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Sundogs over Madison Lake on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Air temperature was -8 degrees F. Photo by author.

The polar vortex has given me two days away from the office. I’m working at home, but being stuck inside gives me a little more free time to catch up on my reading, writing, and blogging.

January reading challenge update:

I’m 13 minutes away from finishing my third book this month (Becoming by Michelle Obama). I’ll be sure to do that today. I set a goal for 2019 to read 36 books, which breaks down to three per month. My goal was 24 books in 2018 — I ended up with 25, but it was a slight mad rush there at the end. I thought I could do three a month this year as long as one was an audio book.

I’m also well into my fourth book — I don’t think I’ll finish by Thursday, but it won’t be long after. It’s a true-crime book: Who Killed These Girls? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders. It’s hard for me to put down…last night I actually fell asleep reading it. Not because it was boring, but because I wanted to keep reading long after I got tired. This is the best true-crime book I’ve read in a long time. The character development is excellent, and I truly don’t know what’s going to happen. The author does a good job of hinting at the beginning of the book certain twists and turns, but I have no idea how it’s going to end. It’s all I can do to not Google the case and find out right now.

January writing update:

I’m in the fourth week of a five-week online class through Creative Nonfiction magazine. The class is lyric essay, and I signed up as a way to get back into the writing groove. The past two years have been dominated by dissertation revision, conference presentations, and my tenure application. My Camilla Hall manuscript has been lonely. I felt like I needed a little “jump start” to get back into writing and creative practice before I revisited the manuscript.

The class has introduced me to new writers and new styles of writing. So far I have completed a first draft of two tiny essays, with ideas percolating for many more. I have enjoyed the deadlines, the readings, and I certainly feel my writing groove is coming back.

How is your January going so far? Stay warm!