Top 3 reasons readers make better lovers

Some of us are turned on by the scent of books. Some appreciate the well-toned muscles of readers who regularly heft hardcovers. There many reasons to snuggle up to someone who spends lots of time between the covers, but here are my top three reasons readers make better lovers.

  1. Curiosity. Readers want to know what happens next. They’re insatiable. And when a passage really sparks a reaction, they’ll read it over and over again.
  2. Focus. Readers have cultivated an attention span longer than 140 characters. (Even short stories contain thousands!) This makes for a very attentive lover.
  3. Conversation. Readers always have something interesting to say. Even better, they’re dying to hear your stories. You won’t be bored.
    Ready to attract a reader of your very own? Here’s the perfect pickup line to get things started: “What have you been reading lately?”

(Are we connected on Goodreads? Find me.)

What if?

Giant marshmallows. What if they were bears?

What if bears were made of marshmallow?

Would they melt in the summer heat?

What if policemen had to sing every interaction?

Would they give more tickets, or would stage fright keep them at bay? Would the number of arrests go down?

What if America adopted a four-day work week?

Would productivity go up? Would job satisfaction? Would hiring?

A policeman croons into a microphone.

What if I had a clear channel to my story world and all its characters?

How much time would I spend there each day? Would I disappear into it, forgetting to eat, go to the bathroom or shower? Would they follow me back through, pestering me to help them through their problems, weeping and whining about the obstacles in their path? Would I ever be able to write “the end” and leave them there? Perhaps I’d need to be rescued—have someone from this side stage an intervention or a shamanic soul retrieval. Close the portal. Let me edit and publish and move on. I don’t know, but I’d like to find out. I’d like to be enmeshed in a story, writing furiously and thinking about the characters when I’m not.

Sky-high beehive hairdo.

What if gravity let up, just a tenth of a tenth of a unit of however they measure gravity?

Would it revolutionize shoe design? What about transportation? Would cars lose their grip on the road? Would we create higher doorways and steeper stairways? What would happen to hair stylists’ jobs? Or plastic surgeons’? Would the demand for boob jobs decline?

What if more people got on board with the practice of telepathy?

Would we be less celebrity obsessed and perhaps living with fewer bad habits? I imagine we’d all start living in integrity, just because it’s less work than trying to lie to the self and everyone else.

But now I’m back to marshmallow bears. Would coyotes eat them? Would they develop diabetes?

Photo credits:
Marshmallow, Kate Ter Haar
Singing police, Elvert Barnes
Sky-high beehive, Francine

The cocktail lounge I may very well have dreamed up

So, maybe you don’t have movie-star good looks. Maybe you don’t drive a luxury car or live in a fashionable part of town. You can still feel like a VIP. All it takes is reservations at Bar Smyth in Dallas, Texas.

Don’t look for a neon sign or sidewalk seating. The entry for Bar Smyth is completely unmarked—part of its mystique. Announce yourself using the small keypad next to a nondescript door and you’ll be buzzed inside.

Old Fashioned cocktailA dim hallway leads you to a narrow, warmly-furnished space that may have you checking the calendar to be sure you haven’t stepped back to a Prohibition-era speakeasy, or a Cold War-era covert rendezvous.

Menus? This place is too cool for menus

Your bartender visits your table with some questions, then disappears to concoct a beverage to appeal to your personal flavor profile. The results are surprising and exquisite.

My visit included two excellent cocktails. The first, shown here, was an Old Fashioned, crafted for me with grapefruit bitters, and tequila instead of bourbon. The second, a perfectly balanced Sazarac. (Hats off to Robert the bartender for choosing America’s oldest-known cocktail for me. I love a good Sazarac.)

Most of the others in our party preferred slightly sweeter drinks. Our bartender called on a variety of fruits, herbs and flowers to delight each of them in turn.

Bar Smyth sounds like fiction, right? For me, it sounded like my fiction—specifically Club Clandestine, in Going Native. Here’s how it breaks down:

Real vs. fictional VIP cocktail lounges

Club Clandestine (from my novel, Going Native)Bar Smyth (located on Travis Street in Dallas, TX)
Hard-to-spot entryUnmarked entry
Bouncer asks for passwordSecure, locked entrance
Dim stairs lead down to clubDim hallway leads to club
Speakeasy/Cold War spy vibeSpeakeasy/Cold War spy vibe
Unforgettable night of covert, erotic games in the arms of a sexy heroOutstanding cocktails in intimate setting, guaranteed to make you feel special

All told, a remarkable evening. And I confess I’m glad to have friends who can assure me it really happened. Otherwise, I might wonder if, like Club Clandestine, I’d created Bar Smyth out of my own secret imaginings.

Shall I meet you there?

Soar winner, minus the poop on my legs

Turkey Vulture in majestic flight.
Given the chance to be a bird for a day, would you do it? What kind of bird would you be?

Me, I’d be a turkey vulture. Master of the air. I’d ride the thermals for hours on end. My wings would stretch wide and proud, creating a majestic silhouette in the sky.

Finding food, not a problem. I’d have sharp eyes and an olfactory sense so refined, I could find food miles away. My constitution could handle anything and my featherless head would enable me to push in and get all the good stuff without the embarrassing, “Oh, Sally, is that meat in your hair?”

But riding the thermals, that’d be the best. Up in the roaring silence. Wind in my feathers, I’d fly for the joy of it. At day’s end, I’d roost with my pals, all of us together. Maybe sharing our adventures. Maybe sharing silence, knowing our lives are good.

Perhaps I’d travel, not like migration—that seems such hard work. But I’d take my magnificent self to the mountains. Or explore the length of a river.

Chat with the natives.

Sample the local cuisine.

Ride the thermals until I no longer know where I am and, upon realizing this, rediscover myself all over again.

Texas bonus… in the summer, I would keep cool by defecating on my legs. (Not a strategy I’d be willing to try out in human form!)

So how ’bout you? If you dream of taking wing, I’d love to hear how you’d do it.

Photo credit: Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

The pleasure of summer showers

Photo of Sally's tiny, candlelit bathroom.
My bathroom (only just slightly smaller than actual size)
Bathing by candlelight. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. It’s taken the heat of another Texas summer to bring me back to this simple, sensual pleasure.

Exchanging “get up & go…”

In the winter, I love basking in the morning sunlight that beams through the little window in my shower. It energizes me. When days are shortest, I want as much sun as I can get.

Right now, though, days stretch out in lazy splendor. They bring chlorine-dipped days at the pool, dirt-dusted arms and legs from working in the yard, and skin coated with SPF, insect repellent and plenty of sweat. It’s nice to rinse off in cool water before bed.

…for “get on my glow”

So I venture into my tiny bathroom and forgo the bright bathroom lights in favor of a few candles. Their glow filters through the translucent shower curtain. It’s moody and relaxing and eases me into sweet, summery dreams. Ahhhh. I love this time of year.

Do your habits change to reflect the season? What sensual pleasures are you celebrating?

Dancing for kibble (aka play pays)

sgh-061_1zYou’ve got a list of errands as long as your arm and a limited amount of time to get through it. Sound familiar?

Tempting as it is to become an efficiency drone, there are big benefits to taking a more playful approach. Let me share my most recent proof that it’s true.

Dance party at the Petco

Me and my to-do list entered the Big Box pet store and hauled a bag of premium cat food to the checkout stand. There I surrendered a coupon to the very young sales clerk, a skinny guy with glasses, braces and the slouch so common among teens of low self-esteem. While he did his thing, I said, “This brand always makes me feel like I’m buying Disco’s Greatest Hits, you know?”

At his curious glance, I used my best radio DJ voice. “Solid Gold Katz-N-Flocken!” I cried before executing a brief reprise of one of John Travolta’s classic dance routines.

2956392064_62def7db12The kid cracked up and complimented me before turning back to the register. He announced my total, assuring me it reflected my coupon discount.

My inner pixie asks for more

“Does it include the dancing discount as well?” I asked.

He glanced around, and seeing no sign of his manager, punched in his employee discount. “Now it does,” he said, grinning. And when I left, he stood a little straighter.

The whole exchange took maybe 15 seconds and brightened the day for both of us. Plus, I saved an additional $3.80.

How are you enriching your life with play today?

P.S. Disco lives! (At least at the Petco.)

Photo credit, disco ball: Sarah