Necessary Madness: A Writer on the Road

The Spoken Word

The Spoken Word

I’ve never opened a book without a pen. Audio books? Never! What would I do with my hands? My annotations are an elaborate system that fill most pages. My son calls them the rantings of a mad women. Maybe so. I don’t care. I am madly in love with my books. But I’m...

A Hollywood Bikini Wax and Alexander Hamilton

A Hollywood Bikini Wax and Alexander Hamilton

Hello all. What a week politically. Here's some distraction. Curious what sort of story caught Reese Witherspoon's imagination -- she snapped up the movie rights -- I picked up Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Social misfit, physically-damaged...

What Would Springsteen Do?

What Would Springsteen Do?

Yesterday, The New Yorker Radio Hour featured Bruce Springsteen. Asked what he would have done if no record contract had ever come through, he said, 'What I'd always done. Play music. I had no other skill.' The fact that most writers can't make a living with their...

I Won’t Lie

I Won’t Lie

  The transition from a whirlwind trip – a few days in NYC to tie up loose ends and a few in Connecticut and Massachusetts to see family and friends – to this different apartment in a different part of Coimbra has been bumpy with jet lag, second-guessing, and...

Bloopers

Bloopers

Not everything has gone smoothly! Here are a few of my new-to-Portugal blunders. I can laugh about everything but the police. When I came back to my apartment the very first time the very first day, I couldn't get my key to work. Trying every which way, knocking on...

Four Women in a Car

Four Women in a Car

  One day last week, I set off with three women I’d only recently met via expat Facebook groups, to explore Portugal east of Coimbra. There was Fran, our ringleader, with specific destinations – a house for sale and a famed Cerdeira village – Laura, her niece,...

No, Not Bravery

No, Not Bravery

Friends and strangers alike often used the word brave to describe my decision to move to Portugal after having spent only two weeks here, and without knowing anyone except ex-pats on Facebook. The word seemed all wrong, but I was too busy with travel and moving prep...

Revision is . . . everything?

Revision is . . . everything?

Revision -- that essential conduit -- isn't just finding a better word or building a better sentence or re-visualizing a scene. It's searching a narrative for the emotional truth at its center. By shedding safe layers and any layers of delusion, we writers discover...

Just Right: Coimbra!

Just Right: Coimbra!

I fully expected to enjoy Portugal. I hoped I would find a good spot for relocation. I did not expect to fall in love.  But I did. Coimbra is a small city, a university town. Piled on a hill pressed against the Mondego River near the Atlantic, the city – as odd as it...

The People Post

The People Post

New to blogging, I've neglected to take photos of the many wonderful and often helpful people I've met here in Portugal. But I have words. Here are a few. Early on, when I asked a taxi driver in Porto why there were so few dogs, he offered to show me areas outside the...

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