I don’t usually have a lot of spare time to watch TV, because I’m always working. And evenings and night time are the best time for me to work, without interruptions, although I write during the daytime too. But my strong suit is not relaxation—I’m much better at working. I’m one of those awful people who, the moment I sit down for 5 minutes, think of all the things I should be doing, and always feel I should be working. With four or five books in progress at once, I can always think of work I need to do. And when I run out of work (editing, writing, making notes on a new outline, or doing a re-write), I then immediately get antsy and start sorting out closets and getting rid of stuff, or reorganizing something, or cleaning out the refrigerator. And I’m always dragging a set of galleys around on vacation, and pull them out of a beach bag, dog eared, at the beach, to make final corrections before a book is printed. The hardest thing for me to do is just lie or sit around and do nothing, or sit peacefully and watch TV at night. It’s as if an alarm bell goes off in my head the minute my behind hits a chair, and I instantly think of something else I should be doing. (I’m sure it’s very annoying, but I get a lot done). After bringing up 9 children, and chasing after them when they were younger, while continuing to write books, now that the kids are grown up, I still have a lot of energy for other projects and more time than I used to. When the kids were little, I never got time to sit around either (they had to be fed, bathed, chased around, have scraped knees attended to, games to play, and toys to constantly pick up). So you get the picture, I’m not great at sitting around and relaxing!!!
For a couple of years now, I’ve heard about the British TV series ‘Downton Abbey’, from my kids, friends, and several colleagues (my editor, and assistants). Hmm…I thought. That’s nice. And when would I have the time to watch that? Probably in another lifetime, or after I write 50 more books, and reorganize all my closets and fridge again. A friend even gave me a set of DVD’s of the show for Christmas and said I ‘had’ to watch it. And of course, since getting them, I haven’t had time, with all of my kids home for Christmas, and I’ve been doing the groundwork for a new book. But Paris in January is cold and rainy, and it has been freezing cold, my work was done, I was taking a 2 week break from work, and suddenly found myself with time on my hands on cold winter nights. And my closets were tidy, and my fridge clean…..so I took out the DVD’s of Downton Abbey, and thought I’d watch an hour of it, to pass the time and check it out. That hour turned into five hours the first night, as I sat glued to the TV, engulfed in the story, totally mesmerized by it. I had fallen in love! And I went to bed at 5 am. (What people claim I do to them with my books!!!) With some embarrassment, I watched another segment after breakfast the next morning, and came home from an afternoon out, and turned it on again. I watched 11 DVD’s of it in about 3 days, Seasons 1, 2 and 3, and sat glued to it, totally in love with the characters and the story, the subplots, the nuances. It takes place from 1912 (and opens the morning after the sinking of the Titanic), and where I left off is in the 1920’s, after the First World War, and I wanted to beg for more when the last segment ended, with the end of Season 3. Okay, I will admit it, I’m addicted. What’s more, everyone I spoke to, claimed to be equally so. One of my daughters said she stayed up all night to watch it, much as I did. Half a dozen friends claimed the same. I have never enjoyed anything so much, and every night as I sat down to watch the DVD’s, I felt like I was meeting up with friends (an aristocratic multi-generational English family, and the army of their ‘servants’ downstairs, who all blend into one rich, fascinating whole.). I have totally loved it, and wanted to share with you that I’m obsessed with it, like so many others. It’s a fabulous show!! I didn’t move an inch, had no urge to clean my closets, never even thought about my refrigerator. When my children called while I was watching, I shamelessly told them I was ‘busy’, and then finally confessed to what I was doing, and they all laughed. I am truly addicted to it by now, and thoroughly loving it!! You might want to check it out, you may enjoy it too. I just love it!!!!) it is fabulous distraction and great fun!!!