Whatever Makes You Happy

Friday, July 3, 2009

Please excuse what I'm about to say dear readers because it's going to sound a lot like an infomercial, and let me just apologize in advance for that. But here goes: working on this book a day project (or as my sister calls it "The Grand Literary Experiment) is starting to change my life. And for three easy payments of $19.99 it can change your life too, and if you order right now we'll throw in this free tote bag.

People have been asking me for months if working on this project has had any major effect on my life (well mostly just my sister who likes to imitate a talk show host and ask me questions about "The Grand Literary Experiment) and I humor her the way I do with most things and pretend like working on this project has totally transformed my life and then when we're done playing talk show I talk about how if this was a movie that there would be this great montage in the middle of it that shows me reading and triumphantly running up the steps (because all movie montages seem to have stair scenes) and then at the end of the montage the character would be fundamentally altered. It's this totally pretentious, ridiculously lame thing that we do that no no one else seems to be amused by but us. So we talk and joke and pretend like writing this blog is right up there with climbing a mountain or surviving cancer and that it has the power to transform my life. But now strangely enough, I'm starting to feel like a different person. It's so weird, and so unexpected.

In late June I hit a wall where I felt like I just didn't want to work on this project anymore. I woke up every day, stared at the 200 books in my to-read stack and mentally whined But I have nothing to read. And all the books I read seemed dull and I was just sick of the whole thing. But I powered through it, and after a few days I started to feel really excited about reading again, and I also started to feel different.
I'm starting to feel more creative, book and recipe ideas are flowing, and I'm now working on three cookbooks, one children's book, two articles, and two books. I don't know if that's the result of writing the blog or reading constantly - all I know that I've never felt this creative before and I'm very excited about it. Also, and this is the most startling change of all so maybe you should brace yourself dear readers, I'm starting to lose interest in TV. I'm sure all of the people who know me well are reading this and thinking, What the hell - did the world just start turning in a different direction? I deleted several of the shows I usually watch without even watching them, I haven't watched a soap opera all week (and I usually watch four), and I don't even feel like watching The Brady Bunch. I feel like I'm in The Twilight Zone. This TV thing is really throwing me, I've been walking around all week muttering I don't understand what's happening here. I feel like the earth is shifting. I don't even care about what's coming up on season six of Dallas. And, I feel really happy all the time - the kind of happy that is bound to start annoying every person who comes in contact with me very soon. I was a happy person before, but now I'm feeling happy every waking second of the day - and I normally only feel like that in the morning when I walk around saying things like Isn't this just the most beautiful morning until it ends up pushing everyone around me to the brink. I'm dangerously close to reaching a point where I start to annoy myself with this constant cheerfulness. Who would have ever thought reading could accomplish all of that?

Today's book, "Gillian, Helen, and Carol are mothers who have been friends since their sons were babies, meeting in a regular coffee group for years. These days, their sons are a bunch of thirty something layabouts: they have no wives and no children, never call, and seem unlikely to outgrown their post-adolescent lifestyles anytime soon. After yet another fruitless Mother's Day, Carol has an outlandish but irresistible idea: each woman will arrive at her son's apartment, unannounced, for a week long visit to help him get his life on track."

I enjoyed today's book. It had a few flaws - arguments that went on for so long that they became tedious and a few moments where I felt like the characters were behaving in unrealistic ways that seemed designed to do nothing more than advance the plot - but overall it was a good book that would make a great beach read. It was also a pretty quick read - it was almost three hundred pages and yet it felt a lot shorter.

My favorite passage of the book came when one of the sons came to the breakfast table and discovered: "He found that she had returned from the shop with a preposterous amount of food. An array of croissants, pains au chocolate, fresh breads, jams, yogurts and fruit covered every square inch of the table, looking more like a buffet for ten than a meal for two." - I'm sure my sister will know why that's amusing without me even having to explain, but for those of you who weren't raised by the human buffet table known to the rest of the world as Sue (whose also known as the human fending machine who dispenses candy bars like they're daily vitamins) that paragraph probably won't resonate. But to me it was like a description of my childhood. If I ever wrote a book about my childhood I think I would call it The NeverEnding Buffet.

P.S. - On behalf of Oliver (who is unable to type for obvious reasons), and the human vending machine (who doesn't even know how to turn on the computer): Thanks for all the compliments about the pictures from yesterday's blog entry.