Social Distancing Week 3

I realized after hitting send on my blog post last week that I had forgotten so many small things that had happened that I wanted to remember. So last Wednesday, I made a bit of a list of things I wanted to remember doing during the pandemic:

  • dropped off groceries to family in self-quarantine
  • participated in a video chat birthday party for a niece
  • monthly book group switched to a weekly video chat
  • video “morning meeting” from the school principal, where he suggested making anagrams from the word “gratitude”, which the kids really found exciting and spent several hours working on using scrabble letters (voluntarily)
  • getting home cooked food South Indian food delivered from my mom

Last night, the school emailed us a more concrete plan for homeschool, and the plan is a bit less relaxed than ours, (we had been taking Wednesdays off from school!) so we’ll see how that goes! The kids have been doing piano lessons over video chat, which has been going surprisingly well, and this week their bharatnatayam class is going to try video chat. I’m curious to see how that will work.

This Saturday, I attended Kweli Journal’s Color of Children’s Literature Conference. This was originally supposed to take place in NYC, but they switched to a virtual conference. I was a bit skeptical about how it would work, but they did an excellent job making the switch. The conference was incredibly inspiring, and am eager to get writing! I’m hoping now that the kids have assigned school work I’ll get to some more writing time in.

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Social Distancing Week Two

Since Fridays are clean-the-house days, I’m generally too tired to post, so I’m switching to Monday. It has been tough writing. Some days I open the screen and think, “What is the point of this?” But other days, I realize how much I love to read, and how I have always loved to read and write. I also see how much my kids need things to read, and so I keep going.

After a few outside nature walks that were just too busy, we have decided not to venture to parks, etc, but to stick with our neighborhood, which hasn’t been too busy. (Anyway, many of the parks and things are closed now! Massachusetts has had a stay-at-home recommendation since last week.) Yesterday, my legs felt like they needed to do something, so I went out for a walk even though it was rainy. No one else was out walking, so I didn’t have to worry about crowds!

Here’s what I posted to instagram:

Our “homeschooling” schedule started off fairly consistent, but is slowly becoming a little less regular. This is because I am discovering that my natural going-to-bed time seems to be about 1am and my wake time seems to be about 10am, which unfortunately isn’t great for the rest of the family! I may have to give in and wake up earlier and go to bed earlier like I used to, but it’s hard since I’ve been feeling better with this schedule.

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Social distancing week one

Fun with stuffies!!!

Another journal-type blog post!

It has been one whole week since school closed and homeschooling is going okay. We have a bit of a routine now, which I think is helpful for everyone. The kids mostly seem to be doing okay. The 4th grader has occasionally been moody and tearful (so have I!), and she is missing her friends. Still, they are both currently doing surprisingly well, all things considering. I guess we’ll see how next week goes.

My writing has been slow, mostly because the news has been hard to process, and I worry a lot for people I know who are at high risk due to the virus. Still, at least I have been writing and reading, which is good.

As far as homeschooling, our plan of doing 2 subjects per day has been great so far. We have a schedule, but we don’t stick too closely to it. Occasionally, when the kids are having a lot of fun during recess playing outside or playing with their toys, I just let them play rather than sticking strictly to the schedule. I don’t think I’ll blog much about what we have done specifically (if any friends are interested feel free to email!) because there are so many posts about that these days.

A “map” of our backyard by my 1st grader that we did for social studies (a requested activity!)

On Wednesday, we went on a “field trip” which meant we went out biking on the Minuteman bike trail. The day was beautiful and sunny, and just a little bit cool which was perfect. I was surprised though by just HOW many people were out walking and biking on the narrow trail. The trail also winds past several fields and a playground. There were kids playing sports, piling on top of each other, and there were kids playing on the playground as usual. It was a bit disconcerting–people were acting as if it were a normal weekend day, and not a weekday when people have been asked to stay home and stay safe.

Anyway, today was a chores day, so I’m exhausted from cleaning the house top to bottom (with the kids’ help) and now the kids are doing a piano lesson over FaceTime.

That’s it from me today. Take care!

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Social distancing day one

Though I thought I had mostly transitioned away from my blog, with this pandemic, social media has been a bit overwhelming. It seems most useful to me to check in quickly with my friends and then log off. However, I do seem to need to express myself online in some way, so I thought I’d get back to journaling a little bit here. So for as long as I find it fun, I’ll be journaling the pandemic from my POV. As a warning, these posts will be a little off the cuff and only a little bit edited :)

So yesterday was day one at home. My husband is working from home, and I’m attempting to get writing done at the same time, but we have kids to take care of! So the first thing we did with the kids was to make a schedule. My 1st grader needs a more structured day, or she feels anxious. (My 4th grader, by contrast gets annoyed if things are too structured…so we’ll see how it goes.) We googled around for homeschool schedules, looked on FB to see what my friends were doing, and in the end cobbled together something close to what the kids were doing at school (with morning meeting, recess, and snack breaks).

We made a list of subjects the kids were doing at school, and chose two for the first day: Math and social studies. After one day, we were able to see what worked and what didn’t, and we’ll modify accordingly for Monday. (Obviously we’ll be working on reading and writing every day :)) In the end, I only got about an hour of writing in, but it was a productive hour at least!

This weekend, we had already agreed to treat as a weekend, so today, we’re just playing in an unstructured way, like we usually do. While the kids are playing, I’m looking at websites and workbooks and trying to see which things look appropriate for my kids. If any of them turn out to be great I might blog a bit about it. We’re also going to try Dreambox, which is free for 90 days and a colleague of James’s recommended Life of Fred workbooks for math (my kids are good at math so challenging them without boring them will be an issue).

Anyway that’s it from me today. Stay well!

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Website update coming!

I’m going to be updating my website in the upcoming weeks! If any of you are part of the handful of people subscribed to the RSS feed, I’ll probably be deleting and reconfiguring that soon, so you’ll need to come back and resubscribe.

As you may have noticed, social media seems to have taken up my energy for blogging, so I also need to do some thinking here about which of those seems more valuable to me.

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NESCBWI Meet and Greet

Hi everyone! I’m organizing another networking/diversity event for the kidlit folks in the Boston area. This time I’m doing a Meet and Greet for IBPOC writers and illustrators on behalf of the NESCBWI Equity and Inclusion committee. You do not need to be an NESCBWI member to join us. I hope to see you there!

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019 – 7:00pm

Address: Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Description: This is a casual meetup for YA and children’s writers and/or illustrators who identify as Indigenous, Black, and/or People of Color (IBPOC). Other IBPOC children’s literature professionals are also invited and welcome. This will not be a pitching event.

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2019 trip to india

Whoops, it’s been a while since I last posted! I’ve been slowly sharing photos from our family trip to India on my instagram account. We were there for two weeks in the middle of August, and we visited Delhi, Jaipur, Pushkar, and Jodhpur. Originally we were supposed go to Delhi and then fly down to Kochi and travel around to Thekkady as we did last time. But unfortunately due to dangerous weather, we had to reroute our trip at the last minute (thanks Mom for organizing all of it!).

Between the four of us adults on the trip we took about 1200 photos 😳so it has been taking me a while to sift through them. Hopefully I’ll be done posting the pics before next August…

Hope you enjoy!

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Updates

HI! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy with revisions on my latest middle grade manuscript. I just sent another round of revisions out to my agent, and am waiting for her notes. I’m hoping to be nearing submission to publishers soon! Until then, I’m still plugging away on the MG science fiction project.

Travels: If you follow me on instagram, you saw a couple of pics from my trip to Brussels and Bruges as well as our family trip to Universal Studios in FL. I’ll be traveling to India soon too! It’s been 10 years since the last time I visited, and I’m eager to see what changes I will notice. We plan to travel to Delhi, Agra, and Kochi. It’ll be the first time for my kids, and I’m a bit nervous to see how they handle the long, boring flights as well as the huge time difference.

Wish us luck!

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New Agent!

I have good news! If you follow me on social media, then you already know that I have a new literary agent! I’m excited to share that I’m being represented by Kari Sutherland from Bradford Literary Agency. We’ll be revising Cloudreader together and getting it ready to send out to editors. Fingers crossed!

In other news, I’m starting a brand new middle grade science fiction project that I’m excited about. My daughter helped me come up with some character ideas and I’m excited to see where this rough draft takes me. I might also be traveling to Brussels in a few weeks! I’ve never been there before, so I’m excited. I love traveling to new places. I may share some pictures here when I remember. I get a bit weird about sharing my kids’ photos on my blog but since my kids aren’t coming on the trip (gasp!) I may have more photos to share than usual. Here’s hoping 2019 continues on this upswing!

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Ode to the mole on the tip of my daughter’s nose

Random, well-placed
marks make you unique.
Like a well-chosen word,
the mole on the tip
of your rounded nose,
perfects the sentence of
your face.

When you were born
your face was
swollen, squished
by my internal organs.
Though you cried and
screamed every night,
your birthmarks faded
silently. Through disappearing
milia, your singular mole
emerged.

New moles arrive
everyday, dot-by-dot
constellations multiplied
despite the lotions
we spread like glue
so the sun won’t stick.
But that teeny brown mole
on the end of your nose,
the one that matches
mine, will always be
my favorite.

————–

This poem was written as part of an online poetry class I took a few months ago. I’m slowly going through to revise the poems I wrote there. I’ll probably revisit this one a few more times, but this is my current version.

I’m also still experimenting with how to share poems and the formatting etc. I’m not super pleased with how this looks on the screen, so if you have any tips, I’m all ears!

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