Saturday Edition: What we’re writing and reading

Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading.

We’re taking a little detour on the weekends now to share some of what we’re up to with our writing (when we’re not here) and what we’re into with our reading (around the web). We’ll also pull back the curtain a little to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what went into a piece.

We hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own posts and picks in the comments.

Happy writing! Happy reading! 


headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: Between the Labor Day holiday, my daughter’s return to school, and an intense (in all the best ways) discovery meeting with a branding client, this week was pretty darn busy. In fact, I’m shocked that it’s Saturday again already! (How does that happen?!?)

Happily (for a change) the weekend ahead is free of client deadlines. The only writing I’ll be working on is a couple of blog posts and my local column. I’m torn between writing about the change in the seasons and the mommy mosh pit that is the parent pick-up line at my daughter’s school. Other than that, I’m hoping for some quality reading time and some down time with my beau. (My daughter is with her dad, conquering a local corn maze.)

Before I hunker down at the coffee shop to write or curl up on the couch with a book, here are a few random thoughts and items from my week of literary work & wandering.

What I’m Writing:

sandollar smThe column I shared this week is about one of my favorite fall activities – walking the beach. I’ve never been much of a bathing beauty in the traditional sense. I’m not drawn to the beach in the summer – all those people, all that heat. It’s just not appealing to me. But, give me a beautiful autumn day at the shore and I’m a happy girl. In Finally – fall. Beach season is here, I muse on what makes off-season at the ocean such a magical place.

glover bldgI also had a feature piece published in my local paper. It won’t have much relevance beyond town borders unless you are a history buff or an architect, but if you fit either of those descriptions you may find it of interest. I live in a small town just north of Boston. We are famous for fried clams, our gorgeous beach (ten miles of pristine white sand), and first period homes. There are more first period homes in my little hometown than in any other town in the country. My daughter and I currently live in a three hundred year-old antique that is a living piece of history.

Friends of mine have formed a non-profit group to rescue and renovate endangered buildings of architectural or cultural value. The feature I wrote is about their first project, relocating and restoring the Glover’s mill building from the 1800s.

On the business side of things, I completed the first draft of copy for a high-concept sales booklet about an industrial energy management product and did the discovery and prep work for a creative brief and messaging framework for a finance client. Both projects were a lot of fun – creative and full of new possibilities.

What I’m Reading:

While I didn’t have much time for long-form reading, I am still chipping away at a couple of novels (which I’ll share later). In the meantime, I’m indebted to my writerly friend Tracy Mayor (fabulous and funny and on Twitter @mommyprayers) for turning me onto a great new site called Full Grown People (The Other Awkward Age). The site just launched this week, and if the first few essays are any indication, it’s going to be a keeper.

The project comes from writer and editor Jennifer Niesslein. Niesslein and her business partner Stephanie Wilkinson were partners on the wonderful parenting magazine, Brain, Child (the smartest parenting magazine I’ve ever read) until they sold it last year. With this new project, Niesslein explores the stories of “full grown” people. From the about page:

I founded Full Grown People because I find comfort, empathy, and intellectual stimulation in reading other people’s stories.

The topics here run the whole gamut: romance, family, health, career, dealing with aging loved ones, and more. But what draws everything together is the sense that we’re all feeling our way along. There are a gazillion how-to books on all of these subjects, but I’ve always been interested in the how-come.

If, like me, you often find yourself with only a few minutes to read, you may enjoy tapping into these essays. I particularly enjoyed Katy Read’s piece about running off to Europe with her two sons. Her writing in My Best Stupid Decision is the kind of writing I love to read, even though it can also make me want to give up writing because it’s so damn good.

Oh, and by the way, the site accepts submissions.

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

eternal struggle

And that’s all for now.

Happy writing & reading. Have a wonderful weekend and we’ll see you on the other side!


25 thoughts on “Saturday Edition: What we’re writing and reading

  1. Good morning.

    What I am writing: a gratitude journal for this week. Tuesday in particular was FULL of obstacles so after reflecting on it, I am asking: “what am I supposed to learn from it?” Is it something I am doing/not doing? Do I need to be more patient/mindful/accepting? Waiting for an answer 🙂

    What I am reading: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. It is considered one of the lesser known American classics. It talks about the strange friendship that two couples develop. It takes place in Depression era… Although I am not a native speaker of English, I so appreciate his language – intelligent yet simple.

    Favorite quote of the week: ” I am no an eccentric, it’s just that I am more alive than most people.” by Dame Edith Sitwell.

    Thank you again, and have a great weekend and a wonderful week!

    • I am trying to get back into keeping a gratitude journal, but haven’t found the right approach yet. It’s a wonderful practice on so many levels … even if it does sometimes leave us “waiting for answers.” Sometimes, that’s just what we need.

      Love the quote you chose. That’s fabulous. 🙂
      TKS for coming by & for sharing.

  2. It’s funny how you don’t really get a full appreciation of what you’re doing until you sit and write it all down.
    I’m working on a couple of blog posts, for my own, and for an organization related to my work. Reading The Icarus Deception and Tribes by Seth Godin. And driving around to soccer and field hockey games…

    • You’re so right. I often think, “Wow, I didn’t get much done this week,” until I sit down and really think about it. Then I’m thinking, “Wow – I did a lot!” We forget, sometimes to factor in all the Real Life stuff (like driving around to soccer and field hockey games). Honestly, most weeks, we should be pretty damn proud of ourselves for getting ANY writing (or reading) done at all!

  3. I love your take on fall being the best time of year for the beach. I love fall, but never think of the beach as a fall activity – perhaps I will now after reading your article!

    I’m reading Cheryl Strayed’s novel Torch. I read her memoir Wild last year and wanted to read more from her.

    As far as writing, I have been trying to get into the habit of doing Morning Pages. I love writing first thing in the morning and hope to make it a consistent daily habit! I’m also editing a short story in hopes of submitting it in the near future!

    Here’s what I’m reading and writing posted on my blog:

    Enjoy the weekend!

    • Oooh! I hope you do take the opportunity to enjoy the beach during the fall season. It really is a whole different vibe. I’m hoping to get out there this afternoon after I finish some edits on a client piece and write next week’s column for the paper. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts & the link to your post. Just visited and enjoyed reading your picks!

  4. I’m just a few months into my blog and my understanding of a blogging community. Been sampling a lot of different WordPress sites. My blog is mostly personal narrative essays, but other bloggers have inspired me to write some poetry. So that’s what I’ve been up to – writing poetry! I just posted my first one. It was interesting to hear what you’ve been up to.

    • Thanks for coming by, Randee.
      Welcome to Live to Write – Write to Live, and to the blogosphere (with your new blog)! Glad to have you. 🙂

      I am a poetry idiot, though I have begun to develop a greater appreciation in recent years. I think it all started when I first became a mom and had NO time for reading. (My daughter had acid reflux, so she spent the first 18 months of her life mostly puking, crying, and not sleeping.) I had a few poetry anthologies lying around, and found that they were the perfect way to get a “little bit of literature” into my day in a very concentrated form.

      Congrats to you on the new(ish) blog. Hope to see you here again.


  5. No matter how busy I am, I get up a wee bit early every morning to savor a cup of coffee & write in my journal. At various times it has been a gratitude journal, an idea journal, an art journal, a diary of sorts, but the bottom line is that whatever it’s current manifestation, the journal is the time I take for me each day. And once I’ve written anything at all, I am happy 🙂

    • I love that. I always say that a day that includes writing (of any kind) is better than a day with no writing at all.

      PS – I love your avatar. “I Love Lucy” was my favorite show growing up, and is now my 9 yr-old daughter’s favorite, too! 🙂

  6. I like history and architecture, your home sounds very interesting. You write that the mill was used to house framework knitting machines – I have been to a fascinating museum of framework knitters here in England and thought you might like the link to their website where you can see pictures of similar machines. They are very friendly and helpful, if your group needs any help mending the machines I’m sure they would be happy to advise, or just be interested in knowing about a similar enterprise across the pond!

    I love the paintings hidden in the books too 🙂

    • Wow. Small world, isn’t it?
      Sadly, all that is left of this particular mill is the building. The machines are long gone. I would love to know the name of the framework knitters’ museum, though. I think there may very well be something we could do collaboratively. The Glover’s story is quite interesting and an important part of our local history. It would be fascinating to follow the story all the way back to England.

  7. I’ve been blogging for two days here on WordPress. I started it mostly to practice my writing and get some of the ideas for a character down somewhere. I’m still at the trying to figure out just what the heck I’m doing stage. It is interesting to see what other people blog about, and I love writing advice blogs. I’m also reading Victim Zero by Joshua Guess. If you like zombies and post-apocalypse then this is a pretty good book.

    Looking forward to getting to know your blog and others as well. Have a great day!

    • Welcome to the blogosphere!
      Good for you for getting out there and giving yourself a “mission.”

      I’m afraid I won’t appreciate Guess’ book – zombies are a little too scary for me. Though I did enjoy some of the short stories in the Zombies & Unicorns anthology.

      Thanks for coming by. I hope to “see” you again soon!

  8. Your blog and your writing are so inspiring to me. I look for your email everyday. I love how you write. There is a joy for life but also a little bit of mischievousness to make it fun. I feel better after I read your blogs. Your information is always right on for me and I have followed a couple of the other blogs you mentioned and really have enjoyed learning about them too. You are so awesome with all that you do and be so encouraging to others as well. I will look forward to your book when it is ready. I am sending you a heartfelt thank you. Sincerely, Barbara 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Barbara. What a lovely and heartfelt comment.

      It makes me happy to know that you find the blog both useful and mischievous – what a great combination! I think that’s what I’d like to be in life. 😉

      I believe that the world would be a better place if more people took the time to write, so I’m very glad that you are embarking on your own writing journey, even if it is with some trepidation. The only way to become the writer we hope to be is to write, write some more, and then even some more. The more we write, the more at ease we will be and the better we will find our voice. .

      Good luck on your journey. I look forward to “seeing” you around the blog again soon.

    • You’re so welcome. Thanks for giving me a place to share them. I’m always so tickled when readers tell me they’ve discovered something helpful or inspiring in the list of things I share. It’s actually great fun for me.

      Thanks so much for coming by and for taking the time to drop a note. Glad to have you here.

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