July 28th — A statement that will never be uttered from the mouths of my children. I am amazed at how much parents (including me) knock ourselves out to create some great family memories over the summer when my kids would really rather lay out on the couch and watch television.
My kids officially announced they were sick of the beach approximately four days into our 14-day vacay at the beach. My kids officially announced they were sick of the pool approximately four weeks into a ten-week summer break. Funny, they NEVER announce that they’re sick of watching television or gunning for my laptop to play Webkinz. Perhaps instead of hyper-monitoring their television and screen time, I should announce “we’re doing to watch television ALL day EVERY DAY this week! And NEXT week we’re doing to play on the computer ALL day EVERY DAY!” I will open up the door and yell to my kids “Get in here this instant and watch television…you’ve been outside all day getting fresh air and exercise. It’s time to come inside and ferment on the sofa for hours and I MEAN IT!”
Perhaps it would make the pool seem like the incredible and lovely privilege that it is. Perhaps they would be begging me NOT to make them sit in the den with the drapes pulled watching “Tom & Jerry” reruns over and over and over again. Perhaps when they grovelled for some pool time I would tell them “well, only for 30 minutes because all that time flailing in the water will turn your brain to mush. You need to get home and be stationery lest you get sick or something.”
July 19th — People have been asking me the diff between “The View” and the “Today Show” appearances. For those of you not in the know, Brad and I appeared on both shows about three weeks apart to promote 365 Nights. Well, first off, the “Today Show” was way more stressful. For several reasons, really. The first is the start time. We had to be there at some horrendously early time like 6:30 in the morning – which required a wake-up call at an unseemly hour so I could get my hot rollers heated and cooking. Then, there were no Diet Cokes in the mini-fridge in our hotel room and no Diet Cokes in the cramped, dank little Green Room. Charla was not perky, I must say. Grateful to be there, sure, but not perky.
Matt, Meredith and Ann are all quite lovely – and I mean that literally. They are genetically gifted people. Ann and Meredith wear these fabulous designer stilettos that make them at least four inches taller. This is helpful because everyone on television is actually quite small. Even Matt Lauer. There was a gap on the “Today Show” between our appearance with Meredith during the 8 a.m. hour and our appearance with Kathie Lee and Hojda (I so know I didn’t spell that right) during the 10 a.m. hour – so we popped across the square to a Dean and Deluca where I promptly plugged into a Diet Coke IV and sweated through a lovely (at least I thought) black silk dress.
Contrast that with sitting next to Whoopi in the make-up chairs, Brad and I hanging out in our own dressing room with our names on the door, chatting with Elizabeth Hasselback who “loves the book” and was chatting about it with her husband last night, meeting Babwa Wawa, bonding with Sherry Shephard and nodding politely to Joy Behar (who has really good hair). Yes, they are all quite small, too. Hanging out in the swank Green Room with a huge, flat-screen hi-def television – it’s true, people really don’t look as good in hi-def. Overall, the experience was superb. And I had my peeps – Carole and Leigh – there, too…taking notes, taking pics and taking free food.
So people ask me, “how did it go?” Well, I guess it went okay. It’s not like I watch the interviews. Brad does. He likes to DVR them and “study them.” Ugh – I know what I look like in real life and I know that I don’t look better in high-def sitting next to Elizabeth, Nordic godess, Hasselback. I imagine my voice sounds high and squeaky and that my hands are noticeable shaking. Besides, I figure that if messed up too bad, I would hear about it. Namely from my 92-year-old grandmother who is always available for some brutally honest feedback, namely about where I’m “carrying my weight” these days.
There were a few things both show did have in common – namely the sensationalist approach that defines the very essence of national television and talk shows these days. In other words, they asked shocking questions meant to stun and cause light-headedness. I’m not complaining (okay, maybe I am a little), it’s just that it’s hard to remind folks that I wrote a book about marriage. Granted, the “Year” is what netted me and my sweet hubby room on the coach with Meredith (and let’s face it, a book deal), but the book is about marriage and not about mechanics.
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July 31st — Well, the book launched five weeks again and it feels like five years. Not to sound ungrateful, as this is a Top Ten Life Highlight. But this book thing is HARD WORK. I couldn’t say it’s like labor, because I never went into labor with either of my two kids. It’s more like a c-section with lots and lots of Percoset — thrilling, unsettling and definitely cause for sleep. The good news is that 365 Nights is on a multiple reprint and has been ranked as the number one book in Charlotte for the past several weeks, according to Creative Loafing/Park Road Books (the best indy bookstore in the universe). So that’s great news – people who don’t know me from work, school, church, college, the ‘hood or some party where I behaved badly are actually purchasing and reading the book. Which is amazing, really.
In fact, I recently attended my first book event where I hadn’t stacked the crowd with friends and family. This was a big step for me as I have lots of friends and family willing to plant themselves in an audience ready to pipe up with carefully orchestrated questions and comments. I was at the Regulator Bookstore in Durham (another outstanding indy bookstore) and I read to a standing room only crowd. That sounds more impressive than it is because, really, there were only about 25 or so chairs. But still! It was a milestone for me. People who didn’t know me, know my family, know a friend of a friend of someone I used to work with, came to hear about the book. And get this, there were people who were there who had ALREADY READ THE BOOK! The reason that this was thrilling is because I’ve been told by countless “professionals” that there will come a day when I have a book event and no one will come. “I don’t care if you’re John Grisham in a skirt, there will come a day when you’ll be sitting in a bookstore all alone and no one will care.” But I will care, sniff sniff. So any bookstore event where two or more or gathered is a cause for celebration, I say.