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bohemian season

Updated: 2018-03-07T13:50:31.885-06:00


A long summer


"Where are you at with things now?" a few of you have asked about my writing. Well, since you asked... Right now I'm still on a break from all things writing and not sure when I'll go back.I went on vacation in August. There was no more Mother's Day Out and I had Will full time. I had sent out all my query letters. The form rejection emails were rolling in like ocean waves.  And I decided to go on vacation from writing, from trying to get published and from worrying about all of those things. The break, the letting go, was good.I feel SO proud of myself for all that I've done the last six months. I struggled with the question to traditional publish or self-publish. I struggled with my own inner turmoil, my perfectionism, my fear of rejection, my values, my beliefs, my dreams, my fears. I decided what I wanted to do and I went after it. I learned a lot as I went.I learned QueryTracker is really an amazing web site. God bless whoever came up with it. Seriously. If you're a writer, get to know it, okay?I learned that the hardest part, really, is getting ready to query. OMG, the query letter, the synopsis, are they ever right? Are they ever done? Are you ever really sure about them?And the second hardest part is sending the first few emails. Actually, it was still hard to send every email. But I gained momentum as I went.I learned that form rejection emails still hurt, no matter how softly they're worded. I learned that form rejection emails make me want to scream, because really, I have no real clue why it's getting rejected - bad query letter, bad hook, bad writing, wrong genre for the agent?I learned that after getting a few form rejection emails they stopped hurting so much and I started toughening up.I've experienced some heart ache, some heart break, lots of tears and phone calls to friends and late night conversations in bed with my husband.Along the way I've learned more and more about publishing. Even with everything I already knew, I still feel I've been pretty naive with rosy daydreams of what being a writer would be like. I learned that the publishing industry is a pretty tough place to be, especially with the sea change that's been happening the last five years. I learned how much of a crap shoot being a writer is. I know that agents and successful writers and publishers will tell you it's not all about luck and true talent and hard work wins out. And I believe this is mostly true.But it's the amount of hard work over a period of years. It's not just writing one novel and trying to get an agent for it. It's being willing to do that again, and again, and again, until it works. It's going to classes, conferences, reading books, staying in touch with social media and the industry, it's practicing your craft. It's going to writers groups, trying to find writing and critique partners. It's facing criticism and rejection. It's doing all this for years. Without any guaranteed pay off. And actually it's doing all of this for years when the odds are actually stacked against you succeeding.You either have to be truly passionate and dogged, or you have to be... dumb... to do it.So where am I now? Right now I'm unsure whether the risk/reward ratio of continuing to write and pursue publication is one I want to accept. I'm unsure whether I'm passionate enough to do all this for years with low odds of success. Right now I'm in a vacuum of uncertainty.But strangely I'm at peace.Because I am sure that I followed my dreams, that I worked really hard, that I overcame a lot of personal obstacles to do what I did. And if it didn't work out that's okay. I can say I tried! And dang it if that's not something.Because I am sure that my number one priority is taking care of me, my family's needs, my husband, my son. And that's okay.The door isn't closed yet.  I have another novel I could shop around. And then there's always self-publishing as a possibility. But right now I feel no pressure to do anything. And that feels blissfully good.It feels blissfully good to let myself just be, to let go of the idea that I have to be striv[...]

The thing about fear, the thing about faith


I’ve been dealing with fear a lot lately.As I’m sending out query letters for my novel, I’m pushing into new territory, places that stretch me, that put me in that uncomfortable place. I like comfortable places. I like to be warm and cozy and safe, not lost and freezing and naked.But as I’m moving through the fear I’m finding out things, interesting things. Yeah, I’m scared of being rejected - both personally and my writing. I knew that. And I thought that was it. I thought that was the BIG THING that terrified me. But as I’m looking at this head on and doing it anyway, I’m figuring out it’s not just that. What I’m most scared of is losing my “thing”. Writing has been my “thing” for awhile now. Something I love. A hobby. Not just a hobby, a passion. And an identity too. To be published is a long held dream. And the scary part is losing that dream. Imagine there’s this person you’ve been crushing on. For awhile. There’s something between you - you think,  you hope - but you don’t know for sure. The minute you say something “So what’s up with us? Do you dig me like I dig you?" Well, that’s the moment the dream comes true. Or the dream is over. Finished. Done.It’s easier, it’s safer, to never open your mouth and risk it. If you keep it in the maybe position, there’s always a chance, at least in your own mind, that it might happen. But if you put it out there, well that chance might go away. And now you’ve got nothing. You’re at zero.And that’s my biggest fear - not having my big dream as an option anymore. Being at zero. Being at “what now?” Because I don’t know “What now?” I’d like to say I’d troop on and write another novel and do it all over again. That sounds like the girl scout thing to say. But I don’t know. Let me get real here. There is a risk-reward equation to consider. Writing a novel (and re-writing it until it’s good) is a big time sink. And being a writer isn’t just the writing - it’s reading books about writing, taking writing classes, spending time with writing partners and the writing community, and reading lots of books and staying in touch with what’s going on in the publishing industry. To do all this, and then face the .05% chance of getting published? If I’m going to be a realist, I have to question whether I want to invest more of my life in it.In spite of how much I love writing, I don’t know if I’d do this all over again. I don’t know yet. And so I’m a train going into a dark tunnel, not sure what’s on the other side of all this.I’m scared of that darkness, that unknown, being stripped of a dream, of an identity. I’m scared of emptiness and uncertainty. I’ve always wanted to have something in my life that is “my thing” - a passion, a driving force, a creative spark, the thing that makes me, “me”. And as a mom, that’s become even more important to me. I adore my son, but I want to have my own life too. The possibility of losing that shakes me. So this is a year of my life where I need faith. I don't need unmerited optimism. I don't need to believe that my dreams will all come true. Just faith that it will all be okay no matter what. Faith that if I do end up at zero, that something new and good will grow out of that, even if I have no idea what it is.[...]

Always believe something wonderful


Because pictures say things words cannot, because today I need to play, childlike and free, because I need to believe a little something wonderful.


Cliff jumping


Yeah, so you're wondering why I'm posting a bikini pic on my blog. And... you're wondering if I've jumped into some kind of time machine.

Wish I could tell you that time travel wasn't fictional, but that's really me a while back. Big T in 17. That was my nickname the year I was seventeen. That was the year I went cliff jumping. That was the year I was brave. And I'm trying to get a little bit of her back again.

I am in the process of querying (sending out query letters to prospective literary agents for my novel)  - a slow process as it's summertime and I have a wild and sweaty three year old on my hands all day.

I won't go into the mechanics of how many queries I've sent out and how they're doing, but I'm proud that I'm making a start and learning.

It's a lot like cliff jumping. When I was 17 on the Big Island we went to this secret spot where you could jump off a cliff into the ocean. Y'all. This is so not the kind of thing I do. But you know what? I did it.

You know how? I just jumped. There was no preamble. No thinking about it. No standing on the edge and looking over. I just jumped as quick as I could.

It was a blast, ocean water up the nose, bathing suit wedgie and all. It was even more of a rush because it's not the sort of thing I do. I was ferociously proud of myself in that moment.

The odd thing was, weeks later I went back and I couldn't do it. I stood on the edge looking over and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I hesitated. I waited too long and the fear took over.

Sending out query letters to prospective agents feels the same way. The hardest part is thinking about doing it. Standing on the edge, pondering it, but not having the will to jump. The hardest part is just hitting send on the email.

Once I hit send, well, it's like flying through the air into that bracing ocean water. It's exhilarating. It's a rush. It's all downhill after that.

Not that querying is easy. I've spent months working on my query letter and synopsis. And now comes the waiting. Now come the rejection letters.

But you know, it still feels like jumping was the hardest part.

Part of what helped me jump off the cliff on the Big Island was my big, rowdy group of friends who were confidently plunging into the ocean themselves, not to mention the boys I was trying to impress with my bravado.

But I'm not 17 anymore. And I don't have a big, rowdy group of friends who are querying with me and cheering me on. That would certainly help! We could all order up a round of drinks to celebrate after hitting send. Or hey, just go cliff jumping.

But these days, it feels lonely, like it's just me, at that cliff alone, trying to get up the courage to leap.

So, if you wanna send me any virtual cheers or hugs, I'll take all the encouragement I can get to keep jumping, even if I don't know exactly what I'm jumping into.

May we all have the courage to go cliff jumping, at least once in our lives!




Summertime is here. And it's finally stopped raining enough to feel like it. I've been taking a break from obsessing about writing and I've been swimming in small pleasures while also trying to adjust to the end of Mother's Day Out and having my toddler home with me all day every day. I'm drinking iced Americanos and getting bit by mosquitoes and taking naps whenever I can.Here's a few of the things I've been living and loving lately.Music: BORNS - Candy EP. This is happy dancey feel good music.Movies: On Mother's Day my husband treated me by letting me go to a matinee by myself. He knows what I like! I went to go see Far From the Madding Crowd. It was a nice period film.  It makes me want to go back and read the book. It makes me wonder why I haven't read the book. It makes me wonder if I did read the book in college and forgot it? Hmmm.We also saw Mad Max: Fury Road. I wanted to love it. Because I'm a child of the 80s, okay? And it was a big, gorgeous extravaganza of weirdness, but it didn't hit me in the heart. Maybe I was too busy being blown away by all the intense action.TV: The Blacklist is the latest tv show I've gotten hooked on. I'm not so big on the "criminal of the week" format, but the chemistry between Reddington and Elizabeth Keen is just so great - the ongoing mystery of who is he and what is he to her? And I love the oh-so-addictive weird relationship between Elizabeth and Tom Keen. It reminds me a lot of Alias (and I loved that show) with less far-out and cheesy spy stuff (although that was kind of fun too). The first season of Blacklist is on Netflix if you want to check it out.Okay, and I have to give another plug for Hart of Dixie here. This show is over. The season finale was a few months ago. But I love the way they ended it. I hate it when I love a show and it ends abruptly or badly.  I swear this season I cried almost every episode. They know just how to make me laugh and cry too. So if you like girly quirky screwball comedies like Gilmore Girls, you have to watch Hart of Dixie. Also on Netflix, people!And... the Bachelorette is back on! Don't make plans with me for Monday nights because I will be butt in seat watching all summer long. Yes, this show is ridiculous. Yes, that's why I watch it.And of course, Books: I've been reading a TON lately. Or maybe I should say I've been listening a TON. Because I've ripped through a lot of audiobooks in addition to the books I've been reading.I have a lot of thoughts about reading I'd love to sit down and hash out. I still haven't found my perfect niche as a reader (and probably never will). I keep expecting to find some sub-genre that is just so ME that I want to read it forever. But I don't.  I'll read some women's contemporary fiction.  Then some women's historical fiction. And then read some YA fantasy as a chaser. And then I will read chick lit as a palate cleanser. Then I'll read sci fi. Then I'll read a historical mystery. And maybe some memoir or non-fiction thrown in for good measure.It's like a good dinner. I need contrasting varieties and tastes and textures to keep it fresh and interesting.Here are a few of my recent faves:The Girl on The Train by Paula HawkinsBig Little Lies by Liane MoriartyAt the Water's Edge by Sara GruenTime's Edge by Rysa WalkerGrave Mercy by Robin LaFeversI've Got Your Number by Sophie KinsellaUprooted by Naomi NovikIf you want to see more of what I'm reading or my book reviews, please check me out on Goodreads and add me as a friend so I can see what you're reading too.And, Food, Food, Food!!!Cookbooks I've been perusing from the library:Jamie Oliver's Comfort FoodBuvette - I want to eat here next time I'm in NYC or Paris! Favorite recipes recently:Coconut Lime Chicken from Menu MusingsTartine Bakery Brownies - in my opinion this is the best classic brownie recipe I've ever tried. Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies - in my opinion this is the BEST chocolate chip cooki[...]

Diving in


So for the curious, here’s an update on writer happenings around here.I set a goal several months ago to self-publish one of my novels by June 1.  It was an audacious goal. I wanted to challenge myself, spur myself forward, make things happen because I’d been stuck and stagnant so long.  And that’s happened for sure. I did another edit of my novel. It was absorbing and exciting and fun. But in the middle of that I was thinking again about whether I want to pursue the traditional publishing path or self-publishing. Both paths seem daunting, both paths offer pros and cons. But I was searching for what was in my heart - what I really want, in spite of the fear. And what I want is to give traditional publishing a try. I feel like I would regret it if I didn’t. And what do I have to lose? Well, I stand to lose time and emotional energy, but I'm not going to get anywhere if I'm not willing to invest my time and energy and take risks. So, here I am, weeks away from June 1, and I will not be slapping my lovely little novel up for sale on Amazon. But, I am okay with that.  I’ve kickstarted the process, I’ve gotten myself moving and that’s what I wanted to do in the first place. So instead, I'll be working on the process of getting traditionally published. For those of you unfamiliar with the publishing process here’s a quick overview of how it looks from an author's perspective: You send a query letter, a short blurb about your book and usually a sample, to agents who you’d like to represent you.Based on the query letter if an agent is interested they ask to read your whole manuscript. If they like your manuscript and think it’s sellable and a good fit, they contact you to offer representation. After you’ve signed with an agent, you may have another round of revisions and edits to your novel. And then the agent will start to pitch your novel to publishers. And then if a publisher wants your novel, there will be negotiations before the contract.Once the contract is signed, there will then be another round of edits and proofreading before your novel gets sent to print.It is not an easy or short process to be sure. But it is what it is, and I’m diving in at the beginning. The last month I’ve spend most of my energy on getting ready to query.  It's taken me longer than I wish because I’ve been sorting through complex emotions - chief among them fear - to get to a point where I am ready to start sending query letters. I feel vulnerable admitting this, admitting that I am not bullet proof, that I’m thin skinned and sensitive. It’s true, I am. And I wish I wasn’t. So I’m having to psych myself up to go through this. There is a lot of rejection and criticism. It’s par for the course. So here I go. I’ll be starting to query soon and I have no idea what that will look like - how long I’ll be doing it, how many agents I will query, how soon I will hear back from them (if at all). So… don’t expect me to be posting every little detail here as I'm pretty sure it would bore you to tears.  And don't expect me to be telling you in a month that I have some magical fairy dust publishing deal! But if you have a bag of magical fairy dust, please send it my way. ;-)In the meantime, I’m trying to reignite what I love about writing in the first place and working on a new project. I want to keep the creative flow flowing! [...]

Ex Machina: Men, Women, Robots & Love


So I watched Ex Machina last weekend. Haven't stopped thinking about it since. And I love that. There are so many layers to this movie, so many ways to dissect and discuss it.  (Please don't ask me about this movie at lunch because I will be talking for an hour.)But the aspect that jumped out at me was the feminist angle. I consider myself a feminist, but I'm not one of those people constantly looking around for patriarchal boogeymen to jump out of the bushes. To me, most of our problems around this place called earth are not problems of patriarchy, but just human nature, male or female.But the feminist layer of this movie is just so strong. Women are so clearly objectified in this movie - although the movie is self-aware, using it to make a point, so it's not mindless objectification. It's not meant to merely titillate or enrage, but invites dialogue.Okay, spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the movie. so I'm warning you. If you haven't seen the movie yet and you plan to, well, don't read this!*****SPOILERS AHEAD*****Nathan, creates a female AI (Artifical Intelligence), named Ava. Later you learn he's created other prototypes before her, also sexy females. One of his creations is Kyoko, essentially a mute servant whose sole job is to look pretty - well, let's face it, sexy - and do house chores, but never to argue, never to interact, never to talk. It's also implied that she serves as a sexual companion to Nathan.*****SPOILERS OVER*****Oh Man, did this get my goat! As it was designed to, I think. Because if you could create truly sophisticated lifelike "robots" these would be some of the first uses - sexual gratification and menial labor. The cynic in me says that men would create women that would be objects, to be used, without complications, without problems, without souls.Honestly, watching the movie it stirs up all these FEELINGS. Is that all we're good for as women - to be beautiful, sexy, to be sycophantic servants to men? Is that all they want us for? We're human beings! With needs and feelings and thoughts and talents and personalities. We're not pretty sexy dummies!This might be a good place to interject that my husband does not make me feel that in any way. He's awesome! And I know many many other respectful amazing men out there. But it's more about general messages from society that women are valued the most for being beautiful and attractive, young and nubile.It is the ultimate male fantasy, a woman who is attractive, sexually available at all times, graceful, perfect, domestic, quiet, no drama, no feelings, no interests of her own, she is completely centered around the man in her life. She worships him.  She is his slave.It's easy for me to get my feminist panties in a twist at this point. But wait, but wait. Hmmm. Let's be fair here. Okay?What is the ultimate female fantasy? Well, if you read popular romance novels or watch chick flicks, it's pretty obvious. It is getting the ungettable man.*Ewan McGregor in Down With LoveHe's handsome, he's rich, he's powerful. Often he's a bad boy with commitment issues. Every woman wants him. But no other woman has been able to get him until YOU. Because you're just so unique and amazing and special and gorgeous and he adores you. Now suddenly he's willing to commit. He's all in. He's all yours. You're all he can think about all day and night. The wild man has been tamed. He worships you. He is your slave.(Wanna know exactly what I'm talking about? See my Chick Flicks list for movies featuring Bad Boys and Good Girls.)I have to admit, even my beloved Pride and Prejudice (helllloooo Mr. Darcy) and North & South (helllloooo Mr. Thornton) uses the fantasy of the ungettable man - a noble man, perhaps, but still ungettable, unless the right woman comes along, at which point he promptly turns into jello.So wait. Hmm. This female fantasy sounds a lot like the male fantasy, doesn't it? It's a littl[...]

Jane's table


I've been reading At Home with Jane Austen recently. Well, mostly looking at the pictures, but they are lovely pictures. One of them stood out. It's the picture of the table where Jane Austen wrote most of her novels, or so we are told. It's such a small, simple table and chair in such a small, simple room - a hallway really.

Supposedly she sat at this little table, squeezing in moments of writing here and there as she could, often hiding her work from passersby in the house, who didn't even know she was writing novels, but thought she was writing letters instead.  She was a secretive novelist.

She had no laptop, no Scrivener, no writer's group, no writers conference, no blog, no Twitter, no Facebook. It was just her, and paper and ink, and a table.

And the thought of this cheers me, the sight of this little table. Because before Jane, those stories did not exist. The idea that a humble, unimportant little human being made these incredible stories that people have now enjoyed for hundreds of years - that she sat at this little table writing them, completely unaware of their future reception and her future glory, which she would never experience personally - it's awe inspiring.

Because sometimes as a writer I just feel so dang small. I wonder why I am doing this. I wonder if anyone will ever read what I wrote. And I wonder if anyone will ever enjoy it, much less love it. I wonder if it will ever matter.  Sometimes the daunting nature of it all, the possible soul smashing rejection of it all, makes me want to give up.

And then I think of Jane at that little table. What if she had just given up? She had every logical reason to give up. But she wrote on because of passion, because of love, some inner drive. And millions of people have gotten to enjoy the fruit of that labor.

I'm not saying I'll be the next Jane. But Jane's table reminds me that I have no idea what I will be and it's not really my job to know - it's just my job to follow the muse and enjoy the journey.(image)

Early morning walks and comfort movies


For some reason I woke up this morning before seven. I decided to roll with it, made coffee and went for a walk. The sky was pink, the breeze was cool, the birds were singing and I felt like Keira Knightley in this scene from Pride and Prejudice, in spite of the distant hum of traffic on the highway and the suburban scenery.

I just re-watched that movie this week and it made me wish I could take long walks everyday over the British countryside.

I have to re-watch it every couple of years. It’s one of my comfort movies. Sometimes I need the familiar, something I know I’ll love. But I’ve forgotten just how much I love that movie.

It’s a great story, I mean hello. I have a shamefully documented love of Jane Austen. But for me, this movie transcends that. It’s a piece of art.

It’s an impressionist painting made up of emotion. Every scene is so deliberate - the angles, the costumes, the light, the music. It’s a compressed version of the story. A haiku. Watching the movie feels almost as if you are looking into a tiny dollhouse that’s come to life. And the cast, the cast is amazing too. So many seasoned actors and so many who've blown up since!

I would love to sit down with Joe Wright for a few hours and just talk about how he made the movie and his artistic choices. I have questions, you know?

And I want to go to England.

And of course every time I watch the movie again, it makes me want to read the book again! Ha!

Do you have any movies like this in your life? Comfort movies you turn to again and again?

p.s. It’s now 4:30 in the afternoon and I feel more like this:


Why self-publishing?


So today I've finished editing 8 out of 18 chapters in my novel. More than halfway there. Cause for celebration, don't you think?

Maybe I shouldn’t be celebrating, because I’m nowhere near my original timeline, but I’m moving. Crawling, walking or running - movement is movement.

I still have the same excited energy I’ve had since I started working towards my audacious goal, but I’m starting to get nervous.

The editing and writing part is easy for me. Not so easy are the steps that follow - finding beta readers, creating an author web site, finding a professional editor and proofreader, figuring out how the heck to market this thing. I will admit, I’m a little scared. But I’m still moving!

So I thought I’d address a question… Why self-publishing?

This could be a very long answer, but I'm going to just share a key moment.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time - to go the traditional publishing house route with an agent, or to self-publish an ebook. I’ve heard all sorts of arguments, pro and con on each side. The voices are deafening, the choices confusing. I’ve been debating with myself for YEARS. I’ve been uncertain. I’ve been afraid.

It seems as if it’s lots of hard work and risk and there are no guarantees of any level of success, no matter which road you take.

I was sitting on a Valentine’s Date with my husband, enjoying steak and a glass of red wine, pouring my little heart out, telling him all of my thoughts on the subject when I had a breakthrough.

I realized that I’ve been hoping for an easy, obvious answer - a series of steps I could take that would result in guaranteed success. (Can you hear me laughing at myself? Really. I’m so ridiculous.) But this, of course, does not exist. The fact is the odds of success are against me, no matter what I do. So it doesn’t really matter which path I choose - what matters is that I do something.

And suddenly… I felt free. Free to choose. I don’t have to have the perfect answer, because the perfect answer doesn’t exist.

I chose self-publishing because I don’t want to spend the next two years just trying to find an agent. Ugh. Did I just say that? Yes, I did.

I want to put my work out there. I want people to read it. That’s my dream. I hope it comes true.

I still have doubts. I’m still scared. But I’m moving!(image)

Favorites lately


It's spring! And I'm ready for new things!Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love. This lovely cookbook just arrived on my doorstep yesterday and I can’t wait to cook from it. Their first cookbook is one of my absolute forever favorites that I always turn to when I want something to be delicious.As I was searching for a picture of the book cover, I actually stumbled across the designer of the book  cover's web site. Her name is Emily Isabella (what a lovely name, btw) and her work is lovely too.I've been thinking about book covers lately (shocker!) and thinking how little we know about the actual people who design the art for books. So many books are so enjoyable due to their ingenuity, and yet we know so little about them.I've stumbled across two other visual artists this week that I love too:Abstract art by Mark Lovejoy. It’s spring, and I love the riot of color! I just can't resist abstract art.And I am now obsessed with Emma Block.  I stumbled across her work on Pinterest. So quirky and  evocative. All the things she puts in her work are things I love: bicycles, cafes, baths, Paris, flowers, books, pastries, and feminine romantic sensibilities.*image via The GlowOn a deeper note, this is the thing I've read online this week that impacted me the most:Negativity online: An essay inspired by over 200,000 comments on Design Sponge This is just such a fascinating topic to me - so many layers here. I’ve struggled with feeling envy, inferiority, confusing what I really value in my own life - from what I see online.I love beauty, beauty, beauty - in art, in homes, in food, in fashion, in parties, in words - and I love to see it online.But I also love contentment. I love being happy, right where I am, right now! Being bombarded with visual perfection and high aspiring beauty on a daily basis gives me a bad case of “I-want-itis” and the dreaded blue “lesser-thans”.I have my OWN triggers online - things that will send me into a spiral of intertwined rage and envy.  If I have to see just ONE more blog or web site talking about “cool moms” or “hip moms” - who seem to be women who are young, beautiful, effortlessly slim, wealthy, NY or LA stylish, designers, or owners of boutiques, etc. who are always doing something in the photo like jumping on a bed in their OH SO killer hiply decorated kids room, having a pillow fight with their adorable and super stylishly dressed child, while being dressed themselves in vintage Pucci, with their perfectly blown out beach waves bouncing in the air - well, I will just scream. (I’m looking at you, The Glow.)I mean don’t we moms have enough to deal with, without saying “these moms are cool” leaving the implication that if you don’t meet up to their level, well, you’re not. Okay, okay. I’m 40 and I’m still worried about being cool. Pretty lame, huh? I am laughing (blackly) at myself.Based on this rant, you might notice I might know a little something about the emotions that inspire people to leave negative comments on web sites. But I don’t. Not my thing. But it affects me in my own way. Emotional crap bombs I step into the moment I open up Bloglovin or Pinterest.It’s getting me thinking, how do I get a little more space from all this, how do I guard my mind from the crap bomb? How do I build contentment, instead of dreaded discontent? (Maybe stop looking at The Glow, I don’t know!)So much I could say on this, but I just love how thoughtful this article is.p.s. Looking at The Glow, I want to judge, I want to envy, I feel my bile spilling over.  I think the photographs here are a little like boudoir portraits for motherhood - not really really real, more of a highly crafted and edited view. But with a little distance I could also say it's a portrai[...]

Chaos, curves and flow


Dear Writer's Diary,
A progress update...

So, I’ve set my audacious goal, to self publish my novel by June 1. And I’ve been working, I definitely have.

But I'm laughing at myself already. I thought I could do any necessary re-writes and edits on my ENTIRE novel by March 14. (What was I thinking?)

Well, it is now March 12. And I have only worked through Chapter Two. Chapter Two, my friends, Chapter Two. Ahem.

But I’m so pleased with what I’ve done with it - things I can see clearly now after several years of distance - that it’s impossible for me to be upset with how behind I am.

It takes the time it takes. It is what it is. What matters is that progress is happening.

Recently I started reading this book that I so wanted to like. It shall remain unnamed. But by the first chapter I knew I wasn’t liking it. It was a nice premise with a Jane Austen related twist to it, that made me want to like it. But the writing style was just so workmanlike. So dry. Dry bones. No juice. No zest. No quirk. No emotional tug, tug, tugging.

I flipped through the pages, reading a page here and there, hoping to find the words that would pull me in. No dice. I put the book down. I couldn’t bring myself to read any more. Not a word.

But what got me was the fear that I write just the same. All straight lines and no curves.  All “and then he did this and then she said that and then he said this” and no heart-breaking, soul-aching poetry.

It’s hard, because I hear all this advice as a writer to cut, cut, cut, edit, edit, edit, make your work as minimalist as possible, as sleek as a seal, and so I cut and I trim and soon my writing glides through the water frictionlessly, because it has not an ounce of fat on it’s body, but the fat is what makes it juicy, what makes the difference between a humorless, artless, bore and the un-put-downable, unforgettable, underlinable book.

So I’m back, working again, working at the balance between athletic minimalism and chaotic beauty, wanting to find my voice, somewhere in the middle, beckoning my voice to surface, to be brave, be indomitable in the face of literary rules and cliches.

I’ve enjoyed spending time writing again. I wanted my mojo back and I feel like I have it. It is so much easier to find time to write now, here, there and everywhere. Everyday I set a goal to write for 45 minutes, even if it’s only 3 sets of 15 minutes, but I’m finding myself doing much more (when I can).

I’ve forgotten how good it feels when my fingers are on fire, when I’m in the flow, lost in time. I’ve also forgotten how bad it feels to neglect other areas of my life. But everything is a trade off.

On to Chapter Three.


Looking back, looking forward


I haven't written about this in awhile. Motherhood. And my little guy. He's about to turn three. Oh. My. Goodness. We've turned the corner, the baby period is solidly over, the little boy period is fully underway.Gone are the worries of early days - breastfeeding, slings, swings, blow outs, sleep problems. All of that seems so far away. My heart still aches at the preciousness of those cuddly baby days, but I'm glad to be moving forward. In the past year we've had overnight dates, we were able to travel and take real vacations. He's in Mother's Day Out now and these little breaks mean the world for me.But it's still hard in totally new ways. He doesn't cry all the time - but he whines, oh, how he whines.  He's very melodramatic - about everything. When he wants something, he WANTS it, and stays on it until he gets it or just wears out. Sometimes he gets worked up, sassy, defiant, aggressive. Sometimes he brims over with little boy energy. The toddler emotions can be intense. I do my best to stay calm in the midst of the storm, but at the end of the day I often feel spent.There are beautiful parts of this phase too. It's so fun to watch him grow - to watch his vocabulary expand, to listen to him talk about his world with growing sophistication. He's becoming more independent in his play and can spend long stretches of time just playing with his cars and trucks. Speaking of which, he is OBSESSED with Cars, Lightnin McQueen, Mater, etc. It's kind of adorable.He has grown so big and tall - he's still big for his age. But he has those cute round cheeks, and he loves to snuggle, especially in the morning and at night, and he still demands to be picked up, and he says "I wuv you, mommy," and melts my heart. I look at him sleeping and hold my breath, seeing the relaxed expression on his face, his pale, almost translucent skin, the long light brown fringe of eyelashes. I can't resist taking pictures of him when I find him asleep. He's so beautiful. I love him so much sometimes that it hurts.I don't know what the future holds, what the next few years will be like as the mother of a preschooler and then a first grader. I do know, that each new phase has new joys and new challenges. I do know, that whatever it is, it won't last forever. It will change, again.So what have I learned in three years of motherhood? A LOT. Here's a random list:Everything will change, so don't get too attached to anything. Don't ever think I have it totally figured out now. Don't think I ever will figure it out, or reach some stable point where it's not challenging anymore.It is so important to ask for help, to ask for what I need and what I want. Yeah, I'm still working on this one. I don't know why, but it's hard for me.I gotta take care of myself the best I can and not feel guilty about it. I've had to figure out what makes me feel good, what works for me, what my minimum requirements are. What is it that keeps me ticking, what is it that is worth investing in, that will pay me back with energy and endurance? In my case it is sleep, exercise, reading, journaling, date nights and time with friends.The days of long stretches of time to myself are OVER, but I can still fit in little things that I love like audiobooks, a quick visit to a coffee shop or to the library. It's worth the effort to pull myself together and spend the time styling my hair, putting on makeup, and dress up more.  For the first two years I got pretty frumpy. I've figured out that it's worth it to spend a little time on appearances. It's not a waste of time. I feel the difference. Motherhood of small children is a season. It will not last forever. But while I'm in it, I have to accept it for what it is, with all of the limitations. This is not [...]

Time travel and other awkward topics


So there is time travel in my novel.There. I said it.I mean, there is not just time travel in my novel - but my novel is all about time travel. My novel would fall apart if you took the time travel out.And here's the thing. I get embarrassed whenever I tell anyone that.People say "What's your novel about?" And if I have to mention time travel I really squirm.I know people - personally, intimately  - my husband, several friends, and an agent or two I've spoken to at writing conferences - who just hate time travel story lines and are immediately turned off.I get it. Time travel is so illogical, so impossible, so ridiculous, and 9 times out of 10 the story lines violate their own internal logic and it's just one tangled big fat mess.And you know what? I love it. Because I'm one of those people that loves time travel. I'll eat it up with a spoon thank you. With hot fudge sauce on top.So it's time to own up. Time to come out of the closet. Time to stop blushing and squirming. To hold my head high and say it again "There is time travel in my novel."I'm pretty much convinced that the world falls into two categories of people: those who love time travel stories and those who don't.I think it has something to do with being able to completely (mindlessly) surrender yourself to a story - even if it doesn't "make sense". It's about being swept away with characters, with adventure, with improbability, even impossibility - it doesn't matter - it's about a glorious story that makes your toes tingle. It is suspension of disbelief.So me - I can hack a good toe tingler, time travel included. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them. That's probably why I love fantasy and sci fi (as well as Jane Austen, mysteries, thrillers, steam punk, and the occasional magical literary fiction).How about you? Are you in or out on time travel?I also squirm when I admit my novel is centered around time travel because it sounds like a cheesy paperback, something with a dingy cover that you'd find in Half Price books, you know? And I am still not comfortable thinking of myself as a writer of a cheesy paperback.I think I've given up imagining myself as a literary fiction writer. I think. But hey, even Margaret Atwood has written sci fi, speculative fiction and the like. And she's Margaret Atwood, okay? (I love her).In fact you could argue Margaret Atwood is a time traveler herself. Have you heard she's putting a novel into a time capsule, not to be opened until 2114? Not that I even want myself or my writing put anywhere near the genius of Margaret Atwood, inviting comparison that would make me cry, and pack away my pen forever.Anyway... do we HAVE to put everything in precise buckets? Literary fiction. Genre fiction. Sci fi. Fantasy. Romance. Or can you write beautiful words that also happen to be science fiction with a swizzle of romance in there too?Sigh. Rambling rant over.So you? Would you read a book that included time travel or drop it like a hot rock?[...]



I've decided it's time to get audacious.

The thing is, I've been wanting to get my writing mojo back since my baby was born.

My baby (if you don't know) is close to three years old now. This mama gig has not been so easy as I thought it would be and my writing dreams have been hard to fit in.

I could sit here and flagellate myself for letting writing fall by the wayside for 3 years, 3 whole years, but, you know? But I'm going to take the opposite path - I'm going to give myself grace. I've been the doing the best I can, and that's okay.

But I'm ready for a new chapter.

I've been trying the gradual way "write for 15 minutes a day" or write for an hour a few times a week. It just isn't cutting it.

I need to light a fire under my butt.

I need an audacious goal.

I thought about setting a goal to write a first draft of a new novel. And believe me, it has appeal. I love the magic of unfurling a new story.

The thing is, I have a novel, a finished novel, that's been shoved in a drawer for 3 years. I worked hard on that. It's my baby. And I love it. And it feels like unfinished business. It's so close, this close to feeling done. Before I move on to something else, I want to close this chapter.

So here goes, my audacious goal is to self-publish my novel by June 1. 

This feels crazy to me. Maybe it's not. But it definitely feels audacious.


A little dose of quirky romance


Because it's February. The month of love. Valentine's Day. And all that. And you're in need of a dose of romance, courtesy of Netflix.

Wait, you're not? Oh yeah, that's me.

Well in case you are too, thought I'd share two of my favorite little quirky romances I stumbled across on Netflix.

First up is In Your Eyes. Can I just say I sort of love Zoe Kazan? She's so pretty in such an atypical way.  I need to see more of her movies. Also, can I say this movie in no way makes sense, but if you just go with it you'll enjoy the ride?

I won't describe the plot here or the setup because that would ruin it. I'll just say: telepathic connection, star-crossed lovers, worlds collide. It doesn't make sense, but it's the sort of movie that takes you back to that deep connection two people have when they fall in love - talking and baring their souls. It's not a romantic comedy, but a drama, more serious in tone.

Second is Not Another Happy Ending. I suppose you could call this one more of a romantic comedy. It's actually a Scottish movie. How often do you see one of those? And I can't help but love a movie featuring a redheaded writer girl. Hahaha.

The love story is quite fun - a sensitive morose writer and a prickly French publisher take a good long while to finally figure out they can't live without each other. She has this fun colorful vintage style and apartment. Like many romcoms, it's hard to take seriously, but I just loved the setting, the visual style, the clothes, and the quirky characters. Now - when am I going to Scotland? Seriously.

Both of these are available for instant streaming on Netflix!

Happy Valentine's, love me.(image)

Putting on my Minnie Mouse ears


We took a last minute trip to Disneyworld in December, a chance for family bonding and fun. This was my first trip to Disneyworld and I didn’t know what to expect. It was like an initiation. I knew nothing about parades, fireworks, character dining, fast passes and all these little ins and outs that make up the Disney experience. But I learned fast.Going to Disneyworld isn’t just your normal theme park experience, it’s a celebration. I love people watching and seeing the groups of people there - families, wearing matching t-shirts and  kids dressed up in costume - little girls in their princess dresses, and tiaras and hairpieces - boys in goofy hats or star wars t-shirts, carrying their stuffed ewoks. I was surprised to see adults joining in too. Women wearing Minnie Mouse ears stood out to me. There were all sorts of designs and colors - simple black ears with red bows, stripes, polka dots, animal prints, sequins, feathers, roses,  - the Minnie Mouse ears were practically an art form.  The women who were wearing the Minnie Mouse ears seemed to be having the most fun - whether they really were or not - wearing those ears was a message that screamed “I’m happy to be here! I’m here to have fun! I’m not afraid to let my inner child out and let everyone else see it!”  I was envious of these women and their bold declaration. I wasn’t wearing Minnie Mouse ears, but I easily could if I wanted to. They were around the corner in every gift shop, only $20 away. But the thought of wearing them was daunting. It didn’t feel like “me” - to put myself out there, to be exuberantly childish and playful, to invite attention or perhaps judgment, to outwardly wear celebration and joy, to go big. So the next morning before we set out, I bought a pair that felt most appealing - silver sequined Minnie Mouse ears. My husband was surprised to see me put them on - as surprised as I was - and my son was delighted and wanted to wear them himself. I felt silly, but those ears changed me. Yes, that headband was uncomfortable, but when I was wearing the ears I had a better time, a better day. Those ears were a declaration that I was here to have fun, a reminder to myself.  Because you see, I’m not really a theme park person - the noise, the crowds, the overstimulation, the long lines, the endless gift shops, the overpriced fast food - that can turn me into a serious grouch, fast. I’d much rather be sitting in a cafe sipping a latte and writing in my journal in peace and quiet. It’s easy to be cynical in a theme park, to be judgmental, to be above it all.But I was here. We decided to go to Disneyworld - to have fun as a family. And I wanted to have fun - not just for myself, but also for my husband and my son.  Putting on those ears was an outward declaration of the woman I wanted to be -  lighthearted, playful, flexible, optimistic - even if I didn’t feel like her yet. Putting on those ears, for me, wasn't totally natural, it was a deliberate choice.It’s made me think about how I move through my life when I’m not at Disneyworld. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Do I want to sit on the sidelines? Do I want to avoid attention? Am I afraid of being myself out loud? Am I afraid to be too exuberant, to be too happy, too playful?  How can I go through life wearing my Minnie Mouse ears? How can I be the woman I want to be, how can I choose her, even if I don’t always feel like her yet? Disneyworld is a rare experience, a world of staged fantasy, but now that I'm back in the "real world" I want to hang on to what I learned and choose happin[...]

Adrift in daydreams of frosting


Today I am struck by the urge to bake.

It started with something simple enough. Sugar cookies. Decorating Christmas cookies with my 2 year old is on my must-do holiday list this year.

But then I started thinking about chocolate chip cookies, and sandwiching them together with pink buttercream frosting. I started thinking about icing bags and decorator tips and sprinkles and food coloring.

I started thinking about making hot chocolate mix and homemade vanilla marshmallows (something I've never done).

I started thinking I should whip up a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for the freezer.

And maybe I should make some cupcakes too - vanilla bean, swathed in swirls of lavender frosting.

Help! Help me! I'm lost in daydreams of Martha Stewart and the Back in the Day Bakery.

Sometimes I think I missed my calling as a pastry chef.

All of this will not happen today. There is laundry to do. And exercise besides, lest my bottom catch up with my baking.

Happy baking holidays to you!

p.s. We did end up baking sugar cut out cookies. Yay! The rest will have to wait.(image)

Lately I've been craving... Glamour


Lately I've been craving a little more glamour in my life.Which wouldn't be hard, since I don't have much. Funny thing, becoming a mom, I've seemed to settle so easily into practicality. I eschew clothes that require dry cleaning and ironing - anything that would billow in the wind or snag on small fingernails or stain. I favor easy tees, wash and wear, practical footwear, mix and match. But I miss it. Being impractical. And pretty. Feminine. And over the top. I'm craving lavender ruffles, silk pleats, ivory lace, tailored dresses, and shoes that ooze ooh la la.I'm craving Paris at midnight. Coffee with kahlua and cream. Chocolate mousse.Jungle red fingernails. Washed silk blouses with high-waisted palazzo pants.White roses. Orchids. Peonies. Gardenias. Anything lush with a heady fragrance.Afternoon teas. Patisseries. Macarons. Eclairs. Frosting piped in frills and flaky layers.Sheepskin rugs. Linen napkins. Shimmering candles. Mirrored trays set with crystal perfume bottles and italian orange blossom hand cream and unopened coffee table books.Fancy handbags, the sort that elevate an outfit to divine. French poodles. Long walks, window shopping and people watching.Sequins. Feathers. Velvet. Sparkly lights.Maybe it's the holiday season, but I find myself daydreaming about dressing up, way up, and going to a fancy schmancy party. Here's to daydreams...If you're craving glamour too, here's a few things you might enjoy: Make Salted butter caramel chocolate mousse from David Lebovitz's cookbook My Paris KitchenWatch Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire Drink a lavender earl grey latteWear something with sequins Give yourself a half-moon manicure[...]

Dear Blog


Dear Blog,I’m back. Yes it’s me, back at your doorstep. It’s a cold, rainy day, the shivering sort, and I’m soaked to the skin, hoping you’ll let me in, hoping you’ll forgive my long absence, and offer tea and comfort. I’m hoping you’ll sit me by the fire and offer me dry clothes, and only after the pink is back in my cheeks again, you’ll gently ask, “So my dear, where have you been, all this time? And are you here to stay?”And I will tell you of my wanderings here and there, the times I’ve been lost, the times I was afraid to come back to you, for fear you would not recognize me or even refuse to open the door.I will tell you how I’ve forgotten who I am or how who I am has changed, and I don’t really know which. And how I’m hoping to find myself again, that colorful slip of a girl with big dreams and wild ideas and romantic words - I’m hoping to find her and bring her back to life. She might be different now, but she is still mine to uncover, and dare, perhaps to share with you.Dear blog, will you have me back again? Follow my blog with Bloglovin[...]

Will at 23 months


He's discovered how to pick his nose. Sometimes he picks it with two fingers at once. Sometimes he tries to pick my nose. When I catch him picking his nose, his facial expression indicates that he is very impressed with himself. He giggles when he puts his finger in his belly button (or mine). He thinks it's hilarious.He answers "no" to every question, even when I am not sure he really MEANS no. It's just what he says. Until he learns to say "yes". Hopefully soon.He's still light on words. His latest words are eye, uh-oh, blue, bath and bye-bye.He likes to shake his head and nod his head over and over, with emphasis. I am not convinced he's trying to communicate anything, he just enjoys doing it, especially when we do it back to him.He still loves the vacuum. He likes to play with the actual vacuum or pretend he's vacuuming with an object.He loves to give high fives. This is something I taught him in an attempt at social skills, since I decided it was weird when he was going up to strange kids trying to hug them.He likes to hug his stuffed animals. And give them milk from his cup. It is soooo cute.He still hasn't had his first hair cut yet, but he needs one now!He likes to spend a lot of time outside. So it's been rough on winter days or sick days when that was impossible.He likes to go exploring down the streets in our neighborhood (while I follow) often pushing a little wheelbarrow or red wagon, or even a plastic chair! Cute. Except when we need to go back home and he doesn't want to go and I have to carry him the rest of the way, sometimes kicking and screaming. (He does do tantrums these days, oh yes.)He likes to swing in the back yard. And swing. And swing. And swing some more. And then do a tantrum when mommy decides we can't possibly swing anymore.He now has much more of a "taste" for kid's tv. I try not to let him watch it too long or too often. I don't want him to be too hooked on it at an early age, but there are days when an episode of Thomas the Train comes in mighty handy for mama, I hate to say.He's pretty independent sometimes, but those random moments when he gives me a sweet hug or comes running to me with a huge smile just make my day.I can't believe he's almost two! I understand the nostalgia of mamas now as I see little babies in carriers or just learning to walk. All of that now seems so far distant as he tears through the playground like a big boy.[...]

A little less conversation, a little more action


I have a balance problem. You might be expecting me to say something like "work-life balance" yadayada. But since becoming a stay at home mom I've figured out there is no work-life balance. I'm just ON all the time. No. My problem is balancing input and output. I have this thing. I always want more. More information. More books. More blogs. More podcasts. More pretty pins. I have an until now unspoken fallacy of a belief that somewhere out there is some "thing" - that magical thing I need that will change my life. The parenting book that will make tantrums manageable. The organization method that will keep my house clean for only ten minutes a day. The blog post that will inspire me. The style that is just so me. The perfect - easy - diet that will change my body forever. The book that will keep me up reading it all night and dying to read the sequel.I'm always looking. I am hooked. I am addicted. It's an internet thing, yeah, primarily. Blogs have been my crack for a long time. Don't take away my feed reader, people! But it also applies in other areas like books. For me a satisfying trip to the library is leaving with a stuffed tote bag. Okay, so maybe I will only read 20% of the books, but it's the promise, the potential, that appeals to me, the hope that maybe one of them will be a gem, the thing I can't explain, the thing I've been looking for, the book with a treasure inside.I not only hoard books, but ideas of books. I have a wish list on Amazon, free samples on my Kindle, a want-to-read list on Goodreads, and a for-later list on my library web site. I'm always looking for more books I might be interested in reading. It will take me a hundred years just to read through my current wish list, not to mention the fact that I keep adding to it..And then there's my recipe problem. If I get a magazine I just have to tear out any recipe that is vaguely appealing. I have folders full of maybe someday recipes. And then there are the bookmarks, the pins, the cookbooks. I'll never cook them all. And lately, I mostly cook old standbys anyway!This might sound like just a quirk. But there are problems with it. I'm so busy looking for new ideas and taking them in, that I don't deeply absorb and apply things to my life. Let's face it, I know 90% of what I need to know to eat healthy and exercise by now. I could quit reading about it and do it, but instead I spend thirty minutes on the internet reading about it, instead of doing it. Not helpful, really.Another problem is it perpetuates this magical thinking, that there is a "magic" answer out there to every problem that can easily solve it, if only I knew it. Not only do I spend so much time looking, looking, looking but I also carry around this idea that all problems are meant to be solved. When in truth some problems are just walked through blind until I reach the other side. It's been worse since I've become a mother because I go looking for escape or for solutions to all the challenges - cradle cap, climbing out of cribs, bored toddlers, tantrums, teething, etc. But I also became addicted to mindlessly searching the internet everyday. When I was breastfeeding for HOURS a day, it's what I did, and I carried it with me, the habit, into my daily life, that need to just wander and search for something. It seemed like it made me less lonely, seeing what other moms were going through. But at the end it only made me more lonely, a halfway connection and not a full one.And then a[...]

January and everything


Almost February? Already? Wow. Here's all the stuff about January. And everything.*via Catina Jane Gray on EtsyI have January-itis right now. That condition where you made grand plans for the new year and then at the end of January realize that you and your oversized ambitions were insane and feel a bit depressed, you know? I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I have the tendency to DREAM BIG and I keep forgetting that mothers of toddlers need to dream small and be ready to drop those dreams at a moment's notice and get down in the floor and have a tickle session. I'm still struggling with how to let things go and be okay with this season of life, this season of making messes and cleaning messes over and over in a circle. This week Will got a cold and started climbing out of his crib for the first time. I thought my head was going to explode. Change is hard for me. I resemble a toddler more than I want to admit. We've got two toddlers living in this house and one of them is me. Uh-oh. Speaking of Uh-Oh, that's my little guy's word lately. He's saying it and saying it. Which is good, because he doesn't say much we understand.Bookish stuff (follow me on Goodreads if you want more)Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel - I really loved this book. I didn't expect to love it. It's YA. It's about British royal stuff a long dusty time ago. And the cover is really pink. But I ended up loving it beyond rational explanation.Currently reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. It had high marks on my library web site and got my attention. It's intriguing and different and kooky and weird - big on alternative world-building. It hasn't captured my heart yet, the characters - I just haven't fallen in love with them.Reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Whoah. This is an eye-opening book. It's a little slow for my book-crack-craving-brain these days. I find myself wanting the Cliff Notes. But there are valuable nuggets in here. The summary (so far, because I'm not done reading it yet): Most of your life is an accumulation of your habits - stuff you do every day without thinking about it.You don't think about your habits, you just do 'em. That is both scary and freeing. Because if you can change your habits to positive ones, then you start going in positive directions, on auto-pilot, no struggling to "do your new year's resolutions". Sounds goooood, right?And you CAN change your habits. Whoopee!Now I just have to keep reading to hear how to do that…Oh, and other interesting things you'll discover in the book - smart advertising people know how your habits work, and they're using it against you to get you to buy their stuff, over and over and over. Now when my new lipstick has a minty smell, I know why. If you want to know why, read The Power of Habit.Reading The Heavy by Dara Lynn-Weiss. Oh ho ho, my friends, this book deserves a post all it's own. Let's just say: I didn't go looking for this book. I stumbled across it at the library and it interested me.It's about a mom who has an obese 7 year old and ends up putting her on a restricted calorie diet to get her to lose weight and move into the healthy range. You get into interesting territory here, not only on body image, diet, etc, but also parenting.I have a child who is in the high 90s percentage wise on the weight charts. This is something I've tried not to worry about, but honestly, I am kind of worried about as he hasn't grown out of it.&nb[...]

Lost in Boho


I've been re-exploring my love of all things bohemian. On Pinterest, but also vision boards and daydreaming lists for 2014. I'm no fashion blogger, and heavens knows I don't do pics of my daily outfits, but I thought I'd share a few of my deep thoughts on fashion lately.*RapsodiaI still love bohemian style. But my life has taken a turn for the minimalist since having a child, and boho is a very maximalist sport - lots of bangles and jangles and flounces, accessories and patterns for days.So I've been developing my philosophy on how to go boho without getting lost.*Free PeopleYou can easily look overdone with bohemian style, like a costume character just out of the summer of '69. And if you don't do it right and you're not a skinny minnie, you look.... BIG.All those maxi skirts and oversize tops and wide leg jeans can be disaster if you're not a size two, seriously. I gawk over the flowy styles in the Free People catalog, but I just can't wear them, not the way they style them. I'd look like a bag lady - a frumpy, lumpy, dumpy, bag lady. Those loose styles can also be very forgiving if you do them right, but how?Here's my secret formula for figure friendly, mama friendly boho dressing:1) It's all about balancing the fitted and the looseIf you wear a long, loose maxi skirt or pants, pair it with a very fitted top, maybe add a belt at the waist. Or wear a maxi dress with a tiny fitted jacket. If you wear a loose top, pair it with skinny jeans or leggings.My favorite is to wear skinny jeans and a fitted top with a loose blouse or baggy sweater over it.2) It's all about layeringThrow a gorgeous patterned kimono or scarf on top of a plain white tee and jeans or a simple black dress and ta da! Instant bohemian.3) It's all about accessoriesThis goes with the layering, but you can make almost anything look boho with funky jewelry. Feathers, dangles, spangles, raw stones, beads, ethnic. Pile it on. Two necklaces? Great. Three is even better. An armful of mix and match bracelets works too. And don't keep things totally bohemian either. Mix boho and girly and rock and roll and preppy and modern to get a look that's totally your own.4) It's all about basicsKeep basics simple and well fitted, then layer style on top. I like the idea of a style uniform, a few templates (aka, skinny jeans + t-shirt + loose top) to make many possible outfits. Keep it simple and you won't need a closet like Mariah Carey's to hold all your clothes.4) It's all about standout piecesIn the middle of plain jane basics, mix in a few uber boho things that make your heart skip a beat - a mexican embroidered top, leopard print converse, fringe boots, a billowy sundress, a guatemalan bag.5) It's all about comfortAnd... since I'm a mom who's chasing a toddler around and wearing his lunch on her clothes, it's about comfort. I need clothes that stretch and cover my butt and cushion my feet and pop in the washer.  So I tend to pick stretchy fabrics, eschew dry clean only, and go for something inexpensive, because it may not last long.[...]

Writing. Again.


Confession: I've gotten away from writing. I don't mean blogging. I don't mean journaling. I mean writing with a capital W. Writing fiction, stories, characters.

Since getting pregnant (umm, that's what? two and a half years ago?), my unpaid writing career has flushed directly down the toilet.

I've gotten away from it and I miss it. And I know it would be good for me to get back to it.

But it's hard to get back to it. It's not like riding a bike. It's like being away from work on a two week vacation and coming back and staring mutely at your computer screen, mouth hanging open, wondering what to do next. It's like working out again for the first time in ages, feeling clumsy and uncoordinated, muscles burning from dormancy.

And let's face it: I'm scared too. Yeah, knees-knocking scared. Scared I can't do it again. Scared it won't be the same. Scared that novel I loved and worked so hard on will be un-loved by agents and publishers. Scared I don't have another novel in me. Scared I can't get my mojo flowing again. Scared I can't find time in my life for it.

But what I know is that there is nothing else in my life like it. What I know is that I've had the heart of a writer since I was a child. What I know is that nothing fills me with joy like building worlds, telling stories, painting characters.

So somehow I have to break out of this stasis and find the flow again.

One thing that makes it hard is that I'm not sure how to channel my energies and spend my little time. I have a novel that is completed and it's a novel I believe in (although, per usual, the perfectionist in me wants to edit it MORE). I want to find an agent. I want to see it in print (or e-print, whatever). And the process so unknown and frightening, like a gaping black hole that would gobble up all my psychic energy and time.

And selling a novel isn't the same as writing. I want to write again. I need to. Something fresh and new.

So what do I do with my time? Do I write something new or work on selling what I've already written? Or (duh, answer here) do both?

Here I go...(image)