Showing posts from February, 2015

Tax Season, Semi-Frozen Waves, and Beethoven

Today my friend B linked me to these beautiful pictures of semi-frozen waves in Nantucket, taken by photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh. And now I'm linking you.

In other news... it's been a while since I geeked out about Beethoven on the blog. In recent days, the symphonies have been my background music. A few days back, I listened to the seventh intentionally, because I needed to calm down and I knew the peaceful repetition would help (as opposed to the strident repetition of the fifth, which I knew would not help!). Then, when the seventh came to an end, the ninth began playing automatically. I have this problem wherein once the ninth starts playing, I need to listen through to the end. It doesn't matter what other thing I was supposed to be doing; now I'm listening to Beethoven's ninth. When it ends, I certainly do not feel that I've wasted my time. My chosen recordings are Christoph von Dohnányi and the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus.

Have an hour and thirte…

On Writing: The more complicated and unusual the book, the more the little things matter.

The book I'm revising right now has an unusual structure and an unusual narrative voice. For the reader who isn't looking for a puzzle or a job, it has the potential to be a bit offputting. My job is to help that reader wherever I can. I want that reader to feel grounded, pulled in, and welcome in this book; I don't want any reader to feel frustrated and confused!

The unusual structure and the unusual narrative voice are integral to the book, so neither is something I'm willing to abandon. But I find myself doing a lot of other, little things throughout – things that happen on the sentence and word level – to help the reader wherever I can. I'm not sure if these things are working as well as I hope they're working, but I thought I'd share them, just in case any other writers out there are in a similar situation of trying to help the reader get a hold on a weird and complicated book.
When faced with the option of using either a pronoun (he, she, it, etc.) or…

"Mom, It's Time We Had the Talk"

Go listen to my friend Amanda MacGregor and her eight-year-old son Callum talk about sex on the podcast The Longest Shortest Time. It's twenty-two minutes long and wonderful. Amanda and Callum, I salute you.

In case you were wondering, at this exact moment, it's not snowing, but it was snowing earlier and I have no doubt it will snow again momentarily. It's difficult to get around as a pedestrian – there is no footing or visibility, often you need to wade through a small, slushy river, and, because of the snow mountains, you basically have to walk into the street in order to figure out if there are any cars coming – and the drivers are MAD. They are mad all the time, at everyone. I'm thinking perhaps the city should set up seated massage stations at every street corner to help with the frayed nerves. Parking is impossible and everything is getting cancelled. Jamie told me this morning that the Boston Globe recently tweeted something along the lines of, For the foresee…

Five Emails and Several Pictures on the Topic of SNOW

It's becoming difficult to take pictures that convey the absurdity of the situation here in the Boston area. The pictures just don't do it justice (and it's hard to get a full view of anything, because backing up quickly puts you against a snowbank). It's not unusual to walk down a badly-shoveled sidewalk with walls of snow to either side that are taller than you are. I would say that on any given street where parking is allowed (which isn't many streets), 60% of the cars are mostly covered with deep snow and 20% of the cars are so deeply buried that they're invisible. The icicles are, um, LARGE.

First email today from Becca:
This poor dude is standing on top of a snowbank right outside my window and trying to scoop/shovel down into it. His face looks very perplexed. I can only assume that he knows that somewhere inside that snowbank is his car. The snowbank is way too big to show any hint of it though. I wonder if he’s positive this is where his car is or if he…

Two Upcoming Local Events

It snowed again yesterday, heavy, wet flakes this time. I walked home from a friend's house late last night and the falling snow was sparkling; the mountains of snow lining the streets and consuming people's yards were sparkling. This winter is like being trapped inside a snow globe. It is a little bit claustrophobic, but it's also kind of magical. Many, many cars are still completely encased in mounds of snow. We're expecting a blizzard this weekend. Tonight it will be 0°F (-18°C) and I have bedazzled my fingernails for a party.

On Tuesday, March 3,Marie Rutkoski is coming to town and she and I will be doing an event together at 7 PM at the Harvard Book Store. Yay! Do come! The event is to celebrate the release of Marie's book The Winner's Crime, sequel to The Winner's Curse, both of which are SO WONDERFUL, and I'm so excited to talk about it with her. The event is also to celebrate the release of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I HAVE WRITTEN, because I am SO SLO…

In My Office, It's Warm


Two Songs

It started snowing Saturday morning, then snowed steadily until very early this morning (Tuesday). Add an additional two feet or so to the pictures I posted last week and you'll get the idea. At some point, I started taking little videos of the scene on my street and sending them to my nieces in Florida. Their mother, codename: Cordelia, texted me today that the moment one of them got a look at it, she started laughing and laughing. It's snowing so much in eastern Massachusetts that five-year-olds in Florida are having hysterics.

Snow is expected on Thursday. I've been making bread and dreaming of warmer climes.

It is, of course, all relative. A friend who used to live in central Maine just told me that by the end of the winter, there would be so much accumulated snow that it was like walking around on the moon. Another friend told me that it's so unseasonably warm in Minnesota that yesterday, she read outside. In case you don't have a good sense of the constitutio…

The Report from Eastern Massachusetts