Reading, Writing, Talking.

What I Am Reading
It seems I always have my nose in something to read....magazine, book, blog. Here are a few things that I keep coming back to.

I have been reading about the redesign of a popular standardized test.
Redesign of the SAT

This is a compelling article about how screen time in children may affect their brains.
Screen Time

The plane that went down? This story makes me sick yet I keep scanning the headlines as if I might be the one to find something. I know, I know. I didn't say I made sense. 
What we know so far

I also read this piece from The New Yorker.  I can't stop thinking about Adam Lanza's father. 
The Reckoning

What I Am Writing
In between I have been pondering two essays in various stages of completion while desperately looking for a topic for the third essay. The class is making me think about my writing in a new way. It's a good thing, if not a little nail-biting from time to time. 

I have been printing off application after application and making baby steps towards getting them done. I am looking at January 2015 for my start time, which is later than I had hoped. Rolling with it is all I can do in spirit. In real time, I have essays to craft and 25 pages of work to submit. This means there is a lot of new writing to do and some revision happening. 

Big Man continues to interview in the great 2014 job search. If it would mean we move, I accompany him. If not, I stay home and take the day alone to write.

What I Am Doing For Fun
Last weekend we went to our farmette for one night. We cooked and played board games and I read and the kids read and Big Man worked on one of these

which will become some variation of one of these.

It was a 24 hour time-out of the best kind.

I am reading Anne Quindlen's newest book, Still Life with Breadcrumbs. She's a bit of a hero to me as a New York Times Pulitzer Prizewinning columnist as well as a fiction writer. The more I learn about writing the more I appreciate how seemingly simple the masters can make it look. God, do I know better.

I also appreciate how good writing can be found in unexpected places. Some of my favorite writing happens on Facebook. I have "friended" writers of all types. Each of them offers just a small hint at the person they are. I don't pretend to know them at all, but to be privy to their elegant, energetic, raw, honest, hilarious musings feels like the best sort of gift I could receive. If you have never looked up an artist you admire on Facebook, I would highly encourage it. I have learned a lot just through their posts. 

What I Am Talking About With The Big Man
You're ready for something big and moving, right? Prepare yourself for disappointment. 

It was a balmy 62 degrees in Iowa City last night. We cruised the funky neighborhoods. We stopped at a riverside park. We found The Prairie Lights Book Store and stayed too long and spent too much money. We strolled the campus and finally, Big Man and I settled in to enjoy a quiet dinner. Once kids arrive on the scene, it can be a challenge to make time alone with each other. When you do find it, different sorts of challenges arise. Usually it takes us an hour or more to divest ourselves of all the ruminations we have about our kids before we can, you know, talk to each other about whatever we have on our minds not related to say, moving, kids, jobs, etc. Talking to each other like people we are curious about and not just someone who must be forced to endure what you have on your mind. 

So this is what came We'd seen more skin in two hours than we'd seen in six months in Winona. The women's rowing team was running near the river in microscopic athletic shorts and young men in cargo shorts and flip-flops were everywhere. Frisbees soared and lawn chairs appeared on front porches. Sun-starved skin came at us from an ankle here or an arm there. 

But wait! There was more.

"I saw four topless guys!" I said.

"Uh, you mean shirtless. Guys aren't topless. They are shirtless."

"Well, the shirt is on the top so whatever. You know what I mean."

"And men don't wear bottoms so don't even go there. Unless they are pajamas. And most men won't admit to wearing pajamas anyway. They might say pajama bottoms and that would be ok, but I know most would say pajama pants. If they would say anything at all. We just don't talk about it."

"Wow! You feel pretty strongly about this, huh?" 

"Just keeping you in the know, babe. If you're a writer, you gotta know."


We didn't delve into any big world problems or even our own first world problems. 
But we had fun, which means nothing and everything at the same time. 


  1. Those sharings are so valuable. Believe me, I know because I really miss them since we can no longer share; only one of us can speak! Moral: Relish and appreciate the little things that you now have.

  2. Lisa, If you're looking around for the works of budding writers to read "just because," how about taking a look at what my oldest brother has been/is up to with his attempts . . . at least what he's published on his "Howling at the Moon" blogspot! If you're interested, get there at


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