Life lately has been complicated in the best and worst ways – and yes, I know everyone says that. I’m not going to rehash the gory details of the catalyst because you can read that here, but I’ve been on a whirlwind of emotions and work and simply put, life.
When I look back at this year, one week will stand out. First, I received notification that one of my fiction pieces would be published at PANK Magazine while on our last night in Copenhagen; then, a day later, more than one agent wanted to see the full manuscript I’ve been working on for the last year between writing it, editing it, and sending out queries; and finally, I received news my memoir piece would be published on Narratively (in June 2016). It only makes sense that my first live publication would be my most personal work.
In other work news, I have completed a second manuscript (which is why the blog has taken a backseat) and have sent it out to the best beta readers mutual respect can find. I’m now working on a third and hoping to hear back from agents about my first.
This spring, J and I took a much-needed trip for our sanity. We are both restless by nature and don’t do well after being still for too long. We have been wanting to go to Japan but decided to leave that for a later date when we could do a full tour of Asia and instead decided to cover some of the countries and/or cities missing from our European travels. We rented an apartment for five-plus weeks in Copenhagen as our home base and planned three- and four-day excursions outside the country to Brussels, Budapest, Barcelona, Riga, and Porto.
Each of the cities had something we absolutely adored (the storybook buildings in Riga) and things we cared for less (oh my is the tourism obvious in Barcelona), but our favorite place was Porto. The river, the sunshine, the endless port wine. Oh, and we rented a loft above a bakery. It was the perfect place to unwind after a fast-paced trip and a rough year.
We moved into our first house just over a year ago now and have spent an inordinate amount of time rehabbing it. It’s not that it is in poor shape; it’s that, other than the bones, it isn’t our style. Good thing cosmetic elements are easy fixes.
Look at all that paneling. Yikes.
We also had sold our larger furnishings before we left our two-bedroom apartment across the country in an effort to both fit into a smaller moving truck and start fresh in a new house. It’s a good plan except it means we lived in our new house without anything to sit on for the first few months and no dining table until this week (we still don’t have chairs for it). Part of this is because we are picky and on a budget, but the biggest reason is because we enjoy doing everything ourselves from building furniture to doing the electrical.
While this blog will continue to focus primarily on my travels and writing, I plan to share a few of our DIY projects as well. These will include things such as grey-washing wood paneling (one of our first projects) or putting together a gallery stairwell or building a home library (the bookshelves; you’re on your own for the books).
That’s what has been going on here lately – oh, and we got a puppy!
– M. Ray Hall