Raining in January by Sandra Sabatini

The 8th is always a significant day. I’m glad when it’s over. It’s the grayest day of the new year, actually, which is kind of a relief.

Rain seems appropriate, if disturbing. A Christmas card I received featured two polar bears with martinis on a small ice floe. You’ve seen it. One says to the other, “The bad news is, we’re running out of ice.” It’s a cartoon. A scary one. We should be shoveling. We should be playing pickup hockey or learning to skate backwards in riverside parks. Instead we’re British, black-umbrella-ed and rushing from shelter to shelter.

I’ve worked through a draft of the novel project with some serious help from New York. Couldn’t have done it without you.

July. Fish are jumping, but the weather's too hot by Sandra Sabatini

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I'm revising chapter three of current work. This is third time through. Or maybe the 6th time through, depending on how you count. I wrote it. Then I re-read it and separated it from other content. Then I made it a chapter. Then I revised it. Then I re-read and cut it down to size, killing language all the way. Now I'm fixing it. But everyone in it is behaving too nicely. It's got no teeth. Plenty of fangs everywhere else, but no teeth in chapter three and it's Christmas in chapter three and in honour of July, I melted all the snow, even though it takes place in a northern town in a nuclear family who are all kind. How can this be? What to do about it? Do you know kind families -- ones where strangers feel welcome and are fed and sheltered? Where family secrets are alien things and where people punch each other out of joy? I'm going to have to do something about it tonight. Stay tuned. 

This is me in a turtleneck, favourite sweater, favourite colour, old glasses, kind of an old picture. My hair's still a mess and lips are still lopsided and blue is still best.

May, and it's been some time since I've been here by Sandra Sabatini

sun and rain are duking it out today, mid-May, and someone's one year birthday (and new sparkly Italian baby shoes are coming, I promise!) is today. I rode my bicycle for the first time in 20 years yesterday. Twenty years. I'm damaged today and loving every minute of it. Scraped my arm, dislocated my thumb, won an argument with a cranky Canada Goose, did an on-the-spot chain repair, and made the process of sitting down afterward quite interesting. I'll do better next time. Here's the funny part. I was afraid to do it. It's a long ride to my work and another long ride home. I'm on the way to being old-ish. Though I feel young-ish. So fear made me mad. So I rode. 

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all things considered,

I'd rather be walking in Italy

Time for something new by Sandra Sabatini

It's January again, quiet and very cold in this new year, 2018. I am up to my nose in a turtleneck and down to my toes in shearling boots at my desk looking at my screen. The octopus manuscript I've been working on, lo these many years, is finally being wrestled into some kind of shape. With the help of a mentor, I finally have some hope that I can bring the work to completion. I don't know about publication, yet, but I would like not to give up. I would like to finish. 

I have been re-reading Marilynne Robinson and Annie Dillard. Robinson on fiction as an "excercise in the capacity for imaginative love" and Dillard: "Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients" and "Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?" How to probe that mystery and how to make a story matter?   Keeping in mind always how goofy life is, how tragedy turns on a dime (or a slippery banana peel). There is just so much to notice, it's hard to find the plot!

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Best January by Sandra Sabatini

It's cold, the coldest day ever. triple sweatered, I feel it. Wind biting and the sound of boots on snow like a million million bubble wrap sheets popping at once. Breath hanging in the air. We are all carbonating the atmosphere today. And hunched, swathed and mittened, isolated in black coats and moving through the day with frozen teeth. I love it.