3 Things From The Past Week | 19

1
I’ve been so consumed with plotting and re-writes the past two weeks that I’ve barely read anything for fun. I’ve gone back to ground zero and have been reading a lot of books on plotting and characterization. Next month will be two years since I first published Finding Lily. I’m excited by how well the re-write is going, how much I love these characters. How I can’t wait to finish the re-write and truly do these characters justice.

2
This morning, I sat down on the couch with my first coffee of the day, curled my legs up underneath me and turned on the television. I’ve been slowly re-watching Felicity as a way to just disconnect and turn off my brain for a few moments.

I’ve been overthinking everything lately. Needless to say, it’s leaving me exhausted.

3
If you don’t know me in real life you likely wouldn’t know that I’m pretty anti-social. I went to a new hair stylist on Friday, and was legitimately nervous walking in because small talk stresses me out. She was perfectly nice, don’t get me wrong, but I was on edge the whole time.

I’m pretty shy when I first meet people. I’m careful about what I say, worried about how I come off, and desperate, desperate, for things to get past the point of small talk. I want to get into the meat of a friendship. That’s where the real beauty is.

3 Things From The Past Week | 18

1
Yesterday I started reading a book that, at its core, is about female friendship. I haven’t gotten very far into it because I keep stopping and scribbling down notes in my journal. Friendship in your thirties is so different then when you’re younger. Some day I’ll find the right words to explain what I mean by that.

2
I’m well aware of the fact that some days are just going to drain me. Some weeks, even. Like this week. I’m siting here absolutely blown away by the fact that the weekend has come to an end. Ask me what my week was like and all I remember is: my kid yelling, me avoiding cooking–and therefore, takeout, me ignoring my novel re-write, me spending too much money shopping online and guilt over said shopping, too much coffee, too much red bull, not enough quiet, not enough kissing and snuggling.

It was a tough week, friends.

I had to think a little harder to remember the good things about the week: my husband went to see The Who in concert and met them backstage. I started brainstorming a new novel. Chilled pinot grigio. A surprise massage with a girlfriend. Great books.

3
My cat sleeps on the floor at my feet while I work. It’s terribly comforting.

303 Miles to Phoenix + John Mayer In Concert

We drove 303 miles to Phoenix last week.

I have to preface this post by saying that I have the best husband ever. Not once since I said, “John Mayer is playing in Phoenix next week, we should go” did he tell me that I’m crazy, or complain, or try to change my mind (and we had just seen him here in Vegas at the end of April). Instead, he got on the phone with his parents to ensure they could take DJ for the night.

We were a little too early in getting to Phoenix (the dinner place I’d chosen didn’t open until 5) so we drove around downtown for a little while just checking it out. Then, once it opened, we headed over to The Duce, which may be one of the coolest places I’ve eaten in, besides Pinewood Social in Nashville.

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3 Things From The Past Week | 17

 

3 Things from the past week

1. I’ve stopped being able to write in coffee shops. They used to be the only place in which I could focus. Home holds too many distractions, I said.

Now home is the only place in which I get anything done.

When you’re a new, aspiring writer you read all those blogs that tell you to designate a writing space that is completely yours. I never believed in that. I always thought a writer should be able to write anywhere.

I grew up in small houses. Cozy, I’d say. I love my house here in Vegas, but it’s certainly not cozy. Maybe that’s why I find myself spending more and more time in my home office. If I set up a coffee maker in here I’d never leave. It’s the closest thing to cozy as I can get. It’s where I find myself writing these days.

I’m obsessed with seeing other writer’s spaces: their desks, their offices, or the coffee shops in which they write. It’s inspiring to me. Just like seeing a snapshot of some of my favorite authors working on their next book. It feels as though I’m seeing something special; getting the inside track. Like they’re saying to me: look, I’m writing, what’s your excuse?

I’ve been making up a lot of excuses lately.

2. Lately I’ve been feeling a pull in a different direction. Away from romance as I’ve been writing it. Whether or not anything comes from it remains yet to be seen, but for now, it’s a nice thought. An exciting thought. A thought that keeps me up late into the night dreaming up plot lines. I think about writing about a group of girlfriends navigating adulthood, a struggling marriage, a wife, pregnant and alone. Too many ideas, not enough time.

3. I started reading an incredible book this week, Our Magic Hour by Jennifer Down. Down’s writing is so beautiful and heartfelt. I am about halfway through and can’t wait to see where the rest of the book goes. I’ve started following Down on instagram and will be devouring everything else she’s written.

July Reading List

It’s been hot as heck here in Las Vegas this month. I mean, uncomfortably so. I don’t spend much time outside when the weather is like this, unless I’m in the pool. And if I’m in the pool, I want to be laying in our new margarita pool float with a book in my hand.

Most of what I read this month, though, I read inside where there is air conditioning and iced coffee never too far out of reach. My kid has even taken to pick up a book off my shelf, slid back onto the couch and open it. “I’m mama!” he says, laughing hysterically. To his credit, he is pretty damn cute when he does it.

What I read in July


In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life — I’ve been on the wait list for this ebook at the library for quite a while and am so happy to finally be jumping in.
  • The First Taste — because I’m slowly working my way through all the Jessica Hawkins books on my iPad.

Coming Up

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.

3 Things From The Past Week | 16

1. I can’t quite remember how it came up, or why, but last night, after I put my son to bed, I said to Dom, “Look at the guys I comment on, they’re always older. Robert Downey Jr, Charles Esten, Kevin Richardson…” I turned to him, “I wonder what that says about me? Is it because I’m a total daddy’s girl?”

He said, unblinking, “I think it’s probably the opposite. It’s probably that you want someone to take care of you. Someone responsible. Someone older.”

I nodded, because that has always been true.

“Look at you as an example,” I said. “When we met, you were more of a man than anyone I’d ever dated. You owned a home, you were solid, you had a good head on your shoulders.”

Many of you may not know the whole story of how Dom and I got together, but let me tell you: we got lucky, him and I. We knew we aligned on the big picture items, but the little stuff — the kind of everyday stuff that can make or break a relationship — we had to figure that out after we were married. We had to play it by ear.

It’s not to say that it’s been an easy road, but then again, you don’t get married thinking it will be easy. I can say this though: Dom was — and continues to be — exactly what and whom I needed.

2. Kelsey, An online friend of mine has started sharing her writing online. It’s raw and honest and sometimes full of expletives… and incredibly refreshing.

A while back, Suzy and I talked about how there aren’t many “real” blogs left. You know; non-curated, sponsored, only-care-about-the-perfect-keywords-and-monthly-hits kind of blogs that seem to rule the online space these days.

Well, Kelsey’s blog isn’t like that, and I hope it never is.

She’s been writing for a while, but to see her passion grow and grow over the past six months has been a pretty incredible thing to witness. Her passion inspires me to push harder.

3. I sent my mom a photo of my son touching a snake at a kid’s birthday party yesterday with the caption, “he doesn’t get his fearlessness from me.” I couldn’t go anywhere near the thing, even though it was pretty small, but DJ went right up and touched it without prompting. My heart soared. That’s my kid, I thought. I hope he never loses that sense of wonder, that desire to jump.

3 Things From The Past Week | 15

1. I can’t remember exactly what it was my son was doing, but he was standing nearby, close enough that I could think, for what feels like the hundredth time, that he has such beautiful, long eyelashes. I looked at him and I thought, I can’t believe that I made you.

He’s four and I’m still in awe of this fact.

I had my phone in my hand because my father-in-law had just sent me a message. I opened up our thread and wrote him: “I still look at DJ and can’t believe I made him. Do you ever look at your kids and think that, even though they’re all grown up?”

“They make me happy even now. DJ is a different, but just as good, type of joy,” he wrote.

Even now, days later, thinking about that moment makes me ache in the best kind of way.

2. I spent a lot of time this week noticing–and calling out–all the times I make excuses. It’s disarming, really, to realize how often I tell myself I tried when I didn’t.

3. I was recently interviewed by Nicole of Explosive Bagel. She titled the interview, “Finding Your Spark: Writing, Reading and Investing in Yourself.”

Nicole asked me things like, when did I first consider myself a writer, and how I deal with writer’s block (oh, boy). I also talked a little about my reasoning behind re-writing my first novella, Finding Lily, and how I became a self-published author.

Talking about myself is hard. I know I do it all the time in these 3 Things posts and elsewhere, but interviews are different. I feel pressured to sound smart and knowledgeable and to say something new and wise that hasn’t been said before (What’s that saying? There are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt).

Anyways, you can read it here if you’re interested.

“Goodbye, Vitamin” was an Unexpected Gem

Goodbye, Vitamin

Before reading “Goodbye, Vitamin” I did something I don’t usually do—actually, something I downright refuse to do, which is look at the reviews of a book before I read it. You see, I want to open a book unbiased; I don’t want other people’s thoughts swarming around in my head before I’ve even given the book a chance.

I logged on to Goodreads and read four or five reviews.

Thankfully, they didn’t stop me from buying the book.

Goodbye, Vitamin, though short, is written in small vignettes that read just like a diary. Ding, ding—I’m in love already. You give me anything that looks even remotely like a glimpse into the private, inner thoughts of someone and I am all in.

All. In.

If you need proof of why I loved this book so much, here it is:

“It was grotesque, the way I kept trying to save that relationship. Like trying to tuck an elephant into pants.”

And:

When I brought it up, months later, Joel said, “What are you talking about?” because he didn’t remember it—he’d forgotten it completely—and it was at that point I realized that I could remember something and he could remember something different and if we built up a store of separate memories, how would that work, and would it be okay? The answer, of course, in the end, was no.

And, especially:

If I were you is something I’ve never really understood. Why say, “If I were you”? Why say, “If I were you,” when the problem is, you’re not me? I wish people wouldn’t say, “Since I am me,” followed by whatever advice it is they have for me.

And haven’t we all felt this way before:

What I want to know is what counted for something and what counted not at all. Now I feel like shit for spending that time–that’s the word it’s convention to use: spending—on what turns out not to matter, and neglecting the things that did, and do.

And, oh oh oh:

You know what else is unfair, about Joel? That I loosened the jar lid, so somebody else could open him.

That last quote… well, it stirred so many thoughts in me. But it’s safe to say that’s what the whole book did to me.

It reminded me that life is short. That nothing is guaranteed. That sometimes love doesn’t work out. It reminded me to pick up the phone and call my parents more often. To say “I love you” more.

Goodbye, Vitamin was, to sum it up, an absolutely unexpected gem.


To read more of my book reviews, click here.

June Reading List

After reading as much as I did in May I had a feeling that June wouldn’t be as plentiful. And I was right. Instead of reading this month I spent time traveling for work, watching too much TV (like season five of Orange Is The New Black and finishing re-watching the Dexter series with my husband) and trying (and failing) to make progress on my Finding Lily novel re-write. Not feeling sorry for myself though, no–that would be silly. (Hello sarcasm!)

I can tell, though, that things will pick up again in July. I always read a lot in the summer months–it’s got to be something about all the time spent poolside, sipping on riesling out of the new plastic wine glasses I bought because my husband can’t be trusted with glass, ha!).

What I read in June:

  • THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid (BOTM) – I quite literally don’t have the words to describe how much I adored this novel. Go pick up a copy for yourself if you haven’t already. I talked about the book a little more in depth here.
  • SOMEBODY ELSE’S SKY BY JESSICA HAWKINS – Like the first in the series I read this book quickly, devouring it. Knowing I have to wait until October to read the final installment in the trilogy is torture.
  • SLIP OF THE TONGUE BY JESSICA HAWKINS – Ok, so I’ve been reading a lot of her work lately. It’s just what happens when you fall in love with an author. Like all her other books that I’ve read, this one didn’t disappoint.

In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:


Coming Up

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.