Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 24, 2009

Old Books and New Manuscripts

I’ve been prepping for our annual Friends of the Library sale, to be held here in Whately, Mass. this Sunday from 10 to 3. Our three person board and the librarian usually manage, but my adrenalin shot way up when we got an email from someone saying she’d like to volunteer. Yay, unbelievable, I wanted to scream, but settled for thank you. Announcements have been sent, posters put up, and books mostly sorted, though there will be some early Sunday morning quandaries: is this health or fiction, a cookbook or poetry?

And the always welcome last minute entries. Last night my yoga teacher asked if it was too late to bring a box or two of books. She said she usually brings them to the hospice shop, but her mother finds them there, thinks this is the kind of thing Alexandra likes, buys them, and brings them back to her. She told me, “I have to give them to a place where my mother doesn’t shop.”

This morning I’m walking dogs with Mary, then writing on the porch which might actually get hot. We’ve become a regular Thursday lunch and writing group at Esselon Café before Jo Knowles jbknowles teaches her class at the Eric Carle museum. After catching up over salads or sandwiches, Jo orders her white china pot of black tea, Ellen admires the elegant swirls in her latte, and we open our laptops. There’s free wireless, so sometimes we log on, and if we’re lucky, good news is shared: two weeks ago, Jo found out Jumping Off Swings went into its second printing, and we cheered and lifted our by-then empty cups.

Tonight I’ll bring my laptop to the library before meeting other friends. Two years ago, Karen, Margaret, and I were all teaching the same class at UMass and all had daughters leaving for college, so we started meeting now and then to talk about the books we were reading, our students, and how much we missed our girls. This fall the class we taught was cut and our beloved daughters our pretty well launched: Margaret’s daughter left the dorm for her first apartment in Burlington, Karen’s is back in NYC after a summer working organic gardens in Italy, and mine is working, studying, and this week having irksome battles with AT&T in LA. But, wise women that we are, Margaret, Karen, and I still meet to talk about anything at all over a beer or wine and sweet potato fries.

Then I’ll be on to my writing group and get their take on my chapters 10 to 13. I know a novel isn’t like a slope that you slog up then slide down, but somehow seeing the end getting closer makes me feel the writing is coming with at least some breeze on my back.



  1. Your Thursday plans sound heavenly!! Happy writing and communing. 🙂

  2. Hi Jeannine!
    My e-mail contacts are missing so I’m hoping you’ll get this. I am running about 20 minutes late. Start eating without me! 🙂

  3. It’s a good day. Hope yours goes well, too, Jama!

  4. Got it. No problem!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful day! I’ll be thinking of you.
    And embarrassing as it is to admit it, I once bought back a book of my *own* from the library book sale. And didn’t realize what I’d done till I’d gotten home.

  6. Have a great day!!

  7. I can totally see buying your own books back from a library book sale. When I put out boxes, my donations can catch my eye: why that looks good! why yes it is! Why yes I read it, and decided, time being short, I won’t read it again.
    It was nice for your book to have that little vacation and see the world.

  8. Laura, hope yours is good, too. I’ve been thinking of you and your mondo enthusiasm, talent, and way of taking on the world. Go!

  9. Ooh, chapters 10 to 13! You’re moving right along, Jeannine. Yay!
    And what a funny story about the mother buying back her daughter’s books. That’s sweet.
    Hope you had a wonderful get together.

  10. Well, I’ve been making the chapters shorter. Tricky, eh? Make one chapter into two and voila: looks like progress.
    Wish you could join us at these lunches, Lorraine. But we do have a nice crowd of those-there-in-spirit. Maybe one day…

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