Hello, Hello, Hello. Is There Anybody Out There?

 Hello? Yoo-hoo?  Oh! There you are. Hello!  And thanks for hanging about while I neglected my blog on a grand scale.  And yes, I am/was a Pink Floyd fan. Hope you caught the reference.  Most of you have probably assumed that since I started my writing program, I simply haven't had time to update my blog.  And you've forgiven me - thank you for that.  You are right, partly, well, mostly.  It's true, I have been busy but it hasn't been all writing, all the time.  See, I seem to like to lump it all on at one time so it's not just that I'm writing a bunch of words that hopefully form sentences that perhaps make chapters - it's also that I am training for the New York Marathon.  

There I said it. I don't think I've said that here yet.  Probably not, seeing as I haven't updated this little puppy in almost three months.  And back then, in July, I was most certainly not publicly announcing my plans to run the New York marathon.  It's not that I was on the fence - I had registered, I had committed - in my mind at least.  But I'm sort of , I don't know, superstitious and I worried that if I talked about it too much, I might jinx myself.  There's a bit of reality behind my coyness, too.  I've been plagued by injuries in the past and I didn't want to tell the world I was running if I ended up with stress fractures or whatever and couldn't run.

Now, with the marathon less than three weeks away - with my last monster long run behind me - I can say with confidence that I will be running the five boroughs on Sunday, November 7!  

One thing I didn't expect is the structure that my marathon training has brought to my writing.  As you know, if you read this blog ever, at all, I quit my job at Swarthmore College back at the end of June to devote myself the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  The marathon training started during the week I was away for my first residency and since then, I've found that the runs give me something to work around. I don't mean to say that my writing is taking less a priority than my running. It's more like, once I plug the running into my schedule, I see the time available for the writing.  It's like Michelangelo and sculpture. I just carve out everything that doesn't look like writing time. Yeah. Michelangelo. Sculpture. Anyway....

I've been running and writing and reading.  Pretty much all the time.  That is when I'm not momming.  (Spell-check is telling me that isn't a verb but don't you think it should be?)  The writing is coming along pretty well.  With the first packet I sent my advisor, I was all "I'm cool, I got this," so with the second packet, I had to humble myself.  Now I'm in a good groove, writing two critical essays a month on books I've read and writing lots of pages of my fun paranormal romance based on the story of Black Aggie. Shout out to all the Baltimoreans reading this blog!  

In support of my new project, I did lots of research on Black Aggie.  For those of you not from Baltimore, here she is:

She's creepy, right?  It's no wonder she inspired me to write a paranormal young adult novel.  And since I no longer live in the Baltimore area, I'm using a local cemetery as the setting. West Laurel Hill is a beautiful, old cemetery just this side of Philadelphia. The original Laurel Hill - no the spillover West part - is in Philadelphia and I hear ghost hunters give tours there. I haven't made it to one yet but I did drag the kids to West Laurel Hill for more inspiration. And I found it:
Beautiful, right?  And haunting.  Yeah, that's what I thought, too.  

So there you have it.  I am settling into the stream of my new life - the ebb and flow of the kids' activities, the regular current of my running and the tidal wave of deadlines - okay, okay, enough with the water metaphor.  But for real - all is good.  I am busy but not freaked out.  And the truth is, every time I planned to update my blog, I remembered a quote from Sherman Alexie in a Writer's Digest interview: Every word on your blog is one word not in your novel. Ouch!  And off I'd scurry to muse about my new project some more.  But for today - I was compelled to reconnect and post again. I hope you are well and I'd love to hear how you've spent the last three months!  How's Autumn treating you? Do you miss the lazy days of summer or are you inspired and reinvigorated by the brisk mornings of fall?