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Category Archives: Opening up to New Worlds
November 28, 2011 by Mara Purl
I think as a child I probably loved Thanksgiving because of the future—it meant Christmas was coming soon! It was also a holiday I anticipated with great joy because it meant we’d go visit Grandma Dorothy. She married my step-grandfather late in life—but just in time for my sister and me to adore her. The house she shared with “Daddy Bob” was a classic New England cottage in Waterbury, Connecticut. Cape-Cod-Blue with white trim, it stood erect despite the steep street that seemed to slice under it.… Read more
November 21, 2011 by Mara Purl
Well, if Pie-In-The-Sky describes what can’t come true, perhaps “Mile High Tea” should be the new descriptor for what can. Why? Because anything Judith Briles touches actually does turn to gold. Judith was my hostess this past weekend for a gorgeous, elaborate and delightful tea at the lovely home where she and her husband, poet and editor John Maling, love to entertain.
So what do I mean by “gold”?… Read more
November 1, 2011 by Mara Purl
Perhaps cracking the cover on an unknown book is something like opening the door to strange children on Halloween. “Trick or Treat” they cry. We consider it mostly an idle threat, because we know if we’ve opened the door at all, we’re going to deliver a treat, and therefore not expect to be tricked. And perhaps this is analogous to shelling out our twenty-five dollars for a hardcover book: we expect to receive a treat and we don’t expect to be tricked.
But what’s the point of fiction? Is it to trick the reader into thinking that the characters they’re reading about and the circumstances in which they find themselves are real?… Read more
October 17, 2011 by Mara Purl
Don’t you love discovering a phrase that has embedded puns and multiple meanings? Gayle Shanks and Bob Sommer must’ve had fun when they chose this phrase as the name of their now-famous bookstore. The store itself has never changed hands, and remains in the marvelously creative and capable hands of the original owners. I had the pleasure of meeting these great folks last year at the Women Writing the West conference when they sat at my table for dinner.
My signing at their store last week was one of the highlights of my recent Phoenix-area book tour. A joint event with one of my favorite authors Donis Casey, our evening was built around my ongoing theme, “Head and Heart.”… Read more
October 10, 2011 by Mara Purl
In our somewhat over-populated world (depending upon where we live), with centuries of human history behind us, it may seem that when it comes to the notion of discovering a new world, the ship sailed long ago. So if we want to experience something entirely new, get away to an undiscovered country and chart unknown waters, is our only option to pretend?
Since I write fiction, some might think I’d say yes. Yet there is both exterior and interior exploration, and my novel series explores both. On the external side—which we might also call a journey of the head—there’s plenty to engage the senses and challenge the mind.… Read more
October 3, 2011 by Mara Purl
It was a spectacular California early October Autumn day on the Central Coast: blue sky painted with whisps of cloud, sparkling water tracing the carved coastline, and just enough of a bite in the air to break out a jacket. Actually, this was a dress-up day, so the jacket was a pale silk leopard print, the skirt was leather and the shoes were high heels. Why the fancy duds? Today was High Tea in Santa Barbara, something I’d been looking forward to, something we’d planned for months.
There was an interesting twist in this plotline, however. The charity we’d been working with supports families to prevent homelessness and welfare dependency, especially in a tough economy.… Read more
August 31, 2011 by Mara Purl
A sip of rich, dark java from a Mellor press while sitting at a tiny table in a café overlooking the Seine. That sounds like a perfect ritual in the life of an artist. I certainly found it to be so when I spent a month in Paris performing at the renowned Theatre Chatelet a few years ago. Cities like Paris, Kyoto and Santa Fe, filled to overflowing with artistic expression, inspire with virtually every sight, sound, taste and aroma to indulge our creative impulses. California’s Central Coast happens to inspire me and I spend lots of time there writing What the Heart Knows and all my Milford-Haven Novels.… Read more
August 30, 2011 by Mara Purl
I like to think of myself as unsinkable. That’s probably a good thing, given my affinity for water. An ocean-lover at age three along the Connecticut coast, I became a competitive swimmer at my school in Tokyo (where I grew up), and always knew I’d live along the California coast someday. It sure came in handy to think of myself as “unsinkable” when I crewed on a Greenpeace voyage to save whales. And I’d say it’s been an even more useful quality during the heaving storms of a career in the entertainment business.
We can’t think of the word “unsinkable” without thinking of Margaret “Molly” Brown.… Read more
August 21, 2011 by Mara Purl
Certain things just go together: spaghetti and tomato sauce; summer and cricket song; December and pine-scented candles. Lattes and words are like that. For we writer-types, one often leads to the other. That’s how it was this Sunday, being a guest on A Latte and Some Words.
I’ve been known to seek out cafes—during their off hours preferably—and create a mini-office, a bubble where time doesn’t pass at the usual pace, the rest of my to-do list is missing, and a space opens that I can fill with my creative surge. These days, I grab my netbook and head to the nearest Starbucks, where the latte is superb, the atmosphere designed for the likes of anyone needing a personal bubble in a public space all of which encourages the Muse to pull up a chair at my table.… Read more
August 20, 2011 by Mara Purl
My father—affectionately known as Pere, thanks to the French part of our heritage—is the happy dad of two daughters. And, with both of us being in the entertainment biz one way or another, one might even say he’s the father of two Divas, though both my sister and I try to keep our drama on the stage, rather than anywhere else.
When did Pere find out he was a dad of divas? Was it when, at age three, I insisted on performing a show each evening on the hearth? (I thought it was a stage.) Was it when I came home, at age twelve, with the lead in “Cinderella in Flower land?”… Read more