An Apology (and Some Summer/Book Updates)

First: An overdue I’m Sorry for being such a rotten hostess on this blog space. I know I’ve let things slip a little too long between visits, and I’m making plans to do better. The hard part is that a blog is always another place, separate from all the other writing. And I’m trying to give those my first and best attentions.

But of course, attentions are also flowing to my kid (did I mention he turned 3?!). And to my thirsty flowerboxes (licorice and purple calibrachoa, which are these fantastic clouds of teensy petunias). And it is summer, in Rochester, which is pretty much sacred and holy and one big excuse to stay up and out late and spoil yourself, picnic upon picnic…

I think part of my becoming better (or becoming more consistent, here) is going to involve me loosening up a little. Stretching my understanding of what happens in this space moving forward. So there might be some more general updates folded into all the “epiphanies.”

On the book front, it’s exciting that we are diving right into pinning down titles and subtitles, and cooking up cover concepts, all of which are heading in a direction that I am so impossibly thrilled about, because they are starting to capture the huge heart of this book. It’s a grief book, sure–but I always say that it’s really a life book. Because I believe, hard, that grief is just about the biggest way you can grow up. I think it’s the teacher you never wanted, but the one you are so glad you had: it’s a real-life practicum more powerful than getting married, or dethroning yourself for the sake of your babies, or holding down a job that bleeds you out. Grief wakes you up, grief makes you think. It puts your faith in the deep end and forces it to tread water, exhaust itself, really kick hard and swim.

Ok, moving off the soapbox.

Funny/remarkable things that happened this summer, in no particular order:

I got married. Again. As in: Church needed a pretend bride and groom for part of our pastor’s sermon series about what it means to “take the Lord’s name” as your own, and wear it well, daring to enter the kind of covenant relationship where he husbands us, makes us beautiful, clean. I had to walk down the aisle, slow, and meet my husband, who was waiting (in a tux!) beneath a pretty little chuppah.

I busted my beloved Moka Pot (because, apparently, it is important to add water when you are brewing coffee). I took this as a sign that it was time to segue into a bonafide espresso machine (the Saeco Via Venezia. xo.) Only, one problem: um, the new machine didn’t actually work. Thankfully, the company (Seattle Coffee Gear) is full of great, actual humans, who love coffee and the coffee-drinking public. And one of those humans called me right back on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and sent me a video that walked me through some very minor surgery I could perform myself, on the pressurized portafilter. With a Phillip’s head and nippers, I was able to cut some tension from an embedded spring. This took all of four minutes, but sounds so fabulously geeky that I am almost glad it happened. I feel I’ve been knighted:

Lo, I am coffee mechanic.

I am reading. Lots. At the gym, after the kid’s in bed. A lot of YA fiction (because I am starting to think that maybe some of the best and most progressive writing is happening there…some of it, anyway. The voices.) Plus, a lot of craft books. I just ordered Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel (because I’m working on my first of one…I’m roughly 60 percent through), and I’m now about a third of the way through Robert McKee’s Story (which is the screenwriting Bible, sure, about structure, about engineering a sea-worthy story, but for any writer, it’s akin to taking your first anatomy course. You see how all the systems work together, and it’s stunning and makes so much sense that you’re almost embarrassed that you’re just now getting that lightbulb moment, grasping it.)

Our pool is finally (momentarily) swimmable. We are seriously inept at the fine, finicky art of swimming pool chemistry (*we claim this is because the pool sits beneath a maple, so we have leaf pollution and shade to contest with). But it’s probably because we haven’t been able to breathe: We have had out of town company (which is delicious, but make chores like mowing and weeding nearly impossible) and niece-nephew babysitting marathons (which I affectionately call my “bids for sainthood…” three kids, 3 and younger!). And people keep doing those cliché summer things, like getting married and graduating. And we keep going to the drive-in, and playing mini-golf, and swinging at the playground…

That’s enough of an update for now. Hope you’re enjoying your summer, so far…dipping deep into good books, and clear(ish) pools, and gloriously blue-green lakes!