Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

I had been planning a blog post about Mr. Darcy, Vampyre since I bought it.  I mean, seriously.  The title lays it all out there for you: Mr. Darcy is a vampyre.  (Not even a boring old vampire, mind you: A vampYre.)  How is this not fodder for this blog?

And then I read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.  This book, which opens on the wedding day of beloved Pride and Prejudice characters Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, rotates around two main questions: when will Elizabeth figure out that her beloved Darcy is a vampyre?  And will they ever have sex?  Many, many successful books operate on at least one of those two questions, whether the heroine will figure out the hero’s dark secret, and/or when said hero and heroine will hit the sheets.  But there is no tension. Elizabeth and Darcy in this book are Elizabeth and Darcy in name only. Darcy is chatty and popular, going on about Elizabeth’s beauty until he catches a whiff of her blood, and suddenly he’s Edward Cullen. Elizabeth is insecure, willing to talk to pretty much anyone about the fact that she and Darcy haven’t yet consummated their marriage, and decides it’s a good idea to go skinny dipping with her husband while visiting strangers. Neither of them speak as though they are actually living in the Regency era, and Elizabeth’s letters to Jane certainly hold none of the charm or language of a lady of her time. There is nothing to draw you to these sad shadows of characters who share names with some of the most interesting characters in English literature, and you certainly don’t care if they ever get to it. 

Secondly, there is no mystery.  You, the reader, know that Darcy is a vampyre before you even open the book, and the fact that Elizabeth doesn’t figure it out until the end doesn’t make you fear for her, it makes you wonder how dumb she is.  And of all of the character traits that make Austen’s original Elizabeth Bennet who she is, stupidity is not one of them. The not-so-subtle hints the author drops to make you wonder if everyone in the book besides Elizabeth is undead hit you over the head with Vampyre 101 (garlic wreaths, silver, crucifixes, etc.) You can only look in so many mirrors and not see a reflection before the willing suspension of disbelief becomes a suspension of patience.

The book mostly follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they take their wedding tour throughout Europe, making stops fit for any fanfic princess. Darcy changes plans on Elizabeth willy-nilly, and they spend their honeymoon visiting with Darcy’s many relatives and connections and stopping in at his endless hunting lodges and palaces and estates.  His wealth and connections are endless, as are the references to the original Austen the author throws in to make sure you know she read the book. I would hazard that there are more references to Mrs. Bennet’s nerves and Mary’s “moralising” in this book than Jane Austen penned in all the drafts of Pride and Prejudice.

The book goes on and on, meandering through the European continent, hinting at vampyres but never actually introducing them until the very end. There is nothing in this book to fear, nothing to make chills run down your spine. It plays fast and loose with vampire mythology, taking what it wants, ignoring what it doesn’t like, inventing what it needs. And finally, the when the inevitable Love-Conquers-All ending comes around and neatly ties up the action in the course of about three pages, it disappoints, because anything else would be more satisfying than the bad Indiana Jones knockoff that results.

I finished this book on Friday, and the more I thought about it, the madder I got.  Not only did this book completely squander the promise two of English literature’s most famous and beloved characters, not only did this book seem like a cheap exploitation of a classic to appeal to women (anything that involves Mr. Darcy and anything that involves vampires is a sure bet right now), but this book wasted my time.  I wasn’t expecting it to be good, but I was expecting it to be entertaining.

Like most people, I don’t have a lot of free time to read.  What little time I have to read, I carve out of time when I should be doing something else: mundane things like cleaning the house or reorganizing the basement or taming the jungle that is our backyard; intellectual things, like writing more or doing some research for the article I want to write but never seem to get anywhere on; or necessary things, like sleeping.  Every time I sit down with a book I am painfully aware of how many things I am not doing while I have that book open in my lap.  So when I take the time to read, I want it to be worth it.

I’m not saying that everything I read has to be high literature.  I just read Heartburn by Nora Ephron, and while it certainly wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize-winner, I enjoyed it.  I liked it.  I laughed with the heroine.  I recommended it to friends.  I felt like I was justified in taking the time to read it. And that is how I need to judge my reading anymore: by how much enjoyment I get out of it. I don’t have time for books that are a struggle, and I certainly don’t have time for books that are going to make me mad.

I said not too long ago that motherhood and my own limited time are making me rethink how I write.  Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, was the final kick in the pants to make me really and truly rethink how I read.

We were a sight to be seen. When we discovered we’d left the cord to connect the iPod to the car stereo at home, we found the best solution we could at a rural Wal-mart: $5 portable speakers. With one speaker roughly the size of a peach balanced on Mike’s shoulder and the other balanced on mine, we drove through the night to celebrate Christmas with my family while Tina Fey read us Bossypants.

Tina kept us company and made us laugh, but when we got home, the only advantage I could see to listening to her book over reading it in printed form (aside from the obvious company she provided on a long dark drive) was the inclusion of the audio of perhaps my favorite SNL sketch of all time. Even though we laughed heartily at other points in the book, the absolutely brilliant Amy Poehler/Tina Fey Clinton/Palin sketch got the biggest laughs of the whole drive. Rather than reading it on the page, smiling to myself at “I can see Russia from my house” and moving on, we enjoyed the audio of sketch in all its glory.

So when we set out on a nine-day road trip this summer, I made sure I packed the cord for the iPod and I went to the library to find more audiobooks. Following the success of Bossypants, celebrity memoirs seemed like a good neutral ground between me the history nerd and my husband the computer nerd.

As we headed west, we were accompanied by William Shatner reading his 2008 autobiography Up Till Now; on the trip back east, we had the company of Rob Lowe’s 2011 memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Friends, believe me when I say that I would not have enjoyed these books nearly as much on the printed page.

Bill Shatner is known for his overdramatic style, and as you might imagine, he reads an audiobook in the same way he might read anything else. He claims he doesn’t try to do this, it’s just what… comes out of his mouth… when he acts. His lack of consistency in volume makes this tough car listening, and we kept having to adjust the sound to try to catch what he was muttering at the end of a sentence. But Bill’s recounts of his experiences, especially of his post-Star Trek struggle to make ends meet and find meaning in his work, build empathy. Rather than thinking he was a big self-absorbed windbag, I decided he was playing a big self-absorbed windbag who evoked some amount of empathy. Try, just try, to listen to him talk about finding his wife, Nerine, in the bottom of their pool and the ensuing media circus (including the accusations that he had something to do with it) without your heart going out to him. And when he mentions many, many projects that seemed like a good idea at the time (The Transformed Man, “Rocket Man” and stand-up as Captain Kirk who thinks he’s funny but doesn’t know he’s funny, for instance), anyone who’s ever run with an epically bad idea will cringe along.

Shatner has learned the art of telling a joke at his own expense, and all of them play better spoken than written. Like him or not, he is a character, and that character relies heavily on the voice.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends was a little more of a gamble. For us (me especially, who lived until college in something of a pop culture vacuum), Rob Lowe is that super enthusiastic guy on Parks and Rec and, oh yeah, I think he was in St. Elmo’s Fire but I don’t exactly remember because we turned it off halfway through.

So Stories about some guy we barely knew could have been tedious, it wasn’t. Rob Lowe made us want to rent The Outsiders. He made me feel guilty for never reading The Outsiders. We chuckled at his backyard adventures with the Sheen boys and a Super 8 camera. We were riveted as he described his European bodyguard, whose life seemed like something out of a James Bond movie. We listened in stony silence as he recounted how he had been on a plane that had been a 9/11 dry run in early September 2001.

What made this sparkle as an audiobook, however, were Rob Lowe’s completely unexpected talents in the field of celebrity impressions. Cary Grant, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, Andy Warhol, Christopher Walken… the list goes on and on. Rob Lowe’s run-ins with countless famous people would be no more than namedropping in the hands of a less gifted storyteller (and truthfully, the set-ups of “I went to the set of a sci-fi movie in 1976, guess what it was. It was Star Wars” got a little worn out by the end of the 80s), but the accompanying voice talent was the icing, whipped cream, and cherry on the cake. I was only sorry he didn’t get into any stories from Parks and Rec, because I really wanted to hear his impression of Amy Poehler (and I guarantee you he has one).

The rough part of reading autobiography and memoir is wondering how reliable the narrator is, how much the story is skewed. It’s not just wondering if you need to take it with a grain of salt, but deciding how many grains. Rob Lowe (I’m sorry, Rob Lowe has one of those names you just can’t separate) and Bill Shatner take you with them on their journey, make you like them, and make you hope that their story is fair.

Fun is subjective.

Today’s photo-a-day challenge is “fun.” Which is fine, for most people. But all this challenge does is remind me how many things other people think are fun that I just don’t. Allow me to depart from talking about books to list a few:

Running. Sorry, guys. I’ve tried. I know I’m supposed to think that going out for a run is the best most cathartic thing ever but, you know what? I hate it. I hated running in third grade when we had to run The Mile as part of fitness testing (and every year after that until I got to 11th grade and no longer was forced by curriculum to take phy. ed. classes). I hated running back before Erin was born and I actually used to go to the gym and run on a treadmill for half an hour or more. And I hate it now: the burning lungs, the stitch in my side, the feeling like I’m going to vomit when it’s all over. So, yeah. Running. I get that you like it. I wish I did. I tried.

Drinking. I understand drinking. Really I do. I hope you conversely understand that pretty much everything besides wine makes me feel like I’m going to vomit before the buzz even sets in. With wine, I never can tell what’s going to happen. Usually I sit up all night thinking I’m going to vomit and don’t. So go have your fun, but I’m going to sit here and have a Coke like a twelve-year-old because I know exactly what it’s going to do to me and when. No vomiting involved.

Karaoke. Oh dear God in heaven. I understand running. I even understand drinking. I do not understand the appeal of listening to people who can’t sing mimic songs you wouldn’t even want to hear on the radio until it’s your turn to get up and belt out a slightly off-key version of “Alone” or “Elvira.” Unlike the first two, there’s no vomiting involved, but here’s a story. Several years ago, I had to work an event on a Saturday night near St. Patrick’s Day. After this event, my coworkers and I went out for a drink at a bar that happened to have an Irish name. Why we didn’t have the good sense to leave when the karaoke started, I will never know. But we suffered through, shouting a conversation over an “I Will Survive” and a “Sweet Home Alabama” by patrons who sounded like they’d started the party much, much earlier. Finally, my dear friend looked around and said, “Is this what white people do for fun on Saturday night?”

Gardening. Oh, gardening, how I wish I loved you. But, see, gardening, you and I can never be, as I still work outside four hours or more in an eight-hour day, and you still take place outside in the St. Louis heat and humidity after I get home from said day. If you were something I could do either a) from the air-conditioned comfort of my home or b) only in months when it was 70 degrees out, we could be together. Unfortunately, just like the mailman isn’t going for a long walk when he gets home, I can’t go work outside in the heat all night or all Sunday. I just can’t. Maybe someday, gardening, but not today.

There are other things I just don’t think are fun: bachelorette parties (in addition to the not liking drinking or karaoke, I have no intention of wearing, carrying, or drinking out of anything shaped like a penis); Pinterest (categorizing my guilt into little pinboards where I remind myself how I’m not organized, stylish, crafty, or mother-of-the-year? And that I got married in Vegas rather than having a rustic Tuscan wedding with potted trees and/or Labrador puppies as party favors? I know my shortcomings without supercute social media); clothes shopping (I’m a size 6 bust, 10 waist and 12 hips, and I stay in similar triangular proportions no matter how much weight I gain or lose, so trying to fit clothes to me is a challenge of Hercules. Plus I look stupid when I try to look trendy, so I’m really best ordering Threadless tees from home); 3-D movies (sorry, they are NOT designed for people with glasses). But if I go on about them, it’ll make blogging cease to be fun.

There are many things I do think are fun, and you can feel free to skewer them in the comments: reading presidential biographies; trivia nights; museums; national parks; knitting; Words with Friends; camping in the middle of nowhere; star-gazing; road trips; concerts in small venues; and watching Erin empty my purse and examine every object like an anthropologist at a dig site, then loading it all back up for her so she can do it again. Just to name a few.

So here’s my “fun” photo. I had fun making it and fun taking it:


I got kicked in the stomach by a book last Wednesday.

I’ve been reading Against Wind and Tide: Letters and Journals, 1947-1986 by Anne Morrow Lindbergh off and on for the last month. Reading this book has felt like coming home to me like no other new book in my memory. I started reading Anne’s letters and diaries when I was 17, and was struck by how fully she was able to explore her faults, her joys, the world around her, by writing. No writer in the world makes me want to set the book aside and write like Anne does. No writer I recall looks at herself with the same warts-and-all attitude.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me when I picked up Against Wind and Tide on Wednesday night and read:

“Looking back now, one can see her life in more proportion. The dimension death gives is not a phrase. One suddenly sees people’s lives in better proportion, not as a flower growing upward toward the final bloom of those last days; more like the length and breadth of a tree that has been felled. One sees it all of a piece: the continuous grain of the wood. The last days, the final illness (whether of days, months, or years, as it was with her) is seen in undue proportion until death gives life its perspective.”

Wednesday morning we woke to a text message: our friends’ grandma had passed away. June had been unwell for some time — she’d had Alzheimer’s and other health issues — but as everyone always says, nothing prepares you for that actual moment when someone is gone.

We’d never known June at the top of her game, unfortunately. We laughed and played along a year or two ago when she introduced us to her grandson and his wife (who we’ve known since 2007). We oohed and ahhed over the gorgeous red-headed baby she was holding but whose mother she couldn’t find. But we knew her as well as we could — we knew she was a firecracker.

That night, as I was mourning June’s loss, Anne came along again and, in her reaction to the death of her mother-in-law, gave me perspective. Illness absorbs the end of life in many cases — it obscures the person inside — it turns them to a diagnosis or a life expectancy — but death allows us to regain the perspective. Illness is only a small part of the story.

As we gathered for June’s wake and funeral, I listened to family and friends bring June back to life through their stories. The tree of her life stretched long, past the halls of the funeral home or the church or the straight lines of white tombstones at the cemetery. All through their stories, she traveled and danced and defended her grandkids and called the White House weekly to complain while her son was in Vietnam.

On the way home from the cemetery, I realized that I was mourning now, in part, for myself: I would never know this spirited and lively woman as her family had. I had missed her.

One of the many, many remembrances of Nora Ephron I read this week echoed the same idea: while these dynamic and interesting people are alive, we hold out hope that one day we can get to know them, that one day we’ll be invited to a Nora Ephron book party or similar. When they die, we’ve lost our chance, and it makes their death all that much harder to take.

Nora left her movies and essays. Anne left her letters and diaries. June left her amazing family, this wonderful loving clutch of people who have made me and Mike and Erin feel like one of them. We feel her love through them. And we will get to know her more the best we can through them.

One writes not to be read but to breathe…one writes to think, to pray, to analyze. One writes to clear one’s mind, to dissipate one’s fears, to face one’s doubts, to look at one’s mistakes–in order to retrieve them. One writes to capture and crystallize one’s joy, but also to disperse one’s gloom. Like prayer–you go to it in sorrow more than joy, for help, a road back to ‘grace’.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh (War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939-1944)

I want to buy some books for a young friend of mine who likes to read. She sounds like the twelve-year-old version of Abbi — fiercely loyal to her favorites and to the concept of reading those favorites over and over again.

But what to buy?

My first instinct was my favorites from that era in my life. I asked her mom if she liked things like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, and her mom said she preferred more futuristic books, like The Hunger Games.

Now, I’ve read The Hunger Games, and I feel like my thirty-year-old self had pretty much the same base reaction to it that my twelve-year-old self would have (she would have liked it but not loved it, been Team Peeta, and would have, annoyed, written a long and fervent journal entry about all the sentence fragments and other lazy writing).

And then I wondered: do my childhood favorites even translate to a tween of 2012? Do any of the books I loved still resonate? I loved (and still love) not just putting myself in a different life but in a different time, but do girls still do that? Or rather, do they put themselves in a different time looking backwards or looking forwards?

There’s chatter online about an updated Anne of Green Gables series, and the optimist in me thinks that it could possibly be okay (although horrid memories of Anne 3 haunt me to this day). The practical side of me doesn’t even ask how they intend to do this or how much they intend to change, but instead why they intend to bother. If they are saying that without a modernization, today’s audiences won’t be able to relate to the characters, this says to me that someone out there believes that characters being relatable hinges solely on their relationships to things like technology and current events.

So how does Anne work in a different time period? Would a little girl who talked to her reflection in an orphanage get sent to a new home or to psychiatric evaluation? Does Anne become a barista instead of a teacher? Is she embarrassed because her Rollings Reliable blog post went viral? Does Anne’s frustration at being teased seem more angry if she smashes Gilbert’s iPad across his head? (And would his name still be Gilbert, or would he become something depressing, like Chase or Brody or Ashton?) Can Josie Pye be a mean enough “mean girl” without Twitter? Does Ruby Gillis need Facebook to keep track of her beaux? Does Anne’s desire for pretty things and to fit in work for modern girls only if she wants skinny jeans instead of puffed sleeves?

Do we need modernization, or is shared experience of being lonely or angry or wanting to fit in or finding where you belong enough? And just because it’s enough for me, is it enough for someone else?

I considered, then, why and how I read. And if that differes from why and how other people read.

When I was young, I was never much for horses or dinosaurs or even science fiction. I wanted stories about people, mostly stories about people doing things that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do. Whether that thing I couldn’t do was travel in a covered wagon or tell some boy I liked him didn’t matter – I wanted to try on all the personas and experiences I’d never had. So I read and read and read. I read about Anne Shirley dyeing her hair green and Jo March cutting her hair off. I read about Anastasia Krupnik writing to a man in a personal ad from the New York Review of Books and planning a romantic dinner date for her father and his ex-girlfriend and taking modeling classes. I read about the whole cast of characters created by Paula Danziger and Judy Blume, girls I liked and empathized with, whose names I can’t even remember but whose ordinariness seemed foreign and exciting to me.

I saw myself as something of an outsider as a pre-teen and teen, and whether I actually liked it that way or told myself I did, I maintained a distance from my peers. I had experiences through books that I thought I should be having but wouldn’t have, either because I wasn’t in a position to have them or I told myself I was above such things. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a boyfriend or a cohort of close friends to pal around with – I read about girls who did. And even more importantly, I read about girls who said and did satisfying things, who stood up for themselves. On the occasion I said exactly what I wanted to say in the moment I wanted to say it*, it would always backfire or I would sound stupid or nothing at all would come of it. So I kept quiet and kept reading.

I liked Anne especially. It didn’t matter to me that she and Diana were signalling with candles in the window instead of calling on the phone — I liked her and I liked her story and I liked how Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote her story. Maybe it’s just the nostalgic nerd in me, but I’d like to believe that girls today still can like Anne. But to know if that’s possible, I’d have to know why and how teen girls read today, and if their reasons for reading are anything like the ones I had when I was that age. I would like to think that the reasons are similar. I can’t believe that being twelve has changed so very much in the last eighteen years, because being twelve how and where I was twelve didn’t seem so different than Anne a hundred years prior. And for that matter, I don’t know that being sixteen in Panem is that different than being sixteen anywhere else. The situations, certainly, are different, but the struggles Katniss goes through (how do I balance what is expected of me and what I want? how do I deal with all of these emotions when I’m not sure how I feel? why can’t I just run away and leave it all behind?) sound pretty standard to sixteen.

* Thank you, Nora Ephron and Kathleen Kelly.

Goodnight Moon

I don’t get Goodnight Moon.

I mean, on the one hand, of course I get it. What is there to not get? There’s a rabbit going to bed, and as he goes through his nighttime routine, he says goodnight to all of the things in his room, including but not limited to a mouse, two cats who seem unconcerned about the presence of a mouse, and a bowl full of mush, which only seems to be appetizing to the mouse.

But on the other hand, I don’t get it. The illustrations are charming but not great. The rhyme is pretty basic. There are no characters, nothing extremely clever, and every other two-page spread is in grayscale. When I looked at it at Goodwill before Erin was born, I hesitated before I threw it in the cart. My brother and I didn’t have it when we were kids, so there was no nostalgia driving me to make sure this book was on Erin’s shelf. I wasn’t sure there would be anything in this book, despite its status as a classic, to appeal to a modern child. For 50 cents for a brand-new copy, I figured I could take the chance even though it didn’t speak to me at all.

None of that matters, though, and this is why: Erin loves it. She loves lots of books (Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin, Little Tickles, Jamberry, Clifford’s Furry Friends, and Touch the Art: Tickle Tut’s Toes, to name a few), but she has a special spot in her baby bibliophile heart for Goodnight Moon. She specifically goes to the shelf to pick it out. She pushes it across the floor to me to read not just at bedtime but during the day as well. She points to the little toy house and the young mouse as I say the words, and excitedly declares “Kitties!!” every time the kittens appear on the rug. She will go to bed if she hasn’t heard it, but not as easily as she does when it is the last bedtime story we read.

We’ve been reading Goodnight Moon since Thanksgiving, and I still don’t understand what it is that sets this particular book apart for Erin. Maybe it’s the cadence of the words. Maybe it’s the simplicity, that this book is not surreptitiously trying to teach a lesson about colors or manners or shapes or body parts but instead is simply saying goodnight. Maybe it’s the repetition, the familiarity, the fact that this is the book that we always read before bed. Maybe it’s not the book at all, but instead the snuggling and the coziness she associates with it. Maybe I’ll never get Goodnight Moon. Maybe I don’t need to. Maybe all I need to know is my daughter loves it, and she loves reading it with me.

My brother and his wife had their first baby yesterday afternoon, a little girl with a tiny bit of reddish-brown hair. I sent a care package before she was born full of practical things like baby nail clippers and the Snugli Erin just outgrew, but this morning I sent them a copy of Goodnight Moon. I can only hope my niece loves it as much as Erin does.

There are those two little kittens.

I try to tell myself that I don’t have time for writer’s block — if what I want to say isn’t going to manifest itself on the page in the time I have, then it can just wait until I have a free and clear minute some other time.

Currently I have two half-written musings langushing in my wordpress account: one, a listless attempt to be profound on the night before I turned thirty; the other, a retelling of a happenstance event that bothered me greatly back in August. (Yes. August.)

The birthday ramblings don’t amount to much — I felt for some reason that I owed it to myself to get all wordy and nostalgic before I turned thirty. It took three or more times of CTRL-A, Delete before I finally gave up and realized that I didn’t have any profound insights on turning thirty. Not only did I not have any great wisdom to impart, I didn’t really mind that I was leaving my twenties behind. True, my twenties were good to me — any decade that can produce the two loves of my life (Mike and Erin), a stable job for over half of it, and a very brief time at the beginning in which I paid the bills with words can’t be bad at all — but I wasn’t and still am not overly sad to move forward. The despair and the anguish and the chest-beating and the binge drinking that accompanied some of my acquantences’ forays into decade number four never washed over me. I’m in a good place. And if there’s anything I learned about writing while in my twenties, it’s that nothing is as boring to read about as someone else being in a good place.

So that post which I initially chalked up to writer’s block I’ve written off as writer’s apathy. There is something to be said for knowing when you have nothing to say and keeping your mouth shut.

The other post I’ve been nursing since August has been driving me crazy for the opposite reason. One small moment in which Erin, Willow, and I were glared at and summarily judged by a septegenarian in a Buick the size of my house started the spiral of musings and rantings about everything from judgement upon stay-at-home moms to the decay of my particular suburb and with it The American Dream (if that even is such a thing) to the great lessons from one of my favorite books (The Way We Never Were, by Stephanie Coontz, which I believe should be required reading for anyone who tries to come at you with an “argument” that starts with “In the good old days…”) to What We Can Learn from Betty Draper Francis. I can’t finish it because I can’t decide exactly what I want it to be about. Is it about me? My kid? My dog? My neighborhood? My reaction to being judged? My overactive imagination that assumes I’m being judged? I’ve revised and revised and rewritten and held my own personal workshop on it (asking myself things like “did you earn that cliche?” and scribbling “SHOW DON’T TELL” in the margins…) and finally decided that at this moment, the fact that I can’t choose what it needs to be about means it doesn’t need to be written at this moment.

When I was in fifth grade and struggling to learn to play the trumpet, my band director scoffed at me when I said I didn’t have time to practice. “You don’t FIND time,” he sneered, “you MAKE time.” His words echo in my head when I tell myself I don’t have time to write. I don’t make time. I’m not one of these people who can get up early in the morning and write for an hour while the house is still quiet — smacks too much of grad school and the stomachaches I’d fight while trying to finish a paper before heading to work. The point is not to list all of my excuses why I don’t write more; rather, the point is that I don’t make time to write, so I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block. If I can’t come up with a point and a good reason why I need to say whatever it is in my limited amount of time, I move on.

Someday I will come back to the post about the dog and the baby and the Buick and the neighbor. Because it’s good stuff, I promise you. I just am not going to make time right now to pull the good stuff out of the rest.

Besides, if you had the choice between writing by yourself and playing with this adorable little reader, would you really choose writing? I don’t know about you, but I choose her every time.

She takes her books seriously.

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