Naturalists in the wild make field notes–sketchy drawings and journals of their journeys—and so do writers. In this blog I’ll sketch out the fascinating seasonal changes in the hay field and trees and wildlife here at Blue Meadow Farm, the changes that daily refresh my spirit. I’ll also write about the often mystifying process of becoming a novelist. For next year, as I approach 70, I’ll be releasing my first novel, Indigo Field. I’ll write about ways to keep morale up, ways to get new work done, ways to handle the rigors of publishing and promoting a book, as well how to live vividly in a writers’ community, finding inspiration and support from books and authors I love. My hope is that you will spy on my process and learn for the day you release your first book – or your next book. I hope you will gain refreshment from my reflections on nature, community, and the writing process.
Writing a Novel: Author Chat with Cliff Garstang
Author Clifford Garstang Clifford Garstang’s novel Oliver’s Travels features a young man’s coming of age, philosophical discourse, and a darn good argument for world travel to expand awareness. Garstang himself took this advice, living and working all over Southeast Asia and Kazakhstan before taking on writing a novel. Book Title: Oliver’s Travels Publisher: Regal House…
Continue Reading Writing a Novel: Author Chat with Cliff Garstang
A Good Mystery
Peter Mock at McIntyre’s Books says he’s got the best selection of mysteries in the South
Author Chat with Valerie Nieman
A sentence from the book: “Me, I’m a creature like a bear or raccoon, I can live lots of ways. Daughter of Andrew, cleaner of boats, sailor of Bellatrix that I built from a derelict, roamer of woods, scientist, stalker of plants and animals, teller of tales.”
Novel Writing is Hard
And why it feels so good when you’re done.
Consider the Field
The hay field changes every week in the growing season, and in North Carolina the wild growing season starts in winter. By February, I’m seeing these tiny flowers everywhere in low grass, by the side of the road, in my ragged lawn, a promise of coming spring. Such a bright blue! Smaller than my smallest fingernail. Hopeful, upright, the color of the sky, they remind me that once I was a child, low to the ground myself, noticing everything.
The Dutch House
When I was young, my family lived with my grandmother for a time in Washington, D.C. , in one of the old neighborhoods with houses of colonial brick and Italianate stucco. Grandmother’s house was a colonial, with perfect symmetry: a window on each side of the front door, three windows across the top, and a little…
Free Summer Writing Camp
I have been, like all of us, desperate to make a difference, escape isolation, connect during this time of coronavirus. I have observed during my spring classes on Zoom what a tremendous difference it makes for me and others to simply connect through writing–even on social media. I am not good at making masks. But…
Summer Writers Plan
Dear Kitchen Table Writers, Below is a list of summer reading I plan to do — and I recommend for you. I’ve dipped into each of these and am eager to find a hammock somewhere and read for hours on end. Share your reading list in the comments! Summer Reading List Let Me Out Here,…
Joni Mitchell’s Blues
I was at an Arists’ Residency, far from home, and things weren’t going well. There was lots of chatter about people you knew in New York, and I didn’t know anybody in New York unless you count my college roommate who lives in Harlem and my cousin who lives in New Jersey. The people I…
A Field, A Quilt, A Novel
In his seminal novel Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe gave us an extraordinary place. In writing my new novel, INDIGO FIELD, I was inspired in part by Wolfe’s lush and vivid prose descriptions of extraordinary North Carolina places. To me, Indigo Field is a place so full of layers of history and mystery, plants and…
Hemingway in Pittsboro
I used to think that as a writer I had to hole up in my little room and write and write, and never come out until I was done. But it dawned on me that unlike in journalism, with creative work nobody really cared if I ever finished something. That gets a little weird after…