I’m standing in that space in-between opening a door and stepping through it. In-between being ready and not quite. A week in-between decisions and changes.


empty room, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas Two of my children moved out of the house last week. It’s good. As a matter of fact, it’s great! But still, I am left with a Very Quiet House. Hours & hours of me at home. Not a peep. Not a squeak. Just silence.

I’ve been adjusting by trying to absorb the silence. Not fill it up. I’ve spent the whole week listening to the sound of no noise. The best word I can find is garnering. I am garnering the silence. Gathering it in. I feel like a great void that all the noiselessness is falling into. It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve experienced in a long time. I seem to be hungry for the silence. Like I am slurping it down. And when the day comes that I am full of all the quiet, I will write. For now, I wait, and listen.


Oak flooring, jill kandel, so many africas

Since two of the children have moved out, I have three EMPTY rooms. I mean. Empty. The old, filthy carpet had to go. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to fork out the money to have it professionally cleaned. My son said, “Let’s look underneath it, Mom.” And we did. Only to find hardwood flooring! Oak! 

So I spent much of the week, tearing out carpet, cutting up carpet, and pulling up nail board borders, and next up? Stripping the wood floors. I enjoy doing hand projects so this is perfect as I transition to the quiet.

When the floors are done, I will move my writing space from the dark basement up and into the light. Two windows! Sunshine! The new room will be white and lime green. Fresh and springy. Just the place for the coming winter days.



computer, jill kandel, so many africas

The old Sony Vaio is biting the dust. Hence a whole lot of research and looking. I’m hoping to know what I want before Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and score a win. It’s not my favorite thing to do. I love tech. But find it frustrating to research and decide. Just too many options and numbers and stats. I’m looking at an HP Spectre 360.




Jill Luangingwa River

And lastly, I am considering a new focus for this blog. My book has been out for one year. And I’ve been through the publication process. So what’s next?? I’ve talked to several people who have helped me sort it out. (Thank you, Ingrid and Leslie!) I’ve been writing about Zambia and book publication. Now I’m writing about the Netherlands and WWII.

What holds this blog together? 

And the brilliant answer my friends gave me: “You do.”

“Excuse me?” I asked confused.

“You hold the blog together.”

“So the blog will continue to be about writing and my publication steps. But it will broaden to include the Netherlands?” I ask them.



light bulb, jill kandel, so many africas

“More than that. Your blog is about culture. Think about it. Zambia. The Netherlands. Indonesia. And your next book. On top of that, you’re living in Fargo which is its own culture! And you work in jail. That is a culture and a language all its own, too,” they reply. I’ll be moving my blog thematically towards living in-between cultures. 



Writing Prompts, Jill Kandel, Fargo, So Many Africas

Which means: new banners. New look. And a whole lot of research on how to make the blog load faster and work more efficiently.

That’s where my life is at right now. Between. Between having children at home and not. Between an old computer and a new one. Between fall and winter. Between silence and writing. And working towards a new theme: Between Cultures.

I’ve been living in-between all of this. And today it’s raining. And the rain is pattering and life is good. And I think I’ll go and go scrape down some hardwood flooring. And while I do, I’ll think about the people who built this house in 1960, and put down flooring, and covered it up with carpet, and how surprised they’d be to see that once what was old is now retro and new. And while I scrape, I’ll garner up the silence. And get ready for what is ahead.



Jill Kandel
  • Harold Ball
    Posted at 11:16h, 18 November Reply


    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 14:18h, 18 November Reply

      Yes, right now there are so many things to be thankful for! Happy birthday to Dan!!

  • Gianna
    Posted at 11:36h, 18 November Reply

    It has snowed here and the silence of outside is different than it was a few weeks ago. The silence of blizzard winds and sunny days and driving and slow days.

    It’s strange and beautiful, hard and lovely, isn’t it?

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 14:19h, 18 November Reply

      Hard & Lovely. Yes, it is both, Gianna!

  • Mikaela D'Eigh
    Posted at 12:18h, 18 November Reply

    Beautiful words, Jill. And such a great place to be ~ at this point, the possibilities are endless. Starting down a new path or turning a corner can be overwhelming. But oh the freedom of the in between! Love to you — can’t wait to see where you go from here, my friend.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 14:19h, 18 November Reply

      Thank you Mikaela! Many, many possibilities for all of us. I also look forward to seeing where You go!

  • Diane McElwain
    Posted at 12:46h, 18 November Reply

    Waiting in the quiet to write–we all need that. I have a lot of quiet here too!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 14:20h, 18 November Reply

      Yes to the quiet. I have the feeling it’s a precursor to a lot of work. But that is okay, too!

  • Mary Van Denend
    Posted at 16:17h, 18 November Reply

    I love your choice of the word “garner” to describe what the silence means to you.. I’ pictured someone gathering fresh sheets from a clothesline and holding them her face. We have an empty nest too. I miss the people who used to fill the space, but love the quiet. and anticipation of what may enter in.. No rush. .

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 08:00h, 19 November Reply

      Love your image of the fresh wash line, Mary! Thank you!

  • Jan VanKooten
    Posted at 00:42h, 19 November Reply

    It’s amazing and affirming to hear what you’re doing with the sense of call and purpose you discerned at LMWW — more power to you … or would that be more quiet? Blessings ….

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 08:01h, 19 November Reply

      Thank you, Jan! Yes, LMWW was a great impetus for me. Blessings on your writing and life, too!!

  • Carol Becker moritz
    Posted at 16:24h, 19 November Reply

    Jill, I am so enjoying all of this. It takes me back to your home in Valley City, your dads office above Foss Drug where he, Lorna and I worked. More so, I remember all the occasions I stayed at your home with you, Janet and Gaylen while your parents were gone!!

  • Heather MacLaren Johnson
    Posted at 12:58h, 03 December Reply

    I can relate to new, long periods of silence and remember as if it were yesterday when three little ones and a yellow lab were running through the rooms being loud. How I wished for some silence then; how I cherish the memory of noise now. On Sundays, when we’re blessed to be all together, I am thankful for loud laughter and quiet moments, just basking in whatever is–in the moments–with the ones I love. Thankful you are making you “between spaces” a place of blessing for all.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 14:42h, 04 December Reply

      I like your comment, “thankful for loud laughter and quiet moments, just basking in whatever is.” YES! Thank you. It’s a great perspective to emulate.

Post A Comment