It Might Be Bigger on the Inside

The school bus had been gutted, seats replaced by plywood that would make a table and then a bed platform and then a bathroom stall. My stepfather was always coming up with creative ways to use cheap things he’d acquired, a forerunner of the reuse and recycle crowd before it became trendy. The school bus into a camper was the most odd, and where we’d end up living for a time while he turned an old gas station into a house. Our first vacation in the bus was to a lake and… Read More

A Brief Hiatus at The Green Study

The Green Study will return on June 15th, 2017. It’s down to the wire on getting my novel draft out to some amenable friends and family for reader input. Thanks to my skillful procrastination, this will be like writing my senior thesis in college, except that I won’t be running to someone’s office, reeking of all-night coffee, cigarettes and stale sweat, clutching a mangled stack of papers. Fortunately for my beta readers, I will only be repelling the postal carrier and she’s used to that. Until my return in a couple of… Read More

Motley Thoughts on a Rainy Day

After wrecking my knee once again, this time by gardening misadventure and not running, rain has provided a welcome reprieve and excuse. I’m chugging through desperate re-writes to get my novel out to a lovely group of beta readers and a couple of agents by the first week of June. Since I’ve established a hard deadline for myself, I have been busy cleaning windows, rearranging closets, volunteering a few extra hours, sewing on loose buttons, reading obscure texts, and listening to writing advice podcasts while sharpening garden tools. All in all, this… Read More

Wildflowers and Weeds: A Sun-Addled Brain at The Green Study

It’s gardening season which means that here at The Green Study, the metaphors for growth are in full bloom. It also means that the sun has fried my brains and I have little patience for sitting at the keyboard. Still, with gardening comes the thinking, the settling back on haunches watching fuzzy bumblebees search for the first blooms and June bugs, startled and disoriented when accidentally uncovered. So these are some quick jots from the week, uneven and random, sort of like my lawn. ***** It was a tough first week for… Read More

Running with the Bull

There are the lies we tell others and there are the lies we tell ourselves. My lies to others tend to be the carefully curated lie-but-not-a-lie that tries not to hurt feelings or unjustifiably cause pain. I don’t lie about myself, although online I tend to be airbrushed. Catch me when I expected to have some solitude or ride my bumper in your oversized vehicle and the sharp edges emerge. The toughest lies to untangle are the lies we tell ourselves about who we are and what will make us happy. If… Read More

The Churchless Sunday

With the heated-up rhetoric about a war on religion, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve kept my status as a non-believer on the down low. Most of the people I know are believers of one ilk or another. We’re polite with each other and very rarely does the issue of theology come up. We’re not in college anymore, so having deep conversations on the nature of the universe has been replaced by discussions about our crappy health insurance, should we be so lucky to have some. Today my family did… Read More

My Irrational Love of Running

I love to run. I wasn’t built for it – short, muscly, a little knock-kneed and uncoordinated. I started to run in high school track. I was slow, but I could finish the race. I got put on the 3000 meter run, because regardless of placing, you’d get points for the team at a meet if you finished. During the track award dinner my senior year, the coach said “Michelle gets an A+ for effort”. At the time I thought it was damning and faint praise. Now I think it sounds like… Read More

The Things We Carry (and Must Learn to Leave Behind)

In 1993, I dropped out of grad school after one miserable year. I was a failure, barely surviving academically, juggling three jobs, in over my head in so many ways. I make jokes about it, but when I pitched a nonfiction proposal to an agent last week, she asked about my education. I was truthful and while she was interested in my proposal, I could tell that I did not have a good “platform”. For nonfiction proposals, agents and publishers want someone with a platform. A platform is the writer’s expertise, background,… Read More

The Eye (or Camera) of the Beholder

A few weeks ago we visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum that had a night art installation by Bruce Munro – lots of light, a little weird music, and a great deal of walking. Throw in the S’more kits being sold around a fire and it was a lovely evening. We walked along dark pathways from sight to sight, under a clear, starry sky. Light pollution often obscures the sky in our neighborhood, so I took the opportunity to point out some constellations to my daughter. We had to keep finding dark areas… Read More

What It Comes Down To: The Pitch Conference After Action Report

For months, I’ve been eating, dreaming, walking through this pitch conference. I’d never been to a writing conference of any sort, and have long eschewed workshops and book clubs, and lived in my make-believe land of being a writer. This is the first concrete step I’d ever taken to make it real. And it was a great step. That I’ll likely never do again. There are writers who remain oblivious to the market, to the numbers, to the sheer complexity and enormity of their dreams. They constantly send out work and occasionally… Read More