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Mary Akers, editor of r.kv.r.y quarterly, interviewed me for r.kv.r.y’s blog this week.  (You can read the interview here.)

r.kv.r.y had published my essay “Advent” earlier this spring and it is this journal’s (wonderful!) practice to interview its writers.  This was my first interview, and I have to say: I’m pretty floored!

Mary Akers

The most excellent Mark Akers. Read her work at maryakers.com.

Mary asked terrific questions — Continue Reading »

My short series of pregnancy cartoons, “Bye-Bye Brain,” is up at Sweet: A Literary Confection!  They’re under “Graphic Nonfiction,” a new thing for me.  And no, that doesn’t mean X-rated stuff.  Maybe R.  But it is nonfiction: all the quotes are things people actually said to me.

Here’s the first panel:

2 Bye-bye brain

Click Continue Reading »

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 Continue Reading »

One hundred and fifty years ago today, Stonewall Jackson, general in the Confederate army, died of pneumonia in a small cottage in central Virginia.  A week earlier he had his right arm amputated after being shot — by accident — by his own men.  I wrote a piece about looking for the arm’s grave, and you can read it at The Virginia Quarterly Review’s blog.

Stonewall Jackson

I’ve been thinking about Jackson all this week.  My piece was posted the day before the amputation and I read it (again) when it came out.  I imagined Continue Reading »

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 Continue Reading »

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 Continue Reading »

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 Continue Reading »

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