Weekend Edition – Welcome Home, Dear Writer

Home is Where the Words Are:

Desk 54 East

My writing desk – a small island of calm amidst the chaos of not-yet-unpacked boxes

Having just moved last weekend, the concept of “home” is on my mind. I sit here at my desk, my back to a room piled high with boxes, crates, bins, and pieces of furniture that have not yet found their places. I am surrounded by the artifacts of my and my daughter’s lives – the flotsam and jetsam that has survived several purges to wash up here on the shore of this, our fifth move in eight years.

Like a writer with a new story idea, I am anxious to settle in. I look around and see that I have all the puzzle pieces; I just need to figure out where each one fits. The rooms of our new house are like the structure of the story. I can see the shape of our home – and our new life here – hovering in the spaces between the walls, but it’ll take me some time to bring the hazy vision to life. At this stage, I’m still working out the details and playing with the possibilities.

··• )o( •··

Stories and moving are about beginnings. Each time I pick up a book or read the first lines of a short story, I am filled with the anticipation of setting out on a new adventure. Each read promises the chance to discover as yet unknown characters, places, times, plots, and  ideas. Similarly – like Ann Patchett’s perfect, unwritten story – each new writing project fills my heart with hope.

A new home promises the chance to create a unique haven for self, family, friends, and creative work. A new home is also the chance to reassess, reevaluate, and reinvent yourself. Here I will build a small, personal world that is both a reflection of who I am and a force that will influence who I become. This will be my Rivendell, my Bag End.

Whether the task ahead is turning an ethereal idea into a concrete story or setting up house, there is much work to be done and the element of the unknown is both frightening and tantalizing. Still, each experience – reading, writing, and moving – brings an expectant sense of excitement. How will it all turn out? What will we discover? Who will we meet? How will we be changed?

··• )o( •··

I welcome the prospect of change. It’s not that I am unhappy with things the way they have been, but change requires growth and growth requires learning. Though I cannot see clearly how things will unfold in the year ahead and beyond, I am glad to think that I will have the chance to stretch, experiment, and evolve.

And fall is, to me, the perfect season for embracing metamorphosis. The fall equinox has always felt like my new year. There is something in the air that smells of magic and mystery and second chances.

Yesterday, we talked about our biggest writing failures. I was touched and saddened by how many of us have held our writer selves back. Many of you confessed to regrets about having let fear keep you from the page. I can relate. But this is the season of new beginnings. You don’t have to wait any longer. You don’t have to hold back. You don’t need to move into a new home to start fresh. You only have to wake up one morning and decide to do something different.

··• )o( •··

The funny thing about reading a good story, writing your own story, and finding yourself in the right new house is that even though these experiences are full of the unknown, in the end, they feel like coming home. There is something about the way the words and the walls envelope you that feels familiar and comforting. You realize that these stories and this house were always a part of you; you just hadn’t found them yet. So, welcome home, dear writer. May you find much solace and inspiration where the words are.



book fikryIn the weeks leading up to our move, I spent many (many!) hours engaged in various forms of house-related manual labor. One of my bigger projects was painting the kitchen cabinets. While I navigated my way clumsily through the process of scrubbing, painting, and varnishing said cabinets, I treated myself to a couple of audio books. This week, I’d like to share with you a few thoughts on The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

I was intrigued by this novel because of the bookish flavor of the story, “On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto ‘No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.’ A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.” I delayed reading it because I usually prefer stories with a little magic in them, and this tale of a widowed book shop owner is very firmly rooted in Real Life.

But, magic or no, I was completely drawn into this quiet story of love, loss, and rediscovery. I enjoyed getting to know A.J. Fikry and developed a deep respect his fierce love of good literature. I was charmed by the character of Lambiase, a local cop who befriends Fikry after investigating the theft of the bookshop owner’s nearly priceless copy of Poe’s Tamerlane.

Both the narrative and Fikry’s ruminations, which appear at the beginning of each chapter, offer the reader much to think about – big ideas and small, philosophical concepts, and personal revelations. And, for writers, the story is imbued with a passion for the craft that feels pleasantly conspiratorial. I may, I think, give this one a second listen in the not-too-distant future. I enjoyed it that much.

··• )o( •··

penguin bloom 1-3I love animals. I love beautiful photography. I love a good story. Penguin Bloom, a book coming in January 2016, appears to have all three of these in abundance. Written by Bradley Trevor Greive, this is the true story of how Penguin the magpie came to live with photographer Cameron Bloom and his family. Bloom’s beautiful images of Penguin and Bloom’s wife and boys are almost mythical, and though I have not yet read the story, I have a feeling that the tale will live up to the beauty of the images.

This “small” story reminds me that magic and miracles come in all sizes, and sometimes the most profound experiences are the ones that happen right in your own backyard. Though as writers we often tend to look far afield for the stories that will capture readers’ hearts and minds, perhaps we should not overlook the wealth of material that exists around us in the patterns and routines of our everyday life.

··• )o( •··

And, then there’s this beautiful piece of literary art – a “map of literature” created by a seventeen year-old artist from Slovakia. I so want this for one of the walls in my new home. (This image is just a detail, click the picture to see the BuzzFeed article that shows the entire map.)

map of literature


And (though I haven’t had much time for reading blogs), here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from the last few weeks:

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin when you cannot

So glad to be back from the move and re-settling into both our new home and my old routine here on the weekend edition. Thanks for being here!
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

27 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Welcome Home, Dear Writer

  1. Congratulations on your new home and new chapter! Your post is perfect timing for me as I contemplate moving myself… You have convinced me that a move to a new home is good and shouldn’t be feared! Think about all the new people and new stories that I will meet in my new apartment!
    Thanks again and here’s to writing what’s in our hearts and getting it down on paper!:))

    • I find all change a little scary, even when the change in question is “good.” There is a large part of my personality that likes things the way they are, making any disruption to the usual routine is something to be shunned. However, experience has taught me that most of the time, change turns out to be a good thing – a “new chapter,” as you put it. Something to be excited about.

      I wish you luck finding and moving into your new apartment. Make it yours & enjoy the adventure of the journey. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your inspiring post and comment here. I feel excited for the move and agree that change is good (although I tend to fight it too!)
        Thanks again and have a great weekend!

  2. With preparations for the move now a memory and the move itself history, you must feel like load has been lifted off your shoulders. How this new chapter in your life flows placidly with unimagined happiness, vibrant creativity and deep satisfaction. All the best!

    • Thank you for those soothing words, Elaine. I do indeed feel like a load has been lifted off my shoulders. Though there is still much to be done, the looming deadline of Move Day is now in the past, and that is a vast relief.
      Thank you for your good wishes! 🙂

  3. The new writing study looks absolutely perfect. I agree wholeheartedly that Autumn is the best time for writing, for reminiscence, for thought. I’m happy for you, that you are settled in. Now to work! 🙂

    • Thank you … for the compliment on my “study” (sounds so posh) AND the nudge to get to work! 😉
      Happy autumn!

    • Thanks very much. My beau built the writing desk, and it makes any space feel special. 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope all’s well where you are in the Greek islands!

  4. I can that with myself that You realize that these stories and this house were always a part of you; you just hadn’t found them yet. It was so nice reading your post and I must say your writing desk is very nice. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. I enjoyed writing it! 🙂
      Our stories are all around us. It’s fun to find them!

  5. I definitely don’t miss moving. But there is always that sense of excitement of making a new home. Thanks for blog references at the end. I checked out the one about sci-fi and fantasy.

    • Moving is not usually an enjoyable experience, but I am having fun “nesting.”
      Glad you found something interesting in the blog post links. 🙂
      TKS for being here.

  6. Gosh it’s good to have you back, Jamie! I loved that map of the literary world – amazing! And he’s only 17 😳.
    Your desk looks awesome – and I’m sure the rest of your house will come together over time.
    The book looks good – I love a literary tale. I think my childhood fed on Anne of green gables, the secret garden and little women has somewhat informed my reading taste lol 😜.
    Love the group too xo

    • Thank you for the warm welcome, Sara. I’m looking forward to catching up on your adventures. Your trip sounds lovely!

      I had a similar literary upbringing with m y mom reading all of the titles you mentioned aloud to me and my sister along with Mistress Masham’s Repose, Gulliver’s Travels, Swiss Family Robinson, and so many others. I treasure those memories and the foundation they laid for the reader and writer I am today.

      Hope you enjoy the rest of your school holidays! 🙂

    • Thank you. I’m glad my post found you at the right time. Here’s to new beginnings and fresh starts wherever we may find them, however we may make them.

  7. Thank you for your beaitiful words. I also find this time of year (autumn here in the UK!) an exciting and inspiring time, and your post has provided another prompt to ‘get back to the book.’ I hope your new home will be a place of happiness and laughter for you both 🙂

    • Thank you for the lovely home wishes. Glad to here you are “getting back to the book.” Happy autumn. Enjoy the season and the creative energy!

  8. When I had just moved to my new house I got a strange feeling. I was reading Enid Blyton’s ‘A valley of adventure’ and wanted to turn my room into the waterfall and the cave discribed in the book. I even ordered some seeds to plant some trees there. Then I had to sow them in my backyard. The usage of your words are very good and it is a great post.

    • Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
      Funny, I was just looking at a corner of the living room the other day and thinking it would be a nice spot for some overgrown fica trees and ferns – a little interior jungle. Hmmm … perhaps I’ll have to get some trees of my own. 😉

  9. Reblogged this on Emily Arden, author and commented:
    Some great messages here. I particularly like the ‘quote for the week’ at the end as well as these words: “Whether the task ahead is turning an ethereal idea into a concrete story or setting up house, there is much work to be done and the element of the unknown is both frightening and tantalizing. Still, each experience – reading, writing, and moving – brings an expectant sense of excitement. How will it all turn out? What will we discover? Who will we meet? How will we be changed?”
    How indeed!

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