Friday, May 25, 2012

The Spinsterlicious Life (A Book Review)

The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Child-free by Ms. Eleanore Wells - Book Review

There are not a whole lot of books out there that share a positive view of single living women. So about a month ago when my phone buzzed to tell me I had a Twitter message from @spinsterlicious, Eleanore Wells, asking if I’d be interested in reviewing her new book, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Child-free, I of course said “Yes” without hesitation. Aside from already harboring a desire to read and review the book, I was also flattered to have someone who I admire ask me for my opinion. The book arrived in the mail about five days later and I dove on in. I should note that other than a copy of the book I have received no compensation for this review.

I loved this book. Once I began reading it I couldn't stop. I carried it with me everywhere I went over the 48 hours following my receipt of it. I read it while waiting for the bus. I read it in between classes on campus. I read it when I should have been studying or doing homework. I read it in the kitchen while stirring a pot of simmering fish head soup. Over the past week I read it again in order to better prepared to write this long delayed review and I found I loved it just as much the second time through.

The Spinsterlicious Life is more than just an enjoyable and often humorous read however, it is an instruction manual for how to live happy and solo in a world that has done a pretty good job of convincing us that being coupled off is the only road to contentment. Written as 20 lessons, one chapter equaling one lesson, with titles that include the expected “Marriage. Kids. They’re not for everybody;” the humorous, “Be patient with women who’ve lost the ability to talk about anything but their kids;” and a few warnings, “Use birth control;” the book tells Ms. Wells’ personal journey from perceived old maid to spinsterlicious.

The book opens with an introduction that gives a bit of Ms. Wells’ background and an explanation of how she came to choose the word spinster to describe herself. The 20 lessons that follow contain a blend of her personal experience and the shared anecdotes of her fellow spinsters covering all areas of single life in an honest and often humorous fashion covering not only the joys and freedoms that come with living single (Lesson 2: Indulge yourself! Romance. Sex. Adventure.) but also the potential downsides that one may encounter (Lesson 4: If you don’t get married who is going to fix that?). Each lesson is self-contained and one can read the book straight through or pick and choose those chapters that immediately appeal.

Eleanore Wells writes with the voice of informed experience; that of someone who has the authority to give frank advice on her chosen subject because she has lived it. She has learned from her successes as well as her missteps, and she has come to know that she has something to authentically share. She does not shy away from telling the sometimes very personal story of how her life lessons were learned and those of us who are following in her spinsterlicious footsteps can only benefit from her experience.

Whether you are dancing happily down the road of self-declared spinsterhood, find yourself newly single and unsure how to manage it or you just want to find away to understand your maiden aunt who seems to be quite content to live the solo life, this book is well worth the read.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring has sprung...squeak

It’s springtime and while it is one of my favorite times of the year, it is also the time of year in which trees, flowers, grass and other forms of flora spew forth copious amounts of pollen into the air in the hopes that it will land on the sticky end of a waiting stamen, thus ensuring the continuance of their particular plant species.  I don’t begrudge the plants the fulfillment of their desire to reproduce.  I love the beauty that flowers bring and the resulting berries and fruits that are often the result of the frenzy of spring fever, but like many others out there I suffer from the unpleasant side effects of this annual flower orgy...

I sneeze, sniffle and wheeze my way through mid-spring.  My eyes water and itch, nose drips and my lungs rebel.  These symptoms are generally dealt with via a daily dose of allergy medication.  However there is one rather annoying side effect that does not seem to be readily resolved by any over the counter solution.  
It begins mildly enough, I start to get a bit of roughness that can at first be described as sultry but it only takes a few days to go from Kathleen Turner to Selma Bouvier and before too long, if I’m not careful, I find myself barely able to squeak out a “Hello.”  Now you might find yourself thinking, “Spinster Jane, you live alone, you work at home, and you are studying for finals.   What does it matter if you lose your voice? Other than your cats who in the world do you have to talk to?”

If you are asking that question you must be new the world of Spinster Jane or during my little writing hiatus you’ve forgotten that my life is generally a busy, though well planned, whirlwind of activity.  I have lots and lots to do and all of it involves speaking in some form or another.   Dinner with a friend I’ve not seen in over a month, two days of working in the office at the end of this week and a full day of performances booked for Saturday.   And next week?  Next week is not really all that different.    

Losing my voice presents all sorts of difficulties.

I do all of the things I should do.  I sip soothing tea laced with honey.  I make sure that when I am on stage I project my voice from my belly instead of my throat.  I try not to talk, much.  I cease singing in the shower.  In the end though all I can really do is wait it out.  So I muddle through mid-May to early June sounding like I never did quite smoking nine years ago and debating whether or not to take up the guitar so I can start a seasonal career as a sultry voiced folk singer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog, blog, blog...or not

April 17th was the date of my last blog post.  It isn't that I've not wanted to write, it's that I've simply not had the time to write. 

"Waaaait a minute, didn't you say months ago that you were rearranging your life to make room for more creative pursuits including writing?"

Yup, indeed I did, however it took a lot more time than I expected for me to figure out just what those changes were going to be.  Now, finally, I'm actually on the edge of that happening.  

The spring semester is coming to an end in a week and as of this coming Sunday I will no longer be working two jobs.  There is more that I'll share soon but for now I'm just making sure that all of you know I am still here.  

Please check this space on Friday when a real blog post will be making an appearance, and next week a book review I've been wanting to write for some time now.  Plus a long overdue Spinster in the Kitchen update. 

Stay tuned!!