The Element of Reprise

Here near the end of June, I really must admit that it’s summer.

In my mind, I was pushing back those calendar days as if I could hold it off until I felt like everything was ready and feeling 100% like summer.

You see, the return of summer comes with the anticipation of kids curling into a poolside cannonball, fans queuing outside movie theaters in flip-flops and tank tops, and novice gardeners like me staring at the ground for tiny green leaves. It’s the first time down the water slide, the tipping of a dripping glass festooned with a slice of lemon. It’s blazing blue skies and back porch sunsets. It’s the satisfactory thud of the classroom door behind you, even if you haven’t been in school for years. Continue reading

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Atramentous

I need a title.

A new project I’m working on has outgrown its old one, and now I’m left with the task of naming it again. It’s because of this and other bits of life that have got me thinking even more about the impact of words. So here I am, trying to decide which words will set the stage, which ones have the right shades of orange and twilight lavender splashed with stars.

Like many people who love language—the sounds and shapes of it— I keep a list of words I like. Some of them are on the list for their meaning, and others are on the list because of their timbre. Often, it’s a mix of the two. Words are complicated, infinitely loaded with perception, context, and even your own experiences. Continue reading

Project: Book Nook

Today, I have a different kind of post. In addition to pushing words around, I occasionally push other things, like needles, pencils, brushes, and drywall. The project I want to share with you today has been finished for a while, but I would like to show it to you in hopes of inspiring you to craft a special reading place of your own.     Continue reading

Hello to the New Year

Clock hands edge around the face of our every day, pushing our mornings into afternoons and then into nights. But once a year, we pay special attention to the small things, things like smiles and the seconds that take us right up to the brink of midnight and tip us over into the new year.

The stroke of midnight might go by unnoticed on other nights, but December 31 is special. Of all the 31,536,000 seconds in the year, the last ten are sparks skittering away like golden snowflakes into the cold night. Of the 525,600 minutes in a year, the last one ends with a giant flash of brilliant glitter. After all, everything new should be celebrated with fireworks. Continue reading

100 Letters, Pie, and Reasons Why

Imagine making a pie, but this pie takes a year or more to bake. Before that, you spend weeks looking at recipes, reading cookbooks late into the night, and tasting ingredients. You spend months rolling out piecrust and kneading it back together to try again. After you’ve fluted the crust with knife-edge precision, a level, and a ruler, you begin throwing the contents of your spice cabinet together like a mad culinary artist.

By the time you pour the filling into the shell, you’ve mixed up twelve different bowls (this one with more cinnamon, this one with more ginger, less vanilla in this one, this one you tried the butter at room temperature) before it finally smells like perfection. The countertop is littered with eggshells, puffs of flour, dirty spoons, and the sink is overflowing, but this, this is ready.

With a deep breath, you slide it into the oven. But even at this point, anything can still happen. The crust starts to sag. The filling bubbles over. One edge is traitorously turning black. The whole thing is going to turn into a sticky patch of half-burnt, inedible goo.

But then, somehow, the timer buzzes and you pull a beautiful, hot pie from the oven. You set it out on the table, sweaty, proud, and a little nervous, but you’re ready to share what you’ve made. There you stand, clutching your oven mitts together.

The first person you ask says no thanks, they’ve already eaten five slices. The person next to them is more of a cake enthusiast. Someone else is too busy talking to even think about dessert. Time goes by, and the warm steam wisps away from your pie. No one wants what you’ve made.

For a writer, rejection feels a lot like that. Continue reading