“He took a moment to look at his wife, thinking he could be a few minutes late and no one would mind. The boys would be throwing back Scotch at the Seasons bar without a second glance at their Rolexes. He walked over to the bed and ran his hand under the hemline of Lauren’s skirt. “I could convince you to change . . .”
“No,” she said, pushing him off. “It’s a party for one tonight . . . sorry.”
I write from memory. Fiction being fiction, embellished recollection is a more appropriate description of what falls on the page. Wandering into my protagonist’s mind as I set the above scene, I thought back to the years leading up to my thirties.
I remembered the beautiful girl who sat down next to me in Grammar for Journalism, sophomore year of undergrad. Meg – her honest smile, love of life, and amazing eyebrows. She could sing Blue Moon in perfect pitch and loved crab cheesecake. For over ten years, we were close friends until life wedged in between us.
Ironically, I reached out several months back asking permission to use Megan’s adage in my latest manuscript. We bantered, caught up, and then said goodbye. I smiled in the afterglow, reminded of moments shared decades before.
Last Saturday, Meg’s “party for one tonight” unexpectedly became forever. “A black celebration,” she would have said, laughing. Rest in Peace.
November is about light.
We chase elongated shadows … the sun’s warmth … daylight.
In November, we walk on silent tiptoe
between seasons … hot and cold … light and dark.
Holidays dot the horizon
but in early November, we watch the light and wait.
I’ve always loved to write…and of course read.
In black and white, clarity is found. Vocalized, the same words blend into the hum of white noise we surround ourselves in. I love you blends into the dishwasher’s rinse cycle, while the turning point in your loved one’s day mixes with road noise as the car races home.
I’ve always been baffled how words can fall free and fluid from my fingertips, but strangle in my throat. I’ve learned to write letters to win arguments, tell my children how much they mean to me, and communicate with friends. I leave post-it notes everywhere, even in the bathroom, and countless journals fill my bookshelves.
Over the years, I’ve left quite a paper trail.
This morning I cracked a new spine and smelled the blank first page, holding a sharpened Ticonderoga … I couldn’t help but smile.
I want a typewriter.
An old, heavy, ribbon-wielding machine of metal. I want to feel bruises on my fingertips after a great writing spell pounded against smooth click-clacking keys and hear the swing of the carriage return as the paper shifts up to reveal space for yet another story to unfold.
From shabby chic interior shops to hipster-loving retail chains, my impulse has been tempted by century old antiques & jewel-tone portables. But to this day, my desk remains empty.
What I’ve come to understand is I don’t want a typewriter. I want the 1960’s manual Royal my grandmother bequeathed to me at the budding age of twelve. I loved it until college and have missed it like an old friend.
A couple from my bookshelf, a few from favorite authors, and several deemed as research. My summer should be spent editing, but I have a feeling it will be spent reading. What are you taking with you to the beach?
It was Mother’s Day; we dropped our silver brunch forks, rushed to Children’s Hospital, peed on a ketone strip, and spent the following week in a crash course on Type 1 Diabetes.
Waiting in a pale blue room the size of a linen closet holding my daughter’s moist shaky hand, I was transported into another realm of motherhood. One I was totally unprepared for, but highly equipped to handle. Thankfully, we humans are adaptable creatures.
Three months into a new manuscript, I was already exploring how illness challenges a family. Last Mother’s Day in that airless room, I stared at my greatest fear, stood up and slammed the door.
“…Keira stands rooted. A tear running in a silvery streak of defiance down her cheek. She’s eight years old and holding on to the fleshy remnants of infancy in body alone. This household has stolen her innocence and crushed it under its leaden heel. We’re all in hell she tells herself turning her back on her daughter. I’m tired of pretending it’s ok, because it’s not…it’s not f***ing ok and never will be…”
I love placing a character in a space I’ve visited. To visualize them sitting in a chair I admired for it’s fabric or smile at the scent of orange blossoms tickling their nose – they start to breathe on the page and become authentic. Routines and rituals pass time, people run in circles and characters are imagined, but life comes alive in the details.
So while my favorite editor is running her red pen over my latest manuscript’s 60,000 words, I’m jetting to San Francisco to check that the yellow fabric on the chair mentioned in chapter 32 is just right.
One look is worth a thousand words. Perhaps not, but I’ll leave you to decide for yourself. Announcing my official Instagram author page.
“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.”
Several years ago rambling through Paris, I found myself at 27 rue de Fleurus enroute to Luxembourg Gardens. It was one of those summer days where the weather was too hot to cover any mileage and I was thankful for the shade and respite the storied building provided.
Last Saturday, I hosted a group of women inspired by literature, reading and how the written word defines perspective. We discussed Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad & marveled at the protagonist’s unwavering courage. Asking ourselves over and over, Could we ever be that strong?
Upon leaving, one of my guests named our evening the Book Salon. I smiled, recalling my afternoon in Paris, and the legendary Gertrude Stein.
While the New York Times drags me away from my reading, it’s a habit I cannot give up. I’m not addicted to the day-old news, but rather to the layers of crispy grey underneath where one can discover a travel section completely dedicated to bookstores, a Sunday magazine featuring nothing other than literature, or a novel review splashed across the front page of the Arts. For me, I revisit being a girl in my favorite candy shop every evening with a cup of hot tea.
Pedaling against the brisk tailwind of December’s decadence and folly, this is the month of resolutions. I’m not one for life-altering pledges at the toll of a midnight bell, but this year I took a long look at my schedule and determined if I’m going to write the ending to my current manuscript, I need to free up minutes.
So my coveted New York Times is staying, as are the armloads of fantastic books I’ve gathered from several indie bookstores highlighted in the December 11th edition – but, productivity’s sinister rival, social media, is leaving. Honestly, I’m not at all sad to see it go. I feel liberated already and it’s only the first week of January. Happy New Year!