Friday, March 18, 2011

Lucky Me

This month's posts are all about decadence. How do you treat yourself, my fellow Casababes ask?I treat myself pretty well, thank you, but there are occasions when I think I deserve an extra-special treat - like when I have a really productive writing day, or get the house looking respectable for a change.

Or right now, when the topic of this blog reminds me that maybe I don't treat myself often enough. Excuse my while I go dish out a big bowl of ice cream and slather it with massive amounts of chocolate sauce.

(Imagine slurping and noshing noises and sighs of piggy satisfaction.)

Okay, I'm back. While I was eating the ice cream, I got to thinking about what really feels decadent and self-indulgent to me. One of my favorite rewards is time with a book. Time that I've blocked out deliberately, when I don't feel pressured or preoccupied with other things I should be doing - like writing books for other people to read.

I recently had a pretty good excuse for self-indulgence: an operation on my jaw, which was really no fun at all. I felt like I deserved a treat just for surviving the seemingly eternal ride home from the surgery center in Denver. I made up my mind that I would take at least three days off to let myself recover. I wouldn't try to do anything productive. I wouldn't clean house, and the DH could take care of the dogs.

And I would read. And read, and read, all I wanted. Something totally different, too. No cowboys. No horses. Not even a romance! That way I wouldn't be comparing my own work as I read, or wondering if my love scenes were as hot as the ones that Cheryl Brooks lady writes, or if my humor was as laugh-out-loud funny as Carolyn Brown.

I read the first couple books in Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley mystery series a few years ago and loved them. They're British mysteries, something I adore but rarely read because the style of whatever I'm reading tends to bleed over into my own writing and I can't have my cowboys talking like Scotland Yard inspectors or minor aristocracy.

So how did my self-indulgent three days go?: Well, on the first day, after reading about twenty brilliant pages of A Great Deliverance, I remembered that I had Ms. George's book on writing fiction, Write Away, in my office. So I snuck up there, breaking the first rule of indulgence by entering my work space, and flipped through it a little bit.

And then I brought it downstairs and read it cover to cover, interspersing it with long pulls at the first three books in the Lynley series. I enjoyed both tremendously. George is a really gifted writer and teacher, and reading about her process is fascinating. Her characters have amazing depth, and learning how she accomplishes that was fascinating.

So I'm a better writer now, but it's become obvious that I stink at self-indulgence.

Or do I? I love what I do all day - so maybe my life is actually one big self-indulgent festival of romance writing.

You don't have to resort to decadence when you do what you love for a living.

So if you could do anything - anything at all - how would you indulge yourself with a job you love? Chocolate sampler for Godiva? Dude ranch cowboy wrangler? Maserati test driver? Secret shopper at Neiman Marcus? Tell us your dream job!


  1. Finally! Sorry this post is late - I'm not at home and I'm having internet issues. Top that off with the fact that I screwed up the post time--and you have a minor Casa disaser. But at least Leah's got to be up a little longer!
    I hope I'm not too late to hear about all your dream jobs...

  2. Hi, Joanne! Hope your jaw is feeling better now.

    Hmmmm.... Indulgent job prospects. I'd like to spread the oil on the hard, muscular chests of all those hunky romance cover models. Hey, it's a tough job (not!) but someone's gotta do it (pick me!).

  3. Food critic. But I would get to choose the restaurants and the reviews would be really really short (like maybe tweets) and I could take all my friends with me. And I'd have a driver so I could properly pair wine with each course. And a personal trainer to undo the damage from various cheeses and desserts.

  4. Hi Joanne! Sorry you had to have surgery before you got a little time to yourself! Hope you are feeling better. My dream job would to be a writer... just a writer, without the day job. Although quality control taste tester in a chocolate factory also sounds appealing!

  5. Hi Joanne, Hope your jaw feels better. I love to read. It really is an indulgence for me. Especially now that I have deadlines, I don't get to read as often as I would like.

    On the one hand I'm living my dream job. But besides writing, I love diamonds. I would love to design jewelry. I'm insane over diamonds. It would be so great to be a buyer for a jeweler. I also love decorating. I used to dream of finding someone with a quaint hotel or B & B who would let me design each of the rooms. That's sort of a laugh now that I can't even keep the dust out of my house since I'm writing so much. LOL.

  6. Joanne, I'm wondering how I can mix indulgent and job? Do these two go together? Oh, wait, I can see from what Olivia said, they do! Move over, I'll take the job of rubbing that oil on!

  7. Wow, that's a tough one. I guess I always wanted to be a soap opera star. But I'd be the witch who told all of those melodramatic saps that they were all acting dumb.

    Hey, at least I didn't say I wanted to be Charlie Sheen's intern. LOL

  8. Did I see my name? Laugh outloud funny? THANK YOU, Joanne!!! You made my day. I've decided if I can be anything that I will be a member of the elite Tide Patrol. It will be my job to sit on the beach with my toes in the water and my hiney in the sand (Like Zac Brown Band sings about)and wave my cute little pink cap with a rhinestone studded bill when the tide reaches my chubby knees!

  9. Nice career ideas! Colette, can I be one of the friends? I like the idea of tweeting restaurant reviews! And Carolyn, I've been working hard at the tide patrol job since I got to Florida...but your description makes it even better:)

  10. First of all, thanks for the shout out, Joanne! Writing hot love scenes IS something of an indulgence, but my dream job would be to play lead guitar in a rock band. Fame and fortune have nothing to do with it. Just to be able to play like that would be heaven!

  11. Cheryl, I would love to be able to play an instrument too - although if I could do anything, I would play classical violin a la Paganini. That would be amazing!

  12. Olivia, nice choice! And Sidney, lol - I think Charlie Sheen's intern has a pretty tough job! But Amanda, you're right - being "just a writer" is fine.

  13. Anita, you can design some jewelry for me. And if I ever buy a bed & breakfast, you're on. I'm not a very good decorator. Colors that look great on the paint chips always end up being a little over-the-top when they cover a whole wall!

  14. Thanks for the post, Joanne. Hope your jaw has completely healed by now and you're no longer having Internet issues.

    My dream job would be the one I'm already pursuing, as a creative writer.

    But if I can really push the envelope of my imagination, I'd want to be a filmmaker. Preferably one who produces, writes, and directs her own movies. That way I could make sure the final product is as close as possible to what I'd originally envisioned.

    Maybe I'll get to do this in my next lifetime, if movies are still around then. Or will they be replaced by feature-length interactive holograms?

    Good luck with your new release!

  15. I love being a full time writer. Going to work in my jammies if I want is such an indulgence. Guess the only thing that would make it better is if I could also be a travel writer on board a world cruise. Now that would be decadent!

  16. I think reading is often the best way to learn to write, Joanne. Great post!