October has been the month of coming home after school to hot cider and warm slices of cinnamon bread slathered with butter, then sitting outside on the deck to eat because it just feels so good out.
It’s been the month of fuzzy caterpillars crawling and spiders building large webs and leaves turning red and gold… and taking the time to really look at it all.
It’s been the month of reading the things I want to, not just the things I have to. That’s meant going back to some books from 2005 and 2007 and savoring the difference that is already evident from then to now. Perhaps I’m wrong but it’s possible that prior to 2010 and the social media onslaught, authors took their time with their writing… and readers let them. Just my theory.
It’s been the month of getting back in touch with old friends I’ve been out of touch with, gathering with them to discuss a book one of them wrote or catching up by phone. The best friendships can be put on pause, then resume play with nary a skip or stutter. I think fall makes you want to reconnect.
It has been the month of the broken iPod, gone kaput after I got caught in a rainstorm while running. I took my husband’s (with his permission), deleted his music (80’s hair bands anyone?) and started from scratch. I kept many of the songs I had on my original iPod but I also added some new music too. New tunes can give you a new perspective.
On my personal blog in October I wrote a post on preparing dinner without daddy. I also rounded up my favorite go-to cookbooks and reviewed Alexander and the Terrible Awful No Good Very Bad Day.
October has been a great month. I am sorta sad to see it go, but am consoling myself with some fun plans in November– speaking on a panel about structuring a novel at the North Carolina Writers Network Fall Conference, the Southern Christmas Show, Thanksgiving (basically my favorite meal of the year), and a trip to Savannah GA with my husband await!
Today is my mother’s birthday. And while I have nothing against Halloween (other than it being a rather useless commercial gimmick) I find that as time goes on we’re way less interested in dressing up the kids and way more interested in celebrating my mother. So tonight instead of prowling the neighborhood for candy we will make tacos and eat cake and play games and fill the house to bursting with family. At last count she had nine thousand, eight hundred, and fifty-four grandchildren. So basically our house is the Tardis.
People. I went on my first ever writer’s retreat at the beginning of this month with a group of amazing, brilliant, hilarious women. We escaped to the mountains, to a borrowed cabin, that came with a pond, fireplaces galore, and wine. I could have cried with joy. Maybe I did. A little. The weekend after that was The Southern Festival of Books here in Nashville and if I hadn’t been too chicken I would have gotten to meet both Ann Patchett and Pat Conroy but my way of showing respect is total avoidance. This month I got to reconnect with Paige Crutcher, Patti Callahan Henry, Joshilyn Jackson, Karen Abbott, River Jordan, J.T. Ellison and Michael Morris. I finally got to meet Courtney Miller Santo and Laura Benedict. I also got spend some time with our own Alison Law. And I finally met the warm and lovely Leigh Kramer who hosts this What We’re Into series. We bonded over coffee and Liane Moriarty. So glad Leigh lives in Nashville!
It’s been a long time since I had a show. The last one I really fell head over heals for was Sherlock and, truth be told, I’m chomping at the bit for the next season. But since no one actually knows when it will drop, I decided to take Marybeth’s recommendation (I learned a long time ago that she’s always right. Always.) and started watching The Blacklist. Can I just say… WHOA. I’m hooked. I forced my husband to watch the first few episodes with me but he wasn’t really all that into it. (The man falls asleep if he sits still for longer than ten minutes and this is a show you can’t nap through) So I went on without him. But now he’s hooked as well and we text back and forth wondering what exactly Red is up to now. Also, I have James Spader’s voice stuck in my head most of the time. The way he says “Lizzie” just cracks me up. And I can’t imitate it.
Riesling. Confession: I wasn’t much of a wine drinker until last year. I don’t need alcohol to relax or sleep or feel good about myself. I’ve never been drunk. Cocktail parties aren’t my thing. But there’s something so very grown up about a glass of wine at the end of a long day. And a few years ago I decided that there were certain things I needed to learn: how to look at a camera without feeling stupid, how to speak in front of a crowd without going into total body failure, and how to enjoy a good glass of wine. Basic social skills, really. And I’m glad to report that although I’m not a fan of selfies, and that I still get the jitters when someone hands me a microphone, I’ve accomplished the last one nicely. Riesling is my current favorite. Though I have had brief love affairs with Sauvignon Blanc and a local raspberry wine from Arrington Vineyards.
Let’s see, books. (Of course) I’ve spent all year reading for work. Reading for She Reads. Reading for blurbs. Reading for reviews. So dang it, now I’m going to read for fun. Because I want to. So I’ve started Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. So funny! Can I just say one thing: Grandma Mazur at the nursing home! I have the entire collection of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series on my night stand (thanks to my little sister). Can’t wait to dig in. I bought the new Diana Gabaldon novel but I won’t let myself read it until I finish my current deadline. And speaking of books, I did a major purge of ARC’s and review copies that I’ve received this year. I don’t have an office, you see. One wall in our bedroom is reserved as my writing area at the moment. And I only have a single shelf. Books were stacked up three deep in front of the shelf so something had to be done. It feels really good to have that little corner of my life cleaned up.
So, question for you: what are YOU into this month?