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Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
My days this month have been full of family—15 of us in the house at the moment, including a baby and a dog. Lots of food and laundry and toys and squeals and barks. But not much time for reflection on the past year and decade or the new year to come. I’ll have to wait until January for that.
 
And yet, a few things I know for sure. I want to move more and eat less sugar. I want to read more and write more. In the past decade I’ve written a TON, enough to carry me through the last year when I wrote not at all. But I miss it. I’m so ready to see what falls to the page when the blank sheet is in front of me.
 
I just finished reading Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House, which I recommend. Here’s a sentence I liked about the portraits of the VanHoebeeks that hang in the Dutch House.
 
“Even in their separate frames they were so together, so married, I always thought it must have been one large painting that someone cut in half.” (5)

Each year, I make a playlist of the songs I’m listening to—a mix of old and new. This month, I added 3 songs to my 2019 Spotify playlist: “If I Loved You” by Delta Rae and Lindsey Buckingham, “Wildflowers in the Graveyard” by Amber Rubarth, and “The Trouble with Wanting” by Joy Williams.
Peg Alford Pursell is the creative source behind the award-winning Why There Are Words Reading Series, which she started back in 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Area. A Girl Goes Into the Forest, Peg’s second book, was published in July by Dzanc Books. It’s a collection of hybrid stories and fables centered on the female experience. Hallelujah, right? For contrary to the great J.R.R. Tolkien, women also enter the perilous realm. In the title story, however, the girl does not go into the forest on her own–which, of course, was the experience of so many of us. “[S]he followed him into the woods, moving in the direction where perhaps she imagined the rest of her life waited. So ready for something to happen.” Here’s an excerpt from Peg’s day.
 
The afternoon is gone before I know it. I’ve finished reading a story manuscript, adding to my notes on it. Two amazing stories, a handful of very good stories, one that could be cut. Can the entire manuscript become amazing? Is the author up to it? There’s no good way to know the answers. My mind is full of thoughts and questions, trying to work through the possibilities, while I’m tying my shoes, putting on my jacket and scarf. The house key. In the kitchen. My eyes catch the overflowing bookcases on the way through the living room, and I feel tension collect at the back of my neck. One of these days, I’ll cull through them and donate to the local Friends of the Library, I try to soothe myself. Key in hand, I go out the kitchen and lock the side door behind me.  [read more]
 
Are you looking back? Are you looking forward? Are you trying to do both? What do you know for sure about the new year? Do you have reading resolutions?
 
 “This was how you did it, one step at a time, telling yourself you could reach your destination.” (from “Daffodils” in A Girl Goes into the Forest)
 
With this newsletter, I wish you small steps toward your destination, and health and peace in the new year.
Let me know how you’re spending your last day of the month, the year, the decade. And feel free to share this email with others. Thanks for reading.
 
Peace out,
--cynthia

 
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Issue #7 December 2019
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