I haven’t been writing much lately BUT I have been reading! I’m slowly but steadily making my way through the stacks of books in my library queue. There have been some misses for sure—I found The Lost Apothecary, Mexican Gothic and The Vanishing Half all overrated—but also plenty of hits.
My favorite book that I’ve read so far this year is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. It was laugh-out-loud funny, which I find is such a hard thing to accomplish with fiction. I just finished AC Wise’s Wendy, Darling, which was so good that I put the baby to bed, stuck the toddler in front of Paw Patrol, and curled up with a bowl full of popcorn to finish it. I loved And Then She Was Gone, Disappearing Earth as well as Saint X, which was beautifully written, although I need to stop reading books about missing daughters because they destroy my heart. I don’t normally like books where the main characters are writers, but I did recently enjoy The Plot, which pulled it off! Some other good books that I was way overdue to read were The Book Thief (how it took me this long, I don’t know!), Ready Player One and The Thirteenth Tale (again, a successful example of writing about writers!).
My second daughter and I have also been flying through the Nancy Drew series. I always thought I was a stickler for the original 56, but we’ve moved onto the ones in the 100s and I think I actually enjoy them more: There’s way less sexism and racism, the bad guys aren’t as obvious, the plots are more complex and they don’t use the word “attractive” every sentence (Nancy is an attractive 18-year-old, who lives in an attractive house and drives an attractive car).
Anyway. I’ll get back to writing soon enough here, but I’m definitely enjoying making a dent in my library books in the meantime!
I’m not ready for summer to be over, but apparently it is, at least in Northern Nevada where school starts back up in early August. My oldest is now on her third week of second grade while the kindergartner (after clinging to me this morning and giving me the world’s biggest guilt trip for sending her to school) is starting week two. We’ve had a great summer (two beautiful weddings in PA, lazy days on Lake Tahoe, the pool and plenty of trips to our favorite ice cream shops), but it’s kind of nice to be getting back into a routine and having at least a little free time for writing. For me, that means working on the TQ article I’ve procrastinated on for the past month. I love the topic and I’ve done the interviews and spoken with really interesting people, but for some reason I have not been able to sit down and actually put the article together. Is it perhaps a sign of my procrastination that I’m updating my blog for the first time in two months? Doubtful. On that note, I’m writing……. now!
I have been ridiculously bad at updating. In my defense, I’ve also been ridiculously busy. Part is catching up with TQ work. We took an eight-day trip to Hawaii (yay Hawaiian air miles!) during my oldest daughter’s fall break at the beginning of October, then went back east for almost two weeks to attend my brother’s wedding one weekend, and my college roommate’s wedding the next. Suffice to say, leaving town for three-plus weeks in a month is exhausting! Lots to catch up on with work and life.
The other reason I’ve been busy is this sweet little girl. My other two are a little older (7 and 5), and it’s been so long since I had a baby that I’m really enjoying this phase again. It doesn’t make it any easier to work when she’s being adorable or rolling around or trying to eat her own feet!
Anyway, I’m making the most of nap times! I really enjoyed my latest pieces for TQ. I recently interviewed an entrepreneurial area mapmaker, and in a separate piece, dived into the history of Mt. Rose’s Reindeer Lodge. I’ve been going back and forth with Kim Henrick, whose parents built the lodge in 1957, and she’s been a wealth of information, stories and memories. So fun to learn more about a place that I’ve wondered about 100 times.
The other reality of my life lately is that I only get to sleep in short hour-long spurts thanks to a teething baby, so it’s hard to justify staying up later than about 9 p.m. So on that note, I’m off to sleep before my favorite distraction decides to get me up.
Today, I was stopping by Bibo’s (my favorite chai latte spot in Reno—the only place I’ve found that uses powder instead of concentrate, which makes ALL the difference) and decided to run into the Freckled Frog, in the same plaza. On Tuesday, I’d gone by this beautiful French country estate for an interview for the Winter issue, and the homeowner told me that the owner of the Freckled Frog helped with a lot of the design. She wasn’t in, but the store is incredibly cute and I picked up my first Christmas gift of the season! Freelancing—0; Christmas shopping—1.
As always, I’m ridiculously behind on blogging. It’s been a busy summer, but the absolute highlight was my brother’s wedding. A beautiful ceremony and so wonderful to spend so much time with my siblings (above), who are five of my favorite people in the world, as well as so many of my East Coast family and friends.
Now that fall is here, I’m trying to get back into work mode: I’ve already been to the TQ office twice, once to go through the Home Award applications, once for Ski & Ride proofing, and I have another day of proofing next week.
I’m sending the girls to school twice a week, with the hopes that I can be more efficient with my freelance work, but also make time for my personal writing. I’m currently halfway done with a major revision for my novel, and am hopeful that a few child-free days a week will help me make significant progress in the next few months!
It’s always fun to see Tahoe Quarterly in unexpected places—in this case, in a bathroom display at Western Nevada Supply in Reno. I was there to pick out a sink and faucet, but if I’m ever in the need of a new bathtub, this model has my vote!
It’s been a tough couple of weeks–life gets crazy sometimes–but I was working in bed this morning and out my window saw the biggest, most vivid rainbow that I’ve ever seen. It was a beautiful reminder that, despite the chaos, life is wonderful, and there’s beauty even during the storms.
Well, I’ve had about three weeks of absolute summer—days at the beach, the pool, the park, playing with friends and just snuggling with my girls—and now things are slowly starting back up. I spent this morning editing articles for TQ’s Ski + Ride issue, and I’ve already been emailing back and forth about my latest TQ story and am now just waiting on contact information for my interviewees. I’m pretty psyched about this story, in part because I don’t really know what the actual story is, but in my head it’s the local version of the Von Trapp family.
The morning was busy, but I had some time this afternoon so I took my dog and we did a three-mile hike up a Galena trail that led into Mt. Rose Wilderness. I’d never taken the trail this direction before (before, it was always too steep and I was too pregnant) but it was a great climb and absolutely beautiful. I’d just watched Pocahontas with my daughters, so I felt very one with nature as I sang with all the voices of the mountains and painted with all the colors of the wind. The trail had been a last-minute decision—I’d planned to do a shorter hike and I didn’t even bring water—so I still have a lot of exploring to do. While I’m lovign summer, this is one of the benefits of real life starting back up: When kids are in daycare and I spend a morning editing, this is the way I like to reward myself!
While daughter 1 is on summer vacation from preschool, it feels like I’m on summer break, too. And not the kind of summer break where I’m pulling out my hair trying to figure out what to do: This is like summer break when I was little, when there’s nothing on the calendar and weeks of long, warm, wonderful days ahead! I know that, for a freelancer, an empty calendar should be a terrible thing, but I sent the monthly newsletter for Star Resort Group this week, I just got my Summer issue of Tahoe Quarterly in the mail and I don’t have another TQ deadline for awhile. I know time will fly and things will start back up again before I know it so so I’m enjoying this time while I have it… days on the beach, walks in the woods, playing with kiddos and plenty of time with friends. And with that, time to log off and get back to summer time and easy living!
I’ve been in limbo with my own work. Part of the problem is that I’ve had so much to work on. I have one novel that’s written but needs extensive revision, one that WAS written, then I realized I started in the wrong spot and there’s very little that can be reused, and a newer project that I was excited about, but is in the very beginning stages. The way I’ve been going is that I’d just work on whatever I was excited about, but after two years switching enthusiasms and never completing anything, I needed a new course of action. SO. I’ve decided to start with my closest-to-done and work down the line, which is actually kind of exciting because it should force me to complete something, even if it’s not the project I’m the most passionate about at the moment. So, that means it’s time for me to start revising novel #1! I’d already rewritten about half of it, so it’s not in terrible shape, and I think the characters and the plot are pretty well thought out. Still, I’m dreading the rewrite: It’s the forming of decent sentences that’s giving me trouble. In my mind, I’m still just trying to get words on paper. Now that they are there, and I need to manipulate them into something lyrically pleasing, I’m having the hardest time with it. Well, that and the fact that, with two small children, it’s hard to find time during which I can focus (an example: as I’m writing this, three-year-old is asking me for a third time to explain the plot of Beauty and the Beast).