Monday, October 20, 2014

Let the Arts Soothe Your Weary Soul

“Ah, a brand new week filled with possibilities.”

At least, that’s what I wish would run through my head every morning. Unfortunately, it’s usually more like this:

“Holy crap, the alarm went off at five-twenty, and I’m decaffeinated, so there’s that.”

But not today.

October has been chockfull of activity.

My editor and I finished the first round of edits on A Groovy Kind of Love, and now we’re at the final proofing stage. The talented staff at Streetlight Graphics is busy designing the cover.

I’ve been working on, helping to shape the site and provide content, which has been a wonderful learning experience.

Today, I will edit my first book review for Windy City Reviews, a publication of the Chicago Writers’ Association (CWA). CWA offers local scribes fantastic programs, lectures, and workshops throughout the city.

October has been filled with celebrations (my birthday, our anniversary), watching my high school freshman play football, FaceTiming with my college junior, and preparing for the best holiday of the year—Halloween.

How could I possibly have time for anything else?

Then my husband and kids bought tickets for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s (CST) production of King Lear, my all-time favorite of the Bard’s tragedies as a birthday present Saturday night. In college, I had written and performed a piece from Cordelia’s perspective set as she and her servants pack up her things and prepare for banishment.

Fresh and modern, CST’s Lear proved just as relevant in this day and age as in Shakespeare’s time. Interestingly enough, Shakespeare’s source material was believed to be from Celtic legend. The program states that the earliest known record of the story “appears in Geoffrey Monmouth’s medieval text Historia regium Britanniae (ca. 1136),” which covers two thousand years of British kings. Isn’t that fascinating?

Last night, a gentleman portrayed Edgar Allan Poe at Naper Settlement, a living history museum of early midwestern pioneers here in town. Being a Poe aficionado, I had to go. For those of you who have read Until My Soul Gets It Right, Naper Settlement is where the Bibliophiles attend All Hallow’s Eve, a nineteenth-century celebration of Halloween.

I’ve stubbornly squeezed in a few books over the last weeks—the significant American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, and Deborah Lawrenson’s intriguing The Sea Garden, which features World War II British spies, the French Resistance, and a puzzling mystery—knowing I'm not truly whole unless I'm reading. During the hour of downtime I had yesterday, I began NOS4A2, which grabbed me right from the beginning. I can’t wait to see what Joe Hill does with this modern vampire tale.

I thought the last thing I needed was more activity, but after this weekend, I have to say, I feel more grounded, relaxed, and inspired.

I hope you’ve had some time to enjoy fall’s splendor. My husband and I took a little trip to Morton Arboretum yesterday afternoon to enjoy nature’s bright yellows, burnt oranges, and crimson reds. I’ve lived in Chicagoland all of my life, but autumnal splendor never gets old. Each year, it’s like I’m seeing the trees for the first time. Such beauty. Such peace.

That is my wish for you today. As you mitigate the craziness of life, I hope you take some time to enjoy the beauty around you, whether it be from nature, a play, music, a painting, or a good book.

Let the arts soothe your soul.

Have a good week, my friends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scary October Reads

Hello, everyone!

Today, I'm blogging about some of my favorite classic lit horror novels, as well as my October to-read list, at

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