Hello… it’s been a while

Nearly three seasons have turned since I last sat here, in the mid-morning light, completing a post. I can easily blame this lapse on real life getting in the way… because it certainly did. But daily life has been more or less normal for months now, and still I’ve barely tried to write. Or even to read the blogs I love to follow. The hurdles just seemed too high.

I’ve gone back to writer Anne LaMott’s sage counsel—“bird by bird”—over and over again in my head. For a writer, that means one word at a time. No luck. I’ve accused myself of laziness. I’ve sulked. I’ve insisted I had nothing to write about. We hadn’t gone anywhere, we hadn’t done anything (thank you, COVID, and other intervening variables). I love to write about food and cooking but, despite a near obsession with cooking videos during the lockdown months, the bloom was off the rose. For a significant chunk of this year, I wasn’t even reading. Thankfully, just as the roses began to bloom, I got over that hurdle—see a few recommendations below.

Eventually, I realized that my head needed some house cleaning, and I’ve been working on that. The “plate of worries,” as Hubby and I once christened it, remains full, for now (and maybe beyond, real life being what it is), but at least some light is getting in. (Thank you, Leonard Cohen.) And here I am, writing. Early days, for sure.

Now that I’ve kinda/sorta explained the black hole, time to get on with it. I owe you a book update. My absolute favorite read of the last few months was Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone, a truly beautiful story (rooted in truth, as all of hers are) set in Italy and Scotland before, during, and after World War II. If you read my previous post, Adriana Trigiani’s Italian-Americans, you know how much I admire Adriana, and how important I believe her chronicles of the Italian immigrant experience are. She tells stories that would otherwise have disappeared. But beyond the superb storytelling, her books always have a beautifully turned out redemptive element. The Good Left Undone is truly among her best, and it was fascinating to learn about the Italians who settled in Scotland—a chapter in our shared history that was entirely new to me. Interesting note: a friend and I were lucky enough to see Adriana in May, when she was on tour, and a woman of Scottish-Italian heritage was in the audience. I can barely imagine what this book meant to her.

Another novel I really enjoyed was Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Comic relief is a good thing, but this book isn’t just funny—it’s a very well crafted debut novel with a very clear point of view. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a single misstep.

My nonfiction favorite was The Olive Route, by Carole Drinkwater. Carole was an actress perhaps best remembered as Helen in the original All Creatures Great and Small. She later moved to Provence, where she became an olivier and launched a second prolific career as a writer. The Olive Route is a chronicle of her solo, and often daring, journey along that 2200 mile route, with brilliant glimpses into the ancient civilizations for which the olive and its light-giving oil were priceless treasures.

Quick video update: Please don’t miss Darby and Joan on Acorn. If you remember Bryan Brown in The Thorn Birds, or Greta Scacchi, in Room with a View, they’re every bit as marvelous now as ever. And don’t forget that the third season of Somebody Feed Phil–easily the best show on Netflix and, in fact, the only reason I subscribe—is coming in October. That show literally oozes hope, joy, and good humor. Phil Rosenthal, if you happen to be listening, you are the very, very best.

I’m going to wrap this now, and call it a post. This was a good hurdle to climb.

18 thoughts on “Hello… it’s been a while

  1. Nancy

    Oh it was so nice to hear from you again!
    Thank you for catching us up on You. I hope things are getting better.
    Thank you for the book reviews and TV episodes.
    We are hoping you come back real soon.
    Happy September!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ron

    Angela, no excuses or explanations need for me as I just tuned back in after a spring/summer. I can relate to the hurdle as I think I rewrote my current post a half dozen times and in the end, said it is what it is.
    So glad to hear you and your hubby are well. Thanks as always for the book and telly recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    i certainly understand Covid and other variables affecting life. I thought 2022 was going to be the year we all had a breather and got back to what we had ‘before,’ but it didn’t quite work out that way at least for us. Glad you got your writing mojo back, and I understand that loss as well. 🙂 Thank you for the book and video tips because I’m always looking for something good to read and watch.

    Like

  4. Maureen Hart

    I have gone through these periods so many times. Back when Jorge was sick and dying, I couldn’t read, write, or even watch a TV show because I was so distracted and stressed. I constantly crocheted afghans because I found the repetitive movement soothing. I haven’t crocheted since then. Sometimes I read to calm down, except when I cannot concentrate on reading. Then I try crossword puzzles until I get to the point I’m tired of trying to pull words out of my tired brain. So this article really resonated with me. And beyond validating those feelings, you reminded me that I need to read a book by Adriana. It’s time. Hope all is otherwise well with you and look forward to more of your thoughts when you are inspired. Love, Maureen

    Like

  5. Maureen Hart

    Yes, we are. I think it comes from our love of books, travel, history, music, art, and so many other things. It gives us a different perspective. And maybe makes our feelings more intense. Take care of yourself. Love to Enzo, the pasta eating pup.

    Liked by 1 person

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