Sunday, June 26, 2016

I love book clubs!

And I wrote about why in Parade this week!

http://parade.com/486461/annhood/ann-hood-why-we-love-book-clubs/

Friday, June 24, 2016

The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby

Do you recognize that? If you're a John Denver fan like me then you know it's from Rocky Mountain High. Yup! I've been in Colorado all week, teaching at the lovely Aspen Words. My beginning fiction workshop has dazzled me every day with their bravery, talent, and general wonderfulness. And while I'm teaching and paneling, Annabelle has been tracking bears and building beaver dams at ACES camp. 

Today the first leg of our summer adventure ends as we head home. What a great start to summer! 

We are in the midst of big life changes, which I'll write about later when all the dust settles. For now, we are sadly packing up our Aspen condo and bidding goodbye to the mountains. I love how it rains puffs of cotton from the cottonwood trees here...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The man in the street

Yesterday was one of the more stressful days in a long string of stressful days. At 3:00 I had to drive an hour to a book club in a little seaside town here, and I was kind of looking forward to the drive: no emails, no pressures, maybe just saw classical music or Alec Baldwin on podcast and me. 

I was on Route 1, the beach road, a two lane 55 mile an hour road with a grassy median and then two lanes heading the other direction, and I saw a man on the median. He looked nervous as he watched the traffic heading south--my car among it. I wondered why he didn't cross when there was a break. Then, my car fast approaching, he threw himself into my lane. I mean, he did a belly flop smack onto the road and stayed there. 

I both braked and swerved into the other lane, and the man began to roll and then crawl across the road, finally crawling into the nearby woods. Miraculously, I didn't hit him or even come close to hitting him. But I realized in the shock that followed that was he wanted. He didn't try to run across the busy road; he threw himself onto it. In front of me. 

I know I should make something of this, some realization about life and death or the human condition. I should take inspiration from it: I'm going through a lot right now but we all need to keep going, or some such. But I have had no epiphany. Just the image of that man, scared, jumping. 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer on its way

After a busy, jet setting May I'm looking forward to a calmer June. Though my frequent flyer miles will keep stacking up this summer. The first couple of weeks will find me at home cheering Annabelle on to the end of sixth grade, seeing friends and plays in NYC, and catching my breath. Then summer begins with Annabelle and I heading to Aspen (Aspen Words for me, camp for her), Castle Hill in Truro, Chautauqua, Paris, and Dingle Ireland. 

My teaching schedule will be posted on my website soon. But my book tour schedule for The Book That Matters Most, which is published August 9, is there now! Lots of exciting events ahead! So I'll take this pause in travel to read and knit and cook and laugh with Annabelle. 

Hope to see you in the classroom or at a book event in the next few months!

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.