Liminal Spaces

My subconscious is a weird place. People assume it’s because I write about *gasp* sex, and love, but by this point, I’ve come to take that for granted. I think about sex. Most people do. Let’s move on to something more interesting, like liminal spaces.

Liminal comes from the Latin word limens, meaning threshold. A liminal space is a threshold. A doorway. A landing. A place in time or space that is “in between” (I’m kind of obsessed with in between places and states). When you write day after day, week after week, year after year, you start to notice things about your writing, words you over use (my characters say “just” and “of course” all the time, until I go through and cut dozens). Situations, scenarios, character traits, themes all get used again and again, as we drag something from our subconscious into the light and have a look at it. I’m not sure why, but liminal spaces come up again and again in my books. So many of my characters interact on front porches and stoops, in elevators, on their way to and from something.

Think of Hunter on Lacey’s front porch, the different guises he wore, Rachel at Ben’s apartment door as she tried to find a new person to be on Sunday mornings, or Adam showing up at the door to Marissa’s apartment, again and again and again. In my upcoming book The List, the hero and heroine meet on a ledge, a space that looks like a boundary until one of them crosses it and transforms it into a liminal space. That’s what happens in liminal spaces: you made decisions there, before you cross the boundary into the space, into someone’s life, or into a new version of yourself. Typically, the main event in a story or scene happens in a defined space: a room or a building or a situation, but I think interesting things happen in those transition spaces, too.

Another thing I’m obsessed with is hall tables. This is a practical problem, rather than a theoretical one with a Latin origin, although I’m sure the ancients also puzzled over the problem of where to put your stuff when you walk in the door. Our garage opens into the laundry room, which isn’t very big. Mr. C leaves his wallet and keys on the washing machine because it’s the first available flat surface inside the house, but the washer spins things behind, prompting epic, rabid searches for lost items. My spot is in the kitchen, on the desk we don’t use as a desk. It holds my purse, tote, books, phone and iPad charger, library books, the boy’s piggy bank I raid for quarters for the parking meters downtown, Kleenex, anything else that’s either recently come into the house or needs to leave the house.

I guess it’s a liminal space for my possessions, as well as a staging area for comings and goings. Time can be a liminal space; Friday night is pizza and a movie night at our house  to mark the transition from week days to week ends, from an outward focus on work and the world to an inward focus on family and ourselves. Liminal times can often be stressful, but there’s great power in them. As the weekend draws near, I hope you find some quiet time no matter where you are: arrived, leaving, or somewhere in between.

Anne’s Bday Bash!

Today is my birthday, and in the spirit of celebrating good times with good friends, the fabulous and talented Jeffe Kennedy is hosting a social media birthday bash for me!

 

Jeffe and I have releases a week apart, and my birthday falls smack in the middle. Rogue’s Paradise, book 3 in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy – which completes the trilogy for the first book Jeffe published – yay! – came out on Monday, and Afternoon Delight, first in my new IRRESISTIBLE series comes out on September 16. All of these things are worth celebrating, a release that brings closure to a series, the kick-off book in a new series, me turning *mumble mumble* a year older, friends and fun and, of course, books! Lots and lots of books.

The details, from Jeffe’s blog:

Therefore, I propose a game. For the next 24 hours, from midnight Central US time on September 11 up until the hands of the clock switch over to September 12, I want you to give Anne gifts.

Virtual ones.

Send her pictures of what you think she’d love. Tweet them to us, at@jeffekennedy and/or @annecalhoun – be sure to use the hashtag #annebday. Or paste them to our Facebook pages! Stick that #annebday hashtag on there and put them onhttps://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy and/or https://www.facebook.com/anne.calhoun. We’ll be picking our favorites, too, and sharing them. Be creative! Have FUN!

Send me pictures of things you think I’d love, and send me pictures of things YOU love. And, because nothing would make me happier than to give away presents on my birthday, we’re giving away books! Jeffe’s offering two digital copies of Afternoon Delight and I’m thrilled to give two lucky winners Rogue’s Paradise. International is okay, since these are digital…

 

We’re also giving away each other’s backlists. Watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds – especially that #annebday hashtag – for flash giveaways from us and our friends. Jeffe also claims to have dancing boys, but I don’t know anything about that. 😉

I’m so excited to celebrate my birthday with friends, readers, and readers who’ve become friends. Watch #annebday for giveaways, chatter, and lots of fun. I hope you’ll join the party!

Announcing…(drum roll please…) Anne’s Newsletter

Facebook curates your feed. Twitter’s thinking about it. The best way to be confident you’ll get the latest — announcements and news about my upcoming releases, events, and behind-the-scenes information about my books — is to sign up for my newsletter: Get Curious. Go Deep. 

I’m still working out details about frequency and content, but I promise you this:

  • Newsletters will be emailed to you no more than monthly.
  • Each issue will include exclusive content about the book I’m working on, a Q&A section, sneak peeks into upcoming releases, recommended reads, and contests/prizes open to newsletter recipients only.

I’m taking questions now for the first issue! Post them in the comments or drop me a line at anne (at) annecalhoun (dot) com. The winning question will get a copy of AFTERNOON DELIGHT, the first book in the Irresistible stories (out Sept 16th!). If you’d like to sign up, the form is on the top right corner of my blog; your email will never be shared, and the list is completely private. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

30 Day Challenge: A Week of Rain

We had a fairly dry spring and summer here in the flyover states, but the last week more than made up for it, keeping me off the bike. The farm that grows my CSA share vegetables said their neighbor got 17 inches of rain in 5 days. It’s rained heavily every day except Friday, and been gloomy enough that the sunrise I observed this morning while riding to the coffee shop confused me for a moment, the thick white clouds lit in such a way that the sun appeared to be rising in the north. A few moments on Persie reoriented me. I was glad to be back on Persie after a week of needed rest. While the lump on my leg is slowly subsiding, and the bruising is almost gone, my ankle is still surprisingly tender, given that I don’t remember hitting it at all when I fell. The break from yoga has been good, too. I was ready to go back yesterday, and plan to take class tomorrow with two dear friends.

It’s raining now, the second heavy downpour today. After a while, there’s nothing to do but enjoy it, the lush green grass, the gushing downspouts, the rumble of thunder. The boy has a friend over for the night, and we spent ten minutes outside in our bathing suits, getting thoroughly soaked while throwing the ball for the dog. She thought this was the best thing ever, the whole pack (plus one) outside in the rain, having a good play.

I’ve been reading Mary Stewart’s Arthurian saga, starting with The Crystal Cave, the perfect read for a rainy night. I hope you’re having a good long weekend…

30 Day Challenge – Day 13: A Bike Date

Anyone who’s married and has kids knows you take your dates where you can find them. Free is even better. The boy spent the night with a friend; this morning we biked up to a coffee shop with three newspapers (the local and the last two Sunday New York Times) and spent two hours reading. Nothing special or extravagant, just a bike ride and the escapism to be found in the Travel, Style, and Arts and Leisure sections. On the way home I got the giggles, as Mr. C is both lanky and coordinated; his idea of stopping for a light is to left his right foot on the pedal and brace himself against a light pole with his right. Kind of a feat, but also really amusing from behind. In fact, we’re rather like our bikes: streamlined and fast in his case, slow, heavier, and meant to cruise in mine.

 

Awwwww...

Awwwww…

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend…

30 Day Challenge: Day 12 – A Second Wipe Out

We barely missed the rain on the way home. A shower spattered my sunglasses while I biked to meet the boy at school; the rain held off while moms chatted and kids burned off some energy but dark clouds were rolling in. The boy took a different route home; I prefer the slow, gradual hill while he likes the steep one. He’s younger and faster, and when the garage door opened to show no bikes where I expected to see the smaller blue Trek mountain bike he rides, I knew something had gone wrong.

Off with the helmet, snag the car keys from the hooks by the door, into the car. I was half way down the driveway when he appeared in the rear view mirror, sweaty, shaky, in tears, and with a scrape on his knee. I got the story in between jerky sobs as I examined his knee.

“I did what you said, Mom. I got out of the street so I wouldn’t get run over, and I didn’t let the lady who stopped to help me bring me home because I can’t get in cars with strangers. I didn’t walk my bike, either. I got back on it because it was faster than walking. Can I do the ALS ice bucket challenge now?”

I had to laugh. He was fine, a little shaken up, but a more confident at the end of it. He’d been by himself, wiped out, picked himself up, made it home. That’s two damage-inflicting tumbles for us in eight days. Not bad. We’re taking knocks, but still in the game.

The clouds opened as we finished his ice bucket challenge, and rain soon pelted the ice cubes on the back patio. That seemed like too much fun to be missed.

IMG_1668 - Version 2

Have a great weekend, everyone.

30 Day Challenge: Day 11

Yoga: nope. Biking: nope. See below:

It's so big, I should name it.

It’s so big, I should name it.

Mr. C suggested I might take a wee break and give my entire lower leg a chance to heal. I thought that was a good idea, as I don’t even remember hitting my ankle on the bike frame and yet it’s bruised and swollen. Biking/yoga is on hiatus until further notice!

30 Day Challenge – Day 10: Accessories, Part the Second

Yoga: check. Biking: check (school and back, yoga and back).

I’m starting to loathe the yoga. That’s all. Just an observation. Loathe is a strong word, but applicable. Let’s talk about pretty things instead!

One of the best parts of Caz Nicklin’s book is the attention to detail regarding accessories. I bought a basket (so charming! so French!) but the item I’ve used the most is the Electra saddlebag/tote.

It's a saddlebag! No, it's a tote!

It’s a saddlebag! No, it’s a tote!

The straps tuck away in side pockets. It’s actually quite cute, and not too big when I carry it. Those straps on the front are meant for carrying a coat or sweater, but I tuck my yoga mat into them, tighten them down, and ride to class. Easy peasy!

Handy hooks attach the bag to the rack.

Handy hooks attach the bag to the rack.

Lots of storage.

Lots of storage.

I’ve got a 13″ MacBook Air, an iPad, phone, notebook, and a book in there. I wouldn’t recommend using this bag to transport a larger computer, though.

The whole setup.

The whole setup.

My friend who picked up the bike for me loved the details and effort that went into the design. I’ve definitely used the bike more because I can run errands on it without having to use a backpack. They’re hot in the best of weather, and I don’t like carrying weight on my shoulders.

Do you have any accessories you absolutely love? My birthday’s coming up, so I’m making a list! 🙂

30 Day Challenge: Day 9 – A Trip Down Memory Lane

Yoga: check. Biking: check.

Another adorable moment on the bike ride to school this morning, one I wouldn’t have seen from the car. We rode past a teenage couple sitting in on a blanket in the driveway. She wore a hoodie and shorts, and had her phone in her hand. He wore shorts, and the rest of him was under a Jeep with an open hood. Tools — wrenches, sockets, that sort of thing — were scattered on the blanket between them. It was a sweet blast from the past, because I’ve been that girl, with Mr. C, except this was back in the Middle Ages, so I had a book. He and his brother were really into cars. Mustangs. At one time Mr. C owned four of these:

 

Four is three too many, but who am I to judge?

Four is three too many, but who am I to judge?

All bought as junk, all rebuilt, except for the “winter driver” Pace Car, which had a V8 in it, and an unreliable exhaust system. I learned to drive a stick in that car, in a snow storm. (It made sense at the time) He also owned a Mustang SVO. 84, I think, or maybe 84 1/2. That matters. Anyway, it looked like this:

This one's an '86. They all looked alike to me.

This one’s an ’86. They all looked alike to me.

I married the boy I used to hand tools to, and just last week – 25 years into the whole “five cars is too many/no, five cars is just right” debate, we were talking about the pace of our lives, and whether or not we could realistically slow it down. Biking does that for me. I add ten minutes to routes I would normally drive, and arrive a little more alert to my surroundings, and appreciative for the occasional slow trip down memory lane.

 

30 Day Challenge: Day…mumble mumble

Yoga: check. Biking: check. First failed day: check.

After that rousing “you just keep going” speech in my last post, I hit the wall. The wall was built by the 6 ten-year-old boys we had over for our son’s birthday sleepover. They went to bed at 1 and were up at 7 to play zombie apocalypse, a complicated game involving a go-pro camera, nerf guns, and a series of forts constructed in our basement. I felt like I was living the zombie apocalypse. By the time we fed them all waffles and got them and most of their gear home, the last thing I wanted to do was go to yoga. I put my pajamas back on and spent the rest of the day in bed, reading.

Today, however, was a different story. I was happy to get back on Persie and ride to yoga. I had a rough morning (very first world problems, broke my tablet’s screen by dropping it on a tile floor) but riding to yoga in the sunshine boosted my spirits measurably. Maybe that’s the real lesson from this challenge, in getting back into the routine when life happens.

Or maybe I’m just a slacker. In that case you’ll want to read a well-written meditation on a lifetime of biking. Thanks to commenter JCM for the link. I hope I’m still pedaling away in my 50s, too.