I’m not sure if it was last year or the year before during our family vacation when my father offered one of his astute and memorable (and humorous) observations. We were sitting on the beach and I was romanticizing about the late afternoon time of day; we were some of the only folks on the beach and the sun was lowering in the sky. It was picture perfect.
“This makes me want to have a clam bake on the beach, you know, like Martha Stewart would do,” I said.
My dad snickered. “You think life is like living in a magazine. You think life is like ‘Sex and The City.”
My husband thought this was the funniest thing on the planet, and if he were drinking something as my dad said it, he would have spit it out all over the place. As it was, he couldn’t stop laughing and snickering. I, on the other hand, found little humor in it at all.
And this is what makes me, well, me.
Though I had no retort then, I do have one now. You see, my dad isn’t entirely wrong about me.
Yes. I do think life should be like living in a magazine.
Why not? Magazines are usually pretty and dressed up. They make everything appealing. They take the mundane and make it exciting. They give us what we want; otherwise, we wouldn’t subscribe to them anymore. When I see a decorator magazine with a room that is to my taste, I can almost picture myself sitting in it. It makes me want to trash everything I own and get new stuff. How else can you account for the phenomenal spike in the appeal of Pinterest? Women sit around daydreaming about making fabulous recipes, throwing the perfect wedding reception or baby shower, decorating a home to perfection simply by pinning dreamy ideas of how to accomplish said tasks. Maybe we can’t do the impossible every day, but damn it! I like what the possibilities might hold, what the future could possibly be, what my imagination has in store for me.
So I would ask the fair question: Is it that ridiculous to want life to be like living in a magazine?
As for the correlation between life and wanting it to be like ‘Sex and the City’— come on, ladies, I need you to back me up here. Who wouldn’t want to be like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda, if only for a weekend away? Who wouldn’t want to get sassed up, enjoy a night out with friends, and maybe even partake of some of the New York City nightlife or a martini? If you’re being honest with yourself, you know we can’t always be happy folding laundry and coming up with tantalizing breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas every day of the week. We can’t always be fulfilled watching Sports Center on a Saturday night when we could be dancing at Club BED. We can’t always be joyous when we’ve got to pick up one kid from baseball and another from piano lessons simultaneously. And we can’t always be contented in our cropped pants, t-shirts, and flip-flops—wouldn’t you love to invade those girls’ closets if only for a night???
Sure it may be fantasy, but how much of life isn’t made up of part fantasy and part reality? If you’re feeling a connection to anything I’ve just stated, you’ll understand why I feel compelled to write, and why I opt for happy (or magazine) endings. Writing allows me the freedom to make my characters do and say anything I want.
So, if I want a “magazine” or fairy tale happy ending, I can give that to my characters. As the great Jane Austen once said, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” It’s my favorite writing quote, hands down. I completely concur.
Maybe I am living in a fantasy world. Maybe life isn’t like living in a magazine or like an episode of ‘Sex and the City’, but I’ll tell you this: If I can’t have a clam bake on the beach or wear a pair of Manolo’s pumps at Club BED, then I’ll make damn sure my characters can.