I recently returned from vacationing in New Jersey. We go two or three times a year to visit my husband's sister and her family. They live in this gorgeous area nestled between Red Bank and Coltsneck in a lovely little town called Holmdel.
The forrested landscape is sprinkled with green pastures, grazing horses, million dollar homes and sparkling marinas.
It's a wonderful place to visit, but not just because of the atmosphere. The company, our gracious host and hostess, are two of the dearest people on earth.
I get along very well with Paula, my sister-in-law. She loves shoes, Oreos and Italian food about as much as I do. We share a love for the History channel, can't stand most reality shows, and both find Dennis Leary oddly attractive.
We have a lot in common.
One thing we don't have in common, however is our preference in reading material.
I love losing myself in a good romance.
Paula admitted to me she's never once read a romance novel...in her entire life.
After I woke from a dead faint I asked her what she does read.
The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Economist, Forbes and The Atlantic, to name a few.
I felt like a moron.
The only magazines I read are Elle, Bazzar, Vogue and In Touch weekly. And to tell you the truth, I don't read them, I look at the pictures.
Not one of them could be be remotely considered intellectual. Unless...well, I suppose Vogue throws in an article on botox now and then. And I once browsed an expose' on counterfeit handbags in Elle. And I learned that Cindy Crawford has cellulite on her thighs last week in In Touch. So I suppose I'm being educated...
We talked a bit more about our taste differences and I almost gave up thinking we'd ever find a common ground in reference to reading material until she mentioned her very favorite magazine.
It's called...The Sun.
I was sure she'd label it as political, educational or at the very least intellectual, but she surprised me when she called it a writer's magazine.
Basically, The Sun publishes essays, interviews, fiction and poetry.
She pulled out a copy and handed it to me. I took a moment to thumb through it and realized this magazine doesn't contain any ads at all. (My fashion magazines are 90% ads)
The whole publication is filled with stories and poems in every genre, written by people just like me...individuals in need of a way to express themselves creatively.
She loves the magazine for that reason and gave me a few of her back issues to take home. She also encouraged me to submit a short story or two. Paula knows I'm having a little trouble getting "my butt in the chair" so she hoped the prospect of a shorter tale, a quicker response time and the lure of 3,000 dollars (The Sun pays its authors) might give me the motivation I need to jump back on the wagon.
I haven't written the short story yet (I've been really under the weather since my visit), but the talk I had with my sister-in-law on writing motivated me just the same. I typed a page and a half yesterday on a novel I had simply stopped working on. That page and a half is the first thing I've written in over three months. God it felt good to visit those characters again.
So all though we don't have much in common when it comes to material, my sister-in-law and I share a mutual love of reading. And I'm glad for that, because I might never have found...The Sun.
Keep reading and writing.
Have a lovely, productive Monday all.