Marble Notebook

“France was filled with emptiness.” OK, that’s bad writing, but noticing it this morning in my Facebook feed made me happy. “Wow,” I thought. “I’m noticing bad writing again. Things are improving.”

The article from which it came isn’t bad writing, and I get the dramatic effect the author was going for in his faux paradox. The article tells about Paul Landowski’s Les Fantômesa very different WW I memorial.

My editor has gotten back to me with her opinion about The Schneebelis Go to America (working title). She sees pretty much what I saw, that the novel needs to be longer and give the reader a more satisfying conclusion. What that will be I still don’t know. There are a couple of possibilities that I’ve already thought of, and there might be more. She has more feedback to give me and godnose my brain isn’t as clear as it could be, so

I write for myself, mainly, but I still want my work to be the best it can be and an aspect of quality is the ability to hold a reader’s interest. Beyond that there’s Aristotle.


A long, long time ago in a faraway land known as Colorado Springs, in a distant era known as the late 60s, in a (for then) fancy pants suburban high school, a feisty little teacher taught her AP English class Aristotle’s Poetics.


In this little book, Aristotle has described what makes an effective tragedy. It wasn’t written as a prescription; it was written as a description, but it’s pretty hard NOT to turn it into advice since those ancient Greek trajedies still have the power to inspire “pity and fear,” leading to a dramatic climax which, in its turn, must give the audience a chance to resolve the emotional jolt in catharsis. The Schneebelis Go to America doesn’t offer any chance at all for resolution. The audience would leave the theater bewildered. I’m not Samuel Beckett, so I can’t live easily with that.

The featured photo is of my new Stone Notebook. The pages are made of calcium carbonate made from Carrara marble dust. The paper is washable. Greenstory is a small Dutch company started by two Dutch high school students

Slight hip surgery update: Excruciating muscle/spasm/leg cramps last night that terrified both Lois and me. Research, research, research, common side effect of the entire process. OH WELL

17 thoughts on “Marble Notebook

  1. Life is killing us. It really is. Between the physical messes that we are and the emotional messes that being physical messes make us …. and that there are BRICKS on my stoop … life really IS killing us.

    And then there is a volcano and people so dumb they have to keep getting out of their car — baby and all — to LOOK AT THE CHEETAHS.

    Life should kill them first.

  2. I’ve noticed adverts for the stone notebooks. We have black bears here, ppl get out of their cars to photograph them on the highway. duh! they are real, they will protect those cubs! Note to you! even in zoos, they aren’t tame!
    Sorry to hear you had such a rough night. I’m hoping it’s eased off now and won’t return! Not fun, definitely not the lighter side of life!

  3. Those cramps seem to be a natural effect after an operation. I had them for a while, but they disappeared slowly. I never had them during the day. I get spasms in any case because of my MS but I can live with them.

  4. Martha, please mention it to your doctor anyway, OK? There might me something like a muscle relaxer that could be ordered, or a nerve pain med – or you could need potassium.

    That’s a very cool notebook!

  5. Many interesting things in this post. Glad you’re writing/viewing writing from a different perspective, which from your reference, sounds like a good thing.

    Dutch Stone notebooks. Fascinating, look forward to hearing how they work. Perhaps you can become their US Distributor.

    Muscle cramps/spasms. Ouch! Part of the readjustment/new biomechanics. Extra magnesium (oral and topical) often helps, as does making sure you are well hydrated. Stretches, massage–Is PT starting up soon? I also find hot packs helpful (I still have challenges related to my shoulder–no, I’m not feeling myself up, I’m massaging my chest wall muscles). Good luck!

    • PT has started but not taught any stretches yet. Lois agrees with the heat thing. I agree with the bio-mechanics thing. My femur IS longer and those muscles were treated pretty roughly (from their perspective). I guess I’ll need a similar defense if I start massaging my groin… :p

  6. Hope the valium works out. I had it for my frozen shoulder. It made me suicidal. I rare but known side-effect. You’ll know, as you won’t be able to stay awake at all. Make sure you are eating lots of greens for the magnesium.

    I definitely need some Aristotle Poetics. 🙂

  7. I wouldn’t say “OH WELL;” I’d say, “OH Hell!” Things had been going so wonderfully for you, I hoped they would continue. I’m glad Lois was there. About the book: I am certain the person who wrote Martin of Gfenn can figure out how to give The Schneebelis Go to America more material and a riveting ending. I have no doubt about it.

  8. What a lovely handwritten note to send to their first US customer! So sorry about the pain, Martha. Tell Lois to watch you with the pain meds. My doc prescribed Flexeril for one of my neck surgeries. I knew it made me feel a little weird, but when I started talking to my husband about something, he knew I was squirrelly as hell and called the doc. They took me off that med and gave me something else. It is good for someone who knows you to watch for signs that the medicine might need to be changed.

    • Thanks for the good advice, Lois. I’ll mention it to Lois. 🙂 I’m on the basics — Tramadol and Percocet which I’m tainc cautiously because they have sinister side effects. The doc prescribed Valium for the spasms, but the pharmacy hasn’t gotten the prescription yet. Could be a long night again. 😦

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