I was born in the Year of the Horse and I’ve heard a few Chinese astrological sources say that your own year isn’t supposed to be that fabulous but so far I’m rather liking this pony year.

Recovering well from the wisdom tooth extraction, received good news on several fronts, and I have a new tiny pony to wear around my neck. I’m looking forward to seeing what the year brings.

pony necklace

Happy Lunar New Year!

untested pathsuntested paths obscured by snow

It’s clear to see from the impressions in the snow

That you were walking in someone else’s footsteps,

Wearing someone else’s shoes.

Maybe because it was easier to take steps already taken

Or maybe because of outside expectations that were not your own.

It doesn’t matter.

Now, here, looking back, aware,

You can decide.

If you wish to continue in this fashion

Or if the time has come for you to forge your own untested path.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


I am getting my wisdom teeth removed this morning. I may be unreachable for the next while because I plan on being medicated and sleeping a lot but I will do my best to catch up once I’m coherent again.

I spent most of the weekend making soup. I like soups and I am getting better at making them. Potato leek is always one of my go-to soups because it doesn’t have that many ingredients. (I add an onion to mine and basically that’s it: little bit of oil onion leeks potatoes broth boil blend season eat.)

And we also recreated a soup we invented mostly unintentionally while in Florida. It was an attempt to do something with all the random things we had on hand and it turned out so well that I made it again to have while I can’t nom solid foods. It’s delicious again so that first attempt apparently wasn’t a fluke and it does appear to be a good and proper soup.

So here, have a sort of recipe for a soup that doesn’t have a name. I should give it a name. Butternut Squash Golden Beet Yummy Soup? Hrm. I’ll come up with something eventually. In the meantime…

Peel and cube one butternut squash. Peel and cube one bunch of golden beets. Toss all the cubes in olive oil (or other oil of your preference) and salt and pepper, spread on baking sheet and roast at 400. After about 30 minutes, add a cubed apple to the mix and continue roasting for another 15-30 minutes until golden brown and soft.

Meanwhile, slice an onion. Put a little oil in the bottom of the soup pot and toss the onion in and let it cook until almost caramelized or so. Add a tablespoon or two of chopped ginger near the end.

Add the roasted squash beets & apple to the soup pot and just cover with broth of your choosing. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Blend the heck out of it with an immersion blender which is super useful for soups or in batches in a regular blender.

Season to taste (I added a bunch of turmeric to this batch and it’s lovely) and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of bee pollen or drizzle of honey.

This would be so much better if I had a pretty picture of the soup right here. My apologies. If I have one later in the week I’ll add it, currently the soup is in containers in the refrigerator and very orange but not particularly pretty.

I’m glad I actually really enjoy food that doesn’t involve chewing, but I still hope tooth pulling recovery mode doesn’t last too terribly long.


brief conversationbrief conversation with a traveling cat

There’s a cat walking in the road alongside me and after it keeps pace with me for a bit I ask if it can talk, a habit I developed with all cats from a young age (though none of them ever could).

“That’s mostly Japanese cats,” this cat answers in a deep voice that sounds the way sandpaper feels.

“Like Siamese cats?” I ask, thinking I might have misheard him.

“No, like cats who live in Japan.”

“Oh,” I say, and he doesn’t say anything else and I wonder if I’ve only ever asked Canadian cats if they can talk before and had thought the muteness a quality of cats in general and not Canadian ones in particular.

The cat and I walk together in silence down the street until we reach an intersection and when I stop to wait for the walk signal he stops as well, sitting by my feet.

“This is where I leave you,” he informs me, warmly, as though we had been chatting companionably and not walking quietly and then he adds: “You may pet me on the head if you would like.”

I pet him on the head and he purrs, a short but approving sort of purr.

“Later you will wonder if you actually talked to a cat or not,” the cat says, “because that is how your mind works, so do please remember that we had this conversation.”

“I will,” I tell the cat, hoping that it’s true, and he tells me that not all cats can talk and not all the ones that do have anything to say that’s worth listening to, and that he likes my scarf, and before I can say thank you he turns and walks away.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

I shall be on fairly strict internet hiatus this week, my apologies for late twitter replies or anything of that ilk. Actually turning off the wifi and all that so I can get some things done.

I’ll be back to regularly scheduled low-volume internet on Friday.

This Thursday January 23rd I will be speaking to/chatting with the Smith College Club of NYC. It is, at the moment, my only scheduled appearance for 2014. More info at the link.

In the meantime, here are a few photos I meant to post in December from the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in Florida, which was gorgeous and wonder-filled.

japanese garden bridge copy

japanese garden pond copy

DSC_00112 copy 2


I spun the wheel even though it had a sign that said “don’t.”

I’m sorry.

In my defense, it didn’t say “don’t spin” or even “don’t turn.”

It just said “don’t” which isn’t terribly specific.

And it was there with its vague warning all wheel-shaped with curved spokes looking like it was supposed to be spun, like it wanted to be spinning and like remaining static was all wrong for it and so I gave it a twirl.

I didn’t think anything would happen, really.

I thought the wheel would spin for a bit and that would be that.

But once it started spinning it just kept going.

The letters of the “don’t” sign turned into an illegible blur.

I can’t figure out how to make it stop.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

  • I read Stoner by John Williams over the weekend. I was gifted it over the holidays and it is exquisite. Such a lovely, lovely book.
  • I also got this Giada cookbook for the holidays and while I haven’t tried any of the proper recipes in it yet I have become mildly obsessed with putting olive oil and sea salt on my oatmeal.
  • I have to have my wisdom teeth removed at the end of the month but apparently I only have three of them so that’s… something, I guess? I will be making lots of soup beforehand.
  • My new-to-me, on-heavy-rotation January music includes Le Loup and Austra.
  • I am currently out of yerba mate and so my morning tea routine is all confusing and not routine. I have more mate on order. Today’s tea was guayusa with coconut sugar.
  • Considering I have started and erased this last unnumbered thing four times because I felt ending on tea just didn’t have a proper sense of completion, I’m going to stop typing and just post this now.

another world next dooranother world next door

There is another world that is quite like this one but you can’t really see it, even though it’s right next door.

At some points it comes close enough that you could almost see it but the reflections through skys and seas create an optical illusion and everything disappears into the blue.

At night it is no more than a shadow blocking out the stars.

And we look the same to them.

There’s someone just like you only different there.

And someone just like me but not quite, too.

Maybe the other you and that other me wonder themselves about the other world they can’t quite see, obscured by their own clouds and the shadowed stars.

Or maybe they don’t.

Maybe they don’t question missing stars and shades of blue or maybe they accept them as emptiness and mystery.

Maybe they’re content spinning alongside the unknown.

About flax-golden tales
. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


I thought 2013 was going to be the year of calming down from the emotional roller coaster and getting myself back on track and writing again. Instead the roller coaster threw me for a few more loops and left me sitting with my head between my knees trying not to vomit more than I would have preferred.

I am feeling better now, but I am really, really tired of high highs and low lows.

When I was writing a lot, before, I was sad. The kind of sad that you swallow and push down and try to pretend it’s not there and you get really, really good at hiding it. To the point where no one believes that you could possibly be unhappy.

I wrote to escape. I lived in my head because I couldn’t feel the sad as much in there.

And over the last couple of years the sad has been going away. I like the life I have outside my head now.

I need to learn how to write now that I’m happy. I like spending time in my head but I don’t have outside things pushing me back in the way I used to.

I’m getting to know myself again, and I need to figure out how this me writes now, in 2014. I took baby steps toward figuring it out last year, and hopefully I can how I approach my head and learn to live there properly again, enough to make the stuff in there book-shaped.

It also means I need to have a low-volume internet year.

I know, it seems to be trendy to be taking social media hiatuses and unplugging and whatnot, but I really, really need it this year. So…


A few notes for 2014:

Regarding the blog

I have been habitually posting twice a week, in the highly organized categories of “flax-golden tales” and “other stuff.” The flaxies will continue as scheduled, the other stuff may turn into more photos and little bits of things rather than long writing-heavy posts. Not that I’ve been good about long writing-heavy posts lately, but I’m going to make a point of it this year.

I may also do a site overhaul/redesign mid-year. Pondering.

Regarding Twitter & Tumblr

I will still be Tweeting, maybe a little less than I am. I try to respond to @ replies as much as I can. I am convinced that Twitter eats them sometimes, as well as Direct Messages.

I am currently avoiding Tumblr almost entirely because I live in fear of Sherlock spoilers but I will continue to mostly re-tumbl things I like. I might not keep up with it as frequently as I’ve been trying to. I still haven’t gotten the hang of tagging things.

Regarding Instagram

I will probably be keeping up the same volume of Instagramming.

I very nearly Instagrammed our salted caramel ice cream sundae (with popcorn on it!) at abc kitchen last night but it was too marvelous not to consume immediately.

Regarding email

Nothing has changed since this post. I am finally, finally caught up with my personal/professional email as in things that go to my personal address but the website email is a sad neglected thing that I believe has an autoreply on it that thinks it’s still May. My apologies. Someday I will have a good and proper system for email. Today is not that day. Hopefully I’ll sort it out around that mid-year possible site overhaul.

If you need to contact me for important reasons and you do not have my personal email address please contact InkWell or one of the Random House contacts listed in the sidebar of the blog.

Regarding book blurbs

If you are an editor/agent/etc and have sent me an advance copy of anything for blurbing in the last calendar year I am sorry if I have not gotten back to you. The pile seen in this photo is now nearly three times as high. The bookish time-bomb-ness of them makes me anxious and I’m afraid the vast, vast majority hit their quoting expiration dates and silently detonated before I could give them proper attention.

(For reference: I read 40 books last year, total. It took me all of December just to get through The Goldfinch and no I still don’t know what I thought of it. It would take me more than a year, probably more than two, to read everything in the please-blurb pile right now.)

I don’t know how I’m going to manage in the future but I need to be writing this year, especially the first half of this year. I am sorry I have not been able to be properly communicative about things that are sent to me unsolicited but I’m not sure I can be better about it in the future. I don’t want to put out a blanket “don’t send me things” because I never know what will stand out and capture my attention. I like books. I wish I could stop time so I could read them all. If anyone figures out how to do that, please let me know.



In summation

I am still trying to figure all this out. How to be a proper author. How to be me. How to be me on the internet. How to be nice to myself. How to keep my hair from going all hobbit-y. How not to get overwhelmed. How to write a novel again.

I am trying. I appreciate your patience and attention. Thank you for reading, always.

simple stepssimple steps

Take simple steps.

Do not complicate things any more than necessary.

Do not preoccupy yourself with step 3 while you are still on step 1.

(That way madness lies.)

One step. Then the next.

Each step can take as long as it needs, each step is different and unique to the step-taker.

Try your best. Begin when you’re ready, but begin now.

(A secret to carry: you can always start over if you wish.)


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.