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Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
When I wrote to you five weeks ago, on the last Tuesday of February, life was normal. Now, Cal and I are on Day 17 of isolation in Columbus, GA. The first week was hard. Or not so much hard as sad. So many people having to cancel semesters and seasons and graduations and weddings. So many people doing their best to make exciting moments as exciting as possible online. For me personally, not going to Provincetown was unthinkable. I had a few low moments as I readjusted my vision of the next few weeks and months. Now, with so many sick and out of work, I’m just plain grateful to be where I am. And I see I can do this.
 
In the mornings, if I can make it to my desk without reading the news, I can work on the new novel. The parts that I’ve written in first person seem the most alive so that’s different and fun. After spending seven years with Cass and Ethan, I couldn’t imagine where new characters would come from. But yay, they come from writing! Starting this novel is much different than when I started Tidal Flats. This time, it’s like I’ve thrown all these balls up in the air, and I’m writing to keep them all moving.  
 
I just read a novel I LOVED—Someone at a Distance [title a strange coincidence] by Dorothy Whipple, an author I had never heard of before @booksnourish_caroleann recommended this book on Instagram. It was published in 1953 and has the most beautiful cover of a woman. It’s written in the omniscient point of view—which was a perfect decision by the author.
 
Looking for something to watch? Cal and I are re-watching The Newsroom, which I also LOVE. It’s available with Amazon Prime. Aaron Sorkin, who does the teleplay, is one of my writing heroes—he is a dialogue master.

And yay, a new song! Vienna Teng’s “City Hall” from her third album, Dreaming Through the Noise, released in 2006. Vienna (real name Cynthia) is a pianist and a singer-songwriter based in Detroit.
 
 
Alan Michael Parker was the featured writer for March. Christmas in July, his most recent novel, was published in 2018. It’s a novel told by ten different narrators and is the story of how each of these people is touched by thirteen-year-old Christmas who is dying of cancer. The first chapter, “Hello. This Is Your Mother,” is Angela’s story. Her mother is always calling and leaving messages. I suspect many of you, spending much more time than usual with your spouses, will appreciate this short excerpt.

That’s all. I was just calling to tell you what your father said. I think he might be right–the man’s got to get something right, much as he talks.

I suspect many of you are also hungry for suggestions on how to manage so much time at home. Here’s an option from Alan Michael Parker’s day.

Two mornings a day, that’s my goal. Since I’m a morning writer, even on a dark February morning, when I’m really in the writing groove and not teaching that day, I set my alarm to 5:15 a.m., get up, caffeinate, and begin. I work until mid-morning, stop and have breakfast, work until lunch, and then nap for two hours. After my nap, I do it all again. Repeat, rinse: I shower sometime in there, too, or go to the gym right before dinner. A drink and a break around 10, in bed with a piece of an Ambien by midnight, where once upon a time I fell asleep reading and now it’s sleep-by-Netflix, and up again at 5…  [read more]
I hope you and your families are well. I know there are low moments still to come, but while I’ve been writing this letter, I’ve also been listening to more songs by Vienna Teng. I’m sending you two—one to help you through those inevitable low moments and one to give you a vision of the day we will throw open our doors and walk back into the world. And about that moment when we will be back out in the world, I imagine there will likely be some things we miss about this time now…
 
Stay home. Stay well. We can do this.
This is an email from me to you so you can write me back. Let me know how you’re spending your days.

Happy last days of March and thanks for reading.
 
Peace out,
--cynthia

 
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Issue #10 March 2020
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