March Round-Up: Part One, The Brunswick Inn

This is my first in a month of Saturday’s that I’ve woken up in my own bed with nothing on the calendar. I’m SO grateful. As wonderful as travel and visiting can be, it is exhausting. It has also meant very little time for blogging so I’m going to update you on some of my March. This might have to be in parts because there is so much!

The month started with a lovely stay at The Brunswick Inn with my wonderful Book Club friends.

The beautiful Brunswick Inn!

Our book club has been meeting for almost 20 years. We’ve seen each other through babies, degrees, and jobs. We meet once a month on a Sunday morning. We eat, and talk, and even discuss books. I’d say I read 70% of the time. When I don’t read it’s because I’m plowing through three other middle grade or young adult books. Still, it’s a great way to promise myself at least one grown up book a month, intellectual conversation, and the support and love of female friends.

The Inn faces our town’s wonderful green space called the mall. There is a gazebo and during the summer months an amazing farmer’s market. In addition to the big house, it turns out that the property is very deep and includes a Carriage House and a cottage.

The Cottage. How cute is that?!?

All the rooms are beautiful. Here’s where we stayed.

Room 9 in the Carriage House.

It included another twin and two more twins in an adjoining room. There was also a conference area available to us. If I was planning a summer writing retreat, I’d definitely use The Brunswick Inn.

Tomorrow, Part Two: Brooklyn and NYC!

Sunshine and Through lines

The rain that caused major flooding throughout Northern Maine stopped Monday morning and we have had two straight days of Sun. I do not live in Northern Maine and I send my good wishes through cyber space to those who are dealing with loss in this difficult time. To those who might want to donate you can follow this link to the Pinetree Red Cross.

Rain and reading go well together. I love to curl up in my living room next to a good light. We even have some new chairs. I’ve been reading The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon.  We took this on for my bookclub last month but I missed the meeting and have renewed the book twice. The book is 400 pages long and takes on a noir murder mystery, a love story, an alternative history that requires creating a believable Sitka, Alaska populated by Jews resettled in 1941, and a new Messiah.  The writing is so poetic that I tend to reread the paragraphs to take in the strings of metaphors. This is definitely me reading as a writer. Another observation. Grown-up books have so much back story. Most of my children’s writing friends know the backstory of their characters. They create journals for their characters, pictures, notes, maps, but they don’t include it all in the book. Chabon gives you everything. I look forward to this book as a movie. The Coen brothers are working on it but I don’t think there is a release date.

Sunshine brings me back to work on my own writing. Huge thanks to my writing buddy Katie who helped me plot out the ending of my novel. I’d like to say that was all I needed to get me chugging along the first draft track. But I also looked to Nancy Lamb’s, Crafting Stories for Children. Her chapter on the mid-story crisis, was quite helpful and made me refocus on the through-line of the book. This made me think of my main character and his concrete and abstract wants. I feel that these are not clear in my book, probably because they are not clear to me. More on this when I revise. For now, I’m plugging away at getting the first draft done.

Weekend Away

Last night I went to my crit group. During the check in I told them about my great weekend away with my bookclub. “You went away for two weekends in a row?” asked my friend Katie. “No, there was a weekend in between,” I explained. But I didn’t need to defend myself and I don’t feel guilty at all. I always look forward to friends, networking, and learning at the NESCBWI conference. This past weekend was all about relaxing. I ate great food, napped when I wanted to, read without feeling guilty, painted, listened to the thunderstorms rumble off the New Hampshire mountains and enjoyed the ideas, musings, and feelings of good friends. Here’s hoping that June will be a productive month and that summer weather comes soon.

Top: Ellen, Tracy, Katherine, Rachel  Bottom: Kim, Me, Penny

Here is my Chocura Mountain painting. (acryllic) It was so amazing to watch it evolve, layer by layer. I’d paint. I’d rest. I’d paint. I’d stop and talk. I’d paint. Fun, fun, fun. I don’t usually work with color on canvas and found myself loving the size and the process, and the big arm motions involved.

Bookclub Retreat

Since everyone is at BEA, noone will even read this but I get a mini retreat this weekend with my bookclub. This means we will:
1. Discuss our husbands and children
2. Drink red wine and margaritas
3. Discuss number one again but not so nicely
4. Eat
5. Go for walks, do yoga on the deck, other active pursuits
6. Eat
7. Drink more red wine and margaritas
8. Hopefull draw and paint as I am bringing my art bin and two blank canvases. (I know, a little ambitious but I can dream.)
9. Eat
10 Discuss the book, Geraldine Brooks, A Year of Wonder. (amazing book)