If you're a blogger -- one who hasn't yet experienced the thrill of padded packages arriving via uniformed messengers driving noisy missing-doored trucks -- someday someone somewhere will send you something for free in hopes that you'll blog about it.
The smarter and more effective swag-senders will offer to pay you cash or Amazon gift certificates to blog about their bevy of booty and hold you to an exact schedule, which is what mega-publisher Simon & Schuster, Inc. has done for me.
I'd jumped at the chance to blog about Cathi and picked her latest offering from a list of other books e-mailed to me from Mother Talk because I'd already fallen in love with the ground-breaking much-buzzed-about-and-savored bestelling essay anthology that Cathi edited called The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage.
The sweet ruin of swag
The irony of all this swag-getting is that the blogging career that I've poured endless time, energy and devotion into blessedly building a following large enough to attract the swag-senders -- it's the selfsame business that leaves little time to absorb the swag itself.
So with a subdued level of the same type of anxiety produced in my pre-test, No Doze filled Florida A & M University days, I fanned thru the 9/10ths of Sweet Ruin that I hadn't yet read the day before the review was due, searching in a cliff-notes needing stance to fill in the holes of the missing answers I wanted to know.
The Sweet Ruin saga...
I can tell you that Cathi's writing is as exquisite as her editing, pretty on point when it comes to painting a portrait of a work-at-home mom living life in the suburbia she inhabits, as well as her conversations with her daughter.
But in reading the passages about the main character Elayna Leopold, I found myself more drawn to wondering how much the woman who engages in an affair with a younger man mirrored the life of the author herself.
Uh oh...I feel another chart coming on:
|#||Characteristic||Cathi Hanauer||Elayna Leopold|
|1 -||Age||??? No wikipedia page||35|
|3 -||Husband||Daniel Jones, editor of The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood, and Freedom||Paul, workaholic lawyer|
|4 -||Boyfriend||Hopefully Daniel||Kevin, a 20-something man|
|5 -||Kids||Son and a daughter||Son (who tragically died in infancy) and a daughter, Hazel|
Sweet Ruin or Savior?And yet, while the aura of Sweet Ruin has set ablaze in me the not-so-dormant desire to create a novel myself -- I've begun and metaphorically burned many of the same ilk a dozen times -- I will again wait until my Author and Finisher releases me to do so.
I totally understand the desire to work out one's sexual angst in print so as to excise those demons on the page and not in real life...but I also understand now that writing them out in this manner can be akin to writing your life's "coming attractions" instead.
Life imitates art.
Art imitates life.
Like The Secret states, what we focus on is what will grow larger, so that why I've turned my focus (Lord help me) from writing my cautionary-tale fantasies into building a career as a webmaster who acts as a conduit to lead masses to Christ.
Sweet Ruin thru the light of Scripture
Being a Christian, I can't help but to filter everything I see and read thru the truth of the Bible, and I wonder even more about Cathi (or her AP-styled editors) who litter her pages with lower case g'd "Oh my god" phrases throughout the pages.
Remembering to be in the world but not of it, I dip in and out when too much of the latter invades me.
Because of the theme and such, Sweet Ruin just may join the other wonderful yet 9/10ths unread books overflowing from my bookshelf -- for if it's taken me more than three months this go 'round to make it thru the Book of Mark, certainly it will take as long to be sweetly ruined by Cathi's prose.
And for any readers who want the same, be the first to leave a comment then shoot me your mailing address to paulanealmooney at gmail dot com, and I'll send my extra copy on to you.
In the meantime, not so coincidentally, I just found out that Cathi will be less than an hour's drive away from my house this week signing books. Maybe I'll take my free copy of Sweet Ruin on over for her John Hancock...and to get some answers to my blanks above.
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