The Landscape Of Your Life

I'm the speck at the front of the room. Great room.

Yesterday I rose at 5, in my hotel room in Franklin, Tennessee, showered, brushed up my speech to the Tennessee Association of School Librarians, had room service breakfast (one of my favorite things in the world), made my way to Salon 5 in the Franklin Marriott, delivered a rousing speech to a fantabulous crowd of hard-working, earnest, passionate librarians...

...signed books until they were sold out, presented a session to a packed house on writing personal narratives (I want to see your stories!), hugged and thanked everyone (such a marvelous bunch of folks -- hey, Margaret, hey, Belinda, hey Scot, hey all of you), checked out of my hotel room, drove five hours home to Atlanta, and on the way, called a good friend whose mother had died while I was traveling... so I was not home and couldn't make it to the funeral.

It turned out that there would be a small gathering of friends at her home that very evening, to listen to The White Album by The Beatles, Nov. 22 being the anniversary of many things, including the release of The White Album 40 years ago, in 1968. Would Jim and I like to come?

We would, and we did.

What a blessing is friendship. We lit candles, we turned on the yellow submarine lamp (which has a lava-lamp effect), we settled ourselves against one another and we adjusted all four speakers to just-the-right-levels, so we could hear every nuance, every note. After chocolate cake and ice cream and all four sides of the remastered 30-year commemorative CD (which had not been opened until last night), we bid our goodnights, sped home through the darkness, and tumbled into our soft, warm bed at midnight.

Is not everyone's workday crazy like this?

Hahahaha. This morning I am still in bed. I am eating hot buttered toast and drinking strong Kenyan coffee. I plan to do nothing else today but stare at the leaves outside my window and ruminate on life.

Is not everyone's Sunday lazy like this?


I have again lost my voice, and my head feels as if it's in a vice grip, so it's time to take good care of myself and lay low for a while. I have one week before my next travel. Thanksgiving is stuck in there... someplace. Thank goodness son Jason is cooking this year... although I will contribute my mother's pecan pie and "the orange stuff."

I thought this morning about how over-full my life was when I had all four children at home and the weekdays -- workdays -- were just as packed as my day yesterday was.

The landscape was just different, that's all.

For two years I had one child in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary school, and one in diapers. I didn't know if I was coming or going, but I call those days my glory days, because they meant so much to me, even in all their craziness... they were the days we were most "together."

The two stretches in my life when I was a single parent -- once in my teens/early twenties and again in my late forties/early fifties -- were so packed that I was cross-eyed with exhaustion. In fact, I've pretty much been cross-eyed with exhaustion for the past seven or eight years... hmmm.... will ruminate on this today, from my perch by the window.

Am thinking about landscapes today, and how the landscape of life changes with age, time, and experience... and attitude, too, I suppose. Choices, too, yes?

Tomorrow I start work on the novel again, another landscape. My new (and not so new) editor has read the manuscript, we have spoken by phone twice and have exchanged some email. I feel confident the story is in good hands, and I am ready to wrap up 30 days of process, here on the blog, this week.

I will catch you up soon.


  1. Just wanted to tell you. . . I loved hearing you speak at TASL! I was not in that long line to get a book signed, but one of my traveling buddies was, and she remarked how impressed she was that you took the time to visit a little with everybody. Thank you for that.

  2. Oh, thank you for these gracious words! I loved every minute at TASL, and I especially like VISITING in line. That's a treat for me, and I appreciate all those patient people on Saturday.


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