarnished my mood, my days and my life, from my micromanagement is the only religion job, I’d choose to jump into the cauldron and boil to death. I’d jump into the Hudson in chains and take my last breath of all that polluted water or I’d  lie out in the snow stark naked until my bloody backside turned to ice. I guess you get the picture.

Chatter Creek Cottage: The Arts & Craft Movement

img_20160918_103932684I am totally inspired to create my next novel sitting at this beautiful new edition to our living room – our Arts & Crafts Mission desk. Above the desk is a painting by Chandler, which you’ve seen before but I’d say the painting has found its home.. There is something so absolutely, intriguing about Chandler’s work, especially the night paintings. The light and the moon are so compelling. The lamp on the desk is a Mica, one of three. Mica shades are so soothing and lovely. I’d been admiring them for years and now I’ve finally lit my living room with them.

Anyway, back to the desk. I am in love with history, particularly the 1920s and 30s but also the 1800s. One of my novels went back to the 1500s and then jumped through time. Doing the research for it was one of the best years of my life. Time holds a compelling fascination for me, not because it’s gone but because it lingers. It throws shadows all over the place, as I said last week in my blog, the whispers of time are in every old photograph, every old piece of furniture and all the words written in books that are read and reread forever.

During this period, the Arts & Crafts movement provided beautiful objects that would enhance the lives of ordinary people and provide real craftsmen work. Art, music, furniture from this period in our history definitely enhances my life. It’s not that I don’t live in today’s world but I usually end my day with Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter in my old farmhouse under the glow of my mica lamps and in the shadow of an eclectic history of Victorian, modern and mission. Do I hear the whispers of time rustling through my house like the leaves that sweep through my back yard? Most assuredly I do. What do the whispers of time say, you might wonder. Just come to my living room and listen.

Vera Jane Cook

Riveting, Emotional, Unexpectedly Funny Award Winning Fiction

http://www.verajanecook.com

Author of Pleasant Day, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane, Pharaoh’s Star, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

 

Chatter Creek Cottage: Endings

img_20160911_095947137I still think of September as the beginning of the year, the falling leaves and the burnt colors, like an opening curtain on the first Act. Everything behind me never stays in the shadows; my bristling past is like a rubber ball, just bouncing into view but not real enough to slow me down, not threatening enough to keep the play from going forward.

Once an actress, always an actress and I was an actress so I still see everything in terms of intension. What is my intension for this year, what does my character want? Standing here on the stage alone about to say my lines, about to step into the soul and the skin of someone who is not me, but is also very much me I speak the words of a world within a world. I’m in the vibrant color of a flower and the buoyancy of the marigold but I am also the leaf that falls, carrying, with its dying dive to the ground, its history of being green and young and proudly clinging to a branch. I am in the words that form my character; I am in the actions justified by being outside looking within.

I have discovered on Ancestry.com and My Heritage that my grandfather was the General Manager of an Advertising Agency and lived in Seattle, Washington. He was an Ad Man and here I thought he was a bootlegger. Before the depression hit he was high on the hog, as my southern ancestors like to say, and then it all went down hill. The Great Depression had a profound effect on my family, my grandfather, grandmother and my mother. It has even affected me. We are shaped by the histories that define us as we are shaped by the people who raise us. We were all once the color of a beautiful vibrant flower and then fall comes to take it all away. The first Act begins and the words and intentions and actions spill forth to create one massive wonderful journey forward. If my ancestors only knew I am searching them, looking for them, seeking to understand them they’d be amused, maybe even pleased. If they only knew that they are in my journey, peaking my curiosity.

So I tie this all together this way: the curtain goes up and the actors’ reveal something about yourself you never knew. The play ends and you go home and dream that your solitary road is suddenly rich with characters. The playwright has written that autumn is a revelation, like the past, it’s the most magnificent act in the play. You applaud loudly for your life is a hit.

Vera Jane Cook

Riveting, Emotional, Unexpectedly Funny Award Winning Fiction

http://www.verajanecook.com

Author of Pleasant Day, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane, Pharaoh’s Star, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

Chatter Creek Cottage: Shadows

IMG_20160829_144707261_HDRThere are so many shadows in my life, empty spaces like whispers you don’t quite understand. Shadows are like puzzles we mean to solve. That shadow is the limb of that tree and that shadow is the leg of the table but that shadow knows no form other than its own. Could it be the shadow of an absence? How about the shadow of a lost conversation? I knew a ghost once that had no shadow at all but it did have form. The form was an absent presence with a voice that didn’t speak. But I heard it and when I turned to answer it, it had transformed into what we call ‘nothing.’

What is nothing exactly? Empty pockets? Maybe it’s the lack of something? Does time ever give us what it takes away? Does time have a point, a place to get to? Will time leave its shadow when it’s gone?

Once I traveled to the Pyrenees region of France and the earth sent me messages of great despair. I later learned there was a concentration camp in the Pyrenees Mountains and the Jews were transported in trains to be held prisoner, to be murdered, to be tortured. I saw the shadows of their life and I heard the insanity that the Earth has never let go of.

Some may call me a sensitive, some may call me absurd, certainly a bit touched but that is why I can write books like Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. My lovely Annabel Horton believes that all time is now. If that is the case then the shadow I cast is long and the cries of the dead are endless.

Annabelle-500x750

Vera Jane Cook is an award winning author and has eight published novels. Her most recent ebook, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, has gone to print and will be featured through Bublish at the Southern Independent Bookstore Association Conference in Savannah on September 18th -19th. The book will also be featured in the October issue of Southern Distinction Magazine. To learn more about her visit: www.verajanecook.com

Chatter Creek Cottage: Loss

IMG_20160815_101055498It was a beautiful birch tree, smooth, tall white limbs. I loved how it bent over us curved and swaying like a vulnerable musical note, a long sinewy stroke on a violin. She’s gone now, lying in the creek on her side waiting to become firewood or the legs of a table. I don’t deal well with loss or change but time heals. The space she left behind is a backdrop now for eagles and hawks that fly above indifferently painting the sky with their long wings, showing off their flight like showgirls show their legs.

No, I don’t do well with loss, friends I can no longer see, parents that morphed into memories too deep to speak of, pets whose fur I can still feel and whose funny wobbling walk I can still see. No, I don’t do well with loss, the haunting shadows of it, the youth I had, the once shiny new corvette, the saddle shoes, the college lectures on the history of art, the words I spoke as Joan of Arc and Blanche Debois. The praise, the fear, the once sought after dream. No, I don’t do well with loss. It nips at my heels, it pulls at my heartstrings, and it saddens my days. But it makes me strong and wise and deep. It makes me live to the farthest point, laugh to the loudest degree and love the tic toc clock of life with all my heart.

Vera Jane Cook is an award winning author and has eight published novels. Her most recent ebook, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, has gone to print and will be featured through Bublish at the Southern Independent Bookstore Association Conference in Savannah on September 18th -19th. To learn more about her visit: www.verajanecook.com