A Long Road to Guangzhou…

Cutest Carrefour baby, ever!

Cutest Carrefour baby, ever!

So…of course Friday night’s flight from Tai Yuan, China, to Guangzhou, China, was delayed. We ended up taking off around 10:30 p.m….and landing around 1:00 a.m.

(curse word, curse word, curse word)

By the time we got picked up, delivered to our hotel, and checked in, it was 3:30 in the morning.

Oy.

We were wiped. All of us. I.had no idea what day it was.

To top off the fun, Yao and I got up early–6.00 a.m.–to join our group for the children’s medical checkup for the U.S. Consulate end of things. A well-organized, but exhausting process. The TB test for the Yaoster was hell. This little guy let everyone know he was not happy with the blood draw.

But afterward we visited Carrefour for necessities (aka chocolate). As you can see, Yao could be the new model for the store.

Getting Real & Talking Risk at the “Newburyport Literary Festival”

9780425271483_large_The Art of Floating_HIGH RESLovely readers! Don’t miss my event at this year’s Newburyport Literary Festival: “Getting Real:  The Raw, Risky Business of Writing Fiction.” Grab a coffee and settle in!

When: Saturday, April 25, at 9:00 a.m.

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church (26 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, MA)

Who: Kristin Bair O’Keeffe, Holly Robinson, Lorrie Thomson

And so much more at the Newburyport Lit Fest!

Authors Live Panel at the Andover Historical Society

Five local authors, including Cheryl Murnane and Kristin Bair O’Keeffe, will be panelists who share in a discussion of writing in the 21st century. Writing styles and inspiration sources will be discussed. Audience questions will be welcome. Cost is $5 per member, $7 per non-member, students are admitted free.

Happy 2015, Year of “No Mud, No Lotus”

“No mud, no lotus”

This is my mantra as I write this new novel, continue sharing THE ART OF FLOATING, and shift into 2015.

The necklace is a Christmas gift from my hubs. The wisdom on writing (& life) comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk I’ve been following for years.

Happy New Year, all!

No Mud No Lotus

Writing the New Novel

This morning while working on the new novel I remembered a music class I took in college. Part of our final exam was to keep 6 beats going at the same time using different parts of our body, for example, whole note beat with right foot / half note beat with left foot / quarter note with right hand / eighth note with left hand, etc.

6 beats at the same time. For an entire minute.

It was f’in hard, but weirdly centering, too. I remember sitting outside the student union on the stone bridge in Bloomington, Indiana, practicing and practicing.

Left hand, right hand, left foot, right foot, head, mouth. Keep it all going. At the same time.

I was studying poetry then with Lynda Hull and Yusef Komunyakaa so all this rhythm and all these beats blended with the poetry I was writing and reading and made this crazy kind of sense. Eventually. After many hours. After many days.

And I realized this morning that writing this novel, which takes place in Shanghai and is pulling me places I didn’t know I was going to go and is demanding multiple rhythms and beats…maybe even more than 6, is so much like that experience. I’m out there again, on the stone bridge outside the student union in my beloved Bloomington, with my eyes closed and one hand tapping 8th notes and my head nodding 16th notes and my mouth creating some syncopated rhythm that sounds crazy right now but will, fingers crossed, eventually make sense and be beautiful and express this blossoming story.

And then I’m so grateful for those class dinners at Lynda Hull’s house when she slowly pulled me out of my insane shyness and helped me believe in me. And that day when I heard of her death, which shattered me. Still shatters me. One of those voices I can still hear—will always hear—when I close my eyes.

So on I go with this novel. Informed by all this.

Tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tap-tap.

Tap.

Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster, MA

Holly Robinson (author of BEACH PLUM ISLAND) and I will be doing a joint event at Booklovers’ Gourmet, a wonderful independent bookstore in Webster, Massachusetts. Reading, talking, answering questions! This is going to be fun! Hope you’ll come on out and join us.

 

 

 

Authors Fair at Haverhill (Massachusetts) Public Library: Sat, August 16, 1-3pm: I’ll Be There

Near Haverhill, Massachusetts? If so, come on out this coming Saturday, August 16, from 1:00-3:00 for the Authors Fair! I’ll be there with THE ART OF FLOATING, along with many wonderful authors. Great fun ahead!

FLOATING in the Haverhill Library