Theromancereadersconnection.com has just
posted a great review. . .“laugh-out-loud funny,”
and refers to it as both “touching and bone-tickling . .
Additional reviews can be found at
Theloudlibrarian.com and Wordcandy.net. In addition, Bookviews.com is featuring "Miss Understanding" as one
of its selections for the month of November, Womenwhonetwork.com has added "Miss Understanding" to
its online library, and Womens-place.com is featuring it on the
homepage as its “November Book
I’ll be at the Boston University Barnes&Noble Thursday, November 2 at 7PM
I’ll be at Penn Station Hudson Booksellers Friday, November 3 from 2:00 -4:00 PM
No blogs for a while because I’m packing. I realize I’m only going to Boston for one
day, but still.
saw the “Americans in Paris” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday, in
honor of our houseguest, Kim’s camp friend, who’s visiting from France. When we left, I was in a bad mood.
the matter?” Dan asked.
don’t want to see another portrait by John Singer Sargent for as long as live.”
I’ll never have one, so what’s the point? It’s like going to a restaurant and
ordering the most delicious thing on the menu, and then the food comes, and
after one bite, the waiter takes it away.”
don’t see the correlation.”
correlation is that I can’t stand looking at a painting for a few seconds.
People kept walking right in front of me the whole time. I need to take the
paintings home to enjoy them.”
do realize that that’s not allowed.”
and I think it’s selfish on the museum’s part.”
droll, no?” said the French boy.
we should go to a few galleries next weekend, and find a painting that’s
actually for sale.”
only want those paintings.”
about a poster of one of the paintings from the exhibit? You can put it in your office.”
please. I want an oil painting, not a
piece of paper.”
French boy was tapping Kim on the shoulder at this point, and making the
universal hand motion for crazy.
funny because you hardly ever mention this intense desire you seem to suddenly
have for paintings.”
because I typically avoid museums. What’s the point?”
right. There is no point-in your
case. Museums are for people who know
how to share.”
then it occurred to me that I’ve always had a problem sharing pictures of any
kind. I guess there’s something about reproduced images that brings out the
worst in me. I have pictures of Dan and my kids all over my dressing room
mirror. They walk in and out of this
room constantly and I hardly gaze up at them. I’m too busy staring at their pictures.
When someone in my family, like my sister for example, looks through my
collection of family photos and says, “Oh, look at this one of my niece and
nephew! Can I have it?” I instantly try to talk her out of it.
really want that one? Don’t you think
Kim looks a little sad in that shot? She’s practically crying. And look how crooked Jesse’s tie is. You should probably just leave it here, so I
can throw it away later.”
then there are the old, torn, black and white photographs of my parents, and my
grandparents — particularly the ones of my mom when she was a teenager. The
glamorous, glossy photos of her standing beside her twin sister, both in their
satin sweet sixteen gowns, and the ones of my mother smoking a cigarette, in
her fur coat. I’d never be able to part with those. Kim once found them and put
them all around her room with scotch tape. I almost passed out.
no, honey, you can’t hang these up!” I said, carefully lifting up the tape.
“They were processed at the turn of the century, and must lay flat for at least
another two hundred years, or else they’ll turn yellow.”
hate this about myself. I hate how possessive
I am about pictures of people who are still alive. I see these people every day, up close, in person, making all
sorts of faces. Photographs show only
one facial expression, one that the actual person rarely makes in real
life. Why do I feel so strongly about
making sure nothing happens to photographs of people I love? I guess it’s because I’m afraid of losing
these people, and, if nothing else, I’ll always be able to look at them,
looking back at me.
of course, doesn’t explain my desire to take home paintings that don’t belong
to me. There’s no explanation for that really, other than that I just want to
For those of you who have never heard of George Whitman, he is the 91 year old owner of a bookstore on the Left Bank of Paris called Shakespeare & Co. Some of the greatest writers of all times hung out there and occasionally broke chairs over one another’s heads. I won’t mention names, but I will tell you that one of them was not a communist. Of course George is. And that is why his store is available for anyone who so chooses to sleep over for as long as they like. (THere’s a drunk in there who’s been sleeping over for five years). George feeds his guests (in a communal fashion) in addition to verbally abusing them and forcing them to do chores. The only reason I know all this is because I watched a documentary about George tonight and I think I might be in love with him.
The thing that intrigued me the most, aside from the sick amount of books, is that when George needs a haircut, he lights his head on fire with a candle and then pats it out. I mean most people wouldn’t be able to come up with an idea like that. And that is why I am going to Paris to meet George. Most of you have probably already been to this bookstore, but I only walked by it, having no idea that George was inside. But now I know, and I plan on sleeping over too. But I’ll probably bring my own pillow. You have to see how dirty this place is to believe it. Bugs everywhere, and yet, I need to meet George and show him "She’s Got Issues."
started a diet today.
Here’s what I ate so far:
hard boiled eggs but only ½ the yolks.
cup of coffee with non-dairy creamer
cups of Special K
It’s 11:44. I’ll check in later but,
for the moment, I want you all to know that I’m still full!
can now add two sets of Van’s mini waffles, a small handful of almonds and two
rice cakes with cottage cheese.
dangerously over the limit of what one might call a diet at this point and looking
forward to dinner. Dan always whips up
something exciting on Sunday nights.
you know, it’s silly to start a diet on a Sunday, what with Monday, the day I
like to think of as “fresh start day,” just around the corner.
see how it goes, though. Because, if
for some strange reason, I don’t eat another thing all day, I might be able to
still count this as day one.
I just wrote five pages of my new book, which were actually
five pretty funny pages, if I must say, but, unfortunately, I worked up a
little appetite. I’ll try to hold off
but it doesn’t look good.
one cup of butternut squash soup. It might have been a mug. The thing is, there was only a tiny bit left in the pot after I had the
mug, so let’s call it a mug and a half to be safe. I actually have a stomach ache now. So that’s good.
Oh, and there were some crackers involved.
Dan just came home and he’s already making dinner. He asked me how my diet was going( while
watching me eat half of an oatmeal
raisin cookie). I told him I wasn’t
exactly perfect, but that it’s only my first day, so I don’t really have the
hang of it yet, and then I ate the
Anything that happens after this is strictly for my
food diary. Which I’m starting
October 19, 2006
Okay, so the next two events I’ll be doing are as follows:
November 2, Boston University Barnes&Noble 7PM
November 3, Penn Station, Hudson Booksellers 2-4PM (same spot as
last time, remember? Valentine’s Day)
I’ll post more specific info in the next
day or so. In the meantime, if you’re insanely bored and sick of working, check
out these websites (reviews).
Freshfiction.com – Fiction and
non-fiction book reviews for the latest titles off the presses. November
contest feature pending. http://freshfiction.com/book.php?id=12373
– The Writer’s Buzz is a community blog.
– The ultimate article and e-zine database. http://amazines.com/Writing/article_detail.cfm/159469?articleid=159469&Title=writing%3B%2Cfiction%2C
– A network of romance communities separated by categories including but not
limited to Chick Lit, Paranormal, Multi–cultural, Historical, and Young Adult.
– Part of the Romance Designs network, an online reading community for authors
and readers of Chick Lit. http://chicklitromancewriters.com/Bookinfo.cfm?bookID=22108
– Book site where readers can attend author chats, listen to author interviews
and readings, win free books, join a discussion and more. http://www.writtenvoices.com/titlepage.asp?ISBN=0061133884
– Website featuring open forums, book raffles, excerpts, and audio and video
interviews with various authors. http://www.loveofreading.com/titlepage.asp?ISBN=0061133884
– Book review “blog” featuring reviews for all genres. Review posted. http://notenoughbooks.blogspot.com/2006/10/miss-understanding-by-stephanie-lessing.html
– Here you’ll find a wide variety of romance-related info at Heartstrings, actually:
from thought-provoking women’s fiction to zany chick lit and everything
– Large community review site. Reviews, columns, and excerpts for adult and
– Book reviews and author interviews and essays for all genres. http://www.roundtablereviews.com/lessingstephanie906.htm
– Front Street Reviews is the road to follow for anyone who loves books. By
previewing and providing information on the books and their authors they make
sure you can spend your time reading the books you will really enjoy. Review by
Eclectic Closet reviewer posted. http://frontstreetreviews.com/
Closet – Book review “blog” featuring the random thoughts &
ponderings of an avid reader and reviewer. http://antheras.blogspot.com/2006/09/book-review-miss-understanding-by.html
also posed here:
– Their mission it to provide a single central resource for information on Self
Improvement, Self Help and Personal Growth on the Internet. http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Lessing2.html
– The purpose of this website is to provide informative book reviews for
– The goal of Buzzle.com is to become the hottest information site on the
Internet. They believe there is Intelligent Life on the Web, and their mission
is to bring that life to anyone who is looking for it. website. http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/9-17-2006-109071.asp
– Hundreds of articles to inspire and motivate, plus tips and resources for
personal growth, self-help and wellness. http://www.alumbo.com/article/25086-The-Unlovable-Heroine.html
– The Women’s Online Magazine For Every Woman In You! Features articles and
columns by women for women. Articles pertain to a variety of topics including
health and wellness, beauty, parenting and relationships. http://www.myonlinemagazine.net/women/modules/articles/article.php?id=458
– The hot spot for top articles. http://article-spot.com/the-unlovable-heroine
– Popular-articles.com is an article search engine and directory containing
over 61,000 articles in over 150 categories, updated daily. http://www.popular-articles.com/artman/publish/The_Unlovable_Heroine.shtml
– The Writer’s Buzz is a community “blog” http://www.thewritersbuzz.com/2006/09/11/the-unlovable-heroine-by-stephanie-lessing/
– Romance Reader at Heart presents quickie thoughts and ponderings on current,
new, and upcoming releases. http://romancereaderatheart.com/pubsandpromos/publishers/
– An oasis on the Internet created by women for women. Planning to feature Miss
Understanding as its November Book Choice. www.womens-place.com
– Book review site dedicated to romance and women’s fiction of all types
featuring author interviews and contests. http://www.loveromancesandmore.com/
– A Place For The Discriminating Reader and Writer of Fiction. Features
reviews, interviews, writing tips and monthly contests. www.onceuponaromance.net
– Website that celebrates all of those books that make readers happy that they
learned to read in the first place. Features Romance, Humor, Horror, Mystery
and more. www.wordcandy.net
– This website is dedicated to readers AND authors, all of whom invest a part
of their lives to the written word. Fair, balanced reviews serve all parties:
the readers who take the time to pick up the books, and the authors who can
always use that extra exposure for their work. Review pending. www.wantzuponatime.com
– Reviews, features and editorial for a dedicated community of romance fiction
–Author interviews, contests, book reviews, live author chats, and much
my daughter started pre-school, she would come home every day and tell me about
her friend Lorraine. I knew all the little girls in her pre-school class and
none of them were named Lorraine. My
daughter went into elaborate descriptions about what Lorraine wore to school
that day, and what compliments Lorraine had given her about her own outfit. She
once told me that Lorraine whispered in her ear that she was her favorite.
“I tell Lorraine everything. That’s the kind of friendship we
have,” my daughter explained.
realized, of course, that Lorraine was imaginary.
“Lorraine wasn’t there today,” Kim said,
out of the blue, one day after school, as we were driving home.
“Maybe she was sick,” I suggested.
“I don’t think so,” Kim said, looking out
“Why not?” I asked.
“Lorraine isn’t the type to just get
I thought about that for a second. Kim was
probably right. What are the chances
that someone who doesn’t exist would just suddenly catch a cold? Then I thought about it some more, and
realized that Kim was probably phasing out Lorraine. She’d been in school for a few months by then. She was making friends and feeling
comfortable. Lorraine was probably just
a transitional character.
The next day Kim told me that Lorraine
changed her hair color and that she was considering dying her own hair red. I
told her it was fine with me, but that she’d have to go every six weeks to a
salon to touch up her roots. She said
she’d think it over.
Weeks went by and no talk of Lorraine,
until one day, when apparently Lorraine came to school wearing the biggest
diamond ring Kim had ever seen. “Bigger
than a piece of gum,” Kim explained.
“Was it her mom’s ring?” I asked. Kim looked at me like I’d asked a ridiculous
question and then she started laughing. “Lorraine’s mom?” she said. I
thought it was a perfectly logical question. What are the rules for making
assumptions about figments of the imagination?
A few weeks later, Dan and I attended
back-to-school night. The parents quietly filed into the room, and each of the
mothers quickly found their child’s seat. I sat down in my daughter’s little
chair and touched her name, which had been handwritten by the teacher, on an
index card, and scotch-taped to her desk. Dan stood in the back, with all the
other fathers, leaning against the wall.
I opened Kim’s desk and saw her little
magic markers, the hair bands that never made it home and a half eaten oatmeal
raisin cookie, neatly tucked in its wrapper, that didn’t look familiar. I saw her worksheets with her big
handwriting all over them and a note that said, ‘Hi” in about a dozen different
handwritings. I breathed in the smell
of her pencils, her paintings and whatever else I could detect of her other
life. It occurred to me at that moment
that her world did not begin and end with me. She had experiences all day that had nothing to do with me. Experiences that she needed to cope
with—experiences that I wasn’t there to fix. I wondered how she managed without me, but something about the contents
of her busy, and yet organized desk made me realize that she was doing just
I closed the top of her desk and looked up.
I glanced at the women next to me, all carefully examining their children’s
belongings, as though they were peering into their child’s ear to make sure it
Just then I felt someone behind me touch
my shoulder. I turned around and
“I’m Lorraine,” she said. “You must be Kim’s mom. She looks just like you.”
“Yes, I’m Jake’s mom. Did she mention me?”
“Yes, every day,” I said, turning my
body around so I could face my daughter’s imaginary friend head-on.
“Kim and I talk on the carpool line. I
always get there a few minutes early and she’s always waiting by the fence to
tell me what happened that day. She’s
“Thank you,” I said, somewhat in shock,
glancing down at Lorraine’s ring finger.
“Would Kim like to come over to our house
and play sometime?”
“I’m sure she would love it,” I said,
hoping that Lorraine understood Kim would be coming over to spend time with
her, and not her child.
That night I came home and told Kim that
I met Lorraine. Somehow I felt like I was intruding.
“Oh! Good,” Kim said. “I was hoping you two would finally
meet. Maybe we could all go out to
lunch sometime. Us three.” I thought about how nice that would be, and
how lucky I was to have a daughter who thought I would fit in with her friends.
See now this is why I’m always in a good mood.