Earlier this year, I was on a beer panel for All About Beer magazine. That means I got to sit in a room with other panelists, taste beers, and come up with descriptions of nuances and flavors. It was fun. Check out the March issue to see which beers we liked the best.
Check it out! I have a book review up at KQED on The Nest By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Click here to read Review: Is ‘The Nest’ Worth Its Famed Seven-Figure Advance?
Check out my most recent Mental Floss post, 11 Facts About I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya Angelou was such a fascinating person.
I have an article in the March/April issue of Writer’s Digest titled “When Truth Is Stranger Than (Children’s) Fiction.” Next time you’re in a bookstore, pick up a copy and check it out.
* I went mushroom hunting a few times. Once I found a bunch of hedgehog mushrooms and took them home and made risotto. Later when I was in Whole Foods, I saw hedgehog mushrooms on sale for $30/pound. Apparently mushroom hunting is lucrative.
* I installed a grape arbor in my yard and planted a grape to climb it.
* I planned my garden for the year. New plants I’m trying include ground cherries, hot pink amaranth, and glass gem corn.
* I baked a lot. I made several loaves of bread, which I’m starting to enjoy. It’s pretty thrilling to cut open a fresh loaf of bread and slather a slice with butter.
* Unrelated, I went on a boat. Here’s a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.
* We drastically reduced the number of times we’re going out to eat, and you know what? I don’t miss it at all. However, one time I went out for oysters and they were great.
* Right now I’m harvesting eggs, arugula, chives, leeks, oranges, and meyer lemons from my yard. I have no idea what to do with all those meyer lemons.
* Most of these images were originally on Twitter.
* Unrelated again, check out this manzanita tree.
I have a new post up at Mental Floss: 8 Lovely Facts About The Secret Garden. I was surprised to learn that Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic book is basically an allegory for Christian Science. Weird.
Last month, I took a short trip to Monterey. Turns out January is a great time to visit. Here are some pictures.
It was a beautiful day.
Me: There’s something very old-fashioned about that man.
Marcia: Is it that he’s wearing a suit to the beach?
Me: That must be it.
Flower girls. I saw so many weddings while there. At least five, maybe more.
Carmel Mission with yet another wedding.
Beautiful silken water.
See the seal head popping out of the water? It wanted those men to leave so it could go back to sleeping on the dock.
Tor House, the home of poet Robinson Jeffers.
I also saw a ton of sea otters but never managed to get a good photograph.
She had too much so with a smile you took some.
Of everything she had you had
Absolutely nothing, so you took some.
At first, just a little.
Still she had so much she made you feel
Your vacuum, which nature abhorred,
So you took your fill, for nature’s sake.
Because her great luck made you feel unlucky
You had redressed the balance, which meant
Now you had some too, for yourself.
As seemed only fair. Still her ambition
Claimed the natural right to screw you up
Like a crossed-out page, tossed into a basket.
Somebody, on behalf of the gods,
Had to correct that hubris.
A little touch of hatred steadied the nerves.
Everything she had won, the happiness of it,
As your compensation
For having lost. Which left her absolutely
Nothing. Even her life was
Trapped in the heap you took. She had nothing.
Too late you saw what had happened.
It made no difference that she was dead.
Now that you had all she had ever had
You had much too much.
Saw her smile, as she took some.
At first, just a little.
2015 was a great year for us. Here’s some things that happened:
* I won a creative writing grant! I’ll talk more about that soon.
* I finished a book and submitted it to agents. Then I wrote the first draft of another book.
* I led a panel at AWP in Minneapolis about freelance writing.
* Kyle got a new job. He’s Vice President of Engineering Operations at Final.
* He works at home now, which has changed our lives.
* Gideon turned 3 and is in preschool, which is a two-minute walk from our house. He loves it so much.
There were sad things that happened this year, including the passing of my best friend’s father, but overall 2015 treated us kindly.
As usual, I’m ambitious as heck about the year ahead. I’ll continue to think big and focus, two changes that have made a big difference in my work process. I may remodel my kitchen. I may finish writing a book. I’ll definitely start working on a third book. And I may go to Europe again–maybe Switzerland? Maybe Germany? Who knows?
Literary Hub mentioned my article in The Atlantic about literary journals charging reading fees to submitting writers among The 50 Biggest Literary Stories of the Year. It’s under number 31: Literary Journals Making Money Off Slush Piles. Check it out!