Romantic Life Lessons, Shameless Promotion

Weekend at Williams College

I’m a firm believer that leaving the house is a good thing. Two weeks ago, at Williams College, I sp18033806_1841392116120242_235358556887425489_noke about my employer’s global marketing program at a conference about romance. Following this, I signed my book at Water Street Books, a lovely bookstore that is too friendly to be your typical college bookstore. Where were the shotglasses and school banners? Maybe they were there, but I was too focused on the wall to wall books.

Given my new fearless status when it comes to travel, this whole trip was a labor of love: hopping on a train and getting into a car with like-minded romance-aholics. I had the pleasure of talking with stars of the genre: Eloisa James, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Sonali Dev who writes Bollywood in a romance novel, Katy Regnery, Radclyffe of Bold Strokes Books, Alison Case who is a professor at Williams (and fellow Oberlin alumna!) to name a few. We had a blast, and not because of the constant Dunkin’ Donuts outside the lecture hall.

And now I’m packing for the RT conference in Atlanta. This is my first time going. Except, of course, I have three emergency edits to do. Is it me or are work and Crazy Life Events falling from the sky all at once? Well, this just means it’s time for chocolate and dessert.

 

Romantic Life Lessons, Writing Tips

Will Schwalbe Delivers Book and Life Inspiration at B&N Reading

I love going to readings. Last Thursday, I attended Will Schwalbe’s reading/signing for Books for Living, which will be a keeper on my shelf. What made this such a happy event was not only the author’s joyous energy, but also the communal love of books. There are few things more sublime than being surrounded by carefully put-together book nerds. The array of fashionable eyewear alone was impressive.

The author opened his talk with his nightmare: being at an airport on his way to Perth (far away) and not having a book to read. I might have suggested an Ambien to help with the panic, but I totally get it. Books are an intimate connection to multiple factions: words, the author, the author’s world, and yourself. It is an eternal relationship that goes from one mind to the next and becomes a collective affection.

He addressed several of his life-altering books, including The Odyssey and the subject of mediocrity. I mean, Odysseus wasn’t so great about getting home. You get it.

The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang became increasingly magical as Schwalbe relayed how this book affected his life, where he was when he read it and the lessons he learned.

There was a lovely bit of shade thrown at the tech obsessed. He mentions 1984 and how Orwell hadn’t foreseen that one big screen could become a million little screens and that we’d all be carrying them. We are the ones depriving ourselves of the pleasure of living.

After his fabulous talk, we got our books signed. Rocco DiSpirito was there, and he got to cut in line because he’s cute and famous. The big moral of this story is that I deviated from my routine and it fed the soul.

Many many raves and congratulations to Will Schwalbe and his new book which I can’t wait to read after I’m done with The Exorcist–don’t ask. For those who feel depressed by the state of the world, writers and readings are a way out of the rabbit hole. I left very inspired and recommitted to put new energy into loving books.

Romantic Life Lessons

If such and such hadn’t happened, then…

Today is a special day and, while the root of all things is Adam and Eve or single-celled sea substance that morphs into humans, let me skip a few billion years to thanking my two sets of grandparents: William & Harriet and William & Ella for their stunning contribution to my miracle.

Bill and Hattie had a sweet little girl. She grew up to be famous goddess historian and begat little Patrick and Patience.
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On the other side, Bill and Ella had a boy who also wound up liking history, soccer, and helped begat Patrick and Patience.
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Many years later, B&E sent their son to the posh school down the street. He did pretty well and later went to college. He met my mother in this general time frame. Marriage and babies happened, after which they settled in Ohio, then Upstate New York, then Paris and then, well, chaos. My parents joined the flood of divorcing couples in the 70s and our households shifted.

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Let’s acknowledge that splitting up sucks for everyone. But out of hardship, miracles can happen.
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In the chaos, Patrick went to my father’s posh school. He was super-smart, had even skipped a grade, and how cool is it to live like an adult, and eat as much candy as you want? I demanded the opportunity to attend the same posh school.

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Finally! Here I am in high school! It’s awesome but, you know, adolescence is tough.

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But I meet this guy. He makes an impression for a brief time.

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Twenty-six years pass. I get a message from an old acquaintance. Thank you, Facebook, for getting me and Sam in touch again on August 10, 2009.We are separated by 5,000 miles but fall in love anyway. He books a ticket for our first date on December 17, 2009 and he’s still here.

Happy First Date-iversary to mJust marriedy love, Sam. And thank you to my grandparents, my parents, my posh school, and Facebook for nudging us onto the path. Eternal gratitude right here.

 

Romantic Life Lessons, Shameless Promotion

It’s Happening: My 30th High School Reunion

mulletIn three weeks, groan, I’m attending my high school reunion. Let me muster the energy to drag my fabulous self to what can only be an unnecessary trip down memory lane. I am so over that.

Lie, lie, lie! I’m not even close to being over it! This eagerness must be palpable because somehow, I wound up on the planning committee and–wait for it–amassing enough 80s music to last 3 hours. I love the build-up, the preparations–emotional and wardrobial (that’s a word)–and the blinding nostalgia. How could you not want to re-live your painful adolescence?

In the spirit of reunions, let me revisit my reunions. Each one has a flavor.

My 5th Reunion: Um, I don’t attend this one because life is too traumatizing. See chapter 4 of my book, Romance Is My Day Job. I call this flavor “gum stain on the subway platform” because it is just that icky.

The 10th: It takes me months to pick out this purple gauzy dress and chunky patent leather heels. The hair is everywhere. Classmates are marrying and having babies, like my best friend Nici. Isn’t 27 too young for this? I breathe into paper bags over the idea that I could embark on such adult rites of passage. My recollections of this reunion are vague because I am hyper-focused on an impending first date with some dude in NYC, the dude responsible for my being in NYC. An important domino in my life. Would I be in New York if it weren’t for this date? Probably not. Flavor: Tiramisu because it is the first time I try the dessert in New York.

The 15th: Ugh, 32. That’s almost as old as Jesus before he died and I have done nothing too important. IMe, Nici, Kirsten do learn that my classmates are wildly interesting, but I eat too many strawberries (not sure what this means and yet it is my lame excuse for fleeing Connecticut before the real festivities). Jesus would not have done this. Reunion flavor: Strawberry Agita.

My 20th: I’m 37! Though I could be the only single one left, I am…okay. Am I? Oh God. Why did I cut my hair short? Why!?? Despite those pesky feelings of low self-worth,  sleek black pants and a raincoat hide a whole lot of sh&*t. I’m grateful, at least, that I have done nothing terrible ever. Job, roof over my head, loved ones, no longer living off credit cards: not too shabby. Flavor: One scoop of vanilla because I’m blessed.

My 25th: I’m MARRIED. Look at my husband! You all know him! He’s cool! I’m not a dork anymore! Married, married, married. Oh wait, I missed all the crazy after-hours shenanigans because I’m married married married. Okay, I’m still a dork*. Flavor: Two scoops of matching flavors, whatever he wants.

My 30th: Married, married, married. This means I have another set of eyes and sharp senses to take in the entire event: my classmates, my teachers, the beautiful school itself, etc. I will enjoy this reunion and stay up all night**. Class of 1986, I’m ready. Beware of the girl who watches and records everything. She might write about it someday. Just kidding, sort of. But seriously, flavor: Whatever keeps us dancing.

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*but married

**to catch any shenanigans. The fact that I use the word “shenanigans” only proves my dorkiness.

Romantic Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Editor Is [not] the New Billionaire

iStock_000016891929XSmallMy first few years in New York, working as an assistant editor, I lived on credit cards. It cost a lot to live in Manhattan and, once again, I’d chosen a career that didn’t promise wealth. Maybe I should have been more financially pragmatic and looked for an apartment in Queens or Brooklyn, but I wasn’t. Those years taught me a lot about cutting corners, which I still do to some extent nineteen years later. If you love to edit books, you can do better than survive. Here’s how:

Food:

Breakfast can easily turn into lunch. If you put off breakfast, tada, it’s lunchtime! That’s one meal you don’t have to pay for.

Lunch: If you want to stay healthy and save money, make your own. Most of us give in to the sandwich bar. Reasoning: you’re too busy as a working woman to prepare food. Sadly, this can’t carry through to dinner unless you want to blow all your money. Another way to save money: take out industry people. It’s professional, enjoyable, and it’s a write-off or your company will reimburse you.* Did I just say that out loud?

Continue reading “Editor Is [not] the New Billionaire”

Romantic Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Six Years of Facebook Friendship

Just marriedAugust 10, 2015 is the six-year anniversary of when Sam Friended me on Facebook, which began our courtship which resulted in marriage. As a single girl for forty-two years, I got very used to my own rules. Now, with a few years of cohabitation/marriage under my belt, I’ve learned a few things:

It’s fun to do nice things for another person. Sam beams at me when I bring home food or do the dishes. I did the same just last week when he got me tickets to see Jane Lynch (my girl crush) at Joe’s Pub. Marriage can be a harmonious exchange of good tidings. Who knew???

Just because you’re together, doesn’t mean you have to spend every second together. When he wants to go out with his friends, I’m like, go for it, dude (as I turn on Housewives the second I hear his footsteps retreating).

Respect territory. The kitchen is his, the couch is mine. The yoga mat used to be mine, now it’s is. He cooks dinner, I bring home snacks and toiletries. I get the covers.

Bitchy behavior = he’s getting sick. And when he gets sick, I navigate between bringing him chicken soup and leaving him alone. He will yell at me no matter what.

In a New York apartment, he will see me in hot rollers. I once read that Gwen Stefani always makes sure she’s in full makeup, even around her husband*. I tried this and lasted one day.

Kindness wins over complaining. When I want to scream at Sam, I think, Is there a point to this? Usually, there isn’t. Sometimes, he deserves it, though.

Like all the books and rom-coms say: Trust is key. I leave my diary and phone out all the time. I don’t care if he reads them (the boredom would be punishing), but trust he won’t.

Ignore couple rituals. We don’t have a “date night” since we already spend a ridiculous amount of time together. Our Valentine’s Days are laughable. Romantic vacations are severely lacking in frequency and we don’t explode into tears over our love. We just are.

You can co-exist if you have different political leanings. Happening right now as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up. We discuss points of view without ridiculing the other’s beliefs. He’s wrong, of course.

Cleanliness is optional. Apart, we are clean-freaks; together, we are total slobs. We only clean in earnest if someone is coming over.

Being with the love of my life doesn’t solve all my problems, but it adds richness and joy to my life every day. I get to witness this other person’s life in an intimate way. What a privilege!

Happy Facebook Friendship, Sam! You’ve taught me so much and I’m excited for the next forty years.

*They’re divorcing but hey, it was a long-ish marriage.