We all have days when the “to do” list in our life is seemingly endless, when the chores pile up and life is far more grey than anything else. I guess all of us have different methods for coping with these days. Personally, I recommend some escapism: like living inside a glittering soap-bubble for some time.
When I have these grey, grey days I tend to binge-read. Okay, had I written this post a year ago I’d have had to admit to complementing all that reading with a lot of chocolate. These days, no chocolate. Nope. Not any more. This, of course, requires that what I am binging on reading-wise is very gripping—preferably so enthralling so as to make me forget any other cravings.
A year or so ago, I spent weeks reading everything by Barbara Nadel. A lot of it I had already read before, but it doesn’t matter—not when I’m in one of my doldrum phases. What I want is predictability, reads that somehow lift me out of reality without requiring too much of an intellectual effort. (Before I go any further I must emphasise that to write such books requires a LOT of skill)
This year, it is Jayne Ann Krentz. Now this lady has written a lot of books so I have spent weeks and weeks inhaling one book after the other. Once again, there’s an element of predictability: Ms Krentz heroes are almost always tall, broad, dark haired and gifted with eyes which are the colour of a stormy sky, a fiery amber or a golden hazel. I have a preference for the golden hazel. Her heroines are smart, independent, very often green-eyed. Obviously, hero and heroine team up. In Ms Krentz’ world, they do so early on and in difference to the more classic romances there are no major misunderstandings that separate our lovers. Instead, she usually puts them in precarious situations that require their full attention, while offering a lot of insight into the human characters via her introspective use of POVs.
Ms Krentz has been a favourite author of mine for quite some time—this goes for her pseudonym Amanda Quick as well. I am impressed by her writing skill, by the drive of her prose, the elegance of her brief descriptions, her razor-sharp dialogue. Most of all, I am in awe as to how this lady writes books that essentially could qualify as formulaic but still manages to deliver something new and different in each book, whether it be a hero obsessed with ferns or a heroine who knows everything about ancient glass. Brava, Ms Krentz!
Anyway: I read. I laugh. I go monosyllabic in the extreme. I drink copious amounts of tea. I read some more. I grunt when someone asks me something. I read some more. By now, dear readers, I bet you’ve caught on to the basic problem with my reading binges: my “to do” list remains unaddressed. The chores pile up and up into dangerous tottering piles. Essentially, I am coping with the situation by escaping from it—sort of logical, given my initial comment about resorting to escapism…
Thing is, I have come to understand I need these breaks. Okay, so I don’t get as much written as I would like to. I definitely don’t do much window washing or ironing or cupboard sorting or general organising or… Food becomes very basic. It’s as if that whip-wielding muse of mine, Ms Inspiration, has taken off for her annual vacation. My brain is in no way quiet—my characters are a talkative lot—but no major emergencies pop up. No hero almost being skewered on a sword, no heroine bravely clambering down into a ravine to save the weeping baby left exposed to the elements. (And boy, was the hero mad at his lady love for taking such an idiotic risk. Right: not now)
After several weeks immersed in stories set predominantly along the western coast of the US, I now feel ready to return to “real life”. Time to set my lifeline reads aside and get back to clearing some of those items on that ever expanding “to do” list. But not just yet: I have TWO more books lined up on my Kindle and by my calculations that means I have five more days of love and romance left. Five days in which to giggle with expectation as Mr Hero meets Ms Heroine. Five more days in which I can pretend that life is not grey.
No, dear peeps, life is pink—or at least it is very, very pink in my little bubble of escapism. Well, okay: Ms Krentz doesn’t do monochrome, so there is likely both some passionate red and some dangerous black in the mix as well, but like all ephemeral soap bubbles it is the bright and shiny colours that reflect the light. Thank heavens for that!