2009: Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President. After a visit to Bobby in Scotland, Cal comes with me to Sirenland. It’s the only writing conference I know that is spouse friendly. In Italy we make a daily habit of climbing all those steps and then spending several hours enjoying lunch at Il Ritrovo. Just when we think we’re done, the brothers bring out another limoncello… Robin Black is the Sirenland Fellow, and her husband is also there. Robin’s One Story #104 is one of those I kept. We no longer rent DVDs from Netflix; now we have Apple TV and the movies just appear. Pamfa meets in Point Reyes, and I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time, spending a night in Sausalito to adjust to the time change and finding a purple dress for the rehearsal dinner. On the way home, I visit Jack at Chapman. The spring is filled with wedding activities–one of my favorite being filling the guest goody bags that fill our dining room table. I love my dress for the wedding–black, serious at the top with a burst of ruffles at the bottom. My favorite part of the wedding is the arrival of the gospel choir singing “Oh Happy Day.” Michael Jackson dies. Sam gets his driver’s license. In Provincetown, I’m shocked when I cycle out to visit the little cottages at the top of this blog and discover they’re called The Days Cottages. I had taken the header photo in 2006 without knowing their name. In August I switch from a PC to a Mac. Huge. This month also marks the debut of the How We Spend Our Days series, with Pam kicking things off. The fall brings another trip to Pam’s ranch with a stop-over to visit Bobby on his birthday in Denver, where he’s taking time off from St. Andrews to go to cooking school. “The Empty Armchair,” loosely based on my first novel, is accepted at Contrary–and they feature it on the front page of the journal. I start writing reviews for Contrary, specializing in debut novels by women. “Frosting” is published in Contrary‘s Winter Issue. And right after Christmas, I start grad school at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Yes, I’m back in school–in New England! 42 books this year with the highlight being Infinite Jest. Jackson Browne comes to Columbus, and I break the rules, record a few of his songs, and put them on YouTube. During a dramatic pause, you can hear Cal sneeze in “Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate.” Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder where the years have gone…

8 days to 60


She sees that she has before her an important task: to understand that all the things that happened in her life happened to her. That she is the same person who was born, was a child, a girl, a young woman, and now she is old. That there is some line running through her body like a wick.
Mary Gordon, The Rest of Life