Category Archives: 2018

Wednesday Afternoon, Mid Summer

I spend a least a few seconds every day wishing I could find a way back to regular writing on this blog. A thought will dash across my consciousness and I’ll comment to myself, “that would make a good blog post.” Or I will read something that I long to share. And then the moment passes and I go back to answering emails or making jam.

Today, I decided that when the moment struck, when I longed to write just of the pleasure of putting words down, I’d do it. Of course, now that I’m here, the clamor inside my head is such that I can’t settle on a single topic. So let me tell you about a book I read recently.

Over the last year, I’ve been working my way through Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series. It’s also known as the alphabet mystery series (A is for Alibi, etc), and despite being a lifelong lover of female driven detective novels, I’d always dismissed it because of its naming convention.

Late last year, Sue Grafton died and I found myself reading a number of obituaries and tributes to her work. The resounding message was that she was a remarkable writer and her 25 book series was worthy reading if you like well-realized lady detectives.

So, starting at the front of the alphabet, I started reading. In the last six and a half months, I’ve read 19 of the books (along with a collection of short stories mostly set in the same world called Kinsey and Me). Every single one has been highly entertaining. Some have been thoroughly engrossing.

And the most recent one I read, S is for Silence, was truly and utterly excellent. It adopts a different narrative convention than most of the other books in the series, sharing the point of view with other characters rather than keeping us inside Kinsey’s head. It moves back and forth in time in a way that feels natural and expertly crafted. And the story is damned good.

While I highly recommend the entire series, if you’ve never read anything by Sue Grafton and just wanted to dip your toe into the world she created, this novel offers a stand alone entry point that I really loved.

Happy 2018

I’ve never been one of those people who picks a word for the upcoming year. The idea that a single word could encompass the efforts of a 12 month period just didn’t ring true for me.

Then, about three weeks ago, a word starting knocking on the edges of my consciousness. When I would take a moment to quiet my brain before digging into work, it was there. Each time I thought about how I want to be in relationship to my life, I heard it echoing in my thoughts. Laying in bed at night, it moved along with my breathing.

Allow. ALLOW.

For so long I’ve related to life with effort. I’ve believed that anything of value I had or could create needed to be born out of great toil and strain. It was a teeth-clenching, vein-popping, drenched with sweat way of being alive and productive.

There was no gentleness. There was no sense of flow or movement. It was laborious, joyless, and exhausting.

Over the last several years, it’s all felt so hard. I’ve accomplished a lot over this time, but every inch of professional ground I’ve claimed feels like it has been born in struggle. It has left me exhausted and dreaming of a means of escape from the endless efforting.

This awareness has been building for a long time. Both of my existing belief in effort, and my hope that there’s another way to approach all this.

And so, I am working hard to not work so hard. To maintain my production (and with seven weeks until my next book deadline, continuing to move forward is imperative) without feeling like I am pushing and straining with every muscle and nerve-ending.

I will continue to practice allowing the work to come rather than forcing it into being. I will keep you posted.