MY ESCAPE FROM REALITY

Those words right there are why I write romance. Those words embody my characters’ motivation, their raison d’être. And while they may have obstacle upon obstacle keeping them apart, ultimately they achieve their own happily ever after.

My taste in books BC (Before Child) was often very eclectic. I read my fair share of traditional romances, but I always balanced them out with more thought-provoking prose like Hemingway and Jane Austen.

Then AD (After Delivery) + one year of breastfeeding (which equaled 365 sleepless nights) + many craptastic happenings resulted in:

 

  1.  The feeling of being brain-dead, often with the inability to put sentences together
  2. Previous time spent reading was now occupied by CHILD
  3. Zero desire to read about craptastic things happening to other people

 

When I finally had more than five seconds to myself, I started to read again. But nothing heavy. I didn’t want to read about murder or heartbreak or family dysfunction—I had enough of that in real life. I didn’t want to read about anything resembling reality, because my reality, and the reality of those around me sucked quite frankly.

No, I wanted to get the hell away from reality. And I wanted to be able to do it in increments of two pages at a time. I wanted light, and funny, and romantic, because my life was anything but. And at the end of the day, I wanted—no, NEEDED a happy ending.

So when I decided to start a second novel, I chose to write what I had been reading—romantic comedy. I wanted to give back what was given to me, specifically a lot of laughs, a sense of romance, and a much-needed escape from reality.

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A WHOLE LOTTA REALITY

It took me six years after the split from my ex to consider
dating again. Dating in your forties is a whole different trip to the salon
than dating in your twenties. I never had a problem meeting eligible men when I
was younger. It was like an all-you-can-eat buffet of males every day of the
week. If I didn’t like one dish, I’d try another. It was that simple.

Now that I’m forty-something and living in the suburbs,
dating has become more challenging. Half of the men I meet are married, which
doesn’t seem to deter them from making a pass at me (Ah, the cliché of the
single desperate horny mother).

The other half are boys in their early twenties (Ah, the
cliché of the desperate horny cougar).

Since neither of these choices work well for me, I was
forced to resort to online dating. Now call me old-fashioned, but the process
of a man posting a photo, which may or may not be from ten years ago, and
writing only the best qualities he has to offer a woman seems a bit
manufactured to me. I always want to ask, Gee, if you’re such a great
communicator, and you’re thoughtful, loving and loyal, then why in the hell
are you divorced?

If that many people truly loved taking long walks on the beach,
wouldn’t it be ultimately too crowded to do so? All these newbie couples still
in the honeymoon stages of their relationships squeezing past each
other, muttering, “Pardon me, excuse me.”

When I posted my profile for the first time on a dating
site, I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of responses. It was like throwing
out chum and immediately experiencing a shark-infested feeding frenzy. I don’t
think it had anything to do with me personally. My new profile simply signified
fresh meat on the market.

Some of the messages I received were genuine; a few men
actually took the time to write more than two sentences, rather than the
standard, “Hey, what’s up? Wanna chat?” or my personal favorite: “Ur really
hot.” But the men of “substance” were usually looking for a wife, and the men
who weren’t looking for a wife were looking to donate sperm to numerous female “banks.”

The entire process is one giant crap shoot. You are choosing
to pursue someone based on what they have written, and what they have written
only describes (what they think are) their finest qualities. Wouldn’t we have a
much better chance of finding a compatible mate if we laid it ALL out there –
the good, the bad and the ugly?

Here’s how my profile should read on eReality.com.

  • Single forty-something white woman with one child
    seeking the man of her dreams, or at the very least, a man whose profile isn’t full of typos.
  • I am a very good listener, except in the morning
    before I’ve had my coffee. Talk to me before I’ve had at least half a
    cup of java and you will suffer my wrath.
  • I love to cook, except when I’m tired and hungry.
    Then you must get some food into me and fast, or you will suffer my wrath.
  • I’m affectionate and giving, except for the one
    week out of the month when I am PMSing. Believe me when I tell you,
    you WILL suffer my wrath.
  • I love to dress up, as long as you take me out.
    If you never take me out, be prepared to see me wearing sweats and a tee.
    Every day.
  • Love sex, except between the hours of 1-9 am. If you wake me
    in the middle of my REM sleep expecting some, you will suffer my wrath.
  • I’m great with children, which loosely
    translated means, my son comes first.
  • I’m ambitious, which loosely translated means,
    my writing comes second.
  • If you demand too much of my time and attention
    so that it takes away from my first two priorities, you will suffer my wrath.
  • You must love cats, because I have 7. I also
    have a yappy diva Chihuahua, who sleeps with me. And birds, that don’t sleep
    with me, but chirp very, very loudly throughout the day.
  • If you have any unresolved issues with
    addiction, porn, money, your ex or your mother, please seek elsewhere.

 

Now if I ever do pledge till death do us part, my husband
can’t accuse me ten years down the line of not being the woman he married. By
laying it all out on the table from the get-go, no one will be disappointed when
all that’s at the end of the rainbow is a pot of soup.

MY HALF-CRACKED GLASS

As a writer, I find myself insatiably curious about human
nature and what makes people tick. As a person, I’m socially adventurous, and a
bit of a deviant. People think I’m a glass is half-empty kind of girl. On the contrary, my glass is overflowing with a
hard dose of ass-kicking reality. And I expect the same when it comes to my
friends.

“You’re fine? Your marriage is fine? Your kids are all fine?” Ho-hum.
Yawn
. I really couldn’t care less. But tell me you’re secretly lusting
after the neighbor’s teenage son; you suspect your husband may be a
cross-dresser because every pair of pumps you own are stretched out; and your
nine-year-old daughter has taken to drawing penises on every piece of scrap
paper she finds around the house, and I will take notice. Then I’ll be interested in what you have to say.

Life is rarely warm peach cobbler with real vanilla ice-cream
melting on top. And the people who portray it as such? I don’t trust them. I
think they’re either severely medicated or completely delusional. You know who
I’m talking about. They’re the ones who don’t want to air their dirty laundry
in public. “Gasp! What would people think?” They’re the overachievers, the
type-As, the repressed, the eternally optimistic.

Yeah, I get the whole New Age concept of believing that your
thoughts create your reality. But if that were true, I’d have Barry Zito, the
pitcher for the SF Giants in my bed every night. I’ve seen people with the
purest of hearts have the crappiest things happen to them. Good deeds being
reciprocated with, oh, I don’t know, a drug-addicted ex who steals all your
jewelry, your rent money and threatens to kill you. Ahem.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I’ve lost a few good friends over the years due to my
negative attitude. I tried to explain to them that I wasn’t a doom-and-gloom
Sally; I’m just REALISTIC. And pardon me if I come across as slightly
pessimistic. I attribute it to my New York upbringing. I was raised in
Brooklyn. I didn’t grow up with a grassy front yard – hell, a cement stoop was
my front yard. I didn’t ride a quaint yellow school bus. I took the rat- and
bum-infested, urine-smelling subway. Back when subways were graffiti-covered
works of art, rather than the metallic, sleek-looking, vibrator-resembling
machines of today. There were no protective pads underneath the monkey bars. It
was hard pavement and broken glass. Nobody picked up after their dogs back
then, stray cats were everywhere, and if you were hot on a swelteringly muggy
summer day, you found someone with a wrench to open up a fire hydrant for you
so you could cool off.

Life can be gritty and awful, and majestically beautiful.
Amazing things happen, but so do shitty things. Denying the shit and only
embracing the diamonds makes you an inauthentic human being, in my opinion; a
rose-colored glasses-wearing fake, who refuses to acknowledge that they have
problems just like the rest of us.

So don’t tell me how great your husband is, unless you’re
trying to convince me to have a threesome; I only want to hear how good your
son is at basketball if he’s playing for the Lakers and can get me courtside
seats; and if you’re a Supermom, who goes to the gym every day, has an
immaculate home, with dinner on the table at six and the kids in bed by nine –
well, we won’t have a damn thing in common.

The bumper sticker on the back of my car reads: MY SON ISN’T
AN HONOR STUDENT AT HIS SCHOOL AND I’M PROUD OF HIM ANYWAY.