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Hello from a Track-Themed Vacation

I said I was going to write a newsletter in the first week of July to brag about handing in my novel.

Friends, that's what we call, "talking a big game." Or, if you're Captain Tom "Stinger" Jordan from the iconic hit movie Top Gun, "[my] ego writing checks [my] body can't cash."

Suffice it to say, we're not there yet.

Still, I'm in a far, far better place than I was a month ago. I did, in fact, sit at a coffee shop table or at my desk or in bed for several hours at a time, many hours each day in June, and pray for deliverance... er, I mean, write and edit thousands of words.

And, the really good news is that, in addition to actually producing chapters in order that make sense and are sometimes funny, I think I have finally come to love the story I've been writing this past year. Finally and hallelujah.

I'd say I've been all of the following about the project we're calling The One and Only Sarah Jones: interested in the premise, curious about the characters, surprised by the themes, and delighted by a few details I've managed to extract from my subconscious. But, the writing of my fourth novel has been a slog pretty much from the beginning. There have been some very sad times.

It was sadness that prompted my secondary summer goal (second, of course, to finishing Book 4), Make Writing Fun Again. I tried to remember the times when I actually liked writing, the times that made me want to be a novelist in the first place. And I've tried to recreate those little moments, like when I dash off short captiony things on whatever social media platform is working and not overrun by fascists. Or thinking of random blog posts. Or even writing this newsletter. I'm having fun right this second, writing this to you.

Some of you sometimes write back, and I love that, too.

To finish and because it's fun, here are five things you'll someday find in my new book:
* Six characters with the same name. The name is Sarah Jones. One of them dies in the first chapter.
* My first, first-person narrator, a plucky seventeen-year-old whose best pals are her 30YO biology tutor and a Catholic school nun.
* A very attractive, newly-commissioned FBI agent who feels bad for two reasons: not taking over his family's business and also not having saved his friend Henry who was kidnapped when he and the FBI agent were 10.
* A mention of The Bachelor and also the word "frisson." These are in all of my books so far.
* Crystals, tarot, signs, and omens. Man, I hope mine are all pointed in the right direction as I really, really finish this thing.

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Reading Report

I'm still slow at reading this year, and I did something I almost never do except as part of my teaching job. I re-read. This time it was A Tale for the Time-Being by Ruth Ozeki, and it held up as one of my favorite books of all time.

The novel also really helped me in my quest for more happiness. In it, there's a Buddhist nun who talks about time being made up of a zillion tiny moments. Like, if you snap your fingers, it's 65 moments.

I started to think that some of the moments in there had to be pleasant. I snapped a lot while walking around my neighborhood thinking about my own book. I believed that at least half of the 65 moments that passed with each snap were happy ones.

They were, I'm pretty sure, or they got that way.

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Something Else Cool

We're headed to Eugene, Oregon tomorrow watch the US national track and field championships at Hayward Field.

There are some funny running things on the internet like this video about being the parent of a cross country runner

And this gal tries the track and field events with the pros. She's funny. Here she is running the 800. I wish my motto could also be, "Do Less," but unfortunately, that would not be prudent at this time.

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