Wednesday, December 30, 2009

please step this way…

This is a note that’s long overdue… But I’ve realized that my life just isn’t quite exciting enough for two blogs.

One, yes. Two… no. I’d have to make things up, just to fill the spaces. And since that’s what I do anyway (see: novel in progress), I’ve been focusing on just one blog for the past weeks.

(And even that’s been hit and miss… whew! But I’ll be back to regular blogging soon.)

So please come visit my other blog! It’s called Bookpie, so at the very least it should put you in the mood for pie. I have this on good authority… it happens! And seeking pie is never a bad thing.

Do come visit. Get a glimpse of what I’ve been up to lately, then leave a comment or check out the other blogs I love…

I might come back to Reflecting after a while; we’ll see. In the meantime, thanks for reading! It’s been almost five years, can you believe it?—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 12/30 at 07:24 PM
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

november is for happy endings.

Everything that had happened had begun between the pages of this book.—Cornelia Funke

Can I introduce you to the recent love of my life?

This is Draft Three!! I finished it Tuesday night, but I’m still feeling a bit dazed ... and brain-sore. It took a pretty intense Monday and Tuesday—I cranked out 14,000+ words in two days to make it. Whew!

I guess it sounds a little crazy, turning my mind and fingers to mush when no one’s demanding I have it done before Wednesday. But I’d reached this point when Draft Three had to be done. Had to be. So I raced and pushed and completely exhausted my vocabulary… but it’s done!

So that novel gets a two-week break while I turn my attention to Nanowrimo and another “just-for-fun” manuscript idea. I’m a little behind with Nano—okay, a lot behind—but I’m not too concerned. (Yet.) It feels a bit like finals week, when you’ve finished your hardest, nastiest final, and you still have a lighter project still to do. You’ll get there, but ... you’re not too worried about taking your time.

(Though I never guessed Nanowrimo would one day be my lighter project!)

After my Nano “break,” I’ll go back to Draft Three and read it straight through once or twice. And then we’ll put our heads together and start daydreaming Draft Four… oooh. It’s going to be good. I can just tell.

this is my revision face. and that’s ... wow. that’s a huge draft.

P.S.: My month of being sick—my old friend Pneumonia come for a visit—is now over. I am thrilled to be more like myself! It also made it a lot easier to dance around the house Tuesday night, shrieking about being done. Hard to shriek when you can’t take deep breaths. So, yes. It’s good to be healthy.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 11/05 at 10:03 PM
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It’s one thing to be sick for six days. But after two and a half weeks, it just isn’t cute anymore.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/27 at 01:06 AM
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

why being sick is good for my health

People do not die of little trifling colds.—Jane Austen

So. Day Six of a strange, low-grade, feels-like-a-cold-but-isn’t sort of illness. I’d really like it to leave, but at the moment, anything that’s not swine flu sounds like a real blessing.

Besides, isn’t it sort of cozy to be sick when it’s grey and rainy outside? After all, these are the days when we’d all like permission to sleep really late, stay propped up in bed with a stack of novels, and drink soup all afternoon…

Still, after nearly a week of low energy, I am reminded of the biggest reason why a little illness can be a very good thing: it seems to be a “reset” button for my life. Not only does it break up my routine, but a lack of energy highlights all the things I wish I were doing. Do you get the same way?


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/13 at 06:47 PM
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Monday, October 05, 2009

there and back again

And so I was in Florida last week, road tripping with my mom. There’s amazing scenery between St. Louis and Tampa, and I took hundreds of pictures. It was wonderful to soak up time with my little sister and her family, and to wonder at the burnt-out state of Florida. (A midwestern girl am I, through and through.)

So, I’m finding my place again, in my writing, my reading, my knitting, my life. Catching up on sleep again. Moving around my bookshelves (a sack of new books and all the old order is undone!). Getting excited for the last bits of my draft. Contemplating Nanowrimo ... for a completely new project. (Whaaaat?) All this and more…—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/05 at 11:14 PM
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

wishing you crisp apples and cooler air

I like autumn. The drama of it; the golden lion roaring through the back door of the year, shaking its mane of leaves.—Joanne Harris

I have to admit: it was the loveliest summer (weather-wise) that I can remember. I’ve never witnessed so many gorgeous days in normally-suffocating St. Louis. I had a blast hanging out with my older sister—painting out on our new deck, photo shoots in St. Louis, my first experience with bubble tea (jury’s still out)... It’s been fun and wonderful, but now…

Now it’s apple cider season. OH. SO. EXCITED.

I’m already daydreaming about orange leaves and apple pies, homemade caramels and pumpkin cookies. Roasted chicken with apples and raisins. Cinnamon scented candles. That bite in the air that I’ve always always loved…

Oh yes, this is my favorite season, no mistakes. It’s time to reread Jane Eyre, and to rewatch The Village, to take pictures as the trees change daily.

Maybe I’ll carve a pumpkin this year? ... It’s been awhile.

S’mores and last year’s afghans. Warm slippers. Sweaters with hoods.

Ack! I’d better go or I’ll just collapse with happiness on this keyboard…

But one last little announcement: I’m starting something new, something wonderfully exciting, and it’s the perfect season for it!! Click over to my other blog to hear all about it.

And then go celebrate autumn!!—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 09/23 at 01:47 PM
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a cheering epilogue

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.—Louis Pasteur

What a difference a week can make!

After that last (somewhat depressed) post, I had two brilliant days of work. There’s a lot to be said for stranding yourself at a coffee shop for hours on end. The log jams in my brain began to move, and out fell two new characters, another with a new motive and new voice, a better setting for half of Part Four…

In short, so many disparate elements of this last part of the book began to interweave. It feels like narrative again! Reminds me of my recipe for pie crust: the dough will gather itself into a ball… Well. Part Four gathered into a ball, and it will make a lovely pie, I have no doubts…

Which is a wonderful place to be, after the start of last week!

Writing teaches me this same lesson, over and over again: Get your time in, Jenn. Get your time in. Don’t listen to the wind and the waves, just keep your head down and work, and things will shake out.

Hooray! So maybe I’ll live to see the end of Draft #3 after all?—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 09/15 at 08:51 PM
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

postcard from a lapsed wordsmith

One day soon I’ll remember that I’m actually a writer, regardless of what else is tearing through my life at the moment. (When is “it’s been hectic” a good excuse for anything??) And I’ll scoop up my thoughts, brush and comb them, and then spin them into words. And then I’ll knit some paragraphs with them, and add more rows to my insanely, miserably long (eternal!) novel… with some thoughts left over for a fine blog entry or two.

But not tonight, I’m afraid.

Soon, though. I’ll write more soon.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 09/08 at 01:35 AM
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Monday, August 17, 2009

i used to have a locker

And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.—Rainer Maria Rilke

I was always the kid who began missing long division sometime around August.

Long division and cool white paper and the smell of erasers. The afternoons would grow longer, and the cicadas buzzed louder and louder. I wanted again the strange sanity of seven classes in a day. Even the challenge of homework looked appealing. (That appeal never lasted a month into school, though.)

So what do I do now? No school in my future (that I can tell), but the buses have been trundling past today, and my cousins and friends are all heading back to one school or another. Graduate classes, teaching classes, off to college for the first time, off to high school for the last…

Meanwhile I flick on my computer and stare down this novel that has decided to outlive me.

... No, it won’t do. I need to find some way to quench the back-to-school urge. Some way that doesn’t cost… Um, or take time…

Maybe I’ll just have to get over it. Maybe I’ll just write my brains out, and within a week, I’ll forget all about long division and clean folders and backpacks that still smell like the store…

Or maybe it will just rain, and I’ll bury myself in a Victorian mystery with a cup of coffee. And forget all about August and September and the way things were…—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/17 at 03:33 PM
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

renovation photo album

Let’s see if we have more photo success today…

A bit of paint:

And after the floor and bookshelves were installed, we had some sorting of books to do…

Ooooh. That just makes my heart happy.


. You see? Don’t you want to come visit now?—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/06 at 06:41 PM
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

the story of july

I said “one o’clock” as though I could see it, and “Monday” as though I could find it on the map.—Peter S. Beagle

Once upon a time, there was a blogger with very fine intentions, who encountered a hectic July… oh, wait: you already know how this one turns out, don’t you?

Yes, I was blindsided by a crazy summer. Here’s what happened, after Bermuda:

Home renovation, on a grand scale! As a family, we have long adored bookstores and coffee shops. (Shocking!) And after a bit of planning, that’s what our dining room and living room now resemble.

Maple built-in bookcases (not quite enough for my parents’ collection, but nearly), hardwood floors, bistro table… It looks gorgeous, a dream come true, but for some reason, my camera and this blogsite are at odds… I’ll try to counsel both and post pictures later. For now, you’ll have to imagine…

At the same time, we also replaced our crumbling deck for something larger and sturdier… and then hosted a family reunion in our new place! Hooray for relatives, my grandma’s 80th birthday, and enormous quantities of Mexican food. And crepes… there were also crepes.

After the reunion, I crashed into bed and have been sleeping a LOT. But am almost back to equilibrium. Whew! ... So that was July.

And now? Now is the countdown to the birth of my very first niece! Hooray! And helping my younger sister’s family move to Florida… Then making plans for an inspiring and creative fall. Hopefully a complete reinvigoration of my writing routine…

August! The end of summer… The cicadas are singing about it…—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/04 at 05:35 PM
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Friday, July 17, 2009

the much belated bermuda album: part two

i loved the palm trees at night


the silence-filled interior of the unfinished church… i loved this place! i would have slept there, if it had been legal…



Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 07/17 at 10:52 AM
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the much belated bermuda album: part one

I am so sorry that these are miserably overdue… our summer’s been crazy, for reasons you will hear soon. In the meantime: this is Bermuda!

St. David’s Lighthouse, as our plane approaches the airport


i’m excited for another moped ride!



Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 07/17 at 10:38 AM
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

a memoir for larry

I gotta get my life some writers.—Bill Watterson (Calvin&Hobbes)

Out of all the taxis waiting on Front Street in Hamilton, Bermuda, I happened to get into Larry’s. Larry has skin the color of coffee, eyes more ice-blue than my own, a ready laugh, and a deep Bermudan accent (think British, but warmed and mellowed by the island sun and waves).

Taxicab philosopher, he’s a self-proclaimed expert on the weather, life, love ... and names, as I quickly find out.

“Well, good afternoon, Melissa,” he says, after I tell him where we’re going. “Wait—what’s your name?” “Jenn,” I answer.

“No. You look like a Melissa. All nice and sweet. Melissas are always sweet.”

I grin out at the Hamilton harbor, trying to hide my smile. “Well, I’m also Jennifer, if that’s any better.”

No, that’s worse!” he says. “All the Jennifers I’ve met were wicked, wicked women!” He says this with utter confidence, then looks hard at me. “Are you wicked?”

I’m choking now, trying not to laugh too hard.

“Or you could be a Lisa—maybe. You’re almost a Lisa,” he continues, as we pass a dozen brilliantly red trees—the Royal Poincianas, which seemed to bloom specially for my week there. “All Lisas are beautiful and sweet.” He shrugs. “But they’re not very smart. They’re 99 cents of a dollar, if you know what I mean.”

“Well, I guess I’m too smart to be a Lisa,” I say, still laughing. The Lisas I know are thoroughly capable, but maybe things are different in Bermuda…

“People with the same names are always the same,” he says. “It’ll be the same for you, Melissa. You’ll meet someone who spoils a name for you forever: like Yvonne. I can never be with another Yvonne.”

We hurtle across another bridge, and I stare out at pumpkin-colored houses. “Wait and see—you’ll be attracted to men with the same-sounding names, for the rest of your life.” (Sorry, Larry. But so far, this is absolutely not true.)


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 06/27 at 06:55 PM
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

where i am right now

My deplorable mania for analysis exhausts me.—Gustave Flaubert

What a heavy thing is a pen!—Emile Zola

This is where I am:

* A chair (navy, with wheels)

* Hamilton, Bermuda

* the third floor of an office building

* in the middle of a week-long stay

* next to a stack of books I schlepped out here: The Book of Lost Things, Fire in Fiction, The Creative Habit, Sailing Around the Room, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary

* within sight of (through a window): nine palm trees and a Royal Poinciana tree; a cluster of office buildings (hundreds of windows!); the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity; a pink and white house on a distant hill (peeking between buildings); and an unending stream of taxis, buses, trucks, motorbikes…

* nearing a better perspective, I hope. After a hectic, harried, and emotional spring, my writing life limped to the side of the road and collapsed. Poor writing life, lying there and breathing shallowly… So many things came undone this spring that I’m not entirely sure how (or what) to put back together again.


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 06/17 at 05:45 PM
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