Showing posts from April, 2013

Got Out of Town on a Boat *

A ferry story in 26 pictures requires a jump break. Click on "read more" below to see the rest.

Writer Body, Writer Heart, Writer Mind

I wish people talked more about the body-heart-mind dynamic going on within each of us. For me, learning to understand the workings of my own body-heart-mind dynamic has been an enormous help in being safe, being brave, understanding what I want and what I'm capable of, and making decisions. Body, Heart, and Mind: each part has its own particular kind of certainty/knowledge — knowledge that sometimes contradicts the knowledge of one of the other parts, which can make things interesting. If you can become conscious of them, they can be the most wonderful guides (yes, while possibly driving you crazy with their arguing). Today I'm thinking of how this relates to the stage I'm in with the thing I'm writing.

Whenever I get near the end of whatever thing I'm writing — be it a first draft, a revision, or just the resolution of a particular plot point — whenever I start to see the light at the end of whatever tunnel I'm in, I'm generally visited by a stunning sur…

Newsy Stuff, Including Movie Stuff

I've gotten the go-ahead to announce that India-based Reliance Entertainment is developing Graceling into a movie. From this press release at Variety: "producer Deepak Nayar ('Paranoia') will oversee the project for Reliance and Kintop Pictures and will produce alongside Tabrez Noorani ('Life of Pi') of Tamasha Talkies and Leigh Ann Burton for Blu-Sky Media. British screenwriter Piers Ashworth ('Nostradamus') will write the script." Here's a USA Today mention, and one in the Wall Street Journal.

There is also a Facebook page for Graceling the movie.

This is only the first step of many, but it's a very good start. If it makes you happy, please feel free to help us by spreading the word :). My gratitude to the entire team! I will post any news as I receive it.

Also: soon I'm going to be overseas for a month. If you've been thinking of purchasing a signed/personalized copy of any of my books from the Harvard Book Store and want to c…

Today's Randutiae: Crown-Making

And now, I would like to post about something else. (Hopefully, y'all would like to read about something else.)

For example: Sometimes in life, one finds oneself needing to make a crown.

Having accidentally stumbled upon an easy but snazzy crown formula, I thought I'd share.  Supplies: felt, ribbon, needle and thread.

It didn't occur to me to take pictures in progress, but the concept is so simple that I think I can explain. That's the completed crown in the picture below. You're looking at two pieces of felt folded together lengthwise (meaning, the top edge is where the fold is happening). One, red, is about 16" x 14". The other, very dark green, is about 15" x 12". I put the green one on top of the red one, folded them both in half, and stitched them together (under the place where the ribbon would later lie) just to keep them steady. Then I lay the ribbon where I wanted it and stitched it in place. Voila.

Also sometimes in life, the friend fo…


Here in Cambridge, as in a number of nearby towns, we are generally all doing what we're told and staying inside while the search for the Boston Marathon bombings suspect continues. What a strange and difficult day. What a hard week the Boston area has had. I have been thinking a lot about the parts of the world where this kind of violence is the norm. I've been thinking about the sensationalist news media, which makes me sick. I've been thinking about the victims; the helpers working so hard to keep us safe today; and the fact that this hunt is for a nineteen-year-old. I've been thinking about a lot of things; there is too much to think about.

I love my home.

My heart goes out to those suffering, and my gratitude to all the helpers, who come in many forms. I don't have much to offer, but here is some beauty...

Look for the Helpers

Thanks, KCD, for the reminder of Mr. Rogers' words on this crazy morning. Thanks also to all the loved ones who keep checking in.

Also, an email from the Boston Philharmonic

This email just hit my inbox. For those of you not in range of Boston's WGBH, to the best of my knowledge, you can stream it online. What better week to listen to the Boston Philharmonic perform Beethoven's 9th? The email:

Dear Friends of the Boston Philharmonic,

We have been mourning this week with the entire Boston community over the tragic events on Monday afternoon at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Our hearts go out in particular to those who were directly injured in the attacks and the families of the victims. 
As musicians, we are grateful to be able to express our sorrow and our hope through music. As a tribute to the victims of Monday's attacks, 

the Boston Philharmonic concert tomorrow (Friday, April 19), 
will be broadcast live from Symphony Hall on WGBH radio 99.5 at 8pm. 
It will also be rebroadcast on Sunday (rebroadcast time TBD). The program is all Beethoven: the Coriolan Overture and Ninth Symphony, in collaboration with Symphony Pro Musica a…

Metta (Lovingkindness) Meditation

When the news from my own home is so sad, this is all I feel I have to offer: instructions for a metta meditation. "Metta," also known as "maitri" and often translated into English as "loving-kindness," comes from the Buddhist tradition. Here are some links, in case you want to know more about the roots of the practice: Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön, who's always worth reading, explains maitri/metta here. Over at Wildmind Buddhist Meditation, there's a clear introduction to lovingkindness meditation (check out all the links to the left).  These folks at Dharma Seed provide a number of talks and guided sits around metta. Finally, just to be thorough :), I'll link you to the wikipedia page for Metta. My own practice of meditation, this and others, is secular.

I present here the version of the meditation that I tend to use, written from memory, but I've encountered variations from different teachers, so it may be different from whate…

No Guarantees


Guess What Season It Is in Cambridge?



Me, reading out loud the label of the Belgian porter,, that I'm about to drink: "This unusual ale is the brainchild of Armand Debelder, brewer and blender of the world-famous Drie Fonteinen lambies. A Belgian Porter, brewed with wild yeasts cultured from Armand's casks of lambie." Ew! Ew! Ew!

My friend: Sweetie, might that word be "lambic"?

(Lambic: A type of beer brewed traditionally in the Pajottenland region of Belgium.)

(Lambie: A cute fuzzy baby animal you don't want in your beer.)


(It's yummy.)

Nasturtium Season at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The nasturtiums are currently hanging from the balconies in the courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and it's a breathtaking sight, so much so that when I got home from the museum, I wrote hanging nasturtiums into the courtyard of the building in my current WIP. They'll be on display until mid-April or so. (There are some lovely photos at that link.)

As I stood in the courtyard gawking -- thinking about how description often works best in books if you're able to capture the mood something creates with a few words, or maybe briefly say what it's like rather than providing lengthy and specific details about what it actually is or precisely how it looks -- my friend told me that the museum invites artists-in-residence to live in the museum and work. LUCKY DUCKS. What a dream to write in a place like that. Then we went to the tiny red concert hall with the custom-built Steinway and watched and heard pianist Paavali Jumppanen and violinist Corey Cerovsek have a…

Keeping My Center in the Era of the Interwebs

Here are a few questions I ask myself before I hit "publish" on any blog post:
Is it too personal? Will it make me feel exposed in some way? Why?Does it compromise my self-respect? How? To the best of my ability to judge, does it respect others?How recently have I blogged and how much have I been blogging recently? Why?Why do I want to blog this thing?  -----> No self-deception or delusion allowed here. Whatever the real reason is, am I okay with it?What if I didn't blog this thing? What if I kept it to myself, or emailed a friend about it instead? Would that feel more peaceful and centering? Why? For every blog post I hit "publish" on, there are probably two I delete. For every two paragraphs I leave in a blog post, there's probably one I delete. It doesn't feel like a waste of time to me, because in the writing and questioning, I organize my thoughts and learn about myself, which I dearly hope helps me move respectfully and responsibly through the …

Can you help with an issue of disability discrimination in Massachusetts?

Over at Rebecca Rabinowitz's blog, a woman who needs MA state licensure for the job for which she's qualified is having a terrible time getting that licensure, because the state is failing to provide her with the assistive technology she needs to take the licensure exam. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Jeanette Beal is entitled to a fair chance at taking this exam, but she's not getting that fair chance. Beal has a master's in special education and specializes in assistive technology for disabled people. Any chance you can help? Please go read Jeanette's letter, repost (in full, please), link to my or Rebecca's post, offer to help if you can. Thanks.

ETA on Tuesday, April 9: Here's an update with a list of specific things people can do to help.

ETA on Friday, April 26: Jeanette Beal is now blogging updates to her situation at her own blog. Please follow and comment there. Thank you!

View from a Train


Building a Great Wordlessness in Stages

I love what Eddie Vedder can do by himself live on stage with his gorgeous voice and a loop pedal.

From the documentary Water on the Road.

Keeping Quiet

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth, let's not speak any language, let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.
It would be a delicious moment, without hurry, without locomotives, all of us would be together in a sudden uneasiness.
The fishermen in the cold sea would do no harm to the whales and the peasant gathering salt would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars of gas, wars of fire, victories without survivors, would put on clean clothing and would walk alongside their brothers in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn't be confused with final inactivity: life alone is what matters, I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren't unanimous about keeping our lives so much in motion,
if we could do nothing for once, perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness, this never understanding ourselves and threatening ourselves with death, …

A Day in the Life

Today, codenames: Isis and Phoenix (age 3) asked me if I have any scary dreams. I told them (a modified version of) a scary dream I had recently. Isis patted me sympathetically on the arm and said, "Don't worry, we'll help you. We jump on people and scare away their bad dreams." The dream removal process commenced immediately without warning and was enthusiastic and heartfelt, if rather painful. It'll sure be nice not to have any more scary dreams.


I played a game with a bewildering series of changing rules, involving throwing a ball, singing "Pump Up the Jam" (?), and drawing exactly what I was instructed to draw on successively smaller pieces of paper, the final one of which was the size of a coconut flake and which Isis produced from her mouth. When I protested that I could not draw a scene of a cat and the Easter Bunny on an infinitesimal and soggy piece of paper, Isis declared me the winner of the game and promised me two pieces of chocolate,…