Monthly Archives: September 2013


Wool socks, check.

Mittens, check.

Journals I mean to fill, books I mean to read and study, piles of notes I mean to Rumplestiltskin into gold, check.

On Sunday, I leave for four weeks at the Vermont Studio Center. On the grand scale of risk taking, going to a beautiful, secluded place where all that is expected of me is…nothing, this is pretty near the bottom. But it’s also a huge gift, and I’m putting high expectations on myself to use it well. I’ll be  revising two WIP, and (hope hope hope) getting a good start on a new novel.

Using the iffy reception of the Green Mountains as an excuse, I’m actually getting a real live twenty-first-century-phone that even takes PICTURES, which I hope to share here. Oh and if any of you see my husband around, please give him a big hug and maybe a hot meal ( feel guilty and sad about leaving him?  who, me?  yes, me.)

Hope your autumn holds some risks and surprises, too.


Another year, and I’m ready to give it all I got. I celebrated first at a writing retreat with with some of my best friends. We shared work, some fairly heavy duty (for us) critiques, terrific home-made food and late night conversation. Mother Nature was in a benign if slightly elegaic mood, and some of us took a last, langurous swim in Lake Erie.

Home to phone calls with my girls and dinner with Paul. Topping the day off was this post.  Be sure to scroll down to see the photos of PHOEBE and DIGGER sprung to life! (And my librarian friends, I feel sure Eric got all the sand out of the book before he returned it!)

Thinking ahead now to a week of school visits and then leaving for my four week fellowship in Vermont. Reminding myself that all new experiences, even happy ones, hold an element of terror, right?

It’s Time

Latley I’ve been thinking about time,

That acrobat,

That master thief.

That geezer,

That newborn.


Usain Bolt-er,



And so it was funny to catch up with one of my favorite blogs, the editor Cheryl Klein, and discover her recent post full of quotes by writers on that very subject. How we use time or it uses us,  how it figures in fiction,  our conception of it and counfoundment (is that a word?) by it. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • “The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” — Junot Diaz 
  • “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” — Flannery O’Connor  
  • “I get up every morning determined both to change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning the day difficult.” — E. B. White
  • “All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, This is when I became myself.” — Rita Dove
  • “To achieve great things, two things are needed:  a plan and not quite enough time.” — Leonard Bernstein 

Fish Out of Water

So this is how I felt on Labor Day, when our city pool closed.

I love to swim. I love to be in the water. Maybe this is because I grew up near Long Island Sound, and the merest whiff of salt water is my madeleine.

But I also love lakes and rivers and yes, my city pool, AKA Shang-ri-la. The stink of chlorine brings (happy) tears to my eyes.  It’s the magic of bouyancy. Going from land to water creature. It’s the quiet under there, and the absolute inability to do anything but paddle and float.  No talking. No listening. No reading or writing. Some people label this sensory deprivation; I call it being alone with my thoughts. I can’t tell you how many lines for stories rise to the surface of my mind while I’m underwater.  A few times this summer I’ve had to scramble out of my lane and grab a dry kickboard to use as a lap desk, so I wouldn’t forget.  (Sometimes on the way home, I have to get off my bike and use its seat as a desk. At my age, there’s no trusting I’ll still remember by the time I get home.)

But now the pool is closed. At some point I’ll probably walk by and peer in, clutch the chain link and gape like the poor kid dreaming of living in a mansion.  June is a long, long way off.

Meanwhile, that book I worked on all summer is on my editor’s desk. It’s  made its own journey from idea to story, from amorphous to solid. Or sort of solid. Shimmer and float, little book!