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Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
I spent the beginning of the month in Provincetown, then for the first time in two years, I traveled to Lake Tahoe mid-month to help with a Writing by Writers workshop, and now I’ve been in Columbus for the last couple of weeks—so still traveling but at a slower pace.
 
On the way home from Provincetown, in the Lyft car from the Atlanta airport to Columbus, I completed another draft of my new novel, The Glove Factory, which I’ve been working on for almost two years. It’s not finished, but I’m at the stage where the next step is polishing what’s on the page and there’s no sense in doing that until I know what’s working and what’s not. Which means—time for a few wonderful readers.
 
Taking a break on the novel means time to catch up on all the things I cast aside on a regular basis…I’ve given away board games we haven’t played in years. I’ve emptied dust out of the bottom of baskets that hold cords and chargers. I’ve done a manuscript read for a friend. I even stepped into the kitchen to make some pimento cheese.
 
Over the weekend, Cal and I had a “James” Movie Fest. Friday night was Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, based on his 1974 novel of the same name, and Saturday night was Spectre, the 2015 movie in the Bond series. Friday, the moments of a relationship and Saturday, car chases and helicopter crashes. Character development, and then plot. Slow, and then fast. 
A number of years ago, Mandy Haynes decided to live life the way she wanted to. She quit her job in Tennessee, sold her house, and gave away everything she owned. Then she fell in love with Amelia Island and now lives there with three dogs and a turtle named Albert. Her collection Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth opens with the story “Eva,” narrated by eleven-year-old Delene. Here is the essence of Delene: “Even if it was disturbing, you couldn’t help but stop and watch.” The second story is “Plans for Sweet Lorraine,” and the crisp opening, a mixture of voice and story, drew me right in. “I’ll be damned. Lorraine is gone.” Story number three is “The Day I Threw the Rock,” a beauty at thirteen pages, and like “Sweet Lorraine,” it starts strong and quick with this first line: “Mama is going to kill me.” But the opening paragraph of “Junebug Fischer” takes its time, slowing things down to settle us in for the longest story of the collection…
 
To read more about Mandy and her writing, click over to Catching Days. And now for a sneak peek into Mandy’s day, spent at her home on Amelia Island.

I’m a daydream-wait-for-the-story-to-settle kind of writer. If the story isn’t ready to be put on paper, I’ll work on art, go looking for shark teeth, dodge alligators at Eagan’s Creek, take the pups on a walk, or make graphics for Reading Nation Magazine while the plot thickens and my characters decide what they want to say[read more]
We don’t have to look at the calendar to know that what’s ahead of us are the holidays—which can mean so many different things. Getting together with family and friends or not being able to get together. Lots of fun or no fun at all. Too much togetherness and not enough alone time or too much alone time and not enough togetherness. Too much sugar, too much spending, too much to do.
 
When I was little, I loved Christmas. But once I became a responsible party, not so much. When the kids were little, the first thing I did after Thanksgiving, before I bought the first thing, was to book a vacation leaving town January 2nd. That was how I took care of myself. Then I could settle in to enjoy the too much of everything.

What are your plans? If you could change one thing about these days, would you? And what would it be? Often, at this time of year, things get rolling and it feels as if we’re caught up in something over which we have no control.

Tonight, just me and Cal. For Christmas, sixteen, and the house will be full of squeals and legos and tiny little feet.

My one thing? I want to take a walk everyday.
 
With this newsletter, I wish you a joyous holiday season, one in which you take care of yourself and one that comes with some together time and some alone time, some slow moments and some fast ones.
This is an email from me to you so write me back. Let me know how you’re spending your days. And you can find past emails here.

Happy last day of November and thanks for reading.
 
Peace out,
--cynthia

 
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Issue #30 November 2021
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