Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In the game again

It's true what they say about vacations: you need one to recuperate from the one you just took. Ever since we arrived home late Saturday night, I've been unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning, and taking the kids to appointments and storytime. Yesterday I even managed to catch up on some of my writing. (Yay!) I've been busy.

And I am exhausted.

Returning home from vacation is always difficult for me. If I could, I would move back to Michigan, back to my small town with its small-town way of life. I don't dislike living in a large city--I certainly appreciate all of the opportunities living here presents to me and my family--but I miss the atmosphere of a smaller town and the sense of community and belonging that usually goes along with it.

And then there's my family. We've always been close, and it's hard to be away from them, especially when I know I can see them only once a year. I wrote a 100-words entry about this shortly after arriving back home:

I've been back in New York for only two days, yet I'm already homesick. Although I can think of many good things about living in a large city, I still miss the small town I grew up in. Mostly, though, I miss my family. Neither my husband nor I have relatives close by, and that's really a lonely feeling. I'm not the type of person who has a large circle of friends, and even though I've made one close friend since moving here--a friend I would miss so much if she weren't in my life--the loneliness doesn't subside.

But enough of the sad stuff. What I'm happy about is being back here, blogging and interacting with my online friends! It was hard to be away for so long, and I'm very glad to be back to the world of writing.

So what's up next for me and my blog? More writing and more writing about writing--just more of doing what I love.

And I can't wait.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm back!

We arrived home last night after two days of travel. What a trip! I'll be posting here again this week after I've had a day or so to recuperate from the drive--and do all the laundry...

I've missed this place! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vacation! or We interrupt this blog...

Despite the title of my blog, my blog posts won't be daily for the next couple of weeks. My family and I are leaving for our vacation this morning, and we'll be away until August 27. I'll only have sporadic Internet access while I'm gone, but I hope to get to a computer at least a few times so I can post and catch up with all of you. I hope you have a great two weeks, and I'll talk to you again soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Today's 100 words:

Growing up, I was always somewhat of a homebody. I attended a college that was only about an hour and a half away from my hometown, and I had no intention of beginning my career too far away from my family. As my graduation from graduate school neared, though, I realized that college teaching jobs were scarce in Upper Michigan, and, finding myself carried forward by the momentum of my friends' enthusiasm for the job hunt, I applied for work all over the country. The result: I was offered and accepted a job in Nebraska, so very far from home.

Friday, August 12, 2011


This morning's 100 words:

After dinner last night, as the kids played in their sandbox and I sat in a patio chair, watching them and reading, I did something I've since realized I rarely do: I looked up, and for the first time I really saw the sky, the robin's egg blue of it, its never-ending vastness awesome yet comforting at the same time, a mother folding her arms around her child. Birds soared, ascending through the blue, and squirrels leaped from tree to tree, dappled sunlight playing across their bodies.

Last night I realized how small I am.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd read The Writer's Desk by Jill Krementz, a book of photographs of authors in their writing environments. As I was going through the book, I was surprised to learn that several of the authors prefer (or preferred, in the case of the writers who have died since the book was published) to stand while writing, leaning against lecterns or high tables and usually utilizing a notebook and a pen or pencil. Although I do tend to pace the room and read out loud as I edit, except for jotting down notes or bits of dialogue I've never written while standing; I've always sat at a desk or table or maybe on the couch, my computer in front of me or a notebook in my lap.

I'm curious now. How do you write? Do you ever stand, or do you find that you're most comfortable sitting (or even lying) down?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Aheila's Drabble Day prompt this week is Dye. Check out her blog for the rules.

For my drabble, I decided to use dye in an idiomatic sense:

Jason was a collector of untruths, a prevaricator of the blackest dye. His life was built upon lies. When he was five, Miss Ferguson asked if he preferred peanut butter or bologna. He said peanut butter because he knew it was the answer she wanted to hear; he actually hated both. That was just the beginning. The lies spiraled, growing more serious as the years passed--lies about grades, about high school parties, about where he was at two a.m. last Saturday, about the last time he had seen Nadine alive. For him, lies were the new truth--and he was just fine with that.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Today's 100 words:

He'd been stalking her Facebook page for more than a year, checking every day to see what she was doing and who her friends were. Each time he breathed a sigh of relief to find that she didn't appear to be dating anyone. Even though they hadn't been together for years--even though he was now married--he knew that seeing her gush about another man would crush him.

He was right. Last week he saw those words, felt her excitement through the lines. His heart splintered as he remembered what they'd had and what might have been.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday's post about the pressure I feel as I try to balance my dream of becoming a published writer and my life as a mom. I was feeling pretty low when I wrote that blog entry. I honestly didn't see much point in my continuing to strive for a goal that seems so impossible. Through your encouragement, however, I've seen that it would be wrong for me to give up on my dreams--wrong for both me and my children. (What kind of example would I be setting?) I truly appreciate your comments. I've taken them all to heart and will respond to each of them in the next few days.

Thank you all again.


This morning's 100 words:

I woke up this morning with an ache in the pit of my stomach, the kind of pain that comes with the realization that something wonderful will soon be ending. It's an ache that fills me with dread and loneliness and sadness, all premature, yet I feel it weighing so heavily. The suddenness of it all, its imminence, has hit me--slammed into me--and it hurts.

My son starts preschool in the fall, only a few weeks from now, and I'm not ready to let him go. He's always been with me--every moment. I feel lost.

I know that preschool will be good for my son. I know that he'll be happy, that I'll ultimately be glad I sent him, that we'll both adjust. But it's still hard to think about right now...

Sunday, August 7, 2011


"But you will come to a place where the only thing you feel are loaded guns in your face, and you'll have to deal with pressure." ~"Pressure" by Billy Joel

Pressure. I've been feeling it a lot lately: a tug-of-war between following my dream and caring for my family. I've wanted to be a published writer since I was very young. In some ways I've succeeded--I was a journalist and have a portfolio of published articles--but my ultimate dream has always been to publish a book--to be able to walk into a bookstore and find my humble words on the shelf beside those of so many others. I've been working toward this goal for years, writing and rewriting the rough drafts of various books and working on other pieces as well, all with my eyes toward achieving my goal.

For the past several weeks, however, I've felt as if my dream is just that--a dream. I don't know if I'll ever achieve it. I've written before about the pressure I feel to be a good mother and the pressure I feel to work toward my writing dreams: those two things compete, leaving me feeling guilty about the amount of time I spend with my children versus the amount of time I spend writing. Pressure and guilt. Some days I feel like I'm missing my children's childhoods as I sit and type at the computer. Other days I feel like my writing dreams are slipping away while I take my kids to storytime or bring them to playdates featuring perpetual games of Candy Land. I can't seem to find a balance. And the pressure to do so--to somehow come to grips with the guilt--has gotten to be too much.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe I need to take a break from my larger projects--but only my larger ones. I could never stop writing completely; I would never want to. I need to write. I know that. Maybe I should just focus on my short stories, on my 100-word pieces, and on this blog. Right now, I don't know if I can keep working on my books, following that dream. I know there will come a point when my children won't need me so much--a point that I dread because it already makes me feel so sad. But maybe then it will be time to follow my dream. Or maybe that time is now, and if I don't do it right this second, I never will. I really don't know. I wish I did.


Saturday, August 6, 2011


Today's 100 words:

I took the night off yesterday. After a long couple of days, I needed to relax. Instead of writing, I watched five episodes of The Real World: Boston, which debuted in 1997, back when The Real World series was about very different, very real people learning to find commonalities and coexist. From what I understand, nowadays the show is more about beautiful young people with large breasts and six-pack abs who spend their days sitting in hot tubs and drinking. It's not real life--or at least it's not the type of reality I can appreciate.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Small towns

On growing up in a small town:

What they say about living in a small town is true: everyone seems to know your business. I grew up in a town of about 5,000--if you counted the outlying areas. My dad came from a large family, and when people found out my last name, they'd usually ask which one I belonged to. It seemed that everyone knew me. Once a cop caught my boyfriend and me parking near the lake, and I was sure that my parents would find out. They never said anything, though, so I wonder if I lucked out and no one told.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The right path

Today's 100 words:

I wonder if there will ever be a time in my life when I feel like I'm on the right path. Since the days leading up to the end of my first marriage, I've often felt lost, searching. But how can I ever know for sure if the decisions I'm making are the right ones? I heard someone on television last night say that she never thought her life would be the way it is. I nodded when she said that. I never thought that mine would either: married, divorced, remarried, so many mistakes along the way. Who can know?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Aheila's Drabble Day prompt this week is Hourglass. Check out her blog for the rules.

I decided to use the idea of the hourglass--the fact that it measures time--as the basis for my drabble:

Jake caught Ava's eye. "Is it time yet?" he whispered.

"I can't see the clock." Ava's voice was low. Speaking was forbidden, and there were penalties for those who were caught.

"What kind of psychopath would do this to someone?" Jake said, louder this time, and Beth, seated to his left, giggled.

"Silence!" shouted a voice from the front of the room.

Beth raised a book in front of her face, her shoulders shaking with silent laughter, and Jake scowled, muttering under his breath. "She's such a b--"

A bell rang, cutting off Jake's words.

"Okay, everyone. Time for recess," the psychopath/teacher said.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My ongoing battle with time

One of the things I'm still struggling with as a writer is finding the time to work on my bigger projects. As a mom, I realize that the moments I can carve out among cooking and cleaning and playing with the kids are precious, yet at the same time, I have difficulty utilizing those ten- or twenty-minute writing sessions effectively. Although they're perfect for writing things like blog posts and drabbles and my 100-word exercises, when I attempt work on anything larger, like my novel, I find that I can't concentrate, and before I'm even able to begin, the moment is gone and something else calls me away from the computer.

Getting up a couple of hours before the kids do used to ensure productive writing time, but I'm finding now that I'm often too exhausted to write, as I generally get only four or five hours of sleep a night. Going to bed earlier might solve that problem--and that's something I'm working on--but I have trouble unwinding after a long day with the kids and find that one of the only things that relaxes me is reading. Unfortunately, I just don't know when to quit, and I often stay up until one or two in the morning, going to sleep only when I can't keep my eyes open one second longer. These marathon reading sessions are creating a new problem: I often oversleep, something I wrote about in my 100-words entry this morning:

I overslept this morning, which has been happening more and more frequently lately. I had one of those heart-stopping moments where something woke me up (thankfully), and I sat up quickly, pulse racing as I realized that the clock said 7 a.m. and not the 6 a.m. it needed to say. My daughter's two-year checkup was scheduled for 9:30, which made my getting up late all the more difficult to deal with. Before I had kids, I never imagined how hard it would be to leave the house on time.

Now I know.

Anyway, regarding my larger writing projects, I'm at a loss. I don't believe it's an issue of finding time as much as it's an issue of learning to use the time I have more effectively. I'd be interested in hearing how you utilize the small bits of time you carve out during the day. How do you make the best use of those precious few moments?

Monday, August 1, 2011


This morning's 100 words, this time about one of those odd memories that for some reason sticks in my mind:

H was a fellow teaching assistant in graduate school whose office was across the hall from mine. We had met on the college newspaper staff a year earlier, and although we weren't close friends, we did talk occasionally. One morning she burst through my office door and collapsed in a smiling heap on the floor. She then began to tell me--very excitedly--about the night she had spent with B, another TA. I thought it was strange that she was telling me and not a close friend, but I guess I must have been the only one around.