Sabbatical Update as we verge on AWP


Middle-Grade novel ages 9-12.

142 pages

33,000 words

It’s not done but this is where we are, and although I didn’t finish a draft by the end of February (Harper Lee and Pat Conroy died!) I will finish one by mid-April.

2016 has been awful for losses – Patty Duke today! Gary Shandling last week? David Bowie? WTF. I’m not even going to go any further. Just a lot of losses.

I spent a few weeks in February trying to horsewhip an essay on Monroeville into submission to no avail.

I’ll spare you.

But today I sat in the big white chair from dear friends, Laura and JT, at our home here in Los Angeles, and I wrote until I’d hammered out an outline for the rest of the book. The first 26 chapters are done writ with a few moved around to cut the dead weight (and more dead weight will be chopped.) I wrote the mini chapters of 27-41 today, so I have a map to the end. I’ve been whining about murkiness of seeing what should happen with Vulcan stomping around Birmingham but I stayed in the chair and found the map.

I am relieved. I didn’t think I could write today.

I am worried about my son, but I am always worried about my son.

I am worried about my daughter’s knee with its torn ACL/MCL and requires surgery.

I’m a professional worrier.

But there is a saying: You are only ever as happy as your saddest child.

That is such a crock.

There comes a time when you just have to get on with it because dwelling in manufactured, hyper-active (as I said I’m a pro) worry doesn’t help.

And it doesn’t help. Not a lick.

So I wrote an outline today. Whatever news will come will come – and I’ll either have an outline or not, but I definitely will have worried. 🙂

* * *

This is what else is on my mind.

AWP – Associated Writing Programs- LA!

It’s tomorrow at the Convention Center in Los Angeles. I was supposed to be in Monroeville for the Writers Symposium and wanted to be, but as it’s my last year as editor of PoemMemoirStory and LA is my home when I’m not in Alabama, I needed to be at AWP.

We’re at table 923. Come on by 🙂

I’m sharing a table with Adam Vines, editor of BPR – Birmingham Poetry Review.

I’ll be greeting folks and editing student stories during the down times. I have a reading on Friday night at PYO GALLERY LA at 7:00 with a wonderful group of writers all republished by Foreverland Press: Lorie Adair, Duff Brenna, Elizabeth A. Harvey, William Luvaas, Bernadette Murphy, and Diana Wagman. Here is the link:

I hope to see lots of old friends amidst the 15,000 writers.


* * *

And finally, I’m grateful that I got to be with my friend, Rebecca, yesterday as we sang, danced, gossiped, and chatted our way through her fourth chemo with her dog, Stella, at Cedars Sinai with a nurse from Manchester, England.


* * *

And Kiffen and Norah are making dinner 🙂

* * *

I’m also grateful we got to spend part of Sunday with the extraordinary writer, Merrill Joan Gerber, and I’ll write more about that later, but it was a lovely afternoon. Merrill first published in the Sewanee Review in 1964 in the same issue as Flannery O’Connor’s last story. She’s the author of 30 books!!!

kerry, norah, merrill

And “Happy Valley” is on. (I can’t take “In the Flesh” though Norah loves it.)


Here is the new cover of PMS.

PMS2016COVER-final.jpgSee y’all at Table 923.





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