The new issue of Shenandoah, which includes my story “The Fossil Record,” has just gone live.
The working title for “The Fossil Record” was “The Nanny’s Tale,” and I guess that just about covers it:
The Davenport’s beautiful house is filled with beautiful art. Art Molly loves to look on. So for a while, the stage before this stage, she supposes, she tried to convince herself that was reason enough to stay with the job, reason enough to be happy — the slant of light on the gleaming wooden floors and the quiet, and the milky bubble at the corner of Odette’s mouth whenever she falls asleep clutching a bottle. Which she is not supposed to do, or Molly to allow, because it’ll be bad for the teeth Odette doesn’t actually have yet. The fact is that there are bold still-lifes hung everywhere, even the kitchen, oil paint on canvas, such an orgy of art that Molly can hardly comprehend it. She begins to run a sponge over the marble countertop. How much longer can she rationalize what she’s doing? She needs to go back to school, so she can get her education certificate, so she can teach art to preschoolers, at least until the next downturn, when such positions will once again be cut.
Stay in the room. It needn’t be an actual room. You can be alone in a busy cafe. I’ve gotten some of my best ideas while walking, or riding the Paris Metro (I recommend Line 8). I’ve never gotten a good idea while checking Twitter or shopping.
You need to be blank, and even a little bit bored, for your brain to feed you ideas. The poet Wendell Berry wrote that in solitude, “one’s inner voices become audible.” Figure out your clearest, most productive time of day to work, and guard this time carefully.
Always carry a pen, a paper notebook and something good to read. A lot of life consists of the dead time in between events. Don’t fill these interstitial moments with pornography and cat videos. Fill them with things that feed your work and your soul.
From “How to Find Your Place in the World after Graduation,” Pamela Druckerman, The New York Times.
Many thanks to Front Porch Journal, which has nominated my story “Bubble” for this year’s Pushcart Prize.
You can check out the story, which appeared in Issue 27 of Front Porch Journal, here.
Moreland Avenue Kroger parking lot.
A neighbor “commissioned” this wall last year.
The stonemason worked at his own pace,
setting bits of quartz and shell into the nooks and crannies.
I wish my yard needed a wall.
Hitchhiker, Moreland Avenue Overpass.
The other sign she’s holding says: “Artist headed to New York.”
“Found art,” I-20 overpass, Cherokee Avenue