Thank You.

I started blogging weekly, more than five years ago. October 20, 2011– to be exact. I was just finishing up grad school and my first book, Neverending Beginnings, hadn’t even been published. I had a different non-writing job than I do now. I hadn’t met Julia Kelly & Alexis Anne and therefore, had no idea I’d co-host a monthly podcast. I’d never attended a huge national conference, much less presented at one. Five years ago I’d maybe run a couple of 10Ks, but if you’d told me I’d a half marathon once, let alone twice, I’d have swiftly dismissed that as crazy-talk. I had never been to Paris, or Belgium, or Portland, or Austin, and I’m sure there were countless beers I hadn’t tried, books I hadn’t read.

Five. Years.

The thing is though, when you do a thing for so long, it’s easy to just keep doing it because it’s that thing you do, right? You roast chicken every Monday, and make quinoa bowls every Wednesday. You go to happy hour at that one brewery every Thursday. You meticulously move things from this week’s to-do list to next’s every Sunday night. You always brush your teeth before you wash your face. And then maybe one day, you forget and wash your face before brushing your teeth, and you realize it’s no big deal. Or you can’t get to the chicken on Monday and realize it’s just as good cooked in the slow cooker on Saturday. And maybe you break your brewery routine to join a friend for jazz at the cafe around the corner and realize there’s this whole other world of things to do on Thursday nights. And that to-do list? Well, perhaps if it’s not getting done there’s no sense in re-writing it.

Five years. Thirteen weeks. But today, I break my routine.

I don’t know what it will feel like not to publish a blog next week. I haven’t not spent some of the hours leading up to Thursday preparing a blog post for the last 273 weeks of my life, so I imagine I’ll feel like something is a bit out-of-order. However, for some time, I’ve been feeling like this whole thing has just become a little too habitual for me, just one more thing to check off the list and write down again on the next week. Like it’s missing a bit of soul. I’m quite certain there is a whole other world of writing to do out there just waiting for me to breathe some life into it and better serve readers.

So that’s my plan. I’m going to take some space and explore some other venues and new projects. But I can’t step away without saying thank you for spending a few precious moments of your day with my words. Whether you’ve been here for all 273 weeks, or are finding yourself here for the first time, I am so very grateful.

Five years. Grateful.

 

Since I won’t be blogging every week, I will no longer send a weekly e-mail. However, I’ll still be sending a message on at least a quarterly basis with an update on the progress of my latest novel, including excerpts,  release dates and pre-orders, so I do hope you’ll stay on my mailing list (or sign-up for the first time, below). And again, thank you.

 

Let it Burn

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A few weeks ago, on Christmas eve some of our neighbors stopped by for a beer. We were talking about the holiday season, and how much we’d all enjoyed our tiny tabletop trees– all the lovely Christmas tree smell but easier to get in the house, with far fewer needles shed and super easy clean-up. No waiting for the city’s special pick-up day, that little guy will fit right in the large garbage can in the ally, or we realized as we kept talking– in a fire pit. Which, you guessed it, my neighbors just happen to have. Continue reading

Resolute

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I didn’t make any resolutions this year, which isn’t really anything new, I typically don’t. However, in the past I have set goals for the new year. Last year, for example, I taped two index cards into the back of my planner: one for personal goals, one for writing goals. There were ten goals total. Want to take a stab at how many of them I met?

I think it’s likely that you were over-generous in your guess. (Thank you.) I met one goal. That’s right, one. And if I’m being honest, I only met that one because it was set to be extremely achievable.

But you know what wasn’t on my personal goals list? Running two half marathons. And what wasn’t on my writing goals list? Doing a reading at an amazing library a few months ago or hearing from a listener that the podcast I’m part of helped her. I had wins in both areas this year, but none of them were the ones I set down and arbitrarily jotted down twelve months ago. There was an interesting article in The Guardian recently that offered this about long-term goals: Continue reading

Holiday Cheer

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Here’s to more inspiration, friendship, unconditional kindness, and laughter than seems reasonable this season. Also, a healthy dose of wanderlust. And while you’re doling out the holiday cheer– don’t forget a health dose of gentle-loving-tenderness for yourself, okay?

The Thing Is, I Like It All

The other night after a long walk to see the festive grazing deer made of white lights and sparkly trees in the heart of downtown, we stopped at a bar for a holiday beer (as you do). I was all set for an Anchor Christmas Ale, or maybe even my yearly glass of Troegs Mad Elf. A quick skim of the menu, which was at least 8.5 by 14 inches with draughts on one side and bottles/can on the other, didn’t reveal much at all in the way of festive beer (my elf friend arrives next week according to the “coming soon” section) and so I started to read more closely for a second choice. Continue reading

What’s On For the Holidays …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days. (Special Holiday Edition)

On My Holiday Playlist:

I’m more grateful than I’m ever really able to articulate for years of happy childhood memories. Not the least of which are Christmas seasons filled with family and friends. The first notes of this song bring all that back. A few years ago, I found my original scratched-up-sticks-on-several-tracks-vinyl copy. It’s perfectly imperfect and the absolute best way to kick off the season. Continue reading

Rock Scramble

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There’s a great hike here in Virginia, and I was privileged enough to spend a large portion of my life with it basically in my backyard. It’s up a mountain called Old Rag and when we were visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I climbed it again, for the first time in years. Continue reading

Never Say …

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Last Saturday I ran a half marathon. For the second time this year. If you had told me I would do this ten years ago when picked up running as a very casual hobby (5K here, 8K there, that 10K everyone in my city does),  I would have looked you dead in the eye and said “nope, no way, not me.” Because, thirteen miles. Thirteen. Miles. The first time I ran that 10K, I thought that the six-mile training runs might actually kill me. Six mile runs are the light end of the training for a half marathon. I’ve now actually heard myself utter the crazy words: “just six miles today.” Just. Six. Miles. Continue reading

Full Stop.

Tuesday night I was eating dinner at my kitchen counter and catching up on reading e-mails. You know the ones that you know have good nuggets of information in them, but you don’t have the time to read them in the moment they arrive, so you leave them unread until you can give them your undivided attention. Like the ones from that half marathon training team coach, or that person whose take on marketing for creatives you love. Those e-mails. All 30 something* of them. (*May or may not be a gross underestimation of the actual number.)

At some point, I took a break from mindlessly chewing, looked up from my phone, and saw this outside my window:

img_2698And I thought isn’t that pretty before turning back to my bowl, back to those e-mails. Which is when this tiny voice inside my head grew big lungs and screamed STOP.

I put down the spoon, set aside the phone and watched the sun dip low behind that building. The yellow blending to orange and then ending in pink wisps. Art. Perfectly framed in the window.

But only for a moment.

 

Bookends

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My October weekends have been filled with all sorts of writer-ly, bookish goodness! Two weekends ago I did a reading at the Slover Library in Norfolk, this past weekend I moderated two panels at the James River Writers Conference, and tomorrow I’m headed to Philadelphia to attend the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s regional conference. It’s odd how things lump together like this, isn’t it? How you’ll go months without any weddings, and then have three friends getting married in the course of five weeks. Or you’ll go six months without seeing your extended family and then seem them repeatedly in the one month span between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seems like fall is the season for book events, at least in my little section of the east coast. Therefore, I’m officially renaming October weekends: “bookends.” (Get it, like books and weekends …)

Anyway, bad wordplay aside– in celebration of this bookish season, I thought I’d share img_2674some pictures and the excerpt of How to be Alive that I read at Slover, just for fun.

Setup: The scene takes place not long after the death of the main character’s fiancé. She’s trying to reach a panini press on the top shelf of a closet to make herself a grilled cheese sandwich (comfort food): Continue reading