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Friday, December 24, 2010

merry christmas

We've had a lazy morning so far. Stella sewed a skirt for her Our Generation doll with her new sewing kit. Zoe has spent the last hour dancing around the living room in her frilly new dance skirt. There is fresh snow on the ground outside. Coffee and eggs for breakfast. I've even had a little time on the couch with a novel. A lovely Christmas Eve morning so far. We'll spend the afternoon and evening with family. And then more of everything tomorrow.

I'm wishing you all a lovely couple of days filled with peace, love and laughter!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

snowy days

Across the Twin Cities, snow is heaped in piles as tall as houses. The roads have grown narrow, encroached on either side by towering boulevards. Cars inch across the city and back again. I have taken to driving with a shovel riding shotgun so I can leap out and clear a path through freshly plowed mounds when necessary. It’s Minnesota. It’s winter.

Stella was home from school both Monday and Tuesday because of the snow and sub-zero temperatures. She was thrilled beyond description. We swapped childcare with friends. Forts were built. Movies were watched. Popcorn was eaten.

It all makes me want to pull out the crock-pot and fill the house with meaty goodness, then curl up on the couch with a book and read all day. I’m currently caught up in Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand that First Held Mine, which contains two alternating stories—one set in postwar London, one in present-day London. I’ll write more about this book as I make my way through it (if I get that time on the couch), but I’m excited that I’ve discovered O’Farrell’s writing. Her prose is exquisite.

So I’m reading. And in those few hours of the night when Zoë isn’t flipping around next to me, I’m sleeping better. The Christmas tree is up, sparkling in our living room. And I’m back to work on the memoir—a little tweaking based on the insightful comments of my fabulous agent. Things are a little easier. And soon, soon, the days will be getting longer rather than shorter. Oh, I realize that winter will go on forever this year, but at least there will be light, a little more light.

Monday, December 6, 2010

2011 mother words writing retreat

There are still a few spots available for the 2nd annual Mother Words Writing Retreat at Faith’s Lodge.

When: 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 24 – 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 27

Where: Faith’s Lodge, Wisconsin

We’ll write, share our writing, discuss challenges with craft, and have time to connect with other mother writers in the luxury and quiet of Faith’s Lodge. Group meetings and individual conferences with me will help support you as you delve more deeply into your writing and learn to take risks on the page. Come immerse yourself in the writing life with other mothers who write.

Faith’s Lodge is located on 80 picturesque acres in Northwestern Wisconsin near the town of Webster, less than a two-hour drive from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, less than one hour from Duluth/Superior and about four hours from Madison. The mission of Faith’s Lodge is to provide a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or loss of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future.

You need not have experienced the loss of a child to attend the retreat. This retreat is for all mother writers. (But proceeds from the Mother Words Writing Retreat will benefit the children and families served by Faith’s Lodge.)

Cost: $650 (single room) or $550 (shared room, separate beds) – includes lodging, meals, and writing instruction

To register: Contact Marquetta Nickols at Faith’s Lodge at or 612-825-2073.

The Lodge has eight guest suites. Each suite features a private bath, fireplace, balcony/patio, flat screen TV, DVD player, small fridge, and coffee maker.

Please contact me with questions about the Mother Words Retreat. To learn more about Faith’s Lodge, visit