Hope you've been enjoying these cooler days, what ever that means to you in degrees. Autumn is my favorite season, and October my favorite month, which is lucky because it's when I was born, and hiking at St. Johns University with family on my birthday suited me quite well. Hello, blue blanket skies! Hello, quilt of leaves! I'm grateful for all the reasons this season gives to pull those I love closer.
Things have been quiet on the blog these last few months, which I both expected and didn't, if that makes any sense. I've been a working mom for over two months now. Definitely a transition. We've found some semblance of "flow" to our days, though, which feels good, but it has come as a result of simplifying, doing less of some things, and giving in more to unplanned present moments. I still find myself longing to write, missing the particular energy and time that I need to create something fresh and weighted with these lovely little things called words. But then I blink and kiss this lovely little person called Elliot and, really, the rest of it just fades.
He has three teeth! And loves when we chase each other around the kitchen. We are sleeping less and living more.
And, of course, sometimes we live when he sleeps, too. Here's a bit of what I've been into lately, especially between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 (such a night owl over here!):
- Glossolalia by David Jauss -- Fabulous collection by my former professor and advisor. A modern-day Chekhov? Yes.
- Disobedience by Jane Hamilton -- I enjoyed Map of the World and The Book of Ruth more, but as I read all stories about mothers and sons differently now, this one kept my attention in a new way.
- Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter -- Easy and breezy and full of pop culture references set in romantic locales. Haven't read a book like this in a long time. Enjoyed it.
- Gryphon by Charles Baxter -- A collection of short story gems: before Glossolalia and Gryphon came into my life, I had almost forgotten how perfect the short form can be, especially as a way to wind down from the day.
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg -- Only a third of the way in, and as someone who has practically no experience with the business world, some of it feels very... bottom-line? But I do appreciate the way Sandberg encourages women to go after their goals.
TV and Movies:
- So You Think You Can Dance -- in my next life, I will be a professional dancer
- Breaking Bad -- My students fully grasp complex, unreliable characters now because of Walt. Pop culture has a purpose after all!
- Lots of TED talks -- interesting, sometimes inspiring, and...short! Who has two hours to devote to an actual movie?!
- "Dear World: Postcards From a Prison Teacher" by Jennifer Bowen Hicks -- a beautiful account of the power of humanity, by a fellow VCFA alum
- "When Mom Died," by Stacey Torres -- sad, blunt, and moving; used it to talk about personal narratives in my creative writing class
- "Has anyone else tried pouring this stuff over dried cereal? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!" -- Amazon reviews gone funny
- "Most Famous Book Set In Every State" -- I still feel a bit frustrated with Sinclair Lewis over Main Street
- "Reading literary fiction improves empathy, study finds" -- yes!
- Books and Bars -- a very cool book club for the local set
- Prairie Oaks Fall Festival -- happiness and peace live at POI
- Brain, Child -- billed as the only literary magazine in print dedicated to motherhood, and full of great content (thanks, Kris!)
- The Beat -- a radio show in Northern Minnesota that broadcasts the work of local poets, including yours truly. I particularly enjoyed viewing the list of contributors, as a good number of them are familiars and colleagues.
Okay, so those last two aren't really finds, as I've known about them for years (and I actually feel quite conflicted about their usefulness in my life), but... I recently signed up for each because of my students. I do teach communication, after all, and social media--the big kids tell me--is a serious part of how they understand themselves. In any case, follow me here and here if you're into those things. Instagram is mostly baby and Twitter is mostly writing, teaching, and oarfish. :)
What have you been into lately? What's caught you by surprise?
Have a great week, all! Wishing you beautiful moons.