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
~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~
This time of year can kill me. It’s exciting, yes. It’s draining, too. Here’s why:
After a full summer of being the ‘fun master,’ for kids all summer (more on that in today’s author chat below), I am drained. There is precious little time to regroup or to tend to my own needs over summer–that includes creativity and intellectual stimulation because I am driving, planning, executing, scheduling, and doing all the regular things that need doing–house maintenance, work, etc. I can’t find it now, but I came across a meme that read,
“I didn’t go on vacation…I supervised and bankrolled my kids while they were on theirs.”
Then…school. You’d think that would be great. It’s not. At least not at first. New kid schedules, teachers, coaches, expectations. There’s a full academic and sports schedule to follow. Times two kids. Every teacher sends emails about their classes (thank you, but–that’s like, 18 emails!). Coaches want us to volunteer time and money and goods. School wants us to pay seventy-gazallion bucks for ‘extra fees,’ parking passes, yearbooks, yard signs, spirit wear…
I started thinking:
Rest Reset Resort
Notice how those words all have the same letters?
Re(se)t Res(or)t Res(e)t
Coincidence? I think not.
I mean, you could play around with those letters and come up with a calculus all its own.
Or algebra, maybe.
The R/E/S/T cancel each other out.
That leaves you with O/R
THIS or THAT
We have choices. We don’t have to do everything. We cannot be everyone to everything every day. We don’t even have to be.
Am I on to something here?
Do you feel this back-to-school unsettledness too?
~Leslie : )
There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!
What’s Obsessing Me:
- Miniature things. They always have, but now they are back in full-force. I found these accounts on IG recently and swooning…Little architecture and also LittleHouseofLights. Hey–while you’re at it, are you following me?
- Retro shoes. Digging these Nikes, Tretorns, and NewBalance.
Some Writing Opportunities:
- Literary Mama is open year-round for work by both established and emerging writers about the complexities of motherhood. “We believe in a wide-ranging understanding of motherhood as experienced through multiple lenses and bodies.”
- Cobalt Review would like your poetry, CNF, Fiction, and more.
- Tahoma Review is reading for their Spring 2023 edition. There’s a fee to submit, but they are seeking flash, CNF, poetry, critique, more, through October 16.
- Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) is accepting all kinds of stuff on on the theme of Trans/formation (how you interpret this is up to you) through 8/31. If you missed that, they are open to reviews, interviews, art, and more.
NEW! Four Questions: A mini-interview series
THE FUN MASTER: A Father’s Journey of Love, Loss, & Learning to Live One Day at a Time
Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say THE FUN MASTER is about?
Laughter and love amidst pain and suffering; the wisdom of children; personal growth and self-understanding; connection, loss, transcendence; and the transformative power of fun.
Where did you write THE FUN MASTER? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?
Jeff Seitzer :
All over the place and at the oddest times.
I never have a lot of time to devote to writing. One, maybe two hours a day if I am lucky. So, I take any opportunity I have.
Very early mornings are usually good, because no one needs anything from me then. But I have also done a goodly amount of writing on the fly: waiting to pick up kids somewhere, filling idle time before an appointment or exercise class, on a bus or train.
Fortunately, I am a Cancer, who carries his shell everywhere. Computer, notebook, bottle of water, snack, reading material, pen, pencils, tissues, and even a small plastic bag in case I need to sit on the ground.
I am always ready to write.
Writing in little snippets is, admittedly, not ideal. I often have to stop just when things are really flowing. The advantage, though, is I rarely suffer from writer’s block. I am often able to pick up right where I left off.
If you weren’t writing, you would be…
Parenting, teaching, volunteering, grocery shopping, cooking, doing errands, exercising, and, on a good day, a very, very good day, partying.
I never seem to get around to doing much cleaning.
What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?
John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, where he argues that the neighborhood is the key to improving international understanding, because it fosters face-to-face contact with people quite different from us.
Living for a long time in what is considered the US’s most diverse neighborhood on Chicago’s northside has convinced me of the wisdom of this claim. However, I despair of the many political, economic, social, and cultural factors making neighborhoods more homogenous. Still,
I have been thinking a lot lately about how we might reinvigorate neighborhoods in the way Dewey envisions.
Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:
- An essay about an experience at a workshop/retreat, featuring design/architecture, and how we are all works-in-progress, in The Smart Set.
- A piece in the nostalgia dossier of Levitate Magazine, about my childhood interest in a (vintage) kid’s rooms and spaces book.
- A conversation with Carla Zaccagnini about her book, Cuentos de Cuentas (Amant/Verlag, spring 2000) in The Millions.
- A Conversation with Marie Myung-Ok Lee in The Millions, about her new novel, The Evening Hero, featuring aspects of immigration, Minnesota, color, and medicine.
- “Breaking Ground,” by Leslie Lindsay, flash fiction in The Tiny Journal
- “Making Space: Cicadas & My Mother,” by Leslie Lindsay, CNF in ANMLY
- The Midwessay: Fragmented Thoughts on Being a Missouri Girl in ‘the north,’ Essay Daily, May 9, 2022.
- In Conversation with Maud Newton, author of ANCESTOR TROUBLE: A Reckoning and Reconciliation (Random House, March 29, 2022), Hippocampus Magazine, May 2022.
- In Conversation with Kim Adrian, author of The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, The Florida Review, spring 2022.
- Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, 2nd edition (Woodbine House, 2021) through some online retailers, your local library, used bookstores (it’s now officially out-of-print), and the audio edition is downloadable (with additional PDFs, resources) through Penguin Random House.
- A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
- A piece about being a book ambassador, reading about family, inheritance, postmemory, and landscape in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.
- An interview with Lauren Acampora about the pursuit of art, the suburbs, growth and stagnation, more as related to her highly anticipated novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS, in The Millions
- A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.
- A conversation with Kristina Langley Mahler about her new hybrid memoir, CURING SEASON: Artifacts (WVP, October 1) in Brevity.
- Other interviews in Hippocampus Magazine…Juliet Patterson’s SINKHOLE: A Natural History of a Suicide (Milkweed, September 2022) to appear in October. Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 1) to appear in November.
I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications.
There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.
What I’m reading:
I just finished an early edition of a January 2023 essay collection, YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS (Bellevue Literary Press) is being published posthumously by a very bright literary star, Adina Talve-Goodman (1986-2018), who underwent a heart-transplant at age nineteen, worked as an editor in New York, and was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. What’s more, she’s from St. Louis, my hometown. The collection is incisive and thought-provoking.
Up next: Lauren Acampora’s new novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS. I mean…that cover!!! Plus, I just love her work.
What I’m listening to:
Loads of ambient noise at my local coffee shop. It’s a dreary day and everyone is here….it’s quite lively!
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 can. Feel free to find my book suggestions on bookshop.org, 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.
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.
Learn more HERE.