Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In was one of my favorite books of 2013.
It’s nice to get out of the studio sometimes and write somewhere different. A change in perspective can kick start the creative juices and create renewed focus.
Coffeehouses seem ideal for writing poetry. There’s just something about the smell of coffee and the introspective atmosphere. Maybe it has something to do with the rich history of coffeehouse culture that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Maybe it has something to do with what William S. Burroughs quipped:
“Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million pairs of Levis to both sexes.”
Or maybe it’s just that I’m Swedish, and we Swedes are known for our coffee habit.
In any event, I headed to the ever-expanding Swedish coffeehouse chain FIKA for a latte, a semla (the pastry pictures in the photograph), and some writing and editing. I hope to have a new poem to share with the world soon.
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I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected to lead a discussion at this year’s Festival of Women Writers in Hobart, New York!
The class I’m teaching will be called Literary Relationships: Writing in, into, and to Community.
Here is the description:::
I received this bath caddy as a gift and have been using it almost every night. Reading in the tub has been a great way to unwind and squeeze a bit more literature into my life.
A few months before that, I was quoted on Twitter about my bathtub rituals, so it was quite an appropriate gift.
March is National Women’s History Month. I’ll be posting quotes by women writers each Monday of the month.
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I had a nightmarish situation at the train station the other night. I went out to Connecticut to visit a dear friend, and we got so wrapped up in conversation that I almost missed the last train of the night. She rushed me to the train station, where there were several others also waiting for the train.
Sigh of relief. I made it.
I ran to the ticket kiosk and purchased my ticket back to Grand Central. I thought I was just in the nick of time. The train would be pulling into the station any second.
But it didn’t.
Conversations with the several other confused bystanders led to various theories: the train had left early, the train was delayed. An app and the MTA website both said the train was delayed. We waited.
No train. Some dude tried to get us to take an uber with him to Stamford. “It’ll get you a little closer,” he said. Not close enough, I thought. He left.
We waited some more.
Still, no train. A couple finally had enough of the waiting and also called an uber. They were going to Washington Heights and offered to split it with us. It was only going to be $80. Between 4 people that would be a bargain–especially considering the fact that I’d spent $22 purchasing the wrong ticket on the way out to Connecticut. My ever-hopeful friend believed that the train was just delayed, though, so we said we’d just wait.
And wait we did.
We waited over an hour for the train. We tried calling several numbers listed, but no one was working those late hours. There were no employees in the station. Was the train delayed over an hour? Was it canceled? Finally, an employee came by. She told us the train had come early and left without us. It was 1:45 in the morning, and the next train would come til 5am.
We tried to find an uber, but suddenly the prices had been raised to close to double of the original amount. That, and we no longer had anyone to split the cost with. The friend we were visiting told us we could crash at her place, but we hadn’t brought toothbrushes and new contacts and makeup. We endeavored to get home. We ubered back to the city, and I took a scary 3am subway ride home. I was the only woman in a train full of men. Not my wisest decisions, but I felt like I’d been leaking money and didn’t want to pay for a taxi home. I finally got in around 3:30am. I watched an episode of Frasier to unwind.
The good news in all of this is that I did a bit of free book marketing. The train station in Connecticut had a kiosk of free books, where straphangers were encouraged to take a book to read on the train. The selection was curious and random and lovely. Something for everyone. Maimonides. Edgar Cayce. Allison Pearson.
I’d heard of this take-a-book and leave-a-book trend before. And I’d experienced it years ago at hostels when I’d gone backpacking through Europe. It’s such a great way to meet new books.
I didn’t have a copy of Burning Furiously Beautiful on me, so I did the next best thing I could think of: I put a few postcards on the kiosk. What better author to read about on the train than Jack Kerouac, who was known for his intrepid travels?
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Most writers know about NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month in November. But did you know that February is National Haiku Writing Month?
To celebrate NaHaikWriMo, I’ve been reading haikus by Jack Kerouac and writing a few of my own.
Interestingly, Jack Kerouac’s Book of Haikus was published in Persian before On the Road was translated.
Here are a few articles from around the blog on Kerouac and haiku:
Writer’s Digest’s How to Build Tension and Heighten the Stakes: “Do the flashbacks contain tension, or do they meander backward in time?”
Grammarly’s Suspense: 4 Tips for Putting More Tension into Your Writing: “Talking the reader through the characters’ worrying thoughts, doubts, and feelings reinforces suspense because it becomes clear that the characters don’t know how they might make it out of the situations they are in. The element of unknowing keeps the audience hooked.”