Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Brooklyn Writer's American Dream: To Write during a Blizzard

An American Dream: See Brooklyn in a Blizzard
By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

Today I'm in North Carolina with my new grandson, and it's snowing in a way that this part of the country rarely sees. It's nearly a white-out outside and has been for hours. The snow will continue until late tonight. 

It reminds me of the blizzard we had 12 days ago in the Northeast. In Brooklyn, I went for walks in the blizzard and enjoyed seeing my neighborhood blurred and ambiguous behind curtains of snow.

American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
The wind blew snow between the bricks in the pre-war apartment buildings of my neighborhood.

American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
I would have preferred being the only person out walking, but that never seems to be possible in crowded Brooklyn.

American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
Aaah, I almost have Prospect Park all to myself.

American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
But no, a jogger in red Santa Claus tights...

In Search of the American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
A cross-country skier...

In Search of the American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
The grass under these shade trees would be mobbed with family picnics if it were summer. Now it seems as though I am alone....

In Search of the American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
But no, they're plowing the ring road around the park. Then my phone/camera died in objection to being out in all weather. 

In Search of the American Dream: Brooklyn Writer
But I have one more pic for you anyway, me holding a book I'd written, with my name on it, for the first time ever.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Brooklyn Writer's Dream: To Live and Write in Paris

Brooklyn, I Left My Heart in Paris

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

Aspiring writers, I aspired for 30 years to not have to juggle earning a living and writing.

And my dream came true. I got a one-year creative writing sabbatical in Paris. I extended it for 3 months by signing up to be a nanny in Barcelona.

I wrote the first draft of a novel in that time and began revising: click on the cover to your right to read a sample. 

You could do a writing sabbatical, too. My Higher Power orchestrated events, and I leapt at the opportunity when it presented itself. I didn't have anything more than that influencing events on my side. 

PS: If you like my blog, would you Retweet the tweet that brought you here? Thanks!

Brooklyn writer goest to Paris
The Pont Des Artes, before the chain link fence was covered with sheets of plywood, as it is now.  I used this scene in The Paris Writers Circle to portray a divorce--an unravelling of a love relationship, a hole left in one's life.

Brooklyn writer goes to Paris
This is a picture of the Institut de France and the Pont des Artes. This kind of beauty is everywhere in Paris.

Brooklyn writer in Paris
To be honest, I'm not sure which church this is. But isn't it glorious? There are buildings like this all through Paris and throughout France. A patrimony of architecture. This is woven into The Paris Writers Circle as well.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Brooklyn Writer's Dream: A Blizzard to Write In

Writing in a Snowstorm

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

How cool, to write clearly while being ambiguous, as E.B. White said, in a snowstorm. And in Brooklyn, no less. All the millions of buildings and people are still here, and as real as ever, but they're ambiguous behind a curtain of twisting snow.

I saw this first scene, below, two weeks before Christmas. Santicon was on that day in Manhattan. While walking in snow through Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Central Library, I saw Santa behind a tree. Red suit, green bicycle, black tree, white snow. 

He may have been using his cell phone to check on how to best get from the middle of Brooklyn to Manhattan on a bicycle in a snowstorm. But Santa can do anything, including slip down chimneys, so I'm sure he made it.

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
Santa with a smartphone checking who's naughty or nice

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
Grand Army Plaza as seen from the steps of the Brooklyn Central Library

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
Prospect Park's ring road

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
Same shot, only broadened to reveal that, no matter what, there are always people around in Brooklyn

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
A rather lovely tree in Prospect Park

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
A playground in Prospect Park. Note the elfin figure silhouetted on the gate.

Brooklyn writer in Prospect Park
Look how the man walking reflects the figure on the gate!
How about you? What are you doing in the Nor'easter we're experiencing today? Comment below!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Writer's Dream: Friends Who Help Get the Word Out

A Brooklyn Writer's Dream: The Hard Edges of the City Softened by Snow -- and Friends

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

Today, a snowy day in Brooklyn (more on that later), I'd like to welcome a generous friend to my blog.

She's Elaine Stock, and she sets an example for me of steady, continuous effort not only to write but also the other part of a writer's job, which is to get the word out. She helps many authors to do this. Very generous of her!

Elaine is not only an interesting blogger, she is also an author of contemporary fiction that fuses romance, family drama, suspense and faith in a "clean fiction" style. Her debut novel, Always With You, is a 2017 Christian Small Publisher Association Book of the Year Award Winner. Her short story "The Forever Christmas Gift" is part of the #1 Amazon Kindle anthology Christmas Treasures and another short story, "In His Own Time"--nominated for the People's Choice Award--is included in The Story, 2014 Anthology. Connect with Elaine on Twitter and on FB Check out her books and blog, Everyone's Story, at The link to her blog is also below, to the right.

A quick view of Brooklyn's Prospect Park in snow is in order.

a Brooklyn writer in Paris

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Writer's American Dream: Paris

A Writer's Dream: To Live in Paris

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I spent a year living in Paris and absorbing the culture while writing the novel you see to your right. The novel is full of insights into the French, the Parisians, the language, the culture. In addition to having great lead characters -- two men, two women -- it's full of Paris settings! Read 3 free chapters by clicking on the cover to the right!

PS: If you like my blog, would you tweet it? Or RT the tweet that brought you here?

Brooklyn writer in Paris
Every park has a little hut in which a guard sits and makes sure people don't litter, or worse, while they're in the park.

Brooklyn writer in Paris
This picture and the next is of the same street on Ile St. Louis. The flower shop owner didn't like being photographed and waved me away. 

Brooklyn writer in Paris
Then she disappeared into her shop.

Brooklyn writer in Paris
Legs on the embankment of the Seine.

Brooklyn writer in Paris
The oldest buildings in Paris, dating back to the 1300s. A fellow named Hauptmann ripped through Paris in the 1800s and updated everything and gave it the look it has now. These are sole survivors. I wonder if these buildings have wifi? I suspect at least one of them does--it's now a club for swinging couples. Truly a horrible thought so enough about that sorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas, from Fra Angelico

A Writer's American Dream: To Enjoy Fra Angelico in Chateau de Chantilly in Chantilly, France

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

Actually, living in France on a creative writing sabbatical was not my dream. It was beyond my wildest dreams. My Higher Power, whose birth is being celebrated at Christmas, made it possible, and I leapt at the chance. He provided the twists and turns of circumstances in my life, presented the opportunity, and I did the leg work to make it happen. We're a team!

With teamwork, I wrote a novel while in Paris! Check out 3 chapters on Amazon by clicking on the cover, to the right.

Not only did I get to live with a family in Paris, I got to travel around a bit. I went to Chateau de Chantilly to see the equestrian show (I'd never seen one before -- it was fabulous) and to see the Fra Angelico exhibit. 

Some of these pictures are also in Le Louvre in Paris.

Fra Angelico is my favorite painter. Look at how each face is finely nuanced and different from all the others. There's a sweetness in his artistic vision that slays me.

The rest of these are by a Florentine artist named de Gozzoli. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

An American Writer Dreaming of Paris

An American Writer's Dream: Paris--and I Lived It!

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I recently had a creative writing sabbatical year in Paris. And I wrote like crazy, in any library that would let me in for free. There's 70 libraries in Paris, and tons of cafes (though I couldn't afford to go to them more than once a month, alas). I got lots of writing done! In fact, the novel to the right is the fruit of my sabbatical. Enjoy!

When I wasn't writing, I was walking and gathering inspiration.

This is the Museum of the Middle Ages, in a medieval building that's attached to the ruins of a Roman bath. We're talking old! And inspiring!

Spiral staircase inside one of the towers, above.

A cafĂ© like the one where my book is set.