Before leaving Raleigh the girls and I took a trip to the book store to purchase our favorite quiet time activity to be used as an airport/airplane/traveling diversion; a couple of the Usborne sticker books.

Before hitting the children’s section, however, we made our millionth visit to the public bathroom, passing the young adult section on our way.

As we exited, I glanced toward the packed shelves and ran my hands over the end cap outfacing fiction for young adults, clear in my mind that this was my next writing venture. I wished I had time to sit and investigate on my own without little hands pulling me in the opposite direction.

I could have started writing #YA sooner, but I knew I needed to get to Maine before the words would form and flow and the story would appear.

I was right and on our first morning here it began as I’d hoped. I’m currently a good way into chapter one; my main character introduced with his place in the world cemented.

It’s advised when writing a book to let others read and hear it often, often enough that quality feedback can be rendered and opinions can be shared.

So this morning I read my first 1300 words while Peachie listened intently.

When I finished she said she liked it.

She said it was, “riveting.”

She said it drew her in.

But she is my mother and she has to say that, so I will keep writing and sharing with my closest and dearest; the ones who will tell me the truth; who trust I can handle the truth. Maybe I’ll share it with interested strangers. Why not.

To aid in the task ahead I’ve been taking lots of pictures of this place. I’m excited to write about it, to share it with people near and far, and the pictures are helping me to find the words.

The Maine state motto is Dirigo, which means I lead, and the Polar Star is its seal because if its location at the uppermost tip of our country, the first place you can see the sun rise in America.

But the iconic sign that you see upon entrance to the state proudly proclaims, “Welcome to Maine. The Way Life Should be!”

In so many ways it is. But you have to experience it to understand what that means. Once the seed is planted (the understanding and acceptance of all its parts) the love for the place begins to grow and stick like barnacles on beach rocks.

Beach rocks!

You’ll find them make their appearance someplace in chapter two.

My camera took this photo by accident. Sometimes accidents are happy mistakes.
Some people wouldn’t consider this a beach day. We feel differently.
Flag etiquette. Purists believe that we should always fly our country’s flag at the very top of the gaff. Here, the American flag is below the Burgee, the small triangular flag representing the club where the flags are flown. Below is the Canadian flag for our friends and neighbors to the north who also love this place, and at an equal level is the flag for the state of Maine. I’m a purist. I’ve got to go make a call….

A Blogging Hiatus

Dear Blog,

I love you. I love writing you and finding pictures that match you. I like to share you and respond to comments from your readers. You are so much a part of me; good and bad, light and dark, brave and foolish.

But Summer has arrived stealing my time. Important things need attention that you just don’t allow.

My book wants to be written.

My kids need more care.

Magazine articles are begging to be finished and I’ve left them hanging.

Maine is coming and you know how that goes; busy, busy, busy, all the time busy.

I’m going to have to let you rest for a while. It’s not easy, but I must prioritize.

I’ll miss seeing your daily bar graph and images of the countries that inhabit the people who read you.

I’ll have to shake the habit of sitting to express every bloggy thought. I must focus my writing in other areas; quiet places that don’t offer as much support and connectedness to like-minded individuals, but in the long run will bring me closer to the goals that my spirit needs to grow bigger wings.

I hope you are not forgotten.

I won’t forget you or the people I’ve shared you with.

I’ll be back now and then. I can’t abandon you completely. Where else could I write my thoughts about 50 Shades and how I figured out the formula and why it works and what it means to marriage.

See that? See how every thought has the potential to turn into a blog post and then I write and edit and publish and the day is gone and the kids are hungry and the articles sit quiet and the book remains a paragraph waiting here in Mommyland’s archives? I’ve got to step back and think for a while without using you.

It’s not you. It’s me.

It’s not “Goodbye,” it’s, “See you soon!”

You’ve changed my world and helped me grow.

Thank you. Thank you.

Sincerely and with the most love,


S.Klein  breaking up
Steven Klein photo of a break up.
Take a break
factsaboutyou via highdime.
Next on the book reading list.
Pinned Image
Owl Always Love You pinned by Heather Thimsen

Power of the Novelist

The final chapters of Mockingjay were my running companions for today’s six miler.

A I made my way to the grassy path along busy Falls of Neuse I listened to the war raging  around Katniss, the beautifully written heroine whose inner thoughts are so strikingly real it’s hard to believe she is not.

The story of the war propelled my feet onward. The death of friends being left without goodbye’s, the destruction of human life, the hunt for the way out.

And then without warning came the description of a familiar girl with a long blonde braid rushing in as a medic to help the children who’d been fire bombed by falling parachutes they thought were sent to help.

Who is she? Who could she be?

Before my brain could work it out came the description of her duck tailed shirt, and I knew it was Prim; the sweet and bright younger sister of Katniss.

As happens in the very best novels my heart sped up and I inhaled with surprise.

Since I was running, my pace quickened and my focus on the words and the anticipation of what was to come filled my brain and hung around in there trying to make sense.

I cruised through the Wells Fargo parking lot and around the corner to the safer place to cross the road. I hopped up on the sidewalk next to the gas station when I realized I was crying.

Running and crying is a funny sensation. Your feet keep moving and your heart beats faster, your eyes are misty and had I not been so focused on the narrator I would have probably heard the sighs and deep breathing coming from out of my very own mouth.

I sucked in my breath as I got a hold of myself, mostly out of embarrassment, as I was only feet away from a gas pumping customer who would have definitely deemed me crazy had he been given more time to look me over.

I kept on and climbed up and down the ladder of emotions as the story progressed and neared to its close.

The power that a novelist has to move someone’s soul in this way is as astonishing and inspiring to me as the words themselves.

It is the thing that keeps me reading. It’s the reason I prefer novel’s over most any other kind of written work.

I ended my run feeling re-charged both physically and mentally.

My body feels good and strong and my desire to get moving on my own book is deep.

It’s a scary prospect and not something new to my list of goals. The hope that I can one day wield the same kind of power over a reader is so all encompassing, palpable and surging through my fingers as I sit here to type.

It’s in me to try.

The next step is to find the courage to let it come out.

Walter Wellsley "Red" Smith Quote
Arthur Miller Quote.

What’s Your Purpose?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what to do with the blog once I cross the finish line on March 18th. Running in Mommyland has turned into such an important aspect of my life for so many reasons, most of which have been documented here. I don’t want it to end, yet I know that it must (in its current form), as the finish line is just five weeks away.

Yesterday for no logical reason, I started a Running in Mommyland facebook page, even though I’d been busily tossing around its future. It was an interesting process, a frustrating process, as I am not a computer programmer. HTML code and iFrame and App development? I was using a part of my brain that doesn’t get stretched very often and I was reminded of my frustration with Physics in high school; one of the two reasons I didn’t graduate with my class. Is it a surprise that a boy was the other? I was oblivious, the true nature of youth.

As I worked on the page I made a decision.

Running in Mommyland will continue to be written, but with a brand new focus.

I want to get published!

I don’t know how it’s going to happen or what is going to be written. Will it be more blog posts that turn into something bigger? Maybe I’ll write a fun young adult novel as my first book out of the gate. It feels like the right decision. The two other books that are waiting in my soul (Maine and Sister) are too important and I’m not ready to give them the complete focus that they deserve. Plus they require research, which always takes time.

In some ways blogging has been easy, because there is a never-ending array of stories and experiences that happen in real life. True novel-writing is taking it to another level where character study and relationships, plot and problem, make it what it is; real, but not really, page turning and memorable (if it’s good). That, I consider a challenge.

For now, the challenge at hand is tomorrow’s nineteen miler. Though writing has helped keep me sane, I’ve become a little superstitious about documenting my feelings in regard to the biggies. So I’ll leave it there; the dangling nineteen.

As one personal challenge wraps itself up, another one has revealed its purpose.

Everyone have a purpose.

A Booky Wook

I’ve been thinking a lot about my book; the novel I’m going to begin sometime within this year.

I want to write a joint memoir, the story of my sister and me, but I’m not sure that we are ready. The story of our bond, of our separation through adoption, and the healing that came when she found me is complicated and painful and joyous.

But the story is not just ours. There are others who may be hurt by what they read. While it will not be my intention to do so, the truth can sting, especially when it reveals itself to those who don’t want to hear it; to those who don’t want to believe it.  I don’t know that I am ready to cross a bridge that’s lined with people I love; some of whom I’ve only just met.

If I know anything, it’s that timing is everything. My sister found me when the timing was right. Any sooner and I may not have been receptive. Any later and I wouldn’t have had a chance to speak to my dying birth mother.

My marathon is now eight weeks away. As my training amps up and the clock ticks closer to March 18th I realize that I must have a plan for where to go once it’s over.

I have contemplated another marathon, in fact I put my name in the pot for NYC 2012 and have pondered the idea of running San Francisco. With my body already begging for a rest, the “whole me” knows that the next challenge will have to be less physically taxing. My mind needs to set itself upon the next challenge, so that I can remain focused on the now. It’s just how I operate.

I’ve begun to imagine a story and (at night when it’s quiet) it’s begun to flesh itself out.

There is a heroine, though her name hasn’t yet appeared. Her story will not be mine. She’ll be a person all her own, but will come from the place that I have always considered home: a place called Maine.

A booky wook. The next chapter in my own life’s adventure.