2017 International Conference on Maria Sybilla Merian

I attended this conference in Amsterdam this summer! And while the organizers did say the conference was for everybody, not just scholarly, I’m convinced that their “everybody” and my “everybody” is totally different. However, I am very glad I went.

I did learn a few things at this conference, nothing new about Maria Merian, however.

I learned more about the dangers in the rain forests of the world through an entertaining, though very serious, presentation by Redmond O’Hanlon who has actually trekked through rain forests throughout the world.

I learned that university professors apparently view things through a very narrow focus, so that if that focus was from a different field, they do not have that knowledge. Some of the questions asked clearly showed this.

I discovered that while their research was quite narrow, mine was very broad, encompassing everything I could find.

And finally, I reached the conclusion that based on the many years I have researched this amazing woman…I am an EXPERT on Maria Sybilla Merian!

Dispatch from Suriname: Paramaribo Likes You, Too

Paramaribo Architecture

Image via: Oskari Kettunen aka "aokettun" on Flickr

Picture wooden buildings with red tin roofs, many buildings with peeling paint, interesting architecture…that’s a start. People are very friendly here, and ask me how I like Paramaribo. And when I say I do, some say, “Paramaribo likes you, too.”


Dispatch from Suriname: Fresh Papaya!


Image via Janine aka "janineomg" on Flickr

Got up this morning when I heard the birds singing and people talking out on the porch downstairs. My first order of business, after breakfast (discovered I absolutely LOVE fresh papaya!), was to find the bookstore and buy a map… Next on my list was to book a trip into the rain forest (Monday).

Wandered around a bit; found the Palm Garden and the Presidential Palace…and the big wooden church of Sts. Peter and Paul… If I get a little used to the layout of the city and where things are today, then I can zero in on something tomorrow.

Today it rained — a SUDDEN shower that lasted maybe two minutes. I happened to be enjoying a cold drink out on the porch of TwenTy4 at the time.


I Found Myself Today!

Yep, that’s right. I was browsing through Google Images for things related to Maria Sybilla Merian for a project I have in mind, when…there on the page was ME staring back at ME! I clicked on my picture and it took me to DevSur.com: Your Suriname News Source. There with that photo of me was the headline “American writer researching Suriname naturalist.”

Check it out! And leave a comment, please.

BTW I found 4 four-leaf clovers near my back door today. Connection…?

Speaking to the Springfield Writers Guild

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, I spoke to a local writers group about the biography I am writing of early artist/scientist Maria Sybilla Merian.  I talked about the various types of research I have done for the book, including travel to Germany and visits to various museums for information.  Then I talked about my experience with crowd funding and two of those websites, explaining what crowd funding is and how it is done, differences I found on two of those site, and what all needs to be done before you push that “publish” button.   And lastly, I spoke about why I need to travel to Suriname, South America, for that last bit of on-site research in order to complete the book.

I enjoyed visiting with all the people who came up to talk with me afterwards, too.

Leeuwenhoek Microscope

drawings of Van Leeuwenhoek's microscopes
Last year I contacted Al Shinn about making a replica Leeuwenhoek microscope for me. Leeuwenhoek was a compatriot of Maria Sybilla Merian’s, and he made around 500 very small microscopes.

Mr. Shinn and I talked last week, the results being since he is so busy that I would buy one on eBay. (Yes, I had seen three on eBay.) The little replica microscope I purchased was made by a man in the UK; it is on it’s way and I can hardly stand the wait! I will post a photo when it arrives.

Trying to Learn a bit of Dutch

Nederlands verkeersbord C14
I’ve been trying to improve on what little Dutch I know, mainly adding to my vocabulary. And I’ve discovered something baffling. Words that have an interesting sound are more likely to be retained. For instance, the word “fietsen” which means to bicycle. Now I don’t plan to bicycle in the rain forest. Or even in the city of Paramaribo, for that matter! And I’m sure I won’t find anything in the old Dutch records of 1699-1701 about bicycling, either. Yet that word clings to my brain while more useful words just slide right off. What’s up with that?