Rain on the roof & cottage life…

jollyYet
The “ancient one” Still standing after all these years!

Well, here we are. Once again, I’m going to break away from my summer hiatus and post this while I have a fairly decent Internet connection.

Mid-July is here, and the first really hot, sticky weather is scheduled to pay us a visit. Can’t complain, though, since I’ve been donning a sweatshirt most mornings and afternoons around here since Opening Weekend in late May. Plus, the nights have been those we consider “good sleeping” ones.

It rained all night, and there’s nothing as soothing as the steady rain on the cottage roof, knowing that all windows and porch blinds are secured and the futon is covered with Visqueen. The summer rain is another magical reason for spending time in this ancient structure. When there’s no driving wind coming across the lake from the southwest, the all-night rains are relaxing and comforting. Such was last night’s.

Novel Progress…

I have been very busy up here in my self-imposed “exile” doing much thinking about how I’m going to rescue my novel but haven’t made the strides I’d hoped to by this point. Perhaps it’s not meant to be, but I won’t give up on it. It stays on my mind, even when I sit down to attempt to write something else in the meantime. Must be a subliminal message in there trying to tell me something. We shall see.

Summer Reading…

Even if the writing isn’t moving swimmingly along, my summer reading is! Within the past weeks I’ve read Fierce Patriot, the story of the many-sided life of William Tecumseh Sherman; The Boys in the Boat, a wonderful true story of determination and victory against all odds; Dr. Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to his classic The Shining; David McCullough’s newest, The Wright Brothers. Next up in the reading department is a revisit to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a book I read a million years ago and forgot just how terrific it is. I’ll follow that with her “latest” offering, Go Set a Watchman.

President George W. Bush awards the Presidenti...
President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room. “To Kill a Mockingbird has influenced the character of our country for the better. It’s been a gift to the entire world. As a model of good writing and humane sensibility, this book will be read and studied forever,” said the President about Harper Lee’s work. White House photo by Eric Draper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s nice to know that when the writing–or the inspiration for writing–is lacking or going nowhere, I have those friends waiting on my shelf here in the cottage and I can lose myself within their pages.

By my next post, perhaps I’ll have some good things to say about my efforts to accomplish some writing and make some inroads into baling my novel out of the tarn in which it currently languishes! I’m thinking that the only way to do so will be to take the premise that is there and start over with a fresh re-write and finally put my mind at ease. Glad my income isn’t dependent upon producing a book on any sort of schedule!

Now, back to practical things around here. My son’s family arrives this evening for the weekend, so I need to do some basic cottage tidying-up and make the bed in the back bedroom upstairs. With the warm weather predicted, it’s sure to be a couple of days of playing in the lake.

I’ll go home Sunday afternoon for a dentist appointment on Monday morning, take care of yard work, and then make a two-day trip to Ohio to see my mom. By week’s end, I’ll be back up here in “exile,” back to the task of making my novel something decent.

National Register of Historic Places listings ...
National Register of Historic Places listings in Ottawa County, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s hoping your weekend and days ahead are all good. Until next time…

Out of “exile”–for the moment…

jollyYetI know I’ve said that I’m taking the summer months “off” from tending to my blog, but over the course of the past several weeks I have had a few “life moments” that I simply feel inclined to write about.

At the top of that list is I “officially” was inducted into the Medicare Club one week ago on my birthday, and as I write this from my self-imposed “exile” up here at our summer cottage in Michigan, I’m happy to report that they haven’t come to haul me out to the funny farm due to elderly ramblings or other strange carryings-on. (They could have done that so many times previously!) Instead, all of the company that was here over the weekend for our annual NASCAR Race Weekend had to leave and return to their own lives and niches in the world.

And though I enjoy spending time alone, where I can read and write unfettered by interruptions and other such distractions, I must admit that right now I’m feeling rather lonely and wish I had some of the folks who were here this past weekend to prop me up and make me feel as though it’s OK to be this age. Turning 65 sort of does that I’m finding out.

After all, my birthdays used to be spent playing baseball for most of the day, running and chasing fly balls and batting and running the bases and all that was good about being a young kid who had a birthday in June. I could no more run like that again, even in my dreams, and so I just smile at the memories of all those summers past when the future was out there waiting for me to figure out how to get there.

And, even though I can no longer race around the bases on sweaty, sun-drenched afternoons of pickup games on homemade fields in Indiana, or run down that long drive off the bat of a power hitter, I’d like to believe that I’m still the same person I was way back then.

And now that I’m a year older (and wiser?), I’m beginning to give some thought to that thing called mortality. How many years do I have left has never been a question I100_6021 dwelled too much upon, because it always seemed so “out there” and something I’d never have to deal with for a long, long time—until now!

It’s the little things that really come into play, too. Walking the garbage down to the dumpster each day becomes an excursion of appreciation of all the beauty surrounding my life up here. Filling the bird feeder and watching the various avian species swoop and dive in for their feedings and then take off for places unknown is a daily delight. Chatting with the hummingbirds as they hum and buzz around the feeders I religiously keep cleaned and filled is another ritual of cottage life that I’ve truly grown to appreciate.

Perhaps I’m not quite ready for the pipe and slippers realm just yet, but I’m finding myself becoming more and more tuned in to those things I’d never paid attention to in the past. I suppose none of this is a bad thing. At least, I’d like to think not. Whatever, life in the Medicare Club can’t be all bad!

Well, for now, I’d best go check out those hummingbirds and make sure the lake’s still out there

Purple-throated Carib hummingbird (Eulampis ju...
Purple-throated Carib hummingbird (Eulampis jugularis) perched and feeding from a bird feeder. Batalie Beach, Dominica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

behaving as it should…

My summer exile…

100_5993As we begin to edge our way into late May, that means that things have cycled back around to another cottage “lake season” up in Michigan. Thus, I have spent the past two weeks completely ignoring any regular writing, blogging, or commenting on Facebook, instead, rounding up “stuff” to be hauled up to the cottage on Friday, May 22. (As I write this, that is just two days from now!)

Our intrepid crew put our pier in last Sunday, and the old structure looks as though it will make it through another summer. Our pontoon will be delivered on Saturday, and I can’t wait to get it moored in its spot alongside the pier and then take it out for its out-of-hibernation cruise around the lake. The weather is supposed to be “iffy” (which is usually par for the course) so we shall keep our fingers crossed for some decent “move-in” temperatures without any rain.

I have my folders and my writing box of notes, rough drafts, and other miscellaneous notes to take along for the summer, and the MacBook Pro will be packed up Thursday night.

Which brings me to my main point of this post. I have given much thought to what I hope to accomplish this summer in terms of a regular writing routine, and I have come to the conclusion that the only way I’m going to accomplish that is to step away from social media and my blogs, Down Many Roads and All Things White Sox.

I have become stale and less-than-enthusiastic on most days when trying to come up with blog topics and to write how I feel about things in general. Quite frankly, I really have nothing much to say these days—at least what anyone out there really is interested in reading.

As a result of this epiphany, I am going on a self-imposed hiatus, an exile of sorts, from my blog posting. I know that when I do resume sometime down the road, I will be refreshed, re-charged, and re-invigorated to write some things that are fun and interesting. When that might be, I have no idea. All that I know right now is that my focus will be on knocking the cobwebs from my long-overdue novel-in-progress and re-awakening my friend Scrivener in doing so!

Now, as the daunting task of packing everything for another lake season opening in just two days from now beckons me to get back to work, I leave you kind readers with these words: Blessed are they, who have nothing to say, and can’t be persuaded to say it!jollyYet

Have a wonderful summer…

“Brutus” Comes Calling…

A week or so ago, we were sitting on the front porch watching the traffic out on the lake, when a fellow “beacher” from down the way came by, rather excited, with his small terrier on its leash. He told us that a very large snapping turtle was lying in the middle of the lane in back of the cottages, apparently having crawled from the green, slimy swamp on the other side of the lane.

Brutus1
Brutus the first time!

Sure enough, as we went around to the back, the big turtle, covered with lime green swamp slime, was sprawled right in the center of the dirt lane, causing my wife to go get a long-handled rake from the storeroom to move the prehistoric critter back off the lane and into the weeds in front of the swamp to prevent it from being hit by a car or truck.

With a good amount of prodding and nudging with the handle of the rake, Carolyn was able to turn the snapper (it wasn’t very happy about all this attention!) and it slowly plodded into the weeds, disappearing from our sight.

This turtle “journey” seems to be a once-a-summer occurrence as  turtles of various sizes make their appearance right about this time, and are either making their way from the lake to the swamp, or from the swamp to the lake.

Obviously, this old relic, whom our neighbor dubbed “Brutus,” had its destination set for the lake, a good fifty yards from where he’d been resting in the middle of the lane. Although its quest to make it to the open waters of the lake had been thwarted by my wife’s dextrous rake handling skills, at least the turtle was safe and back in familiar environs.

Our good humanitarian deed complete, we went back about the business of chatting on the porch and figured that was the last of our cumbersome friend from the swamp.

Fast forward a week or so and imagine the feeling of déjà vu that hit me front and center when I happened to glance out onto the dirt lane late one afternoon and see our determined, algae-covered snapping turtle once more at rest, obviously intent on finishing what it wasn’t allowed to do the first time.

And thinking the same thoughts about assisting it out of harm’s way with our trusty rake once again, I got up to do just that. I don’t know if turtles can read minds, but at this precise moment, it raised up on large, stocky legs and actually lumbered onto the grass and traveled a good distance—at a pretty good clip—to where I watched from the screened porch of the cottage, near the edge of the slope that leads down to the lake.

After a while, the old turtle stopped and lowered itself once more, probably to rest and check its GPS for the best route to pursue to the water ahead. I went on about my important business of reading and thinking about the need to get my writing routine jump-started once again, and every now and then would look out the side screen to check on my intrepid, plodding friend.

I could see that it was nearly halfway up the grassy yard between the cottages, and about this time it rose again and moved along some more, nearly reaching my Weber grill and plastic lawn chairs a short distance from the edge of the slope. Tired out, it dropped down again and lay there for nearly an hour.

It’s amazing how certain events trigger thoughts of all kinds. It was just me this time, the wife having returned to our home in Illinois, and next-door cottage neighbor, John, was out on an afternoon pontoon run, so there was no one immediately to share any thoughts with. Just me!

What came to mind was a short story my 8th grade literature students read years ago about a grandfather and two young grandsons, who are driving along, and come upon a turtle in the center of the highway. Though I can’t recall all of the details very well, I do remember that the boys, in all of their youthful exuberance, want to kill the turtle and eagerly look for sticks or rocks to carry out that deed. But it’s Grandpa’s wisdom that prevents any of that from happening.

He tells them something to the effect that it would be easy to defeat the large, helpless creature, lying there out of its natural environment, but they should consider turning things around and realize what it would be like if they were in the water—the turtle’s domain—and see who would have the advantage then.

I think the boys learned a wonderful life lesson, and they actually helped the turtle from the highway and gained a greater appreciation for life and all of God’s creatures—great and small—that populate the world we pass through. I wish I could remember the author of the story, or even the title. I tend to think it was titled “The Turtle,” but that was a long time ago. But it was obviously a very good short story.

As late-afternoon became dusky twilight, and I was in the midst of eating my leftover meatloaf on the porch, the ancient turtle decided it was time to move on and leave Weber grills and plastic lawn chairs  and curious humans behind. And so, with a concerted effort and a few more creaky exertions, “Brutus” made it over the slope and into the thick brush and down to the water’s edge in a relatively short time.

Brutus2
Nearing the edge of the slope, Brutus knows the open water is near!

Soon, there was a splash, and I hurried out to see the determined turtle easily and smoothly swimming out alongside our pier and then under the deck fifty feet from shore, disappearing
into the safety of its own world.

Best wishes out there, Brutus! ….CortlandWriter

 

Re-discovering John Updike & a short visit home…

(Writing from home in northern Illinois)

Following the wonderful 4th of July weekend that was filled with kids and grandkids and plenty of

4th of July or Fourth of July
4th of July or Fourth of July (Photo credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton)

fun in the lake and in and around the cottage, I decided it was time to  venture back home for a few days to attend to those persistent “calls of  necessity.” Those, of course, include taking the recycling containers to the drop-off place at the nearby landfill, shopping to re-supply the essentials for the cottage, doing the laundry, and mowing, trimming, and edging the yard that is healthier than it’s ever been!

Regardless, it was time to come home. I was last home in early June, and today I feel kind of like a stranger in my own house. My routines in the kitchen, which are pretty automatic in the morning making coffee, taking care of clean dishes in the dishwasher, etc., aren’t so automatic at the moment. I find myself pausing to remember exactly where things go and the gentle order of operation when I’m here on a regular basis.

So, today I did the various shopping “runs” to Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart for those items I will take back to the cottage two days from now. I also put back on my bookshelves those books I finished reading during the past few weeks up at the cottage.

Cover of "Pigeon Feathers and Other Stori...
Cover of Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories

One of them, Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories by John Updike, re-affirmed my desire to get back to writing those short stories I keep meaning to finish. It was very good to read those stories I’d first discovered in my American Lit courses at Kent State, back about 1970 or thereabouts, and I saw things this time through that I failed to do then. Could it be that I’m older and wiser now? (Well, older anyway!)

I had two very good–uninterrupted–weeks of working on my novel, Sandbar’s Secret, but I had to shut things down with company and the festive weekend that was the 4th of July celebration.

And I didn’t mind shutting the old MacBook down one bit. Dragging the grandsons around the lake on a tube, dodging the insane “Weekend Warriors” on our lake, was fun, to say the least. The old 90-horse Yamaha outboard ran as smooth as ever, propelling our Tahoe pontoon around and through the waters without a hitch.

Now, with today’s “chores” finished, I can settle in and finish catching up on other e-mail and reading posts from my blog friends and offer a comment where appropriate. Tomorrow’s plan is to do the yard work early in the morning and take care of any other household duties which I haven’t gotten to as yet.

Before I know it, Thursday morning will roll around, and I will be packing the Chevy Equinox once again to return to the cottage on the lake. It’s good to know that there’s still plenty of summer left for writing and reading, and I am most anxious to get back into my novel WIP, Sandbar’s Secret, and find time to read the new biography, Updike, by Adam Begley. We have no company coming this weekend, so that is a good thing!  I love friends and family when they come spend a few days and nights with us, but I also savor those weekends when there are no such visitors!

And so, here’s hoping things are well in your world. I send you good wishes from a beautiful day here in northern Illinois, where today’s list has been checked off, and I prepare for tomorrow’s…CortlandWriter

Update from the hinterlands…

jollyYetHello, friends and fellow writers! Just a quick post this morning from my self-imposed exile here in the southwest Michigan hinterlands. It’s a very unique morning, in that the sun is shining, the lake down below is calm and inviting, and the overhead skies are not one massive gray ceiling, promising rain.

Most days and nights during this past week (since my last post) have been chock full of rain, punctuated with thunder and lightning. Thankfully, there has been little wind to contend with.storm However, yesterday’s early morning “monsoon” not only created little ponds and lakes out on the back lane behind the cottages, it also caused some damage to one of our neighboring cottages just down the way a bit.

Situated under these old and tired oaks and maples and ashes, the cottages–and everything else–is in constant peril when storms decide to do their thing. And it’s those  stately ancient trees that get the brunt of the storm’s fury. It’s truly amazing how fortunate these 101-year-old cottages are to have withstood the ravages of nature.

I have been busily at work on my next book–Sandbar’s Secret–and I have taken advantage of the stormy weather to make wonderful progress, particularly since it’s the perfect kind of “indoor” weather for doing so.

I hope that your week is moving along well and there are no storms with which to contend….CortlandWriter

Summer reading & “Race Weekend” on the horizon…

So far in the two weeks that I’ve been up here at my summer place of exile, in the land of southwest Michigan, I’ve read a number of fun and interesting pieces of writing. And though I should be devoting more time at this point to doing my own writing and working on my next project, I have found the reading life much more beneficial at this point. I know, as in summers past, I’ll get the writing juices flowing about this time next week. And there’s a good reason for this. But first, my thoughts about what I’ve managed to read up here on the shores of Magician Lake.

Philip Caputo
Philip Caputo (Photo credit: Airstream Life)

I began my summer reading with Philip Caputo’s delightful book The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. It’s an easy and pleasurable read, mainly because I love stories of folks who have “hit the road,” and it is one that makes one wish to pack up and join up with Caputo and his wife and their two English setters as they roll along, mile after mile, in their pickup truck with a vintage Airstream in tow.

Of course there is much more than a simple reporting of the various places they pass through. More important, there are the people whose lives, for one reason or another, are forged in the towns—dying or thriving—where they live in today’s America. It’s this very thing that is the force behind Caputo’s purpose of making the long trip in the first place. As he travels along, the question, what holds us all together, surfaces at every turn, in a light and humorous voice every mile of the trip. It’s a wonderful read!

My other is A Study in Sherlock, a collection of short stories based on the Sherlock Holmes Canon, and I found each story therein to be well written and equally as fun to read as Caputo’s book.

Being a longtime Holmes fan, I enjoyed the offerings of featured writers such as Lee Child, Jerry

English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...
English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. Watson. Illustration by Sidney Paget from the Sherlock Holmes story The Greek Interpreter.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Margolin, S.J. Rozan, and Dana Stabenow, to name a few whose work makes up the contents of the book. I was familiar with Lee Child from his Jack Reacher books, but most of the others were new to me. I must say, that their stories in this collection have whetted my appetite to read more by each of them. I suppose that’s how we increase our reading wealth.

Now, as for my own writing efforts to finally get kickstarted next week is simple: Our cottage is busy with our two grandkids for a few days, followed by our annual NASCAR “Race Weekend”  beginning this coming Thursday.

For many years, several relatives and friends gather here for a multi-day party leading up to our trek over to Michigan International Speedway very early Sunday morning for the race. We’ll return that night and everyone will filter out for their homes in Illinois, Ohio, and various other points on the map on Monday. After a brief recovery period, I’ll be ready to get my writing routine in full gear when it will be just me during the weekdays.

And so this will probably be the last post until that time. I’m sure I’ll have some cogent points to make about “Race Weekend,” so come on back next week. It’s sure to be worth the effort. Until then…CortlandWriter

The grandstands for Michigan International Spe...
The grandstands for Michigan International Speedway in Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Busy on the home front…

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Cortland, Illinois
(Back home for a few days)

With the cottage all settled, and the pontoon moored snuggly and ready for a wonderful summer

Map of Illinois highlighting DeKalb County
Map of Illinois highlighting DeKalb County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ahead, I closed up and headed back to Illinois yesterday for a few days here at home.

No, I’m not homesick or bored with cottage/lake life already (far from it)! It’s primarily because domestic duties on the home front required my presence here at this particular point in time, the main one being our younger grandson’s kindergarten “graduation” program in a short time from now.

And, of course, there are the other tasks which need attention: mowing, trimming, and edging the lawn; cleaning out the garage and getting it into some semblance of sane order; taking the wife’s car in for an oil change, and various other errands to run and other ticky-tacky duties to handle. (e.g.-stocking up on beer and other beverages to avoid paying the exorbitant Michigan prices on such items!)

I also paid a visit to the post office here in town this morning to mail a copy of The Good Luck Highway to a long ago friend from high school. He saw my quick post the other day on Facebook asking if anyone needed a “good summer read,” and he wrote back saying that he’d really like to read it and would love a signed copy. “No problem,” I wrote back, “send me an address, and I’ll be glad to ship a signed copy.” Gave me  a good feeling to hear from someone from so long ago interested in having my book!

With that done now, and the garage all spiffy from Tuesday afternoon’s efforts, today (Wednesday) is rainy and very good for doing the odds and ends inside, the oil change, and the store stuff. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and sunny, so the yard work will commence in the morning, followed by re-packing the clean laundry  and loading the Equinox for a return jaunt back to the cottage in Michigan late at night.

I must say, it’s good to get home for a short time and to take care of some much-needed tasks. We even were able to watch our two grandsons’ baseball game yesterday evening, and they played well and had lots of fun in doing so. They’re supposed to play another game tonight, weather permitting, and we’re going back to their house where they’re going to have cake and ice cream in celebration of my upcoming birthday next week. I don’t think there’ll be enough room for all the candles necessary, so we’ll allow for that part of it to be left out!

Now, though, it’s time to scurry off to watch little Matthew be promoted from kindergarten. Yea! It’s all down hill from here, kiddo! Until next time from the lake…CortlandWriter

Beating the heat last Monday with grandsons, Jack & Matt
Grandma and Poppy with grandsons, Jack & Matt

 

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“Exile” over…back Home

Location map of Michigan, USA
Location map of Michigan, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess my “exile” to Michigan has finally come to an end for another summer, and, perhaps, it’s high time I got back to work on some things—finishing my novel The Bet and catching up on my blog contributions. And, I must say, it’s really good to be back in the comfort of my writing room/office/study, although it is currently under siege from suitcases and boxes and containers yet to be unpacked and put away. My shelves and printer cabinet are cluttered way beyond normal, but it’s still good.

Additionally, to add to all the “clutter” is an issue we’re having with Internet access. The phone company service is supposed to come here in the morning to check on it and get it working correctly, removing it from my things to think and worry about.

Working at my old familiar desk on this blog post, the first in several weeks, I feel good again to be getting some words down. To say that my productivity these past few weeks up there in Michigan fell off drastically would be greatly understating things. I only have myself to blame for losing the steam I’d kind of built up and was rolling along on The Bet. Then, the end-of-season duties and procedures began to cloud my mind, and my ability to become inspired to even fire up the MacBook was basically non-existent.

English: Homer Hickam on set of October Sky
English: Homer Hickam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did more reading than writing during the final weeks in Michigan, and I don’t think that’s really such a bad thing. Homer Hickam’s newest YA effort titled Crescent was fun and so much different from the intense stuff about the Civil War and Lincoln that I seemed to become completely immersed within. Because of “reading more and writing less,” I kicked myself daily as the guilt piled on and on—but I simply didn’t feel inclined to boot up said MacBook—not even to check e-mail or cavort about on Facebook.

Thinking about this now, back home here in beautiful bucolic northern Illinois, I believe that there must be a reason for that malaise that hung like a thick cloud, preventing me from wanting to write! Or maybe it’s as simple as I really had nothing to say during that time or the desire to come up with anything worth sharing! I do know, though, that I’m in a better frame of mind now and think I’ll be much better for having taken some time away from the writing grind. Perhaps I’ve refreshed myself enough to get those two main characters of mine to a satisfactory conclusion and finally be able to add THE END to the thing. My intentions were to reach that end by start of fall, but I’m a ways away from that.

So tomorrow will be chock full of more unpacking, resettling, household chores (trip to the recycling, cut the grass, etc.) and hope that the DSL, Internet, and Wi-Fi gets corrected. And, perhaps, work will move forward on The Bet. Unlike these past several weeks, I can’t wait to start-up the MacBook and get those words going…CortlandWriter

Any comments or Thoughts?

English: White MacBook laptop
English: White MacBook laptop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Discovering Diana Krall…

Every summer, up here in Michigan, I always discover things one way or another, and this one has been no different.  For example, I was introduced to the wonderful sounds of Diana Krall early on quite by accident, and I haven’t stopped loving everything about her and her music.

 

The Look of Love (Diana Krall album)
The Look of Love (Diana Krall album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There is nothing better than stumbling upon something completely unexpected–which is exactly what I did in this case–and I haven’t looked back one iota. While writing,  I always have music on in the headphones, and the wonderful sounds from Bossa Nova Breakfast on iTunes always brings me countless inspirational sounds, including some by a sultry, sexy-sounding lady named Diana Krall. After hearing her renditions of some great songs, I was hooked–and immediately went to the iTunes Store and downloaded one of her “essential” albums, and the rest has been nothing but pleasant listening all of these summer months up here at the lake.

 

Without making this a review of many of those songs, suffice it to say that one only need try out The Look of Love, East of the Sun, Let’s Face the Music and Dance,  and You Go to My Head to catch on to what I’m talking about.

 

Yes, Diana, I think your stuff’s pretty cool! And, when it’s playing in my head while I write, the words seem to come out just all that much better.