Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm having a bit of Me Time tomorrow (or an Artists' Date, if you are a Julia Cameron Follower). One of my stops will be one of my favorite Boston thrift stores, which I used to go to at least once a week, and which I miss dearly now that I live outside of the city. (Boomerangs in Jamaica Plain, for those of you locals who are wondering.)

I'm going to be on the lookout for some candlesticks for this cool project, a DIY Ribbon Organizer made out of old candlesticks.

And I want to look for some sweaters that I can felt for a tote bag I want to make.

Any other suggestions for cool projects/materials I should be on the lookout for? Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Slow down....whether you like it or not!

I've been trying to be all philosophical about the crazy migraines I've been getting just about everyday. (Quick aside, I'm seeing lots of doctors and alternative practitioners, so no need to worry about my not getting the care I need.) I've been trying to think of them the way I think of Rufus, my insanely cute though very annoying puppy--that they will teach me patience, and to slow down.

But the thing is, I don't want to slow down. And slowing down because you're in pain and lack energy is not enjoyable in the way that slowing down because you want to take some time off to just veg is. I get frustrated when I look at the sweater I want to get back to knitting. Or when I look at the cut outs that line my dining room table just waiting to be put onto the mobile I am creating. Or when I think about the many blog posts I've half-written in my head. And don't get me started about my poor, abandoned journal. Or the stack of books collecting dust on my nightstand. Thinking about them makes me want to cry.

I know, I know. I need to rest as much as I need to. All these projects will be there, waiting for me when I get better. That's what I would tell a friend if she were in my shoes. But I didn't appreciate before this experience how frustrating it is not to be able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. And none of the advice I would give my friend/my self acknowledges that fact.

So, that's where I am, moving at a frustratingly slow pace and hating every minute of it. So as not to end on a complete downer, here's a pic of that insanely cute dog who is teaching me to be patient, and who is a much kinder teacher than head pain. (He's the gray one, Chloe is the black lab)

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random ramblings

I just read an interesting, random list on the Juniper Moon Farm blog featuring 5 things readers didn't know about Susan the Shepherdess. It inspired me to make my own random list. And away we go...

Five things you probably don't know about me

1. I love bargain shopping--I can't remember the last time I paid full price for a piece of clothing. My first love is thrift stores (where the thrill of the find is heightened--they're like little treasure hunts!), but I also hit up the sales rack.

2. That said, I don't scrimp on shoes. I tend to have a few, sturdy pairs of shoes that I wear and wear and wear, so I want those to be well made and comfortable. I've found that often means expensive. But since they last me years and years, I'm OK with that. (And I have a few cute, cheap shoes to mix things up a bit.)

3. While we're on the subject of money, I've never had credit card debt (knock on wood--I've been blessed with jobs that offer health insurance; I know many people have to go into debt if they don't have insurance). My dad instilled in me the importance of only buying what you can afford, and that lesson stuck.

4. And speaking of health... I'm much more comfortable with alternative medicines like acupuncture than I am with popping pills (not exactly the easiest attitude to live by now that daily migraine headaches have been striking for the last few weeks. Pain meds are now my friend).

5. In the last two to three years, I've really come to enjoy winter. I can account for this shift in attitude with five things:

a-This Landsend coat, which really could keep you warm on a tundra.
Here's a shot of me in my coat, and my good friend Kathy in a similar one:

b- These boots (Sorel Snow Bird Zip)

Warm feet are the key to feeling warm, and these things are so well made, you can stand with your feet in a snowdrift for hours (it seems, I haven't actually tried it for that long!) without feeling a thing. (My one complaint is that the zipper slides down a lot, but I still love the boots.)

c- Living in a house I love with two fire places. I spend a lot of time indoors in the winter, and loving my home has made that time a retreat, instead of a burden.

d- Instead of thinking of winter as one, icy, five-month block, I notice the variations in temperature and light from day to day. Yes, winter lasts a long time here, but there are plenty of pleasantly chilly days (like today--about 40 and sunny) mixed in with the bitterly cold ones.

e- I get outside for a walk at least once a week. Despite loving to sit by the fire and read/write/knit, I also need some outside time. And thanks to items a and b on this list, I can get out there without being too miserable. Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Come join me at the Boston Center for Adult Ed!

I'm teaching this class this weekend at the BCAE, and really looking forward to it! Please pass this info on to anyone you know in the area who might be interested.

Writer's Weekend Workshop

Have you always wanted to write, but have a hard time getting started? Or have you been writing but currently feel stuck? Or do you just want to spend a Saturday writing with others? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, this class is for you. We will begin with writing exercises to get inspired and to learn about different aspects of the craft of writing, such as characterization, setting scenes, and plot. As a group, we will discuss the writing that comes out of the exercises. If students want, they can bring copies of a two or three page writing excerpt that they want workshopped. This class will mostly address fiction writers, but essayists, memoirists, and creative non-fiction writers are welcome to attend.

Saturday, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM;
2 sessions starting January 23, 2010, ending January 30, 2010
Tuition: $50.00 ($40.00 for BCAE members) Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On a happier note....

I'm not sure why, but I've been daydreaming about planning a birthday party. My birthday is in late June, mind you. And I don't normally even have a party.
But after my last depressing post, I thought I'd post my birthday party wishes. Much nicer than my end of life wishes, no?

I want this cake, as I am an avid (obsessive?) scrabble player:

I would like this shirt as a present, to represent one of my other obsesssions, knitting:

I might ask my guests to come dressed as a favorite literary character, as Kelli of Book of Kells did.

And I would wear a tiara and feather boa All Day Long.

[Edited to add] I forgot about music!! There would be tons of music ala the brother of a friend of mine who is a DJ, and LOTS of dancing. Our living room is rather large and would make an awesome dance space. Those looking for a more mellow time would be hanging outside, under the luminary-lit backyard.

Want to come? Best Blogger Tips

Death and writing

I've been quiet this week (blog-wise and in general). Feeling a little overwhelmed by emotion, between the terrible sadness in Haiti, and, on a more personal level, the sadness in my husband's family as they grieve for the death of his beloved grandfather and worry about the health of some other family members.

But, I can link the depressing topic of death with writing! PoetMom posted an interesting question recently regarding what, if any, provisions her readers-who-are-writers have taken to ensure their wishes are followed regarding the publication (or not) of journals or works in progress.

Making a will is on my list of things to get done this year, and I will make a provision for my writing journals and files. Assuming Brian out lives me, I'll leave decisions about what to do with everything up to him, and ask that he consult my writing friends about anything he has questions about. I would hope that he would work to publish the things that I was working to publish at the time of my death.

If we die together or he dies first, then I will have one of my MFA friends be put in charge of making those decisions. (I need to ask her first, obviously!)

The only real question in my mind is what to do with those books and books filled with morning pages. In some ways, they are utterly private and certainly are not written with the intention of ever being read. On the other hand, if I'm dead, I'm not sure my privacy is really relevant, and maybe my survivors would find comfort in reading my day to day musings. On the other other hand, I would hate for something I wrote in a private journal to be misinterpreted or cause pain to a loved one.

What are your thoughts on what you'd want done with your writing (computer files, journals, etc.) posthumously? Best Blogger Tips

Friday, January 08, 2010

A short one

This will be a short post because I have a killer headache. I've been plagued with these damn things for about a month now (and off and on throughout my life, but never like this!).

But I wanted to point readers over to the blog of the beautiful and talented Erin Dionne. Her second YA novel was just published (whoo-HOO!!), and to celebrate, her editor at Dial books gave a two-part interview on Erin's blog. It's very informative for writers of all genres. Click here for part one, and here for part two.

And a big congrats to Erin!

Check back soon for posts on:
* How I untangled a knotty problem in my novel
* One of my goals for 2010: Allowing myself to feel like a legitimate writer.
* Some artsy movies that I've recently watched and recommend. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas in the Dessert

One of the things I love about traveling is that I take the time to take photos. I've always loved photography, but the hobby has fallen by the wayside a bit as I am trying to devote my creative energies to writing. But vacations are a good excuse to get back to this craft. Here are some of my favorite images from the trip.

We spent most of our time in Scottsdale, where my brother lives.

Then we took a short jaunt up to the red, red mountains of Sedona, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

In Scottsdale, two of my favorite attractions we visited were the Scottsdale Botanical Gardens and Frank Lloyd Wright's house, Talesin West. The Gardens had a luminary celebration going on, so we got to tour through the various cacti displays lit by 7,000 candles. And around every corner, there was a different kind of band playing. Our walk was serendaded by carolers, bell ringers, mariachis, salsa, jazz singers, and many more.

The tour of Wright's house was really neat. The guide talked all about his processes in creating architecture, and the principles he worked by. He sounded like quite the character--his ego probably couldn't fit into any of his houses, according to the asides of the guide. It's prompted me to read two historical novels based on Frank's life, Loving Frank and The Women. I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year

I woke up this morning with a feeling of beginning anew, in a way that I don't normally experience on January 1. Maybe it's the fact that this is not only the start of a new year, but a new decade. Or maybe it was the fresh coating of snow that covered the world outside my window. Whatever the reason, I am relishing it.

I plan to spend the day writing, casting on this sweater(link only available to members), which I'm making for myself (!), catching up on the emails I got behind on while away in Arizona for Christmas (pics to come), and maybe watching a movie (or napping while a movie plays in the background....).

Oh, and I promised myself I'd start doing this exercise DVD I bought myself for Christmas--Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I'm not resolving to lose weight or get in better shape this new year. I will not be one of those people who makes a weight loss resolution come January 1. But call it what you will, that workout is on my list of January 1 things to do.

Have a great New Year's Day, all! Best Blogger Tips