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Question of the Week: Whatcha Been Up To, Friends?

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Well? Where have you been? Tell me a story about your summer vacation.


I’m trying out some new things at LitPark this season. Every Monday, I’ll still run a Question of the Week, and every Friday I’ll do a Weekly Wrap. But Wednesdays have changed. The first Wednesday of the month will be an interview, like before. The following Wednesday will be a new feature called Writers Sing! Lance Reynald takes the Wednesday after that. And the final Wednesday is a Top 5 game, featuring a special guest.

dr. dot visits litpark

That means this week, we’ll play Top 5, and the beautiful Dr. Dot – masseuse to the rock stars – will kick things off. Don’t miss it!

Thank you to Robin Slick for introducing us!


P.S. My friend, Jessica Keener has a column up at, and she’s also linked to an excerpt of her (not yet published) novel, OTHERS LESS FORTUNATE. Check it out, if you can, and leave a comment if it’s a nice one.

P.P.S. I listen to my football games on the radio, so it’s always an extra treat to see the visual. Watch this Steelers’ kick-off return.

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  • Daryl
    September 24, 2007

    I took my first trip out of California (and real vacation) in over 15 years. I spent three weeks with my mother visiting the old homesteads and burial grounds of ancestors in southwestern Ohio. This turned out to be very fortuitous in giving me inspiration and information for working on my novel.

  • Sarah Bain
    September 24, 2007

    Wow, so the benefit of being on the West Coast is that it is only 9 p.m. here and the kids are asleep and the parents are still awake so it is that in-between time where I can actually do something productive like enter my name into a drawing because I LOVE winning prizes.

    But unfortunately there is nothing exciting to report on my summer vacation though we (the family) spent long summer days outside ungardening, and Sawyer who was 15, then 16, then 17 months old learned that all you need in a garden is a hose and a shovel and life is very, very good. And Carver the 10 year old went to the Harry Potter party of the century and spent his summer reading in various trees while his 6 year old sister made fairy houses in the woods and in the parks and checked on them throughout the summer to see if the fairies left anything behind for her.

    Probably the best thing of all though was a brilliant friend who told me that she cooks dinner every night after dinner so that it’s ready for the next day and you don’t have to stress out about getting dinner on the table when everyone is starving. And I’ve been doing that for the past 2 weeks and I swear we all have more time for reading and writing and drinking coffee.

    So summer for me begins now when the days get shorter and the kids go to bed early and stay in bed late and take a few classes at a nearby cooperative and Terry and I can steal a few minutes here and there to read and write and surf the Web.

  • lance reynald
    September 24, 2007

    discovered countless new forms of procrastination, social networked the hell out of myself, a bit of reading, grew muttonchops, found out the book I’d been working on had a hell of a lot more life to it than I had thought possible, considered dating and thought better of it, gabbed away days of sweet vanilla iced lattes with friends, had a few drinks now and then, discovered this thing called a Yard Sale and then discovered why I most certainly will never do that again…

    so, in a nutshell; nothin much.

    great to see the park open again.


  • Lizzy
    September 24, 2007

    Yay, it’s back!!

    My summer vacation wasn’t really that exciting. I’m a Freshman in high school this year so over the summer I was forced to read Life of Pi (which I loved, a very badly abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo (which I hated), and The Color of Water (which the jury is still out on, because I read it in, um, July). I also read some other books of my own free will, none of which I can remember.

    Plus I had a very bad experience at hippie camp, which I only lasted at for four days.

    And of course, I discovered new music, because that is what I do for fun. Including “Say It’s Possible”, which now I can’t listen to without thinking of you, Susan.

    Ooh, my parents are shouting at me to go to bed, so I’m going to pretend to while really finishing my homework.

  • Nathalie
    September 24, 2007

    I was kidnapped by the aliens who live inside my head. Again.
    Read that: I spend my first holiday break (three weeks in August) at home writing stories and cooking (which is also a way to tell stories)

    Second holiday break (last week) was spent in the Maremma region of Tuscany, checking out the Etruscan hang outs, sampling wine and food, getting into hot thermal jacuzzi right out in the country side and visiting loads of quaint medieval villages perched on top of volcanic rock formations. Taking LOADS of pictures.

  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    September 24, 2007

    My husby and I drove our youngest to college 1500 miles away and came home to an empty nest. After 20 years of kids stirring up conversations, arguments, excitement, pride, tears, and joy, BassMan and I discovered we still like each other.

  • Paul A. Toth
    September 24, 2007

    I moved to Sanibel, Florida from Flint,
    Michigan. Talk about a change in
    directions. I’m working almost
    exclusively on a new novel — a few
    poems here and there — but I have
    started a daily video blog. These are
    sonic or visual experiments. There’s
    no archive. That blog is located here:

    Hope you’re all well!

  • Silvia
    September 24, 2007

    Hooray, Litpark’s back!

    My summer could’ve been a lot more exciting, but it wasn’t: I finished uni, came back home in Romania and pretty much did nothing all summer long. Except for working on my first novel, which is almost, but no quite, finished.

    I was supposed to start a PhD in October but I didn’t get the scholarship, so i’m now looking for a real job.

  • Michael D. Williams
    September 24, 2007

    My kids are not in school yet, so no such thing as summer break. I did the usual read, fished and ran. Oklahoma is turning 100 so we have gone to various events, the most recent a cattle drive up the Chisholm trail. That was pretty cool. Oh well I have to get ready for work, bye….

  • Susan Henderson
    September 24, 2007

    Wow, I’ve missed you guys. Let me get my kids on the school bus and then I’ll come play.

  • Bradley
    September 24, 2007

    To start with, I’m ending my summer with my first Litpark post. But before that it was the typical summer: I got my wife pregnant, abandoned the children in Florida, took a wonderful (childless) vacation in Paris, said goodbye to the wife and kids and flew to Kuwait, and eventually settled in for six months in Afghanistan.

    I’m so glad this site is off its summer vacation. Over the last few months I’ve really enjoyed reading the posts. (Though I’m a bit amused that my first post here is on the same subject as my first 6th-grade-composition assignment.)


  • Grant Bailie
    September 24, 2007

    My daughter moved in with us.
    I finished the final draft of my second novel (by the way, thanks Sue–it is much better for your input.)
    Went camping.
    One of our cats died and we buried her in the back yard.
    A couple months later, we got two kittens from two different litters.
    Met some very nice local writers some of whom throw very nice parties.
    Read some stuff–the most impressive of which was Richard Brautigan’s story collection Revenge of the Lawn.
    Watched TV–mostly baseball.
    Went to work. Came back.

  • Ric Marion
    September 24, 2007

    Welcome back!

    The last facets of my WIP fell into place, spurred by long evenings with friends, quiet moments sitting on the rocks in the river, and endless days beneath the clear blue sky.

    Can’t ask for more than that. (well, a fat contract, lead title, front cover blurb from Stephen King – those, maybe.) But on the creative end, a perfect summer.


  • Susan Henderson
    September 24, 2007

    So great to see you guys again! Before I dig into the comments, I just want to link everyone involved with LitPark and my book: Terry Bain (my O. Henry Award-winning webmaster), Lance Reynald (my monthly author interviewer with the special touch), and Tommy Kane (my book cover designer), who has a great blog today about his recent work with one of my favorite photographers, David LaChapelle. Check them out, if you can, and even better if you want to link to them or to LitPark.

    Daryl – So great to see you here. I think you’re at the top of your game (both with writing and photography) with this study of burial grounds. I’m excited for you!

    Sarah – We attended a Harry Potter 7 party in France, and for me and Green-Hand, who are severe claustrophobics, it was not really all that fun. Love your story about the fairy houses. Do your kids read the Spiderwick books?

    Lance – How excited am I going to be when I get your manuscript in my hands! And that yard sale has got to be the setting for the next thing you write. Yard sales bring out the strangest quality in people. XO!

    Lizzy – Nice to have you here! I’m so sorry you had a terrible camp experience. Welcome to the club – it’s a big one. Let me link the singer you mentioned, and thank you for introducing me to her music: Terra Naomi.

    Nathalie – I’ll be checking out your photos today. The medieval village sounds like someplace I’d like to go. I’ve never been to Italy.

    Carolyn – Aww. There’s your next story to write.

    Paul – I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine you outside of Flint. Next thing you’re going to tell me you quit smoking. I’ll check out the video blogs. Don’t let me catch you on some overdecorated lawn in Florida with fake snow, or I’m sending you to rehab!

    Silvia – Romania, an almost-finished novel, and a scholarship for doctoral work, and you think summer could’ve been more exciting??? Congratulations x 3 – wow!

    Michael – I can never get enough of your stories of fishing and cattle drives. Such a different world and a different pace.

    Bradley – Welcome! Let’s have a story about Afghanistan. I’m glad you’re here.

    Grant – I’m always glad to get first crack at your work. You’re a fantastic writer. I’m glad for the kittens. Revenge of the Lawn? This is the first I’ve heard about it, and now I’m curious.

    Ric – I am so happy to hear your work-in-progress is all worked out. That’s the best news of all!

  • Kimberly
    September 24, 2007

    As some of you know, I spent the summer making a short documentary about waxing (yes… THAT kind of waxing!)

    After 19 personal interviews (including the notorious Robin Slick!), 6 professional interviews and hours and hours of transcribing, assembling, editing and trolling archival footage of things you might never imagined were available on film, I think we’ve actually got something!! 🙂

    I’ll be sure to list our premiere screening info here, so anyone who wants to partake (of the film, not a waxing) you’ll know where to find us at a theatre/film festival near you!

    Glad you’re back Susan! It’s so nice to be back among the LitPark friends!

  • Susan Henderson
    September 24, 2007

    Kimberly – Great to hear the film is so close to being ready. I’ll see you Sunday!

  • Lori Oliva
    September 24, 2007

    I finished a corporate contract at a Glengarry Glen Ross twin. I decompressed at the beach with my family. I hugged Chewbacca and munched a handful of Captain Crunch with a blue man. I made a serendipitous friend at a book festival. I managed to get the manuscript into two houses, and am still navigating through the publishing process. Now, I’m celebrating my birthday reading the fall installment of Lit Park! Thanks, Susan!!!

  • Kimberly
    September 24, 2007

    p.s. What an unbelievable surprise to find Bradley on this site! I was in that same 6th grade class with him in Clearwater, Florida, when we first shared this “what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation” assignment. I’m not being facetious when I say I don’t know how he found us here…(we’ve been out of touch for practically an eternity) but I can tell you first-hand that LitPark would be honored to share in the stirring tales of his Afghan adventures.

    So I guess something else that happened… was that I found an old friend.

    Here’s a link to his blog for those who want a sneak peak…

  • Heather Fowler
    September 24, 2007

    Hey Susan,

    Glad to finally make it here to have a good roam around. What did I do this summer–stewed in the heat and whimsy of a San Diego summer full of floating in pools, malingering listening to music full blast in my car, and dreaming impossible dreams. Went to my day job, sat there all day (should get points for this! LOL!), paid bills, somehow wrote about 60 poems (including a Spenserian sonnet on Gangsta Rap, no less), started yet another novel so that I now have the impossible/beautiful disaster task of writing two at once planned for fall and winter, dipped my baby toe into playwrighting, slept, raged against the dying of whatever light there may be to rage against (DT), and created a database for my submissions that taught me two things: 1. um, databases are hard, but 2. the one I have now, after all that work, autogenerates reports and coverletters in such a cakey fashion one would think I was Marie Antoinette still expecting bread but somehow getting a cake festival under alder trees instead. Would the peasants like petit-fours or a large buttery, sugar-dotted specimen? Also, in an effort to make this thing fly, I’ve reread all previous work from the oh shiite archives of the last six or seven years–amazing, isn’t it, how you think you’ve grown and changed so much but betray yourself with reverberating themes as you age that are not so different than the ones you knew before. Why I do not diary, I suppose–why face this discovery almost daily. LOL! One would think you could simply take a good page you wrote, zerox it about 800 times and write a new date at the top, eh? Oh, I did learn how to play the guitar (start learning). My caterwauling can be heard by all around, even my mellow classic rock loving teacher who keeps giving me boy bands to play. This week: Redemption Song. I asked him if I needed to be on drugs to play this well, since I haven’t any; he said, “No,” of course… But I know he was lying. “All I ever asssskkkked…Redemption Song.” LOL! “You have a nice voice,” he said last week though, so luckily something, as well as my chords, is improving–in light of the fact that singing in small enclosed rooms makes me nervous and perhaps my nerves are finally going away… But otherwise, another year commences. Wish me luck because in about three days my best friend will have a zip drive with all of my work and begin to submit it like crazy. I will have to self-monitor from all the crazy edit and re-edit I like to do and let it go… If you love something, let it go, as they say–and so on and so on. Perhaps it (not being able to rework old stuff) will push a greater push on working on the newer work. Many fond regards and wishes for your success and happiness to surmount any you’ve known before, H

  • Aurelio
    September 24, 2007

    Like Nathalie, I had aliens running around inside my head all summer too (the subject of my next book.)

    We had two vacations: one planned, the other last-minute.

    The last-minute one was a trip to Cazenovia, NY, for a week of something called The Franklin Trek. Owners of old Franklin Autos all get together and take drives, share info and tips, and mostly eat and party. We just purchased a 1917 Franklin this year, so my partner, Chuck, really wanted to go for the information he’d glean, but it was surprisingly fun and a delightful group of people. I thought I’d be bored silly, but he book I brought along stayed in my suitcase.

    The second, planned one, was 16 days touring China, and I’ve posted pix from that trip here:

    Aurelio’s China Adventure

    (Thank you, Susan, for helping make our China trip more enjoyable.)

    Now it’s time to get back to those aliens and LitPark. 🙂

  • Sarah R. Roundell
    September 24, 2007

    Hooray! The park is back. I hope everyone had a wonderful summer and I look forward to sharing thoughts with all of you this season.
    As for me, I have spent the last five weeks in the Southwest of England visiting my boyfriend. We took a short trip to Ireland to see a very wicked concert. I’ve also been doing more reading than ever with the ELLE jury coming to a close and snapping photos and blogging like crazy.
    It’s good to be back here with all of you and I can’t wait to see how this new format for Wednesdays goes. Cheers!

  • *Joe*
    September 24, 2007

    Yay! Welcome back Susan! I’m expecting plenty of tales from your hiatus.

    We spent the summer chasing a toddler and a hyper Golden Retriever around our yard. Weekends spent swimming in the ocean with my little girl and staying outdoors and offline for me. I totally (just about) unplugged the Internet and only answered emergency emails and other non-existent beasts. I read books, started writing again and in general had a very very good summer.

    Glad to see the park back up and running.

  • Jordan E. Rosenfeld
    September 24, 2007

    I knew I would be glad when Litpark was back, but I didn’t expect to be quite so excited 🙂

    I played lots of badminton with my husband. Wrote only for work for the most part. Realized that my non-fiction book Make a Scene really is being published in November. Started trying to think of clever networking schemes for that. Decided it was more fun to just relax and enjoy summer. Saw my little brother graduate high school. Went to Hawaii. Turned 33. Slept in a tent overlooking an elephant enclosure and was kept awake by a lion for hubby’s 40th. Read some great books.


  • Jonathan Evison
    September 24, 2007

    . . . welcome back, susan . . . i split this summer almost exclusively between writing and camping . . . okay, there was a lot of reading and drinking, as well . . .trying to keep myself focused on the current project (about 300 pages in) as i await (and await, and await) the june release of “All About Lulu”. . .working with richard nash at soft skull has been painless and instructive . . . new addition to the family this summer, as well– a beagle named dave . . .

  • Jonathan Evison
    September 24, 2007

    . . . welcome back, susan! . . . i split this summer almost exclusively between writing and camping . . . okay, there was a lot of reading and drinking, as well . . .trying to keep myself focused on the current project (about 300 pages in) as i await (and await, and await) the june release of “All About Lulu”. . .working with richard nash at soft skull has been instructive . . . also, new addition to the family this summer, as well– a foundling beagle named dave has sniffed his way into our lives . . .

  • Susan Henderson
    September 24, 2007

    Lori – Happy birthday! A summer with Chewbacca and Captain Crunch sounds as good as it gets.

    Kimberly – That’s the best surprise LitPark reuniting since learning Aurelio and Daryl went to summer camp together! Love when that happens!

    Heather – You made it! I went to Marie Antoinette’s house (I mean, village) this summer, and if she’s not one of the most fascinating characters in history, I don’t know who is. Somehow I think she’ll be your muse, if you check her out. Here’s to impossible dreams!

    Aurelio – I got a package from you today!!!!! xoxo!

    Sarah – I missed you. Mr. H is from England, and I like it there. Where in the southwest did you go?

    *Joe* – I’m impressed you could unplug. I did when I traveled and had the shakes. Read anything good?

    Jordan – Where did you go that had elephants and lions? Let’s think together about clever plans for your book. I’m proud of you!

    Jonathan – Hey! I want to hear more about Lulu and Soft Skull.

  • James Spring
    September 24, 2007

    I believe that you’re about to run out of bytes on this roll call, so I’ll keep it brief. And I’ll just get it out. Okay. I was unfaithful to you.

    I’m sorry. I should have waited. But you were gone so long. Those other sites didn’t mean a thing to me (except Becky’s, but then she got a little fetish-y on me, and handcuffed me to the virtual bedpost and beat me with right-leaning diatribes). Anyway… I’m sorry. It was all a stupid mistake. Now I just want everything to be like it was for us before. But I see that you’ve already changed your Wednesdays. Regardless, I won’t give up on us…

    Oh yeah… my summer wrap up (punchlines only): 6-week-old baby (Cade), NPR gigs, 11th place in Baja 500, 2,373rd rejection letter on manuscript, MySpace whoring to a degree that gave my soul a form of penicillin-resistant gonorrhea.

  • Kaytie M. Lee
    September 24, 2007

    So I guess the summer’s really over now. Yay! Autumn’s my favorite season, and getting LitPark back makes it all the sweeter.

    This summer I pushed through the first twenty pages of my new novel, spent the rest of my free time researching for it, and am waiting for news of my own. Oh, the waiting.

  • Noria
    September 24, 2007

    I spent the summer as an artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA. Got six chapters of my novel done, visited San Quentin, met some fantastic people (blind poets, mariachis, unicycle-riding knitters), toured an underground missile site, hung out with deer, wild turkeys, and coyotes. I’m not exactly overjoyed to be back in the real world, but Litpark’s return takes some of the edge off.

  • Terry Bain
    September 24, 2007

    Hey. How did Sarah get on here before I did?

    Good to see y’all again.

    Now then. Back to whatever I was doing.

    Could somebody remind me what I was doing?

  • Jordan E. Rosenfeld
    September 24, 2007

    Sue: I went to the Vision Quest ranch in Salinas. I can’t say that I’d recommend it, but it was unforgettable. I did get to hang out with an elephant, a baby hyena and a servile cat.

  • A.S. King
    September 24, 2007

    I wrote some killer short stories, started the next novel..three times, swam about 1000 laps & had a beautiful baby girl.

  • Julie Ann Shapiro
    September 24, 2007

    I’m glad your back. Hmmm…Summer…actually had one for a change. I ended the job from hell, enjoyed the beach for a couple of weeks, wrapped up my novel, then got in a car wreck. The past three weeks went by in a haze of healing mind,body and soul. Now I’m starting to feel better. I got into meditation, tai chi, swimming and writing a new flash series. I also found a little publisher for my first novel, Jen-Zen & The One Shoe Diaries and am excited that the print version will be ready in time for the Christmas holidays.


  • PD Smith
    September 24, 2007

    Great to see some old friends back in LitPark already!

    We spent the summer discovering new walks in the water meadows near our home as well as decorating after the builders have done their worst.

    And now I’m looking for pastures new and writing a book proposal, while trying not to remember that another summer has been and gone…

  • Susan Henderson
    September 24, 2007

    Lance has a great piece over at Brad Listi’s Nervous Breakdown. Here’s a mini clip:

    “How much is this?
    Ten dollars.

    “Will you take two?”
    I’d rather set it on fire.

    Aurelio was a great sport about being interviewed here by a guy who didn’t read a single word of his book.

    Enrico is sketch-casting. If you want to know what that is, go here.

    And now to James – Tell Becky to pass me the handcuffs. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember those other places you’ve been.

    Kaytie – What’s the research on? Will you tell?

    Noria – Great to have you back. Six chapters – that’s progress! How come I never meet unicycle-riding knitters?

    Terry – Hiya, t.

    Jordan – This should probably not go on their brochure: “I can’t say that I’d recommend it, but it was unforgettable.”

    Amy – Wow, wow, wow! Congratulations!!!

    Julie – More good news than bad. I hope leaving the job from hell is a great new beginning for you.

    Peter – How peaceful. It sounds like you actually had a summer break.

  • Jessica Keener
    September 24, 2007


    Welcome back. The web was a little too quiet without you. I worked on a new novel and had a europhic time on Martha’s Vineyard, plus another short but memorable stay on the shores of East Brewster (also on Cape Cod)and the hills of Vermont. Thank you so much for posting the link to my excerpt. I’ve heard from dozens of readers, readers I’ve never met from all over the country. Thanks again. Looking forward to your posts. Warm wishes, Jessica

  • lance reynald
    September 24, 2007

    oh Jessica! I LOOOOOOOOVE Brewster!

    you just made me all nostalgic for early season visits and dips in the freezing cold water and sandbar walks at lowtide…

    oh Brewster.

  • Julie Ann Shapiro
    September 25, 2007

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, things are looking up.


  • Sarah R. Roundell
    September 25, 2007

    Susan, I’m in Devonshire, England. Staying in England’s largest village about an hour from Exeter and two hours from great places like Plymouth, Glastonbury, and Bath. I love it over here, so inspiring!

  • Ellen Meister
    September 25, 2007

    Wheeeee! So happy LitPark is back.

    I spent my summer writing and stressing and muttering, “There’s got to be a better way to not make a living.”

    Highlight was visiting Myf and family. 🙂


  • A.S. King
    September 25, 2007

    Thanks, Susan.

    I’m so glad you’re back. Without LitPark, I was getting entirely too much work done.


  • Betsy
    September 25, 2007

    Yay! Litpark is back! Everyone has such interesting reports!
    Our summer was pretty exciting too. Highlights: My husband’s debut gallery show. Seeing my stories made into a play and a movie. Going to the beach with our dog. Trips to Nebraska and DC.

  • Robin Slick
    September 25, 2007

    Hey hey:

    Wait, vacation is over? Someone forgot to tell me – I’m typing from the beach right now on my son’s laptop and was thrilled to learn just now I could steal wireless from some guy’s mansion I’m sitting in front of.

    My summer was/is incredible – I’m still bouncing off the walls. Right now I’m in serious discussions as to whether Three Days in NYC will be a feature film or television series and my cell phone keeps ringing with LA area codes. I’m walking around stoned on TUMS.

    And..err…if any of you happen to come upon the brand new issue of Drumhead Magazine, there’s a three page spread entitled “Too Slick” all about Julie and Eric and their work with Adrian Belew and so many references to me I’ve spent the past 24 hours in tears…the good kind.

    Okay, time to hit post comment as I’m down to 23% power left and I have no time to edit so good luck on this one, Rob.


  • Robin Slick
    September 25, 2007

    P.S. I just finished reading The History of Love and you want to talk about a literary masterpiece…oh my God. I don’t know about you, Susan, but I alternated between clutching the book to my chest and going through two boxes of Kleenex. What a brilliant writer and only thirty years old.

    And yet.

    (And yet. Willthose two words ever mean the same to you again, Sue? Or the image of that card pinned to his suit jacket? Or Bruno?)

  • Susan Henderson
    September 25, 2007

    Jessica – My pleasure. I love love love Vermont, but I’ve never been there in the summer – only for skiing.

    Lance – Shouldn’t you be sending me something one of these minutes?

    Julie – Here’s to a good year.

    Sarah – I love all those places. We go to Dorset a lot. Witchhampton? Wimborne? I never remember which are the names of towns and which are the names of other things. Every time we go to England, we accidentally lose the wing mirrors on the rental cars. The streets are so narrow!

    Ellen – Yay, you’re here! I’m so jealous you got to visit Myfanwy and I didn’t.

    Amy – I actually made every single change to LitPark with that in mind. I wanted everyone (including me) to have more time to write.

    Betsy – Hey, I’m so glad to see you here. And I know all about your Nebraska trip because I followed it on your blog.

    Robin – I am so over the top happy for you and PROUD of you! Takes the sting out of the long, long journey, doesn’t it?

    P.S. The History of Love is the most beautiful fucking book in the universe. I did the very same thing – clutched it to my chest, stared off into space, read it till my eyes burned.

  • Jessica Keener
    September 25, 2007


    Another Brewster lover? We need to talk!! I meant to write EUPHORIC in my first post. The tidal experience is otherworldly, right?

    And Suzanne, I also triple love Vermont. My tender spot is located in the Dorset/Manchester area where you can still see real cows grazing and discover hidden waterfalls just off the side of the road.

    As for book reading, I got into a spate of memoirs. Glass Castle blew me off the cliff. I walked around for a week reading it aloud to my husband and son. Every page was both miraculous and parallyzing. Also read The Tender Bar. Anyone else read this? Wonderful wisdom in those pages. Jessica

  • Susan Henderson
    September 25, 2007

    Jessica – I haven’t read anything by Jeannette Walls, but I’ll keep Glass Castle in mind now, for sure. Who wrote The Tender Bar?

    I’m actually so excited about the new LitPark game I’m trying out that I can’t sleep…. I hope everyone has fun with it and enjoys my special guest!

  • Richard Cooper
    September 26, 2007

    Susan and everyone,
    Wow, what a great bunch you are here at LitPark. Some summers contain us, and my grandmother’s passing made mine a sad one this year. I was in the middle of Manhattan (for Thrillerfest) when I got the news and flew to Iowa for her funeral. At some point, The Late Show left me a voice message about tickets for Letterman, which I know Grandma would have loved. She enjoyed stand-up comedy, and “Eddie Murphy Raw” made her laugh – which always seemed oddly freaking hilarious to me. Bookending my eventful summer was a graduate course in Organizational Change, which reminded me (in some strange, lateral way) about Ariel’s song, in The Tempest, as she deceived Ferdinand:

    Full fathom five thy father lies;
    Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes:
    Nothing of him that doth fade
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.

    Grandma loved Shakespeare and named my mother Portia, who I will remember to call more often now that summer is over.


  • Jessica
    September 26, 2007


    The Tender Bar is by J.R. Moehringer

    Also, another wonderful memoir/read that charged me: The Big House: a century in the life of an American summer home by George Howe Colt

  • Juliet
    September 26, 2007

    I had a spectacular summer: met a great new friend, had a few loose ends tied up in the mode of ye olde closure; spent weeks at a fabulous Hideout… read a book that took my heart into places it long will remember. Got some tidbits of a book I long to hold.

  • Lee
    September 26, 2007

    When I was younger, I remember wishing to be older so that I could “do what I wanted” on summer vacations instead of being draggedaround by my parents to visit grandparents, spend days on the beach only to be in the room by night when all the fun going on downstairs made an alluring sound.
    Now, I wish I were younger so that I could enjoy summer vacations andnot think about what the heck is going to be waiting for me when I return to work.
    On the upside, I did decide this summer that all future vacations would coincide with either a running orcycling race. If I can ever find time to get my butt in the pool vacations might also coincidewith Triathlons.
    I can feel the pigment in my hair lightening to a nice shade of gray as I write this. Maybe I should relax when I’m not on vacation, too!


  • Jody Reale
    September 27, 2007

    Glad to see you all here after what turned out to be an interesting summer (but not “oooh…ahhh” interesting.) For example:

    We moved for the third time in 18 months; I grew some more hair, my husband grew some more eyebrows. Our dogs continued to act like a couple of nutjobs; my daughter turned three and decided the same day that her dad and I are not allowed to speak to each other, much less hug. “Mom! What’s your problem? Stop hugging for God’s sake.” That’s my girl.

    I wrote some, worked some, and resolved to shut up about how much or how little I write or work. There was a flurry of purchases involving furniture and more face time than usual with the in-laws. My tendencies toward hatching harebrained schemes in the middle of the night started acting up again. For some reason I decided to start deliberately working out for the first time since the Clinton administration. I’m the girl in the pool with bad skin and at least one goggle full of water.

    I have to admit that, despite returning to all the good, healthy, social activity that fall brings on for me, I own something like 67 pairs of white pants and I can’t believe the summer’s already over. Let leaf-jumping season begin!

  • Susan Henderson
    September 28, 2007

    Richard – I’m sorry to hear you lost your grandma, but how awesome to know she liked Eddie Murphy Raw! Nice to have you back.

    Juliet – Ooh, I love hideouts.

    Lee – Some of us suck at relaxing; it’s just our nature. I didn’t know you did triathlons – wow!

    Jody – Jody, we need to send our husbands to eyebrow rehab!! Do you ever submit to Fresh Yarn? You should turn this into an essay and write to Hillary.

Susan Henderson