Monday Meanderings–Welcome, Rain. Please Stay Awhile

The Truckee River, 2014--only a block from our home. It is usually fast and full, fed by Tahoe. Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

The Truckee River, 2014–only a block from our home. It is usually fast and full, fed by Tahoe.
Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

While much of the United States has been inundated with precipitation of one sort or another, we in the West have just suffered through our third year of drought. Our beautiful maple tree, in the front yard is languishing and if we lose it, we have mentioned the possibility of xeriscape, which seems so logical for those of us living in desert climates. (Reno, in Northern Nevada, is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about 40 minutes from Lake Tahoe. It is classified as high desert.)

At the moment, I turn my head to look out the window, at a lovely gentle rainfall. The bare ornamental pear tree right next to me is decorated with pendulous drops of water. To the West and North of us, there is a fine dusting of snow that hasn’t quite reached our 4500 ft. elevation. My prayer is that this lovely gift of rain will hang around for a while and water our barren land. But gently, I think, to give it time to soak in (I recall two floods we’ve experienced since moving here in 1993.)

Photo: Victoria Slotto Ornamental Pear Tree in Winter.

Photo: Victoria Slotto
Ornamental Pear Tree in Winter.

This morning “my” tree was full of birds, feasting on the tiny, inedible-to-human pears that still remain. Finches, Jays, a Chickadee–the first I’ve seen here, robins and doves compete. On the ground and in the huge blue spruce in the front yard, quail wait out the winter. Their babies, which delight us in fair weather, are mature now.

Will we have snow this year? Last year only one snowfall made its way to us just in time to get dirty or melt for Christmas. But for today, it’s a very light rain. Please stay a while.

He’s Back!!! And So Am I–Monday Meanderings

I’ve been almost AWOL in my blogging world for the past six-seven weeks, and now I will share with you one big reason: my husband has been away–in the desert–overseeing and working on a major remodel–primarily of the kitchen. If you ever wonder what your spouses or partners do all day, send them on an extended vacation. It’s been busy.

While he’s been away, I worked on the final edit of the novel I finished several years ago, The Sin of His Father, and am expecting the proof to arrive on Tuesday. I haven’t decided whether to launch it before the holidays or to wait for the New Year. I have a few things happening in November, including surgery on my elbow which may impair my ability to engage.

Cover Photo: Birgit Lerhner Cover Design: Victoria Slotto

Cover Photo: Birgit Lehner
Cover Design: Victoria Slotto

I’ve also launched another blog–“Be Still and Know That I Am God”–spirituality with a Christian twist. I hope you will stop by for a visit.

Have a happy, creative and productive week. I’m off to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate David’s return!

Check out my website for a preview of “The Sin of His Father,” Chapter One. WHEN YOU GET TO THE PAGE, YOU WILL NEED TO SCROLL DOWN.  Thank you.

Monday Meanderings–Fall Futility


I’ve spent a good part of the day raking leaves that have fallen from our Ash tree. As I worked, a breeze continued to out-smart me, reminding me that sometimes our best efforts seem to fall short. And yet, if I hadn’t raked, what would it be like tomorrow?

Every effort we make moves us toward achieving a goal. Sometimes it seems tedious, futile. It would be so much easier to sit back and let the leaves fall where they will. Or wait for someone else to do the work…and be able to claim the success of completion.

This is true in so many aspects of our lives, including writing. How many pages have you written only to toss them out or delete them? How much drivel, purple prose? How many cliche-ridden pieces of garbage? But without putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard where would we be? Every now and again out of that garbage heap, something of brilliance arises. Like those leaves, poor writing can become mulch that serves to nourish next season’s yield.

As I raked, I couldn’t but reflect on the nature of my perfectionism. If I’d tried to make it perfect, I would be crazier than I am. Same with writing, don’t you think? At some point I find it necessary to say, “Okay. That’s enough for now.”

There are still tons of leaves on the Ash. And, between the front and back yard, eight more trees that haven’t even the process of letting go. There are still plenty of words waiting to be played with and committed to sentences, paragraphs, prose or poetry. So, let’s keep on raking, writing.

Have a happy week.

For the Love of Reading—Monday Meanderings


Photo: V.

Photo: V.

Because my mother became a war widow when I was just an infant, we spent the first seven years of my life in the home of my grandparents. My grandmother had congestive heart failure and was unable to do a lot, so my mother assumed responsibility for household chores. This symbiotic relationship had a profound effect on my development, as my sedentary grandmother played a critical role in the five years before she died.


I recall that early mornings, most every day, I would drag a pile of Little Golden Books into her bedroom. There, still in bed, she read to me for hours at a time. She spoke to me using adult vocabulary. I fell in love with words before I could read them, and when it came time to learn to read, it came so easily.

One little vignette I will never forget. I suspect it was in the months or even weeks before her death. Her patience had waned along with her strength. I was playing with a toy plastic Brownie camera as she read Lewis Carroll’s fantasy to me. She asked me to cease and desist…several times. I didn’t and she (apparently very calmly) took the camera from me and hurled the length of the living room where we were sitting, I on her lap. To this day I dislike the classic “Alice in Wonderland.”


That being recounted, I have, over the years, continued to develop my love of reading and have, at any given time, several books of various genres on my current reading list. It’s not a leap, and writers know well, that reading nurtures those of us who write and helps to develop imagination in children and adults.

I worry that so many things are supplanting reading. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s when I was a child, there was no virtual reality and, until I was 5, no television. Life was simple and nurtured simple things. Okay. I confess. I’m sounding my age. The point I want to make, the question I ask—what are we doing to promote reading among children and adults?


An addendum/disclaimer: it’s good to see so many YA books appearing on the various best-seller lists.

Just for the fun of it—what do you like to read? What are you reading now?

Inspired by Poets for Change–Monday Meanderings

At The Bardo Group, they are hosting an 100 Thousand Poets for Change event. As part of this world-wide event, poets and bloggers are connecting at and writing of a transformed world-a world where peace and sustainability take precedence over violence and throwing things and people away.

All it takes to participate is a post in a creative format, whatever that means to you – poetry, photography, collage, art, creative writing, music … you are limited only by your imagination! Would you care to join us by bringing your own thoughts on peace, transformation? If so, add your link at

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto


My contribution:

Wild Fire

I play lilting music
in my heavy heart,
dream of blue skies
and the song of birds,

pay no heed to dense smoke
and nature’s dying
until I hear the mournful
call of doves.

It hasn’t been long since I first posted this, but it has become more significant these past couple of weeks because of a tragic, human-caused fire that had been pouring smoke into Reno. Although fire is part of the circle of life, it seems so tragic when it has been deliberately set. God forgive the person who did this.

MIA–Monday Meanderings

Yes, in case you noticed, I’ve been more or less missing in action and will need to continue to be so for a while due to a convergence of events. I do plan on hosting The Bardo Group‘s Writer’s Fourth Wednesday on September 24th and dVerse Poets’ Pub Meeting the Bar on October 2nd, as scheduled.

I hope to return to a normal posting routine by mid-October. In the meantime, something may pop-up now and again if my schedule and my elbow cooperate. Ah, the joys of aging.


Armchair Adventure–Monday Meanderings and Weekly Photo Challenge

This week at WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge, the challenge is to take an Adventure–literal or metaphoric. I’m going with the latter and adding a poem. This will do double duty as my post for Monday Meanderings in an uncommonly busy time for us.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto


On Reading


These days I spend my evenings in Ethiopia.

Torrential rains flood the shores of the Blue Nile.


I cut for stone in Operating Theater 3,

outside I hear the blaze of a failed coup d’etat.


Dear Africa, I’ve trod the single file paths of

leafy jungles, ‘neath trees of Poisonwood,


through forests that devour, that feed on lives

of those misled in service of God’s holy name.


With Little Bee I, too, would flee to distant shores,

escape atrocities (only to be hurled once again upon your mercy.)


From Haiti also I’ve sought refuge. The slave of Valmorain set free but

lost to love forever and to my land, the island far beneath the sea.


As well would I take leave from Oklahoma’s dust

only to be lost to greater desperation in the land of wrathful vines.


A silent (though not passive) observation,  I stand by, witness

the demise of hope, the emptiness of Gatsby and Buchanan


or see a tree spring forth from wretched poverty in Brooklyn’s

tenements where branches spread if roots grow strong and deep.


For those who read there is no place forbidden,

no mountain that cannot be scaled, no culture


left forgotten, no life condemned to end in an obscure whimper.

No era will I leave untouched if I but open up a book and read.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto


Monday Meanderings–

Confession time–I’m in a blogging slump this week and no doubt this next week ahead, as well. Life has been, well, life.

At The Bardo Group, we are observing a week-long celebration of Wilderness Protection Week. Here’s a summary of what’s behind it, borrowed from the introduction of Pricilla‘s post:

Celebrating 50 Years of Wilderness Protection
August 31, 2014
“It’s a time for celebration! 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wildlands for future generations. The 1964 Wilderness Act…created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas from coast to coast. This anniversary is a wonderful chance to celebrate all that’s been achieved for wilderness in the past 50 years and remind Americans of all that we can achieve in the next 50.” (from The Wilderness Society website,

You are invited to join in the celebration by linking poetry, photos, essays–your own thoughts and experience with the wilderness.




On a personal note, I have created a “store” on Etsy which offers homemade jewelry. I’m just beginning to add items. Jewelry-making is a hobby for me. I’m of the generation and up-bringing that just can’t sit still so that while I’m with the hubby who enjoys sports on TV, I make jewelry and watch a bit myself. It’s an addiction so I thought I’d better do something with the results and, at least, cover the cost of my habit in order to buy more beads. In the process, I decided I want to do something to help others so I’ve decided to price my items at 30% over cost and donate that amount to an animal rescue organization. This quarter, the proceeds will go to The SPCA of Northern Nevada. I will vary the recipients every three months.

I hope you will check it out HERE. I have many more items to list and they are all quite affordable. At the present time, I’m only shipping within the United States until I can figure out better what I’m doing.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Have a happy week.

Fences–Monday Meanderings

Today, walking the dogs through the neighborhood with my camera, a subject caught my attention: Fences.

I saw a variety of designs and purposes: both utilitarian and decorative.

A few appeared to be for the purpose of keeping things in: dogs, horses, mulch, flowers:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto


Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

One was clearly built with the sole purpose of hiding something unattractive: an HVAC system or utility box:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Many were obviously there to keep things out: other people or animals such as bears (not out of the question here in the Sierras during these days of drought):

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

And then there were those that contributed to the overall beauty or character of the house:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

They can even serve to hold things up:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto


Fences are powerful metaphors, and it’s fairly easy to apply them to human behavior. I won’t go into detail because you will figure it out yourself.

I’m going to post an older poem of mine about fences and invite you to join in with one of your own. A short story or essay would be great, too. You can either use the Mr. Linky icon below or add the direct URL to your work in the comments. Feel free to use any of these photos–but I would appreciate the credit for them if you do!


Why do we build fences? They can’t hold out wind,

or leaves that flutter from neighbors’ yards into ours.


A flock of quail descends into our spent garden and feasts,

pilfering seeds that would have been fertile in the spring.


Remember the night raccoons purloined our koi?

Or how in summer we lay awake, listening to the long,


long, short, long whistle of the trains, into, out of Reno, dragging loads

of who-knows-what to destinations east and west? Sound’s intrusion.


Tonight, my fears are not of robbers or of things that harm.

What scares me most is what’s within—the limits of closed minds.


Have a wonderful week of writing and life. On Thursday, I will be hosting Meeting the Bar over at dVerse and hope you will show up there with a poem of your own. A short clue to get your muse in gear…patterns.

Writing Practice–Monday Meanderings

Photo: V Ceretto

Photo: V Slotto

Writing Practice—Colors

One of the books I turn to for writing inspiration is Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. A few days ago, I read a short chapter on Writing Practice. Goldberg suggested that we make a list of topics from which to choose when the well runs dry. She offered a list of ideas.

Part of my “morning time,” most days, includes about 30 minutes of writing. Often it reads a bit like a diary or personal journal, but there are plenty of days when I begin with “I don’t know what to write about,” and then when I do, it’s sheer drivel.

So yesterday I combined one of Goldberg’s ideas along with one of my own. Her’s: I remember… Mine: color. And so far have written two days worth of  I remember pink. I won’t go into detail, although this afternoon I recalled that I wore a pink formal to my senior prom. And my childhood bedroom was pink—all pink.

The bottom line is, it’s important to write daily and it helps to have a topic for those times when you are at a loss for something to write about. Oh, and don’t worry about results, Goldberg emphasizes. Just write!

Check out my previous post for some “Pink” photos I took on today’s walk.