Sunday, January 20, 2008


You know what it's like after you finish a good novel? You sit back and savor the moment and imagine what the characters went on to pursue.

I am a person that 90% of the time is in the middle of reading/writing a book. If I'm not reading one, I'm writing one. . .and I can't be reading one when I'm in the middle of writing. I have to completely finish writing before I can start reading again.

A few months ago. . . September probably. . .I had no interest in doing either. I couldn't find a book at the library that I could make it through the first 2 chapters. I searched the tables at the bookstore for something. . .anything that would spark my interest. And I had no ideas to write about. It was a funk you could say and I didn't like it.

I asked for a book for Christmas. . .Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig. Tom got it for me and within 4 days I had finished the over 500 page novel. For those who know me well know I am a BIG fan of Gone with the Wind - the movie and the book. Rhett Butler's People was fascinating. I loved how he delved into the world of Rhett Butler and expanded the story to learn more about his life. I would definitely recommend it if you have more than a passing interest in Gone with the Wind.

But then what? I had finished the book and wondered if I was back to where I started. Would I be able to recreate that feeling again? Where would I find another book that could make me happy?

Something suddenly struck me. I have a book shelf full of books that I read at one time and were good enough to keep and not donate to the church rummage sale. Somewhere on that shelf maybe I could find something that I wanted to reread. After some searching I came up with my all time favorite book. One that I had already read TWICE. Maybe a third time wouldn't be so bad. It was a book by LaVyrle Spencer titled Bittersweet. I love Lavyrle Spencer's writing and her characters. Sure, she writes romance, but they are not the torrid love affairs of a typical romance. The characters are believable, they have spirit and they are not perfect. There are always complicated family dynamics to work out and Bittersweet was a wonderful read even the third time. So I delved into her other books and so far have reread three of them.

Last week, Kylie and I were in the library and I was searching again. Maybe something would jump out at me that I hadn't seen before. Maybe a new author I hadn't investigated yet. Usually I find an author that I like, read everything they've written and then move onto someone else. I saw typical romance novels, chick lit (don't get me started on chick lit. . .I get so sick of women who wear Malono Blanicks to work in NYC and take their lunch breaks shopping at Barney's. Sure it's nice to fantisize - and I have read several with some enjoyment, but who really lives like that??? Certainly not a middle class mom of two on Cape Cod. Not to mention do I even LIKE these women?). Anyway, Kylie pulls a book off the shelf and says, "how bout this one, mommy?" Of course she would choose the image of a beach with the chairs. . .after all she's my beach bum. I scanned the back quickly. . .story of friendships. I read the first paragraph and shrugged. "Sure, I'll try it."

That was Tuesday. Today I finished Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. It's a story of 4 friends who have a little group. . .they call themselves the "Saving Graces." One has cancer, one is married to a real monster, one has fertility problems and the fourth is single and wants to quit her job and become a novelist. I found myself racing to the chapters where the fourth friend (writer) was speaking and all in all really enjoyed reading it. It makes ME want to have a group like that. In a way we do. I have a group of friends here on the Cape (you know who you are) who have tried to do the group thing before. . .a monthly dinner out/couples dinner/game night/dance party/night out. . .we've done them all. The only thing we haven't done is made it a priority to be consistent.

I don't go out in the evenings a lot. Tom's hours from late spring through November keep him out of the house until at least the kids go to bed and in the winter when he is home in the evenings I actually like (GASP!) to hang out with him at home. So I don't go to many meetings and I have dropped out of a lot of groups and committees because of it. I hesitate to join anything new because I just don't want to commit to having to be out very much. If I do show up for a night out and I've actually gotten a babysitter to do so, or left Tom at home alone it means I must REALLY like you or think the meeting is important. This is how I think of my group of friends here. If we made it a priority to get together once a month for something whether it be game night or a book club, I would be there! So girls. . .how bout it? How about we bury all the excuses and make it a priority to get together. Let's make dinner together, drink wine, talk about anything and everything and just hang out. We need each other and we need to treasure the gift of friendship that we have.

This book made me also think about friendships lost. . .or instead of thinking of them as lost, maybe as put on hold for awhile. I have a few far away friends who luckily I get to see when I go back to Kansas, but there are those friends who have also moved away from Kansas and I only get the occasional email or Christmas card from. Oh, maybe I know they had another baby or they are moving to another house. . .but I don't really know how they are doing. One of these friends I miss most of all is Michelle. I miss hearing her call me "beachtowel" and watching her curl up on the couch with her monster plate of pasta. I often think what our friendship would be like now. . .her married with two boys. We'd drink wine instead of Bud Light and talk about our kids and wonderfully stable husbands instead of about (insert name) Charley/Charlie/Phil/Phil/Phil/George/Damon (was that his name?)/Jesse/Steve/Aaron/Barack (not Obama)/Sean/Chad, etc. . . (I'm sure I forgot a few). I miss the DRAMA that was so important to us then and the crazy nights and the Ranch. Someday, Michelle ma belle, we will hang out again. . .

In the meantime, we need a girls' club! Who's in???

PS - Now I have a new author to read! I'm so excited she has at least three other books for me to get caught up on!


Micelle said...

i wasn't quite ready for that! made me tear up and took me back to our crazy days. crazy, but good, happy times and memories. Its pretty funny but Andrew doesn't know you as anything but "beachtowel" And we will most definitely hang out again. This is just a long pause. You know you can't get rid of me that easily!

Amy Young said...

First off, thanks for the book recommendation! I'm a big fan of Lavyrle's, so at least I know we have some reading interests in common.
Second,(although this may be difficult because I am in fact one of your babysitters!), definitely keep me in the loop about any girls' nights out! I used to be part of an amazing group that got together for book and movie clubs, occasional drinks, you name it. In moving to the Cape last spring, I had to forego most of those nights out due to distance. Then when Chris left for Alaska, I threw myself back into single-mom mode! I have a great neighbor who is also looking to get out (and has offered up her husband for babysitting!)...let's make it happen!
Finally, I couldn't help notice a correlation between the little "Sharpays" of today and the obsession with the Manolo-wearing heroines of all the chick lit novels....coincidence? Haha.
Thanks for the entertainment with my coffee this morning...your blogs are better than the morning paper!