101 Ways to Torture Your Husband has truly gone GLOBAL! Check out this article from INDIA! city-hubbies-ignorant-about-wife%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98torture%E2%80%99-215 Meanwhile, radio shows as far as Britain and New Zealand have interviewed Deb Maria about her “hubby manual,” and she’s always thrilled to oblige!
Keep an eye on #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner‘s Facebook page and Twitter account (@jenniferweiner) early this week for an extraordinary giveaway relating to Deb Sarah’s The Opposite of Me! Details are under wraps for now, but this is one offer you won’t want to miss. And Deb Sarah will host a raffle for anyone who pre-orders The Opposite of Me on Wednesday, March 3, with cool prizes like an HD videocamera and grab bag of five hot new Simon&Schuster releases, so watch her FB page and website early this week, too!
Deb Sarah’s The Opposite of Me gets this review from Booklist: “Pekkanen’s… fresh, appealing approach is a welcome addition to the chick-lit canon. Both sisters are fully realized–flawed but likable, and the story is at turns funny and poignant.” And here’s a nice review from Kirkus! “Pekkanen’s involving debut …. [is] an honest examination of the limits we place on ourselves, with well-drawn female characters.” And Deb Sarah will be guest blogging at The Divining Wand on Wednesday, March 3.
Deb Alicia’s got a brand new website. Check out www.aliciabessette.com.
Carleen Brice is the author of novels Orange Mint and Honey, which was optioned by the Lifetime Movie Network and was a #1 Denver Post best-seller and Essence Magazine Recommended Read, and Children of the Waters, which One World/Ballantine released in June 2009.
Carleen also wrote Lead Me Home: An African American’s Guide Through the Grief Journey (HarperCollins), and edited the anthology Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife (Beacon Press, Souvenir Press). Her book Walk Tall: Affirmations for People of Color sold over 100,000 copies and was in print with traditional publishers for ten years. It is now available from iUniverse.
In 2008, she won the Breakout Author of the Year Award from the African American Literary Awards Show and in 2009 she received the First Novel Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She is a finalist for the 2009 Colorado Book Award in literary fiction, and is a two-time finalist for the Colorado Book Award in nonfiction (for Lead Me Home and Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number). She lives with her husband in Colorado where she gardens and works on her third novel, Calling Every Good Wish Home.
Carleen, thank you for stopping by The Debutante Ball during Bad Habits week!
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Bad Habits: An Appreciation
I was going to write about procrastination, the ultimate writer’s bad habit, but, you guessed it, I waited too late, and ran out of time to say anything interesting about the subject other than I do it. If you’re a writer, you probably do too. It’s why God invented Facebook … and Twitter … and People magazine, Harry Potter, movies on demand, gardens, and cuticles that need moisturizing. What was I talking about? Oh, that’s right: bad habits.
All kidding aside a bad habit I’d really like to address is worrying. Worrying does no good, but I come from a long line of worrying folks — on both sides. I worry about everything. Everything and nothing.
Right now, I’m worrying about what comes next for me. See, I’ve just had a huge success. My first novel Orange Mint and Honey was published two years ago. Last week, the movie version of it (“Sins of the Mother”) premiered on LMN, the Lifetime Movie Network. It did very well. Surpassed expectations. Yay, right? Everybody keeps asking me if I’m floating, soaring, walking on air. I should be. I guess I should be, but really what I’m doing? Planning what’s next. Writing what I hope will be my next novel. Talking to my agents about future projects. Strategizing. Already looking ahead to the next thing instead of just sitting with this thing for a moment.
That is a really bad habit that I’d like to change. It would be lovely to just enjoy for a minute, you know?
But I just had a thought. These bad habits of mine have gotten me, and yours you, this far. Maybe they’re not so bad. Think about it. Sure we procrastinate, but those of us who are published and who will be published do eventually get to our work. Maybe procrastination is just part of the process. We writers live in our heads, focused on the past, alternative versions of the present or wondering what the future might be like. We spend a lot of time with people who don’t exist. It is the opposite of mindfulness. Some would call it monkey mind. But dreaming turns out to be an excellent habit for a novelist.
Maybe worrying’s not so bad either. I mean getting my ducks in a row so that I can strike while this iron is hot (let’s play how many clichés can one writer cram into a sentence!) isn’t exactly a mistake. Maybe all my neuroses combine to create just what a writer needs to get her work done and just maybe succeed. It’s dawning on me: some bad habits just might be a gift.
So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to enjoy the process of being a writer, all of it, the highs, the lows, the boring parts, the thrills, the obsessing, the doubting, the dreaming. I’m going to try to like myself, as Darcy says to Bridget Jones, “just as I am.” Hope you will too.
I don’t really have any bad habits so I thought I’d tell you my husband’s ten worst habits. I’m sure he won’t mind.
- He’s really, really crabby if you wake him up. Especially in the morning, but he’s basically IMPOSSIBLE to live with after one of his marathon naps. Give him a wide berth, ‘cause he’s pretty much grumpy for the rest of the day.
- He’s always cutting or nicking himself, or getting accidentally scratched by the cat and then he feels the need to show me his “booboo” to try and elicit sympathy. I mean, come on, grow some, already.
- He leaves his pajamas out in the hallway when he takes a shower and never picks them up.
- Oh, and speaking of laundry, yeah…never folds it. Leaves it in the dryer.
- When he’s supposed to make dinner, he starts it at like…I don’t know…9pm! And only then if my stomach’s growling really loudly.
- He says he’s going to ride his bike, but never does, but still doesn’t want me to ride it, just in case.
- He talks about getting a haircut for about a month before he finally goes and gets one.
- His office is a MESS.
- He almost never shaves his legs in the winter.
10. His all time worst habit is that he totally projects his own bad habits onto someone else. Oh, wait…that’s me. I’m the one who does that. I…ummm…yeah, it’s true, none of the above habits are my husband’s (except maybe #5 – but he actually waits until 10pm). You got me. These are MY bad habits.
11. Bonus bad habit – the need to appear perfect online.
WARNING: DO NOT WAKE THIS PERSON UP.
I’ll refer to scripture here, in an effort to prove a point.
“He without sin shall cast the first stone.”
Nevermind that I’m a hardcore Catholic who married a Jew -but that’s not relevant at the moment—what IS relevant however, is that none of us can claim to be flawless. We all do naughty things from time to time (some more than others i.e. TIGER WOODS) and we all have bad habits whether we like to admit it or not.
So are you ready for my grand admission? Get ready cause it doesn’t happen too often. I have a terrible habit and it drives my husband absolutely crazy. I chew ice.
Trust me, I have a myriad of other not so great habits (drinking out of containers, interrupting, eating in bed) but for some reason, chewing ice is the one that most often gets me in trouble. By trouble I mean hearing my husband’s annoying whining and constant reminders that chewing ice is not only annoying to those around me, but it’s also AWFUL for your teeth! Just so you know, dentists say it’s the equivalent of chewing ROCKS, and it can cause hairline fractures that can lead to all kinds of issues. So please for heaven’s sake, don’t ever take up this nasty habit. As for me, I just can’t help it.
I actually “crave” ice, and it has nothing to do with being thirsty. I have come to realize chewing ice is something I do for stress relief. Yeah, I know it sounds kind of odd, but hey….I’m not judging YOU am I? At least I’m reaching for the freezer and not calling my drug supplier..(he was actually promoted to Drug Czar recently, so he changed his number, but I’m really happy for him, moving up and all). Ok, in all seriousness, I am currently trying to quit my nasty “ice chewing” addiction. Is there a 12-step program for ice chewers out there?
Please let me know.
One of my favorite thinkers, Thich Nhat Hanh, says that to break a bad habit, you should greet it like an old friend.
So if you want to stop biting your nails, the trick is to recognize that impulse to stick your fingertips in your mouth. You say to that impulse, “Hello, habit energy!” You smile at it. And then, you continue on your way — hopefully without biting your nails.
To break a bad habit, he says, shine the light of awareness on it.
Sounds simple, but it’s not. It can be a totally frustrating process, often filled with setbacks that feel like failures. (Reincarnationists believe that bad habits are the result of repeated negative actions in previous lives, which carve deep negative pathways in your mind. That’s some serious work to undo!)
Sometimes I wonder whether my bad habits can teach me something, or help me in some way.
During my yoga teacher training, I learned that the Warrior poses represent preparation for inner battle, and that I should trust whatever interior struggles I experience, because those struggles are perfect for me. One of our regular exercises was to blindly select a yogic concept from a hat. We students were to practice whatever concept was written on that slip of paper.
Over and over — out of dozens of different concepts — I picked aparigraha, or nonattachment. I must have picked nonattachment five different times over the course of one week. It was absolutely maddening. I became so frustrated, I asked the teacher in charge of the hat if this was a rigged game, some kind of trick. Did all the little slips of paper say nonattachment?
No, they didn’t.
Talk about the perfect battle for me.
Ever since, I’ve tried to become aware of my attachments — to objects, to ideas. Are these attachments unhealthy? Are they, in fact, bad habits?
In terms of writing and publishing, I ask myself: To what degree should I “nonattach” from the words I write? How much should I “unattach” from others’ opinions of my work?
These are tricky questions, with no “one-size-fits-all” answers. But the authors out there enjoying long, fruitful careers seem to have sorted them out. And they’ve definitely developed good mental and emotional habits related to how they treat their own words, and how they react to others’ reactions.
In any event, if you’re trying to break a bad habit — no matter what it is — that nonattachment concept might be useful to keep in mind. (You are not your bad habit!)
Thanks for reading, and as always, please feel totally welcome to share your ideas and experiences.
I have a really bad habit.
Actually, I have more than one, but this bad habit is going to be on display, over and over again, as I begin book signings this month.
I’m a nail-biter. Always have been, ever since I was little. That’s why I need your help. I don’t want people looking down at my poor mangled fingers when I sign their book. Yuck! So how can I stop biting in the next two weeks? I mean, I’m as nervous as I’ve ever been – what a time to try to break my habit.
So please help me by suggesting an idea below, and on Friday, I’ll pick a comment at random and send the winner a signed copy of The Opposite of Me! And if you’d like to read the first chapter of my book, it’s up on the Simon&Schuster website here!
My bad habits:
1) Snacking too much.
2) Pausing to check my email while I’m playing with the kids.
3) Staying up late because I’m too tired to get off the couch to go up to bed (and watching just one more recorded episode is so tempting!)
4) My most pervasive bad habit has to do with parking lots, but it applies all over my life:
I’m an on-time kind of person. Actually, I’m an early kind of person–I like time to spare, and no rushing. I put a lot of work into where I’m going. I print out directions. I keep an eye on the time. I take a few minutes in the bathroom to look right before I appear for an appointment.
What I don’t do is pay any attention to how I’m going to find my car again. I emerge from the mall or office space with no idea where I’ve parked it. I wander the rows, craning my neck. (This is especially hopeless when it’s a rental car and I *literally don’t even know what color it is.*) I treat getting somewhere like an elaborate production; getting home is an improvisation.
I do the same thing with paperwork. I’m careful with what needs to be done. But once the bill has been paid or the handwritten notes have been typed, I don’t pop the old pages into the recycling or file them. I literally put them down right where I am and move on to the Next Important Thing That Needs To Be Done. There the old pages sit, and gradually I forget if I’ve dealt with them already or not. I can’t throw them away without thoroughly reviewing them, and who has time for that? There is more that Needs To Be Done. Piles get taller.
I’d like to get better at finishing tasks off neatly, rather than just finishing the urgent parts and rushing to the urgent parts of the next thing. This includes needing to wash dishes after making a meal, and put clothes away after washing them. And taking a moment to note where I put the car, and printing out reverse directions to get me home.
Do you have a good “lost my car in a parking lot” story?