Keep Going. Tell My Story.

I recently read a Paris Review interview with the author Ann Patchett on the subject of making time for writing despite life’s innumerable distractions. She spoke about having to ignore the pull of these distractions, for example when you realize you need, say, mustard, and you drop what you’re doing (or don’t even start) to go to the store to buy the mustard. Resist this urge, she argued. She explained how her family had gone many meals without mustard. This anecdote has stayed with me. Substitute mustard for: mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, paper towels, shin guards, printer ink, Reynolds wrap, rinse aid, thumbtacks, nose spray, birthday gifts, overdue library books, Mallomars, Halloween decorations, hangers, socks. The running list is endless. There are always errands we create to avoid writing.

What I’ve realized in the last few years as I’ve made writing a priority in my life is that we will always come up with reasons to leave the house, to not sit down when we’re tired, and the difference between those who leave and those who don’t is people who finish and people who don’t. Now as I’m on my way to my desk and I see toys that need to be put away or a book that needs to be re-shelved or an ingredient I need for a meal, I think: mustard. Mustard. Mustard. I tell myself to keep walking, to ignore it.         [Read more…]

Goodnight, Childhood Home

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Here’s the view from the living room of my childhood home. It’s a picture window that looks out to the front yard, to the long twisty driveway that leads down to Point O’ Woods Road South, a cul-de-sac in Darien, Connecticut. This room and its view are special for a number of reasons; here are thirteen: 1) the living room is original to the home, built in 1936, 2) this picture window is one of the defining architectural features of the home, of which the builder was particularly proud 3) the second owner of this home, photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White spent countless hours in this room, thinking and writing, 4) she  lined the opposite wall with a photo-mural created out of photographs she took of a Bohemian forest, 4) it’s where she most likely spent many months valiantly fighting the disease that would eventually take her life, leaving behind a legacy so vast and impressive that I continue to be amazed by the strength and character of this woman who came of age in the 20s and 30s, 5) this is the room in which my family placed our tree [Read more…]