Monday, July 16, 2012

Wallowing Between Projects Or My (sad) Obsession with a Reality TV Show

Oh. I have sooooooo many things that I could’ve been doing today.

For the record I just finished the second round of a revision on my eventually-to-be published young adult novel Thin Space. This revision, along with the first round of more extensive revisions, took many weeks of work and hard thought and endless hashing it out conversations with my support crew (husband and two teens). Also many days of being parked out in my pajamas, shut up in my office. And therefore many nights of breakfasts for dinner—the old standbys: chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, and/or cereal, which my support crew ate without (much) complaint.

There were a few other events that took place, sandwiched in during these weeks of revision work. Namely, my son’s high school graduation and the hosting of a house full of lovely out-of-town relatives (plus a sweet little dog guest, Mr. Peppers). And our 4th of July celebration, in which my husband and I hosted his father’s yearly family reunion for a week. These were lovely out-of-town guests too. Even during multiple days of 100-degree heat. It should be noted that they remained lovely even on the last day when we all lived through a monster freak storm and lost power. It was a fun final night, sweating it out on the driveway in foldout chairs, watching the neighbors take chainsaws to their fallen trees. (Our trees made it through relatively unscathed, having lost most of their branches in the monster freak storm the week before.) (Side note: what the heck is this with monster storms lately?) (Side note #2: don’t answer that. I’ve read so many post-apocalyptic nightmare novels lately that I really really don’t want to know.)

My point is that today, after all those weeks of finishing my revision(s), and hosting lovely out-of-town people (and Mr. Peppers), I suddenly have a stretch of time on my hands, time that could be filled with any number of important tasks. I made myself a helpful list this morning that included things like: research website designs and read a novel for an upcoming blog interview and resume work on a book I’ve been writing with my critique partner. Nevermind all the household tasks that have fallen by the wayside—laundry and vacuuming and bathroom cleaning, etc.

Instead, I did something wasteful and horrible and pathetic.

I watched four hours back to back of the Bachelorette so I could get caught up for tonight’s episode. I could lie and say it was because I wanted to spend time with my daughter. (Well, this isn’t exactly a lie. I do want to spend time with her, and watching the Bachelorette is our mother/daughter bonding activity this summer. See, daughter was away at camp and I waited for her to return to watch the show and now we have no choice but to catch up for tonight’s episo—

But. The truth is I have gotten sucked into what I know through every fiber of my being is possibly the dumbest show on TV. I wanted to watch those four hours. Helpful list be damned. And here I am a person who’s always prided myself on never watching reality shows. I missed all of the previous Bachelorettes. And Bachelors. I don’t watch the Kardashians. Or the Housewives of Wherever.

Jeez. I don’t even know how I got sucked into the Bachelorette. Daughter had the first episode on and I tuned in and started mocking it and next thing I know the two of us are having a grand old time laughing at the guys as they meet the beautiful (yet vapid) Emily for the first time. Cut to: we’re making a date to watch the damn show every Monday night. My daughter is a busy girl with tons of friends and an enviable social calendar. But she STAYS HOME on Mondays nights to be with me—

Yeah. I know. I am still trying to defend the indefensible. I pretend that I’m studying the show from an anthropological perspective. Besides mocking it, I attempt to analyze it. Isn’t it fascinating that the guys living it up in the cool condo have slowly descended into frat boy behavior? Why does Emily wear a different freaking ballgown on every outing?  What’s with the insipid dialogue? (Every place they travel—from Croatia to England to Romania—is “like, awesome and romantic.”)

A few weeks ago I had a serious discussion about stereotypical sex roles on reality tv shows with the professor sister of my neighbor. This is a woman who watches these show for actual research purposes. We started out talking about how it was unfair that Emily was judged for kissing multiple guys per episode whereas on the Bachelor no one seems to bat an eye when he’s serial-kissing girls. Then we quickly descended into talking about Emily’s teeth. (They are absurdly white and pronounced.) (Also, we didn’t understand why Jef with one f spells his name that way.)

I hate to bring you all down to wallow with me in my sad obsession with Emily’s choices (I am really flummoxed here. Should it be Jef with one f or Arie? Which guy will she pick?) so I will end this post by segueing into a book review.

Total fun, page-turn-ery summer read. It’s the debut novel The Selection by Kiera Cass.

It’s a cross between Cinderella and The Bachelor with a sprinkling of Hunger Games thrown in. The prince, gorgeous yet introverted Maxon, is looking for a wife, so his parents set up a Bachelor-style reality show at the palace for him to choose one. It’s a bleak dystopian world where most people are hungry. Main character America has her name thrown into the pot by her desperate family. And big shocker, she gets chosen as one of the contestants. The trouble is she already has a boyfriend (yes, this is another girl torn between two hot guys plotline). The novel is fluffy and kind of silly, but strangely addictive, with enough twists to keep even the most jaded reader (uh, me) reading into the night.

Well. Must sign off now. It’s Monday night and I have something…um…important…I need to do now…


  1. Bwa ha ha ha. The best blogs are the HONEST blogs. You did EXACTLY the right thing--you bonded with Jane after weeks of obsessing over your rewrites. You could not have planned something more perfect. But today, my dear, you'll have to get to work or your critique partner will have to intervene. BIRTHDAY BOOK. hint hint