Archive for June, 2011

It’s Been Quiet Around Here

Mostly because I’ve been finishing up my novel…which is just about done! (This revision, at least.) But I’ve also been sick, busy with work, going to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, etc…the stuff of life, basically.

First: the book! I’ve been chipping away at this revision in a slow but steady fashion. My last revision focused on getting all the story’s events in place; this one worked on strengthening certain elements that I discovered from the last pass that needed to be knitted into the novel a bit more cleanly. If there’s just one thing I’ve learned from screenwriting in grad school, it’s how architectural writing a story can be — how changes in one place can ripple out to unexpected places, so this pass was to take care of those strange but beautiful afterquakes.

I think I’ve got about one pass left, but for relatively minor things, although I could easily do passes devoted to landscape, to the best friend’s own metamorphoses, to 1988, to the charming, devilish bad seed. I’m starting to wonder, though, if my perfectionism is really just an excuse not to let go of working on this project in a weird way. When are you ever truly finished with a story? The idea of saying goodbye to these characters is kind of heartbreaking to me, honestly. I still think of them constantly like they are elusive, ghostly friends, and I wonder how they are doing beyond the timeframe of the story I’ve set them within.

Still, I’m elated to be getting to a point where the book can start making its way in the world and I can say confidently that I’ve done everything I could to make it the best it can be, outside of transplanting someone else’s storytelling brain in place of my own. (Brains I choose: Angela Carter, Alfred Hitchcock, Joss Whedon.) The one thing saving me from forever noodling are future books I want to write; I’ve been outlining and scratching out notes, and can’t really wait to get started.


Second: the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum! Some of you might be thinking, How nerdy! I suppose, yes, but the museum and library is actually a very rad, very cool place. It does that tricky thing so well, making history come alive and feel like a living, breathing thing. There is multimedia all over the place, from the audio installations in the section that compiles all the criticism that Lincoln incurred over the course of his presidency to the really amazing video and film presentations. There are great general exhibitions, as well as more in-depth auxiliary ones that branch off from the main museum. It all adds up to a place that handles the complexity of a historical figure incredibly well and is a great jumping-off point to learning the finer points of Lincoln’s political legacy — one that still has powerful ramifications even today.

And for fun, they had some really lovely clothing on display, worn by Mary Todd Lincoln and her D.C. social rivals:

I bought a mug, and a postcard. I drink my white tea with plum and honey from the mug, and the postcard sits next to my eyeglass prescription and a Rodarte hang tag on my dresser.


Finally, I’ve been doing the whole #30daysofcreativity, but most of my month has been focused on my novel. I do manage to do something creative a day, but there’s only so many pictures I can take of my novel on a computer screen, right? (See above.) I do manage to take a photo or two of other things, though:

What we left behind. #30daysofcreativity

But the one I wanted to take recently is not one that my cameras were equipped to handle: twilight, fireflies lighting up, a thunderstorm in the distance making the light mauve-grey and heavy, the birds chiming frantically. Some things remain in memory and can be summoned only through words.

Beautiful summer, lovelies.
xo k.


I’m going to be releasing a chapter (or two!) from my novel soon, but not to the general public, where it’ll sit all defenseless and cold in the brutal ether of Google cache! It’ll go out on my “newsletter,” which actually doesn’t go out all that often and contains more confessional/musings than “news,” so do please sign up for it if you want to read a bit of my novel baby soon. It’s easier this way, I promise.

Flowers and planes

A riot of leavesPurple

This past weekend I did two things that I’ve never done before: I went to a garden fair, and then I went to an air show. (I also partied with a bunch of three-year-olds, but I do that on a semi-regular basis as an auntie.)

Both were experiences that I perhaps would’ve never chosen for myself in my past NYC city girl life. But I’m in the great vast stretches of the Midwest for much of the summer till this fall and winter. And lately I’ve been keen on seeing and doing things outside my usual purview, even if they’re slightly odd or unlikely. The unlikelier, the better, I say!

HyacinthsSuch sweet blossoms

I have to confess, though, that I actually really wanted to go to the garden fair. Maybe it’s because I started growing forget-me-nots, or maybe it’s because I really like learning the names of trees as part of my summer to-do list, or maybe it’s because I have such fond memories of visiting my local arboretum, where it was held at.

But the garden fair was such a lovely event, despite the relentless sunshine and 90-degree heat! One thing that’s so nice about garden shows: they smell wonderful. All those columbines, begonias, lilies, irises, roses, herbs, lavendar, verbena…my nose was in pure, magical heaven. Colors are just so pure when they’re on flowers.

So pretty-pretty.Lilies. #30daysofcreativity

And there’s something about plants and flowers that puts everyone in a good mood; I loved listening to all the older ladies chat with one another, sharing the fact that the herbs guy was selling real patchouli plant, or how succulents were selling for $8 a flat at a booth nearby.

Later I wandered in the arboretum, admiring the landscaping and all the trees, dreaming about what trees or bushes I’d plant if I had an estate of my own. That’s the thing about plants, trees and flowers: they kind of alter your sense of time. It’s amazing to me that someone can create a landscape, and perhaps not even live to see its full flowering, since trees can take so long to mature.

Always trees and sky.Taking refuge from the heat.

The next day I went to my hometown’s air show at the local airport. It’s one of those things where people hang out, eat hot dogs and sweet potato fries and brats and watch aviation demonstrations. Not my usual thing, and I wasn’t going to go at first, but I was curious about what it would be like on an airfield. They had giant planes dotting the airfield, and people gathered under the wings, escaping the hot, hot sun in the shade, as we sat and watched planes do all kinds of tricks in the sky above us.

Some were genuinely astonishing — one plane had a man that stood on its wing as it was up in the air, looping and flying about. But in another way, the show was a strange show of military strength and might, with parachuting demonstrations from the Navy, Army and Marines, and fighter jets from the Air Force making the air vibrate with their noise, dropping “bombs” that sent up huge plumes of smoke into the relentlessly sunny air. For a moment, I thought that this is what people hear and see when they’re being bombed. It truly was awe-inspiring, though — awe in the true sense of the word, of inspiring fear.


On the lighter side: here’s a bit from the birthday party with 3-year-olds!