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Into the land of hopes and dreams

Bruce Springsteen is singing “Land of Hopes and Dreams” in my ears just now, the version from his Broadway album. And I am weeping. Again. Just sitting on my couch with eyes streaming while my children play video games, eat snacks, read books, chase the cats. They’ve become used to seeing Mom cry like this, out of nowhere, off and on weepy, seemingly for no reason. So they’re carrying on with their afternoon while I sit here sniffling to Spotify.
I have no idea why the tears are so close to the surface lately, why they come at unexpected moments. Before you say it, no, I’m not pregnant. Nor am I sad. In fact, quite the opposite: I’m happy, I’m grateful, I’m overwhelmed with just how good my life is today. 
But I’m also hyperaware of the fear and anger and anxiety and oppression that grips people in every corner of this country...this world. I feel it. My body sometimes vibrates with it. And the tears may just be a recentering mechanism. Crying, after all, is release. I’m more tense a…
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New twist: Author publishes editor

In my line of work, I encounter many folks who approach me with a "What can you do for me?" line of thinking: They want me to help them publish their book ideas. And I'll admit - what's in it for me is often the thought at the back of my mind, as well, when we're initially talking about a book project: What does this idea add to the field? Who will read it? How will it sell?

Every now and then, though, I meet a potential author with whom I connect with right away, and even though our ultimate goal remains the same -- publish a book that's a hit and sells like crazy! -- along the way, we realize that we like each other and have a lot more in common than simply a manuscript.

This month one of my would-be authors, who has also become a friend, asked me to write something for her blog. "But I'm not a teacher!" I all those yucky self-doubt voices filling my writer-brain. She flipped the script, used words that I've said to countle…

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

The person at home

I started this month's Slice of Life Challenge thinking it would help get me into a more regular writing routine. Instead, Life sliced me! March has been a doozy in Bachmania...job loss, school struggles, snow storms, surgery, canceled travel plans, and now a lengthy hospital stay. The good news is there is just over a week left in this horrid month.

As I'm sitting here next to Honey in his hospital room after a very scary day yesterday, I'm counting blessings. I have a lot to be grateful for and I want to dwell in gratitude instead of in fear and annoyance. We have a comfortable home, a full refrigerator,  and beautiful, happy children; I am healthy, and Honey will be soon, too. Nothing else really matters, does it?

I've lost count of the number of times I've sat in a hospital with my husband over the course of our marriage. Every time has seemed dire. And every time he comes home healthier and our marriage gets stronger. I have to keep reminding myself this week.…

Snow day

Every time a snowstorm is in the forecast, I start talking like this:

And my kids generally glaze over just like Squidward: "I think I'll pass."

We're on snow day #7 or 8 for this season, and despite my board-games-and-cocoa aspirations, in reality, snow days usually end with me yelling and the kids pouting. Who am I kidding? They usually begin that way!

Snow days today are not like the snow days of my youth. When I was a kid snow days were a Big Frigging Deal, man. First of all, they didn't happen often (because I lived in the mid-Atlantic) and when they did, we were all off together (my parents were teachers). Second, we really did do things like play board games and drink hot cocoa. Snow days were novel and super fun.

And we played outside as much as our frozen fingers and toes would allow. I felt great regret if we didn't build a snowman every snowfall; I remember a particularly ambitious Snow Dinosaur one year, as well, that all the kids on our street h…

Lost between books

I'm in a restless state between novels right now, and it's really uncomfortable. You know that feeling when you finish a really good one and don't know what to do next? I needed a couple days to process the book I finished last week (Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng), but then suddenly found myself without a Next Book.

It doesn't happen often (I usually have 4-5 books going at once, all different genres and types), but every now and again I get stuck in this drift. Nothing really interests me enough to invest money and time in. So. Weird. I've spent way too much time over the weekend downloading samples to my Kindle, reading reviews on Goodreads, and perusing the library reading lists. Me without a book is like a guitarist without her guitar or a soccer player without a field to run on. I just feel a bit lost, even irritable. I'm just wandering in the snow, slogging through the slush, wavering in the wind...

I'm joking, of course. Mostly.

Honey p…

Math lessons

I was really great at school as a kid...but I'm really lousy at school as a parent. And I was reminded once again of this while sitting at my son's conference yesterday.

Seventh grade has been hard on all of us. Beyond the obvious physical changes -- Happy has grown at least 5" since this summer and now looks me in the eye (yeah, remember I'm super tall!), his voice is weird, he can't get out of his own way -- we're all trying to navigate his ever-changing need for independence. His teachers want him to take more responsibility for his learning, which in theory sounds like a great plan for all kids at this age; they have to not only learn how to learn but also learn how to advocate for their learning.

In reality, though, when you're the world's most laid-back 12-almost-13-year-old who really only wants to listen to music, play drums, video games, and action figures, taking responsibility and advocating for your learning is not highest priority. In fact…