... I am halfway between two worlds, the known and the unknown. I feel as transparent as the wind, as if my spirit is hovering in the sky, waiting to land. I am driving toward a future I can't see, leaving behind a past that already feels distant. Nothing is clear - and yet the trees are sharp against the sky; I can see the hard outlines of everything.
Hardcovers will never completely disappear. They are delightful to hold; they feel weighty and substantial. But my anecdotal evidence suggests that the world is changing.
I often work and write in coffee shops, observing the baristas and eavesdropping on interesting conversations.
For a few years, skeins of yarn piled up in baskets around the house. There weren't enough humans in my mother's orbit to wear all the scarves and sweaters and hats she knitted. And then, as suddenly as she started, she lost interest, leaving needles still entwined in half-finished fragments.
You have to try to take what life throws at you with grace and equanimity.
I think fondly of the rabbit holes I disappeared down when I researched papers for history and English because I couldn't find quite what I was looking for, or because I had to go through so much material to find examples for my thesis.
With a hardcover, you get two chances, a year apart, for the book to make an impact - often with a new cover featuring artfully crafted snippets of reviews, a new marketing campaign and maybe even a new publisher.
Book clubs, both online and in person, have become a large percentage of the reading public, and many of them won't consider reading books in hardcover.
Most people are remarkably resilient. Even those who have been through war or great loss often find reservoirs of strength. But the legacy of trauma is a heavy burden to bear.
The most surprising thing, honestly, is that so few Americans know about the orphan trains. I was also surprised at the resilience and fortitude of the riders I met, their pragmatism and grace. I don't know whether this is a Midwestern trait or simply a human one.
I was stunned to learn that more than 200,000 abandoned, neglected, or orphaned children had been sent from the East Coast to the Midwest on trains between 1854 and 1929.
Many people, for many reasons, feel rootless - but orphans and abandoned or abused children have particular cause.
For years I'd understood that publishing in paperback was the kiss of death.
I will not serve lunch to anyone in the middle of a workday. I rarely rearrange my furniture or cabinets; once I find a drawer for something, it stays there. I don't garden. And I don't knit.
When you can type a few words into a search engine and land on your topic - or when you can scan a Shakespeare play for specific words or symbols - what opportunities might you miss to expand your thinking in unexpected ways?
I have three sons, as different from each other as any three humans could be but connected by their shared love of Guitar Hero. I'm lucky to be married to a man I can call my soulmate without any irony whatsoever.