TGIFall

I am so grateful for yet another beautiful fall day, full of color. Blue sky, red, yellow, and orange leaves, and clean crisp air.

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Upcoming Reading List

I feel like I take as much pleasure in the anticipation of reading as I do in the finishing of books – which is a good thing because I start more books than I finish, and I bring home more books than I start.  I bring home an awful lot of books.

I’m still reading Inferno, and still feeling more or less the same about it.  However, I’m almost done, and I have some contenders for the sweet spot on my nightstand.

The frontrunner is a fairly new book by a fairly young author: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.  I read a really great review of the book at some point in the last two months, and promptly misplaced the review.  I don’t want to read too much else about it for fear of changing my mind about reading it, so I think I’m going to just dive right in.  It’s outside of my usual genre, so I’m just going to go for it.

Because I can never be reading just one book (I try and keep it to under 5 – but I’m not big on rules, and I break that one all the time), and I like to simultaneously read both fiction and nonfiction, I just picked up Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton.  People whose taste I admire love Alain de Botton, and I confess to having checked out more books of his than I’ve finished.  The bigger life questions have been at the forefront of my mind these last few months, so this title jumped out at me this morning and I’m going to give it a try.  I don’t read enough essays (unless you count humorous or parenting essays, which seem to be all I read lately).  So, this is my educational/intellectual reading for the month.

I’m also bringing home This I Believe: On Motherhood.  I am working up to gathering my thoughts on being a mother.  It is my favorite thing that I’ve done with my life, a huge challenge, and something that I rarely feel up to.  I love reading about parenting, and mothering, and all the paradoxes that we all feel, but which are very hard to talk about.  It is lovely to read sentiments which I feel but bungle when I try to express them.

What are you reading?  What should I add to my list?

Battling Inertia

I bared my soul about writing just the other day.  Writing is something that I’m trying to build back into my life, for many many reasons, but it’s feeling very hard.  I sit down here, and think “What do I have to say today? Nothing.”  I feel the same blankness that I feel when someone first asks me for a good book recommendation – as though I’ve never read a good book in my life.  But because I get asked all the time for book recommendations, I’ve learned to push past that blank brain and start making connections between the person in front of me and our collection.

I recently read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which was absolutely fascinating, and a must-read if you like having interesting things to tell people that take 10 seconds or less to explain.  One of the (many many many) things that surprised me is that food diaries work in part because they change a habit.  They make a critical change that creates room for new habits, and it’s not necessarily even about not wanting to eat something because you’ll have to write it down and admit to eating it.  It’s about creating a new habit, which creates room for more new habits.  Sometimes the habit change process needs to be sneaky, rather than obvious.

So I’m posting here every day, and it’s a little like that food diary.  What I’m putting in this space is less relevant than that I’m putting that space in my day for writing.  Making room for a new habit that I’d like to stick.  How do you change habits, get out of ruts, and make time in your day for the things that really matter?

Highlights from this Weekend

IMG_1065Emmett got to try his first caramel apple!  It posed a not insignificant challenge.  We cut it up for him about 2 minutes later, so that he wouldn’t be mainlining sugar right before bed, and also so that I could eat some 😉

IMG_1069I was cleaning up around the house and found this bag of money.  I think I still have to show up to work tomorrow.

IMG_1072We had a lot of fun playing tag and hide-and-seek in the cemetery today.  The shrubbery is perfect for hiding behind, then jumping out to scare a toddler.  I finally got Emmett to stop climbing and jumping on the headstones by telling him the people buried there don’t like him jumping on their stones.  Pretty sure that’s going to scar him later in life.

IMG_1099Greta was really into watching the Patriots lose to the Bengals.  Emmett is holding a piece of the vacuum cleaner that he thought was interesting.  I wish this photo was a little more flattering of Emmett, but I’m pretty sure that out of the 20 or so photos I took of the three of them sitting on the couch, this is the only one where they were all in focus.

 

 

 

 

Grateful for Beer

Jim took a trip to Oxbow today and brought home several growlers of yum.

Today and many days, I am grateful for the fantastic craft brewing scene we have here in Maine.  I have met some good friends, some interesting acquaintances, and some very passionate people while exploring the breweries and pubs of Maine.  I have tasted a really diverse range of flavors, traveled to some cool places, and enjoyed some really fun times with Jim in the name of craft beer.  And I’m thankful for all of them.

Cheers!!

How I Got My Writing Groove Back

I used to do a lot of writing – I wrote short stories, papers for school, and I wrote a ton of letters to my friends.  If I’d been more aware, I would have been a great early blogger.  I wrote long and possibly interesting letters, often with elaborately decorated envelopes.  I wrote to my friends, i sought out penpals around the country, and I kept a journal.  Somehow I did this in addition to a heavy courseload, plenty of time spent on the phone and with my friends, and time spent with my family.  In fact, I was such a whiz at time management that I kind of wish I could go back in time and visit my amazing teenaged self.

I loved writing when I was younger.  I didn’t worry too much about what other people thought about it – I just enjoyed it, so I did it.  Occasionally other people would really enjoy the things I wrote, and the positive feedback just bolstered my confidence in my ability to write, which made me enjoy it even more.  In college, I stopped writing fiction entirely.  Writing science papers and scientific articles is a very different skill set, and my creatively wandering brain was reined in.  I was busy with other activities as well, and found myself with very little time for writing that wasn’t tied to coursework.  But that might not have been enough to kill my creative writing bug – the real problem was that  I completely lost confidence in myself.

I’m not going to rehash my college woes with any details – I was in with a crowd that wasn’t very healthy for me, and lots of emotional drama and sabotage happened.  It took me a long time to extricate myself, but by the time I got out, the damage was done – my self worth was in the gutter, and I was so unsure of any of my choices and thoughts and feelings that I was pretty sure that nothing I thought was worth writing down, and nothing I wrote was worth reading. I completely stopped writing for a long time.

I doubt I’m unique in having these feelings, and I think most people feel them from time to time.  At this point in my life, I would like to move past them and reconnect with the side of me that loves to write.  The part of me that doesn’t care what other people think (unless it’s good!), the part of me that just expresses myself on paper because it feels good to put your thoughts and feelings and experiences into words.  The part of me that knows that when you write things down you think about them differently and more thoroughly, and start to refine your own thought process.  Writing makes me think more clearly.

Now, most of my correspondence is thank-you notes and the occasional birthday card when I remember to send one.  I got the itch to write a good real letter just the other day, and then decided to get back on the blog I started years ago, and give myself a blogtoberfest challenge.  Can I write something here every day this month?  I’m going to try…and I’m going to not care whether you like it!

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I am so grateful for yet another sunny day!  Summer’s last hurrah is such a fun time of year because once you have a shot of cold weather to contrast with, the warm weather seems that much more lovely.  I’m about to escape my cubicle for a walk in the sun, and I’m bringing my camera!