field notes (5.27.16)

I forgot to mention last week, the awesomeness of this web site, TPE (The Photographer’s Ephemeris) a great tool for helping make your photographs as amazing as possible.

“Your sole mission is to articulate your suffering in a way that emancipates you and empowers other women.” – Carole Radziwill

N.B. I’ll build my novel scene by scene, brick by brick. (Building steam for my June 1 start date. Y’all, I’ve got miles and miles to write this summer. And I am ready.)

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

“Midlife: when the Universe grabs you by the shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.” – Brene Brown (You guys, so many people complain about aging, but let me tell you, there are some mind-blowingly positive benefits. Knowing your gifts, for example.)

Polishing, polishing, polishing a manuscript and query letter. Sleeping and not rushing and being quietly over this project. So that we are both ready when the time comes. Which connects to this next quote which resonates now: “Listen to me. You need to be a home for yourself and your work. You need to be the safe place to present things to be admired and loved.” – Elizabeth Berg

This poem, My heart is a diner that never closes… by Shaindel Beers and published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, is simultaneously splitting me open and inspiring a new work. Why does the best poetry hurt so good?

Listening to Righteously by Lucinda Williams and Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert

Finishing SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE by Ron Rash: I do not want these stories to end, and yet, I cannot stop reading.

“I can never get my theology to sound right and true on paper or in conversation, but sometimes, I can get it to feel right in my life, in my living.” – Kelsi Turner

field notes (5.20.16)

Made a pilgrimage to Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City, Iowa. I gathered a tottering stack of books, headed to a sunny window seat and lost myself in the words and images for two hours before my tummy told me it was time to eat. The entire experience was delightful. (And then I spent too much money!)

Visited the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum and was amazed by this tiny gembox of a museum. I have driven past this museum dozens of times, always eager to stop and explore, but either a deadline to get to our destination or the museum’s limited hours prevented me. Not this time!

Took a basics photography class with Bryan Hansel at North House Folk School this weekend and I finally understand aperture settings, shutter speed, ISO settings and other photographic mysteries. This is so satisfying after years (!!!) of trying to figure all this out and failing. I’m hoping I can get my photographs to more accurately portray what I see.

Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center is a jewel: hike out to the rocky point, face into the wind and breathe. What a place.

Reading: SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE by Ron Rash.

Digging in deep to prepare the workshop I’m offering at the Bemidji Public Library in July. So excited about this event! More details to come…

field notes (5.13.16)

I visited Parnassus Books! When I was a child living in Tennessee, Davis-Kidd Booksellers was the most magnificent bookstore imaginable. I had never seen or experienced another bookstore like it. Each visit was magical. When they closed, even though I was living in Arizona at the time, I was devastated. Some vital part of my childhood was dead. But then Parnassus came along and picked up the baton. And last week I got to stand inside Parnassus bookstore and bookmobile and rub my hand along the book spines and touch the counter top and it felt as if Parnassus was also magical.

While in Nashville, I had the chance to visit the Parthenon and Athena and also, Katherine Ace’s swooningly beautiful exhibit of her Grimms’ Tales paintings.

My essay, WEATHER OR NOT, was published in the Bemidji Pioneer last week. I hope you like it.

Reconsidering and tinkering with my summer writing schedule….hoping to add a babysitter once a week so that I can make some big progress on my latest writing project.

Overwhelmed at all the notes and ideas that came with attending the WWMW 2016 Conference and the research road trip I took immediately after: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

field notes (5.6.16)

attended the Wild, Wild Midwest SCBWI Conference 2016; it was brilliant, inspiring and so much fun

woo hoo! I won the runner-up award for my picture-book biography manuscript in the nonfiction contest at the Wild, Wild Midwest Conference. I am surprised and grateful and take it as a sign to not quit writing just yet. Thank you, judges, for the nod

during my drive to Chicago to attend the conference, I listened to ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan and it was brilliant. I lost track of time as I listened. You can read it too, of course, but then you miss the excellent harmonica playing

enjoying a solo road trip through Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa and Minnesota. Ladies, solo adventure is the answer

visited Parnassus and enjoyed speaking to the booksellers about classic and contemporary Southern writers. Left with a stack of books and a list of more titles. Reading SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE by Ron Rash to begin

reading MY FRIEND FLICKA by Mary O’Hara: this novel is a comfort object for my soul and perfect to restore peace to my sometimes anxious heart when I am away from home

reconnected with a dear, dear friend after a 20-year absence. Grateful does not even begin to describe how I feel about having this woman back in my life

feeling grateful, also, for my writing buddies Annette and Rose

loving sweet tea, being called darlin’, blooming magnolia trees, having doors held open for me, eating fried okra, talking from my soul with my dearest friends, walking barefoot

realizing that the only way to get braver is to do things that are profoundly scary