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writing

Leaves

As I drove across Connecticut yesterday, the leaves west of Hartford had all just come out, making pale yellow, lacy crowns on the treetops. For mile after mile, they graced the side of the road, bright and bridal. Further east, as the road climbed, the season retreated again to bare branches, as if spring had clutched back its favors. But not for long. If you watch carefully here, you can observe a maple going green in a single day, and it spreads in wild contagion as the neighboring species catch… Continue reading

What We Don’t Know About Writing a Novel

If you knew before you started a novel that it would take you over a year to produce a decent draft, would you begin? Would you keep working on it, week after week, devoting every spare hour to it, even if you couldn’t tell whether it was going to be a good novel in the end?

Sometimes I’m glad I can’t see the future because the work of writing can seem endless, but after a point, the issue of time hardly matters. If you’re like me, working steadily on a… Continue reading

Alert to the Voices

window view of leafless treesLate November brings a different sort of beauty to New England, with a subtle palette marked by grays. With the foliage gone, new distances emerge in the forests, and exposed branches tangle against the flat sky. We taste the cold air and watch the weather reports for warnings of bad roads. Random snowflakes can appear out of nowhere. You might think we’re inclined to hibernate, but in fact, we’re more alert, not less. We’re thankful, and watchful, and eager to get home safe to our families.

I’m writing, as always.… Continue reading

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