The Case of the Missing Blogger, or — Wha Happened?

This summer, Beth and Jeff Tindall put an enormous amount of work into redesigning my website and integrating The Memory Project blog, which was housed at the wonderfully low-tech Journalscape site. The new site is gorgeous, the blog is easier to use and update — and I have been MIA pretty much since early September.


I’m not sure. In part, I feel as if I’ve moved into a beautiful new house and don’t have the proper furniture. It made me think about this favorite Nora Ephron piece, in fact. But the real reason is the Thing I Do Not Discuss. Except when I do.

Careful readers — those who pay attention to dedications, acknowledgments and the occasional interview — know that my life changed dramatically in 2010. With a fierce compartmentalization that will be really comical when you read my next book, I have otherwise tried not to discuss the change in my life. Here’s how I see it: The other party cannot grant informed consent. No one asked her if she wanted to sign up for this gig. And she is not, as far as she’s concerned, defined by being someone’s daughter. So, although there may be some photographs here and there, all uniformly unflattering of me, establishing that I sometimes go out in public with 20 extra pounds hanging off me, I am sticking to my resolution to keep that part of my life as private as possible.

The problem is, She Who Will Not Be Named is a time succubus. I have eight hours a day to do all non-Succubus related activities. Yes, I realize that’s a lot. I realize that’s what most people get, probably more. But I used to have sixteen hours a day to myself and it’s always hard to take a 50 percent cut in anything — money, calories, time. Something had to give. This blog was one of those somethings. E-mail, too. Any e-mail that requires more than “yes,” “no” or “bite me” is guaranteed to languish in the purgatory known as my in-box.

Personal hygiene has also taken a hit. Consider this a pre-emptive apology if you encounter me on a bad day. And the prizes awarded this August sit here in my office, still waiting to be mailed because I don’t have everyone’s address. Sad but true.

My life is also complicated by being bi-coastal, although the coasts are not the usual ones. However, we file this under RPP in my household and therefore do not complain about it. (Name that acronym in the comments and something cool might happen, although probably not in a timely fashion.) Finally, because there simply wasn’t enough going on, almost everything in my house started to break. The locks, the stove, the furnace/ac, the master bath, the toilets. The joists beneath the kitchen floor almost rotted through and we caught it only because the recycling bin wouldn’t stay closed and I happened to mention that to the contractor who was looking at the master bath.Turns out that defective flashing on the roof led to water piercing the stucco on the rear addition, which dripped into the basement . . .  It’s gotten so bad that people in my life are breaking now. OK, only one, and she’s on the mend. Knock wood, fingers crossed.

And yet, to quote one of my favorite ’70s novels — again, bragging rights to anyone who can name it in the comments section — it’s all gnats in the yogurt. Family is healthy, relatively, although I spent a recent night being the thing that went bump therein.  We can

Notice my avatar's eyes

afford to fix what has broken. Somehow, the work is getting done. Treme (another topic we avoid around here) is filming in New Orleans, while I have managed to make my way, word by word, to the three-quarters mark in my current novel. The finish line is at least 20,000 words away, but the last section always goes the fastest because the possibilities have narrowed and destiny is calling.

Oh, and that’s another reason I was MIA: The work was going terribly and making me miserable. Here I am, on my 17th novel, and I have to learn the same lesson all over again: It won’t work until I put myself into it. For a long time, working on this book, I didn’t see myself. The main character, Heloise, is a high-priced suburban madam. (Again, she will be familiar to careful readers.) A single mother, she is worried about the future of her industry, overwhelmingly dependent on her childcare provider, and a fierce compartmentalizer who keeps her public and private lives as separate as possible . . . Yes, dear reader, it took me nine months to see how much Heloise and I have in common.


33 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing Blogger, or — Wha Happened?

  1. I think RPP is Rich People’s Problems, but I am not sure. My little sister calls them FWP-First World Problems. However, all problems are valid, in my mind, so I hope yours will ease up. Looking forward to the next book, when it comes, as I am sure it will in its own time.

  2. P.S. I like RPP’s because it reminds me of a scene in Boogie Nights, where the characters played by Mark Wahlberg and and John C. Reilly are told they have a “YP” — your problem — and Reilly responds that he doesn’t understand this specialized jargon.

  3. Welcome back!
    When my son was a baby and slept only a few minutes out of each hour during the day, I would wait for him to go to sleep then hop in the shower and quickly get clean, dry off and run back to the room before he woke up. No long, luxurious baths for a while, but terribly efficient showers.

  4. A time succubus! I have one of those. My secret goal as my daughter reaches 6 month’s old? Taking a shower more than once a week. I think it needs to be less secret for it to get accomplished, though.

  5. Showers were the one quiet time I had after my son was born. The time my husband brought a crying baby into the bathroom while I was showering was the moment I realized my life would never be the same.

  6. Laura, while I have not had a baby around for a very long time, I remember wondering what I used to do with my time, when I had it! I find it amazing that you find the time to blog at all, plus answer readers’ comments on your FB page, and it is really appreciated! (I don’t know about gnats in the yogurt, but I love Nora Ephron’s work, this sounds like something she would say…my favorite is Heartburn, which happens to have some great little recipes along with her hilariously serious take on her mess of a life at that time)….I wish you peace!

  7. I remember when my oldest always wanted to be in the Bjorn, even had to take him with me to the bathroom! My youngest, nope but my oldest never wanted to be put down! I did send my address but if you need it again, I am happy to oblige : ) Of course the best is going to be seeing my name in the book, woohoo!! Still dying to know if I get to be a hooker!

  8. Sure have missed you. But keeping busy looking for “The Most Dangerous Thing” on Best of 2011 lists and adding comment if missing!

  9. This too shall pass. Embrace the journey. Selfishly I’m pleased to hear of (1) Treme is filming and (2) next novel is in the works. Yay!

  10. Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a coating for walls and ceilings and for decoration as well. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials such as concrete, cinder block, or brick.

  11. Apply some RPS, (Rich People Solutions); hire a maid, get an assistant, throw some money out to buy some time for yourself. And as a 53 year old father of a daughter who just went off to college this summer, I can tell you in all sincerity that you never get this time again, the first few years with your child.

  12. At the risk of stating the obvious, you know that the water damage may well be a covered loss under your home insurance? And that if you know who put up the defective flashing, your insurance company could possibly subrogate against them for the damage? Just checking.

    p.s.-So glad I haven’t gotten “bite me” as an email response from you. I think that no response at all is better than that.

  13. Laura,
    I remember well the blur of babies, work, graduate school and wonder how we did it. Now have the pleasure of grandchildren and the time to enjoy them.
    I did wonder what happened to my prize but now fully understand how crazy your life is these days. Take your time.
    Jane J

  14. Laura, first of all let me say congrats, don’t know how I missed that as I read every word of your books cover to cover. Secondly, can’t wait for the new book. Most importantly, this too shall pass. My husband and I are empty nesters and it seemed like we just blinked and the time went by. Glad to see your blog is back!

  15. I used to take long end of the afternoon baths WITH the succubi, who are now 28 and 30, as a way to get through the fussy hours and come out cleaner.

    Those are Cyra McFadden’s gnats in the yogurt, aren’t they?

  16. Laura was on Craig Ferguson last night. usually posts the show after a few days and keeps it up for a couple of weeks. Her hair looked great and their rapport was fantastic., Signed, the Publicist.

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