What I’ve been doing lately: Two of my kids are leaving soon for three weeks at an overnight camp in Wisconsin so I’m gathering and labeling their clothes, etc. I try not to confuse that activity with actual stress nor do I send them anything beyond what’s on the list. My kids are extraordinary lucky to attend camp. Period. I’ve read some disturbing things about the happenings at some East Coast camps. I know there’s a spoof of all that coming up on the Bravo show I love, Odd Mom Out. I find it all terribly embarrassing (as a Jew). I can at least have some Minnesota pride because I have never witnessed any of that over the top stuff here.

In other family news, my son’s bar mitzvah is happening a week after he returns. We are all busy preparing for that in one way or another. (Sam most of all.) Maybe I will write about the bar mitzvah experience at some point. We are doing Sam’s a bit out of the box and whether I have the desire to explain why/how remains to be seen. I did write quite a bit on the topic a few years ago when we were deciding which path to take before creating our own. Here’s one at The Forward. Another at And one more at

I’m writing fewer essays/blog posts and working on some fiction again for the first time in a long time. Novel writing is time consuming, and I know enough to know it may never see the light of day. I’m having fun with it anyway. My drive to Chicago AND my new desk/corner inspired me.



My girls are doing some random day camps that are further away than we normally drive, which has me succumbing to their top 40 stations more than I normally do. Despite the fact that the same songs are played repeatedly, which annoys me to no end, I don’t mind multiple listens of the two below.

Castle On The Hill by Ed Sheeran: This song’s lyrics feel like a novel, and the tune is so catchy. 

The Cure by Lady Gaga: This song kind of annoyed me at first and now I can’t get enough. It has something of an 80s Madonna/Janet Jackson vibe. You can listen below!

As for audiobooks, I’m currently listening to Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger. As always, I appreciate Gay’s writing style (direct) and the observations of society she shares (truthful and unrelenting).

Podcasts: I haven’t had as much time for podcasts with my kids in the car more and my audiobook happenings. But I have been walking around the house listening to podcasters I like talk about The Handmaid’s Tale. (NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour and Slate’s Double X had good ones.)



An interesting way to handle “pick your brain” requests that gives people some of your time, but in a way that establishes firm boundaries. I like it!

Fun to see a blurb in St. Louis Park Magazine about the writing group I co-lead with Julie Burton!

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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, a writing workshop leader at ModernWell in Minneapolis, ModernWell's book club host, and the friendship columnist at The HerStories Project. She reviews 50 books a year on her blog and writes essays, short stories, and articles for other sites and print magazines. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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