What We’re Into: June 2014

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhon | @MarybethWhalen and @ArielLawhon

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June is the official kickoff to summer break, but Ariel and I are still looking for the “break” part. We’ve been working hard on writing and blogging and managing households that now involve lots of little people home from school who like to eat and eat and did we mention that they like to eat? A lot. As in relentlessly. In the rare moments that one or the other of us is not wandering aimlessly through a grocery store we have found  stumbled onto a few favorite things.


This is what you do when words fail to describe your misery and all there is left to do is bleat. When that THING happens because that PERSON you feel RAGE toward shows up in your life again? Bleat. When you are your worst self and just need to let it out in a safe place with someone who will love you anyway? Bleat. Ariel and I have agreed that bleating should be reserved for only your most trusted friends. Very few friendships can endure bleating. But the ones that can? They’re keepers.

“Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person: having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them out. Just as they are–chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

–Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik, 1826 – 1887

Because really, no matter how funny and charming and wonderful you really are, bleating makes you sound like this:


Did you know that “Missing one or two hours of sleep for one night will not only reduce your energy level, it can decrease your brain power by one third? Lack of sleep does more damage than lack of food.” I’m a big fan of sleeping and this statistic only empowers me. May 2014 be known as THE SUMMER OF THE NAP. And in case you need to be persuaded: five reasons why you should take a nap every day. (Ariel here. I took an hour-long nap today and it was glorious. I woke up happier than I’d been all day.)


(Marybeth) I loved this literary toolbox post by memoirist Addie Zierman. As someone who is supposed to be teaching high schoolers to write memoir this fall, this couldn’t have come at a better time.

(Ariel) I’m a bit out of whack right now. I recently started writing a new novel and ran up against a brick wall with my reading. This happens every time I turn my mind to storytelling. Something shifts in my brain at the beginning stages of a new book and I simply can’t read fiction. I can’t think straight. All those other wonderful, finished, brilliant novels start messing with my mind and I either mimic that author’s voice or I convince myself that I am writing the worst book that has ever been written in the history of ever. This is no bueno. Last time I started a novel I made the terrible mistake of trying to read Hillary Mantel’s brilliant, illuminating WOLF HALL. It sent me down such a miserable spiral of gloom it’s a wonder I ever finished my book at all. BUT I learned that I can read memoir and biography and narrative non-fiction during this stage of the creative process. Thankfully I knew this day was coming so I’ve been stocking up. These are the books I plan on reading until I leap my current mental hurdle (and yes, I know, I’m SO late to the party on a couple of these):

Memoir Collage


(Marybeth) on books, what else? Ok there may have been some junk food and wine bingeing going on in June, but then again, what is summer for if not that? The books I’ve binged on so far this summer are the new ones by Liane Moriarty, Elin Hildebrand, Emily Giffin, and Jen Weiner. There’s a reason these writers are at the top of their game.

(Ariel) I can not even begin to explain the amount of fruit we have gone through at my house over the last month (see above–children, especially male children, will eat you out of house and home). Watermelon. Peaches. Grapes. Cherries. Strawberries. Cantaloupe. All of my favorite summer fruits are in season right now and I’ve loved every sweet, sticky, dripping moment of it.

Oh! My husband and I are also in the middle of a BOURNE movie marathon. We’ve watched one together every night for the last few nights. They need to hurry up and make number five. We’re running out.

Question: What are YOU into right now?

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

13 Responses to What We’re Into: June 2014

  1. Billie Brinkley June 30, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I am being a visual artist…working on a bust of Peter. I have done DANIEL DREAMS and SHEPHERD, SINGER, SLINGER, KING…Anyone in the Houston area can see an exhibit I am in with two of my favorite and fabulous friends. Sharing Faces with Friends exhibit is at the Freeman Library in Clear Lake. Artists: Eddie Filer, Cheryl Evans and me! While I make art I listen to books. I love SHE READS…looking forward to a fabulous summer!

  2. Katherine Jones June 30, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I love these “what we’re into” posts–keep ’em coming. So fun to connect with our fearless She Reads leaders this way. And THANK YOU for the great reminder about bleating (am also thinking Psalm 142:1-3a) and the priceless visual and audio, which had me falling out of my chair.

  3. Brooke June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I often wonder how you do it all. Glad to see you are two normal but busy gals. I’m bleating, sleeping (sorta), reading and bingeing right along with you. Summer fun for sure!!! Many thanks for what you all do at “She Reads”. I value the many suggestions and fun info! ~Brooke

  4. Susan G. June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m into books of course! I just started my new book I won “The Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner. It’s terrific!
    We (my husband and I) are “into” working on many projects at the ‘little’ house we bought. Although it’s a ‘little’ second home to get us out of the snows of Oregon winters, it’s ‘very’ little….and it needs ‘growing’ …one bathroom just does not get it! 😉
    Enjoying the books of summer!
    Cannot tell you two enough how much I love this web site!!!
    Enjoy your summer!

  5. Susan G. June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Oops major mistake in my comment above! The book is titled “A Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner… 🙂

  6. Melissa Crytzer Fry June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Bleating. Ha! I have to say that I applaud both of your bingeing activities — books and fruit. Two perfect specimens for overconsumption!

  7. Ariel June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Honestly, I would eat fruit while reading books if it wouldn’t get the pages sticky. 🙂

  8. Ariel June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I LOVE Susan Meissner! If you haven’t read her novel, THE SHAPE OF MERCY, I highly recommend you grab a copy. I read it a number of years ago and it’s still my favorite book of hers.

  9. Ariel June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Ha! I assure you Brooke, we’re about the most normal girls you’re ever going to find. 🙂

  10. Ariel June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I love that Psalm, Katherine! A close second to Psalm 139 in my book. And I have to admit, I laugh hysterically every time I watch that video.

  11. Ariel June 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    My mom is an artist, Billie. I have such respect for those who create something from nothing, for those who make art. It’s such a gift.

  12. Marybeth Whalen July 1, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I meant to get on here last night to comment but I “was into” visiting with a friend on my porch with a bottle of wine she brought over for us to share. Between shooing kids back inside and sharing all the stories we’d stored up for each other, the night was full and long. Tonight neighbor girls are coming over to plan our Fourth of July potluck so I’ll be back on the porch. Gotta love summer!

    Love hearing what you guys are into. We will aim to keep doing it each month!

  13. Leigh Kramer July 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Hope you both get the rest you need! I wish I could take naps but if I do, I don’t sleep at night.

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