Monday, September 1, 2014

On Being Robbed

I had planned to write here about that September feeling that never fails to hit. Back to school, although filled with so much anticipation and excitement, always makes my grief over losing Grace sharp and terrible and fresh. My own personal calendar always marks September as the start of a new year. And after Grace died, that new year reminded me of all she had been robbed of: first grade, getting her training wheels off, losing a tooth; choosing a middle school, taking art classes at RISD, finding friends and getting crushes on boys; growing tall--the same pediatrician who accurately predicted Sam would be 6't predicted Annabelle would be 5'11; growing beautiful; going to high school and making her art; college visits. This year we would have brought her to college for her freshman year and mourned her absence. That seems ironic. That seems as it should have been. Instead we were robbed of her and all her beautiful life would have been. Sam was robbed of that sister he adored, of making more memories with her. Of sam and grace, that dynamic duo.

Almost everyone I love most was born in September (with a nod to my two April babies): Gogo, GJ, Gina, and Grace. So that even her birthday is wrapped up with the joy of celebrating so many people I love. Ah. September. 

Saturday I flew to Atlanta for the Decatur Book Festival (absolutely wonderful!) and came back on Sunday (yesterday). I went from the airport to Gogo's to spend the afternoon with her, then met hubby and annabelle in Jamestown for a party. They'd camped out the night before. 

We got home some time before midnight and I went to the kitchen to set up the coffee maker. First thing amiss: the Jambox on the floor. Second thing, a window open. My heart immediately sunk because in the 15 years we've lived here, we've been broken into twice, both times through a kitchen window. As a result, I am neurotic about locking up, closing windows, etc. I asked Annabelle to please close the window (right around the same time I noticed the coffee maker was facing the wrong direction). Annabelle said the lock was broken on the window, and puzzled, I stacked cans of tomatoes on it to keep it closed. Upstairs, I went into the dressing room and saw the top of my bureau was empty: beautiful Mexican jewelry box gone. I ran into the bedroom where hubby was calmly reading and began shouting, "We've been robbed!" And babbling about the window and my jewelry box. He squinted and pointed: "isn't that your Mexican jewelry box?" And there it lay, emptied, on the bedroom floor. 

I immediately thought of what was taken: my Mexican necklace. My mother's pearls. My father's wedding ring. My Grace earrings. You see, I don't care for diamonds or emeralds. I wear the same chunk of turquoise on a cord that I got in Guatemala a few years ago almost every day. I'm not one for fancy stuff. But what I have--had--was sentimental and important. To me and only me. 

By this time, we started running around, taking measure of what had been taken. Hubby's great grandfather's gold cuff links. The necklace he made me from a stone from MtKilimanjaro. He climbed that mountain after Grace died, a way to keep grief from making him insane. 

Annabelle cried, "Did they take my violin?" I remembered that long ago, our Japanese exchange student had her clarinet stolen from a bus. So maybe instruments were something thieves take. And that violin? We rent it. I imagined how much it would cost to replace it. Annabelle was crying and scared and I ran to check downstairs. 

And fell down the stairs in my panic. 

The violin was not taken. But I have a pulled bicep, a sprained ankle, a sprained finger and thumb. 

Today was spent swallowing Advil, talking to the truly wonderful Providence police, taking inventory, fixing the window. The thief removed a window box and crowbarred the window. He wore gloves. He knocked over the Jambox as he climbed inside. 

My combination if sadness and anger has fluctuated all day. I've cried. A lot. What's been taken can't be replaced. I don't usually cry over things. Like I said, I'm not fond of fancy jewelry or labels. And I've lost so many people I love that I've come to understand what really matters. But in this month of sharp grief, as I'd already been thinking of what we've been robbed of, this seems especially cruel. 

Tomorrow, my arm will hurt a little less. School will start. September will begin in earnest. Tomorrow, I will still be measuring what we've lost, as if it could ever really be measured. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Atlanta, Providence


What a wonderful Book Bash in Westhampton! Liz and Jocelyn know how to make a girl happy, and Jason Mott was a delight to share the stage with. 

On to Atlanta and the Decatur Book Festival tomorrow! 6 AM flight makes me already sleepy, but then I'll be on the "Weight of History" panel at 1:30, and hearing and seeing so many other writers that I'll perk up fast. 

On September 4 I'll be at Books in the Square in Providence at 7. If you're in the neighborhood please stop by!

In between, I made four tomato pies and three pounds of pasta with my homemade pesto--basil from our garden!--for an end of summer party last night. I'm going to post a picture of my pies, and try to also post one from Westhampton, but sometimes that goes awry...


Monday, August 25, 2014

Westhampton, Atlanta

That's where An Italian Wife and I are headed this week. I'm already in NYC, about to teach my first class at The New School for this semester. (starting before Labor Day!?) Tomorrow I head to Westhampton, where Books and Books is hosting its Summer Book Bash with Jason Mott and me:


Summer Book Bash with Authors Ann Hood and Jason Mott

Tue, 8/26/2014 - 5:00pm
Join bestselling authors Ann Hood (The Knitting CircleThe Obituary Writer) andJason Mott (The Returned) at the Westhampton Library for a Summer Book Bash! Ann Hood will talk about her newest book An Italian Wife and Jason Mott will talk about The Returned. Both will be on hand for autographing. Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase and have signed An Italian Wife a week ahead of its official publication date.
Following the authors' talk, the festivities begin with a "shout & share" in which all are welcome to talk about their favorite summer reads as well as vote for their favorite book of the summer. Food, raffles, prizes and more prizes will add to the celebration of books and reading.
Ann Hood's new novel An Italian Wife spans the course of three wars and almost a century. It is a multi-generational saga chronicling the story of the Rimaldi family; from the first generation who immigrated to the United States from Italy on the cusp of the twentieth century, to their great grandchildren. This is the American experience writ small, explored through the lens of one immigrant family.
"I loved Ann Hood's An Italian Wife in the same way I loved Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge - and for the same reason. The interconnected stories that fan out from a central character - in this case, matriarch Josephine Rimaldi - illuminate important truths about the ways in which our families, our ancestry, and the era into which we're born shape who we become. An Italian Wife is a multi-generational masterpiece." (Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone)
"An Italian Wife is glorious. The life of Josephine Rimaldi is the heart of this multi-generational family saga with deep, fertile roots in southern Italy.  Reading this novel was like taking a luscious train ride through the last century.  Full of surprise and wonder, the writing is at turns poetic and sensitive, then dynamic and wise.  Ann Hood is a master craftsman.  This resplendent novel is a grand crescendo in a pitch-perfect career." (Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife)
Last year when the poet Jason Mott tried his hand as a novelist, he took the book world by storm with his dazzling, New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned.  This disquieting and wholly original story about the dead returning to live once more among their loved ones struck a collective nerve among readers. Praised for its "emotional delicacy" (People) and "singularly eloquent voice" (Booklist), the novel was routinely called "breathtaking" (Kirkus), "masterly" (Library Journal), "exceptional...[and] riveting" (Publishers Weekly). The Returned attracted an even broader audience when it became the basis for ABC television's biggest new hit series, Resurrection.
Registration for this event is required and space is limited.  To register, please call the library at 631-288-3335. 
Wednesday I'll be back home in RI, hosting a welcome party for our new nanny and friend the following night, and celebrating Friday and Monday of Labor Day Weekend.
Saturday finds me at the Decatur Book Festival:
Ann Hood AJC Decatur Book Festival at 1:30 p.m. August 30 at the Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage. Drawing on her latest novel, she will present “The Weight of History,” addressing such themes as the ways one person’s choices can shape subsequent generations. - See more at: http://www.artsatl.com/2014/08/qa-dbf-author-ann-hood-an-italian-wife/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qa-dbf-author-ann-hood-an-italian-wife#sthash.CRP7VJy4.dpuf

I hope to see you at one of these events, or at one of the dozens throughout the autumn, all listed on my brand new website www.annhood.us

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My new website!

I am so excited to premiere my new improved website! Same address: www.annhood.us. Check it out!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Come to The Summer Book Bash in Westhampton!

Join bestselling authors Ann Hood (The Knitting CircleThe Obituary Writer) and Jason Mott (The Returned) at the Westhampton Library for a Summer Book Bash! Ann Hood will talk about her newest book An Italian Wife and Jason Mott will talk about The Returned. Both will be on hand for autographing. Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase and have signed An Italian Wife a week ahead of its official publication date.

Following the authors' talk, the festivities begin with a "shout & share" in which all are welcome to talk about their favorite summer reads as well as vote for their favorite book of the summer. Food, raffles, prizes and more prizes will add to the celebration of books and reading.

Ann Hood's new novel An Italian Wife spans the course of three wars and almost a century. It is a multi-generational saga chronicling the story of the Rimaldi family; from the first generation who immigrated to the United States from Italy on the cusp of the twentieth century, to their great grandchildren. This is the American experience writ small, explored through the lens of one immigrant family.

"I loved Ann Hood's An Italian Wife in the same way I loved Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge - and for the same reason. The interconnected stories that fan out from a central character - in this case, matriarch Josephine Rimaldi - illuminate important truths about the ways in which our families, our ancestry, and the era into which we're born shape who we become. An Italian Wife is a multi-generational masterpiece." (Wally Lamb, author ofShe's Come Undone)

"An Italian Wife is glorious. The life of Josephine Rimaldi is the heart of this multi-generational family saga with deep, fertile roots in southern Italy.  Reading this novel was like taking a luscious train ride through the last century.  Full of surprise and wonder, the writing is at turns poetic and sensitive, then dynamic and wise.  Ann Hood is a master craftsman.  This resplendent novel is a grand crescendo in a pitch-perfect career." (Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife)

Last year when the poet Jason Mott tried his hand as a novelist, he took the book world by storm with his dazzling, New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned.  This disquieting and wholly original story about the dead returning to live once more among their loved ones struck a collective nerve among readers. Praised for its "emotional delicacy" (People) and "singularly eloquent voice" (Booklist), the novel was routinely called "breathtaking" (Kirkus), "masterly" (Library Journal), "exceptional...[and] riveting" (Publishers Weekly). The Returned attracted an even broader audience when it became the basis for ABC television's biggest new hit series, Resurrection.

Registration for this event is required and space is limited.  To register, please call the library at 631-288-3335

Location: 
7 Library Ave.
Westhampton Beach
New York
11978
United States
Event Location: 
Westhampton Free Library
Date and Time TBD: 
Use the Date and Time

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Last day in London...

...don't want to leave!

Yesterday we took in the mummies at the British Museum, strolled around Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, sat at a cafe and people watched, finished up with most delicious dinner at Nopi (twice cooked chicken, corn and polenta, rainbow chard). 

It's been rainy and from time to time we change our plans. Love the fluidity of these days, our morning coffees and hours at Foyle's Bookstore, riding the (double decker) buses, stumbling upon Carnaby Street. 

Today: Borough Market for certain. But then? Anything goes. 

Lying here awake, thinking about the novel in progress, realized I went in the wrong direction. Can't wait to turn on computer and hit delete! The joy of thinking. 

And the joy of tea time! At Tea and Tattle. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tower of London

Walked there from our hotel on a glorious cool afternoon. The poppies were impressive! And the Tower too, of course. Tales of Anne Boleyn's talking head, the mystery of the imprisoned princes, the armour and executioner's axe...what's not to love? Line for the Crown Jewels was almost an hour, so we skipped them this time. 

1AM now and Annabelle beside me reading, both of us wide awake. Jet lag should end just when we go home!