Best wishes for a very happy new year and start to 2017! Thank you for being along for the ride this year as we launched quarterlane. Here’s to more story-filled seasons in 2017! And a glance back to a few favorites from 2016.
If you are looking for a seasonal cocktail to ring in the new year, our Literary Cocktail Recipes, developed by The Forest Feast’s Erin Gleeson is a great place to start! The Floating Hemingway was hands-down my personal favorite!
One of my favorite parts of quarterlane these past months have been our feature interviews — digging a little deeper to suss out the reading habits of those we admire, how they spend their leisure time and find moments of stillness in the midst of the bustle.
Earlier this month, We visited Elettra Wiedemann in her home to see how she carves out space and time for reading. Read on to see what inspires Elettra. Photographer Christine Han, captured these amazing moments.
Here’s a sneak peek into our interview with Elettra:
Through my studies at the LSE I realized that food connected me to a lot of larger issues that were keeping me awake at night like climate change and ocean depletion, for example. So it’s not so much that I am a passionate foodie, always looking to get into the new hot restaurant and cooking up a storm, it’s more that I use food to “vote my values” whenever I possibly can. — Elettra Wiedemann
Also, last fall we featured Mary-Louise Parker’s book of essays Dear Mr. You in our Book End box, a selection of shorter works to savor in one sitting.
I first listened to Dear Mr. You in fall 2015 while I was training for the New York City Marathon. I was at the peak of training and I knew the book would help me pass the time and the miles. I expected to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect much else. Dear Mr. You tipped me over. I listened to every essay on these runs, often rewinding to hear one bit over again. At night, I would reread the best parts from the book and I even bought two copies to save for my daughters to read when they are older. Not because I’m a super-fan (though I am sure I sound that way), but because this book is important. It is raw. It is honest. It is healing and it is life affirming – every topsy-turvy chaotic and beautiful bit of it.
I asked Mary-Louise Parker a few questions about Dear Mr. You for The Edit — the book, her writing process and her life as a writer. Read on for a bit of that wonderful conversation:
I have always been a writer. I would say it’s acting that made me so observant of others, but really that quality may be what led me to acting—it certainly helps with my writing, though. I was usually the quiet one in the corner, so I was able to absorb and remember a lot. I’m a big daydreamer and my imagination is probably what best fuels my writing—my need to write. Now that I’m about to be 52 years old I don’t feel like I have to apologize for being such a daydreamer anymore. Maybe its more charming on an older lady and people don’t automatically assume you’re aloof or on narcotics. In many ways I’m more suited to writing than acting because it’s solitary and you have more control over the final product. — Mary-Louise Parker
And Christiane Lemieux (author of The Finer Things, one of the best design books I’ve ever read and featured in Aesthete 01) had these words of wisdom, the perfect guiding light as we enter 2017 . . .
Happy New Year!
As we embrace the depths of winter as a commitment to self-renewal and rest, the month of January is especially a time for reflection. So in the spirit of wellness and hitting the reset button in 2017, we are excited to relaunch our Wellness Box with the same edit of books to inspire, uplift and bring more joy into your life for the New Year.
Alice Hoffman’s Faithful is featured in our Winter Fiction box and is an enchanting story which will easily be enjoyed by mothers and daughters alike. A wonderful tale of healing, compassion and hope, the story of Faithful is told in the lyrical prose that is so uniquely Alice Hoffman. I had the fantastic good fortune to interview Alice, please enjoy!
QL: The tone and the cadence of Faithful is so lyrical and flows so beautifully, that I found I couldn’t put it down. I read Faithful in a day, and simply felt wrapped up in the words and Shelby’s journey. Can you describe that first glimmer of inspiration for this story– when the seed of Shelby’s story first grabbed hold?
AH: I’m so glad you read Faithful in a day. I think it’s the kind of novel that makes you read to the end because you’re invested in Shelby and her journey. The inspiration for the story was the idea of writing about mothers and daughters, and how if you have one person in the world who believes in you, you have a much better chance at making it through trauma.
QL: I was also incredibly moved by the relationship between Shelby and her mother. Throughout the story, Shelby’s mother patiently held such a loving space for her daughter to knock up against, find herself within and work through her grief. And, like the cards, this relationship provided such a grounding element in Shelby’s journey. Her mother’s patience truly was a fierce sort of courage – holding space and allowing her daughter to simply be who she needed to be to move through her emotions and finally heal. This relationship rang so true to me, were Shelby and her mother inspired by a relationship from your own life?
AH: I don’t have a daughter, but I was a daughter! My mother and I were very close, and I did feel she was always there for me when it mattered. That relationship, between mother and daughter, is so complicated and so important. I did think Sue, Shelby’s mother, had great patience and that helped Shelby to heal.
QL: I am always so curious by what writers read. What are you reading right now? Is there one book or author that you often turn to for inspiration?
AH:For inspiration I always turn to Toni Morrison, who I feel is the greatest living writer. Recently I read The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, which I thought was brilliant.
QL: Also, when you finish a story – all drafts and revisions are completed – is it hard to leave the characters and move on to the next story? I would imagine it would be hard to move on quickly from Shelby – what is it like when you finish a story – does it sometimes feel bittersweet?
AH: I always move on to a new book, and am excited to do so. But this time it was hard for me to leave Shelby, who I had begun to think of as a daughter. I miss her still!
QL: What are you working on now? Would you be willing to offer a sentence or two about your next book for a sneak peek?
AH: I’m working on the prequel to my novel Practical Magic. The new book takes place in New York City in the 60s and follows the lives of the aunts from Practical Magic.