Skip to main content

Posts

The Great Pandemic Reading List...So Far

We just crossed over the one year mark for life in lockdown in San Francisco. I thought it a good time to look back at the books I've read during this strange time, with great gratitude to their authors for providing me with sanity, humor, hope, escape, inspiration, and solace.  From top to bottom, because I can't actually remember the order I read these in: Before and After the Book Deal , by Courtney Maum. This giant happy book of practical advice should be assigned reading for anyone in an MFA or considering an MFA or deciding they don't need/want an MFA but who would really, really, really like to have a book out someday. It has loads of humor and useful information that was completely news to me about the process of book publication and beyond. True fact: books about publishing usually leave me feeling like I might as well give up before even starting. This book was a beautiful antidote to that. I was inspired to read it after listening to an interview with the author
Recent posts

It's The MOST Surreal Time Of The Year...

I'm not alone in wanting to (not so) gently shove 2020 out the door. It's got me in the mood to celebrate the holidays. Normally I feel rage when the stores shove Christmas down my throat in October and a bit of derision when my neighbors do as well. But this year I'm all Pumpkin Spice For Everyone! and what? You haven't decorated your tree yet?!? What are you waiting for? I mean, I haven't. I'm nowhere near that organized. But if I was I would. I think. And while I'm about to list some happy ideas it should be said that if you don't feel like celebrating at all you have never had more permission to take a year off than 2020 offers. Holidays in general are a great opportunity for misalignment of expectations and reality. This year there is so much collective and individual grief, and that too needs time and space for acknowledgement. But it's also okay to allow for cheer.   Holidays pandemic-style require a fair bit of creativity to craft something e

Back To School, Pandemic Style

Autumn is just around the corner and it's gonna be weird. In the spring countless parents, caregivers, educators and kids were plunged into sudden homeschooling/virtual school shepherding and survival. And a whole lot of you will have to pick it up again (because #covidsucks but please #letsstayalivetogether). I have a gorgeously wide variety of parental and educational friends from my many different layers of life lived that I've connected through Facebook (even though #facebookkindasuckstoo) and I hit them up for some ideas. I was willing to bet that every single one of them had to come up with at least one hack to make distance learning survivable - if even just for a day. Something that made it just a little more bearable for everyone involved. I thought, what if everyone just trying to make it work on their own could swap some ideas? And those ideas could be shared as widely as possible so that anyone could find a new one to help buy them a little bit of sanity this Fall. 

What To Expect When You Are Expecting A Pandemic

“When I think about all that has to transpire to get from pregnancy to the birth, I am overwhelmed by time and the unknown. It’s not useful to contemplate. There is only today, and it is good.” I documented my move from ambivalence about parenting, to IVF, to motherhood, as well as all of Year One. I did it longhand because that’s what I did back then. So now, finally, I’m typing all those pages up, in part because of the great What If that living amid a pandemic creates. And I came across this yesterday and it is so true for the current moment, for this, the fifth week of Sheltering in Place. Ways this time is like pregnancy: It can make you fat. It will definitely make you crave near-constant meals and snacks. You will swing from feeling good to anxiety-laden, angry, irritable and back again several times a day. You will want to know how this will all unfold, how hard it will get, exactly how you and your life will be changed. You can’t know any of that. Ther

Time, as understood in the fourth trimester

Having a baby is not unlike accidentally slipping into a science fiction universe, everything you know is so completely upended. I wrote an essay about how my sense of time shifted out from under me in the first months of my daughter's life.  Excerpts in italics are from the essay The Beginning Of Time, by Stephen W. Hawking 1. The time scale of the universe is very long compared to that for human life. It was therefore not surprising that until recently, the universe was thought to be essentially static and unchanging in time. The Longest Shortest Time is the name of a podcast on parenting that I heard about several years before becoming a parent and filed away mentally. “The days are long but the years are short” is another phrase used to both comfort and cajole new parents. The implication is that parenting shifts your experience of time, as if life simply advancing in years wasn’t enough to do the same. One hour of an infant screamin

I Didn't Mean To Stop Blogging...

...it just happened. Life happened. A lot of it. I revised and revised and revised and then finally finished my novel, and am looking for a home for it. I did a lot of trail running, neither fast nor fancy, but it makes me happy. I read many good books, not all of which are still intact in my memory. I left my job. I am grateful to have my flash fiction, The Lost Howling, included in The Fictional Cafe's first anthology, T he Strong Stuff . It's wildly affirming to see my writing in print after such a long hiatus.  Oh, and I had a child. A really jolly little sleep thief of a child.  I've missed my little blog. I have a few things I want to share so I plan to return to it as much as I am able between the infinite tedium of preparing itty bitty tiny meals for an eight month old and getting her to and from the world of naps.

The Quarterly Reading Report

It's been waaaaaay too long since I posted a Quarterly Reading Report . I'm about to amend that situation. I have lucked on some pretty spectacular reading in 2018 so far--some recent publications but most not--and I'd be a bad friend if I didn't share these titles with you. In the excellent crime detective/thriller department, we have Yrsa Sigur ðardóttir 's THE SILENCE OF THE SEA , which I've already posted about . It was the perfect book for atmospheric Iceland. I also loved Tana French's THE TRESPASSER . Set in Dublin, Ireland (I think 80% of what I love best about a crime detective/thriller is that it is placed in an incredibly interesting setting), the protagonist is a difficult (and therefore interesting) woman in a man's world working the hardest case of her life. The writing is super in this engrossing page-turner. I got to fill in some sad gaps in my consumption of books written in the 80s and 90s and early Oughts. Also a thriller, Pete