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~
It’s Still February, Friends!
Earlier this month, we talked a bit about tracking your writing and creative time. I shared these TIPS from Danielle Lazarin, originally published in Catapult Magazine. I made my own tracking sheet and wanted to share some of my results.
Newsflash: writing is hard.
Newsflash #2: writing isn’t just about writing.
Writing and the creative life is about juggling all sorts of things–emails, deadlines, reading, consulting, learning, experimenting, revising, outreach, networking…you get it.
Here’s my sheet:
For each day of the month, I made a chart with various writing-related tasks down the side. You can probably do this in a Spreadsheet and make it so much prettier. I write all over the place and don’t always compose on a laptop, so I carry this ratty piece of paper around everywhere. What’s on it?
Writing. Submissions/including seeking places to submit work. Pitching outside publications. Consulting/Teaching/Book Events. Writing Biz/website management. Book photography. Collaging/creating visual narrative. Interview Prep. Continuing Education/Classes/Webinars. Reading. Publicist Outreach. Social Media (creating content/sharing content). Revising. Research/Prep for a piece. Personal Stuff (yoga, cardio, meditation). Family (making appointments, texting kids, juggling their sports schedules/driving them places, making dinner, last-minute cupcakes).
Here’s the thing: You are replaceable at work, but not home.
I try to touch several writerly things a day. But I always do stuff for my kids and family and I have to take care of me, too. So that ‘personal’ or ‘self-care’ thing really needs to be tended to.
There’s more, too, but for now, I’ll leave you with this…
Is there more to the writing life than you imagined? If you did some tracking of your own time, would you be surprised by some of the trends? For me, I started to feel more ‘balanced’ and less exhausted when I got my morning exercise in. I felt drained by trying to do too much literary stuff in one day. Respond here in a comment, or find me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
~Leslie : )
P.S. I’ve got the lovely and talented Laura Cathcart Robbins chatting about her memoir, STASH: My Life in Hiding (March 7, 2023, Atria Books). Keep Scrolling
This issue of Musings & Meanderings is jam-packed with some really great stuff to get your [writing and reading] off on the right foot. Classes and workshops, bookstore events, book recommendations, journals to submit to, reading recommendations, author interviews, recently published prose, and a quick 4 questions insights interview with the lovely and talented Laura Cathcart Robbins chatting about her memoir, STASH: My Life in Hiding (March 7, 2023, Atria Books).
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 if helps me, maybe it’ll speak to you, too.
Some Writerly Things:
- I’m pretty intrigued by this journal, Complete Sentence, which is like a gorgeous run-on sentence that tops out around 230-250 words. They accept fiction, nonfiction, art.
- Do you write hybrid? CRAFT Literary has a call that might really entice and excite. Judged by Nicole McCarthy—who is lovely and thoughtful, I just interviewed her–it’s open now thru Feb 28. Details HERE. There is a $20 reading fee, but it if they are small pieces, you can include two for that price.
- You’l; have to be quick to nab this one, but Red Hen Press has a contest open for fiction or non-fiction book-length work 25,000-80,000 words writtenb y people identifying as women thru Feb 28th.
- The Rumpus is looking for essays now through March 1.
- It’s always a chore to seek placement for your work, right? Jane Friedman’s Electric Speed newsletter alerted me to this downloadable database of 1,000 literary journals, complete with a description (retrieved via Twitter), cost of submission, website, and other great information. Check it out.
- APUBLIC SPACE, a pretty prestigious literary journal offers Writing Academy Classes. This one struck my eye, all about revision, making it fun and experimental…a revision lab with writer Anne Elliot, Sundays via Zoom, March thru April. Check it out and REGISTER here.
- I’m intrigued by this micro-memoir class taught by Beth-Ann Fennely, the author of HEATING AND COOLING, which is 52-micro memoirs in a collection. Funny and honest. The class is a one-shot virtual deal.
- I plan to attend this event through Story Studio Chicago, An Evening with Courtney Maum, most recently the author of THE YEAR OF THE HORSES, a memoir about depression, horseback riding, and so much more. Maybe I’ll see you there?!
Musings & Meanderings | Insights
Laura Cathcart Robbins
STASH: My Life in Hiding
“An irresistibly delicious story.”
—Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author
A propulsive and vivid memoir—in the vein of Drinking: A Love Story and Somebody’s Daughter—about the journey to sobriety and self-love amidst addiction, privilege, racism, and self-sabotage from the host of the popular podcast The Only One in the Room.
Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say STASH is about?
STASH is about a 10-month period in my life during which I ended a marriage, battled an addiction, explored new love… (was that what you meant by without responding in complete sentences?)
Where did you write STASH? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?
Laura Cathcart Robbins:
I wrote STASH in my home office. For six months, every day I would get up at six-thirty, meditate, work out, and then answer emails. At eleven o’clock I would turn over my phone, turn on old sitcoms in the background (I Love Lucy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, etc), and write until seven o’clock. I ate lunch at my desk. So far, my routine hasn’t changed.
If you weren’t writing, you would be…
Laura Cathcart Robbins:
Podcasting! I host a podcast called The Only One In The Room. I love telling my own stories, but I really enjoy guiding people through telling theirs.
What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?
Laura Cathcart Robbins:
B.F.F., A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found, by Christie Tate. It’s like she got inside my head and exposed all of these feelings about relationships that I didn’t know I had. It’s a must-read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Cathcart Robbins is the host of the popular podcast, The Only One In The Room, and author of the forthcoming Atria/Simon & Schuster memoir, STASH (March 7, 2023). She has been active for many years as a speaker and school trustee and is credited for creating The Buckley School’s nationally recognized committee on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice. Her recent articles in Huffpo and The Temper on the subjects of race, recovery, and divorce have garnered her worldwide acclaim. She is a 2022 TEDx Speaker, and LA Moth StorySlam winner. Currently, she sits on the advisory boards of the San Diego Writer’s Festival and the Outliers HQ podcast Festival. Find out more about her on her website, or you can look for her on Facebook, on Instagram and follow her on Twitter.
For more information, to purchase a copy of STASH, or connect with the author, please visit Laura Cathcart Robbins’ WEBSITE.
Browse my Bookshop.org for more books featured on Musings & Meanderings, what I’m reading in 2023, and some of my favorite memoirs..and more!
Some Recently Published Interviews, Prose, Etc.:
- Join me in conversation–and enter CRAFT Literary’s Hybrid contest–with Nicole McCarthy, author of A SUMMONING (Heavy Feather Press, 2022), which I just loved.
- This piece, ANSWERS TO QUERIES, was recently published in the final issue of Scissors & Spackle, part of the ELJ Editions family. Who doesn’t like a family history mystery? Check it out.
- THE HOUSE, a love letter of sorts to my late grandfather and our newlywed home, recently released from Heimat Review, which is all about ‘your reflections and nostalgia, your narratives of familiarity and strangeness, the things that draw you back to where you are – and where you hope to be.’ C’mon in.
- Y’all, I am super-excited about this illustrated review in DIAGRAM, which has sorta been like a dream place of mine to get work published. It’s a beautiful melding of all things that bring me joy: fonts, words, ideas, art, books, and the human body. I mean…the only obsessions missing for me is architecture, travel, nature, and basset hounds. Check it out and the book, YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS: Essays by the late Adina Talve-Goodman (Bellevue Literary Press, Jan 24 2023), which happens to be a Powell’s pick for January.
- Gayle Brandeis and I sat down for a conversation about her breath-taking essay collection, DRAWING BREATH: Essays on Writing, the Body, and Grief in Hippocampus Magazine. The book is available Feb 7th from Overcup Books.
- Also? Gayle and I will be in conversation IN PERSON at City Lit Books in Logan Square, Chicago Tuesday, Feb 7th 6:30-7:30pm CST. Come join us!
- Hippocampus Magazine…Juliet Patterson’s SINKHOLE: A Natural History of a Suicide (Milkweed, September 2022).
- Kathryn Gahl in conversation with me 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, about her working-class unconventional childhood in California, moving across the country to pursue writing, home, displacement, and so much more 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.
There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.
What’s Obsessing Me:
- This piece in the NYRB about the bleak, slightly unsettling art of Andrew Wyeth. Doesn’t it seem like spring is always just on the horizon in all of his works?
- The work of Sarah Minor. How she’s a visual writer and so much more. Check out her book, BRIGHT ARCHIVES (Rescue Press, Oct 2020), which was introduced to my by the lovely and talented Kristine Langley Mahler.
- This book THE NURSERY by Szilvia Molnar, about a new mother feeling isolated in her apartment.
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.
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Wishing you much comfort and joy in the New Year!
Created by Leslie Lindsay. I’m a proud book nerd. Connect with me on Instagram, and Twitter. See what I’m reading on Bookshop.org. Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.
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