Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Hard Day's Night

I left for work this morning knowing I’d be rushing home eleven hours later just in time to kiss my baby goodnight.

What I should have known was that eleven hours would turn into more than twelve. This is a rare occasion in my current work life, so I won’t complain. I was sad not to find my boy waiting for me at the front door though. Instead, here are a few of the things I did find when I stepped into my house and slipped off my heels.

A baby sleeping soundly … apparently after a few minutes of reassuring himself that “it not scary, it not scary.” (He woke up crying last night and reported bad dreams about a “mobot” [i.e. robot].)

A husband rushing down the stairs, ready to run out the door to defend his Rock ‘n Roll Trivia title and help cash in his team’s $100 bar tab prize.

Half of a Jersey Mike’s sub in the fridge. Necessary. The Pumpkin Spice Moonshine I sampled earlier was delicious, but not a suitable dinner.

Last night’s The Rachel Zoe Project on the DVR.

Spiderman scaling the mantel.

Heeding His Advice

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.
(from Shakespeare's Hamlet)

Monday, September 28, 2009


In 33 years, I’ve lived in four states, nine towns, and twenty-five—count ‘em, 25—homes.

With all this wandering it’s no wonder my Grandma Jeanne called my brother and I her gypsies. Oh, how we wreaked havoc on the “M” page of so many address books. One scratched out entry after another. From Hogpath Road to Grand Avenue to Peachtree Street, I’ve lived in farmhouses, walk-up apartments, cottages and industrial lofts.

I’ve been in a little 1930s brick and stone bungalow on Utah Avenue for more than three years now. Almost a record! In fact, I’ve only lived in one of those other 24 homes for longer. Six years is my personal best. So this is progress. This is me making myself at home.

And I love it. Indeed, I love Nashville. I’ve been here for more than ten years now—minus a 4-month jaunt to Atlanta—and despite my occasional frustration with Tennessee politics and a certain air of Confederate nostalgia, I can’t imagine leaving. I’d consider New York City if The Daily Show or SNL wooed my husband (as they rightly should) or L.A. if Conan O’Brien came begging. Until then, this is home. And I’m thankful that this is so for many, many reasons. Here are a few – along with a few photos I snapped during my lunch break today.

- 70 degrees and sunny. Every day this week. I predict brilliantly happy people abound.

- I truly enjoy the eight-minute commute to my downtown office each morning.

- From hole-in-the-wall honky tonkin’ to blockbuster stadium shows, I get to on a regular basis see and hear more live music than I ever dreamt possible.

- The food (and drink). I devote way more of my meager income to good restaurants than a responsible adult should. But oh me, oh my – there’s some good eatin’ to be done in Nashville. I’ll share specifics in many posts to come.

- The friends and family who make Nashville home. After all, isn’t that what I learned as we blew from house to house, town to town in all these years past? It makes no matter what my bedroom looks like or how big my backyard is, so long as there are good friends at my kitchen table, neighbors gathered on the front porch and supportive family just a few miles (or a phone call) away.

- On that note – I’m less than six hours from my original home. While that often feels much too far away, I know on that a good day I can get there on one tank of gas. I can always make it just in time to celebrate a graduation, wish a happy birthday, cry at a wedding or hold a beautiful new baby.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Suspended Animation

9,213 words on the page. I wonder, how many until the book is written and the story is told?

I began a novel six year ago. After two years and only two polished chapters, I stopped. Walked away. Took jobs getting paid to teach others to write (and rewriting what they wrote), then writing press releases and brochure copy, speeches and letters to the editor.

Then I ushered into the world something more astounding than any novel. My son, Matthew Beckett. Named for his father and for my little brother. (And for a wild-haired Irish playwright.)

During those magnificent yet dry four years, though, the story of a girl and the brother she could not save stayed with me. It shifted shape, changed direction, welcomed new characters and bid farewell to others. Its heart and the truth became clearer. And now it’s begging me to let it go. Apparently it’s ready. And I believe I am too.

So I am back at the keyboard, six years since I typed the original first sentence: “She woke that morning sprawled across the bed, face down into the mascara-streaked white pillow.” 

The new lead sentence is better. I think. Do you? 

“This morning, I said a prayer.”

I do not know how far into this great wide world my story will go. My husband, Matt, says if he can read it by August 12, 2010 (my 33rd birthday), we’ll go to Paris and London to celebrate. He may be the only person to ever read it. And that may be just fine with me, so long as I have the chance to thank God it’s finished down on my knees under the cathedral ceilings of St. Paul’s or to spend an afternoon drinking Côtes du Rhône and eating brown bags full of fromage and baguettes along the banks of the Seine or to kiss Oscar Wilde’s grave. That may indeed be all the reward I need.

The Writing Mamas – an incredible group of writers and friends I eat, drink, share and workshop with every third Thursday of the month – will also be my readers, I hope. They’ve convinced me to start this blog, and most importantly, they’ve convinced me in the short time that I’ve known them that I was ready to return to my book. (Working title? See the title of this entry.)

So here I go. I’ll keep you posted here. And, since this is my first entry, I suppose I should let you know I’ll be using this space to keep you posted on lots of other things as well. All the things I carry with me. The people I love. Places I go. Memories I keep. Questions I ponder. The fashion, food, film and other finds I just can’t keep to myself. I hope you enjoy. 

And I hope to post lots and lots of photos from across the pond one year from now.