read this, go here: Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo.

To write a novel is to constantly visit other places in your head. Just yesterday, for instance, I went to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival without taking off my slippers. But sometimes – for sanity, for fresh air, for a refill of the creative well, for the sake of different footwear – you need to actually get out of your chair and go. So, this fall, I took a two week hiatus from novel revisions to visit South America.

It was my first time traveling to the continent, and with such a huge choice of amazing places to go it was hard to narrow it down. My husband and I landed on three cities: Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. I like to read local when I travel to far-flung and exotic places, and once there, to see whatever bookish places there are to see. Here’s what I found, and read, in South America (while eating my weight in empanadas).

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I’m serving up this gin cocktail recipe.

Hello from second draft land. It is different here and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing. Getting the editing process organized has been job one, and it is taking a long time. Hemingway is famously quoted as saying “write drunk, edit sober,” but then again, as Fitzgerald always said, “do we have any straws for my gin? I need my hands free for my book.” And now we have The Great Gatsby!

It’s World Gin Day today, the Internet tells me, and to celebrate this very important holiday and the entire second draft business like F. Scott Fitzgerald on a Tuesday, here is a cocktail recipe for all of you writers deep in edits out there. Cheers.

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what have you been up to?

What a busy few months: friends and family getting degrees, getting engaged, having babies, having second babies, raising babies to be cool little people, buying houses, getting new pets, getting new jobs, getting fresh air. So much news around me!

For my part, I have been “butt-in-chair” as they say, on my work in progress, trying to reach a self-imposed and self-enforced deadline of March 1 for my first draft. And then I’ll be free! Just kidding, I’ll be back in the chair doing edits forever.

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first draft or dream I had last night?

I’m still getting used to telling people that I’m working on a novel without feeling completely ridiculous. But I may never cease to feel anxious about getting the dreaded question: what’s it about?  I’m here to tell you that trying to give someone a synopsis of your book while you’re writing the first draft is like telling her about a weird dream you had last night that you only half-remember.

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