Ruth's Blog: The Interlace Place

Back in June, as you’ll see from the previous blog post, I planted Serakh’s cucumber seeds. I didn’t expect them to germinate in this crazy weather. Now we have…well, see for yourself. Thriving plants and blooms aplenty. And do you see that smiling face cast in concrete at the corner of the photo? She first graced my garden 20 years ago when I had a real garden. Now she’s casts good karma on this tiny balcony 100 feet up in the air. Blessings abound. […]

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Here is the reality: The clever folks at Ooligan Press collected cucumber seeds from Portland State University’s Student Sustainability Center and made up seed packets for my author events. Serakh, my time-traveling pursuer of justice in Blue Thread, The Ninth Day, and Seven Stitches, has a passion for cucumbers she first encountered in Egypt at the time of the pharaohs and has been eating them ever since.

The instructions on the seed packet call for planting Serakh’s cucumber seeds two weeks after the last frost, which would have been months ago in Portland, Oregon. Still, I planted them today in a small container a hundred feet up the south side of a brick building blasted by summer heat.

Reality says these seeds aren’t going to make it. Forget cucumbers.

Here is the dream: Serakh’s seeds will grow and thrive, having been reunited with soil, sun, and water during the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere of Planet Earth orbiting a star in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. […]

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A few weeks back, Susan Olson, the blogger of Time Travel Times Tworeviewed Seven Stitches and asked me four questions. And so now here’s where I get to do the questioning and Susan does the answering. She’s got a soon-to-be-published children’s book that combines historical fiction and time travel. Yes!

Susan, about three years ago, you gave us ten reasons why blogging is like gardening. If you were writing that post now, what, if anything, would you change?

Aargh—don’t you know how painful it can be to read one’s old blog posts? 😉  (Yup, Susan’s got a point there!) Since writing that post I’ve finished four online courses in editing, and I now feel that gardening is more like editing than it is like writing. At least editing is like the kind the kind of gardening that I do which is about 90% weeding and pruning, and another 5% moving things around. […]

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It’s the reader’s equivalent of a double-header, a two-for-the-price-of-one special, a club sandwich, pizza with extra cheese. Amber J. Keyser and I will team up at Annie Bloom’s Bookstore in Portland this Thursday (April 20) at 7. She’s bringing Pointe, Claw; I’m bringing Seven Stitches. There will be laughter. There will be secrets to share. And you will likely not be in attendance.

No worries! Amber has a solid presence on social media, so you can get to know a lot about her there. I show up once in a while…take this post for instance. But you can learn more about me and my writing life on Susan Olson’s long-time, well respected blog, Time Travel Times Two. Click over to the interview/review, and you’ll find out when and where in time and space I’d like to spend a two-week vacation. After the interview, I asked Susan a few questions myself, so you’ll get to know her better in another post. […]

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On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Congressionally-approved declaration of war against Germany. Thus the United States formally entered World War I. Now on this 100th anniversary, I’m posting an especially interesting excerpt from Ruth Tenzer Feldman’s Chronicle of America’s Wars: World War I. This is the story of the Four-Minute Men.

Poster advertising the Four-Minute Men

In March, 1917 . . . more Americans seemed ready to enter the Great War. Donald Ryerson, a Chicago businessman, thought war was inevitable. Ryerson enlisted in the Navy. While waiting for his orders, he organized a group of speakers called the Four-Minute Men.

America in 1917 was filled with immigrants. Many of them, as well as many native English speakers, could not read English. Ryerson’s men found a clever way to inform and persuade these people. Each day, about 10 to 13 million people went to the movies. The movies were on film wound around two or more reels. […]

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Playfulness offers relief from the stresses of…well…I needn’t enumerate them…so I wasn’t surprised when Charles insisted that he come to the launch of Seven Stitches this Thursday at Another Read Through. After all, Charles and I go back more than a year, when I decided to do some fact checking for the story.

In the Seven Stitches of my imagination, a stuffed blue giraffe is the beloved companion of a homeless girl who lives in Portland. Problem? I’d never seen a stuffed blue giraffe. To find out whether one existed, I went to the purveyor of virtually all things material: Amazon.

The result? Many, many, many, and even many more stuffed giraffes live in cybermarket world, and an amazing number of them are blue. Who knew? The choices were so vast and I was so intrigued that I bought three. Yes, I auditioned three stuffed blue giraffes for the position of Charles. […]

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The Free Speech Movement Cafe, Berkeley

Whatever your views on balancing protections for free speech and against hate speech, we all have an obligation to get our facts straight. Yes, as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, I understand how reality can be manipulated. Still, according to a responsible source, the facts point to last week’s violence on the University of California, Berkeley campus as being incited primarily by people who were not students or faculty at the university.

Let’s go back to 1964 and the birth of the Free Speech Movement at Cal. The original FSM coalition focused on allowing political parties of all stripes to distribute political information on campus, something that we now take for granted. Over 800 people occupied the administration’s main offices (Sproul Hall) and were jailed to make that happen. No one set out to break windows and damage buildings. When a police car drove onto Sproul Plaza to arrest a student, scores of other students on the Plaza merely sat down, preventing the patrol car from leaving. […]

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Today I offer a lesson in irony.

If you’re reading this post you likely know that Seven Stitches is the latest companion novel in the Blue Thread Saga. Ooligan Press has teamed up with Another Read Through for the official launch on February 16 at 7. This book pairs the past (16th century Istanbul) with the future (Portland, Oregon, in 2059).

How did I decide about what will have changed by 2059? That’s for another post. One aspect of 2059, though, is that Facebook is gone, gone, gone. Here’s a snip from the book:

Mr. Utopia was back to his regular banter a few minutes later, waxing nostalgic with Rose about cane sugar tasting better than the beet sugar we often used. As he inhaled fried tempeh, Rose told him about the sugar beet trains in Russia and about her mother’s recipe for borscht. Then, to my surprise, she told him about coming to the States. […]

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If the Hanukkah story reminds us of the power of resistance, then Russell Freedman’s We Will Not Be Silent fits with the #Readukkah! spirit of the Association of Jewish Libraries and with perhaps our own thoughts this season. This nonfiction book nominally for older children (but with a topic suited for teens and adults) follows the White Rose student resistance movement in Nazi Germany from its rise through the execution of its leaders shortly before the fall of the Third Reich.

The “we” in We Will Not Be Silent began with a handful of high school and college students, led in part by Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, both former members of the Hitler youth movement. They and others wrote, mimeographed, and distributed leaflets denouncing their nation’s treatment of Jewish citizens and other “undesirables.”

The leaflets soon flooded all parts of Germany and called for the overthrow of the Nazi regime. […]

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