Today’s column: “Summer is half gone. What’s on your to-do list?”

july-2015-calendar-imageToday’s column is up at The Greenville News. It was originally titled “Mid-summer meltdown.” Because it’s July, y’all.

July!

Hope you enjoy. To read, click here.

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New column: “You don’t have to call me ‘darlin,’ darlin”

honey_picture_167062Today’s column in The Greenville News is all about Southern terms of endearment.

Enjoy, sugar. Honey. Darlin’. Dear.

To read, click here.

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Celebrating Marriage … with quotes

usOn this historic day–for us and the United States–my husband and I celebrate 11 years of marriage! It has been everything a marriage, I think, should be so far: enlightening, glorious, incredibly hard, and totally unique.

To celebrate, here are some quotes about marriage–because y’all know I can’t resist a good quote: (some of these we placed in picture frames on the tables at our wedding reception)

“I honor your gods
I drink at your well
I bring an undefended heart to our meeting place
I have no cherished outcome
I will not negotiate by withholding
I am not subject to disappointment”
~ Celtic Vow

 

“The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.”
~ Henry Youngman

“Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
And this day draw a veil over all deeds passed over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.”
~ William Morris, “Love is Enough”

“Never above you.
Never below you.
Always beside you.”
~ Walter Winchell

“Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“Never go to bed angry. Stay up and fight.”
~ Phyllis Diller

“To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.”
~ Ogden Nash

“Afoot and lighthearted, take to the
open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you
leading wherever you choose.

Say only to one another:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious
than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law:

Will you give me yourself? Will you
come travel with you?
Shall we stick by each other as long
as we live?”
~ Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”

 

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Today’s column: “Tips on building a perfect summer day”

DSC_0910Today’s column is up at The Greenville News, and it’s full of my favorite recipe for a perfect summer day.

To read, click here.

Hope y’all enjoy!

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Thoughts on the #CharlestonShooting

South Carolina is my home state, Charleston a place where my family lives and where I lived for two years and visited for many more.

But honestly, none of that matters. When a horror like the #CharlestonShooting takes place, it takes place in the backyard of America. It happens to all of us.

I always try to work through things with written expression … sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Yesterday I tried, and decided to post those thoughts on Facebook. My heart aches for the families, for their communities, for my home state and for the country that I deeply love. I am praying for them.

Charleston was not a “wake-up call.” We get one of those every day in this country.

From Facebook yesterday:

On days like today–and nights like last night–all I want to do is to cocoon my loved ones; to cover translucent skin and to hide from a world that has once again become too much to take–a world to which I can’t imagine offering up my daughters. What happened in Charleston, what happened in Newtown, and what happens every day in this country we love–the country we call great–can’t be unspeakable. We have to speak about it. More than that, we have to talk to and with each other about the hard nuances, the history, the politics, the religion, the things we don’t want to to think about and don’t want to believe can be true. We have to stay open, to lead with love even when every fiber of every fear in us screams that we should just shut up. We can’t shake our heads and throw up our hands, questioning, “What is the world coming to?” This is our world. This is our country, our region, our state, our backyard community. This is the real and the now. Addressing the violence in Charleston and elsewhere with more vitriol–whether it’s the violent use of firearms or violent, poisonous rhetoric–has no place here. It is an evil sort of uselessness, and it’s not worthy of any of us. We have to lead with the brightest, fiercest love. We have to shed the crusty, calloused skins we all live in and to be brave enough to admit that facing–and eradicating–the soulless violence in this country is going to take all of us.

 

 

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New column: “Kindergarten teachers open the door to a world of learning”

9572445-the-word-kindergarten-made-up-from-alphabet-cartoon-letters-with-matching-animals-and-objects

 

 

Today’s column in The Greenville News is in praise and in awe of, and in thanks for, the kindergarten teachers. (My daughter’s in particular.)

To read, click here.

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New column: “June is a gift of a month, meant for us all”

mountain laurel skyToday’s column is up at The Greenville News, and it’s a shout-out to the month of June–that door-opener to summertime. I hope y’all enjoy!

Read here.

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New column: “We share our lives by sharing our stories”

listenToday’s column in The Greeenville News is about the stories we all keep inside–and how good it is to listen when someone else shares theirs.

I hope y’all enjoy! To read, click here.

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Recap from the 2nd Annual Novel Retreat at the Vermont College of Fine Arts

logoThis week I returned from six days in Montpelier, Vermont, at the 2nd Annual Novel Retreat located on the campus of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. I attended the Retreat both as a participant, and as the graduate assistant to Retreat Director Connie May Fowler.

Hours of writing time in a private studio, writing prompt sessions, readings from faculty members and VCFA president and best-selling author Thomas Christopher Green, and fabulous panels/conversations with Connie May Fowler and the two other faculty–Clint McCown and David Anthony Durham–aside, there was this:

At bedtime, I got to close my eyes and not open them until the next morning.

Some of you may engage in this practice nightly, but for those of us with a toddler who’s routinely full-on awake from 2 to 4 a.m. every night, it was AMAZING.

At the Retreat, I worked on my novel-in-progress, tentatively titled THE YEAR OF JOSEPHINE SCOTT. Set in 1860 Charleston, South Carolina and in Massachusetts, in the months leading up to (and perhaps following–I’m still in the early stages) the opening of the Civil War, it’s the story of a young woman awakening to her true self just as her world quite literally catches fire.

In addition to working on this novel-in-progress, I got to commune with some really cool, truly unique other participants–some arriving from places as far-flung as England, Egypt, and China.

I also hiked a bunch in Hubbard Park, Montpelier’s awesome in-town forest. Because it’s a disease. Hiking, that is–for me, at least. A nice disease.

If you’re working in the long form (i.e. working on a novel) or have considered it, the Novel Retreat at VCFA may be the place for you. Plans are already in place for next year’s Retreat.

Some photos from the Retreat:

With author-screenwriter-actor Clint McCown on the Retreat's celebratory last night.

With author-screenwriter-actor Clint McCown on the Retreat’s celebratory last night.

 

 

View of the Green Mountains from the lookout tower at the top of Hubbard Park in Montpelier.

View of the Green Mountains from the lookout tower at the top of Hubbard Park in Montpelier.

 

On the State House lawn in Montpelier - Green Vermont

On the State House lawn in Montpelier – Green Vermont

In my dorm room at VCFA. I am SO refreshed!

In my dorm room at VCFA. I am SO refreshed!

Connie May Fowler, reading from her heartbreaking and gorgeous environmental memoir-in progress.

Connie May Fowler, reading from her heartbreaking and gorgeous environmental memoir-in progress.

 

Clint McCown, regarding from something hilarious.

Clint McCown, regarding from something hilarious in-progress.

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New column today: “It’s time for a technology break”

smartphoneToday’s column in The Greenville News is a plea for all of us — myself most definitely included — to put down our smart phones and look UP.

To read it, click here.

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