A Writing Retreat in The Green Study

The Green Study will return on April 1, 2018. I’ve made some progress over the last couple of months on both my novel and some essay writing, and I’ve reached that point where I need to do a final push to meet internal and external deadlines. I’ll leave you with some thoughts before I head into Michelle’s Writing Month (MeWriMo). On Vulnerability and Writing When I wrote about book reviews earlier this month, I began to think about the nature of being a writer in today’s world. If I’m deep into writing,… Read More

A Writer Walks into a Book Club…

I fumed well into the night after attending an open book club at my local library. At first, I was hopeful. There were discussion worksheets with great analytical questions about the book laid out on the tables. Except they didn’t use the worksheet. Many people hadn’t even finished reading the book. After an hour of people sharing personal anecdotes about trips to Italy and saying inane things like the book should have been shorter with no supporting reasons, I quietly closed my notebook. A notebook with ten pages of earnest notes about the… Read More

Book Reviews: Acts of Generosity or Ego?

I recently rejoined Goodreads after a long absence and am pondering whether or not to write book reviews. I haven’t done so in the past, as a rule, for a number of reasons. The first reason is that I have a lot of writer friends, many of whom have written books. Some of those books get an ‘A’ for effort, but not for execution. Sometimes they ask for reviews. I want to keep my integrity. And my friends. Another reason for not writing reviews is that I feel squeamish as a writer… Read More

An Unfiltered Crank in the Study

I’m struggling with everything right now and when I’m struggling, I can get a little grumpy. I’m still working the microresolutions from the last couple of months, putting in time every day on the novel, and trying to make better choices despite the winter discontent creeping in. But occasionally, I need to poke a few vent holes and let the steam escape. ***** When I hear people be passionate about whatever they’re passionate about, I wonder what is wrong with me. Why don’t I have fiery rhetoric? Why is everything I say… Read More

Mammas, Don’t Let Your Novel Writers Grow Up to Be Bloggers

I just finished reading a collection of essays by a much-loved and well-respected novelist. And it just made me sigh. All writing is not equal. It’s a new thing, taking a disparate group of blog posts, slapping them together, and calling it a book. Rarely has this been done well. The struggling writer could only wish for a day when they are so honored and revered as a writer, as a name, that someone would be happy to compile their scraps of writing, make a pretty book cover, and sell them to… Read More

Riffing on Mushrooms

I’ve never been someone at a loss for things to write about, but sometimes I wonder at my ability to overthink things. That’s a lie. I don’t believe there is such a thing as overthinking – at least not in a climate where people are egged on to abandon their own thoughts in favor of memes and outrage. This morning I was reading a collection of essays by Ursula K. Le Guin called No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters. It made me think about details. One of the essays was called… Read More

Auntie Scrooge’s Unsolicited Advice for the Holidays

Now that the competitive shopping marathon has begun and social events designed to crush the soul are in full swing, I’ve grumbled my way through a mall, a holiday party or three, and the receipt of numerous greeting cards with pets and coordinated outfits, and sometimes pets in coordinated outfits. I’m in the mood for unsolicited advice-giving. You’re welcome – in advance of the overwhelming gratitude you will surely feel. Let’s get the respective holiday greetings out of the way. Merry Happy Holiday Christmas, Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Ōmisoka (大晦日), Three Kings… Read More

Things I Learned While Away from My Computer

Blogging after a long break means my words feel as wobbly as a toddler learning how to walk. But here I am.   I’ve spent the last month reading voraciously, walking miles, getting sleep, reconnecting with friends and family, working out more regularly, and spending a lot of time staring off into space. It’s been good and necessary and I came away with a brain filled with thoughts and ideas and no sense of what to do with it all. Think Little I’ve always been a “This Old House” kind of goal… Read More

When You Only Have So Many Words and None of Them are Adequate

The Green Study is taking a break until December 1, 2017. Last year, I went to a lecture where journalist and novelist Anna Quindlen spoke about her writing practices and career. One of the things she said was that while she was working on a project, she limited how much time she spent answering emails and engaging others. “I only have so many words.” I’ve thought a lot about that phrase, wondering if there really is a limit to my creative reservoir. I’ve made a habit over the last five years of posting… Read More

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I was listening to Tom Petty this morning, sad that he has passed away at a relatively young age. His music immediately pulls me back into the past, growing up as a teenager in Iowa. It reminds me of parties out in machine sheds in the middle of nowhere, of awful first dates, and coming of age when getting booze and pot and avoiding pregnancies were all that we worried about. It wasn’t a great age of innocence. We were still in the Cold War. Someone tried to assassinate the president. Terrorist… Read More