Although I always say that “I never work in the summer”, I seem to have been telling a white lie about that this year. In years past, I made it a hard and fast rule, that from the time my kids got out of school for the summer, until they went back to school around Labor Day, I didn’t work, so I could hang out with them, play and have all free time for them, and take some trips. And in the last ten years, once my older kids were married, I took a trip every year with my 5 youngest children and a friend for each. It’s always been so much fun, and what I live for all year. But as much as I hate to admit it, even to myself, times have changed. I feel very blessed that we still took a trip this year (the five youngest and I and their significant others or friends) and we had a great week together in the South of France. But with my youngest graduated from college a year ago, and ALL of my kids working (Wow!!), time together is harder to come by. They were wonderful again this year about spending time with me, with their limited amount of vacation from work, and I am so grateful to them for doing that. And they are all coming home for a long weekend for my birthday. But time is hard to come by now, they are pressured by work, have commitments in the other cities where they live, and I suddenly found myself with a lonnnnggggg summer on my hands, and too little to do. And the one thing I am terrible with is ‘down time’, and ‘relaxing’. Re-WHAT?? What was that word again? I putter around the house, do some projects, and within about 2 days, I am doing what our grandmothers used to call ‘fretting’, and the only thing I know how to do with time on my hands is work. I am a true work horse, and work always makes me happy.
So I had a glorious week with my 5 youngest kids this summer, and in France the entire country goes on vacation for two months. Half the country in July and the other half in August (they get that by law, 5 weeks for each employee of any business, and traditionally they all take it in summer, businesses and offices close, and restaurants and services, and you can’t get anything done in France in the summer). So since I spend most of the summer in France, all my friends were away, and once my kids left, I puttered for about two days, and..did what I know best how to do and love,…went back to work. I plunged happily into my writing (during a huge heat wave in Paris, and no one there has air conditioning. It was HOT, over a hundred degrees). As I shared with you, I went to Euro Disney outside Paris with my God children before that, and had a blast. But once I was alone, with my kids back at work, and friends and their families away, I hunkered down at my typewriter and worked hard. So it has turned into a writing summer, with good results, I think, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’d much rather be lying on a beach somewhere with my kids, but since they’re working too……Mom was back at the typewriter, and loving every minute of it. When I left Paris, I stopped in New York, to appear on the TV show The View, with my wonderful friend Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, and the other ladies on the show, whom I love. It’s a great show to be on and they treat me so well, and are so kind and welcoming to me. It was actually a fun appearance, although going on TV always terrifies me. It seems so scary to be on live TV, worrying about how you look and if you sound stupid, and what if you make a fool of yourself, or trip walking in?? Scary stuff. I was on the show to talk about my new book, “First Sight”, which just came out in hardcover. I hope you’ll read it and love it (it’s about a woman who is a leader of the fashion industry, her search for her natural mother, and her affair with a married man). And I’ve been blessed that my book “Friends Forever” came out in hardcover and was No. 1 on the bestseller lists for several weeks, and I hope you read and love that one too.
Before I left Paris, I had several meetings about the songs I wrote the lyrics for (ballads) with 3 French composers (sung by 2 wonderful unknown singers, an American woman and French man), and we are signing for an album, called Love Notes by Danielle Steel. And you should be able to get it on the Internet soon and hopefully in CD’s in stores too!!! So that was very exciting!!! I hope you enjoy the songs. We’ll put a link on this website once everything is up and running, so you can check it out.
Once back in San Francisco, I hit my typewriter again, and I just curated a contemporary art show that I do every August for a gallery in San Francisco, the Andrea Schwartz Gallery. We start working on it in January, deciding on the theme for the show. The owners of the gallery, Steve and Andrea are great to me, and Andrea and I put our heads together every year to come up with a fun show. We both like art with words in it, so our theme this time was “Word Perfect”. We spend months choosing the right artists and looking at their work. We sometimes use some of the artists I represented at my own gallery before I closed (two of my old artists are in the current show, and Andrea took on several of them when I closed). We include some of the artists she represents, and find new ones for the show. And by February, we approach artists and invite them to be in the show, and over the next months, decide which pieces of their work to use. And there is REALLY some fun stuff in this one!! By June we’re all set, in July the artists send us the pieces we agree on, and 3 days after I got home, we put the show up, and it looks soooo GREAT, I love it!!! As much as I love writing and it’s my passion, I still love art so much, and keeping my hand in the contemporary art business. And once the show opens, my kids will come to visit for a few days, and then I’ll be back to writing. So it wasn’t much of a ‘vacation’ this year, with one week away with the kids, and a few days visit, it has been a working summer, but it’s been productive, and I’ve really enjoyed it. And things are more peaceful in the summer, so I get more work done. That’s a great feeling, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done. Sometimes work can be restful and satisfying when it goes smoothly.
So that’s what I’ve been up to this summer…..a lot of work, on the writing, and some music and art!!! And some very special and greatly appreciated moments with my kids. What was that word again?? RE—-what?…re-?????oh!!! RELAX!!! Oh THAT!!!!….Time off? Vacation? Oh well, maybe next year….hope you’re having a great summer!!! Mine has been pretty good so far, and busy!!!