Friday, January 23, 2015

Today's Menu::Munro

I seem to be mightily attentive to my female writing heroes these days.

I can't wait to read "Home" in Munro's new collection, Family Furnishings, which you can read about here.

Or the story where this line lives:

"And such a long time it takes for today to be over. For the long reach of sunlight and stretched shadows to give out and the monumental heat to stir a little, opening sweet cool cracks. Then all of a sudden the stars are out in clusters and the trees are enlarging themselves like clouds, shaking down peace."

Ah, Alice. Happy sunlight, tea, snow....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Today's Menu:: Ruth Stone

Regarding darkness and light, from one of my favorite poets...

How It Came to Be

a bear who couldn't sleep through the winter
fished the full moon out of a lake
and hung it in her cave.
"There," she said, "in essence,
can there be another like me?"
Echo came back, "Incandescence."
"That's it, bulb," she cried,
"You turn me on!"
And she went right out and got lit.
Edison obtained wind of this
and stole the whole thing,
and that's why it isn't dark any more.

-Ruth Stone

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Her Story

Here is the back of my great-great-grandmother Frances Gillingham's sketch pad from when she was  sixteen. These sketches are from a few years before she married a gold miner and infamous gambler in a mining town in British Columbia. She took in laundry to support his gambling habit while raising their two girls, Louise (my great-grandmother) and Mae, and died during childbirth with their third. 

In these sketches: her artistry, her solitude, her dreams.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Today's Menu:: CD Wright

Drinking: black tea. honey. milk.

Reading: this

Nothing to Declare

When I lived here
the zinnias were brilliant,
spring passed in walks.
One winter I wasn't so young.
I rented a house with Anne Grey
where she wrote a book and I could not.
Cold as we were on the mountain
we wouldn't be moved to the plain.
Afternoons with no sun
a blanket is left on the line.
Hearts go bad
like something open on a shelf.
If you came to hear about roosters,
iron beds, cabinets of ruby glass—
those things are long gone;
deepscreen porches and Sunday's buffet.
This was the school
where they taught us
the Russians send their old
to be melted down for candles.
If I had a daughter I'd tell her
Go far, travel lightly.
If I had a son he'd go to war
over my hard body.
Don't tell me it isn't worth the trouble
carrying on campaigns
for the good and the dead.
The ones I would vote for
never run. I want each and every one
to rejoice in the clotheslines
of the colored peoples of the earth.
Try living where you don't have to see
the sun go down.
If the hunter turns his dogs loose
on your dreams
Start early, tell no one
get rid of the scent.

-CD Wright, from Further Adventures with You, Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1986.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Today's Menu:: Megan Mayhew Bergman

Reading: Megan Mayhew Bergman's Almost Famous Women

Drinking: Russian Caravan with milk & honey

Thinking: Damn, it's ten degrees out there but the sun is blasting through my southwest facing windows making it a truly balmy 75 at my kitchen table. Add that to the fact that the kids have momentarily been swept up by their grandpa to go plow some driveways and I am sitting at said 75 degree table reading Megan Mayhew Bergman's delicious and titillating and inspiring new collection of stories, and you have a very happy inhabitant of winter. 

Which is not always the case. 

May you all be warmed by such bright things. 


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year

Happy New Year, friends.

It's been a rich year: wild and big-hearted children, creative projects, work projects, house projects, community efforts and pipe dreams (some of which are still simmering and some of which have flopped by the side of the road and died). I'm grateful for it all--I'm a believer that happiness is integrally linked to connectivity and every single one of these things has made me feel less solitary and more connected.

And yet--I tend to overdo it the dreaming and commitment department, every time. Which is why this New Year's I'm going to focus on less rather than more.

A job or two less.
A board or two less.
Less stuff.
Less distraction.
Fewer projects.
Fewer "yes's" where there should be "no's."

So that I might:

Slow down.
Be here.
Focus on the things I most want to focus on.
Read books.
Cook soup and take walks with my children.

You know?

May your year be filled with light, company, simple food, pleasure in the work that must be done, enjoyment in making things of beauty, pleasure in the offering of your gifts and skills, time to do what you most want to do, time with those you love, dedication to good causes, the pleasures of wine and chocolate.

I can't wait to see what all it brings you.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

vermont public radio

Peeps: I was interviewed on Vermont Public Radio this morning about Contemporary Vermont Fiction. Mitch Wertlieb asked the most thoughtful questions, which made my job easy. You can listen and/or read the story here. I got to talk about Wallace Stegner, and Peter Gould's fabulous story, and my badass mama.

Also, I believe this is now the 9th time I've been interviewed on public radio. Which is utterly crazy, considering I'm a stay at home mom and far from famous and terrified every time it happens and reluctant to listen to my own voice coming through the car speakers (thank goodness for distracting children). But I will say this: I spent many hours as a child walking in the woods behind my house pretending I was being interviewed on NPR.  Which makes me strangely happy for that child and her (weird) dreams, and grateful for these woods, which have seen and sheltered and heard it all.

Enjoy if you happen to listen!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

lake people

Snow and freezing rain today but the light is—still—lovely, and the chickadees are at my feeder.

My resolution has come early, too; it's to throw myself back into writing and reading (as opposed to editing and coordinating). I'm starting here, with Abi Maxwell's (so far) beautiful novel, Lake People. Set in a fictional town in rural New Hampshire...families, lakes, secrets. How could I not want to venture between those pages? 

Happy reading, baking, lazing to you all...


Monday, December 1, 2014

the light of winter

I feel a bit like a wind blown leaf these days. I've been busy of late. Too busy. As grateful as I am that Contemporary Vermont Fiction is in the world, there's a part of me that just wants to sit in this corner of my living room and feel the snow-reflected light fall on my face.

And drink a cup of tea.

And rest my socked feet on the wood stove.

This is the place I feel at home.

Isn't the light of December lovely?


(And because I can't fully let the ghost go, if you're looking to buy a copy of the book, you're welcome to send a check directly to me and I'll send a signed one your way--with love.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sad and infuriating news from Ferguson. Let it snow...