Tag

the writing life

Bread Loaf in Sicily

It’s been almost a month since I arrived in Erice for Bread Loaf in Sicily. I wish my pictures could somehow encapsulate the magic that was our conference and this special place. I wasn’t terribly excited about this place before I left; the photos on the Bread Loaf site all looked very, well, brown. I love the rest of Italy, with its lush, verdant landscapes, and this seemed so unattractive. I’m glad I allowed myself to trust the Bread Loaf name; it did not disappoint. Erice is a small, medieval town almost 2500 feet above sea level. Each morning, I woke up to the stunning view above, and I felt myself unwind and go still inside every time I took in that view. It was a balm for my soul. The town is very quiet. There’s little traffic, and only the soft sound of the wind accompanied me on my walks. We were in the clouds every day–they floated past my head, and once I had the delightful experience of getting caught in the rain while in the clouds. It was completely different from any rain I’ve ever felt! The conference itself was intense and wonderful and enlightening. I felt energized to…

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Why I don’t write about my children

Right now, the most commonly-asked question I get from people–besides “What do you write?”–is whether or not I write about my children. This could be due to the fact that I spend a lot of time around other mothers. My children are very young (almost 5 and 18 months), so our days are spent doing preschool runs and making play dates. But still, I find it interesting that this question comes up so often. There’s even been a bit of a nasty twist to the tone when a person or two have asked this question, raising their eyebrows and laughing as if I can get some sort of revenge on my kids by writing about them. I don’t write about my children. Other than very minor anecdotes in an otherwise larger story, I’ve chosen to exclude them from my writing. And this is not an accident. Years ago, when I was in college as an older student (I went back to finish my bachelor’s degree when I was 30), I had a wonderful professor who taught creative non-fiction and also published essays. Shannon Lakanen gave a reading one night at my college while I was taking one of her classes. Her essay…

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Wonderful news: Now is the Hour!

I have an agent! Almost a year ago, I was contacted by three agents after one of my essays was published in Slice. They wanted to see my novel manuscript (which I’d mentioned in my bio). I was working on my seventh (yes, seventh) complete rewrite of the damn thing, and it wasn’t quite finished yet. When I finally sent the full manuscript out to those three agents last December, two took a pass (historical fiction not being their thing) and one said she wanted it! Brandi Bowles of Foundry Media gave me a list of revisions, telling me she expected these to take 4-6 months (she was right; it took exactly six months). I got the manuscript back to her about a month ago and we spent a few weeks doing some fine-tuning….line-editing and brainstorming a new title and working on a pitch letter, among other things. And finally, a week and a half ago, Brandi began sending out Now is the Hour to New York publishing houses! I’ve worked on this novel for so long–I started it in the fall of 2010, just before I got pregnant with my first son–that this has all felt a little heady, like I’m playing pretend. My…

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The fire drill of life

Life is getting in the way of writing lately. This past week alone, we’ve dealt with or are dealing with the following: buying a new couch (the old one has a broken frame, and the baby has peed on it too many times to count), the babysitter quitting with less than a week’s notice, hiring and training a new babysitter, made reservations for our rental apartment in Italy, our dishwasher catching on fire and necessitating a call to the fire department at 10:30 at night, my National Piano Guild auditions the morning after the dishwasher fire, and hiring a new housecleaner. Each of those events involved a constellation of their own mini-events (for example, once we discovered that the dishwasher was the source of the fire, then we had to turn the power off in the kitchen for a day. Then we had to take the dishwasher out of the wall and try to find out exactly where it was burning. Once we found the loose rubber gasket that rubbed against the heating element and caught fire, we had to take it out, then put the dishwasher back, then run it to make sure nothing was leaking and nothing else would…

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