Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Guess what tomorrow is.

First day of November!
First day of standard time!

National Novel Writing Month. 
Bet you'd forgotten about that.

I've blogged about it a few times.
One of my favorite 2013 posts was inspired by Caroline Starr Rose's Fake-o-NaNo. Which is totally how I do a Novel Writing Month.

Here's it is. (You can click HERE or read some of it below:)

 Three years ago, when I was between projects and needed to jumpstart something new, I did NaNoWriMo. 
Mine, too, was Fake-o.

But if you're a writer who needs inspiration. Or wants to try something new, give it a whirl.


Promise a friend cookies, team up with an online writing partner, or heck- just bake your own cookies and don't admit to a single soul what you're up to. Don't sweat it if what turns up is unreadable.

Or as Caroline says:
The "draft" I finished with is quite possibly the messiest, worst thing I've ever written.

But it's a beginning. And sometimes that's all it takes to create something worth revising. And revising. Over and over again.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

A fabulous piece about revision

Yes, it's long. Hey, it's the New Yorker. But when you have time, click HERE to read the entire article. Hemingway and other greats get a mention.
Here's a bit- to entice:

 Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? ... You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in—if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got. Forget market research. Never market-research your writing. Write on subjects in which you have enough interest on your own to see you through all the stops, starts, hesitations, and other impediments along the way.

John McPhee
The New Yorker

Monday, October 19, 2015

A fun week ahead- 

AND this wonderful review of THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY.
Mondays aren't so bad after all.

Scattergood, Augusta
The Way to Stay in Destiny
2015. 192pp. $16.99 hc. Scholastic, Inc. 978-0-545-53824-4. Grades 4-7
It’s 1974 and Theo Thomas is starting a new life. His Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam vet, has moved
him to Destiny, Florida. When they move into Miss Sister's Rest Easy Boarding House and
Dance School, Theo discovers a piano and a new friend, Anabel, who shares his interest in
baseball. Neither uncle nor nephew are happy about their new situation, especially when Uncle
Raymond forbids Theo from doing the one of the few things that make him happyplaying the
piano. This quiet, gentle story does many things, including introducing young readers to the
dissent that Vietnam veterans encountered when returning home. Valerie Jankowski, Library
Media Specialist, Washington (Missouri) Middle School [Editor’s Note: Available in e-book

Friday, October 9, 2015

Saying Goodbye

I wrote this post two years ago today. It still makes me a little sad. 
But NJ is a place I love to visit. And your memory places are always special, right?
When we visited NYC this weekend, my daughter bought this "Tribute in Light" from a street vendor. I just hung it over my desk, for inspiration. 
The first time I saw it was the first year it happened. 
My friend Al drove us up the road a piece to see from the NJ side of the river. 
See what I mean about memories?

10/9/15: Saying Goodbye

It's that time of the year. Fall leaves. Shorter days. Blankets and quilts on the beds.

This year when we pack up our place in New Jersey, it will be for the last time. New adventures could be down the road. You never know until you take that path. 
Old friends-- well, ten-year-old friendships, my writing buddies-- wait for me in Florida.

If you want to read a really beautiful goodbye to a house and to a place, you need to read my friend Barbara O'Connor's blog.

Here, you won't find that. I already said goodbye to my house(s) of 30+ years, ages ago.

But now I'm cleaning out files and packing up only what's essential.
Books, especially. Many, many books. Though just as many have gone to the Friends of the Library book sale and other good friends.

I'm packing up a lot of laughs and a lot of memories.

Like these goodbye notes from my last wonderful school library in New Jersey. 

I don't think this student realized how I DREAMED there'd be a book in my heart some day! She meant the books I loved to read and share, still do. 
But yes, Morgan, there was a book in my heart.

Me, skateboarding? I don't think so...

(I'm not sure how well this student knew me. 
There would be no skateboarding in my retirement.)

This is what I'll miss about New Jersey.

Main Street Deli.

My hometown library.
 Library of the Chathams.
And its gardens.

Oh, and I'll miss not pumping gas. No picture needed. 

For more on other times I've said goodbye, click away, below. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reminder: Every writer needs an entourage

One of the first writing books I ever owned, outside of the obvious craft books and Stephen King and Anne Lamott, was Carolyn See's MAKING A LITERARY LIFE.


Well, that about says it all, doesn't it?

In her chapter, Pretend to Be a Writer, See quotes Ernest Hemingway. 
"Writers must stick together like beggars or thieves."

I'd like to add that it's easy to do because my writer friends are not only tons of fun to hang out with, they teach me so much.

Thanks, entourage.

(My bookshelf. By my writer friends and by writers who feel like friends!)

And the very first time I WROTE about Carolyn See's book was also one of my first blogposts. You may read it HERE, if you care to.