A Decade.

This was my Facebook status update 10 years ago. That means Vu and I moved out of our last New York City apartment 10 years ago today (with the immense help of Earnest, down from Boston, and the kind hospitality of our friend Kate, who hosted our small menagerie of couple and dog and bird right after). We left on very short notice because of the shifty landlords. It was a weird way to leave.

It also means that it's been almost 20 years since I packed a Suburban to the gills and moved to NYC for college.

I was raised in Texas, but I grew up in New York City.

I have a lot of feelings about this jumble of anniversaries.


One Hundred Years and Patience

Today is poet Stanley Kunitz's birthday, and The Writer's Almanac shares this story about him. He published his first book of poems in 1930 and another in 1944, but it was barely noticed.

He was so unknown that his third book, Selected Poems (1958), was rejected by eight publishers - three of them refused to even read it. When it was finally published, it won the Pulitzer Prize. When someone asked W.H. Auden why nobody knew about Stanley Kunitz, Auden said: "It's strange, but give him time. A hundred years or so. He's a patient man."

It was more than 10 years before he published his next book, The Testing Tree (1971), and slowly but surely, people began to take notice. He was appointed the poet laureate when he was 95 years old. He died at the age of 100.

He's a patient man. I love that.


Writing Yourself into Immortality

When I start to write something, I suppose I want it to change me, to make me into something not myself. And while I'm doing it, I really have the feeling that this time, at the end of it, I will be other than myself. Of course, every time I end a book, I look down at myself and I'm just the same. I'm always disappointed that I'm just the same, but not enough to never do it again! I get right back up and I start something else, and I think this time - this time - I really will be transformed into something other than this tawdry, ordinary thing, sitting on the bed and drinking cold coffee. When I write a book, I hope to be beyond mortal by the time I'm finished.

--Jamaica Kincaid, born on this day in 1949


White Hot Truth

I got the call from Danielle LaPorte when I was 37 weeks pregnant, early last April. She was writing her new book, and it needed to be done by July. Her description of her book lit up all my circuits. Self-help rooted in compassion instead of criticism? Calling out our addiction to self-improvement? A playful, lovingly contrarian view of New Age spirituality? "And," she added, "it's coming out more personal than I expected." Yes, yes, yes, and hell yes!

“Feel free to bail on me once the baby gets here,” she said before we hung up, but I knew I wouldn’t. I had to work with her, timing be damned. They say you should write the book you want to read -- well, I wanted to edit this book for the same reason.

I gave birth, our collaboration process ramped up, and I edited her book with newborn on one breast and laptop propped on the other side. I sent my suggestions with newborn photos attached. She didn't blink when I replied to her email at two in the morning.

I had the privilege of working with her words and ideas while sloshing around in my own milky postpartum bliss. Fertility abounding everywhere. It was just the best. A total honor.

Tomorrow, her book baby will be born. "White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another" (link in bio) is an invitation to take our spiritual selves a little less seriously, in the most sacred way possible. Danielle blends her signature wit, wisdom, and irreverence into a highly readable book that will help you breathe easier on your path.

It's a gift to all of us who could use some hilarity in our humility, whose sacrosanct could stand to be a little scruffier.

Happy book birthday, D! Thank you again for the pleasure of being on your team. May your book fly off the shelves and touch the heart and soul of each reader! 

Photo by @aboynamedvu
And you can now find my editing self on Instagram at jennifergandinle!



Forget The Fork

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.

--Emily Post, born on this day in 1873