travel

Where I’m at Part 7: Long time no see

Ive kept my distance from this blog for a few months because most of whats been on my mind is more personal than professional in nature.

DSC_0432On a happy note, Ive done a lot of traveling with my family. We visited the Blue Ridge Mountains (from Asheville, NC) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (from Sevierville, TN). We also spent the end of 2013/beginning of 2014 out West (Scottsdale, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, and Grand Canyon National Park). I attended YALLFest (Charleston, SC) and the NCTE ALAN workshop (Boston, MA).

Ive also said goodbye to some dear family membersmy grandmother, my cousin, and my aunt. I dont want them to be gone. I miss them so very much.

And, of course, since I live in the Boston area, Ive spent a considerable amount of time dealing with snow!

As for progress on my book in the publishing world, I completed two revisions with notes from my editor and a third revision with notes from my copy editor. I understand there will be one final edit to come. In A World Just Right is still scheduled for release in the spring of 2015. Between now and then galleys will be printed for the purpose of getting reviews ahead of the release. Soon I should have cover art. Mostly, all is progressing at the slow but steady pace that it should be. It takes a long time to prepare a book for release.

Ive been hard at work researching my next book, tentatively titled Jewelry. Im a bit behind where I wanted to be at this point, largely because of the travel and the mourning, but Ill catch up. I always do.

I conclude with some pictures from the last few months.

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View of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Visitors at our cabin in Sevierville.

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At Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden outside Charlotte, NC.

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Deer on the pond in my back yard.

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Traveling epiphanies

One of my favorite ways to connect with mywriterself is to travel, and my favorite vacations are ones that are busy. Many people prefer spending a week relaxing at the beach or cruising a new social scene, but I enjoy vacations where I’m exploring nature and/or history. It’s not unusual for me to plan an itinerary where I overnight in several different places.

My especial favorites are national parks, ancient ruins, and working cathedrals. For me, there is no way to feel closer to the divine than to stand on the rim of the grand canyon or to walk through the ruins at Tintern Abbey. I want more than anything to tour the Holy Land and to see the older placeseastern and westernwhere civilization was born.

But I’ve had epiphanies closer to homestanding on a beach, walking a city street, hiking a trail, running around a lake, taking a drive on a country road.

During travel I reopen the mental space (no computer, no phone, no TV) to contemplate the vastness/smallness of the world, of human experience, of something mystical binding it all. Sometimes I feel like if I reach out just a little further I’ll come to an understanding, and it’s in this nearness where I find the urge to write, the urge to capture a feeling of insight that passes almost as quickly as it comes.

I don’t think I write whole novels in this poetical-spiritual headspace. My novel writing is a little too practical for that. But I do hope that somewhere in the climax of each book, a reader will feel that epiphany, that glimpse of understanding that inspires me to write.

After all, isn’t reading a novel simply another form of travel?

Denali National Park, Alaska, 2011

Where have you traveled and found inspiration?

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Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.