Five on Friday

1. One of each, please:)

2. This brief interview with Peter Turchi makes me want to grab his book, Maps of the Imagination: the Writer as Cartographer off my bookshelf and finally read the whole thing.

3. I’ll be picking up the current issue of Time magazine to read the John Irving profile by Ben Percy.

4. File this under an article I could’ve written myself but didn’t. It’s so true. Couple friends are so hard to find.

5. With my graphic design background,I find myself inspired by this site.

What I Learned










These are some pix of the state of my office while frantically finishing my novel. Notice my essentials: chocolate, Starbucks and an empty wine glass.





On Thursday, March 15 I finished and submitted a draft of my novel-in-stories to this contest. I’d seen it in the December issue of Poets & Writers and wished I had something ready. My awesome writing group convinced me that I could definitely get my current work-in-progress done by the deadline. I had my doubts, but I focused and worked hard almost every day, putting in nine hours that final day. I learned a lot over those three months of intense work.

I learned that:

–  it is incredibly satisfying to be able to say “I wrote a novel” rather than “I’m writing a novel”

–  I can work and write in an incredibly focused way, especially with a deadline prodding me

–  I work best in forty-five minute sessions, followed by fifteen minutes of some other mindless task like dishes or folding clothes or browsing through the bookstore, letting the scene/story percolate

–  when I am immersed in my writing but not drowning, the story is always simmering. I go to bed thinking about the characters and story and wake up thinking about them.

–  I can’t read very much when I working so hard on my own writing. There’s not enough space in my brain to contain it all.

–  I have several phrases and words that I like and use more often than I should

–   I actually have a revision process that works for me

– that at some point I have to just let it go out into the world, trusting that I wrote to the best of my ability

Books Read in April

“Mockingjay” a YA novel by Suzanne Collins

 I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.

The last in “The Hunger Games” trilogy, this novel wraps up the story of Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is the symbol and inspiration for the uprisings and rebellions that have spread across the districts. As she struggles to do the right thing she also struggles with her exactly she can trust. I appreciated that Collins gave us a glimpse into Katniss’s future at the end.

What I learned: To keep the plot clear and precise even if it is the third in a trilogy.

“There is No Dog” a YA novel by Meg Rosoff
Oh Glorious, most glorious glorious! And yet again glorious!

What if God were a self absorbed, sulky teenage boy named Bob who wreaked havoc on earth whenever he fell in love? That’s the premise of this quirky, clever novel that could have come off as gimmicky but, instead, is delightfully funny and provocative.

What I learned: That a great premise needs to supported by great characters making choices and interacting with each other.

“Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self” stories by Danielle Evans
Me and Jasmine and Michael were hanging out at Mr. Thompson’s pool.

This is an amazing collection that left me wanting to dissect each story to see how she made me feel so deeply about the characters and also laugh out loud in places. Whether the stories center around teenagers skirting the edge of adulthood for a night or a complicated  father/daughter relationship, Evans puts us right there with them in a debut that leaves me eagerly waiting for her next book.

What I learned: To write close to my characters, watching and waiting to see what they do next and letting them make that bad choice. That’s where the story is.