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~
I don’t know about you, but I feel I have upped my normal frenzy to my fancy holiday, year-end frenzy. It can be a little overwhelming between work, kids, end-of-semester, prepping for the holidays, and more.
I like busy. I might thrive best when I have a few spinning plates. Sometimes, though, those plates get a little full. And they all seem to be made of my grandmother’s fine china, delicate and fragile, should I drop one.
Is it always crunch time? How do you manage? Is there a way to balance or pre-plan? Hey…I’ve got some tips for that in my obsessions section–and a workshop you may want to attend with Esme Weijun Wang. I just signed up! There’s another one I have my eye on, too (DailyOM has some really great offerings). Be sure you scroll to those offerings below.
In the spirit of thinking about the past, and the New Year ahead, what are some of your goals and aspirations? It doesn’t have to be BIG, life-shattering stuff, like in today’s insights with Susen Edwards’ novel, WHAT A TRIP (SWP, November 2022), but maybe smaller pebbles in the watery change of your daily life.
Tell me what you think–I’d love to hear!
~Leslie : )
By the way, I do not get any ‘kick-backs’ or other kind of payment (in-kind, or otherwise) for mentioning these classes/workshops/books/individuals. Sharing because it helps me and maybe it’ll speak to you, too.
I’ll keep my obsessions short because this time of year…our bandwidths are, too.
What’s Obsessing Me:
- Clutter. And not just physical clutter (though there’s plenty of that, too). I’m talking about the creative clutter, the swirling ideas. In that spirit, I came across this offering from The DailyOm, which I really think I’m going to take advantage of. By the sounds of it, you get a new idea to consider each day about being a little more mindful, clearing your life from the things that are holding you back. There’s a sliding scale fee for this, so pay what you feel comfortable. Starting at $19 for the series.
- Along those lines, I already signed up for this workshop with Esme Weijun Wang, author of THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS: Essays, (Graywolf, 2019). Here’s what she says,
“Do you love stationery and geeking out over spreadsheets?”
…[frantically nods head and grins]…
“Come figure out your 2023 goals with me. I’ve saved you a seat—and you’ll get to spend time with a bunch of other people who doing the same thing that you are. You’ll also get a gorgeous workbook, and if you aren’t able to make the live workshop, there will be a downloadable recording of the main event for you to peruse at your leisure.” The workshop will be at 11 AM PT, December 17, 2022. Learn more, and sign up, RIGHT HERE.
New! 4 Questions mini-interview
WHAT A TRIP: A Novel
“A coming-of-age slice-of-life in which a young woman finds herself in the turbulent 1960s. . . . Their talk and fears and conflicts. . . are highly specific and yet in many ways also timeless, the hearts and minds of young people convincingly rendered, feeling towards their own truths and tragedies as their nation verges on a crackup.”
–Publisher’s Weekly Booklife, October 10 2022
Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say WHAT A TRIP is about?
Coming of age. Female friendship. First love. The political and social upheaval of the Vietnam War era.
Where did you write WHAT A TRIP? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?
My home office is a former second floor “sleeping porch” (a partially enclosed room used to “cure” tuberculosis patients in the late 1800s and early 1900s). I sit in front of a bank of six windows overlooking an ancient oak tree. The cathedral ceiling and teal walls provide an expansiveness that brings the outdoors inside. I love the solitude and tranquility of the space.
My writing routine remains constant. I start my day with a cardio workout to get my blood flowing followed by a yoga session to calm my overactive mind. After a shower, I make a cup of green tea and something yummy to eat and begin writing.
If you weren’t writing, you would be…
A dancer, a singer, or a painter. Considering I have two left feet, no sense of rhythm, and can’t carry a tune, a musical career will remain a fantasy. I have a good eye for color but no artistic training, so my painting is limited to changing the colors of the rooms in my home.
What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?
As I was leaving my local library last week, I found a small black and brown softcover book in the used book rack: Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams. Lightman explores Einstein’s life as a patent clerk in Berne, Switzerland as he is completing his theory of relativity.
Einstein meditates on time and its complexities. Is time linear? Does it fold in upon itself? Does it exist at all? The novel is playful, creative, and explores some of the deepest questions of the universe and humanity.
I am fascinated with the mysteries of time and time travel, and completed the book in no time. I am going back to page one and plan to read it again. Who says you can’t go back in time?
Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:
- Kathryn Gahl in conversation about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more in MER, November 28, 2022.
- Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 8) in Hippocampus Magazine, November 13, 2022.
- A conversation-in-review with the EIC of Salon, Erin Keane, about her memoir, RUNAWAY: Notes on the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing, September, 2022), in Autofocus Literary, November 12, 2022.
- A conversation with Sheila O’Connor about elegantly exploring the nonlinear, (a total obsession of mine), in her EVIDENCE OF V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, Fictions (Rose Metal Press, 2019), in Fractured Literary, October 25, 2022
- A review-in-dialogue with Su Cho about her debut book of poetry, THE SYMMETRY OF FISH (Penguin Poets, October 2022) in The Cincinnati Review, November 1 2022.
- Prose in SEPIA Journal Oct/Nov 2022 issue. Interiors is about an Appalachian family, black bottom pie, trains, and ear aches. It was inspired by my own family lore, and also: this journal is STUNNING!
- 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 review-in-dialogue with Kristine Langley Mahler about her debut, CURING SEASON: Artifacts, in Brevity. We unpack home, displacement, found forms, more.
- An essay about an experience at a workshop/retreat, featuring design/architecture, and how we are all works-in-progress, in The Smart Set.
- 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 book review of YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS (Bellevue Literary Press, January 2023) by Adina Talve-Goodman in DIAGRAM.
- A photo essay in On the Seawall featuring miniatures, houses, and a family besieged by mental illness.
- A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.
- Other interviews forthcoming in HippocampusMagazine…Juliet Patterson’s SINKHOLE: A Natural History of a Suicide (Milkweed, September 2022).
- A conversation-in-review with Nicole McCarthy on her genre-defying A SUMMONING (Heavy Feather Review, September 2022) to appear in CRAFT Literary in 2023.
- A conversation-in-review with Jamila Minnicks, on her PEN/Bellwether Prize-winning debut, MOONRISE OVER NEW JESSUP (Algonquin Books, January 10, 2023) to appear in The Rumpus.
- Tanya Frank’s ZIG-ZAG BOY: A Memoir of Motherhood & Madness (W.W. Norton, Feb 28 2023), a review and conversation to appear in Hippocampus Magazine, spring 2023.
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.
I’m in the middle of a forthcoming debut from Jamila Minnicks, MOONRISE OVER NEW JESSUP, a PEN/Bellwether Winner for Socially Engaged Fiction (Algonquin Books, January 10 2023), and it’s opening my eyes to a new-to-me approach to segregation during the early civil rights movement. Look for my interview with the author to appear in The Rumpus this January. Isn’t the cover stunning?!
I recently went through the vast archives of Tin House’s Between the Covers podcast hosted by David Naimon. I didn’t realize he had been conducting these conversations since at least 2010! I added some oldies to my list, but also some more recent ones, too. I love his insights, the bright, articulate authors, the way I am almost always scrambling for a piece of paper to jot down a title, insight, or phrase. Seriously, if you’re not already listening to Between the Covers and you consider yourself a bookish person (writerly or readerly), this is a must-listen.
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.
More than 2,800 folks read Musings & Meanderings.
Learn more HERE.
Are you following us on Instagram?
That’s where you’ll catch bookreels, cover reveals, & book mail : )
I support writing organizations, authors, publishers, and more. Occasionally, you’ll get a peak behind-the-scenes, too.