Coming soon: Tuesdays with Jay No. 21: Map Reading

by | Jul 12, 2017 | Neighborly Affection series | 16 comments

Sea glass in blue, green, and clear shades.

I love the contradiction of sea glass — all rough shapes worn smooth.

Have you ever walked along a beach and collected sea glass?

This spring, I took my first real vacation—you know, the kind where you actually leave the house and have new experiences—in thirteen years. The adventure was a trip with my bestie—some post-divorce healing I desperately needed. (I won’t rehash the divorce here; for a quick peek at the struggles of the last year, please read the Facebook post.)

So it was that I spent my birthday doing something I had never done before: wading along the shore and hunting for tiny bits of treasure sparkling in the sunlight.

The wind off the water tickled my skin. The rolling waves soaked my sandals and chilled my toes. The sun warmed my face. I stayed out there for what must have been hours, watching the water slide forward and back as rhythmically as a sleeper’s chest rises with each breath.

Hunting for sea glass

It’s a windy day on the shore, and the waves continually push new and interesting things onto the sand.

And now, at my writing desk, I rub the rounded edges of the sea glass as I think. The fragments are akin to worry stones, the fidget spinners of the older generations. Calming, soothing, and smooth, they lay quiet against my fingers.

The pieces weren’t always that way, of course. They started off jagged and shattered, their edges sharp and rough, able to make us bleed.

But then they took a long journey. The water reshaped them along the way. The easy rhythms swept the glass shards along, rounding and softening them as they went.

Last year was a traveling year for me—a long journey full of jagged edges that I couldn’t seem to stop cutting myself on. But in those moments on the beach, as I closed the book on last year and stepped into a new story, I found that I, too, had been smoothed and polished along the way. Life washes over me, and I am calm. I am content.

And it’s from that meditative place that my writing has its source. So I am pleased to announce the return of Tuesdays with Jay, starting this month with No. 21: Map Reading. I don’t expect the stories will be monthly for a while yet—I’m juggling two jobs and running a household just now in addition to writing—but I hope to bring you Jay on a quarterly basis after this year of silence. Henry and Alice’s favorite comedian still has plenty of things he’d like to share.

So if you’re already a subscriber to the newsletter, prepare yourself for more of our boy’s antics. And if you aren’t a subscriber yet, what are you waiting for? You’ll never be bombarded by emails, and you’ll always get an exclusive read that isn’t available anywhere else yet.

Thank you for exploring the Neighborly Affection shores with me. I think we’ll see a few more of Henry, Alice, and Jay’s stories wash up on the sand.

Available from these fine shops

The links below will take you to the M.Q. Barber page at each retailer. Need more info to make up your mind? Check out the series pages for the Neighborly Affection books and the Gentleman books.

Also available at your library

Did you know that you can read M.Q. Barber books for free through your library? Libraries can request digital copies through Overdrive, Hoopla, and BorrowBox.

If your library uses Overdrive, you can download the Libby app and request a book directly from your library. Check it out!