6/23/14, Feast or Famine
Wow….busy times here, and I hope that all is well with you.
Oddly, I always find that my social life is very irregular. In New York and San Francisco, I very seldom see friends, and try to spend as much time as I can with my kids. They always have the priority when I’m in their cities. And given the nature of my work, I tend to hole up and disappear whenever I’m writing. Everyone has their own style, and I’m always impressed by writers who have a regular pace and schedule, write for a few hours in the morning, and then go out, see their friends, play golf, or whatever. That sure doesn’t work for me. When I’m writing, I can’t deal with any distraction, I don’t see anyone, talk to anyone (except my kids if they need me), I don’t even read phone messages or mail. Anything distracts me from the work, so I lock myself up in my office and don’t leave my house for weeks at a time. My writing style is to keep my foot on the gas, and keep it there until I finish whatever I’m working on. It can keep me locked up in my house for weeks or a month at a time, with no contact with the outside world. If I interrupt the writing to go to dinner with friends, it can take me days or even a week to get back into the book afterwards. So I don’t do that, and stick with the story, and usually write 20 or even 22 hours a day at a time when I’m working on a first draft, sleep for a few hours, and then go back to work. I’m very energized when I write, and hopefully excited about the story, and don’t want to think about anything else. (I used to have to be more civilized about my writing schedule when my kids were young and at home, but now that they’ve grown up, I can indulge my preference to stick with the story). And coming back from a long writing binge like that is like returning from a trip. I catch up with everything I’ve missed, return calls, open mail, and get back to real life. It makes for a somewhat erratic social life, since I don’t accept invitations to anything while I’m writing. And I find that one’s social life can be erratic anyway, even without writing, since people kind of hibernate in winter and don’t entertain much except for holidays, or everyone goes their separate ways in summer, and then catch up with friends in the fall. And I’ve found that there are times when I don’t go out socially for a long time, and then I get a bunch of invitations and go out every night. And for the last ten days, it has indeed been a feast of seeing friends, and fun invitations, and I’ve been out every night, which is very unlike me. But friends have come through town, childhood friends have surfaced after years of losing touch, and I’ve just had a bunch of fun activities and invitations, and even did a little work, though not serious writing, at least not this week. I’m always working on something!! But it’s only when I’m in the heat of the first draft of a book that I disappear. The rest of the time, I can edit or correct or work on an outline, and not go at it 22 hours a day, and manage to do other things.
My social whirl began with the White Dinner I told you about, which is the top and my favorite of my social activities every year. It doesn’t get better than that. I went out the following night with friends, saw my Godchildren over the weekend, and went to the ballet recital of my youngest Godchild’s ten year old sister. And the ballet recital was truly fabulous!! Before that, I had brunch with friends and their kids last Sunday. On Monday, friends from San Francisco came through town, so I had lunch with friends, and then dinner at a fun, small Italian restaurant with my American friends. I actually had lunch with friends every day in the past week, which is more than I usually do too. But everyone wanted to have lunch last week. And on Tuesday night, I went to a very elegant dinner event at the Louvre museum, with excellent food and opera singing after dinner. I’m not a huge opera fan, but the woman’s voice was lovely. The day after, friends arrived from Belgium so we had drinks at my apartment, and then went to a very fun dinner party together at a friend’s apartment. And dinner the following night with my American friends again. We went to a fabulous restaurant I had never heard of, and the food was spectacular. Before dinner, I had gotten a call from a friend I went to nursery school with, and we were best friends in school until we were 9 years old and she moved away, and hadn’t seen each other since, and she wanted to get together. So I invited her for tea, and it was sooo wonderful to see her again. We were best friends as kids, and she has grown up to be a really lovely woman. She brought a photograph of us together when I was four years old, and we discovered that we still share many of the same interests (she is very involved with helping the homeless population too, in the city where she lives). We spent an hour together, and then I had to leave her for a business appointment, and the dinner after. Lunch with a friend today in a bustling Paris restaurant with a sidewalk cafe. Then I went to exercise at Aqua Bike, which I love and hadn’t done in months. And tonight, as I write this, I will be dining at the home of friends tonight, who celebrate “Shabbat” every Friday, light the candles, and sing the traditional Jewish songs that go with it. I love going to their home, with the warm family feeling and traditions. Tomorrow I’m going to the flea market to see something I liked, for a second time, to check it out, then going to see the end of school year play of my Godchildren, at their school. And I was invited to a dinner honoring a major TV personality from LA, given by some American friends. And on Sunday, my Godchildren are coming for a movie and pizza at my home. And on Monday, I am going to a cocktail party to meet with the salesmen who sell my books, 50 of them, they sell them to the bookstores, and I try to meet with them every year to thank them. So you can see what I mean about feast or famine. I have been crazy busy for 10 days and really enjoyed it. My usual social life in Paris usually consists of one or two dinners out per week, in small quiet restaurants, on a very informal basis, nothing fancy or elaborate, and very discreet, with a couple of friends. But for the past 10 days, I’ve been to children’s activities, a grand gala at the Louvre, the fabulous and unusual White Dinner, and have been out every night with friends. I feel like I haven’t stopped running for a week. But sometimes it’s good to get out, see people you know and enjoy, and meet new ones. I’m shy by nature, and work almost all the time, so pretty soon I’ll be hibernating again, either to write, or just because I need some quiet time, often to plan and think about the next book.
So it has been an amazing mix of experiences, with old friends and new ones, childhood pals, and fun events. I’m a little tired after all of it, and have to figure out what to wear every time. But the variety of what I’ve been doing has been wonderful….and sooner or later, it will all give me something to write about!!! Stay tuned!!….
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Enjoy your free time.
Tell us about your next weekend too…
Are you watching the World Cup?
It’s happening in Brazil. (That’s where i’m writing from)…anyways it’s fun to read your blog, it’s nice to know about your life.
I’m so happy you got to see your friend from nursery school! How wonderful to find each other again after all this time! And very nice to discover that you still have so much in common. Best regards, Elaine
I enjoy reading your blog. It would be so much easier to read if you would use more paragraphs. I find it so difficult to read without a break between subjects.
I love your books. Romanian editors have just released your lovely First Sight novel!
Your life sounds so interesting and fun!! And really keeps you young and on top of current happenings!
Long live Dani