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Monday, September 30, 2013

An Excellent Resource for Learning

Hello!

Do you like learning new things? How about learning new things from the top universities in the world? How about doing it from the comfort of your own home? How about doing all of it for free?

Yes, such a thing exists!

Writing means always learning new things. Books, documentaries, primary sources and museums are all excellent means of research. I also am a fan of Coursera classes. They're geared to all ages and anyone from those of us with degrees to those without are welcome. All you need is a willingness to learn and a bit of effort.

One of the classes that will begin shortly (October 15th) is being offered by the University of Virginia on historical fiction. You can find out more here. As an author of the genre, I am looking forward to the class and learning more.There are many different classes (hundreds now). I encourage you to take a look and learn something new!


My best to you all,
Megan

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Fun: Victorian Women's Rights in England Game

Hello!
It's time for "Friday Fun".
Are you interested in learning more about when women gained rights in Victorian England? Categories such as "education", "money", and "voting" are covered for different years in this quick and interesting game.

My best to you all,
Megan

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Equilateral

Hello!
It's time for "Writer Wednesday", when I discuss another author and his
or her book.

Equilateral markets itself as "an intellectual comedy". Math, particularly geometry and trigonometry feature heavily in the plot and thus if you don't like them, this one's probably not for you. That being said, just like geometry is more than lines on a page, there is much below the surface of this story. It's commentary on relations, on how we see ourselves and the other and on the end of the 19th century- the cusp of modern achievement, but also the sweep of empire and expansion.

I found myself thinking of Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, as I read this- not only because they both address Mars but also because they both address the claiming of land and of others and an attempt to craft it into our own vision. This book must be read metaphorically to appreciate it fully. It's different from what I usually read, but it was interesting. I like layered stories- both reading and writing them, and there are many layers in Kalfu's novel. I was convinced that something was going to happen and it didn't. Or perhaps, it did and Kalfus simply didn't spell this out for us; maybe he was keeping it slightly ambiguous, like the surface of Mars itself. A triangle can be perfectly equilateral, without the interior filled in after all.

My best to you all,
Megan











Monday, September 23, 2013

The Autumn Cloak of Trees





The Autumn Cloak of Trees

Wrapped in splendor
A coat of gold
A scarlet ribbon
Your branched arms hold
Sparkle of dew
On your silken leaves
Southern-bound birds
Hotel in neighbor trees
Shake your locks
To the western sun
In your torrents of color
Autumn's begun.


--Megan Easley-Walsh
September 14, 2012




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday's Quotation to Inspire: Talent and Genius

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." - Arthur Schopenhauer 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Histories of Nations

Hello!
It's time for "Writer Wednesday", when I discuss another author and his or her book.

Histories of Nations: How their Identities were Forged is fascinating! Divided into twenty-eight chapters, one for each country, the book gives a history of several nations- both east and west, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north and south, rich and poor, well-known stories and those that are not as commonly told. What makes this book so interesting is that each country's history is written by a historian from that country. Each historian tells his or her story of his or her country. The country is seen through the guise of the citizen historian. Some countries enthusiastically embrace their histories, clinging to them for their national identity. Others are anxious to be rid of history and forge a new future. Most fall somewhere in between. In order to survive, a country must move forward but the past is unable to remain in the past. It is more than what has happened; it constructs and informs the citizens' view of themselves and of their nation and of their place within the wider world. Understanding not only what has happened historically, but also how each country views those events is an invaluable tool for international relations and makes for some very interesting reading!

My best to you all,
Megan

Monday, September 16, 2013

Autumn Unveiled




Autumn Unveiled 

Orange, like the dawn 
of the newly born day
Whispered embrace
Bright crimson display
Fringes of green
Summer's now paled
Crisp yellow crackle
Mirth now unveiled
This is the morn
of Autumn's delight
Colors emerge
Nature burns bright


--Megan Easley-Walsh
September 14, 2012




Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writer Wednesday: TransAtlantic

Hello!
It's time for "Writer Wednesday", when I discuss another author and his or her book.

After Monday's post on the enduring symbol of friendship between the United States and France, it seemed appropriate to write about Colum McCann's TransAtlantic. It is both as expansive as the sea that separates Europe and North America as well as personally intimate, like the spray of salt water on someone's face.

So what is TransAtlantic about? It's about journeys of the sea. It's about plane trips. It's about famous people: Frederick Douglas, Daniel O'Connell, Alcock and Brown and also about the quiet "background actors" that make up the fabric of any good story. It's about monumental events- the Irish famine, the Good Friday Agreement brokering peace in Northern Ireland, the American Civil War and the first successful transatlantic flight. But, it's also about the anguish of the human heart, the spirit of determination and the intricately linked histories of Ireland with life beyond the Atlantic.

TransAtlantic will no doubt touch many readers with its enthralling story- a story that many readers will find themselves or their ancestors in, in some guise or another. As wonderful as the Pacific is with its host of beauty, sea life, rich cultures and people, Trans-Pacific just doesn't have the same historical and personal pull to many the way that TransAtlantic does. 

My best to you all,
Megan

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reading the Statue of Liberty

Bartholdi
Hello!

Shining as the beacon of liberty, a recognizable symbol around the world, Liberty Enlightening the World stands in New York harbor. She is better known as the Statue of Liberty. But, the Statue of Liberty, like the immigrants that she welcomed, has a story that begins long before setting foot on American soil. Across the wide seas, where countless immigrants traversed, in a small town of Europe her story begins. In Colmar, France, Bartholdi began his plans for the gift from America's oldest ally.

Colmar
Colmar is a beautiful city, at times compared to Venice because of its charming canals that are lined by brightly colored houses. Colmar is also famous for the Illesheim altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald.

Hanging in a room, where those that suffered from the plague could be comforted by the gruesome depiction of Jesus also suffering, it is testament to the difficulties and struggles that others faced as well: those who crossed the Atlantic.

Illesheim Altarpiece
Standing as a beacon to those who passed through Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty stands on broken chains. Her message seems clear- the past lays behind. Tucked under her arm, the law tablet bearing the fourth of July declares that freedom, independence is the law of the land. Proudly, her torch shines forth.

For anyone though, American or not, the Statue of Liberty can be a symbol of freedom, of liberty, but also of the purpose of writing and books. The chains of ignorance lay underneath, broken, by the power of a book held in the presence that leads toward a lit future through the torch. There is more than one way to absorb a story and there is more than one way to read the Statue of Liberty.

My best to you all,
Megan

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Writer Wednesday: The Victorian City



Hello!
It's time for "Writer Wednesday", when I discuss another author and his or her book.

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London by Judith Flanders is an insider's guide to the streets of London,when Oliver Twist and Scrooge were penned. With details outlining the street sellers, the development of a fire department, illuminations for celebrations, and the growing trade of horse "cabbies", the city roars to life.

If you are interested in seeing the true Victorian city, I recommend this book. Charles Dickens and the insights that he included in his stories are also a part of this book, but the focus is clearly on London. More specifically, the majority of the book is about the streets of London- the sellers, the people who moved among them and the entertainment. In Victorian London, the streets were the meeting place of the various classes. Like the streets of London, Dickens' stories continue to be a place where we encounter these characters from the various walks of life.


My best to you all,
Megan

Monday, September 2, 2013

Giverny: An Artistic Metaphor for Writing

Monet's Home in Giverny
Hello!

Giverny, Monet's home in Normandy, is a wonderful place to visit. His paintings surge to life as you walk through his famous gardens and beside the Japanese bridge. The water lily pond is instantly recognizable. Monet's art is in many ways like writing. Different colors and seasons emerge through his choice in pigments, just as a story forms based
upon setting and character.

Monet Poplar Summer 1891
 Surrounded by his host of floral characters, one is immersed into the world of impressionism. A good author successfully does that for his or her readers as well. Walking through Monet's home, his inspiration of Japanese prints is viewed. Likewise, pieces of inspiration and the past can collect in an author's imagination and thoughts to add height and drama to a story.

 Monet's paintings in particular often look like a series of dabs and dashes, of uncertain swirls and clouds of color when viewed closely. If you step back though, they become focused, clear and every brush-stroke harmoniously unites to form a stunning painting. Writing, with all of its separate punctuation, sentences, dialogue and grammar, may seem like nothing more than fragments when viewed in isolation, as well. But, when read as a complete work, a beautiful story, one of power and purpose, springs to life- just like Monet's beloved art.
Monet, River Landscape, Autumn 1883

Now, since it is September, as summer's curtains are pulling taut and autumn prepares to make her début, Monet's paintings of the seasons
seem especially appropriate.


My best to you all,
Megan