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Random Musings

I Used to Long for Solitude

Mom, your beautiful spirit lives with us. 

As it appeared in McSweeny's, 4/23/2020


I used to long for solitude. "Peace and quiet," as my father would say when I'd asked him what he wanted for his birthday.


I'm from a big Irish-Italian family. Dad passed away last March at the age of 101. My mother, 95, doesn't remember that, or much else. Yesterday the hospice nurse told me she has two weeks. I'm not allowed to visit her in the retirement home — not because they have the virus, but because they don't want it. I understand. Maybe I could bring a ladder and talk to her through her patio door.


Weeks ago, when I could visit, she seemed glad to see me. Once I had left, however, her caregivers told me, she didn't remember that I had been there. But in the moment, she smiled and carried on a fantasyland conversation. She always was a good storyteller. A great gossip. The Irish, I guess. I miss that already.


Mom would expect a big Catholic funeral Mass with friends and family and hymns and Communion. She went to everyone else's Mass. Some of my siblings are in Texas and California. No flying now.


Mom's outlived her four siblings. And her friends who are left would be too frail to attend even if it weren't for this damned virus. The funeral home tells us that the refrigerators are full. We'll need to bury her right away.


Lots of time on my own. I've been working on a novel for the past three years. This would be a great time to finish it, alone at last. But I'm so obsessed with the news about the virus and so angered by the politics that undermine sanity. And I can't visit my mom. 


Today the sun came out. I went to the backyard, determined to get the garden going. I dumped over a barrel that had filled with rainwater and a dead squirrel swam out.


I shivered back into my solitude.

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Squirrels on the Bird Feeder!

Here he is laughing through my window. He sees me intent on my next novel and thinks he can get away with anything.

In a snow-covered world outside my studio window, cardinals, woodpeckers, chickadees, and finches were enjoying my bird feeder... until the squirrels decided to crash the party. Not so fast! I put up a squirrel baffle, which baffled them for a while, until this daring fellow nearly flew from a shaky pine branch a foot away to the feeder. After finishing off a dish of black oil sunflower seeds, he latched onto to the suet cage.


OK, so you won this round, Mr. Squirrel, but once the ground thaws, I'm moving the feeder to where you'll never reach it. And by then... I may have a new novel to throw your way.

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Living with Intention

Do you have a life dream, an inner passion? Maybe you’d like to start a business, train for a marathon, go back to school, or write a book. Or maybe your desire is to spend more time in the garden.

Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside. It is the task of the sculptor to chip away all that doesn’t belong.”

The key is to know your intention, what gives you joy, and chip the rest away.

No one has more than 24 hours each day. Too often we fill our days with what we believe we should do, and the rest of the time we entertain ourselves with distractions.

I count myself lucky because I found my passion at a young age.  Read More 
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Confessions of a Night Owl on a Book Tour - Published in San Francisco Book Review

Author Lucy Sanna confesses to what many writers keep secret in her latest column for San Francisco Book Review's "The Back Page."

Here I am, packing again. I’m out of clean undies. Do I have time to do laundry or… is Macy’s still open?

It’s called a book tour. A good problem to have.

What every writer wishes for is an audience. We dream about it as we slink to our writing spaces in the dark of night with our coffee or wine or whatever kind of smoke suits our fancy, our backs to dirty dishes and bills and clogged drains. We night owls go to bed just before dawn, and bleary eyed at the café in the morning, we expose our crazy night writing to the glare of day and wonder where it came from, and we haven’t bathed and our hair is frightening and we don't expect to see anyone we know, and when someone says hello we blink and wonder for a moment because we’re not in that world right now. The people staring, that’s not the audience I’m talking about.  Read More 
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Writing from a Sense of Place - Guest Blog on BookPage.com

Having grown up in Wisconsin, I was surprised to learn that German prisoners captured during World War II were shipped across the Atlantic to my home state. They were housed in rural areas—vacated schools, fairgrounds, migrant worker camps—and were put to work in canneries and on local farms. Between 1942 and 1946, Wisconsin housed POWs in 39 camps across the state.

Thinking on this,  Read More 
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Words & Film - Guest Blog - Inspired Viewing: Lucy Sanna's List of 5 Inspiring Movies

Editor's Note: Lucy Sanna has been writing nearly all her life, focusing primarily on the drama of relationships. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lucy now divides her time between San Francisco, CA, and Madison, WI, where she continues to write stories and lead creative writing workshops. Her debut novel, The Cherry Harvest, is available in print, e-book, and audio formats. Read More 
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Intimate Questions About Writing - Guest Blog on Biographile

Editor's Note: In this installment of Behind the Books, Sanna discusses the quiet of night, the sensuality of writers from the American South, the draw of water, and the escape of a juicy novel. Read More 
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Guest Blog - Library Love Fest

When I think library, I recall my own first library, the Mabel Tainter Library, built in the 1880s on Main Street in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Lumber baron Captain Andrew Tainter and his wife, Bertha, spared no expense in building the memorial to their daughter, Mabel,  Read More 
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Book Club Girl - Guest Post

When I read a good book, I don’t want it to end. I want to talk about it, hear what others think of it. A book club is the perfect venue. When I get together with friends who have read the same book, all of us eager to discuss it, it’s like  Read More 
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The Sound of a Story

My editor at William Morrow sent me three voice samples from which to choose for the audio version of my debut novel, THE CHERRY HARVEST. Suzanne was far and away the best choice. Her voice has a rich timbre with the hint of dark drama that this book needs. Read More 
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