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Not Friday Five

My most recent newsletter (click to subscribe) outlines a little bit about my reasons for being quiet around these parts lately. I’m restructuring some priorities, to put it mildly.

It’s no wonder then that the links in my inbox that catch my eye talk about change and restlessness and anxiety (also, that’s just pretty much the nature of my inbox in general, but I digress).

The words that have resonated recently:

  1. What if the work we see to do isn’t a burden but the way we were meant to be in the world? What If by Austin Channing Brown.
  2. Jenny Lawson is one of my favorite people on the planet. This post makes me out-of-my-mind happy. I want this so bad for her (and the rest of us).
  3. Maybe you’re going through (or thinking about initiating) a major life change. Adjustment disorder is not so rare. Consider talking to someone about it.
  4. The only business plan that matters? Keep going – from Over the Rhine.
  5. Wil Gafney’s sermon on Michal is exactly what I needed to hear. Maybe you do, too.

24in48 is coming up next weekend, so I’ll see you again then, if not before. I hope you’ve had a great weekend!

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Favorite thing about summer. FAVORITE.

Fresh peaches that practically burst when you touch them. Snow cones. Festivals and retreats and reunions. Lounging and reading. Air conditioning (because it’s already dabbling in triple digits here and Lord have mercy).

Ah, summer.

I don’t have to talk myself into fall and winter. I have made my peace with spring being my least favorite season, because allergies.

But the people looooove summer. And I just…don’t. But I also know how annoying it is to me when people complain about winter (just…shhhh. Let me enjoy the five minutes a year I’m not in a constant state of sweat and nausea in peace). Therefore, in the interest of not being the gnat swarm at everyone’s picnic, I decided to follow Joy the Baker’s lead and make a summer bucket list.

I know the purpose of a bucket list is typically accomplishment, and there’s an element of that in here. Mostly, though, this is a list of the things I’m looking forward to doing this summer.

  • Finishing Fishbowl. I’m super close to finishing my first rough draft of a full-length novel. Like…within-the-next-couple-of-weeks close. I’ve been playing with this manuscript for so long that I can’t imagine it being finished (well, the first step of finished, anyway). And it may expand in the editing process later, as I have pesky notes of a side view, and I’ll have to read it through to know if that’s a distraction or an important part of the story. But the bones will be written. So, so soon.
  • Road trip to Virginia to the writers’ retreat where I will be presenting my workshop. There are still spaces available, and you can read about it and register here.
  • Leave the house on purpose at least twice a week for fun. Not because I have work or errands or a meeting. Just to join civilization. It’s not something I need to do every day, but life is richer when I get out regularly. Summer is an easier time to do that.
  • 3rd annual Hemingway party. There may be dancing this year. There will definitely be alcohol and mixers and lots of food.
  • 24in48 reading challenge! July 21-22. Sign-ups are coming soon. I’ll keep you posted.
  • High school reunion in July.

I also need to settle into a better daily rhythm with the things I know that feed my soul. I started off well in January, but the goals have sort of fizzled. No, that’s an understatement. My resolutions tracking sheet (post forthcoming) is a desert. As most of the resolutions I set are activities designed to help me maintain balance and sanity, it makes sense that I have been scattered (tidy euphemism) as of late. I’ve been in survival mode for about three months. I know that there are other factors involved, so getting back to stability is not as simple as checking things off a daily to-do list, but the things on the list can help.

What are you doing this summer?

 

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The clock has stopped. A glass of wine has been poured. My laptop is making a weird frog-like noise (probably because it’s been on idle for most of the day) that’s oddly soothing. Unless it crashes. (Please don’t crash.)

I’m 10 hours shy of my goal, but looking back at the weekend, that’s not at all surprising. I left home too often. Then when I returned, it took me a while to get back into my reading rhythm. The fourteen hours I spent reading, though? Still bliss. So I’m happy.

Things I learned this go around:

  1. Hey, self – if you actually want to read 24 hours in two days, maybe don’t go do other things. Stay home. And don’t plan extra things to do at home, either (like taking extra SEO assignments when I actively planned – meaning, wrote “Don’t take SEO assignments” in bold, serious letters in my planner – not to). Except…
    a. If I just want to read a lot one weekend and also do other things, that’s okay, too.
    b. I’m not mad about the $35 I earned this afternoon, either.
    c. I made it to the gym and actually used the weight machines in a non-haphazard fashion (i.e., actually paid attention and worked out every major muscle group). So *pats self on back*
  2. While cozy romance mysteries are not my usual cup of tea, they are a delicious treat every once in a while.
  3. My hands smell like faux basil. I need to never buy this hand soap again. This doesn’t have much to do with reading, except I washed my hands to get the oil from the popcorn off before switching from audio book to tangible book. And now, an hour and a half later, the odor is still so strong it’s distracting me. Hey, does anyone local want some basil hand soap (now that I’ve talked it up so nicely)?
  4. I love decorating books so much. They make me want to clean and rearrange everything and also go to yard sales. Not on reading weekends, though. *whispers* I totally would have hit a yard sale or two yesterday morning if I had started with The Nesting Place.
  5. Gabrielle Union is delightful. And I am glad that the audio book allowed me to get some laundry and dishes done.
  6. AUDIO BOOKS TAKE SO MUCH TIME TO GET THROUGH.
  7. When you are making beef stew, don’t get so engrossed in the audio book you are listening to that you use chicken stock instead of beef stock. They are not interchangeable. The result is still perfectly edible but odd. I do not recommend it.

I hope your weekend was lovely, regardless of what it entailed.

 

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Prompt: “For this challenge, we want to see the first book on your shelves, and the last book on your shelves.”

My shelves are arranged in a mostly logical fashion. My first couple of bookshelves hold fiction, which is organized by the author’s last name. Watership Down, therefore, is the first book on my fiction shelves.

After fiction, the next bookcase houses collections. It includes some fiction – short story collections, plays, and fiction series. It also includes poetry, essay collections, and letters.

The nonfiction case is organized by general topic. It’s not Dewey Decimal specific, but it’s pretty close. It’s also outgrowing its allotted area, so it may be time to start shopping for more bookshelves (YAY).

The last bookcase holds food books. Their arrangement is probably the most practical of the categories. On the top shelves are foodie fiction and memoir. In order to land on these shelves and not on the fiction or nonfiction shelves, they must contain at least one recipe, because this bookcase is right outside my kitchen. Until I move again, there will probably come a time when the top two shelves have to move to the library, as there’s only room for the one bookcase on that wall.

The bottom shelves hold cookbooks, organized somewhat by category, but mostly just by size. Smaller tomes go on higher shelves and larger ones (like the giant collection from Gourmet pictured above) go on the bottom. Because physics. And, to a lesser degree, because it just looks better.

What’s first and last on your bookshelves? How do you arrange them?

 

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The goal for this weekend is fun reading. I’m going to tuck into some romance/mysteries, read a couple of memoirs, a little bit of poetry (I’m going to try to read the side in Spanish first, a baby step toward my resolution), and decorating books, which I love almost as much as cookbooks.

Not pictured in the stack – one of my Audible selections when I get tired of sitting and maybe a little trip down memory lane with the Boxcar Children.

Are you participating in the Readathon? It’s not too late to join. You can still win prizes even if you don’t finish the whole 24 hours.

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Friday Five2

I spent today shopping for future book club books and completing my meal planning, budget, and writing calendars for January, so I am prepped and ready for the new year. I will complete the obligatory year-in-review post on Sunday, but I’m looking forward to the year ahead. Here are some things that resonate with my 2017 and some things I’m excited about in 2018.

  1. I LOOOOVE this piece by Jess Zimmerman on Catapult on claiming your complexity. This sums up a lot of what I have journaled secretly in this year of wild. I’m still picking apart what to let loose and what to keep, if not hidden, then at least secluded.
  2. My favorite food author this year (and easily top five every other year I’ve been reading her) is Joy Wilson. I haven’t done as much cooking this year as in the past (my kitchen and I haven’t quite meshed yet. We have issues.), but her writing has made me remember that I do love it and will find my groove and get back to it someday. I love her blog. I loved both Over Easy (coffee, breakfast, and cocktails) and Homemade Decadence (soooo many desserts – it almost has me convinced I can make a cake and not screw it up).
  3. Modern Mrs. Darcy has her reading challenge for 2018 posted! Yay!
  4. So does Book Riot! Yay!
  5. And the thing I am looking forward to the most next month? The 24in48 Readathon! Good time to get a jump start on those reading challenges. Sign-ups are open. Let me know if you sign up so we can read together. I mean, not together. Separately in our own houses. But at the same time.

What are you looking forward to in the next month?

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My #24in48 Recap

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*theme music to Rocky playing in background*

I have been excited about this weekend since I heard about it in early July, and it lived up to my every expectation. The only way this weekend could have been better is if I had taken my books to a hotel with good room service near a beach. Maybe next time.

To prepare to read for 24 of the 48 hours in a weekend, I gathered a lot of books. I expected that I would read a little bit from most of them, switching things up as my attention waned. This was not the case for most of the time, though. I finished A Year in Provence, and then I savored Milk and Honey, reading it slowly and in the case of some of the poems, over and over. I finished the day (erm, next morning – it was definitely after sunrise when I went to sleep) devouring Love, Loss, and What We Ate. My reading on day two, however, was a little more like I’d planned. I listened to most of Roxane Gay’s Hunger on audio while cleaning, read the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Nayyirah Waheed, and spent a half hour here and there on several other items on my read-next list.

What I learned from reading all weekend:

  1. Is there a job where I can do this all the time? I feel like I’d be fantastic at it.
  2. 24 hours, even with breaks, is a loooong time to sit. Fine. I relent. Audiobooks can be your friend.
  3. It’s been really easy to eat well this weekend. It turns out that holding a book distracts me/keeps my hands busy enough that I don’t eat mindlessly. I’m almost annoyed that my secret to eating better is something as fun and simple as reading a lot. It seems I could have figured that out a while ago.
  4. I need poetry. I’ve been super stressed out lately, but halfway through Milk and Honey, I was completely relaxed. And those are not exactly soothing verses. There’s something about the way poetry captures language that slows me down and quiets me. I prescribe more poetry reading.
  5. I can’t speak for all writers, but for me, reading inspires writing. In addition to reading for a whole day, I have written more – poetry, my fiction WIP, future blog posts – this weekend than the rest of the days this month combined. I’m thinking of starting a practice of one wordy weekend a month. Oh, introvert bliss!

I loved this weekend. It was just what I needed.

 

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