Friday, October 9, 2015

Italy Bound

The leaves outside my window are autumn yellow, and the air has that autumn chill I love. Only October 9, but I can already say it's been a hectic fall. Knitting Pearls and Providence Noir events. Teaching at three different places. Reading manuscripts for upcoming Italy workshop Revising revising my new novel, The Book That Matters Most. And that's just the work part of my autumn. 

But today I woke, did my meditation (thank you Headspace app!), and realized I'm caught up! One class drawing to a close. Those manuscripts read. And tomorrow Annabelle and I board an Alitalia jet to Florence. Then we have a week under the Tuscan sun. 

Appropriate to end this post quoting John Lennon, whose birthday is today. Imagine...

Monday, October 5, 2015

What's better than one library visit?

Two library visits!

If you're on or near Cape Cod this morning, come see me at the Snow Library in Orleans at 10:30. 

Rhode Islanders, please join me tonight at the Mohr Library in Johnston at 6, where Providence Noir contributors Taylor Polites, Tom Cobb, Bob Leuci and I will talk about all things noirish. 

Thank you, Hurricane Joaquin, for staying away!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Exciting weeks ahead!

Oh! I want nothing more than to surround myself with people I adore, good food, copious amounts of wine, and literature. 

Wait! I'm getting that! October 12-19 I will be in Tuscany teaching and doing all of the above! (One spot has opened due to a cancellation, BTW. If you are craving above too, let me know)

Before Annabelle and I get on that Alitalia plane to Florence, I have some other fun events. 

This weekend I'll be at the Brattleboro Literary Festival with Bill Roorbach and other writers. If you're anywhere near Brattleboro don't miss this weekend. It's one of the best. 

And a week from today I'll be at the Snow Library on the Cape at 10:30AM. So Cape Codders, please come by!

I've started my winter knitting, which means hats hats hats. 

The fourth Elena Ferrante is waiting for me, as is Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies. 
But those are my special rewards, claimed when I get on that plane. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Brooklyn Book Festival!

A truly great place to be this Sunday. Not only do I get to introduce five exciting new fiction writers at 11AM, but at 3 I get to share the stage with Phil Kray. If you haven't read his story collection Redployment, run to nearest bookstore and get it soonest. And if you're anywhere near Brooklyn, come see us!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

First Day of School

 Say the words and I immediately smell freshly sharpened pencils, chalk dust, floor wax, new shoes. More than any other day, this one marks new beginnings for me. (Unlike New Year's Eve with its forces gaiety and pressure to find a date and have fun). 

But after Grace died, all of the things I love about the first day of school have been tainted by everything she missed. She died just when she was starting to read. And count by tens, adding ribbons to a paper kite as she counted her way upward. She counted in Chinese too. And drew portraits that still hang on my living room walls. Her teeth were strong, no loose ones yet. And she had just learned to ride her bike. For first grade, a milestone she never reached, she and Sam were finally going to be at the same school. 

When I saw all the kids with their new backpacks and light up sneakers walking into school that first September, my grief exploded and knocked me down. The thing about grief is that it doesn't ever leave, but it does quiet. The pain of all the glorious first days of school Grace missed has lodged deep inside me. This year I would have taken her to a dorm at some college, leaving her to forge her sophomore year there. 

All of that lost promise does not go away, all of the hopes we place on our children do not die. Yesterday a friend who lost her son last year talked about the pain of seeing all the children walking to school and then we held each other's hand and cried. Good and hard. 

But a part of me has held on to the promise that freshly sharpened pencils evoke. It's September. Soon the weather will cool and the leaves will turn glorious reds and yellows and oranges. There will be pumpkins on doorsteps and crisp apples in bowls on countertops. I'll make sausage with grapes and Sam will make his cheesy arugula polenta. Fall. 

This year was the first time Sam didn't have a first day of school. Instead he searched NYC for an apartment, trained as a bartender, auditioned for plays. And Annabelle left elementary school behind and stepped into the next phase of her life: middle school. 

Here they are. Beginning the year.