Posted by: jeannineatkins | November 19, 2009

Afternoon in Concord

When I told my husband I was off to have tea, walk, talk about writing, then do some writing, too, he said: “Oh, all of your favorite things.” Yes, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are fine, but doing the above with lovely Amy who many of you know as historymaven in one of my favorite places, Concord, MA: could a day get much better?

We met in the great bookshop, then tore ourselves away to walk to the river, cutting behind Hawthorne’s yellow house, passing not the garden that Henry Thoreau put in as a wedding present for Nathaniel and Sophia, but there were dried cornstalks and fat tired cabbages. Amy and I talked about our novels in progress while watching the sluggish river where Minutemen fired shots and the Alcott girls skated in winter. Here’s a picture of Amy by a tree on the river’s other side.

Of course we talked as we walked: the Alcott sisters, research libraries, nineteenth century novelists, eighteenth century scientists, and oh how hard it can be to hit the first third point of a novel, and the second third spot is no piece of cake either. Amy spoke of trying new-to-her techniques – index cards in her bag – and how since we are always new, and each writing project is new, doesn’t it make sense to keep trying new ways to create a structure?

We snagged a quiet table at the back of a lively café in town, ordered tea and split a big cookie, taking out our work. I’d told Amy I was nearing the end, then glancing at the well-inked pages, added, “Even if it doesn’t look very finished.” She marked and drew her own bold lines through her pages. Cutting is so much nicer when you have a friendly face across the table.

We reminded each other, lost in our own worlds, that there is a holiday coming up. I will get a turkey and cranberries and dig out the pumpkin roll recipe. But to me, yesterday felt like Thanksgiving.


  1. Such a beautiful post, Jeannine. This reads like poetry! I love Concord, too, and enjoyed reading about every detail of your day with Amy (lovely photo). Yes, it does sound like Thanksgiving — all your favorite things with a good friend. ♥
    “fat tired cabbages” = brilliant ☺

  2. Awwww. Such a beautiful post.

  3. This post makes me happy! I have to smile at the thought of the two of you looking at fat tired cabbages! Thanks for letting us peek into your lovely afternoon with Amy (And what a nice photo too!)

  4. Thanks, Jama. I hope to have tea and write with you one day. Oh, and snacks.

  5. Thanks, Cynthia. These writing friendships really do help keep us going.

  6. Thanks, Lorraine! I hope your son is feeling better.

  7. Jeannine, you are beautiful beyond words, and so was our day together. I *loved* spending time with you!

  8. I’ve been to Concord once for a Hartwells of America reunion a few years ago. We went to the Hartwell Tavern afterwards and I found out that some of my ancestors were minutemen! I was so proud.
    Hope to go there again one day.
    Your post was so lovely. Thanks for the images.

  9. This sounds like an absolutely perfect kind of day, all of my favorite things too! Your description does, as Jama said, read like poetry.
    I hope to make the journey to sit across the table with you and comfortable, shared silence and rejoice with you in the richness that is this life.

  10. Thank you! I hope you get back to Concord: history on every corner.

  11. Susan, my fingers are so crossed that you can get to the nescbwi conference in Mass. this spring. I would love to share that table with you.
    Have a good Thanksgiving!

  12. I have air miles and I’m not afraid to use them. Will it be in April again, or do you know yet?

  13. I like the way you think! May 14 to 16. Which is better: April weather can be iffy. Link is nescbwi dot org. Book that flight!

  14. I will check with hubby and with my friend Toni because if I am going to go to New England, I need to be able to spend some time with her as well. 🙂

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