Marion Roach Smith is the author of “The Memoir Project,” one of the best books I’ve read on the subject. I’ve started reading her website, too — it’s incredibly helpful if you’re a writer — and one of her blogs was entitled something like “Ten things I learned about memoir writing in 2017.” I thought it was a great idea, and it made me think about what I’d learned about memoir writing, too. Then it made me think about what else I might have learned that had nothing to do with writing. Looking back, here’s a few things 2017 taught me to do: [Read more…] about Three Things I Learned in 2017
This past week, The Moth MainStage debuted in Nashville. I was honored to share the stage with four amazing storytellers, among them Jerry Neal, a 95-year-old WWII bomber pilot, who — despite surviving the Depression and a world war — looked maybe 75. [Read more…] about The Vet, the Truck Driver, and a Lesson in Service
My father weighs heavy on my heart this time of year. He would have turned 85 years old this week, except he died suddenly the day after Thanksgiving in 1997 at the tender age of 68. And last week, as I stood in Nashville’s Johnny Cash Museum attending a creative conference, I thought how much Daddy would love to be there. Daddy loved country music. The voices of Merle Haggard, Charlie Pride, and Eddy Arnold filled Daddy’s car (the chorus of Arnold’s “Singing His Cattle Call” will forever be etched in my memory) and I can remember Daddy’s worn out 8-track tape of Willie Nelson’s “Red Headed Stranger,” which he played over and over singing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”
My apologies. I have been home only 10 days in the last five weeks, which is why I have been absent from my weekly blogs. Had I been more organized, perhaps I could have written a post or two, but alas, it was all I could do to make sure I had my phone charged and clean underwear.
My travels took me to Dublin for the last leg of The Moth’s European invasion, New York City, Nashville, Little Rock, Tampa, and finally Ocala, Florida for my niece’s wedding. Every trip except the last involved performing or other creative endeavors, and every stop featured food. Lots and lots of food.
In Ireland, at dinner with dear friends, we had a sumptuous meal followed by dessert — a lovely ice cream with fruit — where guests actually poured cream on their ice cream. Ireland is the land of cream and butter and then more cream and more butter, which you smear all over your bread (and there is so much bread) that you eat right before you eat a tasty baked good in a long line of tasty baked goods (e.g., strawberry and rhubarb tart, Irish whiskey cake). And New York is New York — delicacies are everywhere and I sampled them all. In Nashville, I ate my weight in buttermilk pie, shrimp and grits, and pimento cheese spread with tomato jam, delighting in the three essential Southern food groups — lard, sugar, and salt. In Little Rock, I was a bit more constrained because I was performing (if you don’t count the pork tacos). But in Tampa and Ocala, I celebrated my hometown and my niece’s wedding with gusto. Luckily, Spanx have a little give.
Back home in NH, I am now on Day 3 of a 21-Day Purification Program. I’ve been wanting to do a cleanse for months and my five-week culinary bacchanal pushed me over the edge. While it’s a big commitment — primarily vegetables and fruit for three weeks — I’ve done several cleanses before and I know what awaits: restored energy, clearer thinking, and jeans that fit. Just in time for the holidays. Wish me luck.
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