Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Voices of August 4.0

For the fourth summer  in a row, I had the opportunity to contribute a piece to my favorite left Coast blogger's series, Voices of August.   George Rede invites friends, family, and acquaintances to write something--anything.  This year I wrote about a book I had just finished, Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings, in a piece called SARAH GRIMK√Č’S MORAL COURAGE.  Check it out.

But while you're there, check out the other pieces and I know you'll be impressed by the collection of writers and their varied experiences!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Hey!"

I have a theory when it comes to email replies.  The longer a person takes to respond, the longer that response should be.  For example, if someone sends me a message and I reply right away, I can get by with "Hey!" and maybe a line to follow.  Punctuation is optional.  However, if I am unable or unwilling to reply immediately, when I finally do send a message back (maybe a couple of days later), I have to write more.  I have to write a paragraph.  I have to include some context and, of course, proper punctuation.

And then there's the long lost email.  I don't reply the day I receive it, so "Hey!" is inappropriate.  I don't reply the next day, or the next week, so a paragraph is inadequate.  I don't reply within a month, or two months, so the context has changed so completely that I don't even know where to begin.

But really, once enough time has passed without replying to an email, it's ok to start from scratch, isn't it?  To send a new email of your own: "Hey!" Write a line, or write two?  Write a paragraph?

So it's been with Perfect Sand.   I would hear something on NPR and think, "Ooh, I should write about this, connecting it to [fill in the blank with some experience in my life]," but then I remembered that I'm out of practice.  That so much time has passed.  That I'm not ready to write again.

I've been listening to Ann Patchett's collection of essays, "This is the Story of a Happy Marriage," relishing her true stories of becoming a writer, of falling in and out of love, of taking care of her grandmother.  She is a successful novelist, but has contributed dozens of essays over the years to various magazines.  At one point she says that writing fiction, for her, is much harder than writing nonfiction; it requires a great deal of discipline and frustration for her to start and complete a novel. And she won't start a new one until her current one is finished.

Rather than be jealous of her success and writing discipline, I'm posting something.  I'm replying to the email that I've ignored, and I'm going to pretend it's not awkward.  Hey, it's ok.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 5 of 2013

In no particular order:


  • got married
  • welcomed new sister-in-law and nephew (born three weeks ago!) into our family
  • watched all 5 seasons of "The Wire", the bestest show ever. Seriously.
  • moved into a new house closer to the city
  • watched "Breaking Bad" series finale two months after it aired WITHOUT getting spoiled first (and yes, Wire > Breaking Bad)
Ok, it's kind of odd that two of my top five involved television shows.  If I thought about it more, I'd add my new job, or the fact that two of my grandparents are in their nineties and still living in their own houses. Or any number of things.

But the truth is I haven't been able to dedicate myself to a longer and more thoughtful blog post in months.  When I've tried, I feel myself turning inward and becoming melancholy.  This happened when I was single, living alone, but I didn't mind feeling a little sad then.  Part of me enjoyed indulging the melancholy.  I don't want to do that now, though.  So I close my blogger tab without saving.  Without posting.  This is one of the things I'll work on in 2014.


Anyway, it's been a good year.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bookends

I have thirty minutes until my husband comes home.  Let's see if I can write anything.  Not that he would mind me writing--in fact, he encourages it, daily. "When's the last time you worked on your book?" he asks, noticing me on Facebook, or the Reds homepage. "Why don't you write?" he says, when I suggest watching an episode of Homeland or The Wire.

"I know. I should," I reply.  But then I don't.  I don't open up my book, I don't open up blogger.  I just can't do it when he's around--when anyone's around, really--unless they're, separately, working on their own tasks.

But I don't want to write about my lack of writing.

This has been an exciting summer, with my wedding and then my brother's wedding providing the bookends.  My dad flew in from Kenya at the start of May, and returned after Jonah's wedding in the middle of September.  It was nice having him home such an extended period -- and the day he returned to Nairobi was the same day the mall was attacked by terrorists from Somalia.  He's safe and was nowhere near it, he assures us.

Anyway, the bookends: my brother's wedding was beautiful, and I can't believe he's married.  They had an ice cream truck, and it was as awesome as it sounds.  His wife is actually our real estate agent, and helped us buy a house.  We close at the end of October.  So I guess this is my excuse (an excuse) for not writing.  Searching for houses, getting approved for loans, these things take time and energy.  When I wasn't doing that, all I wanted to do was watch TV or look at Facebook.  I knew there was something better I could do with my time, but I just didn't have it in me.

I always feel like such a dork, standing next to my handsome brothers.  But here we are, looking very related.  (My mom is awesome, and I love her dearly, but I don't have a similar picture with my brothers and her!)


Sunday, August 4, 2013

"The Hardest Part of Marriage"

I haven't found time to write here.  Between work and family commitments, I haven't made the space.  Luckily, I was asked to participate in George Rede's Voices of August series again, giving me a chance to craft an essay for the Rough and Rede blog.  Check out my contribution here, and then check back the rest of the month to read insights on a variety of topics from a wide range of perspectives.

It made sense to write about married life, as a new wife.  But it took a few false starts before I found an angle that (I hope) added something new to the discussion and that didn't disparage me or my husband.

Anyway, thanks again George for inviting me to participate.  I feel honored to be included among such intelligent and insightful voices.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In Brief

Time goes so quickly at my new job.  Before, at the public branch, the day was divided into hour-long increments: checking in bookdrop, one hour; looking for holds, one hour; being on the desk, one hour; eating lunch, one (half-) hour; back on the desk, one hour--and your day still isn't over.  Have a long-term project you want to work on?  Good luck, squeezing it into all your other hours.  The longer I worked there, the better I got at accomplishing my day-to-day goals while still making progress on larger ones, but it wasn't easy.  The immediate demands of working directly with the public necessarily took precedent over any other ideas.  It seemed like there was never enough time to do what I wanted, yet the day could drag.

I still don't feel like I have enough time to do everything I want, but because I can dedicate two or three consecutive hours to a task, I make substantial progress.  It feels extremely rewarding.  Fulfilling -- that's the word.




Sunday, June 9, 2013

All the Best

Two weeks ago, the rain held off long enough to have a wedding.  The ceremony was lovely, and I was honored to have so many friends and family celebrating with us.  There is much I'll cherish and remember from that day, moments not captured by our photographer--my best friend, chauffeuring me from home, to the mall where I had my makeup done (because I'm clueless when it comes to makeup), to my mom's, and then to the ceremony site, on her birthday, in good spirits; my dad, sitting with me as I hid in the back of the venue, waiting for it to be time to walk down the aisle; both my grandparents, ages 91 and 97, respectively, being there to cheer me on...

But my youngest brother stole the show.  Shy, like me, and with a dry sense of humor, Jonah gave a toast that had people crying tears of laughter.  It was clever and teasing, but never embarrassing.  He's getting married this fall, so hopefully we'll be able to return the favor.