Step Away From the Computer and No One Will Get Hurt

  • July 24, 2017
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There’s an old I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel bet Ricky and Fred that they couldn’t manage without modern conveniences. Although the episode is really funny, I loved it for the actual doing of things, like baking bread and churning butter. I doubt I’d want to do that on a regular basis, but once in a while chores like that have a certain charm. Things take the time they take.

Book Review: The Girl with Ghost Eyes

  • July 17, 2017
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I love books that don’t feed me every tidbit of information but allow me to discover the meaning as I read. Or not. Some things I need to look up after. And that’s okay.

M. H. Boroson’s The Girl with Ghost Eyes is an urban fantasy that’s intriguing and serious, with magic and humor added to the mix. The many layers in this tale weave itself into a complicated tapestry that’s both old and new. Set in nineteenth-century San Francisco, it covers its history well regarding Chinese immigration and how women were treated. Add in magic (magic that doesn’t make those problems disappear) and it’s a fascinating story that doesn’t take the easy way out.

In a Writing Rut? Invite a Tourist

  • July 10, 2017
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I live in New York City, a city bustling with five boroughs of different temperaments all merged together to form a ball of energy.

But when someone asked me recently for the name of a good local restaurant, I paused. “I guess when I’m in my neighborhood, I just go home and cook.”

It’s when friends and family from out of town come to visit that I see my city through different eyes. I take them to my favorite spots and we explore places I’d always meant to go to but never did.

Tourist attractions with a guest are a completely different experience. I’m having too much fun looking through my guests’ eyes to pay attention to the fact that it’s, you know, a tourist attraction.

But yes, I know I live in a city where there are hundreds of thousands of places to see. What if I didn’t? I once lived in a small (well, small to me) city, population: 50,000. They had landmark signs tucked along the roads that I loved to follow. The locals no longer paid attention in the same way I no longer pay attention to the Statue of Liberty. And I loved those landmark signs and what they depicted.

So, go on! Invite someone from out of town and let them show you the sights. They’ll show you a place filled with detail and life. And in the process, your writing will light up with rich description and what ifs and—dare I say it? Magic.

 

Writers, Join Me at The Invisible Café

  • July 03, 2017
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In Natalie Goldberg’s essay “Emergency Case,” from her book Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, she arranged a time and place to meet a friend to write but didn’t want to know if her friend was going to show up. The point was, she herself would be there and writing. This essay stuck in my head for so long, I decided to do it with a twist.

Let’s meet at the Invisible Café for one hour and write. If you can’t make it, don’t tell me, I’ll be there and writing. I think Wednesdays are good but feel free to schedule another day. Time? I’m thinking 10 am this week. If you get there a little early (or late), that’s fine.

Where is it? It’s wherever you are. Can’t make that hour? Just try to make it that day, there will be writers flowing in and out at all hours. The chairs and couches are comfy (the chairs come in a wide range of styles) and the lighting is perfect. There’s only the barest hum of outside traffic and the waitstaff are patient and encouraging with their smiles as they serve you. (Don’t forget to tip nicely, they work hard.)

They’re open twenty-four hours a day. The ambiance at night is just as comfortable, but there’s also a spark of energy among the others sitting there that prevents me from falling asleep.

The important thing is that we’re meeting to write, surrounded by fellow writers.

Oh, and try the croissants.

Writing Again

  • June 26, 2017
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I took a hiatus from writing fiction. When Magical Ties was published, I had reached the stage where if I had to proof it one more time—! Not because I didn’t like my story (I did), but because when reading it as a proofreader and copy editor I was too busy looking for technical errors to enjoy it. Probably too afraid to enjoy it, worried I’d miss a mistake. Doing that intensive focus for four or five times in a row was necessary but brutal to my brain.

In Honor of My Dad

  • June 19, 2017
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I’m repeating this post:

My Dad and Writing

One More Week

  • June 12, 2017
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I’m taking another week to rest my arm and then…writing! (To all writers out there, treat your arms with respect–keep them fit and make sure your chair and computer setup are properly aligned.)

It Happens

  • June 05, 2017
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I strained my arm (left, and of course I’m a lefty), so my typing will be kept to a minimum this week.

Walking Over the Brooklyn Bridge

  • May 29, 2017
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I’m a Brooklyn girl. Even when my family moved to the Bronx, I knew I’d return. And I did. So it seems funny that I never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge until last month. Then again, how many people play tourist in their own city?

Staten Island as You’ve Never Seen It

  • May 22, 2017
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Have you heard of Williamsburg, Virginia? Or Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts? Those are the places where people walk around in costume and show what it’s like to have lived in colonial times.

Who knew there was a version of that on Staten Island? Historic Richmond Town isn’t as large (yet) but it’s a fascinating way to spend the day, as I did with friends on Friday.

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