2011: In January, I finish up winter residency and fall under the spell of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. February is AWP in Washington, DC, where I spot Josh Ritter in the bar and actually talk to him. In March, Contrary reviews are due to me, I go to Fort Worth for Kathleen’s baby shower, and Cal and I go to New York. I apply for the position of Assistant Fiction Editor at Hunger Mountain, VCFA’s literary journal. I don’t get it, but they ask me to join the staff as Art + Life Co-Editor with Claire Guyton. Together we revitalize this section of the journal and give it a new name–The Writing Life. We spend so much time on Hunger Mountain, it’s crazy. In April, Sam and I go to Florida for his spring break, and a week later Jack comes home for his. In May, Mack is born and technically speaking that makes me a grandmother, but it will be years before I’m able to use that word about myself. I’m blown away by Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water. Bobby graduates from St. Andrews and moves to Birmingham to be with his girlfriend. In June it’s more reviews to edit, another residency, and another anniversary (#26). During my grad school years, Cal and I are apart for three new year’s eves and two anniversaries. The fall brings another writing group trip to Pam’s ranch, more reviews, the beginning of Jack’s senior year of college, and the beginning of Sam’s senior year of high school. I can almost see the end. On September 12th, my to do list includes reading over 5 pages of my novel–every day, 5 pages. In October, “Mackenzie,” a short short, is published in Gargoyle, Pam and I take a trip to Napa, and Steve Jobs dies. I’m now in the thick of preparing for my graduating residency–working on my lecture and my reading, which will be from the opening of my novel, Love Like This. In December I sign with an agent who finds me by way of my blog and who loves my first novel! Bobby and Claire get engaged! 34 books this year–20 novels, 3 books on the craft of writing, 3 story collections, 3 essay collections, 2 poetry, 2 nonfiction, and 1 memoir. I start using Spotify and listen to U2’s One, Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness, and The Band Perry’s All Your Life.

6 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