What happens when Carmen thinks out loud.
Like the smartest thing any mother/author ever said. Ever.
Alot of famous quotes moan about why writing is such a solitary occupation. About writers bleeding at the typewriter, with only a bottle of gin as company. Thanks to social media, however, this is hardly the picture of the modern writer. Most writers use Twitter,...read more
I’ve got too many irons in the fire. I’d like to say that this is a rare event. But juggling multiple projects can be fun, which must be why I tend to overbook my creative energies. Here’s what is going on: Bookstore of the Future project Yesterday I reached out to 55...read more
I made two mistakes recently. The first was an expensive one. Mistake 1 Flush from my record-breaking (my records, anyway) month in September, spurred by the publication of short story The Beast in the Huffington Post’s Fiction 50 showcase, I went for some...read more
Other families have Game Night or Movie Night. We have Book Night. It started out as a means of self defense. We had two kids under the age of 5. My husband and I both had full time, demanding jobs, and he was pursuing a college degree at night. Reading for Survival I...read more
I never gave much thought to how families talk. How different conversations might be from house to house until we had this little episode in ours. The argument grew heated. I wanted no part of it. Theories were picked apart. Voices were raised. Sneers were more than...read more
In addition to being a celebration of the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862—which has morphed into a popular celebration of Mexican culture and food--Cinco de Mayo was my first anniversary of being a published...read more
Love your GPS? Love how easy it makes getting from Point A to Point B? If you’re like me, your GPS saves travel time, keeps you from getting lost, and provides an Australian or British voice so you can get directions from Ned Kelly or James Bond, depending on your...read more
The art of travel is being able to create memories. But how can we relive the experiences and relationships of an exciting or romantic or never-again adventure? Think outside the camera--the right postcard can be more of a memory-maker than all those digital photos...read more
Arriving in Fiji alone at 1:00 am after a 12-hour flight was unnerving but that’s the way the flights went so there I was, in the middle of the Pacific, with a heavy suitcase, an even heavier bag of scuba gear, and reservations for a hotel that was 20 miles away. I’d...read more
NaNoWriMo can be described as a cult phenomenon, a virtual writers gathering, a very strange hobby or God's gift to global coffee sales. As I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. It’s a tough thing...read more
In my quest to find connections across cultures I've been thinking about how different cultures influence what we eat (salsa, anyone?) But if we turn that around to look at how a food influenced different cultures we come to one inescapable word: McDonald's. Yep. The...read more
Right now it is storming outside and my dog is going nuts. Trying to wriggle under the desk when thunder booms, scurrying into the bathroom shower stall when lightning flashes, running between me and the door as if to blame me for the rain. She’s gotten eccentric as...read more
A year ago I was Lost.No-cell-phone-service Lost. The-road-is-a-gravel-track-through-cane-fields Lost.Set Sail One DayFive girlfriends had set out from Panama City to go to El Valle, about two hours away. We’d go to the Sunday crafts market there and have lunch at a...read more
I was sitting in a small auditorium at the Colegio Americano in Mexico City waiting for the meeting to start. The room was full of women and the occasion was the annual meeting of Mexico’s Secretariat of Education with the school’s parents. I knew I wouldn’t...read more
Once upon a time, when we lived in Panama, I was walking the dog and passed a construction site where the workers were engaged in a furious argument. The Spanish flew too fast for me to catch every word but anger came through in every red-faced yell and hostile...read more
Whatever remains to man unknown, in this world of ours, is by so much a burden on the spirits of all men . . . every mystery made plain, every unknown land explored, exalts the spirit of the whole human race--strengthens its courage and exalts its spirit permanently....read more
When my daughter was little I wanted to give her a sense of her place in the world. We got a globe and calculated the exact opposite spot if one drew a straight line through the center of the earth from where we were. We hit China. We started to tell each other...read more
The Hidden Light of Mexico City contains a number of references from my own experiences in Mexico City. I've already written about the social class struggle of simply standing in a line but also wanted to share a sadder, more compelling event that helped shape the...read more
Oslo in June is a wonderful place. Clouds scud across a cobalt sky and the harbor is thronged with boats, tourists, and the smell of lilacs. After months of Arctic winter grey, the city is stretching itself awake in the midnight sun. You stay up long after sunset at...read more
Once upon a time, I took a trip with a similarly adventurous-minded girlfriend to Papua New Guinea, which bills itself as "The Land of the Unexpected." I doubt it has changed much since then; it is a wild, mountainous place where the wheel was never invented....read more
I recently was on a plane heading from Central America to the United States. I had the aisle seat. Next to me, in the middle seat, was a middle-aged woman who was obviously new to airline travel. The flight attendant rapped out directions how to buckle the seatbelt...read more
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