the holidays

Come late August there’s a noticeable shift in light that catches me off-guard. Little by little, the shortening of days so imperceptible since the summer solstice is suddenly dramatic. Leaves start to lose their lushness. The lazy hazy days of summer are about to give way to September, with its nostalgic echoes of back-to-school mode.  More to the point, I’m hit with an inescapable alert: The holidays are around the corner.

To hear the intonation of that phrase—‘the holidays’—the way I do, you have to be Jewish. You have to picture a mother taking off from work days ahead of ‘the holidays’ to shop and cook. Chicken soup. Pot roast. Baked chicken. Fish. To grasp what she meant when she said, the holidays are late this year, or the holidays are early, requires an understanding of days measured by the lunar calendar in a secular world ruled by the sun.

The Jewish calendar is in fact marked by four different new year celebrations—one for trees, one for the tithing of cattle, the springtime new year (Passover) we associate with freedom from slavery and the beginning of a Jewish identity. But the ten-day period of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur gets pride of place as the Jewish New Year marking the beginning of the world.  As a young girl growing up in Brooklyn, I would put on holiday clothes, meet up with friends at the neighborhood synagogue. Going to services was something you just did, whether or not you knew the full import of why you did it. My mother didn’t go and my father put in an appearance, if not for the full spectrum of services, always for the Yizkor portion in memory of the dead on Yom Kippur.

Thanksgiving, in contrast, was not a holiday we observed, except to watch the parade on TV.  What kind of American family, you might ask, doesn’t gather for a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving? I could say the Jewish holidays were all that mattered to my mother, and that’s mostly true. But there was something else at play—something beyond her comfort zone in the kitchen, with its standard Jewish fare handed down from generation to generation.

It’s called turkey.

I can’t handle that big bird, she once said to me, her face crinkled in disgust. Even the chicken she cooked had to be cut into pieces, nothing to remind her that it was once a living, walking creature.  If cleanliness is next to godliness, no chicken wing ever made it into the oven or soup pot with even the tiniest feather intact.

When I left the fold, moved into Manhattan, Brooklyn would call me back for the holidays as I knew them. Thanksgiving would be celebrated with city friends. One year, a cousin of mine who had started a Thanksgiving tradition of her own, asked me to switch things up, be with the family. It was a memorable gathering—a coterie of cousins smoking weed as we cooked, drinking exquisite wine, laughing. Finally the real reason she was so insistent: a cake with one candle, #26, in honor of the marathon I had run weeks earlier.

Families fall apart. Parents die. Rituals get diluted. You don’t have to be a Jewish mother to know that there are strategies more powerful than guilt to keep families together at holiday time. You don’t have to be too sentimental to long for something that seems further removed with each passing generation.

Come September comes the weeping for what’s gone and with it the reminder of how I’ve made the holidays my own, a mix of family and friends who know they can count on a good Jewish-style brisket for Rosh Hashanah and Passover. Chanukah brings my legendary latke parties. Then there’s that all-American November holiday when I roast, to perfection, that big bird my mother would not touch.

What did you read this summer?

Summer reading is a world unto itself. It’s not as if the love of books doesn’t have us immersed in reading all year long. But summer brings with it memories of freedom from school, with all that’s attached to assigned reading, textbook or otherwise.

Some things, like the smell of library books, the feel of their plastic protective covers, are imprinted in memory. Before the neighborhood I lived in as a young girl had a library of its own there was the Bookmobile arriving once a week. Apparently they still exist in rural areas.  It’s a given—if you love books, you love libraries and summertime always brings my younger self into fresh view: walking home from the library with a stack of books in my arms. Sitting on a wooden bench outside the building in which I lived. Reading.  Hard to say when the need to possess overtook the need to borrow, but here I sit, in a home office with books surrounding me, most of them read, enough still in that TBR realm.

No surprise that my very first paid job would be in the newly built local library. I would shelve books, do clerical work in the office, graduate to checking books in and out at the front desk.

Summer days still have me reading outside.  Some summers are for tackling the big books, Anna Karenina one year. Others are for breezy beach reading or a mix of the light and profound. Not every book is to be analyzed in a way that teaches a writer something about craft. But I do learn something from every book I read: I learn what I like and what I don’t like.  Years ago, reading Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight, I was hit with how he ended chapters in a way that made you want to read on. It’s called pacing.  My current read, Despair, has me savoring the way Nabokov begins and ends chapters. The title, with its echoes of how the current state of the world has me feeling, had me hankering to read the book. As it happens, Nabokov’s use of the word is tinged with irony. The book is brilliant. Its wickedly dark narrative is as much a commentary on the nature of writing itself.

Just prior to this I read Sing, Unburied, Sing, which joins Jesmyn Ward’s earlier novel, Salvage the Bones, as a National Book Award winner. It takes a certain kind of writer to tell disturbing stories with lush, beautiful prose.  The book had me thinking of another novel, Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. The novels are as different stylistically as they are in the stories they tell. And yet both resonate with a cultural undercurrent that speaks to the times in which we live. Both have a lingering impact.

Madeline Miller is another writer who makes her mark with a distinctive voice. First came The Song of Achilles and more recently Circe, both of which bring a very human dimension to the gods and heroes of mythology.

Years of summer breaks and end-of-August back-to-school mode are ingrained. With the approaching transition to autumn I get energized, ready to move full swing into a project. As a writer with a new book, my work for now is mostly getting out the word.  Speaking of which, if you follow me on social media, you know my novel has now been named a finalist in two contests.

If it made your summer reading list, I’d love to know what you thought. I’d also love to know what else you read this summer. If you haven’t yet read Just Like February, I hope you will.  And if you like(d) it, ratings and reviews on Amazon and/or GoodReads really have a way of making a writer’s day.

 

Rain rain go away . . .

This morning had me scrambling outside for a walk during a brief break from the rain we seem to be getting a lot of lately.  Scattered thunderstorms are a summertime staple, the operative word being ‘scattered.’ Rolling thunder. Lightning bolts cracking through the sky, as mystifying and beautiful as they are frightening. Pounding rain that comes and goes, too many days of which can dampen a person’s spirit.

I remember reading long ago about a tribe that runs into the rain instead of running for cover the way I do. This was pre-Google and I can’t track down the essay but I do trust the impression it left in my memory. Then there was MoMA’s enchanting Rain Room exhibition a few years back that had visitors walking through rain without getting wet.

In my day-to-day walks, I can handle light rain, almost welcome it on a hot, summer day.  I can even laugh, when I’m caught in a downpour, at my reliance on the hour-by-hour know-before-you-go weather report I check too regularly. Tell the truth—how many times have you heard or said these words: It’s not supposed to rain?

Rain rain go away
Come again another day. . .

We can’t help ourselves, can we?  We know there’s really nothing personal about weather.  We need rain as much as we need sun.  We can’t will away the less-than-welcoming forecast during a vacation on Ibiza. We can only hope for the one constant: everything, including weather, changes.

Children are on my mind a lot these days.  Truth be known, they’re always in my mind if not at the top of consciousness. But today, caught in a brief shower (despite the ‘beat the rain’ game I’m playing), I’m picturing immigrant children separated from their parents doing their best to come out and play, rain or no rain. I’m feeling what any decent person with a heart feels re: the heartlessness of an administration that has inflicted this confusion and pain on children.

I’m hearing a toddler crying in a courtroom and a judge embarrassed to ask if he understands the proceedings.

I’m seeing the helplessness on the face of a woman, one of more than 450 sent back to their countries without their children.

 

Despair is not an option.  If nothing else, wishing away the stream of lies (with or with the sex and videotapes) about everything, hoping to wake up one day and breathe a sigh of relief at seeing an end to the collective nightmare acknowledges the reality of how suddenly things can change.

Ten minutes ago it was pouring. Now the sun is out.  Change of the political and cultural kind tends to me more gradual, so much going on in the shadows, as the brilliant Rebecca Solnit reminds us in her reissued book of essays, Hope in the Dark. She tells story after story of an “inspired” activism, one that finds common ground between parties normally on different sides of the ‘us and them’ fence.  In lieu of the fall from grace paradigm that sets paradise as the bar for an ideal world, she posits the Coyote/trickster motif, in which there never was a fall or a state of grace but creation is ongoing in a world originally brought into being by “flawed, human creators who never finished the job.”

I may not feel much like singing in the rain these days but my spirit gets a little boost when I read about a caravan of grandmothers making a six-day trek to the Mexican border in support of migrant families being held there. Rallies are planned in strategic cities along the way.

Not for nothing, a new body of evidence suggests the crucial role of grandmothers in our evolution. In this emerging view, papa out hunting animals with his bow and arrow gets no more (possibly less) credit for our survival as a species than mama and grandma digging for those heard-to-unearth tubers.  Better yet, grandma, with her big eyes and wise heart, may hold the key to the communal spirit, not to mention nurturing, that allowed us to evolve as humans.

 

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That deeper thing called Voice

Today had me hankering for a dose of Bob Dylan. Not the ‘Freewheelin’ Bob reminding me there ain’t no use in wondering why or the Rainy Day Bob inviting me to toke up, get stoned.  Either of those classic Dylan songs would certainly take me back, maybe even reassure me of the power of protest, musically and otherwise. Both would affirm the hold he has always had on me, what with the lyrics that seem to trip off his tongue and the way he binds them to music in his inimitable way. It’s called genius.

The hankering I had was for a song from his homage to Sinatra album, Shadows in the Night. I’m a fool to want you, he sings. And the ache in his voice has me tearing up. Not that I need any reason to cry these days.

When the album came out a few years ago, some friends thought Dylan had really gone over the edge. Not the first time it’s been said of him.

Maybe I hear something they don’t hear.

Maybe they hear something I don’t hear.

“When you fall ill, people often send you CDs,” wrote Christopher Hitchens in a Vanity Fair essay that appeared early in the year  he died of a cancer that destroyed his speaking voice. “Very often, in my experience, these are by Leonard Cohen. So I have recently learned a song, entitled “If It Be Your Will.” It’s a tiny bit saccharine, but it’s beautifully rendered and it opens like this:

If it be your will,
That I speak no more:
And my voice be still,
As it was before . . .

I find it’s best not to listen to this late at night. Leonard Cohen is unimaginable without, and indissoluble from, his voice.”

Leonard Cohen had no illusions about how he sounded. He was a master of self-mockery.  In concert, he could anticipate the audience’s laugher when he sang “Tower of Song” and came to these lines:

I was born like this
I had no choice
I was born with the gift of a golden voice.

He was no stranger to irony.  And there is indeed some irony for a woman who loves the sound of music as much as I do to have Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen at the top of my singer/songwriter heroes list.

It’s not about voice.  And yet it always boils down to Voice.

It was the loss of his physical voice that got Christopher Hitchens writing so eloquently about “Unspoken Truths,” and the deeper meaning of voice.

Like it or not, Siri knows the music that moves me the most.

Eric Clapton. Bruce Springsteen. Buddy Guy. Roy Orbison.

Neil Young. Willie Nelson. Smokey Robinson.

Frank Sinatra.

Pavarotti.

Billie Holiday and Etta James.

Aretha.

Adele.

Rhiannon Giddens.

If there’s an evolutionary component to music, in the way it’s produced and performed, I can’t help but hear harshness and anger in so much of what younger generations listen to. All of which finds me yearning for more melodic voices of protest—

Joni Mitchell. Judy Collins.  Joan Baez.

Linda Rondstadt.  Bonnie Raitt.  —

not to mention those voices that are as pure as it gets,

Sweet Honey in the Rock

And, yet, for all the voices that move me (and the list goes on and on), it’s that deeper thing called Voice that moves me most.

Some dreams stay with you, instant recall, doesn’t matter whether a year or two or three has passed. Here’s one:

I’m onstage, apparently getting ready to sing. I belt out a song. My voice, strong and resonant, surprises me.

Ironic (or not), a passage early in Madeline Miller’s new novel struck a deep chord. For her dabbling in witchcraft, the mythological Circe is banned to a deserted island where, as it turns out, she learns to refine her skills. Those early days are very lonely.

“I burned cedar in the fireplace and its dark smoke kept me company. I sang, which had never been allowed before, since my mother said I had the voice of a drowning gull.”

My own singing voice isn’t that bad but certainly not as powerful and pleasing as it was in the dream. More to the point, there can be no magical spells without a voice to conjure them.

Cliché, cliché, and more cliché: we need to lift our voices more than ever in these distressing times.

We need to sing. We need to write. We need to listen.

As it turns out, when Circe is visited by the god Hermès, she learns something about her voice. You are no gull, he tells her. You sound like a mortal.

Aha! A god with a mortal’s voice—a voice that sweetens with each note of the lyre Hermes plays, the one stolen from Apollo.

Gods’ voices are, in contrast, like thunder and rocks.

 

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Trees. Bees. A flirting bird.

As morning rituals go, sipping coffee and reading are a constant, sometimes following meditation, sometimes a meditation of its own. Autumn and winter I have my indoor perch. Springtime and summer find me on my deck.  This week has me caught up in The Quantum and the Lotus, as perfect a follow-up as it gets to Richard Powers’s The Overstory.  It’s a brilliant novel and not the first time I’ve been awed by the author.  Anyone who can integrate a knowledge of physics and music the way he does in both The Time of Our Singing and The Goldbug Variations has my attention.  Anyone whose prose is lush and poetic gets right to my writer’s heart.

The interconnectedness of things, with its Buddhist undertones, is at the heart of his latest novel, so why should it surprise me that the book now calling out to me is a dialogue between a Buddhist monk and an astrophysicist born into a Buddhist family?

Hard not to marvel at the way the mind works.

Hard not to smile when distraction takes the form of a bird call. It’s a very particular call, a two-note flirtation. I can ‘t see the bird, and that’s probably his point. But my need to identify him has me searching the Internet.  This little bird, apparently a Black-capped Chickadee, issues a mating call that’s as close as it gets to what we think of as a catcall. How is it that the two-tone harmony enchants me when it’s coming from the bird and irritates me when I hear it from a man?

This particular chickadee appears to be perched somewhere in one of my Locust trees. Barely two weeks ago this Black locust was dripping with clusters of fragrant white flowers that had me realizing there were more trees of this variety on my property than I was ever aware of.  In the cyclical way that Mother Nature works, this may have been a particularly abundant year for those flowers. Or maybe attention to my surroundings is becoming more fine-tuned. Part of my motivation for leaving the city years ago to take up residence in the exurbian world was to be able to tell one tree from another. Sometimes local friends give me answers. Sometimes I resort to Google. Oak trees are easily identifiable but now I take pride in singling out a Hickory, an Elm, a Linden. A Black locust whose flowers fill the air in a way that almost intoxicates me.

The flowers have dropped but now I have my wild roses, another bit of flora I needed help identifying. For my first years up in Northern Westchester there were no wild roses on my property though I’d be captivated by the sight and scent of them on my walks. One spring just a few years back they landed on a Barberry bush alongside my driveway. That’s what they do, attach themselves wherever they see fit.   And that’s what I love about them most, besides their fragrance.

I’m not by nature a gardener but I do have a beautifully evolving landscape, a product of my husband’s vision, coupled with a gardening guru who does her magic. When he sees bees hovering around the Catmint my husband is happy. Doesn’t matter whether Einstein ever really said we’re doomed if bees disappear from our world; what matters is that enough people, including my husband, know there’s wisdom to this prophecy.

“A forest knows things,” says a central character in The Overstory. “They wire themselves up underground. There are brains down there, ones our own brains aren’t shaped to see. Root plasticity, solving problems and making decisions. Fungal synapses. What else do you want to call it? Link enough trees together, and a forest grows aware.”

Even if I grapple with comprehending a world in which everything I see and touch exists as an independent, immutable thing in contrast to a reality premised on interdependence, the combined wisdom I glean from a great novelist, a Buddhist monk, and an astrophysicist lead me in the direction of knowing things we don’t know we know.

Then there’s Shel Silverstein: “Once there was a tree. . . and she loved a little boy.”

Back to the ‘80s?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that lipstick and shoes are economic indicators: during tough times both lipstick sales and heel heights are up.

So what does it say when Vogue takes a look at ‘80s nostalgia in recent couture shows?   You could chalk it up to some marketing maven’s spin on the more the things change, the more they stay the same. Or maybe there’s something in the air, culturally (not to mention politically) speaking that’s taking us back to the ‘80s.

Think about it. First came American Psycho on Broadway just when the personification of the greed-is-good mindset finagled his way into the White House. 2016 also brought two major Robert Mapplethorpe exhibitions in L.A. that became jumping-off points for an HBO documentary on the artist.

‘Stranger Things,’ the Netflix hit series set in the ‘80s, was spawned that year. I caught up, and fell in love with it, in all its innocence and strangeness, a year later. A stroke of not-so-strange genius in casting Winona Ryder (think Beetlejuice,1987) as the mother who knows like no one else that something is rotten in the town of Hawkins?

Innocence may be the operative word here. After the letdown of the ‘70s weren’t we oh-so-ready for the ‘80s, one day footloose, another day burning down the house? That’s the way it was for anyone who just loved rock ‘n’ roll. Concerts and clubs did not feel like danger zones.

There was glamour and, yes, greed. There was Ronald Reagan. There were hints of a mysterious gay plague no one would ever believe it would be as bad as it would end up being.

Looking back now maybe it had the feel of a last chance, even a last dance. Frank Bruni, in the opening essay to the April 17 issue of the New York Times T Magazine focused on the early ‘80s in New York, reminds us that “People lived larger and louder than they had just years before. They also died younger.” And maybe the revival of so many things that echo the ‘80s is here to remind us what a threshold decade it was. Hippies took a back seat to Yuppies. E.T. cast a spell, the Berlin Wall came down.  We were gripped by a royal wedding, fairy-tale style, a woman became the first Supreme Court justice, another woman the first vice presidential candidate.

The environmental disasters that marked the decade—Bhopal, Chernobyl, Exxon-Valdez—were warnings that gave rise to a certain amount of regulatory guidelines but here we are decades later threatening to turn back the clock.

Maybe that’s the real conundrum of the times in which we live:  there’s no turning back from what technology, ‘90s style and beyond, has wrought, even if it has us longing for a kinder, simpler time.  Put to its best use, that same technology makes it easy to relive—and build on—those ideas and moments from an earlier decade that have as much relevance and resonance now.

Could there be a better time than this for a revival of Tony Kushner’s epic play, Angels in America, with its undercurrent of secrets and lies, love and death, corruption that seems mild by today’s standards?

AIDS may not be the death sentence it once was, but it’s still with us. Celebrities like Rock Hudson and Magic Johnson gave HIV/AIDS a high-profile face but it took lots of good people acting up to make the government pay attention. The decade that saw men beaten up by police for being gay also brought them out into the streets in anger and pride. No small irony that it was a decade also marked by the brutal beating of a black man by a group of white men in Howard Beach, Queens. Decades later, there’s no room for complacency.  We’re still fighting for health care, equal rights, equal pay. Gun control. If the medium is the message, we have Twitter and Facebook at their best, and worst, to bring visibility to the fight(s). We also have the ‘80s to thank for the way it took protest branding to a new level.  The powerful, provocative Silence=Death poster/slogan paved the way for pink pussy hats and Black Lives Matter.

So, let’s put on our red shoes and dance. The Donna Summer Musical is lighting up Broadway.  She’s Gotta Have It, Spike Lee’s 1986 debut movie, is having an updated Netflix reincarnation. Cats, gone from Broadway, is on to its next life in a North American tour that includes Providence, Chicago, Raleigh, and Los Angeles. And let’s remind ourselves, it’s not so much about going back as it is about recognizing all we got from an era that changed our lives.

 

Mother of the long-distance bride-to-be

My daughter sends me a text along with a photo, shoes she is trying on. Jimmy Choo mules on sale. They’re comfortable, she texts. We wear the same size.

They’re gorgeous. One of us should have them, I text back. I’m thinking of her wedding, an outdoor, grassy affair. Special days require special accessories, not to mention lots of special attention.

She may be hesitant but I don’t miss a beat. In a flash, I’m online ordering the shoes, which will end up being for me, and which will not end up being quite right for the dress I end up buying.  Not that I’ll have any problem finding something else to where them with.

Another day, another text: Did I get the right dress?  So many choices, more than one exquisite, how can she help but second-guess?  That’s what mothers are for, to reassure. Absolutely.  That she remains unconvinced is beside the point. I cannot change her mind.  I can do little to ease her disappointments about friends who can’t come to the wedding or anxieties as the day draws nearer and nearer.

Did we invite too many people? 

Did we block enough rooms?

Should I go blonder for the wedding?  

My daughter is getting married.

She lives 3,000 miles away.  In the grand scheme of mother-daughter moments, something feels a tad wrong with this picture.

Not only does she live 3,000 miles away but the wedding will also take place 3,000 miles away.  My husband and I live in New York, she and her fiancé have made a life out in California, which makes it all the more fitting as a place to celebrate a life event. And maybe ‘wrong’ isn’t quite the right word to capture the sense of something missing from traditional rituals in times so often defined by nontraditional ways of living.  A parent really can’t ‘give away’ a bride who’s been living with her fiancé. Brides more often than not wear white for reasons that have little or nothing to do with purity/virginity.  Yet weddings, like other rituals that bind families, still have their hold on us—and largely for the right reasons.

Sentimentally speaking, a wedding is an affirmation of love (putting aside cultures in which arranged marriages are the norm).  It reminds us what it is to be young (or old) and truly in love. In a world that seems dark these days, there’s every reason to celebrate the hope infused in two individuals choosing to make a life together.  From a standpoint of tradition, a mother of a bride who lives far away is caught between unmitigated joy that her daughter has found someone she wants to share her life with and a gnawing ache about moments missed when all the showering of attention that is part and parcel of pre-wedding commiseration has to be done long-distance.

Every wedding has echoes of weddings past, calling up remnants of our tribal roots, with traditions handed down from generation to generation. It all seemed easier when family dispersal was more the exception than the norm it’s becoming. Holy or not, two individuals joined in wedlock become links in a family chain. Broken or not, families are extended through this new link in the chain of lineage.  Jewish tradition brings a ketubah into the picture, a contract signed by witnesses just prior to the ceremony attesting to the obligations a bride and groom agree to. Today’s ketubot are works of art, something even those of the non-Jewish persuasion are drawn to. Then comes the ceremony, after which we eat, we dance, we tell stories to mark the day—stories that will be handed down, stories recalled through pictures.

We cry, too.Down-the-aisle love songs have a way of tugging at my heart, hitting that nerve that sits on the edge of love and loss in the way that weddings do. That this is the wedding of my own daughter, all grown up now, moving on, only ups the emotional ante.

If I feel deprived of something, it’s the intimacy that would seem to be part of wedding planning. All those details—venue, food, flowers, music, rabbi—negotiated over the terrain of distance have me feeing one step removed.  All the texts and phone calls from my daughter have me thinking how different it was with my own mother when I planned my own wedding.

My mother, long gone, will not be at the wedding. My husband’s mother will, and that’s a blessing all its own. That it’s taking place on Mother’s Day Weekend brings an added joy. My idea of a good Mother’s Day was always simple: let me linger in the morning over coffee and whatever I feel like reading; let me not think about what we’re doing for lunch or dinner. My daughter’s first year in college brought her back for Mother’s Day, a surprise orchestrated with her father. Boston is not far from New York. California is. It’s the way we live now.

To be the mother of a bride on Mother’s Day weekend is a gift that can’t be quantified.  To be the mother of a soon-to-be-bride who lives far away requires an extra measure of attention to what is and what is not within my control. There is no planning a wedding without stresses. On the surface it’s about logistics and details, which largely fall on my daughter as the point person and which I can do little or nothing to relieve her of.  The best I can do is remind her, in conversations and texts, of what is and what is not within her control. That good friend who can’t fly because she’s seven months pregnant will indeed be missed. And maybe the wedding will be a larger affair than she wanted because so many people have such good feelings about the happy couple.

I remind her, too, to look at the big picture and the deeper significance of getting married. With any luck, it will be a picture-perfect day, with a bride exuding the kind of joy that transcends any worries about the perfect dress. Or shoes.

 

Today it’s all about the book


Writers, more often than not, are uncomfortable singing their praises.  The work we do, in the quiet of a space we relish, is what sustains us. Lots of time spent being invisible for the sake of the visibility and resonance we hope our stories bring.

Maybe Joan Didion was right when she characterized writing as “the act of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.” It’s certainly a provocative, Didion-esque way of putting things.  But ultimately writing and reading are a transaction of sorts in which the reader brings her unique perspective to what the writer has put out. 

It’s a long hard road from conception to finished novel to publication and Just Like February, now out there, has to take on a life of its own. Timing and luck certainly play their part. If, as my mother liked to say, timing is everything, I can’t help but see a certain synchronity in the publication  of a novel that evokes the ‘80s in a time when echoes of that decade appear to be back in pop culture, art, and politics.

In the weeks since publication, I’ve gotten some very gratifying reviews and plugs from sites like BuzzFeed, and I’ve written essays for other sites—on topics as varied as bonding with my daughter at rock concerts, learning to swim at the ripe age of 66, and simply, why I write. A new page on my website, News and links, will give you a glimpse of what I’ve been up to. Just click the link in the menu bar above and  take a peek while I take break and turn my attention to that next big marker in my life, my daughter’s wedding.

 

 

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