23 March 2014


Lately, it has felt like there hasn't been a whole lot to say and so I've kept quiet around these parts. Life has been full of distractions, some interesting, others not. The weather has thrown some lovely days our way and it's been nice to take some time to enjoy it, even if it's only a few minutes here, a walk to the store there.

If nothing else, I have, in fact, been doing a lot of walking.

I've found it's a good way to clear my head from many of the stresses it has been obsessing over.

I find the fresh air feels good in my lungs.

I like the time to think about things like story and character. Last night I was out walking alone, without company and without music, and I was thinking about this novel I've been working on for so long and then a mother yelled out my character's name at her son, and I had to do a double take because it's not a name you hear everyday and I needed to check and make sure it was real, that it wasn't all in my head. What magic it would be to manifest your characters into physical form!

Walking is also a good way to catch up with my husband after a day spent independently. It's a way to talk and to listen.

It's a time to feel sunshine on your face, or the bite that often accompanies a cloudless night.

It's an excuse to see a college jazz band and have a hand-crafted cocktail on a Thursday night.

It's a lovely way to take in the rapid rate of spring's constant changes.

It's a way to take in the world at a pace you can reckon with and lately that's been exactly what I've needed.

I have yet to determine what this particular day will bring me, but I have a few hopes. The sun is already bright in the sky. I have some ideas for how to make my novel stronger. I have a cup of coffee and a few pages left of an amazing book.* I have the whole day to spend as I choose, balancing the  obligations and the dreams.

I find myself feeling, if nothing else, hopeful.

*The book I'm talking about is by Leslye Walton and is titled The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and it is so very lovely...magical realism set in Seattle about three generations of women, their lives, their loves, their sorrows...it has hints of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I HIGHLY recommend.

Cathedral Park, beneath the St. John's Bridge. One of my favorite walking destinations.

03 March 2014

Another Place, Another Time

I recently finished reading Rainbow Rowell's forthcoming (July 8th) book, Landline. It is about a TV comedy writer, Georgie, and the strained relationship with her husband, Neal. They had plans to go to visit his mom for Christmas in Omaha when Georgie chooses to stay behind to prepare for an important meeting to pitch the TV show she and her partner have been working on since they were in college. In the book, Georgie goes to her mom's house and uses an old rotary landline to call Neal. The catch? This phone doesn't reach present day Neal, but rather the Neal from Christmas 1998, during the week they nearly broke up forever.

The book got me thinking about time and relationships. What would it be like for present day me to pick up a phone and find the person on the other end not just in another place, but in another time?

Who would I want to talk to? If I could be present day me and they would be historical them? I think of those people in my life I've loved and lost and can't help but imagine what it would be like to go back and say some of the things I always wished I could have said, to ask some of the questions whose answers have long eluded me. Would I do it? Would it help?

Maybe that's why I like writing fiction. Nothing I write is really autobiographical, though I can see glimpses of myself in my work. The words come from my brain, my perspective, my experiences, my thoughts. In writing I can explore those kinds of questions about relationships, about ideas. I may not have a magical phone that will let me call up someone fifteen years ago, but I have an imagination that will let me pose questions and speculate answers.

But if I had a magic phone that could call the past? Would I use it?

Yes. If the person on the other end didn't know I was calling from the future, I really think I would.

Would it be wise?

I guess that depends on who I called.