Friday, January 27, 2012

We're Not Rude, So Stop Bothering Us!

I'm ashamed to say that I occasionally watch Live with Kelly in the morning (used to be Live with Regis and Kelly - you know what I'm talking about). This week Kelly reported that New York City was voted the number one rudest city in the U.S. What?! Us, rude? I'm not a native New Yorker, but have lived here about twenty years, so I consider myself a New Yorker by default. I'm originally from the Southwest of the U.S., where people are so polite it's almost sickening. I almost dread going into shops in my hometown of Tucson and having to hear the story of the salesperson's life every time. I mean, come on! I'm in a hurry! I'm a New Yorker! Even when I'm not in New York, I'm in a hurry! What a relief it is to get back to New York after a vacation in Arizona and go shopping without having to make eye contact or share more than a curt please and thank you.

Kelly pointed out that we're not rude, we're brisk, and I agree with her. Why do you need to linger over every transaction? I guess people from the rest of the country are used to that kind of exchange, therefore, New Yorkers only appear to be rude when they don't engage in them. But when it really counts, we couldn't be more polite. We hold doors for each other, we gladly give directions on the street or subway, especially on the subway, because we understand that out-of-towners get confused by the labyrinthine system. People say that New Yorkers turn their heads if someone is in trouble, but I'm always hearing about heroes jumping onto subway tracks to save someone, or running into a burning building. And as someone who was here on 9/11, I know for a fact how generously we looked out for each other on that terrible day.

So, please don't judge us if you come to our beautiful, cultured, fascinating, fun city. Just put the chatter on the back burner until you get back to whatever charming small town you come from. Remember, we're not rude, just efficient!

(The above is intended to be totally tongue in cheek, just in case you were offended. I actually love Tucson and the Southwest, and absolutely look forward to the small talk when I go to visit!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Aside About Adulthood

This is a bit of a departure from my usual posts about books, movies, or nerd-girl related things such as time-travel and sub-atomic particles. Though I don't want to get political, I think most of us agree these days that the big banks are crooks. In November there was an call to pull out of the big banks and to open our accounts in independent banks or credit unions. I didn't because I've got like 5 accounts with Chase including credit cards, mutual funds, etc, but believe me, I wanted to and am looking for the opportunity to do it, though it will be complicated.

My son, however, in the face of all the environmental and financial atrocities that J.P, Morgan Chase has committed, decided to pull out. He went there, closed his accounts and mutual fund, citing Chase's former involvement in mountaintop removal in West Virginia as one of the primary reasons. They were baffled. He told them to google it. No amount of inconvenience over fewer ATMs would dissuade him. And when he came home and repeated to me the diatribe he gave them about how "convenience" is destroying the planet, I was so proud I could burst.

The last few days we've been dithering around about what to do with the huge amount of syrofoam peanuts that UPS packed an item in that was delivered to us. I asked my son to throw them out after I couldn't find a place that would recycle them, but he just couldn't. He said that every time he looked at one of those "peanuts" he imagined it lasting longer than any of us would. So I bagged them and stuck them in the shed until we figure out how to recycle them. What a remarkable process it is to watch your kids become adults - good ones, conscientious ones. Adults who are willing to take braver steps than even you're willing to take. I'm in awe.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and a Third Novel

I can't believe that my last post on this blog on Dec. 11th, 2011 was the sharing of the first three chapters of my most recently released novel, The Time Heiress. Now, I'm proclaiming the exciting news (for me at least) that I'm three chapters into my third book in the series, The Time Contessa!

The process of beginning a new novel is indeed an exciting one. Though my research isn't quite completed (since I'm hoping it will include an actual trip to Italy) it's at a point where I can begin to intelligently write about the time period in which The Time Contessa will take place, Renaissance Italy - Siena, to be exact. I'm not going to give the plot away just yet because it may change as I go along. I'm always surprised at how I think my plot is set when I start writing a book, and how it often it changes significantly before the final product is revealed. Sometimes that's a result of suggestions by early readers, usually my husband, sisters or other close friends, or sometimes it's just an inspiration I get for a better idea.

I love getting to know my returning characters better, and meeting new characters as I introduce them. Writing a novel is as fun to me as reading one that I enjoy. I don't always know what's going to happen next...I tell myself the story as I go along, based on a central outline. Often things surprise and delight me as I go. I love when I laugh or cry at something I'm writing, or get titillated at the sexy bits. This is when I know I'm writing for me. I've come to realize, being the author of two successful e-books, that not everyone will like what I write. So I have to remind myself as I start this third creation that, as much as I want my audience to enjoy, even love, what I write, the most important thing is that I love it.

So what's my new year's resolution? Well, I don't need a resolution to keep writing. It pours out of me like water from a fountain. Perhaps I will resolve to be more involved with causes that I support, or to make a deeper commitment to the environment - both things I do already, but could always do more of. What's your resolution? Comment, and let me know!