Posted in Reading & Writing



April is National Poetry Month, which means–well, nothing, really, to most of the world, but to me it means for one month a year I actually read a little poetry and thanks to my former grad school classmates, I try to write some, too. I don’t remember why–something in response to NaNoWriMo, based on the name–they decided that in April they would write a poem every day and thus designated it WriPoEvDa. Super genius, huh? Well. It’s a good idea, anyhow. And it comes at a particularly fortuitous time for me as I have recently hit a wall with my fiction. It gives me a writing assignment. Plus, working that poetical side of my brain often helps get the blood flowing in the prosaic side, too. And things work best when they’re both working at once. Like CrossFit, maybe. For your brain.

So: planning on writing a poem every day this month. Who’s with me?

Posted in Reading & Writing

My Favorite Picture Book


Have you read Emily Winfield Martin’s Dream Animals? I was so excited when I saw it in stores. I became a fan of Emily’s art through her Etsy shop, where I bought a print for my kids’ play area. All her art is so gorgeous, and the pages of Dream Animals are just captivating. The girl loves to read it at bedtime, pointing out all the animals she knows (and some she can’t name yet–if she doesn’t know it, she just says, “Doggy!”). There’s something soothing about the colors and soft lines that helps us get all cuddly before laying our sleepy noggins down. It’s so much more beautiful than any other book in our collection. Definitely my new favorite.

Posted in Reading & Writing

March Reading List

I did NOT make it through the books I wanted to read in March. Mainly because I got really mired down in Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. It’s dense, complex, lyrical, and contains a cast of thousands–I guess my brain is no longer strong enough to keep up with that kind of thing. I actually gave up on it yesterday (I’ll come back to it some other time, I’m sure–but I’ll probably have to start over) and decided to aim a little lower in March. So I’m only scheduling three books this month, the first of which I’d really hoped to read in February, which is:


After that, I’ll go a little bit lighter and read:


And then end the month with the skinniest book in my library, the movie of which I have seen countless times (and from which comes the title of this blog–ten points if you remember which scene), and have been meaning to read for years and years and years:


Posted in Reading & Writing

People, Places, and Other Things That Ruin My Writing

I’m at Starbucks, where I go to escape my caterwauling children and get some time to write. Every Saturday, every Sunday, the same seat in the corner near the electrical outlet unless I’ve had too rough a night with the baby and end up running late. Three Word documents open: the current draft, the previous draft, and something titled “What Happens Next” to keep me on track with the plot. Triple venti mocha today, nonfat with whipped cream. I always splurge when I have a star reward.

There’s a man next to me, one small table between us, typing and typing like he does every Sunday, the clicks coming quickly considering he’s missing several fingers on his left hand. He reminds me of someone from college and I probably look at him more than I should when the work pauses. He wears a blue windbreaker. A stack of books on his table, from a glance: a day planner, a notebook, a Bible. Continue reading “People, Places, and Other Things That Ruin My Writing”

Posted in Friends & Family, Reading & Writing

Me and Mrs. Jones


On the dedication page of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding makes a point of thanking her mother for not being like Bridget’s. As a writer, that makes me chuckle. It feels like a defensive move, like she’s saying Please Mum don’t be angry she’s not like you even if she does talk just like you do and have your fashion sense, this isn’t what I really think of you…

That little snippet, which most readers probably pass over on their way to page one, really got me thinking about Mrs. Jones, especially because I’ve read Bridget Jones’s Diary at least once before and have seen the movie countless times (including once this week, to remind myself of the similarities and differences between movie and book). I love Gemma Jones’s portrayal in the movie, though naturally she and her story line are quite a bit simpler in the movie than they are in the book. In the book, Mrs. Jones’s plot arc reaches great heights of absurdity and involves a lot more sex and deception. A novel from her perspective would actually be hilarious, I think. But then, I’m always drawn to the less sympathetic characters in any fiction. And maybe it’s funnier when we have to fill in the blanks of what Mrs. Jones has been up to with her various lovers and her newfound TV celebrity and her incarceration for real estate fraud. Because, given the format of the diary as novel, we only get to see what Bridget thinks about anything, and we only get to know what she knows. I think that’s the magic of the format: unlike the movie, the real revelation of the novel is not (for me, anyway) that Mark Darcy has feelings for her or that she’s grown up in any way, but when she starts to hear what other people think of her. Their opinions of her are in stark contrast to what she thinks of herself, and it makes you wonder what it would be like to see her from the outside–a perspective that the movie later provides.

But back to Mrs. Jones. Continue reading “Me and Mrs. Jones”