All posts tagged: essays

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 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. 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, …

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 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 …

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 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, …

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 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 …

Musings & Meanderings: Are you always ready to write? Jeff Seitzer is, plus rest/reset/resort, THE FUN MASTER, where to submit, miniature love, more

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! This time of year can kill me. It’s exciting, yes. It’s draining, too. Here’s why: After a full summer of being the ‘fun master,’ for kids all summer (more on that in today’s author chat below), I am drained. There is precious little time to regroup or to tend to my own needs over summer–that includes creativity and intellectual stimulation because I am driving, planning, executing, scheduling, and doing all the regular things that need doing–house maintenance, work, etc. I can’t find it now, but I came across a meme that read, “I didn’t go on vacation…I supervised and bankrolled my kids while they were on theirs.” Then…school. You’d think that would be great. It’s not. At least not at first. New kid schedules, teachers, coaches, expectations. There’s a full academic and sports schedule to follow. Times two kids. Every teacher sends emails about …

MUSINGS & MEADERINGS: Why transitions are so hard, and how to ease the pain…plus, a children’s back-to-school book with author interview–hello–Christina Geist!…a fabulous gift idea, more

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! Let’s talk about transitions for a moment. They can be equal parts exciting and terrifying, right? You can want a change, even go so far as to curate that change, and then when it comes, it’s hard, hard, hard. You get me? What about those changes you didn’t even ask for, but boom–here they are? Yeah, that too. And those other transitions–the ones you know are coming, didn’t really ask for, but you know…the seasons, the school year, a shift in your daily routine. Why the heck are they so hard? And what can we do when we ‘hit a wall?’ How can we embrace them? Clear the slate. For me, I like a little lead time. Maybe a day or two to ‘shift gears,’ mentally and maybe physically, too. The problem is, life happens fast. Sometimes we don’t have the space or time …

Musings & Meanderings: Caitlin Billings on the ‘construction of gender,’ her new mental health memoir, plus deconstructing flash, where to submit this June, being curious & varied

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! Curiosity. That’s what a writer needs. She also needs varied life experiences. A break in routine. I tell you this because…well, it’s true for me, but but because it ought to be true for every writer. Here’s why: stagnancy doesn’t produce dynamic anything. So…are you… Exploring? Observing? Questioning? Doodling? Day-dreaming? Remember when you were a kid, maybe 4 years old or so, and well-meaning adults asked, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I mean, we start early with this. Guess what?! I still don’t know!!! Lately, we’ve been taking our daughter on college visits. They all want to know what ‘school,’ or ‘major’ she’s going to select. She loves (and is good at) lots of things. So, how to narrow it down? Does she need to know? No. That’s the beauty of being inquisitive and multi-interested. Our ideas and …

Warmth, Passion and Coffee…how Zibby Owens does it all, plus her Quarantine Anthology, essays by contemporary writers in MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME

By Leslie Lindsay  A force to be reckoned–Zibby Owens chronicles the myriad emotions, experiences, more in this historically and personally challenging year; an anthology of essays written by authors from her podcast. “The patron saint of books.”“The Great Connector.” ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ WeekEND Reading A little burst of joy to your bookshelf during a rather bleak and troubling time. MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse Press, February 2021) will spark interest, validate this challenging year, and more. It’s filled with anecdotes on the reading life, food, family, mental health, exercise, mindfulness, sex/intimacy, more.Here, we delve into over 60 short essays from contemporary writers exploring all of these aspects of life–but during quarantine, which makes MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO even more timely and topical. I don’t know about you–but as a mom myself, I found that I actually had *less* time once we were shut down at home. It sounds counterintuitive, but true. “The perfect reminder for every mom that nn of us have it all together, all of us are doing our best and, …

Lush and graceful reflections on life, love, family, and nature–it’s about the South and the interstitial space between humans and the natural world

By Leslie Lindsay  From NYT opinion writer Margaret Renkel comes the most luscious and unique portrait of a family, how it’s touched by love and loss, and also nature.  ~WeekEND Reading~ The Today Show’s “Read With Jenna”  book-club pick for December A finalist for the Southern Book Prize Highlighted in year-end lists by The A.V. Club, the New Statesman, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, BookPage, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Iowa Public Radio Growing up in Alabama, Margaret was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver. Braided into the overall narrative, she offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. There’s love and heartache, detailed and gorgeous descriptions of nests, wings, red-tailed hawks, fluffy bunny fur, even snakes and orb spiders, bees, ladybugs, more. These two threads–the human connection and the animal world–haunt and harmonize …