Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cuba!

Just home from amazing Cuba! Truly amazing. 

Highlights:
Spending 10 days with Alden Jones and Tim Weed and our fabulous group of writers. 
Roast pig. 
Bike taxis. 
Havana Havana Havana. 
Club Havana 7 year rum. 
Seeing sigourney weaver at San cristobal last night. 
Buena Vista Social Club. 
The dancers, the painters, the singers
Laughing. A lot. 
Crying. A lot. 
Cigars. 
Hemingway. 
The people. 
Che. 
The story. 
Palm trees and tamarind trees everywhere. 
Sugar cane coffee stirrers. 
The bus. 
The old cars. Of course. 
Mojitos. Free!
The old elevator in our hotel. 
Hemingway daiquiris. 
Well. Everything. 

Pictures are posted on Facebook and Instagram. But here's two. 



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

These simple holidays, when flowers and greeting cards are everywhere, can slay us. I'm sitting here on a chilly morning remembering the first Mother's Day after Grace had died just three short weeks earlier. How I sat stunned holding tulips. How I could not wrap my brain around any of what had swept through my family and knocked us to our knees. 

Today, children of all ages without mothers and mothers without their children will mean a kick in the heart. 

But I hope too we can celebrate what we had. The joys of a mother's hug, her hand on our fevered foreheads, her happy face. The joys of our child's hand in ours, her voice saying Mama, her curled up on our laps. 

Typically on Mother's Day I post a picture of my feisty fabulous 84 year old mother, Gogo. But today I posted pictures of my three kids: Sam, Grace, and Annabelle. I posted them with gratitude. And a heart overflowing with love. 




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 amhood@gmail.com 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!