I’ve realized something: I can only write for so many hours a week.

My notes for the book (center) and my notes from Cambodia (upper right).

 

This has been a tough thing to come to terms with. I figured there are 40 hours in a standard work week, so I can write for 40 hours, right? This isn’t the case. My brain, it seems, only allows for a certain number of productive writing hours every day. After that, I stare numbly at my computer, drooling, while my brain forces me to look at shoes on Zappos that I will never, ever buy.

Or maybe I’ll buy them, but I’ll return them. Really, I will.

For the past year, I’ve been trying to maintain the blog while working on the Great American Novel Pretty Good International Memoir. This has meant two things:

  1. I’ve written fewer blog posts than I would like this year.
  2. Writing the book is taking way longer that I thought.

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“Wait, what kind of car do you drive?”

She is my cousin’s little girl. Blond, California-born and raised, nearly as tall as I am, and presently obsessed with cars. We are walking through downtown Seattle together. I’ve been back from Cambodia for less than a week.

“A 2002 KIA Spectra,” I reply, “with power locks.”

This last bit I say with just a little bit too much gusto, and she laughs. Immediately, I confess to the lie.

“It doesn’t have power locks.”

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The Central Market in Phnom Penh, after a storm.

 

Rand always tells me he envies my palate, which cracks me up because it’s such an unlikely compliment. But it comes up time and again, whenever I identify a spice in a dish that he’s unable to, or I catch a whiff of a bakery blocks before he does. Others who’ve noticed it have commented as well, and I usually smile and tap the side of my ever-so-prominent nose and say, “It’s not just for show.”

Goodness, it really isn’t. Sometimes it feels like a superpower. I am the amazing girl WHO CAN SMELL EVERYTHING (note: superpower has very limited application. The X-Men aren’t calling, unless they need help determining whether or not the milk has gone bad).

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You guys …

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