Last night Hubby and I were totally burnt out. I don’t know if it was because we were getting up earlier this week, or if we had both had arduous weeks at work, or if it was just a slightly-higher-than-normal level of tiredness, but by 8:45 we were both on the couch, unable to move. If we’d had battery meters, there would have been barely any red left. We were some tired people.
Hubby sat with his laptop, figuring out his fantasy baseball freeze roster, emailing friends, and watching 56,314,852 simultaneous basketball games. I thought that was the most stressful way to relax I’d ever seen. Me? I was curled up with an ebook reader, reading and reading and reading until nearly 12:30 am. I was tired, but not in a way that needed sleep. I just wanted to read. A lot. And do nothing but for a stretch of several hours.
Even while I make review notes in my head (which holy shit is a bad place to keep them), reading is the ultimate relaxation for me – which is part of the reason I like reading romance. I can completely surrender and engage in the narrative, comforted with the promise inherent in the premise of romance that it will all be ok in the end (and, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end. Or it’s a series). Reading is a true indulgence, sometimes, as much as it is a necessity. I don’t leave the house, for example, without keys, wallet, phone, headset, and something to read, and any moment when I have 3 minutes to myself: it’s reading time. I know some folks can meditate their way into a space of peace and tranquility, finding a center of calmness and restoration. I do that with reading.
I spoke with some of the authors attending the PASIC conference this weekend, and from their stories, the tone of the industry was both grim and determined. Orders are down, sales are down, print runs are down… yet romance is not as dire as other sections of the publishing world. Things are grim, but in romance, all is not lost. Much like the tenets of the genre, it’ll be ok in the end, and if it’s not ok, it’s not the end. Romance has a strength of readership behind it that many other genres do not have.
But that doesn’t mean the messages as they were translated to me weren’t discouraging. So to all the romance writers and editors and agents: I’m still reading. And buying. And reading some more. Because for me, and many other readers, a night with a blanket, a sofa, and quiet to read uninterrupted is as close to a happily ever evening of perfection as I can get, and that can’t happen without you.