Writing: I’m Using the Pomodoro Technique

I haven’t talked a lot about my novel-writing lately here, largely because I’ve spent so much of my time this fall either being sad or writing about being sad instead (I’ve been fun!), but what I haven’t told you is this: I’m back to writing, regular fiction writing, and–outside a small hiccup due to my obsessive monitoring of the results of a certain election–I’m working toward a goal to finish the manuscript of the book I’m writing by the end of this calendar year. I know. That’s a lot of words. But I’m a third of the way into this book and can see the rest of the way out. It’s exciting. My issue now is scheduling. It’s easy for the pressures of regular life–the remote learning days for school and the ongoing settling of my mom’s estate, etc.–to edge in around a writer’s focus and subvert it, and I’ve always struggled with letting the concrete tasks of the day nudge the imaginative…

We’re Selling My Parents’ House (Farewell, My Youth!)

You guys, I’m working through something here (aren’t I always, though? I KNOW). The house that Paul and I grew up in is under contract. This is a relief, but it’s also a little like, Oh, hi! You’re buying my youth! Here’s what goes through your head when you sell the house your parents built, raised you in, sent you off from, and continued to live in altogether for thirty-seven years: You remember that it’s the house where you played catch with your dad, begging him to throw the ball up high because it was more fun to catch it that way. It’s where you and your brother used hammocks as swings, threw yourselves into piles of raked-up autumn leaves, and willed your sleds down the slight incline at the side of the property anytime it snowed. You walk around the perimeter of the property and you can see the memories play out in front of you, like thirty-seven years ago was as recent as yesterday. You remember the smell of the sheets your mom hung on the clothesline on the warm days…

The Escape Before the (I’m Sorry, What?!) Quarantine

It’s Wednesday of last week, and I’m writing this to you from a pool deck along the ocean in North Carolina. We’ve turned an idea to get away over Columbus Day weekend into a week-long stay in an oceanfront home in Corolla. We took the kids out of school for the first extended time ever, because David found this house, a re-book, through an internet ad, and it came with a pool and a private walkway to the beach and clean linens already on the beds when we got here, and we didn’t have to go anywhere else but where we are, right now. As I write this, on Wednesday of last week, I do not know that this time next week, we will be sequestered in our own house for fourteen days because Pennsylvania will have added NC to its quarantine list two days before our return, and I’m glad I do not know this, because right now it’s a sunny 78 degrees and Quinlan is on her dad’s shoulders dunking a basketball into a poolside hoop while Saoirse and Cian try&#8211…