seeking the story in the ordinary



October is anticipation, and arrival, and a letting go, a leaving behind.*

1 a local boat tour
2 a family soccer game in the backyard
3 the perfect turn of phrase
4 pumpkin pie
5 rediscovering Counting Crows
6 celebrating someone you love
7 a full house
8 long talks late into the night with an old friend
9 giving yourself over to deep exhaustion
10 a picnic dinner
11 a Kathy Fish writing workshop
12 meeting an author you’ve only known online
13 a long drive alone
14 embracing the flash form
15 watching your children play with children of dear friends
16 sharing a coffee ritual with someone
17 a favorite diner
18 a new story idea
19 finding something you thought you’d lost
20 saying what you mean
21 a long shower
22 gathering leaves
23 a hopeful Submittable queue
24 this Bud Smith story at Joyland
25 a car cry
26 a well-received public address
27 finishing a book
28 a 15-year-old clothing item you still love
29 the sky after a storm
30 a sympathetic reader
31 neighbors opening their doors to one another

*You can read more about my “good things” project and see all prior posts here.


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September is promise and possibility.*

1 this Nate Ruess song
2 the common kindness of a store clerk
3 a long drive between two places you love
4 coming home
5 discovering a favorite red wine
6 going shopping in your own closet
7 staccato conversation amid chasing children
8 receiving a book in the mail
9 the ease of a Zappos return
10 hoodies
11 collective memory
12 a good podcast
13 feeling pride in a sibling
14 a day of getting it all done
15 black-and-white photos
16 picking your own basil from the porch to make pesto
17 dear family friends who feel more like second parents
18 an unscheduled day
19 finding coffee still left in the cup
20 focusing on one child at a time
21 your kids huddled in the back seat of the car, helping each other with homework
22 passing books and movies among neighbors
23 leaves on the ground
24 your daughter’s toddle
25 feeling lifted up by the lit community
26 wise words from one who knows you well
27 a weekday brunch with my man
28 first fall chill
29 watching your niece hold your daughter
30 the view of the farm

*You can read more about my “good things” project and see all prior posts here.


August is an ending, a reckoning, a coming to terms with what was and will be.*

1 cleaning your ear with a Q-tip
2 being among your people
3 rediscovering an old CD and still loving the songs on it
4 reviving your vegetarianism
5 havdalah

6 having the village it takes

7 beginning a new book and being instantly hooked
8 John Mellencamp on the radio
9 feeling ageless
10 registering for a Kathy Fish flash workshop
11 an acceptance from a bucket list pub

12 long farewells

13 walking someone home
14 crying in a car ride away from somewhere you love
15 sidewalk chalk
16 reaching the end of the laundry pile

17 a long drive with loud music

18 a good haircut
19 package deliveries
20 family reunions
21 when everyone looks up at the sky at once
22 homemade cards
23 pants that fit perfectly
24 errands in the evening
25 exploring an amusement park through your kids’ eyes
26 chocolate peanut butter ice cream
27 a family hike

28 the start of a new school year

29 a blog redesign
30 this love story
31 nearing inbox zero

*You can read more about my “good things” project and see all prior posts here.

In this thick middle of the summer, time folds over onto itself, and everything feels at once new and nostalgic…*

1 when your children love the children of a dear friend
2 debriefing after a dinner party
3 neighbor kids cutting through the yard to come play

4 a poetry acceptance

5 uncontrollable belly laughter
6 a corner chat with the neighbor-turned-friend
7 chocolate chip cookies
8 pride at your physician husband being able to help a man who fell in the parking lot after date night
9 an evening shower

10 a surprisingly pleasant chat with the man behind you in line at the post office

11 a birthday full of memory and hope
12 a family drive
13 getting carded
14 belting it out behind the wheel
15 offering up a sincere apology

16 the family you find for yourself

17 summer camp
18 long talks, late nights on the porch
19 the good dirt of a day outdoors
20 gazebos
21 a reunion with someone you love
22 a happy letter from your son at sleepaway camp
23 when someone you’ve only just met thinks to bring you lunch

24 falling asleep to sounds of a thunderstorm

25 mutual affection
26 fresh sheets

27 an ordinary day

28 morning snuggles
29 a day of leaving your phone behind
30 the collective anticipation of a campwide blackout
31 empathy

*You can read more about my “good things” project and see all prior posts here.

A sudden arrival, a shift, a half year nearly gone. A pivot that reminds how swift the passage of time.*

1 wine & s’mores night with the neighbors
2 a new piece of writing in progress

3 late afternoon light through the upstairs window

4 small town farmers’ market
5 a kind, intuitive waitress

6 folding laundry alone at night in a quiet room

7 gloaming
8 Twitter on a day like today
9 sending out acceptances

10 a day spent more outside than in

11 first sunflower of the season
12 green tea ice cream
13 white wine on the deck
14 the quiet kinship among fellow restaurant patrons in the face of breaking news from screens overhead

15 overcast skies in summer

16 completing a grocery run in under 10 minutes
17 a minor league baseball game
18 freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies
19 a child’s successful first day of camp

20 a long email that reads like an old-fashioned letter

21 orange light after a rain
22 girls’ night out
23 a new baby in the family
24 looking through old photographs
25 sidewalk chalk

26 an impromptu neighborhood gathering on the corner

27 Debbie Gibson on the radio
28 shedding the front, showing what’s really there
29 kids catching fireflies
30 a summer storm

*You can read more about my “good things” project and see all prior posts here.

Jena Schwartz

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