Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Moving Day!

It's time for a big, fun adventure!

A few months ago, I was asked if I'd be interested in blogging for As someone digs new possibilities, I was intrigued.

I thought about the #1 thing I've loved about this blog for the past 5 years: the unexpected CONNECTIONS I've made with so many of you. Some of us have met in person; we've exchanged emails and encouragement; we've even swapped advice on everything from books to dating to picking out the right new hairdryer. I love you guys! *big hug!* And so I said yes to the move. I hope we can take our friendships over to the new blog, and meet more amazing people.

My new blog is called A Maze of Grace. It's a little bare-bones right I've just moved in. So if you were to come by and leave me a comment, it would be the cyber-equivalent ringing the front door with a hug & a pie, and asking, "Can I help you unpack?"

I'll also be contributing to a group blog called What She Said, which should be a blast...and raise some interesting conversations.

THANK YOU for being part of Trish's Dishes...whether I know you stop by (because you've commented, or emailed, or told me in person) or you lurk. I'm excited for the next chapter, and I hope you'll (to push this metaphor right out to the very edge) turn the page with me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The next step

I just finished reading a book called THE HEALING. I think it's going to be a big deal when it comes out early next year, and for good reason. Comparisons to THE HELP are well founded.

It's a story set mostly in the time of slavery, and it speaks of how story can shape generations of people and, when revealed anew, can change how each of us sees ourselves. I know that sounds rather grand and philosophical, but it's true. Think of the stories that define your family, both the good ones and the ones about hard times or difficult choices: they influence you in ways you probably don't think all that much about. But there they are, shaping things.

In the back of the book, there's a special section written by the author, a white man, describing how he came to feel so passionately about race relations and the particular sort of stories he wanted to tell. My favorite line is this: "I have discovered the truth in the old saying, 'Facts can explain us, but only story will save us.' If you want to destroy a people, destroy their story. If you want to empower a people, give them a narrative to share."

Think about your story today, and how it's shaping you. Then consider: what is the next step to move your story forward, in a direction you'll be excited to live and will add to the larger narrative? Now remember the mighty penguin from this post awhile back, and take the step :)

(How's THAT for big thoughts on a Tuesday morning?!?)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Checking in :)

It's a BUSY week. But fun busy (as opposed to desperately dreaming of tropical islands busy).

I had a 22 hour writing retreat yesterday. It was bare bones: me, my laptop, a hotel room (we had a coupon for one free night that was about to expire), lots of coffee, and a giant bag of pistachio nuts to snack on. You wouldn't think you could accomplish all that much in less than a full day (if you sleep), but it was incredibly (astonishingly) productive. I lose sight of how much time the little things--THAT DOG, dishes, laundry, email--eat up during the course of a normal day. It was great to escape from real life for a tiny slice of time and just focus. Highly recommended if you want to dig into a writing project but aren't sure how to get going. Everyday opportunities & distractions are so much easier to write around once I have some momentum. Speaking of which...

Tomorrow I'll be back at Wheaton (my awesome alma mater) for a full day of fun.

In the morning, I get to guest teach a creative non-fiction class. Then I'll spend the afternoon huddled in the library (thanking God I'm not still frantically prepping for the LSAT--the last time I spent significant time in that building) & frantically typing words to keep up with day 3 of National Novel Writing Month. I spent this afternoon with my laptop at the hairdressers, head covered in tinfoil as my highlights set, so working at the library will feel comparatively tame. Perhaps I should look for a more interesting place to work?

Tomorrow evening, I'll be giving a workshop in conjunction with the campus career center called How To Tell Your Story, showing students how to use principles of memoir writing (narrative structure, conflict, happy endings) to craft personal statements, handle tough questions in job interviews, and even get to know potential romantic interests. I have a complicated illustration planned, involving several feet of wire, a bunch of index cards, and a whole slew of wooden mini-clothespins I've color coded with magic markers. It will either be incredibly fun and inspiring...or I'll end up in a tangled heap. My idea of living on the edge :)