July 30, 2013

The Post-Tahoe Post

Hola, world.

I'm still here! Still alive.

I've put off blogging since we went to Lake Tahoe earlier this month, because I planned to do a big post-Tahoe post and show you all the cool things we did. And we really did have a great family time -- we hiked, we biked, we rafted down the mellow Truckee river. We even had a black bear go loping through the backyard of our cottage.  (No photos of that, it happened so fast.)

But returning to post-vacation life, with its attendant laundry, laziness, and lack of anticipation, has left me feeling really blah.  I could blame the kids, and how they're constantly here, they're constantly behind my desk chair, bickering and whining and wanting apples sliced up. (Because God forbid they'd have to eat, like, a whole apple.)

It's not really the kids, because I could blog after bedtime  (though bedtime averages around 10 this summer). I think that this summer has sort of sucked my creative juices dry, and there's nothing I really feel a need to talk about much. 

In a nutshell, Tahoe was beautiful, if crowded, and we'd like to go back again, but as the husband says (quoting me), it's a great big world and there's a lot to see.  Meaning, we're not the type of family who repeats going to the same spots over and over. (With the exception of Palm Springs. But that's like, totally different.)

Right now, there are no upcoming trips, except the ones to the mall, to buy the kids new shoes and argue about why I won't spend that same amount of money at Build-A-Bear or Game Stop or etc. etc.

Alright then.  School starts in just over 2 weeks.  I'll probably be back with a real honest-to-God and enthusiastic post before then, but no promises.

Until then, here's one of my favorite photos, from the 400+ we took during the Tahoe trip.  I have a lot of gorgeous shots of the lake, but neither the time or inclination to sort through and edit them quite yet.
(No lie, I was just about to hit "Publish" when Tucker came up behind me and asked for an apple.) Gotta go...

July 1, 2013

Writing News

Remember back in late April & May, when I talked a lot about my writing, how I was working on a particular piece and feeling all braggy about sitting at my kitchen table and writing almost every morning?
I talked more about it back in this post, how I was working on an essay about shopping, and the department stores of my youth.

Well, last week I received word that my  essay "I Dream of Department Stores" has been accepted for inclusion in a book of personal essays, all themed around different takes on shopping. The anthology will be published by Seal Press, a small yet well-established publishing house out of Portland that specializes in women's interests.
Actually, I knew that I was potentially in as a "yes" awhile back, through e-mail correspondence with the editors, and I felt especially writerly when I received the (minimal) edits for the piece last month, which meant I was working with an editor. Heady stuff!

But I knew it was Officially Official when I received my contributors contract last week, which outlines the details of my publishing rights and payment (again, minimal) and all that. Also, I knew it was official when in another e-mail, the editor told the contributors, "Yes! Feel free to tell everyone!"
This is not the first time my writing has been published. I've had a few short stories appear in small literary journals (including this one), and had some journalism published way, way long ago in the OC Weekly. But this was certainly the first contract I've ever received, and it will easily be the most I've been paid so far for putting pen to paper. It also goes without saying that this is the first book that I've been in, which is the most exciting part of it all.

The best and worst part is that this is my first piece of memoir that I've had accepted. Best, because this is the genre that I'm working in now, and it feels great to have this finished piece accepted so easily (easily, after the accumulation of rejection slips for my short stories that were eventually published).  Worst, because its memoir. It's all true, all just out there. I was driving around last week, and the sudden realization that the names of some of my family members would be out there in the world made me want to pass out. Or take it all back: "wait, can I change some names here??"  But I'm not going to change names, or take anything back.

The book, titled The Dressing Room, won't be published until the fall of 2014. That feels like a long time, maybe even long enough to  work up to telling my extended family. (Ha!) In the meantime, this news is a great, great boost to my motivation to keep going with memoir, and telling my family's particular story.  (Although I've been incapable so far this summer at figuring out how to write with the kids at home.)

All photos from my Instagram account. Also, it's July 1 and I'm in total denial about the demise of Google Reader. (As of this morning, it was still working.) Follow me on Instagram at "readingnest1," my Facebook page (where I always link to my new blog posts), or at Feedly, though I haven't actually figured out how to properly navigate around there yet.

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