Monday, September 3, 2007

The Labor Day Lazies

Isn't it funny how days that are supposed to be your "day off" turn into marathons sessions of catch up? It's Labor Day and my husband I have a long list of labors to which we are going to turn our attention. Some of these things have been lingering for a while, waiting until we had a moment to get to them. Some of them are newly urgent issues, like patching a hole in the screened in porch screen created by some two year old neighbor boys at our BBQ last night. :>

And then there's dealing, as Stephen Covey says, with other people's urgencies. In this case, one of our son's greatest worries. We have to get the 9 whiffle balls out of the gutter before it rains. He's afraid they'll wash down the drain and never be seen again. Even though he's seven and very practical, for some reason, the idea that they would come out the drainpipe's end really worries him. (Then again, it would actually have to rain for that to happen, and it hasn't. We're in a drought here in DC.) So, its going to be a full, full day.

It'll be very satisfying to get all this stuff accomplished. It will. I know it. But, you know what I'd really like to do? Read. I'd like to swing in the hammock the kids were enjoying so happily last night, book in hand, cold drink nearby, and lose myself in someone else's story. I've got a stack of yet-to-be read books, and I'm determined to go today or tomorrow and get Scandal's Daughter by our own Bandita Christine Wells. I want to forget about work, not immerse myself in its sticky clutches. (Don't tell my husband, he thinks I'm gung-ho to get all this stuff done! And I am, but...) The month of August was a blur of work, preparation for vacation, going, doing, and returning, laundry after the vacation, and more work. :> Given that, I would love the escape of a great book. As writers, I hope we never forget how vital we are to people, in that we provide that simple, wonderful, sublime escape from the everyday for a mere $3.99 for a debut paperback to $25.99 for a hardcover. A lot cheaper than a plane ticket, hotel, car rental for a "real" escape!

A great book has added benefits too. It can make the waiting room at the doctor's office disappear; it can make the pile of laundry nearly fold itself, if you've got a book holder so you can read as you fold. It can even make the nerve-stretching wait for a biopsy or a CAT Scan bearable by removing the reader from whatever tense reality is happening, and transport them to another world. There may be - should be! - great tension, action or passion in our books, but the delicious thing is, as a reader, it's not YOUR tension. It's all in the story. It somehow makes the reader's own challenges more bearable.

So on this lovely Labor Day, are you laboring or relaxing? If you're going to read, tell us, has a great book ever saved you from worry? Gotten you on the plane and across the country before you remembered you hate to fly? Has a good read been a lifesaver for you? Oh, and by the way, Happy Labor Day!


Anonymous said...

Jeanne, I hope you get a couple of minutes in that hammock!! I agree, the power of the book is an incredible thing!

We went canoeing on Saturday, and yesterday went to our local outdoor public pool (where everyone had to leave the pool after we'd been there for a couple of hours because some baby pooped in the water! ew!) and then had a block party. We're going to spend today recovering and cleaning the house from the eight little kids that were tearing it apart yesterday while all the adults sat in the street and tried to ignore them. :-)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

As appropriate as it is, I have to work on labor day, and hopefully some lady will be in labor! :D

And as for projects, I've been cleaning my office, looking for bank statements and receipts to organize for the coming tax season, (UGH), so now I have a new to-be-shredded pile. I'd much rather go shopping for maternity clothes with my daughter.

As for reading. I just read Just Wicked Enough by Lorraine Heath. Loved it! Would recommend everyone get a copy. So if no lucky ladies are laboring away at work tonight, I think I'll start Christine Wells Scandal's Daughter.

jo robertson said...

Ah, Labor Day, the day no one wants to actually . . . labor. I make it a point never to go out on holidays -- too many people, so our day will be spent . . . yes, Jeanne!! Relaxing.

Too funny, Suz, about a woman actually in LABOR on Labor Day!

Yesterday Auntie Cindy and I went to Borders and were lucky enough to pick up the last three of Christine Well's book, Scandal's Daughter. The not-so-friendly Borders people wouldn't let us take a picture of us AND the book inside the store, citing privacy issues. Sheesh! We got the pix anyway, but now I can't find my cord to download them to my laptop. The dog must've eaten it. Wait, I don't HAVE a dog.

At dinner, AC read the first three pages of Christine's book aloud to me. AC always snarfs her food down quickly, tee hee, but she has a lovely reading voice so I finished my dinner and listened.

I am sooo gonna love your book, Christine, so that's what I'll be doing today, lucky me!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HAHAHAHA! Jo-Mama, we WARNED that little snit in Borders that we were gonna BROADCAST their STUPID 'no photos of books' policy ALL OVER CYBERSPACE! So here we are!

When she told us we couldn't take a picture of any "merchandise" because of "privacy issues", I asked, "What do people think you SELL here?!?!" When she said, "Books." I said, "OOO! Wouldn't want to advertise that!" She said, "Oh, of course we want to advertise our books." I said, "No you don't, or you would let us take a picture."

Jo is witness, I was NOT NICE. Good thing I'd left the crop in the car...

Now back to Jeanne's question about a good book getting me through a bad time. My son had emergency surgery at 18 months of age. Talk about terrifying! One minute he was a happy chattering toddler, the next he was hooked up to all those scary tubes and wires. All through those horrible hours of surgery and the next 5 days of his hospitalization (the staff was nice enough to let my husband and I stay with him round the clock) I read "The Thorn Birds." Thank goodness for that book! Half the time I would have to reread the same page two or three times, but at least I had it there to take my mind off the scary stuff at least temporarily!

the scourge of Borders clerks

jo robertson said...

I concur. AC was not nice. And those Borders' clerks should be very, very afraid. jo

Kate Carlisle said...

Aunty C and Jo, good job annoying the little people!! LOL. I'm off to the bookstore this afternoon to accomplish the same thing! Er, not annoying the help, but getting some photos of the books I'm after. Hope they don't catch me...

Now where were we? Oh yeah! Jeanne, I so hope you get to spend some time in the hammock today! It sounds too inviting to pass up.

And yes, I always need a book to help me forget how much I hate to take off in an airplane. And I just realized, the last time I flew in July, it was Anna's amazing CLAIMING THE COURTESAN that got me through the ordeal!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Kate, if I was handing out the prize, YOU'D WIN!!! Snork! And thank you! And snork!

Great post, Jeanne. Although it's not Labour Day here. Our Labour Day in Queensland is 1st May in line with the Soviets because we once had the most radical leftist government in the democratic world at the world. Run by a premier called Red Ted! Ah, times have changed in the Sunshine State!

I just moved house and my heart went out to the poor guy who packed up my flat. Not a lot of furniture. Hardly any clothes because I've been living up here for so long and didn't have much of that sort of stuff left in Sydney. Boxes and boxes and boxes of books. He could hardly believe it! But each and every one of those books has a story behind it, often a story where it helped me through a bad patch in my life. There was the book I read after I had all my luggage stolen in Spain and I was left literally in what I stood up with (thankfully including a wallet so I could BUY a book). There was the book I read when I sprained my ankle on what was supposed to be a great social/shopping trip to Melbourne. There was the book the got me back into writing when I'd given up for 18 miserable months because it was childish to dream (thank you, Isolde Martyn's Maiden and the Unicorn). I could go on (and on and on). But I think, Jeanne, it's perfectly clear you're talking to people who understand the book obsession.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for jumping on the blog on this quiet day! :> Anna, you're right, I realized I was preaching to the choir as they say, with our group. Grins. AC, yours is one story I sure understand but not thankfully for my kids. I just mailed a book to my sister-in-law because her mom has cancer. She's doing a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting...
Great too to hear what everyone's doing, even if it IS waiting for women to go into, or complete, labor! (Grins to you, Suz!)

Helen said...

Books they are wonderful friends I totally agree that they get me thru some very tough times and have done since I was very young. I don't mind waiting at the Doctors because of my books or waiting anywhere because I always have a book to read, they help me turn off to problems and worries and agree with Aunty C you may have to reread a page here and there but that is no problem. I couldn't imagine a world without my books.
Have Fun

Beth Andrews said...

Hey, Jeanne! Hope all your work is done and you're now enjoying a bit of reading time in the hammock *g*

Books have gotten me through a lot of rough times and some not so rough either :-) Like Helen said, having a book to read makes the wait at the doctor's office tolerable.

Joan said...

Hi all,

Just coming in after a long 12 hour day of laboring on Labor Day.

Ah, books that get us through things. Well, they would be too numerous to mention (and Christine, yours is on my list for my cross county trip to the bookstore Wednesday....can't wait!)

The most recent was 3 years ago. I'd had surgery on my left foot, in a cast and unable to put weight on it for 3 weeks. You think those walkers are easy to use? No way when you have to hop! (and hop backwards UP the stairs....)

Anyway, my friend gave me my first Suzanne Brockmann SEAL book. Oh. My. God. I was enthralled by her deft use of deep POV. I then spent the rest of those three weeks immersing myself in every one I could get my hands on! It helped me SO much to understand deep POV (and to develop unrealistic fantasies about military SEALS :-)

Either that or it was the Vicodin :-)

Caren Crane said...

Y'all are cracking me up. I spent most of the day doing labor I volunteered for (I know you are all simply *shocked* about that! *g*). I had to go grocery shopping (because we have been out of town) and buy food to make for a kick-off dinner on Wednesday for a course I run at church.

But now, the ham is baked and carved, the marinated bean salad is marinating and the family is full of exceptional Chinese food (thank you, Neo China!). I have also cleaned a few things badly in need and we did major hauling off of recyclables (we're in the county and have to tote our own).

All in all, a nice quiet day. I even managed to watch "Memoirs Of a Geisha" with my daughters. A great day!

And, as you would guess, books have gotten me through the worst of times. One of the most depressing points in my life was made bearable by Tom Robbins' "Jitterbug Perfume". I still adore that book!

doglady said...

Unfortunately, I had to labor on Labor Day - from 10 to 7, at least. I am off tomorrow, however, so I intend to throw a steak on the barby and celebrate!! I can so relate to dear Anna and the moving man! My brothers moved me into my trailer on my five acres of heaven. Every other box was marked BOOKS! They kept warning me that the floor was going to cave in if I moved in one more book! I just could not make them understand that each and every one of these books was ESSENTIAL to my well-being! After my husband was killed I was just lost, but I reread every book by William Faulkner, Stephen King and John Steinbeck, because those were his favorites. I read romances because I believe in true love and happy endings and triumph over diversity. So, for all of you writers out there - THANK YOU! Thank you for laughs and comfort and insight and joy and making life's irritations, big and small, less annoying. My soul and brain thank you and so do all of those people I would probably have to kill if I didn't have a book to read while those people were wasting my time!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi all -

I'm late in posting because we hit the road to visit relatives today. Two books traveled with me - so necessary in a car. I'm reading WILD HORSES by Dick Francis for some background information, and THE NIGHTWALKERS: JACOB, a paranormal debut by Jacquelyn Frank which was recommended to me for her sensual voice.

I'm hoping to get out to the bookstore to pick up SCANDAL"S DAUGHTER so I can take it on a trip next week. My plan is to read, read, read - my ideal vacation.

Anna Campbell said...

Pam, thank you. Your post brought tears to my eyes. You're right - in many ways, books mark histories.

doglady said...

You are so right,Anna! Books definitely mark histories. So many times I reread my favorites and remember the circumstances under which I read them for the first time. I gave each of my nephews and my niece a 40th anniversary copy of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for Christmas last year. They know they are getting books from me for every occasion, but this one was special. After they read it, we discussed it by e-mail and it was so wonderful! Books were a huge part of mine and Roger's marriage. I just thank God for all of you wonderful writers. My job is hell, but I spend so much time in Regency England it never gets me down for long! Oh, and of course, I have a very special copy of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN that is autographed to commemerate my Royal Ascot win! High on the list of things I would snatch on my way out the door should the house catch fire!

doglady said...

Kirsten, I completely overlooked your question about great voices to check out these days. Deborah Voigt is a sublime soprano with a big earthy voice. Raul Gimenez is a marvelous tenor-Rossini is his forte. Sara Macliver has a lovely voice as well. Check out Rainger Trost, Laurence Dale and Ian Partridge. And for looks and a sweet, velvet, sexy voice try Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Anna gave me the heads up on him. LOVELY to look at and a divine baritone sound. Some lush background music to listen to in the bath with a glass of wine? Il Divo - Simon Cowell's gift to the world. Not terribly high brow, but a liquid, sensuous, caress of sound. Four lovely lads to look at as well!

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, loved your post! I'm never without a book in waiting rooms, on trains, plains, etc. I used to read in the car on the way to school, despite the fact it made me rather queasy.

I don't think we romance writers are ever going to be responsible for world peace but thanks for reminding us that there is value in what we do.

OMG, just read the rest of the comments which I almost missed (I'm in deadline cave, yes STILL). AC, you crack me up (just don't crack the crop in my direction--it's my day to blog or I wouldn't be here, honest!) I hope no one else gets in trouble for taking photos of SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER. V-A had trouble with security too.

HAHAHA! Oh, I can just imagine the first 3 pages of the book being read aloud--the aftermath of an orgy, no less. Blushing madly, here. Thanks for telling us that one, Jo-Mama.

Anna Campbell said...

Pam, I'm SOOO glad you won Nicola's prize! And I'm delighted that you treasure your special copy of CTC. Great list of singers, by the way. Did you know Sara Macliver is an Aussie? A gorgeous boy and a gorgeous singer is Andreas Scholl. He's a countertenor so the sound takes some getting used to but it's really sensual.

Christine, get back to your deadline, Bandita! ;-) Or I'll get the Caramello Koalas to come round and bite you!

Keira Soleore said...

No hammocks chez Soleores, but plllllllllenty of books. In the morning, I organized by bookshelf of to-be-reads: research books, writing books, other nonfiction, and fiction. Such an exercise always serves to muzzle the wallet for a few days. Phew!

Other than that, the morning was spent getting the house ready for the arrival of our guests. Spent the afternoon, chatting, laughing, shopping, driving, and of course, eating yummy food.

The kids had a good time with each other, though the youngest got so dominated, I felt bad, but she didn't mind at all. She merely looked for openings for more mischief. Today, I'm babysitting, while the adults are off touring the city. The guests leave Wednesday morning, then it's school, and the return to normality.

AC: I love the The Thorn Birds, especially the miniseries.

Pam: Thanks for all the tips about great voices and music.

Foanna: Please DO let the caramello koalas come and bite me!! After all, I bit one of them in Dallas.