Right now I’m between books, my last BITSY’S BAIT & BBQ came out earlier this year. And my next LAST DANCE AT JITTERBUG LOUNGE is scheduled for publication in May ‘08.
I love the blogname of RomanceReadingMom. That’s where I came into this genre. Well, probably not completely, I’m sure that on some level Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder were both writing romance. But I didn’t realize that. All I knew back then was that I loved the stories those women told. And that’s what I wanted most in my life, to be a writer.
The problem for me, of course, was that I couldn’t figure out how one did that. Do you move to New York? Or a Paris loft? I took a couple of creative writing courses at college. They only succeeded in convincing me that I didn’t have anything to say. What could a white trash girl from the oil patch have to say to sophisticated readers of American literature? Obviously nothing.
What was significantly more clear was that I owed tons of money in student loans and that rents are charged worldwide accept for my mother’s house, where living was it’s own punishment.
So I got a Master’s Degree in Library Science. If I couldn’t write books, then at least I could be close to them. I loved library work and I don’t regret a day I spent there. Sharing books with people is almost a heavenly calling. And my view of the public library is that it is the last truly democratic institution in the United States. All the knowledge in the world equally available there to anyone who seeks it out
After the work day is done, librarians do a lot of reading, mostly involved with their job. Reference librarians read reference books and Children’s Librarians read children’s books and Adult Services Librarians read the bestsellers and the most highly touted fiction. I spent several years doing each of these jobs and I got accustomed to having my reading list pretty narrowly drawn.
Then I had a baby.
I was already a mom of sorts. My husband had a five year old son when I married him, so I was used to having peanut butter on the refrigerator door handle, rescuing garden snakes from the laundry basket and establishing a NO WHINERS zone in my local grocery market. But I had never stayed home with a child.
Those first few weeks, I don’t think I’d ever worked so hard in my life. I was up before dawn, not in bed until midnight. And no sooner had my day shift ended than my nightshift began. I sure wasn’t thinking about reading.
But then I kind of got a pace, I figured out how to get everything more or less manageable. My family and I settled in. My baby daughter had naptime. And my wild child, now seven, went to bed at 8:30. So there was a little time for me.
I read some baby books. Earth mother books. How to raise responsible citizens books. Those were all good. But that felt like reading at work. I wanted something that was just for me. Something that I could really identify with.
One day at the grocery store, with the little angel asleep in the snugly, I found myself wandering among the paperbacks. Librarians don’t buy a lot of paperbacks. They don’t last and we get hardcover books for free and well, who knows, but you rarely see a librarian reading mass market. But that day, I was desperate for something. And I found it, right there between the cereal and the frozen food.
These were books by women, for women and about women. And about the thing that sooner or later gets to be what women are all about, love and family.
I was hooked faster than you could say LOVE’S DARING DARNING NEEDLE. At first I just read at the end of the day. And then I figured out I could do it while I was breastfeeding. And before I knew it, I could cook, clean, supervise, referee, virtually everything but drive with a book in my hand.
I remember it as a really wonderful time. And my solitary life with the kids at home became filled interesting characters and storylines that got me through the long days and short years of my children’s childhood.
Time and seasons change.
I began writing when my daughter was about eight. And once you start writing, reading is never as pleasurable as it once was. But I still love a good book. When I finish one that was really great, I can’t resist hugging it to my chest like a dear friend. Hope you have something to hug at your house tonight.
PS--this posted a little early but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time in the morning to get it posted before school and work :) Have a great day and ask lots of interesting questions.