This Made Me Cry

Self-doubt is a bitch. This is the most wonderful boost. It means the world to me. Thank you, Roxane Gay.

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A Few Good Things

Hi there,

I wonder if anyone reads this anymore? If I’m writing into emptiness? I don’t post nearly as frequently as I once did. I send a monthly newsletter now. Sign up here on the site, if you like. I never spam, or share email addresses. But even if no one reads this it’s okay. This blog and I go way back. I’m sticking with her.

First good thing: Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press 20 final copies of The Weight of Him (hardcover) are available on giveaway at Goodreads. Giveaway ends on Sunday, April 16th.

Second good thing: My essay “Loud in the Time of Chaos” published at Tin House Online. It’s about the Irish fiddle virtuoso, Sharon Shannon, and the salve and importance of tapping into our most powerful parts, especially during these difficult times.

I also have several events coming up. You can find full details on my Events page.

Thanks for reading…nobody?

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Silence, Secrets Kill

This 8 minute video is so powerful. Thank you, Jamal Edwards, The Guardian, and all the brave, big-hearted men here. All of this spoke to me, and in particular the importance of catching negative, depressive thoughts and turning them around, before they kill you. Suicide is the number one killer of men under 45 in the UK. In Ireland, it is the leading cause of death in young men aged 15-34. In the US, men die by suicide 3.5 times more than women and the rate of suicide is highest in middle age. And the rates keep rising. I hope to play my own part in changing these startling stats and helping to save lives by encouraging people to not suffer in silence.

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Who TF Cares?

There’s this cruel voice in my head. It’s always been there, trying to shut me up, keep me small. Lately, it’s sick of my efforts to market and promote my first novel. ‘Who tf cares?’ A big part of me could give in, and give up. Maybe the voice is right. Maybe no one cares. Especially in this catastrophic political climate. The voice, doubt, work, it’s exhausting. Yet I won’t lie down. Because I care. Because great people have helped make good things happen for my novel and me.

  • Caroline Leavitt, the wonderful, New York Times bestselling author and fierce champion of all things lit interviewed me.
  • My dear friend, fellow writer, and Mills College alum, Lisa Lewis, interviewed me by phone for Literary Mama and I love the results of our conversation.
  • Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen, the brilliant hosts of the GrottoPod podcast interviewed me the day after The Weight of Him‘s official launch party at The Booksmith (there may have been whiskey fumes in the tiny space).
  • My essay on food, family and wanting more published at The Washington Post.
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Don’t Anyone Dare Wake Me Up

My husband, “Have you double-checked? Are you sure it’s THE Elizabeth Strout.”

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Book Love

My first novel, The Weight of Him, published on Valentine’s Day. It’s gotten some very nice coverage for which I’m deeply grateful. In particular, The Nervous Breakdown ran an excerpt here.

There are also a number of interviews conducted by smart, insightful, and dedicated women:

Interview at The Millions with Lauren O’Neal

The Sweetest Debut Interview at Flavorwire with Sarah Seltzer

Interview at Bustle with E. Ce. Miller

Interview in The Mercury News with Georgia Rowe

And then there’s my self-interview at The Nervous Breakdown.

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Please Mark Your Calendars

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Novel Party!

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Signed Bookplate

Hey, it’s Cyber Monday! Pre-order The Weight of Him today and I’ll send you a signed bookplate! And, remember, even online shopping can support your local independent bookshop/small business.

I’d like to change the world. Our world needs to be changed. How about you?

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Salvage

I love flowers. Especially roses, orchids, and hydrangeas. Amongst my favorite flowers I favor certain colors–white orchids and hydrangeas, and roses in all colors except red. Which is strange because I love red. Of roses, I prefer palest pink and sunset orange.

Last week I asked my husband to buy roses. We don’t enjoy fresh flowers in our home nearly often enough. I can’t remember which day my husband bought the roses. I think it was Tuesday. The day of the election. That seems about right.

The twelve roses were red. I didn’t want red roses. I was looking forward to roses in palest pink. My husband claims the store only had red roses. I’m not sure I believe him. I think he messed up and he didn’t want trouble.

I don’t know why a dozen roses is right now making me think of the twelve apostles. And Jesus. Jesus discredited. Scorned. Betrayed. Crucified. I think it’s nothing to do with the roses.

I haven’t hurt this hard in a long time. Not since three years ago when I lost four family members over eleven months. I feel too deeply. I’ve always been that way. It’s a gift and a curse. These nights when I can’t sleep, when my heart is racing, when I struggle to breathe, I swear I can feel the fear and the pain of all those millions of others the nation over who are also hurting right now and it’s almost too much to bear.

So much coming at us. What to believe? What to do? My heart beating out a message like morse code, cutting through everything else. Spread love. Stand up to hate. Open the hearts that have closed like a steel gauntlet. I don’t feel strong. Or together. I feel worn down and coming apart. So I’ll have to start slow and tiny. But I will begin and I will persist. As an adult, I’ve always tried to be kind. But I’ve never been kind on a mission. Until now. I’m going to do good, every chance I get, every way I can.

Over this past week, the roses dried, and darkened, and withered. Just as I was throwing them into the compost, I noticed not all the flowers had bowed their heads to death. Who’s to say why these six outlived the other half dozen? How they turned ever more beautiful in their decay? Beautiful and noble. Or is that just me? Maybe I’m seeing in them what I want to see in myself. In each and every one of us.

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