Gratitude, mothering, and writing

Natasha Wing (fabulous picture book author), Sarah Scobey (great librarian), Laura Pritchett (talented novelist and writing group buddy) and me at the reception for Geraldine Brooks

Hi guys,

Hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving!  We did-- we had a giant potluck dinner with old and new friends, complete with a bonfire that captivated Lil Dude.

One of the many things I'm thankful for is my amazing book-loving community of Fort Collins.  A couple weeks ago, Geraldine Brooks came to town as part of Fort Collins Reads-- this year we read her Pulitzer Prize winning book March.  

Geraldine Brooks (and by the way, thank you Natasha for sending me these pics!)

She was one of the most charming, smartest, wittiest speakers I've heard... although I must admit, I'm easily enchanted by accents and she had an endearing Australian one (though she now lives in Martha's Vineyard.)

Geraldine's rapt audience at the reception

It's always inspiring for me to hear other authors talk.... and I always learn something.  Nowadays I'm often on the lookout for good advice about how to handle being an author and the mother of a young, wildly exuberant child.

Geraldine said she has a Pavlovian-dog response to the sound of the school bus whisking her children off to school.  She makes a bee-line to her office and starts typing (or "listening to dead people" as she put it.)  When the school bus drops her kids back at home, she stops her workday and focuses completely on them.

At a reading in Boulder last month, Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) told us one of her secrets of focus and productivity in the midst of little-kid-chaos: the "Freedom" app, which is now PC as well as Mac compatible!  It costs ten bucks to download, and it is so worth it. (I downloaded it that very night after I heard Laini speak). You just type in how many minutes you want to be disconnected from wireless Internet, and *Freedom* keeps you offline for that time period.  Bliss!  No distractions... I love it.  I've been SO much more productive the past six weeks. (Thanks, Laini!)

I think both Laini's and Geraldine's advice comes down to finding a way to be focused and present on the creative project at hand-- either your child(ren) or your book-in-progress or whatever else it may be.  Good to remember!

Thanks for reading!