baby blanket progress (a note to baby girl)

wrong side baby blanket
Baby Girl,

Twelve years ago today a Big Bad Thing happened. It will be years before your parents tell you about it and many more years before you’ll begin to understand it.

I hope you never experience anything like we did 12 years ago. But I can’t keep bad things from happening, I can’t keep your heart from being broken, I can’t keep you from pain.

I can promise that you are loved. Me and your Auntie and your grandparents and your parents and your cousins and people you haven’t even met yet all love you so much. And if a Big Bad Thing happens, and one day something will, I hope you hold on to that love. I hope you know that despite all the bad things, you are a good thing. And love is stronger than evil. And love will last.

So, Baby Girl, I hope when you wrap yourself up in this blanket, you also feel wrapped up in love.

Love, Aunt Rae

You can see my previous knitting progress here: baby blanket progress (4 inches). And I’ll write more on how it’s going later.

new outfit: casual

rae's days casual

Sometimes, when you need to run errands and pack and just get stuff done, casual is the way to go. This weekend was one of those times. So I threw on a plain gray top, some trusty navy shorts, my leopard flats, grabbed my tote bag and walked out the door. An easy, simple look for when your day is not.

how to write short: word craft for fast times

how to write short

Reading How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark (Kindle here) gave me stage fright. Or, I suppose, blog fright. How could I live up to his excellent examples? Lucky for me, he includes clear advice on how to sharpen short writing, and I’m happy to follow it. Most everyday writing is 300 words or less–unless your job is, well, a writer. We text and tweet and email a lot more than we write novels. (Even those who write novels, I bet.)

Short writing is often overlooked for its novel-length counterpart. After all, tweets don’t win Nobel Prizes–at least, not yet. But short writing has value. And an aspiring writer can learn from every kind of writing, Clark says. Like the back of cereal boxes, or OKCupid profiles, or–my fave–fortune cookies.

For those quick to say texting, tweeting, and other short writing is ruining our language, we went through this recently with telegrams and turned out ok. People were charged by the word, so abbreviations and crafty cutting were the norm. And now we’re doing it again–but digitally in tweets and emails. (I used to scoff, but now I’ve embraced abbreviations. They can be useful, especially in a tweet, and they can also be sort of hilar.)

Some short writing is both storytelling and communication. After all, letters tell a story. Clark says early novels used letters to tell important parts of the tale. I just finished Where’d You Go Bernadette, composed almost entirely in messages–updated with emails and faxes, of course. Our current family book club book House of Leaves is made up of documents and journal entries. These long stories are told through short writing, just like much of our own life.

My friends and I have an ongoing group text. That communication, made up of bursts of texts, abbreviations and inside jokes, tells a beautiful story. Clark’s more serious example is of mom and daughter texting during a shooting. Those texts kept a family in touch, helped a girl stay safe, and later told a story to us with much more directness and immediacy than 30,000 of the killer’s own words from his manifesto.

Clark also talks about the newsworthiness of Twitter. Short, to the point, continuous updates can place us directly in a story. His example comes from tweets on the ground after an earthquake. An example in my own life comes from Hurricane Sandy. I learned so much more about what neighborhoods were safe and where damage occurred than I could have from more traditional (and longer) news sources. Tweets like “just saw the lights go out on Water St.” (a made up example based on a real event) are just a few words long but communicate critical information.

You don’t need a lot of words to create a powerful piece of writing. In fact there’s a genre of stories only six words long. You may remember Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” which I love not only for its emotional impact but also its clever use of punctuation. Larry Smith, editor and publisher of SMITH Magazine and founder of Six-Word Memoirs, championed these short stories. I think mine would be “Girl with plan finds new adventure.” (A close second was “Left-handed editor who writes alright.”)

To me, the why of writing matters much more than the length. Long or short–and long writing sprouts from short writing after all–good storytelling matters. Communication matters. Ideas matter. And all can be told with just a few words.

 

new outfit: a touch of fall

20130906-113457.jpg
All of a sudden it feels a bit like fall. This was quite unexpected for me, but here we are. I’m wrapping up the week with some fall colors and patterns: black, deep yellow, and leopard.

Skirt from Banana Republic; shoes, top, and bag from Target.

I’m so glad it’s almost the weekend. Had a short week this week, and I’ll have an even shorter one next week. This weekend will be for last minute wedding prep–laundry, speech writing, and packing for sure. Happy Friday!

what would glitz wear

glitz

I’m a little more than halfway through Glitz (Kindle here), my first Elmore Leonard novel. I can see why they make great movies. The dialogue is natural and entertaining, and the characters are interesting–from the off-duty detective to the casino’s lounge singer to the gangster’s bodyguard. I like how the women are equal players. Nancy Donovan is smarter than most–if not all–of the men surrounding her, including her husband. Linda is comfortable in her personality and ready to make her own way as an artist. They may have to play a man’s game, but they rewrite a few rules.

These women are sexy, but they aren’t just there for sex. But I bet no matter what they are doing, they look good doing it.

nancy donovan in glitz

Like Gretchen Wieners, Nancy keeps secrets in her perfectly coiffed hair. She runs a casino with her husband, Tom, and at least one Atlantic City gangster. And she can run circles around them. Nancy is always put together and she is not to be trifled with.

iris

Iris is a young, beautiful girl from Puerto Rico who dreams of being a hostess in the United States. She is spunky and fun but, man, does she have some bad luck.

linda

Linda Moon befriends Iris in Atlantic City. Out of all these women, I’d most like to be friends with her. She has her head on straight and is following her passion for making music. But she’s practical, too, and has figured out a way to make a living by singing in Nancy and Tom’s casino. And, like the rest of the casino, she could be decked out in gold when she performs.

ladonna in glitz

Ladonna is the former Miss Oklahoma. But I’m afraid she’s fallen a bit from when she took the crown. Now we never see her without a drink in her hand, and she’s terrified for her life because of the violence surrounding her. We first meet her drowning in both an oversized sweater and an oversized bloody mary.

I can’t wait to read more about these women, and the rest of the characters. More on Glitz soon!

long weekend, in pictures

wall on the les

donuts

giraffe bag

staten island yankees

drink

prospect park

Not only were all these pictures taken in the same city, they were all taken in the same weekend. But that’s New York, right? Variety everywhere. Parks and bars and artwork. Sweet food and sweet experiences.

I had a lovely weekend. Getting back into the swing of things is a little painful–like a harsh alarm clock after a really good dream. But thanks to a short week, it’s already Wednesday and I’m 10 days away from my best friend’s wedding. (An actual wedding, not the fantastic Julia Roberts movie.) So, I’ve got that going for me.

month in review: august

A lot of people mark Labor Day weekend as the end of summer. It’s technically September now, but I’m going to hang on to summer for as long as I can. I’m still feeling rooftops and rosé, not sweaters and pumpkin beer. Summer went by so fast that I’d just like to enjoy it a little bit longer.

The top posts of the month were:

Here’s some pictures from the month.

brooklyn

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