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Keeping Journals

Journal, 1975

Journal entry: New Year’s Day, 1975

Writing your thoughts down in private is a nifty way to discover what you think, especially if you’re puzzling through something complicated or emotionally charged. Recording events lets you relive them with a double ownership. Putting the words on paper or typing them letter by letter focuses your attention into concrete expression, and at the same time, it frees the mind to go racing ahead toward the next idea. It’s at once liberating and therapeutic.

By contrast, reading a journal can be a mixed… Continue reading

The Organized Writer: 8 Tips

writer tips for organizationMark Twain liked to write in bed.

I picture him there with his cigar ashes, his coffee, and his crumby sheets, and I know I couldn’t do that. I need a certain degree of order around me in order to be productive, and though I’m a seat-of-the-pantser in terms of plot, that doesn’t mean I’m without systems. If you’re a writer, too, you might find the following organizing tips helpful.

  1. Plan time to write. Many writers have a writing routine, like so many hours a day, or word counts. It… Continue reading

The Edge of Abstraction

trafficSometimes my writing takes me to a strange place where the normal world drops away and I’m dealing with an abstract, dream-like landscape. Artistically, it should be intriguing, but honestly, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. I fear my readers will be confused, or that I’m cheating by letting images stand in place of more conventional explanations. I have to hold my own hand for courage and dip my toe off the cliff into gray, weightless space.

 

Games Time

gamesWe’ve been playing games pretty much nonstop here for days, pausing only for sandwiches, truffles, and Swedish fish. My family relishes involved board or card games. I love how they bring out our personalities. Patient sons who kindly explain rules to me, often repeatedly, can also be quite ruthless distributing curses. Couples tend to team up, or arrange nice trades for each other, and nobody ever throws the board anymore.

Here are some of our favorite games. For the record, we’re all ages 21 and up, but these games would… Continue reading

Happy Solstice!

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Morning sun, Winter Solstice 2016

As we speed through the shortest day of the year, I’m looking up and enjoying the low-riding sunlight. I like to think about how our planet is spinning to the east at a thousand miles an hour, fast enough for each time zone, one by one, to crest through sunrise into the light. The wintery air feels like the coolness of outer space right here in my back yard, pressing against my storm windows, while inside, the old heat of the sun resurfaces as the… Continue reading

Magic in the Darkness

Version 2

Magic shines in the darkness of these long nights. We look for the sparks, and light our own, and the winter wind spins the wind chimes on the porch into a merry tinkling.

I hope you’re somewhere warm, with family nearby. If you have a good book, too, all the better.

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Caragh's Latest Favorite Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Every Day
The Dog Stars
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Fault in Our Stars
Two of a Kind
Until It Hurts to Stop


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The audio books of BIRTHMARKED, PRIZED, PROMISED, and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS have been released by Tantor Audio. They're available through Tantor, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Audible.com.

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