Thursday, June 28, 2012

When Wanderers Cease to Roam, Vivian Swift

 I nabbed this cat (one of nine) because it's near 90 degrees here in New York and I'd like to be padding through the snow rather than hugging the AC..
 And I wanted to share with you her first book,
 When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put.
In her own words:
It took me a long time — 52 years — to finally get down to doing the work that I think I was meant to do (this illustrated autobiography thing that I do to communicate my peculiar joie de vivre) and I thank my lucky stars that I finally figured it out. Yes, I wish I’d figured it out sooner, and not wasted so much time doing work I so dearly loathed, but you know how the fate thing works: In Its Own Sweet Time.

 Swift has led an nomadic life. After living in 23 different places in 20 years, she decided to stay put in a small village on Long Island Sound. Her first book is a staying-put journal/sketchbook of ovservations in her vicinity and from memories. Wanderers is organized in a 12-month seasonal format.
 She is particular focused on weather and has attempted to paint and describe it in all it's ramifications like this snow flake 'chart'.
This is a sampler of snow.
This is what I did when I had to paint some snow pictures for my December chapter, and I had no real idea how to paint snow. I did what a good embroiderer does, when she has to learn a new stitch. I made a sampler.

 Or this March chart on dirt and mud.
 When Vivian she looked around my studio walls and suggested I paint pages of cups,
'Put a cup here and another cup there on the page!' she intoned.
You will never want for teacups in the Wanderers travel journal. March is the Tea time month by the way. Who knew?
 There are pages from many jaunts around the world - I have yet to visit Ireland I'm embarrassed to say...
 Here she explains about laying out her embroidered illustrations. An orderly person tries to influence a disorderly person...
 There are many cats (and birds) in Swift's book but no dogs to speak of...

 There are loads of travel tips both whimsical and practical in Where Wanderers Roam . I'm packing them into my head so this upcoming trip departure will be less traumatic hopefully...
A tremendously fun book even if you prefer to do your traveling in an armchair. Amazon has marked it down ridiculously in my opinion so do take a look.
Have you too been listening to the homages for darling Nora Ephron, who we lost on Tuesday way to soon. For me she epidomized everything good about New York - witty, sharp, incisive, positive, open-hearted.
I love this quote of hers:
They write books about success through failure and the power of failure. Failure, they say, is a growth experience. You learn from failure. I wish that were true. It seems to me that the main thing you learn from a failure is that it's entirely possible you will have another failure."
That's not to say one should just give up when things don't work out.
"My religion is 'Get over it,'" says Ephron. "And I was raised in that religion. That was the religion of my home — my mother saying, 'Everything is copy; everything is material; someday you will think this is funny.' My parents never said, 'Oh you poor thing.' It was work through it, get to the other side, turn it into something. And it worked with me."
We will miss you Nora.


  1. Merci to Viviane and you for sharing another of her books with us!
    I love the snow and mud charts, great idea.

    The tribute to Nora Ephrom is very moving, Carol. It is just too sad that she had to leave way too early.

    1. Her weather charts are AMAZING!

      She could do a Meteo TV show

  2. Thank you, Carol, once again for recommending another lovely book! I have to also thank you for introducing me to Viviane and Louisa and their respective blogs. I have been enjoying both very much!

    I also join you in remembering the life of Nora who will be sorely missed!

    As for your request on my blog about the hand exercises, I will be preparing a post very soon about them. Your comment helped me realize I may not be the only one needing to loosen up hands in the studio. Kim

    1. I can't wait for your HAND EXERCISES Kim!!

  3. I love Nora's movies. I think "You've got mail"was my favorite but "sleepless in Seattle" and "Julie and Julia" were close seconds. Her life was to short but she did a lot in it. I think I am going to have to get that book by Vivian. If for nothing else but the Art work. Its lovely.

    1. There's a terrific Ephron screenplay streaming on Amazon,
      My Blue Heaven if you haven't seen it.

      Cris you definitely have a farm sketchbook in you waiting to get out.

  4. Only last weekend, my roomies and I were thinking of addendum items for "I Hate My Neck". Nora will be missed.

  5. Great illustrations from Vivien's blog, and I love the photo of the cat watching the front yard.
    I like the Nora Ephron "get over it" philosophy!

  6. Geri, NJ6:24 PM

    I too loved You've Got Mail (no surprise since The Shop Around the Corner is one of my favorite old films.) She will be missed.

    Adorable kitty ~ such sweet illustrations.

  7. Marlowe7:42 PM

    I ordered that book by Vivian from Amazon. Look forward to getting it. :)))

  8. Every bit of this post is a gem, dear Carol.

    Vivian is inspiring and I will have to have a peek at her books.

    Nora Ephron lived and created so much on so many levels.

    The little NYC West Side store that was turned from an antique shop to that little You've Got Mail bookshop has since been a little cafe and is now an organic dry cleaning establishment.

    I think that NE might also find this just a bit amusing.


  9. Thank you for reminding me to pull "When Wanderer's Cease To Roam" from down off the shelf and give it a re-read. It IS inspiring, and so are YOU!

  10. I have a terrible crush on the snowflake sampler chart.....

  11. I love the March mud. So clever and cute.

    I am watching Heartburn right now (the movie based on the book Ephron wrote about her husband cheating on her). It's so amazing and funny and sad. The kind of movie I wish would go on forever. She was an amazing woman.

  12. Still waiting for Le Road Trip:)

    This book looks so interesting also.

    I'd love to be able to watercolor like either of you.
    How generous you are Carol to highlight your friend.So nice!

    Carol..I had no idea re Nora Ephron.. We have been so buys with things even the news has taken a very back seat.
    I am so sorry for her loss.Loved her.
    If it was a Nora Ephron movie or book I knew I would love it.

  13. LOVE the March mud chart. It's so true. I hate mud. The only saving grace of March is St. Patrick's Day. You haven't been to Ireland? St. Patrick is not happy with you...

  14. Splendid illustrations in the suggested book.
    Charmant indeed!

    The mud is too lovely.

    We are in NYC until 7th July when we decamp with Buster to Long Island for ten days.

    Want to try to grab tea/coffee before then or are you off to Paris again?

  15. Oh I am so glad you and vivian have 'met'. I adore both of her books and have wondered how she created such beauty with such poor paint. (will be interesting to see what she can do with the tubes you sent her:)
    Your blog has likewise been a fav for years (and I still adore my CG original watercolor!!) You tell the French story with your own twist and slant and the two of you together are unbeatable.

  16. The cats thank you, Carol, for making them famous to the discerning readers of Paris Breakfasts. And for your outstanding guidance about upping my paint skills, THANK YOU!!!!

  17. I received 'Le Road Trip' which is wonderful.
    Now I want this book too:) it very much remins me of Sara Midda. That's how we met, right?

    Was gutted about Nora. RIP!

  18. My book came yesterday.. When Wanderers Cease to Roam.
    Its a WONDERFUL book and I LOVE IT!!
    Thank you sooooooo much for recommending it.
    What a bargain it was.
    I was wondering if her other books also have lots of drawings in them?
    Anyway I have only skimmed thru and read a bit of it so far and I cant put it down.
    Thanks again. I love your recommendations.
    You are our OPRAH/CAROL book club.
    LOL xoxo Cris


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