Posts Tagged ‘growing up’

Spring Revision

Thursday, April 20th, 2017


There is something uplifting about the early spring: crisp air and hot sun or the neon green of new grass against the grey of cooler rainy days. When I was a kid, our neighbors forsythia would burst into canary yellow blooms and in it’s shade was a small patch of vinca, a spring flowering ground cover. I loved those little purple flowers so much. I would pick a few and put them in a glass of water, then present them to my father with a sandwich for his lunch.

I knew when we moved into this house that vinca grew all over our property because there was still a flower lingering here and there, but it’s another thing all together to see our home blanketed in it. It feels right and special. I miss the gardens we’d begun at our old home – lightly neglected herbs and perennial flowers that bloomed throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Some fragrant, some colorful. But the vinca and forsythia and azaleas are enough for now. I traipsed around the yard with my oldest child this weekend, searching out these early blooming flowers, discovering the plantings around our new home. We started up the grill and I even broke out my iced tea press so you know I’m committed to this fresh, fine weather.

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Spring should be the season to review feedback — see where the revisions you’ve made have born fruit, as it were — but here I am still revising: planting the bulbs late, moving things around, hoping nothing sprouts stunted. This winter/early spring has been mostly snow and sick days. I should just give in to the fact that nothing of significance ever gets written in February in my home. But the sunshine and above freezing temperatures, the pastels and yellows and greens of April are warming me up. So! Writerly updates!

  1. I wrote a short story! And I submitted it to an anthology! And it got rejected! But that’s okay! It was about a boy and first contact with an alien shaped like a tiny pink pony and it was really fun to write and totally one hundred percent different from my novel which was a much-needed change of pace.
    1. I thought writing short stories after writing a novel would be a piece of cake. I was wrong.
    2. I really want the next big project I work on to be funny.
  2. I taught another event building workshop in March. In fact, I’m making a bit of a side business of helping authors plan and market book events. Because apparently I need more to do.
    1. When I couldn’t think of how to fix my novel, I made a website for my event coaching business. I  am now taking select clients.
    2. I have another workshop scheduled in June. You should come!
  3. I’m now doing a monthly marketing blog post for the Writer’s Loft blog, Loftings.
  4. I’ve been plugging away at revisions but it’s slow. I hit a big snag with The Month of February and then working through a really thorny chapter that had me stumped. Plus planning for my workshop. But! It goes!
  5. I read some books in January and February (highlights included Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson and the first few Company books by Kage Baker) but nothing much since. I’m currently enjoying the compilation of letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto because I love J.C. and because I can read it in little pieces before bed.

I am almost through revising Part 2 of 3 so that is a good feeling. I need to go back and continue to comb through the rough, messy parts. I was so hoping this draft would be wrapped up in another month or so but it may need longer. And then reading. And probably one more draft (not sure how deep of one, hard to say).


I have days when I swear I am not smart enough for this, that I have nothing original to say. I have days when things slot together like an elaborate line of tumblers, unlocking something deep inside the story so I can see a bit of light shining through from the end, from the place this story could be.


Hello 30

Thursday, September 25th, 2014


“What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.” —from “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros

I’ve just turned thirty and frankly, I’m ready. As long as I can remember, I’ve been content to be whatever age I am. Sometimes I long for certain attributes; the friendly innocence of being five or the desperate longing of being seventeen, but that’s all in hindsight. When I hit a year I think “Yes, it’s about time.” Birthdays also mean cake and new shiny cookbooks and bookstore-scented candles. So yes.

It’s also the Jewish New Year, which is always a time of introspection for me. On Rosh Hashana, which is considered the birthday of the world and the start of the religious new year, Jews begin what’s known as “the Days of Awe”, a period of reflection that begins with Rosh Hashana and ends with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It’s a time for taking stock, making amends, being grateful, and acknowledging faults. Birthdays of any sort are a good time for that I think.

This last year we have mostly been blessed with good health, thank goodness. My daughter is growing into a rambunctious, intelligent little person. I have transitioned into work that is exciting, bold, and part of the love and life plan of all those Allisons ages 30 and 29 and 28 all the way on down. I had periods of anxiety and severe unhappiness. I struggled to do my work at the bookstore despite the fact that the work I did no longer felt respected or meaningful and the hours took me away from my family and my writing. My Nana’s health has been declining. The world is edgy with disaster and it feels somehow nearer than ever – Ukraine, Syria, Israel, Liberia, places that are suffering halfway around the world pressed against our own problems and sufferings in the U.S. It all feels close and terrifying.

Words do that, bring you close to things that are far away in the physical world or in the metaphysical places we carve for ourselves, the spaces inside our heart or our faith. Words that are written or spoken or read. So my main reflection for the New Year, my 30th year, is this: I want to make sure my words are meaningful. Meaningful to me, as a form of self expression and education; to my family and friends as a way of being a clear communicator; and in my community where I can lend my voice to the chorus of voices seeking to share, educate, transform, and lead.

I mostly make goals that are lovely and large and terribly vague. But I think being conscious of meaning and meaningfulness will help me to set realistic, concrete, attainable goals as I go along. Whatever they turn out to be.

This past week or so I’ve been quiet here, but plugging away at the writing. I went to an author event that I’ll be writing about soon and spoke on a panel. Finding that if I give myself the time, I can really engage very deeply with my stories which is exciting. Had a superb-feeling writing session on The Ghost Story project yesterday. Also am rearranging our “library” to convert it into an office pour moi. Photos to come! Oh and people have been very nice and generous about the birthday thing.

So in conclusion: Hi Thirty, it’s me, Allison. I’m so very glad to meet you.