Filed under: Life
Thursday, September 10th, 2015 • No Comments on August, the month in review
On the beach at Isle of Palms, SC
Okay, so it’s September 10th and I’m finally getting around to talking about August. It was busy. I have a hard time remembering everything that happened, so I have to pull out my date book and my various to do lists and sales trackers to break it all down. So… August.
I traveled for nearly half the month, spending almost a week in Charleston, SC with the family. I came home for the weekend, did my laundry, packed again and got on a plane for San Antonio. (I wrote a little about that in my July update.) The Charleston trip was part vacation, part house hunting expedition. Yes, we are considering moving back to South Carolina (we lived there from 1993-2000), but it’ll be next year before that can happen. There is still a lot up details up in the air, far more logistics than I’d like to consider, but that seems to be the way we’re headed. I’ll be writing more about it in the coming months, I’m sure, but for now it’s kind of a goal in the distance, with a lot to accomplish between now and then.
The San Antonio trip was a last minute thing– I got to tag along with a friend on her work trip and turn it into a writing retreat of my own. I saw a little bit of San Antonio, including its famous Riverwalk and The Alamo, as well as the notoriously haunted Menger Hotel. I’m planning to write something about the Menger, and work San Antonio into a couple of future pieces. While I was there, I wrote a bunch of new essays (most of which have found homes), pitched a few ideas and reworked a few old essays and sent them them back into the world. It was a productive trip, though I like a little more vacation with my work. Maybe next time.
The rest of the month was spent getting the boys ready for school (older kid started kindergarten, younger kid started pre-K). They’re in a Montessori school, so they started school at the end of August rather than after Labor Day. So at this point they’ve been in school for two weeks. It’s been adjustment, especially for my little guy, but we’re getting there! And speaking of the little one– we celebrated his 4th birthday the last weekend in August. I know the cliche is that time flies, but for the most part it doesn’t seem that way. I’ve been here with them almost full-time since they were born, working only part-time (and when they were very little, at least half of my work time was their nap time), and full-time for the past year. I’m grateful for that time, especially now that my oldest is in school hours than I used to work.
Some days with young kids can seem endless, but most of the time I’m very aware of how fleeting it all is. I think my time with them while they’ve been young has been worthwhile for all of us, especially since they’ve gotten nearly four years of being inseparable. And for me, I feel as if I know them better than anyone, having seen their moods and their developments change and mature. There is something to be said for being a stay-at-home mom, and I’m happy to say I recognized it in the moment and not just in hindsight. Of course, I’m still a stay-at-home mom and my work schedule is built around the 3 days they’re both in school (my little one goes 3 days a week for now), so I’ll be always be here. I hope that gives them confidence to do their own thing and feel secure in knowing I’m right here.
And while I’m right here packing lunches, baking cookies and going back and forth to school (and hanging out with the 4 year old on the two days he’s not in school), I’ve been writing. I have something of a writing schedule again, so I’m not keeping track of my hours, but it varies from week to week from “almost enough” to “not even close to enough,” and that’s okay. I’ve found a way to write fairly regularly and although my to do list is far longer than the hours I get each week, I have enough time to sustain my creativity most weeks. Yay for that!
August bylines included several posts at Mom.me, including one of my favorite pieces about how we gave our oldest son two middle names, one of them being the dog’s name. We lost Henry in 2011 and I still miss him all the time.
I also had some first-time bylines in Cosmopolitan (After a Childhood Spent on Diets, I’m Finally Done) and Country Living (8 Things Not to Say to a Military Wife), as well as another piece in Good Housekeeping (Being a Mom Doesn’t Define Me). Finally, I did something new– an interview piece (with kids!), sponsored by Airbnb for Huffington Post (We Asked These Adorable Toddlers if People Are Good).
Rolling into September, I have filed a couple of my Mom.me posts, tackled another sponsored interview for Huffington Post and I’m working on some fresh pitches. Autumn is my favorite season and I’m anticipating it being very productive!
It wasn’t all work and no play in August. I saw a few movies (Minions with the boys, which was cute, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.– Henry Cavill, mmmm!) and read one of my favorite books of this–or any– year: Megan Abbott‘s The Fever. Brilliantly written. It was the first book I’ve read by her and now I want to read everything she’s ever written. It’s that good!
I think that wraps up August. This summer has been a bit of a blur of fun times, emotional moments and a sense of being in constant motion, emotionally and physically. Always growing, always changing.
Here’s to a beautiful fall season!
Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 • No Comments on July’s Month in Review, a little (lot) late
Riverwalk, San Antonio
Greetings from Texas! I’m sitting in a Starbucks next to San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk, taking a little end-of-summer writing getaway before the madness of fall and back-to-school start. Not that it hasn’t been mad, and chaotic, for the past couple of months. Where did July go? How is it August 12 already? Last week I was in South Carolina with the family, this week I’m in Texas. That’s where August has gone so far…
July was a whirlwind. The big, big event was Jay’s retirement from the Navy. We closed out a 28 year career with a lovely ceremony and family and friends in town to celebrate. It’s been a long–and not always easy– road, but the Navy life is now behind us and Jay is a military retiree. And there are so, so many changes coming in the next year. A new career for him, a new home for us, new schools for the boys… a new chapter in our lives. It’s exciting, and a little scary. But I’m ready.
July was a month of grilling out, hanging out and writing when I could. The boys were in art camp for two weeks, which mostly meant an introduction to school for the little one and a chance for them to both torment the teacher at the same time. I’m not sure a lot of art was made, but the end result was a few extra hours of writing time for me and an okay experience for them. My youngest is ready for school, my oldest is happy he’ll be seeing his preschool teachers again for kindergarten and lunch boxes have been purchased.
Sheri (my oldest friend from Florida, we’ve been friends for 27 years!) was in town for Jay’s retirement, so we took to the boys to see Inside/Out. Such a good movie, and one that I think kids can watch again and again and get something new out of it each time (and adults, too). I also saw Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation in July, and there were the usual trips to the park and zoo. It was a good, happy, emotional month.
On the writing front, I wrote some fun pieces for Mom.me in July and had another piece at Good Housekeeping. Best Erotic Romance 2015 was finally released (under the new title Best Erotic Romance of the Year, Volume 1) after a very long wait. My future with Cleis Press/Start Publishing is a game of Magic 8 Ball: “Ask again later” or “Outlook not so good.” I don’t know what to say on the subject, so I simply focus on my writing and keep moving forward and write apologetic emails to authors who would like answers. So would I, dear authors. So would I.
In good news, one of my reverted anthologies has found a home! The title will likely change, but For the Love of a Soldier will be published by Circlet Press. I don’t yet have a timeline for publication, but it’s nice to know this book will find a good home. I wish the same could be said of my other anthologies.
I think that sums up July. For such an action-and-emotion packed month, I don’t seem to have much to say about it. But it was memorable and life-changing. And sometimes a few words is all you need to tell the story. And now here I am in August, enjoying (ha!) the 102º Texas heat for a few more days. Then it’s homeward bound to get the kids ready for school and make lengthy to do lists for those school hours. Fall is around the corner, but I’m holding on to these last few weeks of summer. I hope you’re enjoying every moment.
Hey, look! It’s a river in the middle of the city!
Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 • No Comments on June: the month in review
Me and my guys at the zoo
2015 is half over! 2015 is half over!
I feel like I should change out my batteries and kick it into high gear now that June is behind me and half of the year is gone. If only I had batteries…
I’m ending this month with a bunch of rejections. Yay! I beat my personal best yesterday– three rejections in one day! Being turned down is never fun, but I really can’t be too disheartened. 1) I’m writing! 2) I’ve had a fair number of sales already this year. 3) Rejections mean (hopefully) that I’m pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’ve learned the hard way that staying too… comfortable… can make for a bad experience down the road. So, yeah. Rejections. But also acceptances.
I had nine essays and non-fiction pieces published this month, including two new-to-me sites, Scary Mommy and Redbook (which also shares content with Good Housekeeping). Scary Mommy ran my miscarriage essay, To the Doctor Who Told Me I’d Probably Never Have a Child. That one was a nice follow-up to my Narratively essay last month (How to Have Fun When They Say You Can’t Conceive). It’s terrifying to write about such personal experiences, but the reward is in knowing my work resonates with readers who have been through (or are going through) the same thing. It makes the world feel a little bit smaller, you know?
I wrote a couple of fun relationship pieces for Redbook and it’s nice to have a profile page to link to: Kristina Wright @ Redbook. Likewise, I’ve written a couple of new pieces for The Mid, including 5 Things I Miss About the 90s and Life When Your Next Big Birthday Will be Your 50th (which was originally titled Life on the Edge).
And this is my second month as a Mom.me blogger— what a fun gig! Along with wife bonuses, this month I wrote about taking a guilt-free, child-free vacation, pleasing picky eaters and shared what I learned from having two C-sections. It’s fun to write about such a variety of topics, but I honestly never thought I’d be a mom blogger. I’m glad I took look down another path (which might have been facilitated by the huge tree dropped in front of me on the other writing path I was traveling…)
And so, half-way through 2015, I have sold to 8 new markets and had 23 pieces published. That’s almost one a week, which isn’t bad considering I spent one week in Disney World, almost another week in Charleston, one week in the hospital and about another 3 weeks sick and in recovery. Plus, I’ve been writing fiction, too! Plus, I’ve had almost no child care, though I did eke out 37 work hours this month (thanks, wonderful husband and generous babysitter on summer break!). That’s a little less than half what my old monthly work schedule looked like, but I made it work and got a lot of pieces out into the world (and, as mentioned before, a lot of pieces rejected…)
It hasn’t been all work and no play this month (obviously– I have two kids). Summer is here! Oldest kid finished pre-school and will start kindergarten in the fall (wow!) and so we’ve been scheduling play dates and doing fun things. We’ve been to the zoo (twice), seen a couple of $1 movies (yay Regal Summer Movie Express!)– The Boxtrolls (which was maybe darker than I would have liked, but the kids enjoyed) and Paddington (which I loved– teddy bears and London!), gone to the park and played in the sprinkler and kiddie pool and various neighborhood playgrounds.
It’s been adult fun-time this month, too. Jay and I saw Billy Joel in Virginia Beach earlier this month. He’s one of my favorite singers and though he hasn’t had a new album in 20 years, I still love seeing him in concert. I can’t remember if this was the fourth or fifth time, but it was a good, nostalgic concert with my sweetheart. And I’ve been indulging my love of movies and have seen Mad Max (loved it!), Jurassic World (fun! Chris Pratt!) and Spy (Melissa McCarthy is amazing!) so far this summer. There are several more I’m looking forward to– I’d spend all day in a movie theater if someone would let me. Hopefully I’m raising kids who will love movies as much as I do!
In health-related news, after my near death experience in April, I have finally (finally!) gotten the all-clear from all of my various doctors. Yay for good news! The lasting effects of the pneumonia is scar tissue in my lung and (currently) a 69% lung capacity, which we’re going to retest in four months in hopes that I’m still healing and it’ll improve. But overall I’m feeling pretty damned good and lucky to be alive. There’s still much to be written about the experience, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
So onward to July with fireworks and barbecues and Jay’s retirement from the Navy and two weeks of summer camp for the boys (40 hours of writing for me!!) and friends and family coming from all over to visit and celebrate. I don’t know how much writing I’ll get done, but July is promising to be a fantastic month and even if I don’t write as much as I would like, I’ll be having fun. I hope you will, too!