Kindergarten, check
A day in the life

Writer at work

Writer at work - process

It’s about to get really random up in here. As part of Mission: Organize Everything which is key to finishing my books*, I’ve collected all the random pieces of paper, sticky notes, index cards, napkins, etc. with my notes, quotes and ideas that were spread throughout my house in piles, bins and drawers. Now, I am finally going to sort them and give them permanent homes.

I am betting a lot of these midnight musings and ideas that came at inconvenient times (that’s life, right?) are destined for the recycling bin. But some of them are going to find homes in scrapbooks, stories and posts.

This is a huge project for me and I can’t communicate to you the randomness of this collection without sharing a few off the top of the pile.

So here we have a list of questions I asked the pediatrician when one of my boys was a baby. I would like to have been the one mom on the planet that this doesn’t happen to but six years into it, my memories are mushy. Good thing I took notes. Too bad I didn’t date them all.


  • Torn from a little notebook is this list of questions checked off as I asked the fabulous (and patient) Dr. K: Pinkish red diaper rash? Circ? hygiene/infection prevention | Umbilical cord | sleep in bed | diaper rash? Vaseline? | Hep B vaccine autism/vaccines/ … on second thought this has to be Sam. I didn’t worry as much about hygiene with Jake. True story. The umbilical cord freaked me out still though.

*Note to self: for the love of all that is Holy, date these scraps, your memory sucks.


  • A sticky note: “Embrace the elephant in the room. Or, stab it with a fork. Turns out it was full of hot air. (Okay that doesn’t even make sense. I’m sure it felt brilliant in the moment.)
  • Another sticky note: That awkward moment when you realize you were trying to right something that wasn't wrong. (Yes! This. Except it’s not really a moment for me. More like, 15 years of my life.)


  • On a note ripped out from the notes I took at a land use hearing I was covering for the paper: The irony of X. asking Y., who is deaf, if he is concerned about noise. X: Are you concerned about noise? Y: What?

(That’s the stuff I kept because I knew I had to work it into Coming Clean. I can’t make that stuff up.)

Sam arthur - notecard

  • On a 3x4 scrapbook card for reasons unclear to me, is a note loving my pressure cooker a.k.a. “crockpot on crack” which is followed by a grocery list in the margins of notes for a scene in Coming Clean where eleven-year-old Izzy is wondering where, exactly, is “out of wedlock.”

Even the grocery list is super random: gf noodles, almond butter, gummy vitamins, garbage bags, adobo, meatballs.

Ani sees Ginny and Nick, first meeting and is confused by it. Ginny said Eliza is late in life baby. Oh, I know about those, so was Isabella, my mom said.

I liked the idea of being a surprise. Or at least until I saw mom mime putting a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger. Peals of laughter were punctuated by the clinking of glasses. I liked that mom had a friend but … they forgot I was there a lot. I listened for awhile as they talked about the baby Mia was having.
“Where is out of wedlock?” I asked. They just started at me so I assumed I should keep going. The cracks in their lips were stained purple. Their smiles did not look happy.

(So, to anyone still reading who cares about process, I added to this note because I can’t help myself. That seems to be how I’m writing this book. It comes in pieces and I weave them together. Hopefully into something coherent.)

Sam arthur

Thank you Marc Brown for teaching my kid how you draw your characters in your awesome Arthur series. The idea to use the Sharpie and write directly on my desk? That was totally inspired by Sam.

*I’ve been asked a few times why I keep saying “my books” when it’s probably a better idea to write one at a time – totally agree! But that’s just not how this is happening. More on this soon. It’s the writer’s version of carrying multiple babies … I did not plan it this way but am grateful for what’s working out!