Ten Things

1. I used to do all my writing from 5 until 7am, wrapped in a fluffy, orange bathrobe. The “fluffy” part was just to make it sound lovelier than it really was. It was really just orange. But it was super soft and warm and I loved it. I no longer wear the robe, but I haven’t had the heart to get rid of it, so it hangs in the back of my closet. Every time I see it, I remember all those early morning writing sessions before the sun and my kids were awake, coffee in hand, computer open on my lap. I’m usually wearing exercise clothes during my writing sessions now. But I still need coffee to make the writing go down easier.

2. As I said above, I used to do most all my writing in the dark, early morning hours. I started writing that early when my kids were young because it was the only time of day when I wasn’t needed for something. When my baby (she’s no longer a baby) went off to “big school” with her big sister, my time opened up tremendously. These days, I try to get my writing in during the 9:00am-12:00pm window, though I don’t always write the entire time, and some days, it just doesn’t happen. As strange as it sounds, I often think back fondly on those dark, early morning hours. I think I was my most productive then.

3. I have an unhealthy fear of and distaste for roaches. There. Enough said about that.

4. I write a monthly column in The Homewood Star, a hyperlocal newspaper that serves our community of Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, AL. I’ve been writing it since 2011. I’ve written about all kinds of things–my kids (a lot), snakes, socks, writing, faith, how hard it is to be a parent, funny things that happen on the way home from the beach after six hours in the car when you run out of your supplies of milk and goldfish. FOMO during Covid lockdown. Important things.

5. While I’ve been told that I look to be anywhere from 25 to “around 40,” my youngest daughter seems to think I could pass for much, much older. While kneeling in front of her recently, she said something funny and I raised my eyebrows. She burst out laughing, pointed to my forehead, and said, “You look just like a grandma!” Then she said, “Do it again!” to which I sweetly said, “Thanks but no thanks.” She pulls this “Grandma” stuff a little too often for my taste.

 6.  My family harbors a bordering-on-unhealthy obsession with Cheez-its. At first it was just me, my mom, and my brother, but we’ve spread the love to my husband and my brother’s wife. Obviously our kids love them too. We don’t go on any trip out of town (especially to the beach) without a box or two. We used to be pretty faithful to Reduced Fat (not because of the reduced fat, but because they were crispier than the regular ones). But we’ve officially made the switch to Extra Toasty.

 7. I win things. Not all the time, but probably more often than your average contest enterer. It started with a Colgate Brightest Whitest Smile contest back in college. How I heard about this, I have no idea. It was the year 2000, maybe 2001. I didn’t read blogs then or really even look at the internet all that much. I think I basically emailed a little, and that’s it. But somehow, I heard about this contest, and it had some nice prize, so I entered. I didn’t win the grand prize, but I did win a new tube of toothpaste. Since then, I’ve won a bouncy house for my daughter’s birthday, a set of notebooks, a Twitter query critique contest, a photo session with a local photographer (hello Christmas card), a lovely little novel through a Twitter raffle, and a new pair of Costa sunglasses just for adding my name to a pot. There are more, but I can’t remember them. My husband probably can. He thinks it’s wacky that I keep winning little contests, but I keep entering them because I think, “Well, it’s happened before…”

 8. My parents probably should have named me Laura. If I had a dollar for every time someone has responded to one of my emails with a, “Hi Laura,” my children’s college fund might be fully funded. When they direct their emails to this mystery Laura, it’s always in response to an email I sent where I very clearly signed off as Lauren. Or I’m at a book event, and my name is clearly shown on the front of the book, but I’m introduced to a crowd as Laura. I’m convinced there’s something about the human eye or brain that likes Laura better and automatically changes Lauren to Laura. In fact, if you are perusing this site and think I sound like a neat gal and decide you want to comment or send me an email, doublecheck, because chances are you’ve directed your message to Laura, my alter ego. (I’m sure she’s nice, but she’s just not me.)

 9. I’m not a very good scrambled egg-maker. I know, I know–how hard is it to make scrambled eggs, right? But trust me. If you’re up against my husband, who is a really great maker of scrambled eggs, you’ll know you’re not very good. When we have breakfast for dinner, he’s the egg maker, I’m the pancake maker. (I burn bacon too.)

10. And now the best part. These are the books that stand out in my mind as my all-time favorites. Really good ones come along here and there and move up in the list, but these are tried and true, ones I never hesitate to recommend, ones I go back to again and again.

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
Walking Across Egypt, Clyde Edgerton
As Hot As It Was, You Ought to Thank Me and Balls, Nanci Kincaid
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Sarah Agnes Prine Trilogy, Nancy Turner
Garden Spells and First Frost, Sarah Addison Allen
The Winternight Trilogy, Katherine Arden
Good Morning, Midnight, Lily Brooks-Dalton
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
The Thursday Murder Club and its follow-up The Man Who Died Twice, Richard Osman