What page are you on?

July 15th, 2008

It’s my daughter asking.

Page 3, I say.
Page 5, she snorts.

We’re sitting in a booth at Whole Foods. She’s dabbling in her deli peas and corn; I’m hunched over eight ounces of criminally expensive Greek salad. We’ve just cracked the spine on some new paperbacks. The bag of store-bought books; the $13 lunch; I’ve blown the top off an ordinary Tuesday, and all because I have work to do.

I have an inconceivable bit of writing ahead of me; an iron bull that baits my measly mosquito, an abandoned well with no way in, up or around; so naturally I want to eat. And read. And it’s a safe bet that something will come out of all this ingestion, eventually.

What page now?
Page 8.

Page 11,
she snarfs.

I had thought to just look into the window at the bookstore next door, the bookstore where I read on the 26th, to see if they’d set up a display like they said they would. But my daughter cannot merely peer through the plate glass of a place like this. She shoots inside. And me? I’m in a following mind. I pick up three books within three minutes, suddenly starving for someone else’s cooking. Guiltily, I tell her to find one, then two, then three books for herself.

My own book
is there like they said it would be. Stacks displayed bravely at the entrance, stacks undisturbed on the shelf, snow white and untouched, where they will remain, unless you and all your best friends and in-laws, even the ones you don’t like, come and save me next Saturday.

I have an idea! Let’s have a reading competition, she cheers.
The first one who reaches page 22 wins!

I’m delighted now, by her invention and enthusiasm, saved by the starting bell of the only test at hand. It’s a test that reminds me once again that I only win by losing. So I give up, and she wins! We pack up our pages and walk over to Rite Aid where I buy her some press-on nails.

It’s hard to complain about a day like this, but I’ve got so much practice.


  1. it must be blissful to step into a bookstore and see your book displayed. that is a tremendous accomplishment not many can say they have. next time i’m at the bookstore (which will most likely be this weekend), i am going to look up your book. i’ve read the excerpt… well, you got me interested. i will certainly be one of your customers.


    Comment by rebecca — July 16, 2008 @ 1:23 am

  2. Congrats on the paperback edition! I’m tickled to see that you bought press-on nails for Georgia Grace. Seems like such a fun thing to do on a busy day.

    Comment by Mary Ann — July 16, 2008 @ 2:18 am

  3. I’m so feeling you. I’ve been feeling this disgruntlement, too, and I’ve been seeing it, around the web, as I’ve gruntled about.

    Perhaps there’s a change coming. Like the electrically charged air before a storm.

    I’m trying to let go of the gloom and let it happen, because it’s part of the process of growth and life, I think.

    Comment by Rowena — July 16, 2008 @ 2:36 am

  4. Look at it this way: you’ve birthed a reader!

    The universe is laughing at the fact that I birthed a child who does not eat sleep breathe books as I did at her age (8, BTW).

    Thanks for visiting, Karen. I’m loving my brief time in CA, as it’s always nice to be reminded that places do indeed exist with livable summers.

    Comment by bluelikethesky — July 16, 2008 @ 6:28 am

  5. What a blissful day. Books & food (with some cosmetics thrown in for good measure.) You sound like a nice mom.

    Comment by Kristin H. — July 16, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  6. Reading with your child is a perfectly respectable pass time! And I agree on the losing to win thought – while parenting I have found there are so many things that come up and require the same.

    Comment by Cat — July 16, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  7. I love you.
    and i wanted to tell you that today.

    Comment by bella — July 16, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  8. We could have a who-has-the-most-practice-complaining contest. There’d be no winner.

    Comment by mapelba — July 16, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  9. I just received your book from Amazon today and I am taking it to bed after a VERY hectic day with my own tribe. I can hardly wait. Thanks for the visit and the the notes of glee. I send them right back to you!

    Comment by Kathleen Botsford — July 18, 2008 @ 3:22 am

  10. does it mean something if upon reading the words “It’s a test that reminds me once again that I only win by losing.”…hot, piercing tears well up in my eyes and a swarm of dread crowds my heart chakra? hmmm…can you just stop being so damn wise?!

    Comment by jessamyn — July 18, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  11. Sweet Jess, I promise you I stop being wise just as soon as I start! Crying is true wisdom.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — July 18, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  12. Book stores are dangerous – but only if I go in with a credit card. 🙂 It’s much too easy to overspend! But who can own too many books? Not me.

    Comment by Daisy — July 19, 2008 @ 1:22 am

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