Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Into Romance

by Sarah Wendell

When Maggie asked me to guest blog for her "Spring Into Romance" event, it wasn't spring. It was December - and boy, let me tell you, planning ahead is a powerful thing. The minute she started talking about spring, I thought about daffodils and crocus and forsythia and all the signs that mean it's finally warming up, and they seemed a long way off. Sure, I'll guest blog, I said. Spring is never going to get here anyway, it's so cold outside now. She might as well have been asking me to write something for 10 years into the future, that's how far off spring seemed to me at that moment.

Now it's definitely spring. March showed up whether I was ready or not, and all the planning ahead I'd done last fall is showing up now. I made the mistake of buying not one but THREE bags of bulbs at Costco. If you know Costco, you know most of what they sell is huge - and a bag of bulbs at Costco is about 50 bulbs. So I had 150 tulip and daffodil bulbs to plant, and somehow I got it done one random Saturday afternoon last fall.

Then I promptly forgot about them. Spring was 10 years off, you know?

Now there's green things popping up all over, and the flowers are nearly ready to bloom. It's a lot warmer, and even though taking too deep a breath might make me sneeze, I want to breathe in as much as possible outside.

While spring for some people means gardening and sports and more activity, spring for me is moving outside to sit and read. I do more to the patio each year so that while I sit outside covered in bugspray, it's green and colorful, it smells good, and I have a perfect place to sit and read.

Reading romance is my oasis from stress. I've said before that at any given moment, women do seven or more things at once. If you catch me in the evening, I'm packing lunches, feeding the dog, feeding my kids, overseeing homework, starting dinner, sorting the mail and planning for tomorrow in the same minute. Most women I know do seven things at once. When I'm reading, especially when I take time to read a romance, it's the only time I do just one thing.

Watching the flowers I planted last fall showing up six months later reminds me that I have to slow down and not miss what's happening now. If I took the time to plant all those bulbs then, I can take the time to enjoy them now. Last fall I planted squat onion looking things in the dirt and it was a chore I had to get done since I'd bought giant huge bags of bulbs (clearly I was out of my mind).

Now I think I was clearly a genius to buy so many because it's about to be beautiful in my yard. If I go outside to sit and read a romance, all activity stops. That's the only thing I'm doing at that moment, and I find myself recharged a bit when I'm done. Knowing that I planned to make my reading spot more beautiful last fall reminds me that I need to take advantage of what I did and stop and read. The dishes can wait, and if I pack lunches in a half hour, there's no harm done. Winter is definitely a season for staying inside and reading under a blanket. Spring and summer bring the encouragement to go do many things outside - and clearly last fall I sent myself a message that I should stop and smell the flowers, and go read outside.

It's finally warm enough that I can go and read. And since there's no shortage of really awesome romances being published this spring, I have plenty to choose from - including Maggie's new book, Can't Buy Me Love. I've even organized my reading for the next few months so I've got a schedule of anticipated books.

I hope this spring you stop for a moment, appreciate the growing warmth and color of spring, and read as much as possible!

Sarah is the co-founder of Smart Bitches, and the author of the book Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels, from Sourcebooks. Sarah is also the co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: the Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, published in April 2009 by Touchstone Fireside. Yes, Sarah really does seem to like Really Long Titles for things!


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