Friday, July 30, 2010

And in Seattle . . .

Our three-day trip to Seattle led us to a Mariners/Red Sox game (a friend came by free tickets and gave them to us), the awards dinner at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and a visit to the Seattle Art Museum. The sun shone, the sky was impossibly blue, and like any rare Pacific Northwest summer day, no humidity and no rain.

The Mariners game introduced me to the beloved Ichiro, the incomparable Japanese player, who approaches home plate with an unusual stance, knees locked together, feet widespread. When he hits the ball, his entire body springs forward, as if to release all his energy into that connection with the baseball and the run to first base. I am not a sports fan (except for being somewhat crazy about soccer), but Ichiro could make me fall in love with baseball. His every move breathes grace and intention. Though the Mariners lost, the game itself was a cliff-hanger, with loaded bases and splintered bats.

The Seattle Art Museum still dazzles with its permanent collection. An exhibit of Australian aboriginal art is planned for fall 2011, and we discovered the work of Lin Onus, whose mother was a Scot and whose father was aboriginal. His painting, "Gathering Storm" (1993) is mesmerizing. You look into a waterscape, eucalytus trees shadow the dark blue water and fantastic goldfish shimmer in the depths, painted with markings much like spirit markings. I didn't have my camera, but I will remember this painting. Allen says since the Museum offers this print through its shop, maybe that will be my anniversary present. Onus painted with a sense of the beauty of the environment and the essence of Australia. Unforgettable and he died far too young.

The reason for our trip to Seattle was to attend the Pacific Northwest Writers Association awards dinner as I was a finalist in the historical fiction category. As the names of the "winners" were called Saturday night, we held our breath. I came in second, earning my first check ever for creative writing, and so I remain humbled and grateful for this affirmation. Now, surrounded by books and online resources, I continue research for the next book in the series -- perhaps set in Hawaii, Tasmania, and the Pacific Northwest, all 19th Century. As Rick Bylina says, "Writers write!"

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