Tag Archives: The Goldfinch

Snow Day 101: A Guide for Work-at-Home Writers & Others

Vintage-Snow-Storm-3Everybody knew today would be a snow day. The weather report was dismal. Half the emails coming into my inbox signed off with, “Enjoy your snow day tomorrow!” Usually, when my kids’ school closes I get a very early morning phone call, 5-something o’clock, always interrupting my REM sleep, and startling me awake with a heart pounding “WTF?! Who died?!” feeling as I grab the phone and listen to the automated message. But not this morning. No phone call. No snow day.

My alarm went off at 6:30, as always, and I peeked out the window. Just a bit of snow. A couple inches maybe. No biggie. So I go ahead and wake my kids. My son was annoyed, as he stayed up binge watching WALKING DEAD with my husband (don’t even go there with me) figuring for sure there’d be no school today. My daughter was annoyed, as I inform her she can’t drive to school today, but must take the bus, giving her 15 minutes less time to get ready. I went down and made the coffee, fed the dogs, started to make sandwiches, and then the phone call comes in. Are you kidding?! So my kids are awake and getting ready for school, I’m already drinking my coffee, and now you tell us Snow Day!?

Now my kids have gone back to sleep but I’m caffeinated. And besides, I work from home so I never have a snow day, really. I was going to go on Twitter and ask someone to please give me permission to have a snow day, when I realized that’s just stupid. I’m 50 years old. There’s very little in my life that I’m willing to ask permission for any more. I’m in the “give permission” phase of my life. So, today I’d like to declare a snow day for all who work at home. Even if you live in Florida.

This is what I’m going to do today: Stay in my pajamas. Read my copy of Lucky Peach, from cover to cover. Instruct my children to make a fire in the fireplace. Start The Goldfinch, which I recently gifted to myself. Pop popcorn on the stove, in my “crank it by hand” popcorn popper thingy, which makes the best popcorn. Finish reading an enjoyable middle grade manuscript by a prospective client. Not feel guilty about not doing all those other things that I could/should be doing for work.

Here’s the guide part: even people who work from home, even people who are stay-at-home parents, even retired people, even highly motivated, cut-throat, success driven shark-like people, need a snow day. A snow day is a day off from whatever you usually do. But you stay home. And it’s relatively unplanned/unscheduled time. It can be expected or unexpected, but what you want to go for is not your usual work. For writers who have a day job, this might look like a day of uninterrupted writing time. For stay-at-home parents, this might look like a day you don’t monitor how much television your kid watches, so you can do something fun for yourself. For someone like me, who reads a ridiculous amount for work, it’s a day of reading for pleasure.

Ok. Go!

What are you going to do with your snow day? 

 

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Getting Through February: books, crocuses, imagination

photoFebruary sucks. Living in New York, I’m just so done with winter by now. I’ve enjoyed the let’s sleep-in, cook up a storm, build a fire snow days. I’ve made it through the last December’s pressure to “enjoy” the “holidays” and already resigned myself to the fact that this coming year won’t be the year I enjoy (or even go to) a gym. This February marks three years since my grandmother died, at what felt like a premature 99. I don’t think I’ll ever get over her leaving. She was my moral compass; my role model; my great friend; a source of joy and laughter in my life. February is also the month of my birthday (No happy happys in the comments please. Hit me up on Twitter or FB if you must.) For many years now my birthday just feels like the tick tick tick toward my inevitable demise and a reminder that I haven’t yet achieved many of the things on my list of things I plan to achieve in this lifetime.

imgresPerhaps I suffer from S.A.D. I strongly feel the need for a beach, a rum drink, and no deadlines (even those that are self-imposed). When I read the newspaper this morning, I found out Shirley Temple Black had died, and now I can’t get the fucking Good Ship Lollypop out of my head. It doesn’t seem at all funny that a suicide bomb instructor blew up his class because he was imbecile enough to use live ammunition in his demonstration. I’m sickened by the NFL hubbub surrounding college football player Michael Sam’s coming out. Are we really still talking about this? Can’t we finally move past labels and discrimination and judgements about people’s sexual orientation, race, and religion? When will fucking spring come? I need a goddamn crocus or something.

*deep breath*

I know how lucky I am though. I’m so ridiculously lucky. I’m the luckiest bitch on my block. I live in a nice house with a nice husband and 3 nice children and 2 nice dogs. I have more than enough to eat and mostly don’t need to worry about paying the bills. I’m relatively healthy. I have good friends. I know my personal “problems” are First World problems.

109742-400x265-Crocus

And… Yesterday I read Neil Gaiman’s FORTUNATELY, THE MILK. You see, when all else in my life feels like crap, when it’s February, I have books. FORTUNATELY, THE MILK made me smile, then chuckle, and reminded me to use my fucking imagination. It felt like my soul was going to the gym. And liking it. Later today I’m going to finish editing a client’s manuscript about lady pirates. I don’t think I need to  explain what joy that brings me, and not just because it’s well written, sexy, interesting, and well… about lady pirates. And I just plunked down a chunk of change for Donna Tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH, and I’m planning on giving myself a birthday present of taking the time to read it.  I’m in the midst of signing a new client with a manuscript where “a younger Bridget Jones meets a quirkier Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” It’s a  funny, sexy-smart novel set on Cape Cod. Right now it feels a bit like a crocus.

So how do you get through February? What are you reading? What are you writing?

 

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