Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am back in Oakland beginning to stress myself out.  There are many reasons for this.  First, Christmas always stresses me out even when there is nothing to do.  Next I am stressed out thinking about all of the things in the future we need to do to get ready to move to Italy.  So far all we have done is pack our books up in some boxes, and talk endlessly about what we should do next. Then I am still working which is good stress but stress none the less. 

Mainly I am stressed out about this book I have finished. It is called My Five Stones and it is a spiritual memoir.  I have been writing it for about 7 years and I finally finished it.  Quite an accomplishment you say?  You have no idea.  I'll get to kitchens in a minute but first you are going to have to go down my stress path with me.

Ok, so I finish the book, now what?  The first thing was to write a "query letter" to an agent to see if they would represent my book to a publisher.  The publisher gives you and advance, of say $5000 unless you are Steven King, and any book you sell a percentage goes to the agent, the publisher than you.  You practically never make your advance back.  Still the ego presses forward and I am determined to be published. Let me tell you the things I have riding against me according to the reject letters.   1. Never published before.  2. Never published before 3. A book about women in prison? Yuk!  Sigh.  So I kept torturing myself with rejection letters and eventually I decided to go straight to an Ebook on Kindle.  This has been a long process that I will not bore you with.  Anyway, it is finally edited, proofed, etc.  Ok that is all good.  Now, I have to find someone who has published a book, who will read my manuscript and say something nice about it.  Sigh.  Very stressful.  So far this project has cost me 7 years of my time, and white hair added to my gray hair.  If it is ever ready to go, I will let you know.

Now about kitchens.  Here is a picture of my kitchen in Oakland.

We were discussing the kitchen layout in Italy with Manuele.  As you can partially see this is a basic U Shaped kitchen.  There is a door behind me, the stove and the Stoic One's area are to the left, my lovely sink and dishwasher are to the right, peninsula straight ahead.  Fairly typical.

Ok.  So, we get a U-shape design for Italy and Manuele has a fit.  Where is your privacy, he says.  You are going to have to keep your kitchen neat all the time.  I nod clearly not getting the point.  Ok, he says, clearly trying to impress a point upon me that I am not getting.  Say you have a bottle of red wine and you drop it on the kitchen floor.  Sounds like me, I say.  Ok he says, what are you going to do, just clean it up in front of everyone, ask your guests to help you?  I think this is a legitimate choice, not hyperbole, so I say, ask my guests to help me.  He looks horrified.  No...Susannnnn....You can not have this open space.  I respond it is a very American thing to have an open space kitchen.  As a matter of fact, The Stoic One chimes in, people actually walk right through my kitchen to get to the seating area.  Manuele didn't believe me, so I had to take this picture to show him.  Later on, he said, I have also heard that Americans put their things right on the street to sell them.  This is true Manuele, it is called a garage sale even though we put things out on the curbs.  He answers, why you do this Susan.  I say to sell things.  He gives me the same blank stare I gave him earlier. You think we are having cultural differences?  I'm going to take a picture of a garage sale and send him.
More later. 

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