Monday, August 18, 2014

Bella Grace Blog Hop: Recipe for a Perfect Day on the Porch

The capturing of this recipe was inspired by Bella Grace and is my contribution to the Bella Grace Blog Hop.


1 porch
1 summer day, temperatures in the 70s, preferably
1 deck chair, a lounge chair or a hammock will also do, basically anything will do that allows you to put your feet up


side table
coffee mug
tea cup
water glass

Settle into the chair and position yourself comfortably, stuff pillows where needed, behind your head or under your knees, spread a blanket if it's a tad chilly.

Read, write, watch the shadow trailing your pen in your notebook. Close your eyes. Melt into the warm pink behind your lids.

Listen to the sounds of the neighborhood: the swoosh of the breeze in the trees, the chirping of the birds, the chatter of the squirrels, the buzz of the bees, the thud of a neighbor walking up the backstairs, the slam of a screen door, the clatter of a garbage bin, the soft sound of bike tires, then the squeak of brakes, then the bang of a back gate, the murmur of a language you don't understand.

Feel the whiff of air cool like a swim hole waft up from down below, the sun warm on your face, your muscles buttery and your limbs all dissolved.

Totally optional but super fun: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the porch. It simply tastes better outside.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Coming Tomorrow

I've loved Stampington Company's magazine Artful Blogging ever since I discovered it on a bookstore browse in Denver three years ago, and now they have come out with another stunning magazine: Bella Grace. It's hard to describe what it's about but they call their contributors "authentic living artists." That does capture it. Carefully penned essays celebrating the ordinary are underlaid and overlaid with atmospheric photographs.

I'm enchanted with Bella Grace, and so I decided to participate in their current blog hop, featuring my own way of authentic living: spending a weekend summer day on my porch. If you've read my essay "Twenty Reasons Why I love Chicago" in Our Chicago (see button to the right), you will know that one of the things I love about living in this city is whiling away an entire day on my back porch, while the neighbors' toddler is chatting about sand cakes down below.

So, stay tuned for tomorrow's Bella Grace Blog Hop post: Recipe for a Perfect Day on the Porch.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My First Interview as an Author

It's official: I'm a writer. The cat is out of the bag in my neighborhood. The local newspaper, the Hyde Park Herald, did an author interview with me due to me becoming the Hemingway writer-in-residence. They even sent a photographer and ran it on the first page. A few people have stopped my husband on the street and told him he's got a famous wife. (I'll bask in that one while it lasts!)

So now, whenever I introduce myself and someone asks, "So what do you do?" I better say, "I'm a writer." I do that most of the time anyway, but it took me a long time to get to that. It was easier to say, "I teach English composition," because then the follow-up question was, "where do you teach?" rather than, "so what do you write?" or, "where have you been published?"

For some reason, I don't have a pat answer yet to the question what I write, and while I can rattle off a nice list of publications, it still feels awkward to do this. Similarly, it felt awkward to answer the journalist's questions on why I write what I write. But I have to say that overall this was a good first interview experience, and with practice I'm sure I'll get better versed in this packaging myself as a writer.