This was my view for much of the past month while I was recording the audiobook of Old New Worlds. As I recount in the book, The first time I had to share my words when I started the MFA program, I wanted to climb right back inside myself from sheer awkwardness and embarrassment. But, many MFA workshops and many subsequent sessions with my writing partner later, I am less vulnerable—I think. Still, the process of reading my words aloud in a production studio all by myself for hours on end was a revealing experience. In one way, the words seemed to become objective, something apart from me. Yet, the whole process of reading expressively is to own the material, to internalize it, so it was a curious back and forth. And who would have thought that I would accumulate 95,000 of those words into this book?

And … these came; ​the Advanced Reader Copies!

Many of the ARCs have already found their way out into the world, and Bill Hughes—a Baltimore writer and photographer who can be seen with his camera slung around his neck at many arts and book events around the city—is first out with a review: Baltimore Examiner Review by Bill Hughes

In my first newsletter at the start of summer, I said I would make them seasonal because I didn’t want to bombard you—though a friend suggested that maybe once a season would be too infrequent, and you would forget who I was in between. We’ll have to see. To refresh your memory about one of the points of my summer newsletter, I promised to have a giveaway for a framed print of my mother’s painting that inspired the cover of Old New Worlds. Since the book unravels the story that my mother first told me about Sarah Barker—the woman who planted us all in Africa two hundred years ago—and since Lizzy is the youngest member of our particular branch of the family tree, I asked her pick the winner. I think it’s just a matter of time before she is presenting the Oscars. Lizzy’s pick.

So, while you were here, what do you think of my new-look website? I’ve been back and forth with Good Book Developers—”Think of us as your publishing concierge”—to give my website a complete overhaul. I’m thrilled with what Adam Robinson has designed for me. Please visit and browse, please sign up for the email list if you haven’t already done so, and please come back often!

And then there’s this @ The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Rd, Baltimore

As the lovely, long, slow, lazy days of summer come to an end, I’m trying to cheer myself up with the gorgeous quote from John Keats’s ode, To Autumn in this newsletter’s subject line. The illustration below was inspired by the ode, and it’s by William James Neatby from a book called A Day with Keats by May Clarissa Gillington Byron (only distantly related by marriage to Lord Byron), which was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1913.

Have a wonderful fall season, and—until next time—take care!


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