A new friend dropped by. Fortunately my desk faces the front window, so I had time to slip my bra back on. I know. I know. I’m a slob. A writer slob. Anyway, I opened the door with a flourish and a smile, and ushered her inside.
She stood back, hand against her mouth, and said, “Oh my gawd!” I looked around, panic stricken. Were there cockroaches? A dead rat? A giant spider?
“The books,” she said, almost breathless. “You have so many books and all going at the same time.”
“Ah, you mean reading?” I asked, and sat on the couch. My friend took the recliner chair, which requires one to push their bum against the back to get the footrest to pop up. Obviously she’d used one before, because seconds later her legs flew up and she sank back with a sigh.
“Yes. I know you’re a writer, but you obviously…” she said glancing around, pointing and counting. “You read six books at a time. I can tell by the bookmarks.”
“Doesn’t everyone?” I checked the books scattered over the ottoman and didn’t mention what was on my Kindle, or my bedside table. In front of me were two books on spiritual growth, one on healthy eating, one open and face down on editing, and two novels sent by a publishing company for review, and a delighful gift of original poetry from my talented friend Judy (Judith Ann Jennings.)
The eighth book, on the table next to the recliner, was the only one I was actively reading. It had arrived that morning, ordered through The Book Depository, because it isn’t published in the U.S. It was written by a friend who lives in England. I’d sworn that I wouldn’t start The Dress Thief, by Natalie Meg Evans, until evening. I had to finish the rough draft of my next book. I’d made the huge mistake of cracking the book open for a peek.
My friend stroked the cover of Natalie’s book. I needed to get back to that intriguing story, Paris in the late 1930’s, set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, the unrest in Europe, artists, speakeasy’s, fashion designers, and all fighting for place in that unsettling environment. Toss in a mystery from decades past, a current romance, and many flawed delightful characters, and I was hooked.
“I can see you’re busy,” my friend said. “I should have called first. Can we get together this weekend?”
“Sure. Calling first is best. If I don’t pick up, I’ll always get back to you in the late afternoon,” I said, escorting her down the front path to her car. We writers and readers need to protect out time. “I’ll call about plans for the weekend on Friday, maybe a movie and dinner?”
With a quick wave, and no guilt at all, I ran back inside and clutched The Dress Thief to my chest. I plopped into the recliner and sighed as I kicked up the footrest. There would be no writing done today.
So, what’s on your ottoman? How many books do you have going at one time? Enquiring minds need to know.