Archive for the ‘– Balancing parenthood and …’ Category

Hello, dear Hatchery readers!

My short piece on the ups and downs of being a writing parent, “The View from Here,” is up on Literary Mamma’s “After Page One” series … and you can read it here!

In other news, (more…)


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My reading has taken an interesting trend recently: cookbooks, more cookbooks and a book on the New Domesticity.

It started with An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.

I asked for this book for Christmas but (with two-year-old twins, an increasingly demanding writing schedule and, you know, life) I just got around to reading it.  I made the very first recipe on page 17, for salsa verde (think Italy, not Mexico) and ate nearly all of it on slice after slice of sourdough toast.  (You can eat it on nearly anything — boiled vegetables, pasta, roasted chicken — but I had toast so I slathered it on and dug right in.)

The tone of this book can be lofty and precious at times, but if you don’t mind looking at food lovingly, profoundly and (at times) religiously, you’ll either eat this rhetoric up with a spoon or gently push it to the side of your plate and read greedily on for new ways of thinking about and preparing food.

The next book is Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar.

This book explores what Matchar has named “the New Domesticity” — a trend for highly educated, liberal women to spend considerable amounts of time and energy on (more…)

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I’ve been off the grid for a while, first because I was on retreat in the North Carolina mountains and then because I was trying to retreat from the virus the twins picked up while I was away.  But I’d rather think about the green spring mountains than green stuffed noses.

desk in the mountains

I set up a little table by my window so I could write while looking out.  I had planned (more…)

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A friend of mine posted a picture from VCCA and it made me long to be back there.  VCCA stands for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  It’s an artists colony in the middle of Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is one of the more magical places I have ever been to.

The light across the fields at the end of the day.

The evening light across the fields at VCCA.

The first time I went was about this time of year and I wrote about it in an essay I called “Flight” but which The Millions retitled “A Hybrid, Trapped” — they published it earlier this month and (more…)

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Today, for the first time in a long time, I have the house to myself.  The twins are off with their father, visiting their grandparents and running around their yard, picking daffodils and petting the pink lawn flamingos that are just the right height.  I am at my desk wondering what to do next.  I skipped my morning shower (I can take it this afternoon without being ambushed by an impromptu anatomy lesson), I drank my first pot of tea, I ate gingersnaps for breakfast and a plate of buttery fried potatoes for lunch.  I finished my book review for the upcoming inaugural print issue of Equals.  I read some of Andrew McCarthy’s book The Longest Way Home.

Wild times.

I cooked on one of the front burners and no one reached for the flames.  I got something out of the hall closet and left the door open but (more…)

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Downton Abbey season 3 cast

Downton Abbey Season 3 cast. From downtonline.com

Tonight is the season finale of Downton Abbey.  A lot has happened in this third season, but I’m not going to write about it.  (No spoilers here!)  Instead I’m thinking about how watching Downton Abbey has — subtly — changed my life.


Last year I wrote (in I [heart] Downton Abbey) that

For the first few months of the twins’ first year I felt like I was living in another century.  Not much happened (other than eating and sleeping and diaper-changing).  I didn’t get out much.  I didn’t read much.  I didn’t see many movies (on Netflix) or even watch much TV.  And when I did read or watch something, it felt like I had many days to mull it over while I rocked a baby or jiggled a bouncy seat.  It reminded me of drawing room life — especially for a woman: lots of sitting around and processing the few things that actually happened.


This drawing-room mood was helped by … Downton Abbey.

Now the twins are almost two, and I find it hard to remember what that “drawing-room mood” felt like!  But I do remember, when they were infants, how (more…)

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Last night I went to a class on Celtic spirituality that focused on the seasons.  We were given this infographic to show how the Celtic holidays line up with Christian ones, as well as natural markers of the meteorological seasons.

I love how each season has a suggested attitude to go with it.  Now is a time of Receptivity and Gathering; soon it will be time for Budding and Flowering.  But not yet, not yet.  The last thing I want to do is rush the seasons (they way commerce does, with Easter candies already edging out the Valentine’s displays).

Seasons of the Celtic Year

From the Perpetual Celtic Calendar found here: http://www.matyiart.com/gallery.php.

We were then asked (more…)

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