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Memoir Monday: A romantic notion of a man hitting the open-road in search of himself–but this is about a young women–plus: dealing with myths, lies, remnants, ghosts, and more in a conversation with Erin Keane on RUNAWAY

By Leslie Lindsay

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

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Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

I’ve been a little remiss in updating author interviews here, as they go out, as promised. If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that I have been in the practice of interviewing bestselling and debut authors right here, on my website, Always with a Book. I’ve done this for a good decade or so.

What I learned was many authors were simply ‘too busy’ to contribute to a blog. I shifted my focus to publishing in lit journals. So, if you’ve been wondering where all my interviews went, that’s where.

But I want to catch you up!

Going forward, I will do my absolute best to re-post those interviews here, incase they slipped past. Also, in my newsletter, ‘Musings & Meanderings,’ I always make mention of them. Just click on the link and it’ll take you directly to the piece.

Other ways to stay in touch: Instagram and Twitter.

Juggling a website and several pages on Facebook was just getting to be too much. The world is a mind-swirl of images and electronic platforms, am I right? Something had to give.

So come on over, grab a drink, and settle in as we chat with Erin Keane, EIC at Salon, and author of this razor-sharp investigative memoir, RUNAWAY (Belt Publishing, September 2022) about her young mother who ran away at first at 13, then again at 15, met and married her father (who was a whopping 36!).

This interview was originally published in Autofocus on November 12.

If you like this one, you’ll also want to check out my interview with Sheila O’Connor, author of EVIDENCE OF V (Rose Metal Press, 2019), which was published in Fractured Literary in October.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

THE MYTHS THAT MADE ME:

An Interview with Erin Keane

Leslie Lindsay :: Originally published in Autofocus Lit Mag :: Nov 12 

From The Brothers Grimm to Woodstock, Woody Allen to The Gilmore Girls, The Pogues and Star Wars and even Tarot cards, Erin Keane’s Runaway: Notes on the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing, September 2022) is a razor-sharp investigative memoir with a biting edge.  

Keane, known for her essays on cultural criticism with the verve and sophistication of a trained journalist, delves deep into forensics, films, and fashion as she bravely—and obliquely—walks us through her family’s complicated dynamic.

As the editor-in-chief at Salon, Keane is privy to social and cultural touchstones, pop culture, art, and more. What she didn’t know was why her mother ran away from home thirteen-years-old in 1970. She didn’t understand how her parents came to meet and marry, her mother a mere fifteen-year-old, her father thirty-six.

She didn’t know there were rules to hitchhiking, but she does now:

1.      Never get into the back seat of a two-door car.

2.      Never fall asleep in someone else’s car.

3.      Never believe a word the driver says; everyone’s liar in these situations.

4.      It’s not easy for two people to get picked up

5.      It’s easier for a boy to hitchhike with a girl; it makes him seem less dangerous,

Throughout this nonlinear collection of essays, Keane sifts through the dusty history of how she came to be, by making sense of the myths she was told, discovering in the process, that it’s not just hitchhikers and drivers who are liars, but her own parents. Keane’s writing is shrewd and lucid. 

What began as an inquiry based on pure speculation, Keane dug her journalistic chops into (re)creating, (re)imagining, and (re)living her parents’ lives.

We never learn Keane’s parents’ names, their real ones, that is. Her mother started as Someone Else, became Megan Shane for a couple of years, and then, Alexis. That was 1972, when she was fifteen and met Keane’s would-be father at a bar in NYC.

I found myself relating to this tale, not because I was a runaway, nor was my mother, but I started to believe my mother was a ‘saved runaway,’ that she had the potential to be exactly a runaway.

 ____


Leslie Lindsay:

Erin, I read this story of your young mother running away from her Atchison, Kansas home with an eye toward my own mother. Our mothers are approximately the same age, which means you and I might be, too. Our mothers were also both nineteen when we were born. My mother grew up in Missouri. She wore bellbottoms, she told a plethora of lies and did drugs. She married my father a month after turning eighteen. It’s natural to believe stories like this don’t happen in the wholesome Midwest, instead we conjure grittier landscapes: Detroit, Chicago, Jersey City. Let’s start by clearing some of the clutter: runaways come from all towns and socioeconomic backgrounds. What did you learn about the concept of ‘the runaway,’ in general? And can you speak to this idea of mothers and daughters being close in age, because, like you, I got the ‘you must be sisters’ comment frequently, which I hated.

Erin Keane:

Traditionally there’s this romantic notion of the young man hitting the open road in search of himself,

or America (same thing, I guess). But a girl in search of such experience? That experience is assumed to be sexual, and she’s cast as a bad girl, a dangerous girl. Or else she’s a damaged waif who needs rescuing. Or both at once. So the meaning of “runaway” changes with gender; you have Jack Kerouac, or even Huck Finn, on one side, and Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Lita Ford, and Sandy West ripping through “Cherry Bomb” on the other. In reality, boys of that era, the early 1970s, were also often written off and discarded; many of the teenage boys who were victims of the horrific Houston Mass Murders were just assumed to be runaways when they disappeared, when in fact they were abducted and killed. Dozens of boys going missing like that for that long before anyone connected them was shocking to me until I read that somewhere around a million kids had run away during that early-‘70s period.

So many of the stories I found on runaways from that time did end up being crime stories. In 1971 more than 200,000 kids were arrested as runaways. In 1972, 55 percent of girl runaways in New York City were in the 11-14 years old range. That’s a highly vulnerable group, and the response was to form a special NYPD task force to target the problem. I suppose they thought arresting those kids was better than the alternative as they often saw it, abuse or trafficking or addiction or death, or all of the above. Nationally, the U.S. needed federal legislation in the form of the Runaway Youth Act to standardize a structural response more robust than throwing them in jail, and it didn’t go into effect until 1974.

But while there are elements of a crime story in my book, I also thought it was important to show my mother in her more independent and strong moments. I wanted to show her having a good time, too. Girls have agency and an impact on other people. They aren’t just having things done to them.

Growing up, I resented the pop culture trope of the “cool young mom” who treats her daughter like her sister because that seemed like an utter fantasy to me. My mom was a cool mom if that meant she had a closet full of great vintage outfits and good taste in music. But she wasn’t permissive at all. She was pretty strict. And I think that had a lot to do with her knowing how dangerous it could be for a girl to be running wild out there, how un-invested the rest of the world would be in looking out for me. But also, raising her kids to be polite and well-behaved was important, I think. We were proof that she could be a good mom even if she hadn’t been “a good girl,” if that makes sense.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Leslie Lindsay:

You take an interesting dive into forensics when you uncover—somewhat—the skeleton of a young girl, Sandy, who was also a fifteen-year-old runaway no one claimed. The Smithsonian apparently got ahold of this ‘specimen,’ but then, ironically, couldn’t locate it. You juxtapose that with this skull grandfather carried from his days as an Army officer, which was passed to your dad. How did you see these two pieces fitting together? Are they sort of one in the same: a remnant or a remain of who you thought your parents were? A skull, a shell? A structure?

Erin Keane:

The idea of remnants—of ghosts and hauntings and the power of the physical pieces of ourselves we leave behind—does play a large role in this book. Megan, my mother’s first chosen identity, was a kind of ghost; a girl who died, in a way, when my mother went home the first time, but who left something of herself behind in the world that I could feel but not see or name.

My father’s absence haunted me through much of my life, until I learned more about him through my investigation.

I guess maybe it was weird that a human skull was such a normalized part of the home décor? My mother was a nurse and her father was a war veteran—family dinner conversations often veered into talk of death, bloody injuries, medical grotesqueries. I think we were all just pretty used to the idea of death—I don’t remember, really, a time in my life before I knew that someone could just disappear from your life forever.

The story of Sandy stayed with me because she was abandoned in the end. My heart aches for her unresolved death, how nobody has been held responsible. I suppose Sandy is a kind of shadow twin of my mother, but she is also only herself, and deserving of her own story. I hope someone finds it.

Leslie Lindsay:

While Runaway is technically a memoir, it’s not exclusively about you, or even your direct response to events, but contains a good deal of investigation, interrogation, and piecing together, which I love. In some ways, it dances around facts by peering through the lens of movies and counterculture. Can you give us some insight into your process, how you chose this structure? Maybe it chose you?

Erin Keane:

I would classify this book as memoir-plus—or, to be even more granular, an essay collection that blends personal narrative and family memoir with cultural criticism, original reporting and research—

about what we lose when we downplay the complicated lives of girls and women in favor of men’s stories and narrative lenses. This book is an attempt to use the frame of my family’s story to explore the idea that men who abuse their power over girls and women, such as the celebrity men exposed by #MeToo reporting, aren’t special, even if the ones we read about in headlines occupy a heightened level of notoriety. They are products of (and in some cases, creators of and collaborators in) a culture that privileges and elevates men’s perspectives and experiences—which includes, but isn’t limited to, their excessive or destructive behaviors—over those of women and girls. Those imbalances of power and narrative are replicated at pretty much every level. Along the way I attempt to detangle a version of the truth from the myths I believed and had a hand in creating and perpetuating, and that’s work that I found more suited to essay than to straightforward narrative memoir, at least for the writer I am. I’m a journalist and a culture critic first, so I approached this project with those sets of tools.

Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com


Leslie Lindsay:

Your father died when you were young. The American Journal of Psychiatry, as you state in the book, indicates the loss of a parent (presumably to death), is one of the most traumatic events a child can experience. That might also apply to loss of a parent through other means: abandonment, substance abuse, prison, mental illness. Can you talk about, please? Did that loss propel your investigation?

Erin Keane:

Definitely. I thought I was writing a book that would explain how my father could have become the person who made such a terrible decision—marrying a 15-year-old girl—because if I could explain him, I could reconcile the difference between the man I loved and missed so much and the reality of what he did. It was only after I had done the first big round of reporting that I realized this tendency to want to explain Why The Man Did What He Did is part of what keeps men’s stories in the foreground even when we are ostensibly focused on the women they’ve harmed. Why did he do it? Because he could. Because she agreed to it and even made it happen. (I doubt he would have been as resourceful as she was in the procurement of the fake documents needed to get around the law.) Because he made the choices that made the most sense to him given the tools he had to navigate life at that time. Because a lot of people around him were invested in him finding stability, which was seen as more important than a girl’s future, so they didn’t intervene.

After I finished writing the book, I discovered that I don’t long for my missing father in the same way anymore. I found him on the page and made my peace.


Leslie Lindsay:

There’s a lovely line in the book—and I’m paraphrasing—but something about filling in holes in understanding the past when so much of the world doesn’t make sense. I think that’s an elegant way of putting it: when we feel moored in the world, we try to make sense of what we can: our own past. Can you expand on that?

Erin Keane:

I think humans are driven by narrative, and we tend to want to craft narratives that make sense, even if it means working around some blank spaces,

because so much of existence does not make sense. We want to resolve the dissonant notes and make the picture snap into focus. Sometimes we overcompensate and tell ourselves a story that isn’t entirely true. Every family has these stories. Sometimes they can do more harm than good. But also, every story gives us opportunities for revision and reclamation.

Leslie Lindsay:

Let’s shift to the subtitle for a moment: Notes on the Myths that Made Me. I’m interested in word ‘myth,’ because it could easily transform to ‘fantasy’ or ‘lie.’ This idea of a lie surfaces frequently: accept lies you’re told and make them yours…the best lies are close to the truth…white lies even…in the end, it’s about identity and self-preservation. Could it be that we are all a conglomerate of what we’ve been told, our memories, our experiences? Would you agree with that, or did I miss the mark?

Erin Keane:

I do believe that. But I’ll also push it a little further. We’re all capable of reassessing the soundness of the myths that made us and changing our minds about what we believe. When it comes to celebrities, I think often we are reluctant to admit that we had been fans of, say, the man now in the headlines for doing the bad thing—or, if we want to remain fans, to admit that the man could have done the bad thing in the headline—because fandom can be such a strong element of identity. We need to embrace the idea that actively changing our minds can be a good thing, not always a betrayal.  

Today’s Bookshop

Leslie Lindsay

Leslie Lindsay’s writing has been featured in The Smart Set, Brevity, Fractured Literary, The Millions, The Florida Review, Levitate, The Rumpus, ANMLY, The Tiny Journal, Essay Daily, Hippocampus, Psychology Today, Mutha Magazine, Ruminate’s The Waking, Visual Verse, Manifest-Station, Literary Mama, Pithead Chapel, Cleaver Magazine, Motherwell, with forthcoming work in ELJ, The Cincinnati Review, On the Seawall, DIAGRAM, and Craft Literary. She was recently accepted to the Kenyon Writer’s Workshop and has participated in continuing education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, Story Studio Chicago, and Corporeal Writing. She resides in the Greater Chicago suburbs and is at work on a memoir excavating her mother’s madness through fragments. She is a former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. and can be found @leslielindsay1 on Twitter and Instagram where she shares thoughtful explorations and musings on literature, art, design, and nature.



Erin Keane is a critic, poet, essayist, and journalist. She’s the author Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me (Belt Publishing, 2022), three collections of poetry, and editor of The Louisville Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2020). Her writing has appeared in many publications and anthologies, and in 2018, she was co-producer and co-host of the limited audio series These Miracles Work: A Hold Steady Podcast. She is Editor in Chief at Salon and teaches in the Sena Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University.

Image courtesy of the author, E. Keane.

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 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.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

Get bookish and writerly news delivered to your inbox.

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.

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.

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Musings & Meanderings: College finals care packages, RUNAWAY interview with Erin Keane, Corporeal Writing Labs, merch, and more from Ragdale to Tin House, this issue is all about continuing your writing education

By Leslie Lindsay

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

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Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

There may be times when we feel we are spinning our wheels, doing lots of stuff, but getting nowhere. I assure you, we are not. Here’s the deal: all of this static momentum is building, accumulating. It may seem as if you’ve reached a plateau, that your art is just moving at a lateral pace.

Could it be that what you need right now is just to…be?! To read, observe, absorb? Maybe it means you are in a season of submitting your work and waiting for responses. That’s still work. That’s still something. Maybe you are in the process of reading/researching or world-building. That might look like collaging or watching period movies or culling through racks at a vintage clothing store. Maybe it looks like mindful mediation or walking with a notebook in hand. Perhaps it’s listening to a podcast on writing/reading and collecting all of that great information.

Whatever form this more slow/contemplative stage is, I assure you, it’s not ‘spinning your wheels.’

Tell me what you think: do you have slow periods? How do you fill them? Is there often a burst of creativity or productivity afterward?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

In the spirit of quiet spaces, honing your craft, moving into winter, I have a round-up of some really great writing organizations (below) to help you along your journey. Now is the perfect time to peruse these offerings and start gearing up for your 2023 writing goals. You may even consider requesting enrollment in a class (or creative lab as Corporeal Writing cleverly calls them) as a gift this holiday season.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

This adorable Main Street-style indie bookstore, Con tent in the heart of Northfield, Minnesota is offering these super-fun, super-inspired finals study care packages. They will certainly be delivered to local colleges St. Olaf and Carleton, but you can ship anywhere. Prices range from $30 to $200. Just make sure to order your Survival Kit 72 hours before your desired ship or delivery date.

image source: content website

Retreats/Residencies/Workshops/Classes:

CORPOREAL WRITING

I just returned from a fabulous Corporeal Writing retreat experience at the Salishan Lodge on the coast of Oregon where we all worked with the lovely Lidia Yuknavitch, Domi Shoemaker, Janice Lee, and Katie Collins-Guinn, whose fabulous new logo you are looking at above. They offer a ton of craft classes, called creative labs (how cool is that?!) in-person (in Portland) and on-line. Their focus: the body, grief, memoir, more. Also? Check out their merch. I just ordered these writing portal cards #witchy/notwitchy and also a heart hoodie. Finally…they have a lit mag, Khora, I totally dig the aestheics of. Check out their 500 words submission.

image source: Corporeal website.

Story Studio Chicago offers a plethora of classes, webinars, in-person stuff, festivals, and more. Try a novel-in-year class, or sharpen your poetry. Plus: write-ins, book clubs, podcasts. They really got you covered.

image source: StoryStudio Chicago website

Hedgebrook is located in the Pacific Northwest and gah–get a load of that logo.! It’s a dreamy woodland writerly escape I’d love to attend in person some day, but for now, here’s a selection of their online offerings. Be sure to check out the early 2023 schedule.

image source: hedgebrook website

Located at a former architect’s country home in Lake Forest, IL, Ragdale is a delightful place for artists of all walks: architects, writers, photographers, musicians. I so want to go! It appears as though all 2023 residencies are filled, but it’s my understanding some of these fall through…which means, you might get to attend on super-short notice. Check it out all HERE. I promise you’ll be swooning!

image source: ragdale website

Tin House is such a go-to for many serious writers in terms of sharpening one’s craft. Their new craft series is up and it starts in December. Check it out and see if anything tickles your fancy.

They also offer writing residencies in all kinds of categories: first book, next book, parents, and more. Check that out–and apply HERE. Applications close November 20

image soure: Tin House website

Located in the cozy college town on Gambier, Ohio, Kenyon College hosts a residency-workshop for writers each summer, in two different sessions. Each session consists of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry cohorts paired with an instructor. The concept is you work together as a group for 3-hours each morning followed by personal time to hone your craft, relax, read.

image source: Kenyon Writer’s Workshop.

Some Writing Opportunties:

okay…one.

Narratively is looking for pitches for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Wilson Quarterly about navigating geopolitical strategic competition. I’m not even sure I know what that means, but if you do, power on! They pay $2,000 per published article. Pitches due November 17!

If that doesn’t work for you, Narratively is always looking for personal stories: reported, hidden histories, first-person, more. Submit those HERE.

image source: Narratively website

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Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • “Making Space: Cicadas & My Mother,” by Leslie Lindsay, CNF in ANMLY
Photo by Sena on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • 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.
  • Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 8) to appear in November.
  • Kathryn Gahl in conversation about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more
  • 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.

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.

Photo by rikka ameboshi on Pexels.com

Happy Reading:

I’m halfway through Julie Phillips’s The Baby on the Fire Escape: Motherhood & Creativity, and Mind-Baby Problem (Norton, Spring 2022), and loving it. Can women have an intellectual and creative life and also be good mothers? Does something have to give? It’s not all about writing or motherhood, but autonomy. A great companion book to this is The Artist’s House by Kirsty Bell, which is also amazing, full of amazing photos, insights, and delicious writing.

Happy Listening:

Have you heard of the Tylenol Murders? In 1982, people were mysteriously dropping dead in the Chicago area. No one really understood why–it all seemed sort of random. Until it wasn’t. It’s been forty years and theTribune has reopened this case. You might appreciate this podcast about it.

image source: Apple Podcasts

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 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.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

Get bookish and writerly news delivered to your inbox.

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.

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.

Get bookish and writerly news delivered to your inbox.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-preview.png

Musings & Meanderings: Childhood homes, how designed spaces affect our behavior, retreats vs workshops vs residencies, where to submit your work, recent interviews, more

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

I have recently been on TWO writing retreats. They were both pretty fabulous. Being able to travel for these events is a true privilege and I am so very grateful to my supportive partner, who says, “Go! Have fun, learn some stuff.”

In doing this, I have returned re-energized, my writing soul fed, some good ol’ fashioned nature-immersion, gained clarity (or validation) on my writing projects, but also–sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Maybe I’m in over-my-head (like others are way better writers than me, or more experienced). I don’t always get as much writing done as hoped.

There’s a difference between what these writing excursions consist of. The words may sound the same, but I assure you, the definitions vary.

Retreats:

Typically a (long) weekend of writers (often with an instructor/mentor) who convene at the same location to talk craft, have write-ins, maybe some readings (without feedback/critique), good meals, exercise, and time in nature.

Workshops:

Maybe in conjunction with the above, but always involve a structured game plan, an instructor, feedback, craft, lessons, time to write and hone your craft. They may be online or in-person, over the course of an hour or day, or weekend.

Conferences & Festivals:

Industry-wide writerly connections, often with keynote addresses, masterclasses, a pick-and-choose schedule, often organized by genre: CNF, fiction, hybrid, poetry, etc. but not always. It may just be a pile of writers, sometimes with agent pitch sessions.

Residencies:

These are places where you often apply to hole yourself up and just write. You might be frantically trying to finish your novel and to do so, you need to relinquish all of your other work and life obligations. You might even be a ‘writer-in-residence’ at a place like a college or some kind of non-profit who is providing you a place in exchange for craft talks or editing, or something along those lines. They may even provide a small stipend. Although that may be a grant, so double-check on some of these opportunities.

Have you done anything like this? Did I miss something? Tell me all about it!

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Image designed and photographed by L.Lindsay

What’s distracting/obsessing me:

  • Professor of Architecture & Engineering at the University of Virginia and author of SUBTRACT Leidy Klotz‘s next [untitled] book, which blends behavioral science and design to explore our relationship with physical space, revealing how human psychology defines the environments we create and how, in turn, the built environment shapes the ways we think, feel, and act.
  • Space, memory, nostalgia, architecture…
  • My childhood home. In a recent writing class, the prompt was to ‘Google-Image your childhood address.’ I did and lo and behold, it had recently been on the market. While the exterior was instantly recognizable, the interior had changed drastically. Maybe for the better. But what is so striking about this is how a place of deep emotional residue can leave such a lasting impression. Looking at the images was almost a visceral experience.
  • My next step on this obsession is to send a letter of inquiry to the new homeowners. I already know the address! I want to see if they’ll let me inside. : ) I’ll definitely keep you posted if this comes to fruition!
  • November is a great time to catch on memoir or nonfiction. I don’t know…it’s turning inward thing, maybe? Or maybe it’s a sound thing: “Memoir November” and ‘Nonfiction November’ have a nice ring. Check out Amy Allen Clark’s recommendations. Some great titles from WILD GAME to THE SOUND OF GRAVEL and THE ELECTRIC WOMAN.

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

Take a peek at my Memoir Recommendations on Bookshop.org

Browse all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Some Writing Opportunities:

  • Rooted Two: Best New Arboreal-related Nonfiction/Outpost19 is open for tree-related images, text, essays, and more through January 2023. Check out the submission guidelines here.
  • 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.”
  • Fictive Dream is looking for flash CNF, fiction, etc. to be featured in February, a piece a day. Subs open now through Decemeber 31
  • Khora is looking for 500 words and also visual art

Some Writing-related Craft Classes/Workshops & Retreats:

Photo by L.Lindsay Oregon coast
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Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • “Making Space: Cicadas & My Mother,” by Leslie Lindsay, CNF in ANMLY
Photo by Marina M on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • 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.
  • Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 8) to appear in November.
  • Kathryn Gahl in conversation about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more
  • 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.

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.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

Happy Reading:

I am currently obsessing over all the books David Naimon recommends and talks about on his podcast, Between the Covers, produced in conjunction with Tinhouse Books. I recently started The Baby on The Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, & the Mind-Baby Problem (W.W. Norton, Spring 2022) by Julie Phillips. Along those lines, I promptly ordered a copy of Helen Cixous writing craft classic, The Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing (University of Columbia Press, 1994). Also, just picked up a copy of The Artist’s House by Kirsten Bell (Sternberg Press, 2012), which delves into the hidden realms of visual artists, authors, photographers, more.

I also have a teetering pile of new literary fiction–amazing stuff that is either just-released or forthcoming and I am so very grateful to the publishers, publicists, and authors who have so generously sent them along. Thank you!

What I’m listening to:

Right now? Classical music and the hum of a space heater.

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 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.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

Get bookish and writerly news delivered to your inbox.

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.

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.

Get bookish and writerly news delivered to your inbox.

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Musings & Meanderings: In-box zero, clearing the slate, childhood homes, art, architecture, space, memory, where to submit, recently published stuff, moderately creepy reads, gorgeous green photography

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

Is in-box zero a thing? Is it really attainable? I used to think no. But today, I deleted an ass-load of emails. They’ve been piling up since April or so, that’s near-six months of newsletters, updates, pleas for my money, time, and more. Some of them were from well-meaning friends offering support when I was struggling. A few were from my agent.

Others touched on deep themes: ancestry/vital records…the self as character…’this week in writing history’…submission calls…writing craft class…author spotlights/events to attend…I leave all of this stuff in my in-box because I think I’ll go back to it, it might serve as inspiration, it might be ‘important,’ and I’ll miss out.

Photo by Leslie Lindsay

None of it was serving me.

It was all clutter.

They were all deleted.

Years ago, I heard the adage that a messy desk is the sign of a busy mind. That’s true, yes, but if that desk (and mind) are too busy, one cannot fully commit to a singular task. While it’s good to have a variety of interests, it can be overwhelming.

I’m in the process of clearing-the-slate. After a challenging spring, a very full summer, and a devasting blow professionally, there’s a new project brewing. Actually, a new-old project I am revisioning. It’s fun but…tedious. I wonder if it’s worth it? Do I have the gumption to start fresh? What is life if not a series of births and deaths? Of revisioning and reworking? Aren’t we all works-in-progress?

Photo credit: Leslie Lindsay

How are things in your creative pursuits? Tell me all about it! What’s inspiring you? What are you writing and creating?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Image designed and photographed by L.Lindsay

What’s distracting/obsessing me:

  • This interview with B. Ingrid Jones by Jared Quinton in BOMB Magazine, combining architecture and photography, two of my passions.
  • Space, memory, nostalgia, architecture…
  • My childhood home. In a recent writing class, the prompt was to ‘Google-Image your childhood address.’ I did and lo and behold, it had recently been on the market. While the exterior was instantly recognizable, the interior had changed drastically. Maybe for the better. But what is so striking about this is how a place of deep emotional residue can leave such a lasting impression. Looking at the images was almost a visceral experience.
  • This one-day virtual class, Writing What We Don’t Know through Corporeal Writing with Leni Zumas. Because it’s not that we don’t know it, we yearn to know more, to explore the bit that keeps haunting us.
  • This two-day in-person collage class taught by Chelsea Biondolillo through Corporeal Writing really caught my eye.
  • House Porn. Yep. It’s the name of a flash piece (not that kind of flash!) in a journal. But also, take a look at that collage image that goes along with the narrative. Pretty great, right?
  • Oatmilk. I mean, how do you milk an oat?

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

Take a peek at my Memoir Recommendations on Bookshop.org

Browse all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

Get bookish and writerly news delivered to your inbox.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Some Writing Opportunities:

  • Rooted Two: Best New Arboreal-related Nonfiction/Outpost19 is open for tree-related images, text, essays, and more through January 2023. Check out the submission guidelines here.
  • 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.”
  • Longleaf Review is open for completed interviews via Submittable
  • Fictive Dream is looking for flash CNF, fiction, etc. to be featured in February, a piece a day. Subs open now through Decemeber 31
  • Craft Literary is looking for prose poetry, micofiction/flash under 2,000 words (for two pieces) to be judged by Amelia Gray. There’s a $20 reading fee, but winners get $1,000 award and a bundle of the Rose Metal Press Field Guides, Publication in CRAFT, with an introduction by Amelia Gray, and an author’s note (short craft essay) to accompany the piece. Now through October 31.
  • The Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship is seeking applicants for the One Story fiction program
  • Michigan Quarterly Review (MQR) is now open and ‘seeking, cultivating, and amplifying a wide range of artistic expressions that interrogate the world and expand the imagination,’ now through November 1.
Photo by moldy vintages on Pexels.com

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

  • 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.
  • 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 conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
  • 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.
Photo by Feyza Dau015ftan on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • 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) to appear in October. Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 1) to appear in November.
  • An interview with Sheila O’Connor about EVIDENCE OF V: A Novel in Facts, Fictions, & Fragments (Rose Metal Press, 2019) in Fractured Lit
  • A review-in-dialogue with Su Cho about her forthcoming book of poetry, THE SYMMETRY OF FISH (Penguin Poets, October 2022) in The Cincinnati Review.
  • A conversation and review with Erin Keane about her debut memoir, RUNAWAY: Note on the Myths that Made Me (Belt, September 2022) to appear in Autofocus.
  • Kathryn Gahl in conversation about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more

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.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

Happy Reading:

I have a few spooky reads up my sleeves: The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton is speaking to me and also this little chapbook by Kristy Bowen, Alternative Facts because reading poetry makes me a better writer, thinker, all around human. I also have a teetering pile of new literary fiction–amazing stuff that is either just-released or forthcoming and I am so very grateful to the publishers, publicists, and authors who have so generously sent them along. Thank you!

What I’m listening to:

David Naimon and Ada Limon in conversation on the Between the Covers podcast chatting about THE HURTING KIND, animals, nature, naming of things, being present in the work, poetry as place to process trauma, but also to feel joy.

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 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.

Photo by Achim Bongard on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

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.

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 960x0.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-preview.png

Musings & Meanderings: Narrative + Image, a glimpse into Amy Turner’s writing space, where to submit, singing the praises of Story Studio Chicago, where to submit, new published author interviews

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

I just had a wonderful experience at Story Studio Chicago–shameless plug! Really, it was amazing. Being around other writers is so energizing, supportive, and nurturing, I know it goes without saying that being around one’s ‘peeps’ is so important; it’s about community, seeing the potential, finding one’s voice. It’s about uplifting that voice and amplifying strengths. Just being in the space with others who think and jive on the same jam is delightful. It’s about inclusivity, ‘being seen.’

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

I’m bubbling over with ideas, but they aren’t just gleaned from the workshop, they’ve been rolling about in my noggin for some time, but now, now I feel confident and invigorated enough by them to roll up my sleeves. [Hint: my current obsessions].

Speaking of obsessions, Amy Turner gives us peek into her writing space (her son’s old bedroom), where she was able to hang photographs, poetry, quotes, and more to inspire her project, which became her memoir, ON THE LEDGE (August, 2022). Be sure you check her mini-interview in the ‘Insights’ section (below) of this newsletter.

Photo credit: Leslie Lindsay

How are things in your creative pursuits? Tell me all about it! What’s inspiring you? What are you writing and creating?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Photo cred: L.Lindsay

What’s distracting/obsessing me:

  • The photography of Julie Blackmon, which is evocative and delightfully unsettling. Plus, she hails from Springfield, Missouri (fun fact: it’s my birthplace). Check out her new book, Midwest Materials, which is so ohlala on a variety of levels.
  • The blend of writing + art and how the two sort of go hand-in-hand (see how I did that?) Check out Renee Gladman @prosearchitectures
  • This exhibit has now closed, but how cool is this concept of an art exhibit featuring writing-in-progress, aptly titled, WORKING TITLE by Stella Fiore: artifacts, old house, words + art. Yep.
  • Space, memory, nostalgia, architecture…
  • While, this class has come and gone (maybe it’ll come back?), I am totally drawn to this concept on writing, the subconsious flow of lines, art, and more, The Blurred Line Between Drawing and Writing, offered through Rutger’s University.
  • This gorgeous short piece, Broken Home, featured in Ruminate’s The Waking by Alan Schulte. Love the stark image that accompanies this piece, and of course, the writing, too.
  • And I love this, too, The Three Erasures, a blend of text and poetry by Lauren Parades, also in Ruminate’s The Waking.
  • Finally, this two-day in-person collage class taught by Chelsea Biondolillo through Corporeal Writing really caught my eye.
  • This list of 8 books that investigate family history with imagination from Electric Literature.
  • Along those lines, this list of 7 experimental books reshaping historical narratives, also in Electric Literature, caught my eye.

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

New! 4 Questions mini-interview

Insights|Amy Turner

ON THE LEDGE: A Memoir

Photo credit: L.Lindsay @leslielindsay1

“Remarkable…On the Ledge is a riveting story of courage and redemption. And dare I say that parts of it are very, very funny?”


HOPE EDELMAN, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Motherless Daughters and The AfterGrief

Leslie Lindsay:

Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say ON THE LEDGE is about?

Amy Turner:

Confronting one’s vulnerability and coming to terms with long buried childhood trauma

Finding oneself, even later in life

Undoing patterns of hypervigilance

Love, grace, and acceptance

Leslie Lindsay:

Where did you write ON THE LEDGE? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Amy Turner:

I wrote the first draft of On the Ledge sitting at our dining room table because the room has the most natural light and the best views of the woods. Once I realized that it would be a long project, I wrote in the bedroom of my younger son who’d gone off to college. I loved being able to hang quotations, family photographs, and poetry on the wall in front  of me—inspiration at a glance!

I don’t have any special rituals or routines other than I prefer writing in the morning with a steady flow of coffee at  hand. In writing my memoir I often relied on my “felt sense”—bringing my awareness to physical sensations within my body to determine whether I’d reached the authenticity of a scene or the deep truth of a personal reflection.

Leslie Lindsay:

If you weren’t writing, you would be…

Amy Turner:

Talking about writing and encouraging others to find their voices.

Leslie Lindsay:

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

Amy Turner:

Inheritance, which is a beautifully written memoir by Dani Shapiro, which deals with the impact of family secrets and issues of identity. Her detailed, visceral description of what it felt like when she learned in her fifties that her father—who was the main subject of most of her memoirs—was not her biological parent—floored me.

[Leslie’s note: Read my interview with Dani Shapiro about Inheritance HERE. Her new novel, Signal Fires, is forthcoming October 18, 2022 from Knopf]

Get your copy of ON THE LEDGE HERE or where books are sold. Check out Amy Turner’s website for more information, including talks and signings.

Take a peek at my Memoir Recommendations on Bookshop.org

Browse all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Some Writing Opportunities:

  • Rooted Two: Best New Arboreal-related Nonfiction/Outpost19 is open for tree-related images, text, essays, and more through January 2023. Check out the submission guidelines here.
  • 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.”
  • Longleaf Review is open for completed interviews via Submittable
  • 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.
  • Craft Literary is looking for prose poetry, micofiction/flash under 2,000 words (for two pieces) to be judged by Amelia Gray. There’s a $20 reading fee, but winners get $1,000 award and a bundle of the Rose Metal Press Field Guides, Publication in CRAFT, with an introduction by Amelia Gray, and an author’s note (short craft essay) to accompany the piece. Now through October 31.
  • The Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship is seeking applicants for the One Story fiction program
  • Michigan Quarterly Review (MQR) is now open and ‘seeking, cultivating, and amplifying a wide range of artistic expressions that interrogate the world and expand the imagination,’ now through November 1.
Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

  • 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.
  • 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 conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
  • 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.
Photo by Marie Martin on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • 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) to appear in October. Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 1) to appear in November.
  • An interview with Sheila O’Connor about EVIDENCE OF V: A Novel in Facts, Fictions, & Fragments (Rose Metal Press, 2019) in Fractured Lit
  • A review-in-dialogue with Su Cho about her forthcoming book of poetry, THE SYMMETRY OF FISH (Penguin Poets, October 2022) in The Cincinnati Review.

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.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

Happy Reading:

I am in the middle of Samanta Schweblin’s dark, spooky, and somewhat fragmented reality of SEVEN EMPTY HOUSES, where everything is just a little off-kilter. I’m also looking forward to reading A SUMMONING by Nicole McCarthy, which is a glorious blend of art, narrative, memory, and more.

Photo by Tim Samuel on Pexels.com

What I’m listening to:

Chatter at my favorite cafe/writing spot with a glorious medley of acoustic fall favorites.

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 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.

Photo by Achim Bongard on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

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.

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 960x0.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-preview.png

Musings & Meanderings: Writing about nostalgia, exploring film, motherhood, ambition, and more with T. Greenwood plus…a fall check-in, establishing goals & boundaries, where to submit, what I’m reading, listening to, working on

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

How is your fall shaping up? Has it been a whirlwind? Utterly relaxed? Oh, I know…you’ve been twirling through the streets as fall leaves rain down, a book tucked under your arm, and a PSL in your hand, right? Completely and totally unencumbered, a little nostalgic and pensive, and productive, too, right?

Maybe not. I don’t what it is, but fall should be a slowing down, but sometimes isn’t. Not everyone gets the summer off or Summer Fridays or holidays of leisure. I enter fall eager for all the coziness, but I’m often exhausted.

Just being honest about that makes me feel better. And that’s why I write these words. Writing works that way for me. It’s a fabulous little tool to process.

And also, I write because I want YOU to write, too.

If I feel a little run-down and worn-out, maybe you do, too? So I thought I’d take this moment to check in.

How are your writing goals going?

Are you keeping a schedule? Staying on track? What are struggling with? Why? Is it lack of time or lack of ideas? Maybe lack of motivation? Have you spent any time reflecting on how you want your writing life to look and feel? What project you can realistically tackle? How, much are you writing each week?

What about boundaries–protecting that writing time–and also the emotional/psychological boundaries surrounding your topic. If you’re writing memoir, this is huge; if it’s fiction, you need to delve into the boundaries of your characters. What is everyone willing to reveal?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

We can’t forget about the care-and-keeping of the writer, too.

So are you: getting daylight? Regular exercise? Socializing in ways that feel appropriate for you? Are you drinking enough water (I’m not; I can tell…I feel mentally sluggish)? How about your sleep? Is it fragmented? Are you staying up too late? Watching too much television? Are you reading enough books? Because reading begats writing…are you remembering to check in with yourself because sometimes it’s ourselves we’re the hardest on. So just slow the eff down, take 3 minutes to breathe, stare into space, feel your beating heart. I don’t think you’ll be sorry. Really.

In terms of your beating heart, in my ‘insights section,’ I’ve got a mini-chat with T. Greenwood about her forthcoming novel, SUCH A PRETTY GIRL (October 25, Kensington Books), about a former child actress/model, her mother’s ambition, following one’s passion, and more.

Tell me: How’s it going? Do you need a moment to get yourself together? [I feel you].

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Photo cred: L.Lindsay

What’s distracting/obsessing me:

  • This flash speculative fiction piece in Craft Literary about new parenthood, a family history of depression, intergenerational trauma, and more.
  • Lauren Acampora writes about how she didn’t want to write this promotional essay, but she did, and I love it. Check it out in LitHub.
  • Floor plans from the 1930s era Sears kit homes.
  • Photographing things from unique angles.
  • Space, memory, nostalgia, architecture…
  • The many forms of poetry. Is poetry navel-gazing? Does it sound pretentious to be a poet? Some serious [personal] hang-ups here…

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

New! 4 Questions mini-interview

Insights|T. Greenwood

SUCH A PRETTY GIRL: A Novel

Photo credit: L.Lindsay @leslielindsay1

Award-winning author T. Greenwood explores the often-flickering line between woman and girl in this vividly lyrical drama…

Leslie Lindsay:

Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is about?

T. Greenwood:

Mothers and Daughters

Art and Exploitation

1970’s NYC

Ambition

Childhood friendships

Girlhood

Leslie Lindsay:

Where did you write SUCH A PRETTY GIRL? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

T. Greenwood:

I wrote SAPG because I have always wanted to set a book in 1970’s New York City. I grew up in the 1970s, and I wanted to capture a lost time as well as that lost city. (My writing is often spurred on by a sort of aching nostalgia.) I have also always been fascinated by the way that the young actresses of my generation were so openly exploited by the industry. My aim was to tell the story about one such girl, and her ambitious stage mother’s complicity in this exploitation.

I have a fairly boring writing routine – and that is simply that I write every day. I try to stick to a word count quota of 1500 words when I am drafting a novel. In terms of rituals, I don’t have many other than coffee (in a special mug I’ve had for over twenty years) and solitude.

I typically tackle all projects with the same approach: daydreaming for a bit, then meeting daily word counts to get through the first draft. Then I take some time away before mapping out the mess I have made and strategizing the next draft. Rinse and repeat. I also have a couple trusted readers who will take a peek before I send it off to my agent or editor.

Right now, I am in the final stages of editing my next book. I have repeated the revising/mapping/revising process more times than I can count with this one.

Leslie Lindsay:

If you weren’t writing, you would be…

T. Greenwood:

I am a hobbyist photographer. But I also love film. If someone said I could go to college all over again, I would study photography and film history.

Leslie Lindsay:

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

T. Greenwood:

I read Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, about her harrowing experiences as a child actress with an abusive mother. It had so many similar themes to Such a Pretty Girl! I feel like our books are sister books.

Get your copy of SUCH A PRETTY GIRL HERE or where books are sold. Check out T. Greenwood’s website for more information, including talks and signings.

Take a peek at all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

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Some Writing Opportunities:

  • Nimrod International is interested in reading your fiction, poetry, and CNF for their themed issue, “Body Language,” which really encompasses a lot…open till October 1 for the spring 2023 issue.
  • 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.
  • Craft Literary is looking for prose poetry, micofiction/flash under 2,000 words (for two pieces) to be judged by Amelia Gray. There’s a $20 reading fee, but winners get $1,000 award and a bundle of the Rose Metal Press Field Guides, Publication in CRAFT, with an introduction by Amelia Gray, and an author’s note (short craft essay) to accompany the piece. Now through October 31.
Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

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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 conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
  • 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.
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

What I’m reading:

Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 1), which is sooo achingly good…it’s a memoir in braided essays and her turns of phrase are so gutting, so visceral. It makes me want to write. Stay tuned for my interview with Sarah Fawn in Hippocampus this November. I also just finished Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir, The Chronology of Water, and the writing is just phenomenal.

Photo by Davyd Bortnik on Pexels.com

What I’m listening to:

David Naimon’s Between the Covers podcast as he chats with Lidia Yuknavitch (sensing a theme?) as she discusses her new novel, Thrust, but also the carrier bag theory of writing, Crafting with Ursula [K. LeGuin], and more.

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 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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

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.

Learn more HERE.

Be sure you’re 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.

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Musings & Meanderings: Does a writer need a room of her own? How about two desks? Plus: where to submit, what I do with the books I review,

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

I bought a desk. Another one. Because what writer needs two desks? Apparently, this one.

For months I avoided my messy office in lieu of working at the kitchen table (chaos, distraction), or maybe going to the coffee shop (not a bad alternative if I had the time), but then fall hit and it was like–bam!–I gotta do something about this junky office.

In all reality, it wasn’t that bad. But it was cluttered and there might have been a cobweb or two in the corners–eek! Scraps of paper with scrawled notes and ‘good lines,’ were everywhere. Notecards with scenes were taped to the wall. Cords were strung everywhere to illuminate spaces and power the heater. I know: it’s not winter. That’s how long it’s been.

There was a real, psychological reason I wasn’t in my creating space. I was burned out. It was a fallow season. The ideas were percolating and my mind was conjuring ideas for next steps.

At Hudson Design House

I was out and about at one of my favorite home decor stores and there she was: my new desk. I snapped her up, along with three antique glass window/shutters. I hung those babies up on my wall, cleaned, polished, purged, and it really looks good now.

One desk is decidedly for laptop work: writing on the computer, responding to emails, creating graphics, formatting interviews, editing…all of that stuff.

The other desk is my creative space. No computer. No phone. Just a space. For doodling, journaling, brainstorming, drawing, collaging, reading, and taking notes by hand.

My goal is to toggle between both desks at different times of the day for different tasks. I might start with my creative/blank slate desk and then mosey over to my laptop after I have satisfied my own creativity.

What do you think about this two-desk concept?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Ask the Booknerd:

“I’ve always been curious: what do you do with all the books you review?”

–Curious about your books

Dear Curious:

(a) I have a booming business on the black market.

(b) I re-gift them.

(c) I turn them into art/crafts

(d) They become kitty litter

(e) I give away/donate/pass on

(f) All of the above

(g) Some of the above

(h) None of the above

ANSWER:

Many of the books I keep. They are lovely and inspiring and I am surrounded by books all the time. On occasion, I will pass one along to a friend. Some virtually brand-new (gently read) copies, I may become a gift to a friend, along with a gift card to a coffee shop. Some books end up in Little Free Libraries. And more than a few are displayed cover-out at home because they are so beautiful and go with my decor. I’ve turned a few into art by folding the pages and doing something fun with them. I don’t have a cat, so no kitty litter. And yeah…no one is getting rich from black market books.

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

Some Writing Opportunities:

  • Nimrod International is interested in reading your fiction, poetry, and CNF for their themed issue, “Body Language,” which really encompasses a lot…open till October 1 for the spring 2023 issue.
  • 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.
Photo by Budgeron Bach on Pexels.com

Take a peek at all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

Be sure to check out all featured author Further Reading Recommendations|Always with a Book for more inspired selections.

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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.
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
  • 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 piece about being a book ambassador, reading about family, inheritance, post-memory, 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.

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 am between books. Don’t worry; it won’t last long. I’m going to take my own advice and read a ‘book bundle.’ This one will get me prepared for an October Writing Retreat in Oregon.

Photo by Davyd Bortnik on Pexels.com

What I’m listening to:

White noise. It’s been a long week or two. Life is noisy. Maybe not in volume (but that’s true, too), but in ‘stuff,’ ‘bombarding’ us at all times–pings and dog barks, car horns, and traffic. White noise is soothing.

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 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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

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.

Learn more HERE.

Be sure you’re 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.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-preview.png

Musings & Meanderings: taking Rilke’s advice to ‘ruthlessly compress,’ what to do when Mercury is in retrograde; plus how visual art isn’t all that different from written art, motherhood, acceptance, and what books I recently read and loved

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

Here’s the thing: Mercury is in stupid retrograde again. I know how it sounds: hoodoo voodoo and and magical weirdness. But there’s something to it! As a writer, who is no doubt a ‘communicator’ in every sense (I am the family connector/communicator/organizer), I try to get everyone on ‘the same page,’ I like coordinating and organizing things…to say this can be a trying time is an understatement.

What does it mean when…

‘Mercury is in retrograde?’

It started September 9 and will go through October 2. Mercury is the planet of communication. When it’s in retrograde (appearing to go backward), appliances tend to run haywire, scheduled things run late, miscommunications run rampant.

You might have ‘good’ problems, but mistakes will happen. Things might be more exaggerated than ever, but there might also be goodwill.

Learn more about Mercury retrograde in this Bustle article.

For me…it’s been forgetfulness/scatteredness, lost items, appointments not working out right, computer glitches/freezing, and ‘pending’ arrangements (like the dog sitter will have to get back with me, the travel company needs to ‘approve my request.’ Maybe I’m just more in-tune with these things…or maybe Mercury is to blame?

Yikes! Any break?

Yep. There will be a moment of clarity amid the chaos. That will happen on September 22nd near midnight. It’s also the fall equinox. There will be a slight shift in perspective.

And then…

The air will clear around October 10th. But there might be a little fogginess or unsettledness until October 16th.

Mercury Retrograde DOs:

  • Be extra thoughtful when friction occurs.
  • Do you really need to say it out loud?
  • Be mindful.
  • Focus on long-term solutions.
  • The heat-of-the-moment rarely has your future well-being in mind.
  • Take deep breaths. Pause. Reflect.
  • Expect delays and schedule extra time for everything.
  • Laugh at yourself when you make faux pas.
  • You aren’t above learning lessons.
  • Streamline your life, reassess your ‘systems’ and update if necessary. Organize, review, rethink.

What NOT to do during Mercury Retrograde:

  • Don’t purchase tickets or plan big events during this time.
  • If you can’t avoid that, keep in mind that some tweaks may need to be made.
  • Don’t sign big contracts or make a major purchase.
  • Don’t make major life changes.
  • Don’t worry about, or fear, this phase, just be aware of it.

What do you think? Is this Mercury Retrograde a ‘thing?’ Is it a bunch of superstitions?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Photo by Faik Akmd on Pexels.com

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

What’s obsessing me:

  • This course offered by Janice Lee via Corporeal Writing about listening to form, to ourselves, the stories already within. It’s online October 15. Check out the sliding-scale fee and consider investing.
  • More great ‘haunted’ offerings from Corporeal Writing: blending memoir and fiction writing with philosophy, magic, ritual, and other otherworldly practices[…]exploring ancient or historic lines that haunt your story[…]ghosts, ancestors, grief, loss, burials, ceremonies, and an inquiry into the nature of identity and death. Haunted 1 Starts 11/8 and meets on Tuesdays. Haunted 2 starts 11/10 and meets on Thursdays.
  • This helpful interview/video from the editor-n-chief of Bellevue Literary Review on how to submit to them, what they’re seeking, what to avoid, more.

New! 4 Questions mini-interview

Insights|Donna Gordon

What Ben Franklin Would Have Told Me: A Novel

Photo credit: L.Lindsay @leslielindsay1

Leslie Lindsay:

Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say WHAT BEN FRANKLIN WOULD HAVE TOLD ME is about?

Donna Gordon:

Finding common ground where it’s least expected.  Understanding differences, as in Progeria, Lee’s disease.  Caring about human rights, as in the case of my character Tomás, who survived the Dirty War in Argentina. Motherhood.  Acceptance.

Leslie Lindsay:

Where did you write WHAT BEN FRANKLIN WOULD HAVE TOLD ME ? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Donna Gordon:

I worked first from written notes, then transcribed to my laptop.  I  learned  to  write completely using the keyboard for the  bulk of the novel, which at first felt really foreign, as I’m used to feeling  my way with words more slowly, and taking pen to paper.  There were many times when the whole day went by and I was still writing when it got dark outside.  I tried to not stop until I had completed an entire emotional episode, which didn’t always work, but it felt better to see a complete scene and not just a piece of it.  I often start a piece with a line or  image that defies sense, but carries some emotional power.  Then I go back and try to understand where it fits and why it felt so necessary. I started writing poetry before writing fiction, and I’m always scrupulously aware of Rilke’s advice to”

“ruthlessly compress.”   

I’m completing a collection of stories, LESSER SAINTS, and am working out the order.

Leslie Lindsay:

If you weren’t writing, you would be…

Donna Gordon:

A painter/printmaker/photographer/tennis pro!  I’m actually already something of a visual artist and have been making things for a few years.  Making things with paint and ink and pencil is not that different than making things with words.  It’s  another way of constructing things with emotion and color and language, albeit visual language.  Your hands get dirty!  My visual  art is represented  by Galatea  Fine  Art  SoWa,  Boston.

Leslie Lindsay:

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

Donna Gordon:

Klara and the Sun by Ishiguro.  I felt real loss when I finished reading.  Klara is an artificial friend, but she’s more human to me than any of the other characters.  She plays a critical role in a family’s fate, and in the end is abandoned.  But her spirit lives on.  I found myself making a painting a few days  after I closed the book, and my impression of Klara plays center stage.

Get your copy of WHAT BEN FRANKLIN WOULD HAVE TOLD ME HERE or where books are sold. Check out Donna Gordon’s website for more information, including talks and signings.

Take a peek at all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

  • 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.
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

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

A photoessay of a family’s devolve, created in miniature, to appear in On the Seawall.

A conversation with Lauren Acampora about her novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS (Grove/Atlantic, August 23, 2022) in The Millions.

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

Nature photography in Invisible City.

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

A conversation with Kristine Langley Mahler about her new hybrid memoir, CURING SEASON: Artifacts (WVP, October 1) in Brevity.

A hybrid art review of YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS (Bellevue Literary Press, January 2023) by Adina Talve-Goodman, published posthumously, in DIAGRAM.

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 am smack in the middle of Jill Bialosky’s new release, THE DECEPTIONS (September 6, Counterpoint), which is a heady flow-of-consciousness with an artistically savvy slant featuring Greco-Roman art/sculpture. I also just finished ANYTHING BUT MY PHONE, MOM, by clinical psychologist Roni Cohen-Sandler.

What I’m listening to:

In yoga, we’ve been listening to our own heart beat. I know how it sounds…almost impossible. When one is very still and quiet, it can be heard. Our studio shares the same space with a traditional gym and the other day, someone outside of yoga was jumping rope. The thump-thump on the floor made us think of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart beating under the floorboards. [Can you tell I’m in a haunting, mystical mood? ‘Tis the season].

By the way, did you realize the ears are the first to form in utero and the last to go during the death process? When our ears hurt, it often signifies that we are ‘tired of all the noise.’

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 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.

Photo by Melike Benli on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

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.

Learn more HERE.

Be sure you’re 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.

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Musings & Meanderings: Kayla Maiuri has one ritual she must do when actively working on a project; plus: mothers, home decor, vintage stuff, where to submit, disco music, book recs, more

By Leslie Lindsay

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

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Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

My mother was a super-talented self-taught interior decorator. She also struggled with severe mental illness. I’ve never been formally trained in home design or decor, but those skills sort of emerged unbidden. Maybe they are part of my DNA. One may argue that mental illness is entwined in one’s DNA, too. Sure, I can get a little anxious or run-down, or maybe a little depressed from time to time, but who doesn’t? Especially in this day and age with constant posting, re-posting, sharing, scrolling, etc. It’s a constant barrage of…keeping up and comparisons.

Kayla Maiuri’s debut novel tackles many of these exact concerns, braiding the past with the present, a mother resistant to change, family secrets, architecture, and more. It’s an emotionally and psychologically astute character study that reads almost as if it could be memoir.

Interestingly, all of this stuff: mothers, home, decor, are all part of today’s Musings & Meanderings. Do you tend to think and act in themes? Seems I do! More on that under ‘obsessions.’

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

What’s Obsessing Me:

  • Vintage stuff because IT ALWAYS HAS. Especially so if it’s locally sourced architectural salvage, like the treasures I fall in love with at Hudson Design House.
  • Setting up my ‘new’ office. Nothing about it is new [see above], and that’s part of its charm. I am in the process of rearranging, straightening, culling through stuff…hanging things. Funny how fall has a way of re-setting, right?
  • An online platform for printing travel photos. I am seeking something with a [surprise] retro/vintage vibe requiring very little effort from me. Got any ideas? Tell me!
  • Also! I am totally into this idea of ‘book bundling,’ a.k.a: ‘A flight of Books.’ A trio of books…I don’t know…call it what you want, but the idea is different genres/different authors with some overlapping theme or motif that marries well.

Are you following me on IG? That’s where you’ll catch #bookreels of these ‘Book Bundles’

I highlight current, forthcoming, and backlist books. Maybe you’ll (re-) discover a new favorite?

Some Writing Opportunities:

  • Nimrod International is interested in reading your fiction, poetry, and CNF for their themed issue, “Body Language,” which really encompasses a lot…open till October 1 for the spring 2023 issue.
  • 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.

New! Featured Author|Insights

Kayla Maiuri

Mother in the Dark: A Novel

Image designed and photographed by L.Lindsay

A novel about family secrets and a volatile relationship between a mother and her daughters.

Leslie Lindsay:

Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say MOTHER IN THE DARK is about?

Kayla Maiuri:

Escape; inherited grief; loyalties and betrayals amongst family; the ways that daughters blame their mothers and protect their fathers; how mothers and daughters can love, wound, and haunt.

Leslie Lindsay:

Where did you write MOTHER IN THE DARK? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Kayla Maiuri:

I’m not very precious about my writing space. I can write at the kitchen table with people talking, yelling, eating, and I can write on the couch with the television going. My one ritual is that when I’m actively working on a project, I must touch the document every day. Maybe I will only shift a sentence or add a comma, but I have to at least acknowledge the work every day.

Leslie Lindsay:

If you weren’t writing, you would be…

Kayla Maiuri:

Maybe working in psychotherapy. I feel presumptuous saying this—I know it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of emotional strength. I shouldn’t assume I’d be able to do it. But I love trying to understand people; all of their nuances and layers. It seems like the most natural jump.

Leslie Lindsay:

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

Kayla Maiuri:

The Long Answer by Anna Hogeland. It’s a debut about female friendship and sisterhood, and the beauty and power of storytelling—how it fuels and sustains us. It’s a slow burn with a quiet but thought-provoking ending. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

Be sure to check out all featured author Further Reading Recommendations|Always with a Book for inspired selections.

Get your copy of MOTHER IN THE DARK HERE or where books are sold. Check out Kayla Maiuri’s website for more information, including talks and signings.

Take a peek at all of my 2022 recommendations at Bookshop.org|Always with a Book

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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.
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

  • A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
  • 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 piece about being a book ambassador, reading about family, inheritance, post-memory, 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.

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 am between books. Don’t worry; it won’t last long. I’m going to take my own advice and read a ‘book bundle.’ This one will get me prepared for an October Writing Retreat in Oregon.

Photo by Teona Swift on Pexels.com

What I’m listening to:

Disco! Oh my–it’s Studio 54 in here. When I was a teenager, I worked at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels at the mall. On Saturday nights, a local radio station played Disco music from 9pm to midnight. I still have good memories of breaking down the kitchen and scrubbing dishes to Donna Summer, The Village People, and The Trammps. Only now, I’m writing. Different kind of work, still energizing.

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 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.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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.

Browse the Archives | Donate

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.

Learn more HERE.

Be sure you’re 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.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-preview.png

MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS: Lisa Williamson Rosenberg on writing a novel in a minivan during soccer practice, feeling like you’re not doing enough/too much, distractibility, making art when not inspired, more

By Leslie Lindsay

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is leslie-lindsayalways-with-a-book-27-1.png

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

I’m not working well today. I don’t know…the gears feel rusty. My brain feels cramped and distracted. I’m worried about my kids, who aren’t really kids, but young adults. They are amazing and talented and busy and so that makes it even more challenging. I worry, in the best parent-kind-of-way. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Are they happy? It’s hard to be parent. It’s harder still to be a teenager. The emotions are big. The problems have ramifications. Everything feels new and important. Because it is. Kids this age often are experiencing things for the first time (first car, first date, college applications, sports, perceived failures), so the feelings are bigger.

I’ve got an interview by psychologist-mom, Lisa Williamson Rosenberg today who says she wrote her novel, EMBERS IN THE WIND, in a minivan at soccer practice (I can totally relate!). She also says that she is often not writing. And you know what–I think that is okay! It’s about balance.

What inspires you to write? Do you write when you’re not inspired? Do you ‘force’ it? I have. Sometimes that gets me moving. Other times–like today–I just feel gummy and frustrated. My mind wanders and I think of a million other things I’d rather be doing. The ‘zone’ doesn’t happen.

How do YOU get through it?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

Photo by Devon Rockola on Pexels.com

What’s obsessing me:

  • Books. Home decor. Nature. My Kids. Bonus kid(s). Basset hounds.
  • Art
  • Finding time to create it.
  • Finding time to read more.
  • Heck, time. That’s a big obsession. Why it goes away. How some people do more with less. How some people do, like, nothing. And is that boring? Or more fulfilling?
  • What I am going to have for dinner.
  • If I have a turkey neck.
  • See above: dinner.
  • How to fit in more yoga; see above: turkey neck.
  • If I am getting enough protein.
  • Wow–was that a much more personal list that you expected? Same here.

NEW! Four Questions: A mini-interview series

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg

Author of EMBERS ON THE WIND

Photo credit: L.Lindsay @leslielindsay1

1. Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say EMBERS ON THE WIND is about?

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

An Underground Railroad safe house turned 21st century Airbnb, the spirits of the freedom seekers who perished on the property over 2 centuries earlier call out to modern black women, seeking peace and redemption.

2. Where did you write EMBERS ON THE WIND? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

I wrote most of Embers on the Wind sitting in my minivan, parked in the lot of a big, indoor soccer arena where my son was enrolled in a 4-day a week, 3 hours-a-pop intensive soccer program. I volunteered to do more than my share of carpooling once I figured out how I could use my time. I had one of those silly foam laptop rests and I was good to go. It did get cold during those winter months, but the thoughts of Embers (along with my purple ankle-length down coat) kept me going.

An earlier novel, which I’m currently revising and have yet to show my agent, was born in the wee hours during a bout of insomnia while my kids were very small.

In general however, once I have a decent sized manuscript to work with, I’ll plod away any time I have a break between therapy clients and on weekends. I am lucky to have “A Room of My Own,” on the third floor of my house where it is relatively quiet.

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

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

Often I am not writing! I am a psychotherapist, so my writing life has to compete with my clients. And of course my kids. And dog! And sometimes my husband, though he’s pretty self-sufficient most of the time.

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

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

Recently? The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. Dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale meets 1984. It’s full of heartbreaking moments, but so well done and compelling, I was literally unable to put it down. So inventive and imaginative. No spoilers, but I’ve been talking and thinking about this one since I read it back in April.

Get your copy of EMBERS ON THE WIND HERE or where books are sold. Check out Lisa Williamson Rosenberg’s website for more information, including talks and signings.

Take a peek at all of my historical fiction recommendations at Bookshop.org.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is turnpage-home-banner2-white.jpg

Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Coming soon:

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

A conversation with Lauren Acampora about her novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS (Grove/Atlantic, August 23, 2022) in The Millions.

A piece 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.

My experience at a retreat/workshop abroad, featuring architecture and design, how writing is always a work-in-progress in The Smart Set.

A conversation with Kristine Langley Mahler about her new hybrid memoir, CURING SEASON: Artifacts (WVP, October 1) in Brevity.

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 am smack in the middle of Lauren Acampora’s new novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS. I mean…that cover!!! Plus, I just love her work.

Images designed and photographed by L. Lindsay

What I’m listening to:

My own truth. No one else can tell you what is ‘true,’ except…you. A little corny, but heck…yeah.

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 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.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Let’s walk this bookish path together.

THANK YOU!!

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 Bookshop.org. Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.

Learn more HERE.

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