Staying the Course with New Year’s Resolutions

Week three is always the toughest for me. The first week, I glide on intention and hope. Week two? I can muscle through with determination, but by the time week three hits, temptations beckon. Whether or not I keep my resolutions—to do “x” or quit doing “y”—depends on how I get through that third week. So, I’m dedicating this Week Three of January 2019 to staying the course to victory. I’ve been making New Year’s resolutions since some time in high school. As a teenager, I made very serious ones. They were almost always too difficult for me (learn Russian, this year) and were usually inspired by who I thought I should be (lose ten pounds) rather than who I was. It probably goes with saying that I was rarely very successful. Still, I kept making resolutions diligently every year. No, I haven’t mastered Russian (ya ochen’ plokho govoryu po russki) and I don’t think I ever lost that ten pounds (I decided to stop weighing myself). In fact, it’s been years since I set those as goals at all because in the midst of all that falling short, I refined my process for resolution making. That’s the good thing about failure, it’s a great teacher.  I […]

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Libraries We Have Loved

Michele:   Since I’ve featured Libraries of a Lifetime, a library love fest all week, I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors to share a memory of a library that meant something special to each of them. Here’s what that said. Please join us on Facebook or Twitter to share yours. Thanks to those of you who have shared during the week. Alison:  When I started thinking about this question, it surprised me how clearly I can go back in time to the libraries I love. I’ll defer to Tracee on this, but I think libraries are some pretty amazing architectural spaces: the library at Trinity College in Dublin, the Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania, and, of course, the New York Public Library Main Branch. One of my fondest memories of a library was from the summer I lived in Paris. I was working on my senior thesis and spent every afternoon, just about, at the Centre George Pompidou. I loved everything about going to that library: taking the metro, seeing the performers and mimes outside, finding my books, reading, taking notes, and looking through those crazy windows. Years later I took my kids back (see the below photo […]

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The Library: A Traveler’s Treasure

My writer’s imagination always gets thrown into my luggage wherever I go. I like to get a sense of what it would like to live where I am traveling. I imagine where my house or apartment would be and where I would work. I look at stores where I might shop and other places I consider essential in a community. There are two primary places I find the pulse of a local. They are the grocery story and the library.             At the grocery store, I watch what local people are buying, how high or low are the prices, and whether people buy in quantity or in small amounts. It’s a fascinating way to feed my voyeur proclivities without inviting the attention of local law enforcement.             Tucking into the local library is equally as safe and intriguing. Sometimes the library is actually a tourist highlight. I never fail to gasp when the Long Room at Trinity College in Dublin which I’ve visited several times. Sitting on a bench looking up and down at ancient tomes is a welcome relief and departure from frantic pub hops.             MLXLS​​   Often I will have to work while I travel. It’s the […]

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The Library: A Writer’s Haven

I have yet to meet a writer who isn’t a library lover. How could a writer not be enchanted by an institution dedicated to the very object writers seek to create? My first impression when I enter a library is almost always auditory. The absence of noise is magnetic for me. Oh, there is the gentle din of a whisper followed by a hush now and then. But the silence sends a rush of equanimity throughout my body that is akin to when I am on a yoga mat.             My next sensation is olfactory. I do not know how some people claim they can’t smell books. To those of us who can, the library filled with books is like an abundant spring garden flush with long awaited peonies and roses. It’s one of the many reasons people stick with print editions of books.             LXLMS​​   The library is a writer’s haven. The setting is perfect. There are tables and chairs, some even cushioned. No one will tug on your sleeve and ask if you’ve seen their jeans they put in the laundry. No one will say there’s an important call on line two you have to take. No […]

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The Library as a Refuge

            Many people regard libraries as a place to get something. You go, browse, and get books to borrow. For lots of other folks, a library is a place to do work, often in the form of research. Computers may have replaced card catalogues, yet the function is still the same. People come to libraries seeking information and knowledge. For those doing historical research, there is still the thrill of seeing the penmanship of those long gone on paper.            But for many people, the library is a refuge. No one stands at the door to take your money. The library is free as in free-dom. It doesn’t matter what your religion, race, or political persuasion is, everyone is welcome at the library, including the homeless. Librarians deal with the problems the homeless often present and are even guided by the Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness.com, which provides advice about how to deal with common issues. Sleeping/snoring, panhandling, delusions, too many bags, and even body odor are among the topics covered. The guide invites librarians to reduce problems and conflict while still being inclusive.            There are others with less obvious needs than the homeless who seek sanctuary in our libraries. There […]

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My First Love (Libraries of a Lifetime)

This week I will pay homage to libraries and hope you will join me by remembering the libraries of your lifetime and sharing memories of your own. I was inspired by Susan Orlean’s The Library Book, which I’ve been reading. No library lover should miss it.            I’ll begin by honoring my maternal grandmother, Madeline, affectionately known as “Nanna,” with an extra “n” because she was so nice. She and my grandfather retired in the mid-1950’s to Scituate, Massachusetts, along the Atlantic coast where they had summered for years. They learned quickly that the robust summer community, which has been dubbed America’s most Irish town, felt quiet and isolated during the long winter months. My grandmother lamented there were no lights within the houses on her street during off-season and would get “the blues.” When my grandfather died shortly thereafter, leaving her alone with their disabled son, the loneliness drove her straight to the Allen Memorial Library.            The day summer vacation arrived, I descended upon Nanna and her screened front porch where a cushioned chase lounge was reserved for me. The first day, we would drive to the library so I could stock up on books. Nanna would take me by […]

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My Protagonist Hereby Resolves…

  • January 4, 2019

 The Missdemeanors hope 2019 is a kinder, better year than 2018. We believe that in a world where you can be anything, you should be kind. We also believe our characters should resolve to make some changes in the new year:MicheleSabrina Salter resolves to find her mother whether she is dead or alive. TraceeAgnes Luthi is going to finally learn how to play mah jong RobinEmma Quinn resolves not to swear so damn much. (Resolutions are made to be broken, right?) CateLiza Cole resolves to take her medicine regularly. SusanMaggie Dove resolves to be a better aunt, lose two pounds, and be more ferocious. Or ferocious at all. AlisonAbish Taylor resolves to get some sleep (preferably daily!) and to forgive her father. AlexiaGethsemane Brown resolves to switch to a whiskey that’s less expensive than Bushmills 21, win the All-County Orchestra competition again, not lose her temper when someone calls her “Sissy,” and improve her brogue. 

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The Best Laid Plans…

  • January 1, 2019

 Happy New Year’s!How are you celebrating the start of 2019? By sleeping off the fun you had on New Year’s Eve? Or did you get up early to greet the start of a new year filled with possibility and opportunity?I slept in. I spent the last week of the old year traveling so I ended 2018 exhausted and cranky from sleep deprivation. I decided I owed it to myself to start 2019 well-rested and refreshed.So, getting more sleep must be one of my New Year’s resolutions, right? Nope. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I used to but, as happens to so many others, by the third week of January—or, with luck, maybe the first week of February—I’d given up on most of them. I tried re-conceptualizing my resolutions as goals but that didn’t work, either. Goal or resolution, it went by the wayside before Spring.I’m not at the point where I’ve decided to wing it and see what happens for the next 365 days. I need more structure in my life than that. I’ve decided this year to make plans. Plans don’t seem as lofty and daunting as goals and resolutions. We make plans every day—dinners, work projects, trips, […]

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What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

  • December 31, 2018

 Happy almost-new year. 2018 comes to an end in less than 24 hours. Are you ready for 2019? Are you taking this time to reflect on the year that was? Or plan for the year ahead? Will you attend a fabulous party with music and sparkle and maybe a kiss for good luck? Or spend a cozy evening at home with family, human or otherwise? Maybe you’ll spend a contented evening alone with your favorite beverage and a good book. Or maybe you’re working in a hospital or police station or air traffic control tower or airport security line or military base, or for a taxi company or rideshare service, to keep the rest of us safe as we begin 2019. (Thank you.) Or maybe 2018 left you so run down you’re going to turn in early and wake up on January 1 full of hope that the new year will bring peace and joy. Whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re doing it, I send you best wishes for a happy, healthy, successful new year. 

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The Book Baby Blues

Debut author Laura Kemp joins us today on Missdemeanors to discuss her reaction to the publication of her first novel, Evening in the Yellow Wood, and her approach to getting back to writing.  December 12th was a big day for me. It signified the birth of my Book Baby. I’d spent months, even years on perfecting my manuscript so that a publishing house would pick it up, and when they did I spent another chunk of time editing and re-editing so that the finished work would meet their standards.  Needless to say, everything was leading up to a point in time, a proverbial Mount Everest and when the day came the flurry of activity was intoxicating. My adrenaline took a serious hit as friends sent well-wishes, tweets were re-tweeted and posts shared. I watched my Amazon sales climb and shared my excitement with those closest to me (middle schoolers).  And then the next day came and a heaviness settled over me, a feeling of… what’s next? The adrenaline had crashed and real work began.  But what was this phenomenon? It’s was almost like post-partum depression without the baby.  And then I started researching.  Other writers have experienced this- in my own publishing house and beyond, […]

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