Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brainstorming At Borders

I am coming to you, real time, from Borders  (like you need a link to that), which is a feat in itselfluckily, a young female customer took pity on me and gave me the "How to log on to the internet from Borders" tutorialwhere the Christmas trees are neon pink, the SleighBell Blend coffee is $12.95/lb and Jonathan Franzen's new book Freedom is $28.00. I won't be buying the coffee, or any neon Christmas trees, but I've no choice but to buy the book, because... like everything else... I have waited until the last moment to get it, and it's a book club requirement. We'll be discussing the story on January 20th, which, I know, sounds like a lot of time, but with the holidays and Christmas break, it will take me until at least that date to read this 560 page anecdote. Thus, December 9th is last minute to me.

So here I am, because of the book, as well as a need to brainstorm, and I could not do so at home because my housekeeper (hey, I'm a working mom, but it's only once a monththe housecleaning service that is, not the work) is there executing her supersonic monthly scrub. Don't think I don't have guilt about this little luxury (again, the housecleaning service, not the work), working from home and all, but the timing couldn't be better, as unidentifiable squatters have staked claim of every crevice in the structure while I was incarcerated, pretty much for the last few weeks, and it will, indeed, take a professional to expunge them.

About Borders: at a wobbly pub-style table by the barista, where more than a few patrons have attempted to covertly peer over my shoulder to see what I'm up to. Aren't we all just so curious? I'm actually quite enjoying the moment. It takes me back to my Saturday mornings at Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston. The Trident was a real novelty then, and I suppose it still is. You'd think it would have been swallowed up by now, but it is actually Boston's last independent bookstore; and, when I was in my twenties, living alone in Boston, it's where I often spent my Saturday mornings. I loved that it was located inwhat was then known asthe "low rent" section of the street, and the sort of grunge-hippie feel it had, and reading or working there was not at all the same experience as at Borders. But there's slim pickins in my neck of the woods, so here I sit at a chain. But if you live in Boston (or are just visiting), go to the Trident. Experience it, and help the mom and pop survive.

Anyway, back to guilt and brainstorming. Guilt, as a mother, goes without saying. And the brainstorming, well, us mothers have to do a lot of that as well. Today, in particular, I'm scraping the noggin' for my first story covering the topic of teens. More particularly, parenting teens. Quite recently, I got a gig with an on-line magazine (yes, can you imagine, they mustn't be very selective) as a Parenting Teens columnist. Please laugh. I am! Gawd, I'm still trying to figure out how to raise teens. And I only have one, but the other is perilously close to this period known as a truly atrocious act of happenstance (really, check how Urban Dictionary defines "horrible"). Where to begin? I haven't a clue. I thought I did, I wrote a couple of things and then promptly tossed them out.

However... I shall persevere, I think. As I attempt to do the same, if any of you have any suggestions, anything at all, any teen related topic you would like to see covered (mind you, this is not a "how to" column, as I am completely unqualified, but boy I know how to research, and I suppose I have a wee bit of parenting experience), please let me know. Comment here, or send me an email. Please. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Now, to behold Freedom...

Thinking Monkey [source]


  1. Do persevere as you are a wonderful writer. I followed you like a ghost through your bookstore trip, thinking she buys just like me! Congrats on your gig, you deserve it, no laugh.

  2. I have no children, so I can't comment on that front. However, I can address a couple of other issues you raise.

    1. Never, EVER, apologise about having a cleaning lady. Mine (actually there are two of them) comes every other week. It's good for my house and it's good for my marriage. I don't even know how to clean.

    2. Freedom was the first book I downloaded to my Kindle. It's not the easiest book to read, but I have enjoyed it. I'm jealous that your bookclub aims so high. The last one I went to discussed an Ann Rule true crime missive.


    Good luck with the article. I'm currently struggling with a 900-word assignment on an NFL player who answered my interview questions in monosyllables. (not sure I spelled that right.)

  3. Shopgirl - Thanks for those kind words... I'll keep plugging along.

    HIF - You're right, of course - what's so wrong with getting a little extra help? I'll work on that guilt thing.
    And I must confess, this is the first I've heard of Ann Rule (I don't think I'll be picking up any of her true crimes). The only true crime story that I ever enjoyed reading was In Cold Blood. But I used to love reading Agatha Christie mysteries.
    Good luck with your article, too. My, you have a lot to work with there, don't you? ;)