Monday, April 18, 2016

The heart

It's an amazing thing, the heart. 

Fourteen years ago today I was sitting right where I am now, in the room we call the puzzle room, in shock. My five year old daughter Grace died from strep in the morning, and friends and family had come to our house bearing flowers and food and hugs. And tears. So many tears I hoped they might wash me away. 

Twelve years ago today, in Loudi, Hunan China, my daughter Annabelle was born. Five months later she appeared on the doorstep of an orphanage. And a year and a half later we were bringing her home. Ours. 

Today I woke with grief so strong, the memory of Grace's hands and smile and eyes filling me. Then Annabelle burst in: she was twelve! And she climbed in bed with me and we drew pictures together. I fed her breakfast in bed then we went for pedicures and lunch and to pick up her dream gift: a sewing machine. 

She set it up and got to work. I came in here to sit and think. In no time she appeared in the doorway, grinning. 
"Catch!" She said, and threw me a heart she had just sewn and stuffed. 

"Amazing," I said. 

Amazing. All of it. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Cruelest Month

My fourteenth year without Grace. Like all of you who have suffered loss, it feels both forever and like yesterday that I held her sticky hand, felt the weight of her on my lap, combed her tangled hair, heard her husky laugh, smiled at her bright blue eyes behind her wire rimmed glasses, sang along with her to Eight Days A Week

My body and heart know that April is here before my mind registers it. The depression begins. The waking at night and lethargy during the day. The inability to write or read and instead binge watch--this year--Transparent.

T.S. Eliot wrote:

"APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain." 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Can you help me meet my goal?

Friends! Can you help me reach my goal? My new novel, The Book That Matters Most, is about a woman who joins a book club to help her after her divorce. To celebrate the book and my own birthday, I want to visit 60 book clubs between August 9 (pub date) and December 9 (my birthday) in person or via Skype. 
Will your book club help me reach my goal? Email me at for details!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Book That Matters Most is available for pre-order!

I really can't describe the thrill of holding a book I've written in my hand for the first time, or seeing it on a bookstore shelf. But it is similar to holding any new book in my hand. Do you sniff books? I do. And I caress them too. I read the back copy, and the flap copy, and the dedication. I look at the author photo and read the bio--the kids, the odd jobs, the education and hometown. I love every inch of a book. 

I hope you love my new one, coming August 9 but pre-orderable now!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Winter Blues

I must admit that here in New England we have been spared the 100+ inches of snow and polar vortexes of 2015. In fact, there have been more than a few days when I've gone without my puffy black coat altogether. Yet there's something about winter that gets to me. The early darkness. The threat of snow or cold always right around the corner. 

The other night I dreamed of Grace--at her little nursery school, Tot Spot; me just watching her play and paint, feeling both confused and grateful--and that began the blues, the sense of sadness that bubbles always beneath the surface. I know that many of you who read this understand this melancholy. And I write about it to remind you that you aren't alone. Or crazy. You are just human. 

As I tend to do, when these feelings grip me I force myself to be grateful too. Not just for my other two remarkable, marvelous kiddos, but for my writing life, which is rich and full. 

Last week my wonderful publisher, WW Norton, threw a media lunch for me and The Book That Matters Most (along with two other summer novels by Liz Moore and Lydia Millet). There were hydrangeas and wine and editors and writers who write about books. Truly a dream day. 

I have so many exciting things coming up too: a trip to Venice, teaching at the Geneva Writers Conference, teaching in Cuba and Aspen and Ireland and Paris. 

Even now, as I write this, I am on a bus to Logan Airport, heading west toward palm trees and white sand beaches and Mai tais. 

Here's what's accompanying me on my very long flight:

Those size 50 needles are for Purl Soho's Eleventh Hour scarf, knit with yummy Gentle Giant yarn. 

I'm rereading A Long Long Way because I'm writing something about WW I. (Sort's the very beginning of what in 2 or 3 or 5 years will be a novel). 

I see the airport ahead. Often we are advised to stay home with our sadness. Me, I take to the skies.