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Apple Season

Four toddler feet on a damp deck with leavesWhen I went apple picking lately with my family, we were told by the woman who sold us two empty half-bushel bags that the farther we went up the hill, the more apples we would find. This advice, though worthy of a life maxim, turned out not to be true. We hardly found enough Cortlands, Macouns and Jonagolds to fill our bags, but the dearth didn’t matter. Three generation strong, we had a sweet time tromping through the long grass and searching the trees for perfection.

It’s helpful to recall… Continue reading

Limbo

Tree beside a foggy roadWe’re all waiting for Hurricane Florence to make landfall, even those of us who live far away. With friends and relatives in the Carolinas, we’re braced for disaster with both a thrill at the power of nature and a gnawing, anticipatory helplessness.

The weather mirrors my own restless limbo while I wait to hear back from my agent about my new YA novel. He tells me he’ll have notes for me next week, which is soon, and I trust he likes the book, but I won’t know for sure until… Continue reading

The Red Bike

Red bicycle with grasses growing in the tiresWhenever I take my favorite morning walk, I pass an abandoned red bicycle that’s leaning against an old pump. Some authority has tagged it with a warning that it will soon be removed, but so far the bike hasn’t been claimed or disturbed. Grasses and weeds grow tall through its wheels, attesting to its immobility, and yet it still speaks of motion to me. It’s red, after all: the exciting color of birthday presents and scraped knees. It looks ready to go, temporarily parked, a snapshot of fleeting movement. It… Continue reading

Draft 2: Another Milestone

Cornflowers and grassesEarlier this month, I reached another milestone when I finished the second draft of my current novel. Though it is hard to have a clear perspective on it and I had a brief, miserable spell when I was convinced my novel was horrible, these days I’m really happy about how it’s coming together. I’m deep into the third draft now, and I’m completely immersed.

What I find most satisfying is the way a given scene keeps evolving. When I revise a scene, I’m making it the best that I possibly… Continue reading

Still Here, Still Writing

Dandelions in FluffIf there’s an abiding theme of my blog, it probably has to do with how uneventful a writing life is most of the time. When a book comes out, there’s a bit of a hubbub, but that happens once a year or two. In between times, the work largely involves sitting on a couch with my fingers typing and deleting, sentence by sentence. The milestones are small and marked in tens of pages or small aha!s. Sometimes, after several months, I reach the end of another draft, but that… Continue reading

Writing Is Like Spring

Spring is a season of setbacks and waiting, with snow still arriving in April and trees barely budding, no matter how often we look to them, expecting more. Yet, like with writing, the days add up, and inevitably we’ll have to reach true warm weather and the familiar explosion of green.

I have, happily, reached the point where I have a complete first draft of my latest novel, and I’m onto revising. Every time that I work, a little more progress adds up, progress that I can actually see by… Continue reading

WIP ~ 8th Draft
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