“Go home and finish writing your new book. I want to read it!”

Barbara and I are leaving our Monday morning Bible study. She is only half-kidding when she delivers this quip. Barbara has read Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl. She is looking forward to the sequel and mentions her memory of an anecdote in my first memoir: “I remember watching Howdy Doody too as a kid!” Though she is not Mennonite and grew up in an entirely different part of the country, she can relate to many of my experiences.


My first intention for my second book was to present my Aunt Ruthie Longenecker’s teenage journal as a collection of diary entries with some added context. That project fizzled for a number of reasons.

Then, I got the bright idea to compile blog posts according to themes and publish those. “What if WordPress, my platform, blows up?” I asked. The loss of digital connection could destroy nine years of work, I reasoned. My readers met that idea with a lukewarm response. “Meh,” was the general impression. Then an author friend, Susan Weidener, scrutinized my book as a developmental editor and suggested that I explore my marriage as a topic. Thus, the title My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir emerged.

It’s been a year since I announced that a new book was in the pipeline. You can read about it HERE.

Then, a few months ago, I staged a cover reveal.


Now, it’s time for an update.

What is the status of My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir?


Here it is in 3 points:

  • Several readers have read the manuscript, now at 42,000 words: Readers from my writing group, a friend who represents my ideal reader,  a developmental editor, a beta reader/editor, and, now in process—a copy-editor. More editing and revision are coming down the pipeline for sure.


  • Dr. Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes, author, podcaster, and speaker, interviewed me in her podcast using her platform of “Mystery, Mayhem, and Morality.” She was a delightful interviewer and was especially impressed at the response from you, my blog readers. (Link to this podcast will be available soon.)





  • Artist Cliff has been creating magic in his studio, posing here with a study of one of the art pieces to illustrate a chapter in my memoir, “Conehead Confession.”




I kid you not. Writing is hard work. It can drain the life out of you. Thus, to keep a semblance of balance, I scheduled an Artist Date last week. According to author/writing coach Julia Cameron, an Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something new. It should “fire up the imagination and spark whimsy,” she suggests.

True confession: My artist dates happen infrequently. On this one, I went with college friends, not solo. But seeing the immersive Van Gogh exhibition did fire up my imagination and spark whimsy as well as awe and wonder. Some have said viewing the multi-media production is both calming and mind-blowing. You can see what I mean in this clip:


Finally, I was inspired reading Cameron’s The Right to Write. Even if you are not a writer, these lines can fire you up for any task you tackle today.

Use your negative feelings as positive fuel.


I do not get long hours at the keys—or very seldom. Instead, I snatch time. I work in the crannies of my life.


Writing is both the boat and the wind in the sails. Even on the days when the winds of inspiration seem slight, there is some forward motion, some progress made.


Cameron also remarked, “The reader is part of the writer’s life cycle.” So, thank you my gentle reader, for reading this post and telling me what you think.



An inchworm am I,

Moving at a snail’s pace and

Leaving behind—words.

~  MLB



Have you seen the Van Gogh Exhibition, or something similar to it?

Any other writer’s advice for me?