#truestory

What happens when Carmen thinks out loud.

Like the smartest thing any mother/author ever said. Ever.

Why Writing is Hardly a Solitary Occupation

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,...

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The Lovely Glow of Too Many Irons in the Fire

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...

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On Learning from Mistakes

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...

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The Enduring Magic of Book Night

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...

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A Lesson from The Great Gatsby

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...

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Why Navigation With a Map Still Matters

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...

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The Art of Travel Without a Camera

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...

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About the time I went to Fiji

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...

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5 Life Lessons from a Month of Writing Dangerously

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...

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5 Talents You Didn’t Know You Had

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...

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A 9/11 Story

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...

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The Power of Daddy

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...

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Why We Keep Searching

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....

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The Girl on the Other Side of the Earth

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...

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The Kitchen UN

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...

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Land of the Unexpected

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....

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A Walk in Her Shoes

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...

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