July doings

July 8, 2020 @ 2:13 pm | Filed under: ,

Not this year’s calendar

I’ve been updating little bits of my website all week—home page, blog sidebar, booklists—a never-truly-finished job but generally a low-priority one. The higher priority task is updating my school visits page (which looks straight out of 2008) and recasting it into a Covid-era Skype visits situation. That’s a thornier chore than the busywork I’ve been doing, which explains why I’ve done the busywork instead.

In the course of updating my 2020 booklist in the sidebar, I bumped into a discrepancy with Goodreads: there’s a book missing somewhere and I can’t be bothered to track it down. I noticed that I’m reading a lot less this year, which surprised me: it feels like I’m reading a ton. Then I remembered I’ve been working on slowing down, savoring books, not gulping them like they’re Halloween candy. Listkeeping has its perils: the numbers next to the items begin to steal focus from the items themselves.

Why do I number them anyway? When did I start doing that? Maybe I’ll go back through and delete the numbers. Anything to put off revamping that school visits page!

Six months ago, I thought I’d be spending this fall traveling, making lots of school visits. I was mildly agitated that San Diego Comic-Con, which Scott and I had planned to attend, was too early for my book to be out—it would have been fun to plan a couple of local events while I was in town, given that the book is set in a fictional version of La Mesa, the small suburb just east of San Diego proper where I lived for eleven years. Now, of course, that agitation is irrelevant, almost comically so. SDCC will take place online this year, and I’m not going anywhere at all. Like, not even to the grocery store. (Scott handles the shopping. Portland moved to a Phase 1 reopening two weeks ago, but our family is staying home indefinitely for the protection of our high-risk kiddo.)

What I’m doing instead is: planning virtual events via Skype and Zoom, and hoping to give the book a hearty shove out of the nest and into the hands of readers. I’ll be a guest author at Brave Writer’s free Summer Camp on July 21-22, giving a sneak-peek readaloud of Nerviest Girl at 1pm EDT each day. More info here if you’re interested!

nasturtiums in a red cup

LOL my window needed help, eh? (This photo’s a few years old.)

What else am I doing this month?

—Writing Arrow literature guides for Brave Writer
—baking bread (sourdough and honey wheat)
—watching Breaking Bad (finally)
—growing nasturtiums
—reading How to Be an Antiracist; Greenglass House; The People Could Fly; and revisiting Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing
—enjoying my daily Patreon coworking sessions
—practicing drawing cartoon figures thanks to Eva-Lotta Lamm’s “Little People” tutorial
–playing lots of Animal Crossing with (and, let’s be honest, without) Huck—we got our longed-for blue rose yesterday!
—working on a stitching project (always)
—reading Sara Pennypacker’s novel Pax to Huck & Rilla
—trying not to spend all my time following COVID statistics and wincing at pictures of maskless crowds
—eating Rose’s homemade almond biscotti (very heaven! the best biscotti I’ve ever had)
—waiting impatiently for more Emily St. John Mandel books to hit my Overdrive account (I savored The Glass Hotel last month and may have to read Station Eleven yet again very soon because it haunts me)
—trying to decide which topic to sift my blog archives for and compile into a book—tidal homeschooling? Funny parenting stories? Reading notes/literary essays?

What is your July looking like? (Here I am at the end of this post asking myself: it is still July, isn’t it? It’s all a blur these days.)

    Related Posts


13 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah r hutchins says:

    Hi Lissa! What IS IT about Station Eleven???? After I read it for the first time, I think I thought about it every day for at least a year. The idea of a worldwide pandemic in modern times…… I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to look up other books by Mandel. When I was reading SE, I know I thought at the time that it was her first novel. This was a great reminder to check out some of her other books. Thanks! Of course, it will probably be a year until they show up on my Overdrive 😀

  2. Rosemary says:

    I hosted a book group for Station Eleven in January, which ended up being eerily prescient timing!

    The first time I read it was at the end of my third pregnancy, and I even read it during labor because it is such a compelling, beautiful book.

  3. Susanne Barrett says:

    July suddenly became very busy!!

    I’m teaching Fan Fiction at Brave Writer with completely awesome students; I love the global reach of BW!! 😀

    I’m also proofreading the pre-dissertation essays of one of our priests retired (and the seminary uses Turabian–I’m a total MLA person, so this is STRESS!!!), plus participating in a weekly book discussion, three Evening Prayer services, one Morning Prayer service, plus Sunday services via Zoom with our little Anglican Church which continues to socially distance because of the elderly congregation.

    We’re also preparing to put our old converted mountain cabin (1922) up for sale–we’ve been here for 19 years, and we have so much to go through!! (Not to mention my book collection after ten years as a bookseller and then 21 years as a homeschooler!! Yikes!!)

    And I still have essays coming in to grade with my e-mail essay-grading service.

    So all I’m hoping to read is the sixth book in the Jane Austen’s Dragons series written by Maria Grace. I’m still beyond bummed that I couldn’t proofread this book because it needed to be done while I was teaching Romeo & Juliet at BW–in which we accumulated over 1200 posts in four weeks!! I’ve proofread four of the six books so far; the first four are based on Pride and Prejudice and the last two are based on Persuasion. And the author has plans for about twelve books in the series altogether. So I am hoping to clear some time for reading this book!! 😀

    I’ve also been reading the most recent releases in several of my favorite mystery series: the latest (#14) in the Bibliophile Mysteries by Kate Carlisle and the latest (#3) in the Daniel Pitt series by Anne Perry. Light reading is all I can handle.

    Oh, and D&D!! Having so much fun even though we’re doing it on Zoom since our neighbors are also in the party, and we need to remain home because our DM has serious lung and autoimmune issues.

    So this is my July. Whew!! And it’s getting HOT down here in SD, even up in the mountains.

    Take care and be well, everyone!!

    ~Susanne the Procrastinator 🙂

  4. Cate says:

    What are your Animal Crossing fruits? I have all of them except oranges…

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    No oranges here either! Or apples, for that matter. But we did manage to get a blue rose!

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sarah (hi!!!!!), I’m so with you—I think of Station Eleven all the dang time. It’s one of those books that just *took root* in my soul. I really enjoyed The Glass Hotel—her writing is so rich and lovely, and it was a compelling plot. I’m about to start One Night in Montreal. Can’t wait!

  7. Melissa Wiley says:

    Rosemary, I love that story! I can just imagine how Station Eleven could pull at you between contractions. 🙂

  8. Melanie B says:

    Today we are celebrating Ben’s 11th birthday. It was a low-key day with delivered Bertuccis for dinner. Ben accompanied me to the fancy German bakery to get a cake– his first time into a store since probably January or February. He hates the idea of wearing a mask, but he managed it for the duration, he’s got a camouflage bandana which he will tolerate. So I also got him a pastry to eat immediately.

    We usually school lightly all summer, but are taking this week off. I had several telehealth intake appointments for various children who need various services and that combined with Ben’s birthday and a general post July 4th sense of lethargy made it feel like we needed a break. I’m thinking of extending it to next week as well. I’m enjoying the feeling of being lazy. And everyone’s been making good progress this summer after a terrible fall and a rocky spring. Bella’s taking a zoom Shakespeare class, reading the Tempest and acting out scenes. She’s also doing an astronomy merit badge and is out most clear nights using an app to help her identify starts. She’s getting pretty good at eyeballing them too without the app.

    We’ve extended our covid bubble to my brother-in-law’s house so we are visiting Grandma and swimming in the pool. And our farmer’s market is doing online ordering and drive through pickup which isn’t quite as fun, of course, but at least we get to say hi through the window and admire our egg-and-sausage lady’s cute pig mask.

    We’ve got a garden growing this year and little cucumbers and zucchini and tomatoes are growing. And the sugar snap peas are blooming and it’s lovely. Today I took a nap in the hammock under the maple trees.

    I’m reading my way through a pile of books: Wilding, Bright Earth, The Warmth of Other Suns, Binti, The Art of Biblical Poetry, and A Flag Worth Dying For. And a review copy of a friend’s new novel that will be out later this year.

    Watching Hamilton on Disney Plus and getting excited all over again and binging on Hamilton cast zoom interviews on You Tube. And trying to catch up on Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars so the kids can talk about them with me.

  9. Lisa of Hopewell says:

    Write a book built around those things for each day. [I hope you are the one I’m remembering! My kids are 34 and 25 now-I may have confused things in remembering] There was a little list of about 4-5 ideas like “some beauty” and some practical, etc. I tried to find that. If that rings a bell, write a homeschool book around that. It would be wonderful.

  10. Judy says:

    I have a window like that! (Without the beautiful red flowers.) I cleaned half of it yesterday. Can you believe it? It’s not a very big window and I only cleaned half of it. I wanted to savour the difference for a while. I’ll probably clean the other half today…