I’ve heard that phrase a lot lately, and I suspect you have, too!
I dare say that after what we’ve all been through over the past 12+ months, most of us are more than ready to get things done this year. Canceling events and keeping our distance is over. Restaurants are opening up to full capacity, hotels are getting booked, and everyone seems to be getting out and getting away to places they are sure to enjoy. For me, that means getaways, projects, and some big changes!
The beach is a top getaway destination for many of us; the lake and the mountains are, too. There are so many beautiful beaches reachable within a half day’s drive from Atlanta. The Gulf Coast is filled with beach homes and hotels. St. Pete and Sarasota are very popular destinations, too. Whether you prefer the Gulf or the Atlantic coast, the feel of the sand under your toes and gentle ocean breezes are calling. I’ll be spending a quick weekend at a Florida beach soon, and next month, my husband and I will celebrate our anniversary in Charleston. On the horizon is a weekend in New Jersey for my son’s and his fiancee’s “His & Her” bridal shower, and later, their fall wedding up north.
Projects are another thing to get done in ’21. My spring project has been to declutter and downsize. Spending so much time at home over the past year has made me realize what is important to keep, and what is not. I love books, art, and photographs of special moments. Over the past two decades, I’ve collected much of all three. However, a few months ago, my husband and I decided to pare down and prepare to move to a smaller home. With four grown children, the time was right.
Our bookshelves were filled, so we went through them one at a time. We donated over 500 books (nonfiction and fiction) and 30 cookbooks. We still have at least 1,000 books and 30 more cookbooks (that we actually use). We gave away original art, keeping what we wanted. We donated furniture, clothing and household items to charity. We had some rooms repainted, and necessary repairs done to ready our home for sale. The whole process was a major project that took several weeks, but we’re almost done.
Which brings me to changes. Downsizing in house means selling this one and finding a smaller one with only one level. Other changes are a new job for my husband and a new writing endeavor for me. I’m still working on my suspense novel, but now I’m also writing a work of women’s fiction with another author. We’ve been friends since we were kids, and although we lost touch for many years, we reconnected over the past year. We had much in common growing up and we’ve discovered that we still do today. Our so far unnamed novel is a story told from two points of view, and the more we write, the more the writing flows.
I’ll close with my updated, eclectic reading list of fiction and nonfiction. It’s divided into two categories, which I call “Fun” and “Serious,” but I’ve enjoyed all, and recommend them for your summer reads.
The “Fun” ones:
- Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
- Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
- Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James
The “Serious” ones:
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
- Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer by Harold Schecter
- The Psychopath by Mary Turner-Thomson
- Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer by John E. Douglas
- The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
For more about me, my books, and my upcoming events, visit juliamcdermottbooks.com and find me on Instagram @juliemcdermott1 and on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and Youtube (links are on my website)!