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Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
In Georgia, the dogwoods are blooming, and the birds are singing. Everything is dusted chartreuse. I’m walking more, eating less, and washing sweaters before putting them away. I’ve now had both doses of the vaccine, and I’ve scheduled a pedicure at the two-week-out mark. I am emerging.
 
But what's not changing is that most every morning I can still be found at my desk working on the new novel, which at the moment is a giant mess. And I’m trying to be okay with that. I sit down, light my Big Dipper Awaken candle, and try to just keep writing, but I have different tenses and too many storylines and a new character who showed himself this morning. The draft I finished at the beginning of January is now merely one thread of a much larger, more complicated story.
 
And despite not wanting to, I finished Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations, which is set in the near future. Below is the beautiful language of the opening. If you read the novel, let me know if you loved it too.
 
The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here.

Once, my husband found a colony of storm petrels on the rocky coast of the untamed Atlantic. The night he took me there, I didn’t know they were some of the last of their kind. I knew only that they were fierce in their night caves and bold as they dove through moonlit waters. We stayed a time with them, and for those few dark hours we were able to pretend we were the same, as wild and free.
Maurice Ruffin’s debut novel, We Cast a Shadow, also set in the near future, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the PEN/Open Book Award, as well as being long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. This novel, which hits racism head on, is as funny as it is full of heart.
 
The narrator is a Black father of a biracial son who has a birthmark on his face. What the father wants more than anything is to give his son a good life, and he knows that the surest way to do this is to wipe out his son’s Blackness–to give Nigel “a normal face.” The narrator’s mother says,"You losing yourself. Your heart. Your roots."
 
I wrote about Maurice and his writing here.
 
Now for a sneak peek into Maurice’s day, spent at John Grisham’s home in Mississippi.

I’m in love with mornings, and I always plant something—some idea, object, or task—to spring upon myself like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh in the moments after I’ve opened my eyes, but my soul has yet fully restored itself to my body. On this morning, the object is a calendar entry on my phone.
 
Daybreak, eight am: Sautéed Blueberries! Maurice of Yesterday says, as if this is a normal message that he would send and that I, Future-Present Maurice, would receive. I’m an honored fellow at the University of Mississippi this year. It’s bizarre that I should be an honored professor since I’ve only been a professor for eighteen months. But feeling that one is unworthy of a gift is what makes it an object of grace. You’re not worthy. That’s what makes it good. .... [read more]
Let me know what stage of the pandemic you’re in now. What are you looking forward to doing again? What will you keep from pandemic life? What’s in your near future?
 
What do you love about your mornings? Have you ever eaten sautéed blueberries? What are you eating? And what are you reading that you love? Let's all order stacks of books for spring.
 
With this newsletter, I wish for you something you used to do that you loved, that you haven’t done in over a year…
 
Stay well.
 
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 days of March and thanks for reading.
 
Peace out,
--cynthia

 
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Issue #22 March 2021
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