Serena J. Cavanaugh :: Blog

October 24, 2009

Odd Couples, Episode 1

Shakespeare and the Swine Flu 



It seems like an odd couple, but not when you really think about it. Imagine: you are locked in your house, unable to venture out into the healthy world. Two sick kids, who tend to complain and moan much louder than you, have commandeered the TV with the DVD player. What to do?

Well, naturally, you read. (more…)

October 8, 2009

The Writing Life II

Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: , , , , — serena @ 12:34 pm

The Problem with Titles




So, I finished the first draft of my second novel! (applause, gasps, sighs)


Now for the hard part – the edits, the volunteer reader comments, the …. (drumroll) TITLE.

Lucky are those authors who get their titles first and then write the book around the it. I guess I’m just not lucky. (more…)

September 24, 2009

The Writing Life

Filed under: Cultural Rants, The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — serena @ 10:46 am





This morning I awoke with a sense of dread. I just finished the first draft of my second novel – meaning I finished a few weeks ago. Hundreds of the novel’s pages are stacked on my desk, out of order, with tons of edits and suggestions scrawled along the margins – products of writing group comments and various family reader-helpers. The book is about 10,000 words short and I didn’t have the foresight to organize it by chapter. Ick.


So what do I do? I take a long bath. Then I (more…)

September 4, 2009

Literary Flings and Affairs, Episode 3

The Short Story



There was a time in my life when all of the sudden, short stories were all I read. Granted, they always had their place: say in school for Literature study purposes and in the doctor’s office, just to kill time. But this particular period of my life, I actually purchased volumes of collections and read one after the other.


My husband, in his younger years, suffered something similar. We call them compulsive one night stands. (more…)

August 3, 2009

Literary Flings & Affairs, Episode 2

Filed under: Cultural Rants, Literature — Tags: , , , , , — serena @ 5:24 pm

Bodice Ripping Romance

I read my first bodice-ripping romance at fourteen. Don’t judge me: I did mature early, blooming into a full fledged reader a couple years prior with Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind and Grapes of Wrath secured tight under my belt. So I was ready and willing.

Imagine the intrigue when I found, at the home of the children I babysat every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, a ten foot closet shelf double packed with paperback novels. The covers depicted hard muscled men literally tearing the bodices off voluptuous women, all in historic costume. (more…)

May 27, 2009

Literary Flings and Affairs, Episode 1

Filed under: Cultural Rants, Literature — Tags: , , , , , — serena @ 12:36 pm

       Dark Seduction        


            I don’t usually read Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I have a little brother (and no matter how much taller he is than me, he’s still little) who devours the stuff.


             Several years ago, he got me involved with a fellow named George R.R. Martin. Utterly helpless within the forceful grip of his story, I succumbed completely and with abandon, to the seduction of his characters and the foreign world they inhabited. By (more…)

April 28, 2009

How Lovely To Be A Woman!

Filed under: Beauty, Cultural Rants, Parenting — Tags: , , , , — serena @ 2:26 pm

Two things happened this past month that made me re-think being a woman.

 One, I watched the local grammar school performance of Bye Bye Birdie.

In one song the main character, 16 year old Kim, sings “How lovely to be a Woman,” in which she glories in her burgeoning figure, the privileges of mascara and high heels and all the perceived goodies of her passage into womanhood.

It ain’t lovely, I thought. Not one bit. You’ll get tired of the constant adjustments women have to make to (more…)

March 30, 2009

Feeling Old

Filed under: Beauty, Cultural Rants — Tags: , , — serena @ 9:50 pm


“Already?” my twenty year old niece asked.


“Yup,” I answered. “I can hardly believe it.”


We were discussing my thirteen year old and the fact that he is, well, a teen.


My niece surprised me when she said, “Wow, that makes me feel old.”


I chuckled – and it was in no ways a chuckle of delight, but one of bitterness. I had once felt “old” the way she did, and that was much, much more preferable to the “old” I feel now.



February 24, 2009

The Good Rejection

Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: , , , , , , — serena @ 6:46 pm

Good rejection? Prior to my recent and first experience of a “good rejection,” I too would have scoffed at the very idea. How could a rejection be good? It’s like having a good nightmare. A good bump on the head. A good stubbed toe. A good hangover.


February 1, 2009

Beauty You Foul Thing

Filed under: Beauty, Cultural Rants — Tags: , , , — serena @ 3:33 pm

Cosmetic Enhancement

Beauty isn’t just everything to me, it’s everything to everyone. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of beauty (I wrote a novel about it), and besides it being the meanest, least rewarding object of pursuit of our times, it also haunts us the same way Catherine Earnshaw haunted Heathcliff – that is, relentlessly and only because we want it to. (more…)

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