Thursday, January 29, 2009

snow has fallen, snow on snow

Three cheers, southern Illinois weather. You finally realized that yes, it is winter, and eight inches of snow is entirely appropriate behavior.


our front yard this morning, after two nights and a day of winter storms

Gosh, I’ve missed this stuff!—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/29 at 12:58 AM
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

because there’s no such thing as a little feast

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.—J.R.R. Tolkien

Do yourself a favor and scratch down the date January 23, with a note to celebrate it every year.

Not only is it my blog’s birthday (what, didn’t you throw a party for that??), and my dad’s birthday (happy birthday, Dad!), but it is also National Pie Day.

If I were one of those people who talked about The Universe (as in, the universe wants me to be rich and famous and a size four), then I would say that the universe was trying to tell us something. And whether it was just a calendar coincidence or plain ol’ ambition, Mom and I responded.

We made eleven pies. Eleven. From scratch, honey. And they were fantastic.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/27 at 04:38 PM
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Friday, January 23, 2009

four candles on a piece of pie

Dear Blog,

Today, you are four years old. Four years! It makes me feel old… and also like I’ve shared a lot of random thoughts and experiences online. (Wow. For a fairly private person, this is a bit surprising.)

You’ve been with me through classes and snow, knitting, countless cups of coffee, trips all over the Midwest (and even to New York and Bermuda). Writing euphoria, writing angst, midnight wonderings, and midday crankiness. I’ve raided libraries, wished for rain, and waxed eloquent about Shakespeare. I graduated, I survived my little sister’s wedding, and I’m still revising the same darn book.

Blog, you’ve seen a lot. Have yourself a merry piece of pie, and enjoy being four. Cheers.—jl

(A few reruns: this month in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.)

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/23 at 10:06 PM
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

still flirts with libraries

Well. I may love my book, but I still ordered nine novels from Interlibrary Loan (two of which are patiently waiting by the circulation desk… we’ll meet tomorrow).

And Mom and I joined my sister’s university library on a kind of “friends of the library” plan. A twenty-eight day checkout? Sounds good to me. And the shelves are full of really fabulous books… The Complete Somerset Maugham. The Anatomy of Mathematics. (Well, I might leave that one behind.) A medieval history of Seville, written in 1912. I found a fantastic children’s book from 1878 when we were there to work yesterday. It was like trying to study in a treasure trove: I kept getting distracted by all those shelves…

When do I have time to read nine novels (and whatever I can stuff a bag with from the university)? I don’t. I just… don’t. Unless sleep is optional.

Hmm. We could have our solution.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/22 at 01:11 AM
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

midweek lovesong

We work in our own darkness a great deal with little real knowledge of what we are doing.—John Steinbeck

Things are going well in the writing room! Despite weekend crankiness about revision, my book is truly taking turns for the better.

After three years of thinking about it, and over two of concentrated work, this story still gets me out of bed in the mornings.

So Novel, I’m sticking with you til the end. (Your end or mine… Some days I don’t know which will come first. But I love you anyway.)—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/14 at 05:38 PM
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

and i thought i was doing the revising (part two of two)

The second half of my homage to painless revision…

december2008
JENN: {feeling a bit better} That was fabulous! Nanowrimo was ... exhilarating!
NOVEL: Thought you’d like that.
JENN: Now. I’ll spend a month cleaning up the mess I probably made in November—
NOVEL: No.
JENN: No?
NOVEL: No. Go do some research.
JENN: {prepared to tear novel into pieces} I hate (hate) research. What’s the point of creating an alternate fictional world if you still have to research?
NOVEL: {yawns}
JENN: {mutters incoherently while researching}
NOVEL: Pain releases endorphins, Langefeld.
JENN: {grinds her teeth}
NOVEL: And adrenaline.
JENN: At least that might make this go faster.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/11 at 01:59 PM
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

and i thought i was the one doing the revising (part one of two)

Writing a book is like taking a perfect class on how to write a book. ... Your unwritten book is a genius of a teacher. —Heather Sellers, Chapter after Chapter

January is the anniversary of many wonderful things (happy early birthday, Dad!), but among others, it is the birth-month of my book. In January 2006 I had a scrap of thought, a question, a fragment. Three years later, it’s a novel of more than 210,000 words. (Whew!)

I was thinking about that the other day, about this twisty-turny path of revision that I’ve been on for, oh, a while now. And I remembered some important conversations I’ve had this past year that helped point—or shove—me on my way…

Here it is, then. My homage to the painless process of revision.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/10 at 01:12 PM
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

one from the list

First thing off my list! Hooray! S’mores are the perfect accompaniment to our wintry rainy day here. Why has it been so long since I’ve had one?

(Actually, I know why. When I was younger, I had long hair. Really, really long hair. And really long hair + melted marshmallows = something you don’t want to contemplate. Something that kept me from eating s’mores for a long time. Since then, I’ve discovered hair ties. It was about time.)—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/06 at 05:02 PM
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Monday, January 05, 2009

V is for Vocabulary

A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect.—Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (from the Humbug to the Spelling Bee)

I just hung up the phone, but I’m still laughing.

A company representative called here to get my younger sister’s new mailing address and her new last name. It’s a short name—four little letters (which is a bargain after spelling Langefeld your whole life). I always thought it was easy to spell, but the poor man on the other end of the line couldn’t hear me at all.

After three tries, he still had a completely different last name for her, so I resorted to the usual “A as in apple! B as in bear! C as in cat!” technique. It feels like giving a kindergarten lesson, minus the fabulous picture books.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/05 at 01:57 PM
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Saturday, January 03, 2009

i think odd numbered years look funny. (but i’m making resolutions anyway)

Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.—Jim Elliot

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

That list-making frenzy still has me in its grips, though I feel better with my room done. Still. Here’s a list of… well, not quite resolutions, but something like them.

Somewhere, somehow, in 2009:
- knit a pair of socks. heck, yes.
- make crepes, from scratch. (with Nutella, naturally.)
- restart a running routine. (all that pie… oof!)
- go on another writing trip.
- learn to make pizza from scratch. (if there’s a higher calling for mushrooms, i don’t know of it.)
- go stargazing with my dad.
- eat a s’more! (how many years has it been since i’ve done this? and why has it been that long?)
- read more Shakespeare.
- write in a park.
- learn to make risotto.
- write an admiring letter to a famous author. (repeat this one!)
- stop whining.
- stop being afraid.
- make pasta from scratch. (because i will have resumed my running routine. right.)
- finish drafts 2 and 3 of my novel! yes, please! before 2010!!
- have more days devoted to reading… even more hours. (i never stay put long enough to read, it seems. hmm. hopefully my cozy new room will give me a place for an inspired reading retreat.)
- launch a few shorter writing projects. (part of my never-ending quest for balance)
- write more letters to my far-flung friends.
- laugh more. quit being so grumpy. yes.

What’s on your list?—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/03 at 06:34 PM
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Friday, January 02, 2009

so, i have the coolest office

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.—Annie Dillard

The room ... is done! And I’m absolutely thrilled. Check this out:


for some reason, i want to take naps now. a lot of naps.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 01/02 at 05:56 PM
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