Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's up, November?

What's up Wednesday 


What is up, my friends?  It has been much too long. 

The last two months with baby Alice seem at times like the blink of an eye and at other times like a million years of sleeplessness, tiredness, and also sweet moments with the older boys and lots and lots of laughing. I'm completely smitten with this baby and she is thankfully very sweet and likes to sleep. (She also likes to eat every two hours on the dot, around the clock, but that I can handle). 

It was only last fall when at book club (of course book club-- lots of wine was flowing!) I mentioned that my husband and I wanted to have another baby, but didn't think we could afford it. My book club mates, also imbibing, pointed out that if we always waited for things to be "perfect", especially financially, nothing would ever happen. 

Here I am a year later and so happy for that encouragement. Alice has already brought so much fun and joy into our family. She is super and I can't imagine our family without her. 

On to What's Up Wednesday!

 What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Join by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

What I'm Reading
Nursing at all hours of the night and day, not to mention being couch bound for a couple of weeks due to extreme anemia, really gives you time to get some reading done. 

It has been two months of excellent reading. 

I finished Finnikin of the Rock by the masterful Marchetta. LOVED it. No surprise there. On to the next!

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Lovely and encouraging book for writers. I heard her first on one of my favorite all-time episodes of This American Life. She is so funny and delightful. 

SHIFT omnibus by Hugh Howey. The sequel to WOOL is every bit as good as the first. This is an indie worth reading.

Crazy River: Exploration and Folly in East Africa by Richard Grant. This travelougue is part history of the region (but fascinatingly written, not dry) and part adventure journal. If took me right back to my trip to Kenya last year. Grant is an excellent writer and his travels are worth exploring. I would recommend this to anyone traveling to East Africa for the first time. 

The Butler by Will Haygood. I haven't seen the movie, but I think I will enjoy it more. The Butler the book was more like a series of magazine articles. I wanted a lot more depth in the subject, which I think the movie provides (though it's usually the opposite!).

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. This book was well-written and really cool in concept, but it wasn't for me. Please understand I'm not disparaging the writing in any way-- this is just a preference thing. In this stage of my life I'm looking for a like-able main character and my favorite books tend to have a redemptive plot line. The music scene Egan depicts over time is pretty rad and the characters are fully realized and quirky (though I hate to use that word because it seems like I'm saying they're "wacky" and they're not-- they are unique and complex). 

Pastoralia by George Saunders. Now this book is wacky. This was a book club pick and I'm glad for the uniqueness of my book club. These short stories were downright off-the-wall, but interesting in their own way. For me, they were saved by the fact of being short stories-- so if I found one excruciating, it was over quickly. The motivational speaker with the analogy of people in your life who are "crapping in your oatmeal" {story: Winky} saved this book, but it was a tough read at times (for me), again because I love a like-able character and a redemptive storyline. These were often short stories about people caught in surreal yet crushing lives, with not a lot of like-ability to go around.  

Still working on A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Lies my Teacher Told Me
Uh, these make American Thanksgiving a little hard to stomach, but continue to fascinate. 

I'm also reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, but as I just downloaded FAULT LINE by the LOVELY and TALENTED Christa Desir, these will have to take a back seat. 



What I'm Writing
I imagine it will surprise no one that the writing has taken a back seat these last few weeks. 

If you recall what I was working on this summer, I was able to complete edits on Mina Takes the Sky before Alice's arrival. I'm still awaiting feedback there. 

I was able to complete the tenure packet-- that was submitted about ten days after Alice's birth. I then went to Hartford for an interview with the committee in October. I think I made sense, considering I was working on no more than two hours of consecutive sleep for six weeks. Now I'm waiting to hear the verdict...

In other writing, I'm taking my trunked post-apocalyptic/dystopia and turning it into a graphic novel acted out by playmobil figures. Just for fun. This is not for commerce. It's not for profit. It's just for me. 
You can see the adventure unravel at my TUMBLR.

Finally, I've been making notes on changes to make to my first manuscript STUNG, and awaiting the time to implement those changes. 


What Inspires Me Right Now
That's simple. 

This  

and this.


P.S.: Here's something for your radar-- the Fourth Annual Holiday #readathon hosted by blogger Liza Weimer will be happening December 6-8th. #Read and #Give.


Put it on your calendar!

Now, What's up with you?

29 comments:

  1. Hey, long time no see :) Glad to hear things are going well!

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  2. Congratulations on your new baby! I love the name Alice, since it was my great-grandma's name, and my great-great-grandma's name.

    I'll take part in my parents' celebration of "Thanksgiving" out of respect for them, but my parents and brother definitely know where I've stood on the holiday since I was 17 and found out the Native Americans call it The Day of Mourning and don't celebrate it. I know the typical modern American doesn't think of it in that way, but the true history behind the holiday makes me too uncomfortable to want to do it on my own.

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    1. Thanks Carrie-Anne, I think Alice's time has come. I love old names as new names. :0)
      So true about Thanksgiving. It's really horrible, if you just scratch the surface a little. Ugh. If nothing else I can teach my own kids the history of our interactions with the native Americans in an honest way.

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  3. Aw, congratulations on your baby girl. She's adorable!
    And whoa, for all that reading! But I remember what nursing is like and how stuck to the couch it makes you. I loved Finnikin of the Rock but still haven't gotten around to Froi of the Exiles. I guess I should get on that!

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    1. Thanks Melanie. The good thing about kindle reading is that it can happen one-handed while nursing. :0) Same here-- I need to keep up with the series before I forget who's who!

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  4. Congrats on the newest addition to your family. I'm glad you been doing lots of reading and writing, even if you haven't been blogging as much lately.

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    1. Thanks Kate. Yes, blogging is tough these days, but reading is easy. It all comes in waves. :0)

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  5. Alice is such a cutie! I love seeing the pictures of her come up on Instagram. :-) You are getting some serious reading done! I think I'd feel too comatose to focus if I was running off that little sleep. I guess we'll see how that goes when we have kids. As for the advice you received from your friends about timing and babies, I've received the same advice and I so wish we'd listened to it sooner. I really do wish we'd started a family awhile back. Ah well. We'll just be slightly older parents, that's all. :-)

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    1. The sleep is not for long, but it does add up over the day. After the first six weeks things became much much more manageable. Slightly older is good (in my opinion). Sometimes I wish I had the energy of a twenty-something, but now I'm nearly 40! I'll have to trade that energy for wisdom. :0)

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  6. Aww, Alice is so cute! I'm glad you're enjoying your time with her. I'm sorry you've had to be couch bound, but yay for so many good books!

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    1. Indeed Ghenet-- yay for books. They make it much more fun to be couch bound!

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  7. What a cutie! It's lovely to hear from you again. I hope the anemia's gone. And congratulations on getting your tenure packet done. Hope it's all good news :D

    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thank you Miss Cole-- she is a cutie. But of course I'd think so! The anemia is gone and THANK GOODNESS. I had no idea how debilitating that could be. Thanks for the kind words on the tenure packet. Keeping all appendages crossed over here.

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  8. Holy cow, woman! How do you get through all that reading with a baby tied to you? You're an inspiration.

    Yay for Alice. I'm so glad you had her too. She's adorable...and making me the tiniest bit baby hungry. =)

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    1. i phone magic, Crystal! I'm all for more babies! thanks for dropping by!

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  9. AWWWWW...babies! I love babies. I miss having a little itzy bitzy one. My youngest is a toddler and we're done and it makes me all kinds of sads when i see newborns. But I am grateful to be done as well. I loved Finnikin of the Rock, that whole series is absolutely brilliant! Hope you get more sleep soon!

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    1. they are fun, aren't they? And she's a real sweetie!

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  10. What a beautiful little girl! BTW, my babies nursed every two hours too--exhausting, but so very precious.

    I hope everything goes well with your tenure. (I can't wait to hear the goods news. :)

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    1. Aw, thank you Connie. You are right-- I need to cherish it while it lasts.

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  11. Aww, what a cutie! I don't know how you managed to read all that while running on no sleep, but I'm impressed. :) The acted-out graphic novel you're putting up on Tumbler is so cool. What an awesome idea!

    Crossing my fingers for you on the tenure issue!

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    1. thanks to the iphone and kindle, i can read any hour of the day for any amount of time-- and while nursing. :0)

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  12. Awww! So cute!! Congratulations :)
    I also read Finnikin of the Rock recently and LOVED IT!

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  13. Love the pictures! I'm so glad I get to see Alice growing up on IG too. :) And good for you for writing a story JUST FOR FUN. Also Bird By Bird? LOVE that book! SO helpful, especially for this plotting pantser!

    Have a great week!

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    1. thanks Alison-- I'm the same about Instagram-- it really makes me feel like i know my writer friends well!

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  14. Oh, I missed the announcement--so many congratulations! Alice is beautiful :) And the graphic novel looks so fun! It's nice to get away from the pressure of writing for publication/submission/whatever sometimes :)

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    1. thank you Rebecca-- and so true, if you're not having fun with it, why do it?

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  15. Hi Baby Alice!

    And yay for Bird by Bird!

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YAY for comments! Thanks for adding to the conversation.