Musings & Meanderings
Leave a Comment

Musings & Meanderings: This or Something Better? Elisa Stancil Levine on her new memoir, notes from a studio, squeaky barn doors, feeling fragmented, and new books I’m obsessing over

By Leslie Lindsay

A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book


Hello, Friends!

Here’s the thing: I wish I had something really thoughtful and sublime to share. The fact is, it’s been one heck of a busy summer. That’s not exactly a ‘bad thing’, it just is. A writer ought to constantly be experiencing and curating curiosities…and ideally, writing about them, or at least, spending some time in quite reflection.

But summer is a bold, vibrant time. Everything expands. The days grow longer, the air is thick. Maybe it’s a time of bounty.

Given all of that, shouldn’t bandwidth also expand? But it doesn’t.

Summer can feel fragmented.

For now, I am keeping notes. Maybe they are just mental, maybe on scraps of paper, or in notebook…the plan is to go back to these things once…school’s in session? But then again, fall is busy, too.

Are you feeling that? Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.


~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, author of award-winning Speaking of Apraxia (Woodbine House, 2020 and PRH audio 2021) and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews.

Photo by FOX on

What I’m Distracted By:

  • This chapbook, by Sarah Fawn Montgomery, which I just ordered because…oh my! Cover crush! And also: topic crush. And here’s the description:

“Juxtaposing poems about historical and literary madwomen and their physicians with poems about unhappy young girls, unsettled new wives, and dissatisfied mothers, this collection explores how the social and domestic spaces women inhabit lead to legacies of insanity, as well as the fierce ways women react, resist, and regenerate.”

  • If you’re interested, Sarah Fawn has a new book coming out from Split/Lip Press, a collection of essays called, Halfway From Home, you can preorder that HERE. You know I am!
  • Finally, on the Sarah Fawn Montgomery topic, here’s an interview I did with her about her memoir, QUITE MAD: A Pharma Memoir
  • Sensory Overload. Can social media create an attention deficit? I kind of think so. In today’s attention economy, our senses are at capacity. (see above). Flooded with new content across screens big and small, we’re addicted to newness, finding it harder to make decisions, and grappling with the toxicity of what’s real, how much to contribute (and what/when). I’m totally guilty. You?!
  • Return to/on Education (ROI). Everyone is back to school–the pandemic stunted that for awhile, but now we’re sort of back on track. My daughter is looking at colleges. But is the college degree so valuable? This is an on-going conversation at our house. One college we visited offered customizable lesson plans, a create-your-own-major. I kind of dig that, just not the price-tag!

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Photo by Pixabay on

NEW! Four Questions: A mini-interview series

Elisa Stancil Levine

THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER: A Memoir of Resilience

  1. Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER: A Memoir of Resilience is about?

Elisa Stancil Levine: 

YES. oops, that is a complete sentence, lol. Hope, creativity and grit.

Learning how to be human, inch by inch.

2. Where did you write THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Elisa Stancil Levine:

I LOVE writing and editing with coffee, and a view of nature. My editing house has barn doors that slide open on both sides,  with views of old oaks and broad meadows and the sound of a creek nearby.

Next project, tentative title: Notes from a Studio, reveals experiences  as a decorative artist. Wry, revealing, memoir of working with powerful designers and architects, and their fascinating clients.

3. If you weren’t writing, you would be…

Elisa Stancil Levine:

Hiking, running, or musing in the wild, alone or with my husband.

4. What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?

Elisa Stancil Levine:

Euphoria by Lily King  Vivid, memorable and brainy.

For more information, to purchase THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER via your favorite independent bookstore, or to connect with Elisa Stancil Levine on social media, please visit her website. Find her on Instagram, too. And also, me. ; )

Coming soon:

A piece in the nostalgia dossier of Levitate Magazine, about my childhood interest in a (vintage) kid’s rooms and spaces book.

Another about being a book ambassador, reading about family, inheritance, postmemory, and landscape in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.

A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.

A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her forthcoming book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.

A conversation with Carla Zaccagnini about her book, Cuentos de Cuentas (Amant/Verlag, spring 2022) in The Millions.

An interview with Kristin Keane, author of An Encyclopedia of Bending Time (Barrelhouse Books, April 2022) in The Florida Review/Aquifer.

I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, on Wednesdays, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications. On Fridays, I’ll share any recent published fiction in this space as well.

There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.

What I’m reading:

I’m crazy-in-love with Kristine Langley Mahler’s forthcoming hybrid memoir, Curing Season: Artifacts and also I am into the Scotland travel guidebook because…well, the travel bug is calling.

Photo credit: L.Lindsay @leslielindsay1

What I’m listening to:

White noise. My fingers on a keyboard.

L.Lindsay archives.

You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews. I’m also on twitter and instagram. I try to answer comments as best I canFeel free to find my book suggestions on, and also check out the authors I’ve hosted in in-depth interviews HERE.

In the meantime, catch me on:

Reviewing books and talking about them with others on-line and in-person is one small way to engage with & support the literary community.

Thank you for letting me guide you on your bookish journey.

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on

Let’s walk this bookish path together.


Some of you have been reading my reviews, interviews, and meanderings for more than a decade now. That’s huge and I am so humbled. Thanks for being here.

Connect with me on Instagram, and Twitter. See what I’m reading on Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.

Learn more HERE.

Got something to say? Tell us!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s