Tag Archives: writer

I Did it All For the Cruffin…


I was meeting a friend for a business coffee. She suggested we meet at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse on Larkin. I walked into the office and laid down my bags.
“So, I’m meeting someone at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.”
Coworker A’s body appeared around the wall of my cubicle.
“Have you ever had their cruffin?” she asked.
“Cruffin?” I said.
“Have you ever been there?” she asked.
Coworker B’s face appeared over the top of the wall, “I hear the cruffins are amazing.”
Coworker A continued, “Alright, here’s the deal. There are two lines. The cruffin line and the non-cruffin line. But they only make the cruffins at certain times.”
“Really?” says coworker B.
“Nine o’clock is when the first batch of cruffins come out.”
“Well, I’m meeting her at nine,” I say.
“Alright, the only thing I haven’t loved there is the sushi croissant.”
“Sushi croissant?!” Coworker B and I say together.
“I LOVE the sushi croissant!” yells Coworker C from the kitchen.
“Do you?” asks Coworker A.
(long conversation about the attributes of the sushi croissant)

So, I walked the two blocks to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. It was a store just bigger than the double doors that opened into it, covered in white subway tiles, with a pink neon sign taking up a whole wall that said, “I got baked in San Francisco”. And there was the cruffin line drawing itself down the block. Well, what would you do if there was a line like that waiting for a mysterious pastry named the “cruffin”?.

I stood in line for the cruffin. They bake one kind a day. That day it was a cruffin with caramel custard and homemade marshmallows. It was very good. I was only in line fifteen minutes which seemed pretty reasonable considering the number of people who stopped by the line and asked how long we’ve been waiting.

I’m not a food photo-taker. In fact, I only thought of it after the cruffin was gone. “Oh, I should’ve taken a picture!” But I hadn’t, and that’s why I write things like this, because I fail to take pictures. This blog is my thousand word picture.

In Which I Got to See the Innards of Chronicle Books and They Were Beautiful…


I got to be one of thirty privileged people on a tour of Chronicle Books on Friday, thanks to my phone appendage and the connections of SCBWI.  I only took four pictures and two of them are blurry because, well, no one else was taking pictures. And I didn’t want to be the only one flipping out and taking pictures of everything, so I tried to be all sly about it, the result of which is four pictures, fifty percent of which are blurry.

Basically, it was awesome. Basically, it was like a dream. The people who work at Chronicle Books have a book store in their lobby, mostly art, food, and children’s books, like, all the best kinds of books. And each desk has a bookshelf next to it full of the same.

The design floor had this beautiful texture wall for inspiration and ideas.


The cover wall had all the covers of the books coming out in the next year.

continue reading this post here…

Girding my Loins for Rejection…


Well, I just sent off a query e-mail with picture book manuscript attached.

There you go, little bird. I have chopped you, trimmed you, cut off your wings and reattached them in different places.

I have sat on you, exposed you to critique, and shamed you publicly in front of my writing group.

Honestly, we’ve kept such company these past few months that I’m not sure I can look at you for a while.

So, go fly little picture book bird and find an agent.

If you don’t come back, well, I’ll patch you up again and try someone else.

… so much hope for 872 tiny little words to carry.

Book Release (!!!) for Natalie Pagel’s RUINS…


I met Natalie Pagel a few years ago. I heard she was a writer and so the invisible spark of camaraderie bound us together almost instantly.

I soon learned from our circle that Natalie had written a book. She had finished it, bound it at Kinko’s and passed it around to her friends and family. I got her phone number from a mutual friend and she soon received a phone call from someone she barely knew (me) encouraging her to not spend any more money at Kinko’s when she could go to Create Space and publish her little book for free, and maybe have all those friends and family actually buy it off of Amazon.

(Please, authors! You are better than Kinko’s!)

Her story has lived through several transformations since then and is now (hooray!) available on Amazon.

I would like to introduce Ruins: The Perfect Place to Build Indestructible Life by Natalie Pagel!

I have read it through twice now, and have begun a third time. It by turns makes me cry and laugh out loud. I just made my husband listen to a particularly funny page. I won’t tell you what part (parts) makes me cry, because that would be a spoiler. But I will tell you the funniest part for me is right around rock bottom when she also gets ants. You know the kind of day she’s talking about, people.

It is Natalie’s story, and her family story. It begins with Natalie in a place of righteous self-assuredness, financial success, and a very sure view of God and the world. And, then life happens, as it does to most of us. But it seems to avalanche over Natalie and her husband all at once, tragically and, at times, comically.

To give you a sense of her journey I give you a piece of hers that I love called “The Grand Canyon”. She tucked it away at the end of her book:


The Grand Canyon

Everything was working against it, and yet for it. Violence and isolation, woven into endless stretches of time, were a part of the very intentional and very intricate process of its coming-of-age.

Shifting and reforming from below as foundations moved, and from above as suffocating deluges added insult to injury, its absolute rock-bottom gave way to new depths.

Relentlessly the elements persisted. Even its own crumbly-clay fabric was used to carve out its deep, deep chasms.

Yet despite its cursed existence, it is anything but a futile wasteland. No, it is a wonder of creation-inspiring and majestic. A banner of beauty. A fingerprint of salvation. Breathtaking from every vantage point.

Bidding still, that nature run its course.

Engraved by the hand of destruction at the hand of the Creator, it is not empty. Patiently and skillfully sculpted, it is not forsaken.

Its gashed and gorged landscape is full-teeming with color and light and life.

I absolutely love this. Because people come from around the world to see the beauty of a place so harshly brought about. Are we prettier for that which has been carved from us? Is the rebuilding of Jerusalem sweeter for having been in exile in Babylon?

And I like this version of testimony best, that tells the whole story, not just the pretty parts, which my honest and beautiful friend Natalie certainly does.

I’ll be popping on here this month to give you excerpts as I read through her book again.

In the meantime, head over to Amazon and buy it for yourself! And then, please, leave a glowing review! Also, head over to her blog at http://www.illuminatethetruth.com and follow her story as it continues to get written.

The Letter…


There’s a story in one of the later Anne books. Anne of Green Gables has become Anne of Ingleside, a mother, and Mrs. Doctor. She has met some reasonable literary success, published, but by no means famous except among her circle.

A newly widowed woman comes to Anne and asks her to write her husband’s obituary. Anne is dismayed and shocked. She barely knew Mr. What’s-his-name! All she knows of him is that their interactions were cordial and he was a patient sort of man.

Anne does all right, I guess. She manages to write something and though it doesn’t exactly suit the widow, “too high-falutin’” it is admitted that Dear Mr. What’s-his-name would’ve thought it “real keen”.

I was asked recently to work a similar errand. A woman in my circle had gotten very ill. It was a Parkinson-like disease and I was around in the beginning as she became trapped slowly inside her own body. She was good friends with my father and a member of my mother’s Bible study. This is what brought me to mind for the assignment. And what was it to be? A last Christmas present, a letter from a dying mother to her sons.

I have known this lady long, but not well. Her sons I have not met at all. Like Anne, all I know is that this lady loved me well and was admired by people I respect. I thought about what I could possibly say on behalf of a woman whose mind I couldn’t know who has lived far past my own life experience.

I had only words of a mother to her children. I wrote it out. It was brief. I hoped it would be true words for a woman limited to squeezing once for “yes” and twice for “no”.

It was not the first time I have committed my work in blind faith to a greater purpose I couldn’t know.

I’m afraid the caregiver who had asked me to write the letter gave up hoping that it would come. I almost gave up myself when my computer refused to start up and let me send it off. But my husband stuck my over-heating laptop in the freezer and it stayed on long enough for me to send this one e-mail.

A week later I would find out that my e-mail arrived just as the caregiver was leaving to give the present. She printed out my letter and took it over to our sick friend. The letter was approved with tears and read to the sons, who had a final gift from their mother. She passed away the next day on Christmas Eve.

I can’t help but think, with all my ambition and all the blue castles I build in the sky, that this is the writing I do that will make a difference.

It seemed arrogant to presume I could write that letter. But I’m so glad I wrote it.