Category Archives: On Writing

Restoration & Sickness

Between writing projects I’m refinishing the medicine cabinet in our new house’s bathroom (rather than revising the novel). All the toiletries are in bins on the floor: Bacitracin and Benadryl, Ibuprofens and Robitussins. The 6yo surveys the layout and exhales, … Continue reading

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Cottage courage

Last week, we moved across town to a house on the edge of a wood. This week, we found this abandoned gem in the forest not 300 yards from our back door. Inside is a rotting old couch, a 1950s … Continue reading

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Song of the Dustpan People: Are Grammatically Accurate Writers Less Creative?

   The other day a friend asked me if I’d help line-edit his manuscript. He’s tight on time and I can barely make my own deadlines, but I agreed—mostly because I like him and his book, but also because proofreading … Continue reading

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Loosen the Leash

(http://beyondthemargins NULL.jpg)By Nichole Bernier (http://beyondthemargins As I’ve mentioned here a few times, we have a young Bernese Mountain Dog. We got her last summer at 8 weeks old and named her Cricket because she was the least graceful … Continue reading

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First You Crawl

I went to a dance pageant recently, a holiday performance of ballet, modern and jazz with local girls age 6-16. Actually, I have no idea how old the dancers were. Some were clearly 25, which is amazing, since I know … Continue reading

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The Demise of Private Writing?

Shortly after my novel came out, I got an interesting email from a reader. She said she hadn’t been sure she would like a book half written in the form of journals, but had been grabbed by the point of … Continue reading

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Own Your Opinions, Kids

One of my children told me recently that he couldn’t ever be a reviewer — of books, art, restaurants, or a sports columnist — because he didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. (Never mind that just a few weeks before, … Continue reading

Topics: On Learning, On Parenting, On Writing | 2 Comments

What does a novel’s interior design say about its characters?

Do settings reflect the mood of a novel? Or do settings set the mood? I’m not being cute, in a chicken-and-egg sort of way. Clearly in some books the environment and dwellings play just a bit part, while in others … Continue reading

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Does Publishing A Novel Change Your Life?

My book’s launch party felt a little like a wedding. Well, one where my five children had already been born, and were racing around jacked up on chocolate-dipped strawberries. The bash was in an old brownstone in Boston. There was … Continue reading

Topics: On Faith, Hope & Love, On Parenting, On Writing | 12 Comments

Novel Catharsis

The day I accidentally started my novel, there was a torrential downpour. I remember sitting in the car waiting to pick up my children from preschool, rain streaming down the windshield. Like tears, I thought. And out of nowhere—because they’re … Continue reading

Topics: On Faith, Hope & Love, On Learning, On Writing | 12 Comments