Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library front window
Kurt’s actual typewriter

I could not be so close to a museum for Kurt Vonnegut and not take a visit. In a college ethics class, I did my final project on his secular humanist beliefs. He is someone I would have been lucky to know. I read Slaughterhouse Five before the short trip into Indianapolis which I believe adds much to the understanding of the displays in his Memorial Library. To see his struggles as an author, successes in his dreams, personal challenges, and sparks of creativity in person were comforting and inspiring.

Author Ashley Crookham in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
replica of Kurt’s study
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Indiana

When I found out I had a chance to visit Indiana, I needed to look on the map to see how to get there. I began to research fun things to do. For this I use Pinterest and  http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/.

Author Ashley Crookham wall map

I enjoyed my time there, including a trip to a not-for-profit coffee shop where I was able to sit and catch up on my journals.

Author Ashley Crookham cold brew coffee

Now that I know I will be moving to this state, there are other things I would like to find out. How does cost of living compare, for example? If I could visit again I would go to the local library, the local gym, and the local grocery store. Online I have researched things like Meetup groups (including writers’ groups) available to me to join. I’ve added Parks and Recreation newsletters to my e-mail subscriptions. So far things look promising.Author Ashley Crookham gas sign

What considerations do you make when moving to a new place?

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Kwerky Review

 

While editing “Elaty Riaf”, I used the Querkywriter keyboard someone had given to me as a gift. Here are my observations:

Positives:

  1. attractive
  2. keys make a nice clacking sound
  3. easy to use wirelessly with your computer
  4. you can sit things in the ledge at the top (such as photos to keep you motivated or notes to keep you oriented)
  5. reminds me of typing on my mother’s old typewriter as a child

Negatives:

  1. a bit high up for my wrists to sit comfortably
  2. the shift button got stuck constantly, making edits more laborious
  3. numbers are along the top only

Overall, I would not have bought this for myself and I prefer to use a wider, lower, quieter keyboard. The faulty shift key was not compensated for by the attractive typewriter appearance. I am glad I got a chance to make an informed decision about this product.

Have you used this before? Something similar? What did you think?

Coffee & Tea

Now that the Western Maryland Writers Group 2016 Anthology is out, I have returned to editing Gender Chasm.

When I’m working I like to have a beverage at the desk with me so I thought I’d spend one post discussing my favorite ways to brew and steep.Author Ashley Crookham coffee station

Hot Coffee. Even when I’m not restricted in my caffeine consumption, I tend to use a few scoops of decaf in with my flavored grounds. My favorites are chocolate, hazelnut, and Scottish grog.

Author Ashley Crookham hanging mugs

Old Coffee. I tend to make a pot of coffee, but only drink one cup. The rest I put in a reusable mug and stick it in the fridge for the next day(s).

Cold Brewed Coffee. Overnight in coffee sock. So worth the wait. Any flavor is clarified and crisp.

Author Ashley Crookham coffee sockHot Tea. I pour water into the mug, then dump that amount into my stove kettle. I use tea bags or loose leaf tea in my hanging tea man. My favorites are Celestial’s tension tamer and Yogi’s bedtime.Author Ashley Crookham hanging tea man

 

Cold Brewed Tea. Insert into filter, screw onto a mason jar, and you get tea to take to work the next day.

Author Ashley Crookham tea drawersI drink all of these black. (Well, as long as I’m not meeting old friends at an English tea shop where milk and outstretched pinkies are required.) Coffee first thing in the mornings, tea is for when I get home from work.

 

What do you like for coffee and tea? Is anyone out there able to live without both?

 

Divorce

Note: The Western Maryland Writers Group Fairy Tale Anthology with the “Elaty Riaf” short story is out. Get it in print, or on your kindle.

Author Ashley Crookham sunray

We began dating 11/23/2005. I was still a teenage. We got married, got separated. Our divorce came through exactly 11 years later.

 

Since my short story “Elaty Riaf” dealt with this subject, I thought I’d write a brief post about my experience.

 

Divorce is the abortion of marriage. It’s a choice and will cause you to doubt yourself. There is power in the choice you may wish you didn’t have.

For us the cause was that he needed to be on his own, and, afterwards, I needed to not take him back. We both could have tried harder to find another way. But we failed. Together.

 

There are few comparable situations in which you have the chance to discover so much about you. The uncertainty of the future, the depth of pain from the past, what you are capable of, what you don’t want to endure.

 

What I’ve learned is that you should not be with someone who comes to you looking for something, but instead commit yourself to someone who found something in you.

 

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

Hey, you’re a Goodreads Author now!

One of the most exciting e-mails I’ve ever received had the subject line: “Hey, you’re a Goodreads Author now!”

Feel free to check out my page there, if you haven’t already. Then, vote on the best line from my short story “Born to Stub”.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

 

 

 

 

P.S. Are we goodreads friends yet?

Alphasmart

author ashley crookham alphasmart library

To write the rough draft of “Elaty Riaf”, I used my Neo by Alphasmart. This was the first time I have done this. Here are my observations:

Positives:

  1. not very expensive ($28 used on Amazon)
  2. comfortable to type on
  3. the battery lasts for a long time
  4. this is a word processor only, and therefore I am not distracted by the Internet while writing

Negatives:

  1. the screen only shows a few lines at a time, which makes it difficult to refer back to character traits and names
  2. no thesaurus
  3. when I was in public, people interrupted me to ask about the “weird keyboard”
  4. once I transfer the file to my computer, I no longer feel like using the Alphasmart
  5. I must re-format for publication after transfer, rather than setting up formatting at the beginning of writing

 

Author Ashley Crookham alphasmart home

Overall, I would use this again, especially during times where I am on a strict schedule for writing. However it did not change my life enough to insist on use.

Have you used this before? Something similar? What did you think?

 

Love, Ashley (Crookham)