Week in Review: Week 29

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Serendipity is one of the creative tools a writer has to pull things together into context.
“Breakers at the Breakers, Newport, R.I., July 24,2022” by Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

After posting last week about the importance of deadlines, I blew my self-imposed noon Saturday deadlines for these Week in Review posts. The Big Deadline, though, was Sunday morning’s message-in-lieu-of-a-sermon at Middlebury Congregational Church. I was literally rewriting the introduction at 5 a.m. for a 10:00 service and livestream.

That essay/message was unusually challenging and went through many rewrites and edits over two months. That’s partly because identity is such a personal and sensitive topic. It’s also because it involves some sensitive past history that I share with others who may see the video or read the essay. But I stand by my main point: We, as a world and a world, need to look less at what makes us different and more at what we have in common.


At about the time for my noon Saturday deadline, we were in Old Saybrook, Conn., at the Kate, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. We toured the small museum devoted to the town’s star citizen, who died in 2003. The museum and box office have posted open hours of Tuesday through Friday, but it’s apparently open at other times when they have shows. On this Saturday they were showing an art film, “Pissarro: Father of Impressionism,” so we stayed for that.

Coincidentally, we were in the area en route to a program on American Art in the Gilded Age at Ochre Court in Newport, R.I. The Impressionists in France were contemporaries of the American nouveau riche of the Gilded Age, who scorned the artistic newcomers in favor of more Rococo or Classical style art. So this bit of serendipity added context, which is essential to any good writing or presentation.

Ochre Court, now the main administrative building for Salve Regina University, happens to be on Newport’s Cliff Walk near the ostentatiously lavish Vanderbilt mansion The Breakers. Just the night before, we had viewed a documentary about the Vanderbilt dynasty that helped put it into context.

Serendipity is one of the creative tools a writer has to pull things together into context.

Coming up:

Observations: As of mid-summer, I’ve had more visitors than in any full year prior. It’s a modest milestone but it does show that you reap what you sow.

Interaction: A Facebook friend who has several very successful travel and enthusiast blogs congratulated me on the milestone and observed that building an audience takes time. Author and fellow blogger J.M. Gifford found “Fun With Venn Diagrams” “clever, entertaining, and philosophical.” I suspect that other Friends on Facebook thought I was sharing only the featured image of an editorial cartoon about Venn diagrams rather than original content.

Professional development: Finished listening to/ reading two (audio)books about conflict that were helpful in “Fun With Venn Diagrams.” Will post reviews this week here and on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible.

Next week: Publish the conflict reviews. With “Margery” research materials still in Vermont, move to an alternate project. “He Said, She Said” seems timely and the reading on handling conflict will tie nicely into it.

In case you missed it

  • Cowardice or practicality, 1979

    Cowardice or practicality, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes As every captain must decide whether to head in to port or continue the mission, I had to choose to limp home or explore strange new worlds.

  • A bargain I cannot afford, 1979

    A bargain I cannot afford, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes The Riverside was a popular place for cheap diner food. Even so, eating out is more expensive than cooking at home, and always has been.

  • … Garp! 1979

    … Garp! 1979

    Reading Time: 3 minutes I was reading the book from a single-minded, new writer point of view, not as literature, so bear with me if 24-year-old me sounds naïve.

  • Potential for collaboration, 1979

    Potential for collaboration, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes Perhaps this was another lost opportunity. Not all ideas are good ideas, but if they’re good enough to write down, they’re worth following up on.

  • In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 12

    In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 12

    Reading Time: 2 minutes I’m not a pantser poster anymore. That means I can develop and foreshadow recurring themes — and I can tell you about them.

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