Homes and Hearths

This year for Wyrd Words, we took the retreat to Europe, to the Isle of Skye, where American-based writers connected with European friends.

I am so grateful that Wyrd Words participants always bring imaginative, thoughtful, open-hearted energy to our workshops and retreats.

Plus there is power in the settings we are lucky to work in, places with their own pulse and personality.

The Isle of Skye was an incredible backdrop for our week of creative work, a profound and majestic wilderness.

Every sunrise, dusk, and star-filled sky was a gift. Stepping outside to breathe in the wide open sky, catching a glimpse of the ocean from one of the windows, going for a walk along the craggy shore with its whispers of ancient secrets. I fell in love.

It was a delight to write and play in this incredible setting with brilliant and beautiful people.

Then there was…the Aga.

If you have never heard of an Aga (I had not until recently) then you can read about it here.

Along with our friend (and culinary goddess) Vanessa, we took turns cooking meals in this hearth-like stove that heats the home and remains on at a steady temperature for a completely different way to think about preparing food. I had to change the way I thought about cooking, but once I did, I loved it.

Plus…the Aga heats the kitchen so well (which for me is a dream, since my Raynaud’s starts to flare up this time of year).

Wyrd Words came at an interesting time this year, right after the kids began school and just before the launch of our cookbook, FORKING GOOD (out on October 22nd!)  I had ambitious goals for everything I hoped to accomplish (as always), and I didn’t get it all done, but I did make every moment count: I wrote every day, slept in, cooked and ate meals with people I love, and had moments of exploration and reflection.

We survived driving across Scotland in a large van (on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car!)

Plus I got to explore Glasgow a little (I want to go back!) and I saw my dear friend Alison for a whirlwind 24 hours.

Some places grab hold of your heart. Scotland is another of those places for me.

We’ll be back.

 

 

New Book…GEEK PARENTING!

Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Many of you know I spent much of the spring and summer writing, and it’s finally time to announce why! A new book!!! And it’s coming next Spring!

A few years ago, my writer friend and editor extraordinaire Stephen Segal edited GEEK WISDOM: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture. I loved the book of thoughtful essays reflecting upon well-known quotations, and when Stephen asked me if I would be interested in co-writing with him a follow-up that explored the parenting tips gleaned from geek-culture kids and their families, I was thrilled to be able to bring together some of the most important aspects of my life: being a mom, being a writer, and being a geek.

That book, GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family  will officially be out on April 5, 2016, by Quirk Books, but ARCS are ready now and being given away free at Book Riot Live 2015 in New York this weekend!

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Stephen and I will be sharing more information as the date gets closer, and there will definitely be Chicago events around the release date, as well as elsewhere. (I believe that the book can already be pre-ordered online.)

I’m proud of GEEK PARENTING. The lessons Stephen and I write about are important truths I try to keep in mind every day as I strive to raise thoughtful, kind, passionate, creative kids. There’s a lot of wisdom in those fantastic books and movies, TV shows and comics that we grew up with and continue to enjoy. Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, I hope you enjoy it half as much as we loved writing it.

(Behind the scenes, Photo by Kyle Cassidy)
(Behind the scenes, Photo by Kyle Cassidy)

Wyrd Words 2015

Wyrd Words Moonrise 2015 (photo by Stephen H. Segal)

It’s nearly the Autumn Equinox, and I’ve yet to write about so many Summer adventures.

After more than a year of planning and months of drafting, revising, and exchanging manuscripts, the inaugural Wyrd Words Workshop was held in July. We ate, drank, and danced around the kitchen (Well, ok, maybe that was just me); we workshopped brilliant beginnings and provocative plots; we used technowizardry to traverse miles; we strolled under the full moon, and we sauna’d; we talked about creativity and inspiration, punk rock and K-pop, politics and fairy tales. There were bees, rockets, and skeletons in the trees…

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Most importantly, we did good work. I’m so excited to see the books that will eventually make their way into the world from this workshop. Such good stories. Such excellent writers. Such dear friends.

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Writers spend so much time alone at the laptop that in-person connections of quality are a real gift. Thank you to everyone at the workshop and behind the scenes who gave it shape and filled the weekend with such wonderful, wyrd words. 

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I’m going to quote from one of my favorite children’s books, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, because it fits so well for this dear group:

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”

Wyrd Wordians, you are both. Thank you.

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