Monday, December 31, 2007


So it's New Year's Eve, and I keep thinking about what Pa used to say in the Little House books: "All's well that ends well." It's been a good year, full of ups and downs and all arounds. But I am ready for some new numbers and eager to add some color to the pristine calendar sitting on my kitchen desk. I will leave you with a timely quote by my all-time favorite author:

"Little by little the time flies by - Short if we laugh...long if we sigh."

- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, December 27, 2007


"Love actually is all around."
- from the movie LOVE ACTUALLY

(pic taken June 2007 on a trail in the Smokies)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


It really doesn't take much:

"There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author... 1, to tell him you have read one of his books; 2, to tell him you have read all of his books; 3, to ask him to let you read the manuscript of his forthcoming book. No. 1 admits you to his respect; No. 2 admits you to his admiration; No. 3 carries you clear into his heart."

- Mark Twain

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Merry Christmas! May your cup runneth over with beautiful words.

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."

- Ray Bradbury

Monday, December 24, 2007


Finally it is Christmas Eve. The little people at my house are bright-eyed this morning, already counting down the hours AND keeping track of Santa via NORAD's Santa Tracker. (Right now Santa is in Siemraeb, Cambodia.)

My youngest son Eric's faith in Santa is so steadfast he inspires the rest of us to love each other in ways we might not otherwise. It is a day for miracles, and a day for being grateful.

"Where there is great love there are always miracles."

- Willa Cather

Saturday, December 22, 2007


There is so much to discover in this world, so much to marvel. How miraculous is a spiderweb or shooting star? Writing, for me, is about allowing myself to be in that place where I wonder.

I found today's quote in a wonderful anthology called Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley. (Thanks, Suzanne!)

"Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing."

- Lucille Clifton

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's A Wonderful Life

"What do you want, Mary?" This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies. I want the moon and the moonbeams and the stars, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


My new blog is for word lovers just like you. Come visit!


It has been said that "a picture is worth a thousand words." It's true! So I will devote Thursdays to sharing a picture.

This one was taken about a month ago at Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwest Georgia mountains. Nice to remember all that color now that the trees are bare.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


It really is a wonderful time of the year, filled with love and giving and holiday cheer. But it's also a stressful, frustrating time ripe with small annoyances that make you wonder why we do this to ourselves.

The key is to focus on the positive. Find the good in people and things. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Remember we were put on this earth to love.

“I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies.”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, from his book, The Little Prince

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Ever since I sold THE WITCHES OF GEE'S BEND, people have been asking, "How long did it take to write?"

Well, I'll tell you. It only took about three months to write the first draft of that particular novel. But don't be too impressed, because I am still revising. And all of those months of revisions count, too.

And what about the four novels set in Gee's Bend I wrote in the four years prior to WITCHES? Surely they count. Because without them I would never have discovered the story I really wanted to tell.

So many words wind up in the trash can. But the beautiful thing is, that's what it takes. If you want to be a published writer, you need to write a whole bunch of words. Many of which will never be read by anyone but you. But every single one of them makes you a better writer.

"The Wastebasket is a writer's best friend."

- Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature

Monday, December 17, 2007


Life, it seems, it full of roadblocks. The same is true of writing. One day I can be cruising along, going above and beyond my word count, and the next I am stuck in a wordless rut. Then it becomes a question of commitment.

Whatever the problem, you have to be committed to solving it. Or at least committed to seeing it through, no matter what the outcome.

"From a certain point onward, there is no turning back. That is the point that must be reached."

- Franz Kafka

Sunday, December 16, 2007


After a few flip-flop days in a row, today it finally looks and feels like winter. It is a day to read and write and be quiet with yourself. It is also, unfortunately, a day to go to a funeral.

Grief is such an individual thing, yet universal, too. My heart is with everyone who grieves today for Leah.

"If you're going through hell...
keep going."

-Winston Churchill

Friday, December 14, 2007


My sister's kids are now ages 7, almost 5, and 15 months. When we spoke yesterday she was waiting with the two younger ones in the school carpool line. I could hear kid-chatter and the rustle of paper. My sister said she was wrapping presents as she waited and we talked. Isn't motherhood like the best training ever for multi-tasking?

"If it takes two hands, it's probably not worth doing."

- Lynn Baker

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have often said to groups that being a writer is a lot like being The Little Engine That Could: you spend most of your time trying to get up the mountain. The key is not to give up. Here's a quote along the same lines:

"I'm extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end."

- Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


My parents have been popping up quite a lot in my writing lately. Maybe it is a stage-of-life thing. Here is a quote my father knows by heart:

"I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."

- Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


A poet-friend of mine is going through a really tough time right now. There is nothing I can say to help or to change things or to make everything all right. All I can do is let him know that I am here thinking of him.

"When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

-Kahlil Gibran


This blog is a Christmas gift to a much loved fellow word lover. You know who you are. So I'll start with my most favorite quote on writing:

"Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for."

- Ray Bradbury