Louise Palanker’s 194-page love & war story Journals is written for middle school-aged readers. Description: “A young girl secretly discovers her father’s World War II, taking a forbidden journey into family history and learns that more important than finding the answers is being brave enough to ask the questions. Palanker’s Journals dares to ask the questions that tug at 10-16 year old kids or anyone who has ever been one.” The author’s storytelling alternates between the adult’s and child’s version of events. Read Chapter 1 for free.



Capturing Moments – Can a photograph feel like a film?

As author-photographer Douglas Gayeton immersed himself for five years in the lives and passions of  those he met in a rural Tuscan town, he put his thousands upon thousands of images together to tell their stories in a format he refers to as “flat film”. Gayeton’s personal recounting of his creative process and the journey he embarked on to capture the authenticity, intimacy and charm of their “slow” lives and cultural heritage are a feast for the eyes, transporting your heart and soul miles from home to Pistoia, Italy. Truly remarkable storytelling – enjoy!

Slow Life in a Tuscan Town

Book: Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town by Douglas Gayeton

“Douglas Gayeton’s SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town is a magical and utterly unique portrayal of rural Italian life, and a tribute to the region’s kaleidoscope of charming local characters whose livelihoods and culture center around the everyday pleasures of growing, preparing, and eating food. Imaginative and interactive portraits are layered with Gayeton’s handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, and historical facts and that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia-toned image and draw us deeper into this romantic, rewarding, and progressively rare way of life. You will fall in love with the intimate images of an entire town whose lives are profoundly bound to the rhythms of nature and inherently exemplify the popular principles that define Slow Food, a multi-national movement dedicated to preserving local food traditions and honoring local farmers and producers. The unique interplay of pictures and words conveys a thrilling sense of narrative that transcends the page and transports you halfway around the globe. It is a riveting story told in a riveting way: each image is actually comprised of multiple photographs taken over the course of time (from ten minutes to several hours – a photographic approach critics have dubbed “flat film”). The result is nothing less than a new and startling way of seeing photographs.” –  Pier Giorgio Provenzano – videomaker

Wintertime and the stuff memories are made of…

The Midwinter music video by Cosmic Hoot contains images that remind me of my winters as a child and those of my parents. I hope you will enjoy the nostalgic footage and perhaps recall some happy childhood memories of your own. As you gather with your family, have fun talking about what you remember about past winters and holidays. How much has changed or remains the same today?

The merry family gatherings,
The old, the very young;WhiteSnowBrightSnow
The strangely lovely way they
Harmonize in carols sung.
For Christmas is tradition time
Traditions that recall
The precious memories down the years,
The sameness of them all.

Helen Lowrie Marshall

Wintertime – As the rain stopped and the snow began to fall and accumulate, I watched out the window waiting with anticipation for the snow to get deep enough to make angels in the snow, snowball fight with my friends, build a snowman with my father, and grab the reins of my sled, push off with the heels of my boots to fly down the hill with my little brother as fast as my courage would allow.

Playing in the snow also meant that I had to endure wet itchy wool socks, hat and string-mittens, drop-fanny long johns, a bulky knit sweater under a thickly padded snowsuit that was nearly impossible to walk in. The longer I played in the snow, the hotter inside, colder outside, wetter and more uncomfortable I became buried under layers of clothes. I recall the smell of the melting snow and mud we tracked into the house and wet woolens hanging to air-dry… the stuff memories are made of.

‘Midwinter’ from the 2009 album ‘Christmas and Beyond’ by Cosmic Hoot. Music by M Luther and G Kirbye, arranged by P Stewart: