Archive for March, 2012

I’m still new to being a “writing mother.”  So new that I feel like I have to put the term in quotes.

When the twins and I first came home from the hospital I had a surprising amount of time to write — in my journal, at least.  I was recovering from a C-section and had an enormous amount of help.  (What was unhelpful was doctors telling me not to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup — right after they’ve delivered me of seven-plus-pound twins.  Yes — seven-plus pounds.  Each.)  (Rather more than a coffee cup, no?)

I spent long stretches of time lying in bed, propped up with pillows and balancing my laptop on my knees.  I was encouraged to do this.  And it was wonderful.  Who knew I’d look back on those weeks of recovery (which had its not-so-pleasant side, believe me) with envy?

After six weeks I was deemed fit — and the real project of motherhood began.  (more…)


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OK.  I love the The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I read it straight through — all three books in probably as many days.  I loved the characters, the plot, the clean and clear writing that basically stayed out of its own way.  (You can read my micro book review of this series by clicking the Books to Read tab about five inches above this sentence.)

The one thing that really struck me about these books (other than, of course, the post-apocalyptic version of what was once the United States, the idea of teenage tributes fighting to the death, the descriptions of said teenagers dying by spear, poison, venomous bees, etc.) was the way the people from the Capitol looked and dressed.

Here’s a nice contrast: Effie Trinket, from the Capitol, and Katniss Everdeen, a tribute from District 12 (formerly Appalachia):

Effie looks a might done-up, no?

Most people from the Capitol are.  They (more…)

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A week before I started this blog I read this article in the New York Times parenting blog Motherlode: Blogging Makes New Moms Happier.  Here’s a taste of it:

Blogging may make new mothers feel happier. Fellow mothers, do you remember that feeling of isolation that came with staying at home, alone, with that tiny, needy, crying, confusing baby they handed you at the hospital? Fathers, if you took on the primary caregiving role solo, for months or years, you can’t possibly have forgotten that sense of being stranded on an island of Cheerios and Raffi music …

Knowing I wasn’t alone in finding something I’d wanted so much to then be so hard was more help than I can express …

Feeling happier as a new mom — that’s what what pushed me to take the plunge into blogging.

I had been — and must remind myself that I still am — a pens-and-paper kind of writer.  Sure I used a computer, but I also liked to hand-write with a fountain pen (nothing pretentious, just a Lamy Safari filled with a plum-burgundy ink) (well, that last part might seem pretentious, but it’s what I like, OK?).  I had published in a few literary journals and set my sights on a book with an independent or university press.  Blogging seemed — I don’t know — too frivolous and too technically advanced at the same time.

Lamy Safari

But then I had twins.  (more…)

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Recently I’ve been doing a major clutter-clearing (see Spring Cleaning and Housecleaning with E.B. White for the full scoop).

We’re moving, and I don’t want to waste time, energy, money or back-muscles by transporting things I don’t really want or need.  Clearing all this clutter has been incredibly liberating, and I’ve been thinking about ways to keep it up — to maintain a streamlined house that’s full of things I love and use (and not junk that accumulates dust, neglect and general bad feelings).

Then I discovered this via Pinterest: a decluttering calendar!

You can find it — and download it — by clicking here.

The calendar breaks down cleaning and decluttering tasks into tiny increments — (more…)

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I’m supposed to be packing for our upcoming move … but instead I’ve been reading Wolf Hall.  When I was in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (a lovely place to go if you are a writer, artist or composer), writer Pam Durban recommended it to me.  It’s taken me years to finally read it, but I’m so glad I did.

What a terrific book!  It tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, who rose from obscurity (he was a blacksmith’s son — his enemies at court never let him forget it) to be Henry VIII’s chief minister during the king’s turbulent divorce from Catherine of Aragon, his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, the execution of Thomas More and various misadventures after that.  (more…)

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In the middle of spring cleaning, packing for our upcoming move and my husband having two wisdom teeth pulled (surprise!), I snatched a couple of hours to have tea with a friend.  She’s recently moved from Brooklyn to a little cabin in the Virginia woods and was thinking about starting a blog about it.  But she’s a very thoughtful writer and wanted her blog to be, well, honest.

She had read a lot of “life-envy” blogs (I think that was her term for them) and didn’t want to fall into the trap of posting beautifully crafted images of her cabin life while, say, spiraling off into unhappiness or sneaking off to a wireless hotspot in the nearest town so she could watch Game of Thrones on her iPhone because she can’t freaking stand the silence of the woods.  (All these examples are my own invention, by the way — she’s not unhappy or — as far as I know — addicted to Sean Bean.)

(Just a little reminder that before there was Ned Stark there was Richard Sharpe to take you over the hills and far away …)

The next day the Sunday New York Times landed with a thump outside our door and provided my husband some distraction as he was eating pudding and lounging on pain-killers.  When I finally got my hands on the magazine, I discovered this article: (more…)

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So much for drawing room evenings — at least for a little while.  Right now it’s all about stuff — getting rid of unwanted stuff, packing the stuff we want to keep, and trying to figure out where the kept stuff is going to go in our new place.  (See Housecleaning with E.B. White for more about our upcoming move, and how I’m trying to prepare for it.)

Years ago a friend loaned me this book, which I just rediscovered while purging my library:

  Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui

It’s a little hokey in spots, but (more…)

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