read * hear * say * see * eat

I updated my pages this morning—those links at the top—to include a page devoted to speaking. I’m calling the page “Say” because, as a formerly devoted Goop reader, I enjoy winking at my roots in annoyingly perfect and perfectly annoying white female blogging. (N.B.: if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can see for yourself how Goop masters the verb-as-title concept with verbs so basic as to be incomprehensible, e.g. be do get, etc.)

I wrote more on the page itself, but the short version is this: I’m devoting energy to learning how to speak in public this year. I did take a mandatory public speaking course freshman year of college, but all I remember about that class is that my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend’s best friend took it with me, and when I broke up with his friend (the guy with the barcode tattoo and the shrapnel piercing under his bottom lip) midway into the semester, he kept telling me all about how much I screwed his friend over, blah blah, during every class until I eventually either hid or stopped going, I really can’t recall. Also, I think I got a 100 in that class. Go Dawgs!

(Well, THAT was an unexpected aside. This is what coffee does to me: the words flow but not always in the desired direction.)

Soo… back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Nina reminded me of the link-sharing concept when she posted her “Do. Listen. Read.” post last week, so I owe her thanks as well. Typing “read hear say” in my title kinda looks like “read hearsay,” which is not entirely off base.

I figure once a month or so I’ll share some link love, probably on Fridays since that seems to be the day to do it so you can spend the weekend browsing. Plus I’ll try to keep my  ~read~ ~hear~ ~say~ pages updated with the good links.


  • I’m reading three books right now, and they are good for completely different reasons:
    • Pioneer Girl, the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, is great because it provides more access into Laura’s world, which I ate up as a kid and couldn’t wait to jump back into as an adult. Also, we learn about her relationship with her writer/editor daughter who sometimes “borrowed” her mother’s work. Quite interesting. I can only get one page through this at bedtime though before I nod off, and its bug-killer size means it’s not a book you can take to the gym.
    • This Time Together, a memoir by Carol Burnett, is hilarious and easy to read. I just got to the part where she receives a telegram in Italy with an update about her favorite TV soap, and the concierge wakes her up in the middle of the night to give it to her because he thinks all the things on the telegram are real. I had a for real LOL, which doesn’t happen much with bedtime reading.
    • A Path Appears, about the power of civic engagement, is an inspirational read. I loved the library copy so much and knew I’d have to return it before I was done, so I got myself a copy on Amazon.


  • I gave the Strangers podcast a casual mention in my Mamalode article, but I was still infatuated with Serial at the time so hadn’t been able to devote adequate energy elsewhere. Lea Thau is charming and honest, and I hope you’ll check out her podcast. Start with the “Love Hurts” series, and I bet you’ll be hooked too.
  • After the Mamalode story, my friend Sara was like, “You fool! You left off Death, Sex, & Money!” She didn’t actually put it that way, but she was right. I love Anna Sale, especially the way her laugh builds into a happy crescendo, that tickles me.
  • The new NPR Invisibilia podcast got off to a rocky start. I couldn’t identify with the subject of the first episode so wasn’t sure what would come of it, but the second episode devoted to fear was incredible. I sat in the car at Trader Joe’s just to keep listening without interruption, which is my highest mark of podcast approval.



  • I don’t watch much TV any more and don’t see as many movies as I’d like, so I suspect I won’t always have something under this topic. But today I happen to have something! Check out this interview with BJ Novak by the smart and witty Kelly Corrigan. I spent the entire interview thinking, “These people are brilliant.”
  • This time I also have a movie to talk about! I loved Gone Girl so so much, possibly and especially because I haven’t read the book yet so went in blind to the story. One way to express how much I loved it is to note that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the next few days. Golly, Rosamund Pike is a powerful actor; I’ve loved her since Pride & Prejudice and then An Education, but this performance was out of this world—Hitchcockian, you might even say (and Linda Holmes & co did say so when they covered it on a NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour).  I found myself thinking that if this movie came out 15 years ago, they would have put Ashley Judd in that role; nothing against her, but Rosamund Pike has a subtler aspect to her that reminds me of Nicole Kidman…beautiful and cunning seems like a rare duo.


  • I recently learned of a site called Wellness Mama and am already sold by the front page recipe for elderberry kombucha. I bought a book for Nate for our 10th anniversary—True Brews by local author Emma Christensen—and I’m following her suggestion to start with kefir and soda before moving on to kombucha. But if you try it, let me know how it goes (and lemme borrow some of your scoby, please!).

an invincible summer

conjuring an invincible summer - heirloom mothering

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus

I just registered the girls for summer camp. Thinking of those hot days to come is my optimistic activity for surviving the bitter cold of January. Lately when I sit down to write, I end up writing about camp, which I think is also an unconscious way to warm up my thoughts a bit. I’m not a winter person, if you couldn’t tell. I never quite got the hang of skating and am terrified of skiing, so that leaves me to do lots of writing, reading, and knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I love those things, but I’d so much rather do them sitting in the sun, and there’s not much of that to go around right now.

Anyway, when I start down the road of a camp memory, I end up with lots to say. Camp is a wellspring of characters to draw from when writing a story. I think there is a good children’s story, perhaps an entire series even, about the learning experiences of camp. When William Zinsser said that writers are the custodians of memory, he was speaking about non-fiction; however, even fiction is drawn from memory, dispelling the notion that some fiction writers just conjure story and plot out of thin air.

conjuring an invincible summer - heirloom motheringAs for exactly what I would write about camp, the bildungsroman speaks to me as a genre. While I found my teenage years to be such a difficult transition, on the plus side the characters are so clearly etched in my mind from that time in my life. For those who experienced it, camp contains universal images and experiences, regardless of the literal place you attended it. I don’t want to say much more for fear of extinguishing the flame of my idea, but on the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to float the thoughts by you guys first.

Did you go to camp? What kind of mental activities do you do to conjure your invincible summer? Maybe your stories can help warm me up too.


let’s hang out in 2015

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My local friend and blogging guru Christine Koh posted a list of ways to keep in touch with her in 2015. Since my resolution this year is to have more deep connections (both on the interwebs and in person), I loved her post and decided to emulate it, as I often do with her creations. I am especially fond of the group of writers I’ve been conversing with lately, so I hope I continue to build relationships online this year.

Here are some ways we can interact:

Bloglovin: I’m new to this way of managing blogs. I used my old blogroll previously, but I like the idea of organizing and adding blogs in a more user-friendly way. So far I love it.

Instagram: I love photography. To me, Instagram is the best of Facebook. But I think you still need a smartphone or iPad to use it; I hope they’ll change that this year. I keep my account private because of a recent string of following attempts that seemed less than credible, but if you’re not a robot, you’re in!

Twitter: Like I said in my last post, I think great conversations and connections are possible there.

Pinterest: I love it for many reasons, like organizing writing-related inspiration and recipes.

Coffee?: If you’re local, maybe we can get together in person. Drop me a line so we can swap emails.