Category Archives: writing life

Still Here!

Despite a long silence, all is well and busy here. We’ve gotten through a busy play production, some unusual work for me, and a vacation in Florida. Bring on the spring.

I’ve also been spending a lot of spare time prepping to teach a literature class for teens at our homeschool co-op. This sounds like a small thing, and probably should be a small thing. As it turns out, however, there was a reason I got a PhD in English. Cracking open the Pope and Swift after a long absence was like reconnecting the power to an abandoned amusement park in my brain — flashing lights! clanging bells! circus music! And that’s just the class prep part.

I write about literature of all sorts almost every day for my freelance work. It’s almost always interesting, but it doesn’t allow for getting up close and personal with a work the way even preparing for teaching does.

I’ve set up a tumblr for the class, but really it is kind of a buffer zone where I can put some of the overflow of my excitement — Oh my gosh! Look at these illustrations! I love this couplet! — without totally overwhelming the students.

(Was that an oblique confession that poking around tumblr looking for lit/ed bloggers has been distracting me too?)

I’m updating a few times a week, so check it out. And oh my gosh! Look at this illustration!

"The Cave of Spleen" by Aubrey Beardsley, based on Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock."

“The Cave of Spleen” by Aubrey Beardsley, based on Alexander Pope’s “Rape of the Lock.”

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Filed under education, grown up life, writing life

End the World (or the week) with a Poem

Assorted thoughts rolling into Christmas, plus a link that will make your day:


I got a piece of mail today that said on the envelope, “Will 2013 be the year that writing becomes your day job?” and I had to laugh. I have supported myself and my family as a writer of one kind or another for 20 years, and sadly very little of my writing happens during the day. If 2013 was the year that I stopped writing late into the night to meet deadlines and got more done during the afternoon I would be thrilled.


I head-wrote about three different little blog posts on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, none of which I could post. They may all have been brilliant. Certainly they would all have had a morsel of nice wordsmithing. But the risk of being pseudo-profound or getting it wrong seemed too high for whatever benefits I might achieve. I cried watching my 9yo sing in church that Sunday, something about children’s stars shining a brilliant light into the night. It was Gaudete Sunday– “rejoicing Sunday” –and it felt so weird and wrong. But I was reminded that my church, at its best, offers comfort not merely with the promise of a better world to come some far-off day, but with the willingness to walk alongside people in their deepest suffering.


My last post, “Closing Doors,” has been my most popular so far on the current blog, and I have been delighted by how many people that idea resonated with. Neurotics need reassurance, people! My friend Kelly, a feminist blogger at How I Learned to Wear a Dress (SPOILER ALERT: She hasn’t!), reblogged it today, which I thought was very generous, so I’m paying it forward. But really, it is a gift to anyone who takes the time to click the last link.


My friend Molly also keeps a blog, The Stanza. She’s a poetess, but when I met her we were moms and lay leaders together at our old parish. Talk about walking alongside you during your suffering! The things we lived through then. She moved away, which made me sad, but since moving she has flourished like crazy as a writer, which makes me happy. I cannot believe the poetry she writes now that she has been able to carve out a space for it. This poem put tears in my eyes — you will have to scroll to the bottom of the linked page to see the rest.

Prayer Before Dawn

Lord of the spun globe,
of roofline silhouette, pale wash
of coming sun,

this thinning hour is the only threshold
I’ll ever need.

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Filed under Catholic stuff, writing life