Hitting the Ground With the Written Word

My first blog for 2023. I would say “Happy New Year”, but that phrase is getting a bit tired now. Many folks are already looking forward to the Super Bowl, the Rodeo and Valentines Day. I am working a bit slower, because I feel like I am still getting my year started. Even though it feels slow, already the calendar is full and some days have more entries that there are lines to write everything down.

I am always trying to make time for some reading. There are currently three books on my to be read right now stack. The book, A Salem Witch, was a gift from my niece, Becca. She actually traveled to Salem, Massachusetts this year. (No, I’m not jealous at all!) This book is about Rebecca Nurse who was actually tried, convicted and killed as a witch. It’s really interesting, because it gives the back story on the town of Salem, Salem Village, Rebecca Nurse herself, and her neighbors.

The second book, Wayward Girls, is written by Claire Matturro and Penny Koepsel. I don’t know Claire, but did meet Penny while organizing Haunted Holidays reading last year. The story here is good, because it follows some girls that went to the same boarding school and the myriad of ways their adult lives are affected.

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross is the third book. This one is also from niece Becca. I haven’t had time to start on this one yet; however, I think it is about witches, elemental spirits and the like. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted.

Moving from reading to writing, I have already finished the first of two Writing Projects Weekends and the second one begins this Friday. These weekends are led by the one and only Max Regan. Since we meet via zoom, we have folks from all over the country. So many writers, so little time. Also, so much to write and so little time. After writing so many short stories last year, I am back to working on the Great American Novel. Well, maybe not Great, but a novel is what it aspires to be. It’s all about a Grim Reaper, a team of ghosts, a monster, a few humans and an Art Deco resident theater.

Also, I am once again Literary Chair for the Women in the Visual and Literary Arts. We have lots planned for this year and for the first time we will have a writing competition. Thank goodness, Fern Brady can help with that. There’s also a poetry reading coming up in April called Poetry by the Bay, in honor of National Poetry Month. I hope, I hope, I hope I can coordinate another Haunted Holidays reading. Then there is always the month of November where the members of WiVLA get together during the monthly meeting and read a wide selection of essays and poems.

I have much to do and am worn out just thinking about it. So, I thought about ending this blog with a picture of Hannah, my cat. Unfortunately I woke her up from a nap. Doesn’t the look on her face seem to tell me to go away and while I’m at it, turn out the light? Now she is napping once more and I have finished this blog.

Until next time.…..

Haunted Holidays: The Haunting Continues

Just when you thought Halloween was over and it was safe to go back out after dark.….…It’s time for Haunted Holidays! Yes it is definitely time to call the neighbors and wake the kids! As you can see from the banner above this exciting event is scheduled for this Saturday. Yep, this Saturday, November 5th. It will take place at the wonderful Brazos Bookstore located at 2421 Bissonnet Street, in Houston, Texas!

This event consists of several local writers reading their best work about how haunting holidays can be. Any holiday. Ghosts and goblins don’t just go away and hide once Halloween is over. Sometimes it’s just hard to see them behind all of the bright shiny holiday lights.

Both the Houston Writers Guild and the Women in the Visual and Literary Arts have joined forces with Brazos Bookstore to find the writers who are scheduled to share their work. A great partnership indeed.

Here is a list of writers that will so graciously favor us with their creative brilliance:

  • Gabrielle Langley
  • Sabina Gartler
  • Sandi Stromberg
  • Margo Stutts Toombs
  • Brenda Preuss
  • Penny Koepsel
  • Fernanda Brady
  • and yours truly, Ellen Seaton

Are you as excited as I am? I hope so! Please join us this Saturday, November 5th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Brazos Bookstore for haunting tales and spine-chilling verses.

See you this Saturday!

Pandemic Road: Spooky Christmas!

Well, it’s that time of year. Everyone who began holiday shopping before Halloween, are now out in full force. I am once again reminded, that I am most fortunate to be retired from a typical day job. Traffic jams abound and my car stays parked at home. However, even I, Ms. Scrooge Seaton, have my holiday traditions and they all involve writing and reading scary stories. Would you like to hear some?

Thanks to the Brazos Bookstore for joining up with the Women in the Visual and Literary Arts (WiVLA) and the Houston Writers Guild to present an evening of Spooky Christmas! It will take place on Tuesday, December 7th, beginning at 6:30 p.m. A whole group of writers will be sharing their own works about haunted holidays. You can go to the Brazos Bookstore website for more details or you can register using the following link:


There is no charge for this event. You simply have to register to get the zoom link.

Yes, I am very excited about this holiday tradition and have been writing and rewriting what I hope will be a fun story to share. My muse has been busy assisting me on this project. You may recognize this particular character. He was also my Halloween muse and will probably continue in this helpful position as New Year’s muse and Spring muse. As I am sure you know, skeletons aren’t just for Halloween anymore. If I’m really nice to my muse, he has promised that I can wear his hat for the Spooky Christmas zoom.

Just in case I don’t get to wear the hat, I did recently get my hair trimmed by my favorite hair dresser, Carol Cooley. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, she has arranges Porch Cuts, which in this case is actually a garage cut.  Wherever is fine with me. I’m just glad she is able to work out this arrangement with her clients, because she has quite the dedicated following. For anyone who hasn’t seen me since the pandemic changed everyone’s life, I no longer have bangs. And my hair is going “gorgeously grey” as they say. I feel like I am coming more into my own as my hair gets long and grey. I let it blow in the wind and don’t even try to pretend it’s under control. Such freedom and fun. You can decide for yourself if it’s a good look and tell me your opinions after Spooky Christmas. I promise I won’t change a thing, but will enjoy reading your opinions.

I look forward to seeing everyone on December 7th at 6:30 p.m.

Until next time.……

Pandemic Road: Between Halloween and Thanksgiving

You might think from the looks of this picture, that I went out into nature for a bit of camping. Well, you’d be wrong. Anyone who knows me, knows that I haven’t been camping for decades. At the end of the day I am either at home in my own bed or snuggling down in a hotel room. Preferably a hotel with room service and the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Yet, this is a picture taken on a day I spent outside at the Edith Moore Nature Sanctuary. Located way out on the west side of Houston, this was my first visit there. So far out west we were around the area of Memorial Drive and Dairy Ashford. It was decided to go there after a brief trip to the Blue Willow Book Shop. Yes, of course, I bought a few books.

Anyway, after all of my visits at the Houston Arboretum, it was nice to explore some new territory. While strolling through part of the 17 acres, I saw several pumpkins that had been placed on the ground as a snack for any animals who were hungry. I had heard there was supposed to be a shortage of pumpkins this year, but I did not see any proof of it. The orange gourds may have been more expensive, but they were definitely plentiful. And there seem to be plenty left in the stores for Thanksgiving pies.

They have several signs set up to make sure folks don’t bother the animals. One interesting creature I saw was a snail crawling on top of a log. In all my visits to the Houston Arboretum, I don’t ever recall seeing a snail. I guess I’ll have to add that to the list of wild life I have found inside the City of Houston. They also had a very serious bird feeding station as you can see.

It was a nice day off before I returned to writing. This past Tuesday, WiVLA (Women in the Visual and Literary Arts) had their November Literary Reading where several of us wrote essays about Masks. One of the amazing outcomes from the evening was that not one person mention medical masks or cover-ups for Covid.

Tonight I am joining the Archway Gallery Zoom Reading. The topic is thankfulness, but my story tends more towards turkeys and grim reapers. I hope people enjoy it.

One more reading is coming up in December. WiVLA, The Houston Writers Guild and Brazos Bookstore are joining forces for an evening of Spooky Christmas readings. Did you know there were Christmas witches? Join us on December 7th to find out more. You can sign up to attend the zoom event by going to the Brazos Book Store website.

Pandemic Road: Week Two

As Melanie pointed out in her latest blog, we are knee deep in a week that began with a full moon and is ending with a Friday the 13th. We could’ve guessed that this is the time to plunge into a global pandemic.

This is where I spent my late afternoon today. In a very calm restaurant, RA Sushi, looking out the window. My Dear Friend and I had good food and polite conversation. Don’t the clouds look nice set back against the beautiful blue skies. It’s hard to imagine from looking at this picture that the grocery store across the street was doing a roaring business and selling out of water and toilet paper.

Why toilet paper? People are hoarding toilet paper. I don’t understand that and I don’t really even want to understand that. People are also hoarding water. Last I heard coronavirus does not flow through the water pipes.

Earlier this day, I spent a lot of time finding out how many of my weekend plans were being cancelled. Even the WiVLA (Women in the Visual and Literary Arts) events have been cancelled. Both the Houston Ballet and the Houston Symphony cancelled all their performances for the rest of the month.

Even the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo was called off in mid-run. This is the first time this happened since it began back in the 1930’s. That seemed to be the cancellation that caught most people off guard. Of course, I only went to the Rodeo twice in the time I have lived here in Houston. But I always knew it was there. I would go way out of my way to avoid the traffic. Willie Nelson got in his performance this year, but Gwen Stefani and many other musicians were cancelled.

Back at the nice peaceful restaurant, we arrived around 3:00 p.m. We knew the place would not be crowded at that time during a week day. I don’t know if the staff planned this, but the patrons that were there were seated at least 3 to 6 feet apart. I eyed the wait staff closely and did not see anyone cough, sneeze, wheeze or any other signs of impending doom. By the time we left many other customers came in, yet we all remained safely separated for appropriate social isolation.

In one more attempt to remain safe and healthy restaurant customers; my Dear Friend and I ordered only food that involved cooking. Typically at RA, we order things like sushi, seaweed salads, etc. As you can see in this picture, we split an order of vegetable tempura. It included yummy broccoli, asparagus, carrots and a few onion rings. We also split an order of agedashi tofu and some zucchini.

In addition to eating out, we went for a walk. The weather is getting warmer and warmer. Spring has definitely sprung around here. However, it is not as hot as it gets in the middle of July and August. I hope this pandemic is over before the summer gets here. I prefer water aerobics to walking when it is hot enough outside to fry eggs on the sidewalk.

How are you doing with this pandemic? I think everyone is hibernating at least for the upcoming weekend and maybe next week.

Wash your hands and stay healthy!

Until next week.….

Going Down the Road of Silver Linings

I am now a member of the Women In The Visual and Literary Arts (WIVLA). All this year they have been celebrating their Silver 25th Anniversary. Along with several other writers and poets, I was asked to write either a poem or an essay on the topic of “Silver”. Here is what I wrote and read at the monthly meeting tonight. I apologize in advance that I have no pictures to go with this personal essay. Just read it and imagine the color “silver”.

A silver anniversary means that 25 years have passed. Surely a silver anniversary involves at least one silver lining. While researching this topic, I found out that I am a Silver surfer. I am a senior citizen who surfs the internet. Who knew that had a name?

Twenty-five years ago, 1994 (the year Wivla began) was the 25th anniversary of Woodstock. No, I wasn’t there. I was only 12 years old at the time. But I watched it on the nightly news. I read about it in the newspaper. I was fascinated. Three days of peace, love and music and so many hippies showing the rest of us how to live in harmony with each other. A lot of cool silver jewelry, which I still like today. I looked forward to the day when I would be old enough to go to such a music happening.

By the time I was actually old enough for Woodstock, the culture had changed. Music made the switch from the Beatles singing that “All you need is Love” to KC and the Sunshine Band singing “Shake your booty”. Morally it was quite the let down, but I put on my best 1970s wardrobe with my platform shoes and danced with my friends. And, yes, our dances were called things like “The Bump” and “The Hustle”. If you don’t remember how goofy some of those dances were, I dare you to look them up on YouTube. By the end of this decade, Saturday Night Fever showed on the silver screens of movie theaters.

During the 1980’s I turned 25 years old while living in Houston and working at a basic office job for your basic oil company. I wore business suits with shoulder pads and pumps on my feet. I walked the streets of downtown Houston and saw men in three piece suits, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats…in the middle of July. I went to the disco with my friends and we all wanted to dance like Jennifer Beals in Flash Dance, (or at least her body double dancer), but we didn’t. Not even close, I’m afraid.

By the 1990s, I had switched careers and become a Social Worker. I worked at a psychiatric hospital and transitional living facility before hiring on with Harris County. Musically, Whitney Houston was singing I Will Always Love You and My Love is Your Love. Pretty music and easy to dance to. On the silver screen she starred in the movie The Body Guard. Beck recorded a song called Loser and Nirvana recorded Smells Like Teen Spirit. Neither was danceable to me. Snoop Dog was a silver-tongued rapper. It took me a long time to appreciate rap music. I was in my late 30’s…..was I beginning to get old? In 1994, again the year WiVLA began, Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley. Of those 90’s musicians I listed, Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Michael Jackson met tragic endings. Lisa Marie still rocks on. I listen to Beck who is still writing songs and performing. The last time I saw Snoop Dog, he was hosting a game show and is BFF’s with Martha Stewart. Go figure.

Now it is 2019. It is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. During this decade I retired from being a Social Work Administrator for Harris County after 25 years. I was given a gold and silver watch for my troubles. I have my own silver hair. Beyonce showed women how to rule the world. Shakira’s hips didn’t lie and Pink got the party started. I now listen to a lot of classic rock music on Sirius radio. I also listen to the band Imagine Dragons, because they’re RadioActive and that makes me feel “Cool”. However, I think the fact that I am still using the word, “cool” means I’m probably not. I’m now a member of WiVLA. For the next 25 years I look forward to being a full time writer, a part time visual artist and an ongoing member of the WiVLA community. Now that’s what I call a silver lining.

Until next week.….

The Art Road

What to do during these last few warm days in Houston? Tomorrow we are guaranteed cool weather. A 30 degree temperature drop. I can’t wait!

But last weekend it was still warm and I was restless, so I decided to head over to Sawyer Yards and stroll through some art. Sawyer Yards is a collection of industrial warehouses that have been converted into a thriving creative community with building names like Winter Street, Silver Street, The Silos, among others. It is not unusual for them to have market hours during the weekend when almost every artist is in their studios showing off their work. I have never been able to make it through every building in one evening. There is just too much to see and experience.

Last Saturday evening, I made it through both Winter Street and The Silos. My first stop was at the studio of Marsha Glickman who does a lot of collage work. I was very impressed by the wide variety of materials that she used in her pieces.

Collage is a new artistic passion of mine. I am having great fun taking classes and visiting studios to see how other artists are doing this. There is no end to the types of materials one can use. Magazine pictures, found objects, beads, etc. are all fair game with collage. Here are some examples of Marsha’s work:

Then I made my way to Josena Arquieta who is a painter. Josena and I have teamed up to prepare a study in “Compassion” that will be presented next June at the Holocaust Museum Houston. She will make a visual representation and I will provide an essay.

Here is another example of Josena’s work:

So many talented artists! Never enough time! Never enough money! Never enough art supplies!

By the way, next Tuesday, October 15th, The Women in the Visual and Literary Arts (WIVLA) is hosting a pop-up market at the Printing Museum. WIVLA is an organization where creative women can meet and network. Throughout the year there are art shows, poetry readings, and various collaborations among both the literary and visual arts members. At the pop-up market you can find works of art by a variety of members. There will be a raffle and all types of artisan goods. The Printing Museum is located at 1324 West Clay. The pop-up market will run from 5:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m. I hope you can join us!

Until next week.….

What Language Is Spoken On This Road?

First the good news.

A good time was had by all at the art exhibition called Midsummer Light. It was presented by the Women In The Visual and Literary Arts. I really enjoyed being a part of this experience and exhibiting my photographs. If you did not get to the opening reception, the exhibition will remain up for your viewing pleasure until July 19th at the Christ Church Cathedral’s Cloister Gallery, 1117 Texas Avenue. The venue is open from 11 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday while Treebeards serves lunch.

In other news:

Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. Sometimes I do things that just go a slight bit awry. Nothing huge. I’ve never killed anyone.….that I know about. If I did it was certainly a mistake. But sometimes all of the technology.….phones.….computers.….televisions.…..can just be a bit much.

For instance, let’s consider Amazon. I order things from Amazon. Mostly books, but sometimes other things. I have been buying things — especially books — all my life. Here is my most recent acquisition that I received on Tuesday. It is a book about Vincent Van Gogh.

First, I apologize for blogging one more time about Vincent. I know I have blogged about him quite a bit lately. However, it does involve my latest acquisition from Amazon and the reason for this blog will soon be made clear. Remember that patience is a virtue.

This book had been highly recommended to me. I was looking forward to receiving it. When I had it in my hot little hands, I sat down in my most comfy reading chair and opened the envelope. I liked the cover. I like a lot of Vincent’s self portraits. He did quite a few of them. I sat back and began to open the book ready to learn more about this artist.

As soon as I open the book I see another self portrait. I am happy. I am relaxed. It still looks like a really nice book doesn’t it? Look closely. Closer. Do you notice anything? At this point I was still happy and relaxed. I hadn’t noticed anything. But wait!

I turned a few more pages and began reading the content. Here is the content that talks about the painting of the potato eaters. I think that’s what it says. Yet, I don’t really know for sure, do I? Why don’t I know? Because I don’t read French! My book is printed in French. How did this happen?

I wasn’t looking for a French book. I spent 5 years studying Spanish. I have never spoken a word of French. Quickly I looked back at the confirmation I received from Amazon when I ordered this book. I look and look and keep looking. Finally down, down, down the email confirmation I go. I look very carefully at the very small print. Language: French.

EGAD! Lesson learned. I still like the pictures in this book. I will keep it and may use some of the photos for collage work. Who knows?

Maybe one day I’ll meet a new friend who reads French and likes books about Vincent Van Gogh.

I remain forever hopeful.

Until next week.….