Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
Counting the days helps me hang onto them, helps me mark them, helps me say, I am here now on this Day 45.
I’m still spending the mornings in my study, mostly working on the new novel. Until now, I’ve always written forward—from here to therebut not this time. Now I crawl inside the irregularly shaped thing that is the beginning of a novel and push out from one spot or another. And in this way, the the story is growing.  
My to-be-read stack is a tower going from the floor almost to the ceiling. Every few years I give away books I’ve lost interest in so the new ones have a place to hang out. Last week, I chose a book from the tower, dusted it off, and checked the publication date. 18 years ago. The Memory Room by Mary Rakow is amazing. Disturbing subject matter but the writing and the storytelling are stunning. I’m on page 331 of 510. So glad it hung in there.
With thin needle and a fine thread I sit in my now-black room and bind the edges of the frail photograph. Then the pages of the program. I sew the two together like leaves, sheaves, the bakery girl and Ma’s playing. It takes the afternoon… This chain of laments can link us across oceans. Notes lifting up the wreckage.
Today I was supposed to be in New Orleans to give a reading with Pam Houston at the wonderful independent bookstore Octavia Books. Instead, next week on Thursday May 7th at 8:00 pm EST, I’ll be online reading from Tidal Flats and in conversation with Pam. It’s part of the Readings by Writers series offered by Writing by Writers. No charge, just RSVP to get the zoom link. And be sure to check out all the other writers in the series.
I’ve been trying to get to know writers closer to home so I’m happy to feature Allen Gee as the writer for April. Allen moved to Columbus in the fall of 2018, after teaching at Georgia College in Milledgeville for 14 years. The title essay from Allen’s first book, My Chinese-America, is divided into fifty sections, one for each state. Here’s an excerpt from Georgia.

My wife’s family is from Atlanta; her grandfather was Bobby Lee Dodd, a legendary football coach at Georgia Tech, named for General Robert E. Lee. My wife gave birth two years ago to our daughter, Willa Margie Dodd Gee. We would have named a son Carter Bobby Dodd Gee. That I could be born in the North, migrate to the South, and potentially have a son named for a Confederate general strikes me as astonishing and uniquely American.
Allen was supposed to be in Guatemala, but instead, just as we are, he’s sheltering here in Columbus, getting to spend more time with his now ten-year-daughter. Here’s the beginning of his day.
During this past week, my preference has been to rise late, sometimes as far into the day as noon. I often fall asleep in my study, which was once a walk-in closet. It’s not a large space, but it’s mine. An old wood table serves as my desk. There is, from a dormer window, a view of the street and our front yard. I like to think of it as a peregrine perch where I can see who is walking up the driveway or cutting across the lawn to our front door…  [read more]
Instead of the trips and other things you had planned, I hope you’re discovering new pleasures, or maybe rediscovering old ones. Iris Murdoch wrote, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” And my mother believed there was nothing an M&M could not fix.

A bubble bath, a few Milk Duds, an episode of The West Wing, a glass of wine on the front porch, a good book, playing hooky, pajamas, an evening walk, waving to a stranger, Tater Tots on Sunday afternoon, the joy of a four-year-old as he jumps off a couch…
With this newsletter, I wish you new pleasures and maybe an M&M or two.
Stay home. Stay well. Hope to see you on the 7th.
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 April and thanks for reading.
Peace out,

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Issue #11 April 2020
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Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Newberry Martin, All rights reserved.

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