What I’m Learning, Part Six


Someone asked on Twitter last week for their followers to share something good. It was as open and unspecific as that, and the first thing that came to mind for me was libraries.

I’ve always loved libraries, ever since I was old enough to bike the three-and-a-half miles to my public library in Mequon, Wisconsin. Situated next to the municipal swimming pool, it was a beautiful two story, circular room, with children’s books below and adults’ above. It made me feel calm and hopeful, as does my beloved main branch library here in Evanston, Illinois today. The thought that passes through my head as I step inside is always thank goodness. There are so many stories here.

In the end, the happiest I ever feel is when I am sucked deep into a book, fascinated and immersed. All avid readers feel this way, I think – we all talk about it with the same vocabulary of being surrounded, transported, brought inside. It’s such a gift to have both the reading aptitude and interest in books. I’m grateful for it in every season and in every environment.

This year, I spent a lot of time reading books about health and medicine as part of research for my book. You can read the previous posts: about Gavin Francis and Jill Bolte Taylor, Seth Mnookin and Henry Jay Przybylo, Susannah CahalanAtul Gawande and Heather Armstrong, and finally, most usefully, Heather Harpham. As I finished my book proposal, I had to find a few more that closely mirrored the structure or voice or topics of my memoir, and I’ll share some of the ones I liked best below.

Continue Reading…

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Sitting on My Hands


There is so much waiting these days that I feel like I’m constantly trying to cross a street with unending traffic. There will be a break in it, eventually, but the cars are so close to each other that I can’t even see what’s on the other side.

During the month of November, my family waited for responses to my oldest daughter’s college applications (and we keep waiting as they trickle in). We waited for a family member to be well enough for surgery, then waited again while she recovered. We waited for news on new homes, on travel plans, on the progression of disease in someone we love. We waited for a flight, and another. We waited on work projects and proposals and to see if our oven was, indeed, broken. On so many of these things, there is still no resolution. So, we keep waiting.

Most of all, I’m waiting as my delightful, warm and excited new literary agent (Sharon Bowers, of Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Agency) holds onto a copy of my finally, finally finished book proposal and manuscript until the time is right to submit it to publishers. Before she agreed to represent me, I spent October waiting and waiting for a very talented but incredibly slow editor to send me her suggestions for changes to both those documents. As I waited for the editor and now wait for the agent, I am also waiting, staring at the sent mail in my inbox and the list of submitted essays on Submittable to get responses from the magazines in which I would love to publish. I’m just waiting waiting waiting, waiting waiting waiting, my muscles sore from waiting. Continue Reading…

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