What I did this summer

I’ve been erratic about writing these last few months. That tendency, to be erratic, is probably one reason why I’m never likely to write the Great American Novel. Serious writers, in my experience, are highly disciplined and highly routinized—and that’s never been quite my cup of tea. First of all, I probably ate too much ice […]

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Summer brain

Hot, sticky days fracture my attention span and–quite frankly–make me flat-out lazy. I hate that feeling. Today I decided that I absolutely MUST get something done. So that I don’t feel like a complete slug, I’m going to recount just about everything I did today. I. Fed Miss Pup. 2. Walked Miss Pup. 3. Went […]

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‘I write in ink.’

Dear Frances Mayes, The time I brought The Tuscan Sun Cookbook to you for signing in Chapel Hill, I remember saying, simply, “Can I tell you how much I loved A Year in the World?” You smiled sweetly. I frankly never thought anything else of yours could eclipse that smashing book—which really wasn’t about travel, […]

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Remembering another Miss Austin

No, not Austen. And not Jane. But they have books and writing in common. It was a verdant Central Pennsylvania summer, and I was in my last term, anxious for graduation. Summer terms were rapid-fire in those days, eight weeks as opposed to the usual ten. Classes met four times a week and, as I […]

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The books I keep

Whereas buying a book now and then requires minimal space—I can always accommodate another book on my nightstand or the coffee table if need be—the haul from the thrice yearly book sales is another matter. To be sure that I have sufficient space for half a dozen or so treasures, I’ve adopted the ritual of […]

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January reads

January is that metaphorical new broom that sweeps clean. I like to start out the new year re-establishing routines, tackling those niggling little tasks that typically fall by the wayside, and trying to get back to my happy places, chief among them my reading time. After what I like to refer to as my “medical […]

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Once, under the Tuscan sun…

I am in an almost perennial state of longing for Italy. Hubby has Italy on his mind as well. The fervor is fueled constantly as we watch our current favorite Italian TV series.  Una pallottola nel cuoro—the English title,  Bulletproof Heart. We watch Euro TV almost every night, thanks to MHZ Choice, which we began streaming several […]

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Book club… the morning after

I read many different writers and genres. These days it is mostly, but not exclusively, fiction. Sometimes, the novels that earn the most critical acclaim fall flat with me because in my mind they are generally overproduced, or over reliant on artifice. I much prefer storytelling so tight and well crafted that it doesn’t need […]

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