Thankful for NaNoWriMo

Rhea at the laptop

Working off Thanksgiving dinner in New York. Thinking burns a ton of calories, you know. Photo credit: Marji Yablon.

As I write this, it is Thanksgiving. It’s also Day 26 of NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. Like many others, I’m grateful for both the family and food I’ve enjoyed today. Like a hefty helping of my fellow writers, I’m also thankful for an opportunity to write (mostly) fiction (almost) every day this month.

I want to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve been doing for the past three-plus weeks. My arrangement is a network binding myself and three other scribes into a daily writing practice. We haven’t pledged to write a novel from whole cloth during this month (though one of us has, indeed, put the final stitches in her book-in-progress. Congratulations, Celeste!) We haven’t even committed to 30 days of fiction. It’s just about writing creatively–for any amount of time–every single day.

What has this meant for me? Let’s see. I’ve written:

  • Nine flash fiction stories
  • Five zygotes of additional stories
  • One pitch for an article (which was accepted!)
  • The article (link coming by Hanukkah)
  • Another pitch for an article (awaiting review)
  • A mysterious file that is blank except for the title “Maybe we thaw and gel”

Great thanks to Celeste, Dottye, and Cheryl for making this happen over daily emails. I’ll miss those one- and two-sentence check-ins. Looking forward to four more days, at the least.

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Multimedia publication: What affordable housing looks like

three buildings on a city street
Affordable apartment units for veterans are an important feature of the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence, now under construction on North Capital Street in DC. Architectural rendering courtesy of DLR Group | Sorg.

I was honored to contribute a multimedia element to a story on affordable housing on Elevation DC. The whole special report package is worth a careful read. My graphic is under “Affordable housing: Then and now.” It’s a two-part piece showing old and newer (wrong and right?) ways to approach the concept.

Check it out: Special Report: Why D.C. needs more affordable housing–and how we can get there

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Meme based on the Most Interesting Man in the World character. Text: I don't always make memes. But when I do, I use the damn spell check.

To find out more, attend my workshop:

How to Not Totally Embarrass Yourself on Social Media

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015

8 – 9 p.m.

Your desk, Anywhere, USA

^^ This has been another post scrutable only to students in ENG 370: Multimedia Composition. Regular RSS subscribers, please ignore and go back to your regularly-scheduled Web-based procrastination ^^

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Sample Reverse Storyboard (for ENG 370)



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Publication: Shmita comes home

photo of an overgrown field with weeds and flowers, overlaid with the words

This past week, I was thrilled to publish my first piece for Tablet Magazine. It appeared on Wednesday, 9/15, right after Rosh Hashanah.

Check it out:

Giving It a Rest: What I learned by observing ‘shmita’—a sabbatical year—in my community garden

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Publication: Experimenting with urban rice

Alternating rows of green and brown in a field

A field at the University of DC’s Muirkirk Research Farm sprouts clover between rows of last year’s rice crop during a visit in April. Photo by Rhea.

I’ve been talking about my rice article for The Washington Post since…. well, April! And my interest in small-scale grain growing dates back to at least 2012. No, make that 2009!

I’m excited to share that at last, “Rice” is up. You can read it here:

How researchers are trying to grow an unusual urban crop: Rice

I so appreciate the people who you see quoted in the story. They were generous with their time and ideas.

Some of my geekier and historical references didn’t make the final cut. If you’re interested in the history of rice in the U.S., check out Black Rice by Judith A. Carney. Che Axum recommended it to me, and I will pass that along to you.

Here’s another story, by garden columnist Adrian Higgins, about UDC growing food: Can container gardening wipe out urban food deserts? These folks think so.

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Publication: Recommendations from DC’s food stars

Screen shot - Elevation DC chef article


I have a piece this week in the online magazine Elevation DC. The upside: I got to know four of the most vibrant personalities on the DC culinary scene. Downside: I have a long list of restaurants I need to visit. Come to think of it, is that really so bad?

Check it out: DC’s rising food stars predict the next big thing



More Elevation DC stories

More food stories


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