Romantic Life Lessons, Shameless Promotion

To Emote or Not to Emote

I tend to read a lot of artist/writer blogs, the juicier the better. Because I’m not physically in high school anymore–or even in my twenties or thirties–I get a vicarious rush reading about an individual’s personal and professional trials: deadline pressures, the angst of parenting, difficulties (physical and mental), irritating moments that ruin one’s day, pep talks, who hates Jonathan Franzen today, or good old-fashioned frivolity (Housewife chat?). I’m both impressed and a little horrified at how a person can put so much out there for anyone to see. What did we do before blogs and social media? It’s so tempting to read everyone’s thoughts and then I want to emote myself. There is a lot I have to say! Fair warning, some of it is superficial. You caught me in a moment. Yesterday, I was agonizing about events in Rome, circa 31 B.C–don’t get me started. Here goes:

I’ve switched from Cheetos to White Cheddar popcorn as an evil snack. Sam loves it, too, so we get two bags. We feel like giant hogs afterwards.

Ranting on FB (about life, politics, Israel/Iran/Palestine, climate change, Obama) annoys and fascinates me. I have an appreciation for the need to connect, preach, and spread information. I’m doing that right now, see? Hey, I wouldn’t be married without Facebook. Sadly, I don’t recognize some of the people I thought I knew and I now know people who have mostly been strangers (it’s all good-ish).

No one has noticed this but I’ve been weening myself off television and reading more. I read for my day job, but currently feeling that reading day and night means stronger eye muscles…or blindness. Right now, am flying through The Sun Also Rises by The Hemingway He kinda writes like a five-year-old, Andy Cohen’s memoir (awesome), The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (you must read), The President’s Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy (who knew Harry S. and Ike could get along!), and Come Dancing by Leslie Wells (addictive, especially if you love the 80s)…11051892_1555249804734476_5339737004723344042_noh, and a biography on Charles Manson (I don’t know why…).

Because I drove with my husband to Rochester, New York, last weekend for his business, I rewarded myself before the trip with an iPhone and three secret cookies from Fika. With my gadget I was able to take cool selfies. Furthermore, if I get to see Duran Duran in concert, I can finally take a good picture of my boys! I hear the iPhone is also used for calling, but I am not good at using phones. The Candy Crush is too small for me to see.

Starting to feel that editing on paper is inconvenient and yet I don’t want to do the first edit on screen. Will I make the transition? This could be exciting news for trees.

I struggled with depression in the second half of last year. It made me a little too quiet, but I know how things shift from light to dark, dark to light–and even shades of grey (see how I got that in there?). The world is lovely again in all its forms. When I go outside, I don’t feel terror, just an appreciation of sunshine, the taste of coffee, people hanging out in my local Pain Quotidien. Notice how this gets sandwiched between lighter stuff.

I put hot rollers in my hair now, which makes me feel 100 years old, but the outcome can be splendid and slightly Mad Men if I brush vigorously like Betty–or it could be senility setting in. Am now looking around at women and wondering who secretly uses hot rollers. Fess up!

Trying very hard to accept that “awhile” and “fairytale” might be one word. This seems wrong to me.

After 30 years, I’ve stopped running. Now I walk or do the elliptical, which begs the question: Will I join a walking club and wear fussy gym clothes from Athleta? Am I someone now worried about joints and my back? Will I start doing yoga?

At 46, I should be all 1962853_664713946900219_800430870_neasy breezy about how I look, but last night, I had second thoughts about my purple pants from J Crew. Nah, they are awesome.

I recently had 10 minutes where I had no work deadlines. Now I’m swamped again. I’m not complaining at all, just observing the tides of my industry. The busier, the better.

My love/hate for CNN grows strong in both directions. I love my Anderson Cooper (very much), but hate the editorializing of most of the other anchors. Just deliver the news, please, without the moral outrage and incredulity. Sometimes, this compels me to a more conservative station. I like my headlines dry and without emotion!

Yesterday, someone sent me a fan email for Romance Is My Day Job. It put a huge smile on my face.

Romantic Life Lessons

What Does a Romance Editor Do All Day?

This might not be an interesting question. In fact, I’m sure it’s not, but I get asked it all the time. So here goes: full disclosure. First of all, being an editor–at least in my world–is so not Sharon Stone’s character in the movie Sliver. I laugh at the gigantic apartment mostly. Am I the only one who saw this movie? Anyway, here’s my average day…

8:30-10am: This is my prime reading time. My office has amazing natural light so I take full advantage while reading. It’s the closest thing I have to a porch. I put my feet up, read and drink coffee that tastes like battery acid, my favorite. All that’s missing is the Country Time lemonade and the benevolent grandparents sitting nearby in rocking chairs.

Often, meetings happen in the 10am area. They last about an hour, maybe longer. Meetings are necessary and mostly an enjoyable break from staring at words–I find. It’s important to interact with real live people and my colleagues are a good bunch. Sometimes, there are snacks at these meetings–well, at least in meetings I facilitate. I just think donuts and M&Ms make the world a happier place. (lots of product placement in this post so far)

Between 11:30-12:30, I hit the gym because, as a morning person, I’m much more productive and alert in the afternoon if I work out. Plus, it neutralizes the chocolate eating and diminishes stress. I love my husband but I get a thrill out of watching Divorce Court while I run.

In the afternoon, I return phone calls, emails and do a lot of detail-oriented tasks–handing in books, updating a database, writing a memo, Tweeting & FBing, looking at numbers and lists and work-related blogs, obsessing about meeting deadlines, asking a question about a manuscript. My job involves a lot of sitting, so I try to move around once every 30 minutes. We sometimes have meetings in the afternoon, too.

Once I’ve finished with these details, I’ll do some more reading before retiring for the day. I go home between 4:30-5pm. A lot of my colleagues read on the commute home, but I play Angry Birds. It cleanses the palate because I tend to read even more when I get home.

Oh, so when do I edit? you ask. Well, either in the morning during my porch time or at night. To edit, I generally need a quiet few hours with no distractions. This is tough in an office environment, so I bring a lot of work home at night and on weekends. Since the sixth grade, I have hauled a heavy bag with me everywhere. My husband recently gave me a bag with wheels, which helps. I don’t like the idea of being stuck without a manuscript. Is it any wonder I read for a living?

You’d think I’d be sick of reading by evening. Sometimes I am and will indulge in some fierce knitting and a Criminal Minds, The Shield, or Gossip Girl marathon. But often, I will just keep going, reading some nonfiction or my trashy tabloids New Yorker. My eye muscles are just that used to inhaling words.

Now that I read this over, I see how pleasant my days usually are. I am lucky, for sure. Coffee, romance novels and chocolate. You really can’t go wrong.