Balancing Act

When I first joined RWA, there was a column at the end of every issue of the Romance Writers’ Report called “The Last Word.” The one I remember most vividly is the transcript of the speech  Anne Stuart delivered at the RWA National Conference Awards Luncheon on Saturday, August 1, 1998. While the industry has changed in ways we could not imagine back then, her advice is still relevant today:

…spotless houses take too much time out of life. Love your children, feed them, and teach them to do their own laundry. And then get back to work on your book.

Comedienne Phyllis Diller once quipped: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Choreographer Twyla Tharp said: “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

In order make the time to write, compose, paint, dance, or in other ways create, something else has to go. One person can’t do everything. I recommend losing the housework. If the people who share your living space disagree, they are free to clean. ( And yes, you must make the time as opposed to finding it.)

Teaching your children how to do laundry, cook, and clean isn’t a bad thing. They will have life skills when they are launched into the world, and you will have the time and space to do your thing.

That’s balance.



A Lost Art

I love social media. I love email. Both let me keep in touch with people without having to resort to using a telephone.  (The best thing about cell phones? Texting!) But I miss the days of writing letters.  I miss getting letters in the mail.

I remember receiving stationery as a gift. I exchanged letters with cousins who lived in other states and friends I met at summer camp.

Now I have a box of notecards. I do use them. 

But it’s not the same thing as sitting down with a good pen and pretty paper and composing a letter. Dashing off a quick note on a notecard is the old-fashioned equivalent of a text message. Long, chatty letters that caught you up on a person’s life, thoughts, and dreams are thing of the past.

I love to read collections of letters written by famous people–authors, politicians, etc. We find history in those collections. I wonder what history will say about this time period with our tweets and texts and instant everything. What will happen when technology fails and the archives of this generation no longer exist?



Old Dog, New Trick

I really hate talking on the phone. One of the reasons is the abuse I took from viewers back in my TV days. When the time came for me to look for another Day Job, one of the top items on my list of job requirements was NO PHONE WORK.

I found a position I thought was suited to me. Something new. I got to play with spreadsheets all day. If my phone rang at all, it was my supervisor asking me to pop over to answer a question.

Times change. Situations change. Circumstances change. I took another job where I’m on the phone several hours a day–and I find that I don’t mind it. At all. Maybe because I’m not dealing with the random public. Maybe because my co-workers are a pretty incredible bunch of women. All I know is that I’m content (my new main job requirement). My husband and friends say I seem happier.

Yeah, I was nervous about the new job, mostly because of the phone stuff, but I sucked it up and tried something new…and it worked.


Thursday Thoughts: Meatballs

Many years ago, when I first started working in local TV, I was introduced to a small groceteria located on the first floor of a nearby high rise (for this city) apartment building.  We called it the Skyline Deli, even though that wasn’t the official name. The store hopped during the lunch hour. They carried fresh rolls from a local bakery, hands down the greatest sandwich roll ever.

The owner of the groceteria made the best meatballs I have ever eaten in my life.  “Meatball on a DiLauro with provolone” was my usual order. For over thirty years.

The store owner died. His widow and son were forced out of business when new owners of the building raised the rent. I know I am not the only person to mourn the loss of one of the best lunch spots around.

I have been on a quest to find a comparable meatball sandwich, but so far the best I’ve found is merely adequate. And let me tell you: there are a lot of substandard meatballs out there, even in a city named Syracuse. But I am having fun trying.


Mondays with MJ: #UpbeatAuthors

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m mixing up my social media a bit in 2018. One of those changes is blogging on Monday instead of Sunday. The logic behind this move is that last year, I became of a group called Upbeat Authors, which is a “group of authors who support each other and take part in weekly, themed posts about happiness and positivity through their own social media and other outlets.”

We all need happiness and positivity.

This week’s topic is: one resolution you’re making this year you’ve never made before.

Except I don’t make resolutions. I set goals.

One of my goals this year is to self-publish a novella I wrote a couple of years ago. My critique partners and I came up with a theme for a self-published anthology, but due to life changes, that project never came to fruition. I, however, now have a novella about a werewolf baseball player.

And I’m going to self-publish it in 2018. As we used to say when I worked in TV: stay tuned!