Happiness is Somebody Else Doing the Difficult Writing

Bob and I have clearly delineated jobs in this collaboration: I do the Yucky Emotional Crap (YEC) and he kills people. But yesterday we had the following exchange:

And then he wrote the sex scene.

Of course, that means I’m going to have to kill somebody, but still, YAY for collaboration.

Happiness is having somebody help you over the hard parts.

What made you happy this week?

74 thoughts on “Happiness is Somebody Else Doing the Difficult Writing

    1. Happiness is spending the weekend at Stratford (Ontario) at the Shakespeare festival for the first time in three years. Was an annual event for my friend Heather from California and me. We saw Richard III (good), All’s Well That Ends Well (okay but can’t say I love that play itself) and Chicago (probably the best musical production I’ve ever seen here – note perfect). Reuniting with the swans was contenting.

      1. The Eek! was for the shooting, not the Shakespeare.

        The Shakespeare sounds great. I like Richard III all right but I believe no one can outdo Ian McKellen for getting the play right.

        If I were to direct All’s Well That Ends Well, I’d have the Countess played in a self-righteous Polonius manner, and Helen as too full of herself. Bertram would skip town because he couldn’t take all the estrogen being pumped his way.

        In the course of the action, Helen would get worn out coming up with all her stratagems. Bertram would come around (as much as the dialogue allows him).

        1. My version of AWTEW would change the ending to include a game of whack-a-mole, with the “hero” playing the part of the mole. Very cathartic for the other characters as well as the audience.

    2. Sorry Georgia, didn’t mean to Reply to your post – and I don’t know how to undo that…

    3. A fellow Canberran? It was such a non-Canberra thing to happen. Could easily have been very nasty.

  1. Happiness is having good friends to help with difficult tasks. My friend called for help sorting through six huge bins of donated fabric. Of course we all pitched in. After three hours of work, it was sorted by size, and the easily usable bits nicely pressed and folded, and grouped together as giveaways. It will make using this a lot easier.

  2. Happiness for me is attending my great aunt’s 90th birthday celebration. It was a 10 hour drive but so wonderful to hug her and see her children (my cousins) in person. My aunt and my mother were best friends and she has helped and supported me immeasurably since my mother died 6 years ago.

    DH and I went to the local Farmer’s Market in the morning and I bought a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for my aunt from a local flower farmer. I work on a flower farm and discovering new-to-me farms is always fun and educational.

    1. Wow that sounds lovely! Congrats to your great aunt! What sort of work do you do at the flower farm?

      1. I plant, weed, harvest and do a wide variety of tasks related to growing cut flowers. Worked in an office for 30 years and this is my favourite job🌱

        1. I missed the comma between plant and weed on the first read. I was baffled, but was happy for you 😀
          It must be that my downstairs neighbours are fond of it 😩 and the smoke has a habit of rising up into my place.

        2. That sounds lovely! My mom volunteers in the rose garden in our local botanic garden every week, and even though she always comes home all scratched up, it gives her a big sense of accomplishment. When I first got home from college and was unemployed, she enlisted me to help, and it really is backbreaking work, so kudos to both you and her! I was in my 20s back then and I could barely keep up with her! hahaha

  3. I reconnected properly with a close friend I hadn’t seen in three years. Also with my niece and nephew plus sister-in-law mark 1. Had some good ideas for livening up the dull side of my garden. Enjoyed fresh fruit & veg from my plot. A friend I’ve neglected rang, and we made plans to get together on Friday. I found my favourite, home-made earrings, lost after the trip down south. And my friend Pam came over for a film night (it’s been weeks), and we talked garden photography.

    Oh, and it’s been hot and sunny, which is lovely, but I’m looking forward to cooler and damper weather from tomorrow, so I can open the curtains again and use much more of the day – it’s a challenge to squeeze everything in before 10 in the morning.

  4. Well, that progress report made me laugh out loud, and then cringe. Bob writing the sex scene? Ropes, handcuffs, blindfolds, etc., went through my mind. Could be interesting. My happiness was using the new Blu-ray DVD player and seeing details I had missed in several films. It turns out I don’t have that many Blu-ray movies, so re-viewing them won’t take long. The bill for the truck repair means I will have to wait to get more Blu-rays. Not a tragedy. My other happiness is my eldest grandson is home from college, and I will see him at dinner with his family on Monday. AND there is rain in the forecast! Lots of days of rain, and cooler weather. Yay!

    1. Ropes, habdcuffs, blindfolds… sounds yummy for a change 😉
      Sorry, have read rather boring books lately…

      1. And here’s a rec for For Real by Alexis Hall. Or catalysts by Kris Ripper. Or actually The Arden St Ives series by Alexis Hall.

        1. Oh, I’ve listened to For Real. BDSM is something I don’t really get, not even by Alexis Hall.
          I guess even with blindfolds, handcuffs and ropes my tastes are very very innocent (boring?)

  5. I came back to Stardew Valley, a lovely game I haven’t played in a while, and played it most of yesterday, which was fun but a little disengaging, somehow, like I was isolated from the world. So in order to overcome that, I read two Crusies I hadn’t read before, “Hot Toy” and “Crazy People: The Crazy For You Stories,” and just felt all the warmth and interpersonal connectedness I was lacking rush back into my life, even though the people I was connecting with were fictional characters. Both were excellent and fun reads, but I especially loved all the little character vignettes for the Crazy For You characters. I’m a very character-driven-story kinda gal, so these stories really scratched an itch of mine. Thank you, Jenny, for your wonderful characters and stories! I’m going to go reread Crazy For You now haha.

    Oh, also, the line “He couldn’t make summer come in June, he’s so bad in bed” was so funny I actually laughed out loud when I read it. Your writing brings such happiness and joy, so thank you for all you do, even when the going gets tough. Hang in there!

  6. I have been eating virtuously (or perhaps I should say virtuously not eating) and discovered that I could *just* make a case for wearing a favorite skirt out in public. It would be much better 10 pounds lighter, but at all was a boost.

    In direct opposition to the above, I have two social engagements that involve restaurants in the coming week. Theoretically I could avoid doing too much damage at the vegetarian one, but I already hear General Tao’s Cauliflower calling, so no. And the second one is Italian with a very promising looking menu, so more no. Tacking another week of extreme virtue on to my schedule before evolving to moderate virtue in recompense.

    Also quite productive last week, so hoping this is a continuing trend.

    1. Yay for favorite skirts and dinners with friends! (Also, in my humble opinion, you definitely deserve to have a favorite skirt AND General Tao’s Cauliflower. If you feel like shopping for a new skirt that makes you feel beautiful now, I vote treat yourself.)

  7. The weather improved, which made me happy, and then I had my first EKG since my bypass surgery, and the doctor said it was “totally normal” (as are all my blood tests, at least the cardiac ones). It was such a relief, because I have a long history of thinking I’m feeling fine, not noticing any symptoms, only to find out when things reach a crisis that I’d been having catastrophic things happening beneath my radar. So it’s good to have objective (and cardiologist-confirmed) evidence that I’ve healed as fully as I think I have.

  8. It’s a perfect day, sunny and breezy. Autumn flowers made it through the heat wave. I didn’t feel well yesterday and I was able to nap in the hammock I put up, but hadn’t remembered to relax in. Such luxury!

  9. Yesterday I meant to submit my holiday book, but discovered the new submission guidelines call for 75K minimum, meaning I needed ~4500 more words. Which actually makes me happy, because I love this book and plumping up the falling-in-love part is EXACTLY what I feel like doing right now. As of signing off last night, I’m up to 73K; very good odds of finishing today.

    Another happy: I’ve completed another polish-and-reload of a previously-published book with a new cover.

    Also I am one folder of photos from completing my clean-up of the 2016 archive and have been reminded just how great a vacation in the Sierra can be. Scheming how to make a week in Sedona the best possible substitute.

    It’s still hot AF, but happy Sunday, y’all.

  10. Happiness yesterday was meeting up in Central Park with some friends, then eating takeout in one of their apartments while we re-watched Stranger Things and longed for fall.

    Happiness today is doing some things that don’t make me particularly happy in the moment (work, room cleaning) but that will hopefully make me happier in the future. Fingers crossed.

  11. Happiness is watching bits of the Goes Wrong Show, and laughing myself sick. We took the family to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong live a number of years ago, and we all laughed so hard.

  12. Great happiness is having on Friday what I trust will be the final colonoscopy of my life and having it clear. Also having a friend from church provide transportation and a “meal”–enough food for least 3 servings. So I’ve let myself have a lazy weekend.

    1. No more drinking a gallon of that noxious stuff? And waiting forever to have something to drink or eat? Judy, your future is cleared for good times!

  13. Sounds like the best kind of partnership. Kudos to both of you:)

    I’m guessing this work style has also factored into your super productivity with these books. Just wondering, what’s your plan for these Liz and Vince stories? Are they intended as a finite trilogy or are you wrapping them up but keeping things open for the possibilities of turning them into a longer series?

    1. The plan is to give them to an agent and see if she thinks they’re good to go and to have her market them. If nobody bites, we’ll e-publish (Bob is good at that).

      We are planning them as a trilogy, not finishing off every little detail, but definitely stopping. If a publisher wanted more, we’d probably talk about it, but right now, this is it. Unless Bob has ideas he hasn’t mentioned yet.

      1. Dear Jenny, Please take good care of yourself. I know you are enjoying working with Bob, but take it easy.
        Concerned Citizen.

      2. Sounds good. Wishing you luck.

        If you do indie pub them, I think the colour theme will be great inspirations for your covers.

  14. I suffer from the general happies. No specific ecstasy to report. The weather broke out of the 90s, there’s been rain, but it’s still not bicycle weather yet. My car (or is it the dotter’s car that I make payments on?) has new tires. Have I ever named that car? I name everything, but I don’t remember bestowing a moniker on the car. Maybe… Fordnando (eets a Fiesta!) Can you hear the drums, Fordnando? Don’t hit them – they’re barriers for your safety.

    The BornAgainIndoorFarmer is happy. There’s lettuce to harvest, the tomatoes are getting huge, a sweet pepper is turning yellow, I have two small containers of harvested Red Fire Peppers and more ripening. Lots of sweet peppers waiting their turn to change to red or yellow.

    I have a last serving of chili before I make another batch, and I have discovered the crunchy goodness of chili on potato sticks. It’s pretty darn good with cheese in an omelet, too.

    Jenny, I would love to be… not a fly, they’re disgusting. Not a hidden camera, that’s perverse. I wanna be your ISP so all your email and chat with Bob would pass through me. You guys are delightful!

    Also happy that nobody died at the airport.


  15. I am beyond happy that you are collaborating with Bob again. Your books together are my “go to for a happy place” over and over.

  16. The weather is finally giving us a break and I want to be outside. That makes me happy.

    We also accidentally went to a jazz festival yesterday, which was fun. The small nearby town we went to had shut down a few blocks for live music, food and vendors. It was a fun adventure. Plus I found a KitchenAid mixer at their thrift store (our original target) for $6. It’s grungy, but works. I can clean that up.

    I would like to be happier in general, the state of the world and my day job are dragging me down again. But I will take the small wins. I got a little sample pack of natural perfumes from For Strange Women, and so far have liked all of them. So I ordered the big sample pack. Happiness is variety, and fun makes like Siren or Antique Settee.

    1. A Kitchen Aid can provide a lot of happiness over the years. And the knowledge that you got such a great deal on it will make you feel like you triumphed every time you use it. Enjoy.

      1. It’s a sort of butter yellow, maybe a little darker? Not my first choice, but not terrible.

        1. I have a pistachio green kitchenaid which my husband gave me for our anniversary years ago. Best anniversary present ever! He thought so too, because he gets to eat what I make with it.

        2. No that’s not terrible. I have a corvette red one which matches a big red painting in my kitchen. Always good to have your KitchenAid and art match.

          1. My wife has the corvette red one as well, which she loves. My father bought it for her as a Christmas present 15 years ago and it’s still going strong.

  17. Happiness is sitting in my parent’s garden listening to the birds taking baths at the bird baths. They couldn’t care less of the human sitting nearby.

    1. Of course earlier I had to stomach about 2 hours of the neighbour’s daughter singing (aka butchering songs I feel I’d known but for her singing)…

  18. The Jenny/ Bob exchange makes me happy.
    Also, I’m reading Marian Keyes book ‘The Brightest Star In The Sky and it is making me happy. Her writing is poignant and sad and laugh out loud funny and so much more. Quote from the book: “Until…yes, until, four short months after their tearful farewell, word reached her that Jason had a new girlfriend (Portuguese) and -astonishingly-she was pregnant. In the twinkling of an eye, like milk curdling, Katie went bitter. Indeed her condition got so bad that she had to go to a de-bittering course. (Called Beyond Bitterness: Letting go of blame and learning to love again.) Her Granny Spade had suggested it on her deathbed. “You’ve become very sour, Katie,” she said. “Go to this course.” She pressed a leaflet into Katie’s hand, then promptly snuffed it. Well, a deathbed request was a deathbed request and Katie was not the kind of person to run the risk of being haunted by an unquiet spirit. It was hard enough to keep her flat tidy without her dead granny flinging eggs around and smashing mirrors and generally making a shambles of the place.”
    I laugh all over again every time I read that passage. De-bittering course lmao

  19. It’s cooler. So much better for sleeping. And I’m down to one meeting and no appointments for the coming week.

    And I feel like doing something, like maybe go out to lunch with a friend. I’ll have to make a few phone calls.

  20. Happy: The weather is unbelievably nice for the middle of August here in Michigan. Our renewed passports arrived and we now have tickets for Croatia. My eye is mostly better, the infection is now gone and the vision is back to 20/25, and will hopefully continue to improve.

    Unhappy: Our trip to visit my 82 year old parents has been cancelled/postponed because my mom has Covid and is fairly sick. They’ve put her on Paxlovid and she hasn’t needed to be hospitalized (fingers crossed). But we’re worried.

  21. Because I was out in the suburbs, I had more social life this past week than I’ve had all year. I cooked dinner for Carl and Harriet Friday night even though I couldn’t remember where anything was kept in the kitchen I was using. Both of the recipes I tried from my new cookbook were keepers and it reminded me that I don’t have to impress anybody in order to have a good time. I also had a chance to see the latest grandchildren pictures that my friends took the previous week. And today I went out to brunch with friends I never see because they spend weekends out of town at their cottage on the river. It was a lot of happies in a short time. And I got to listen to a cat with a motorboat purr whenever he’d let me get close enough all week. It was worth the allergies to hear that.

  22. HUMOR ME.

    1. When one door closes and another door opens, you are probably in prison.

    2. To me, “drink responsibly” means don’t spill it.

    3. Age 60 might be the new 40, but 9:00 pm is the new midnight.

    4. It’s the start of a brand new day, and I’m off like a herd of turtles.

    5. The older I get, the earlier it gets late.

    6. When I say, “The other day,” I could be referring to any time between yesterday and 15 years ago.

    7. I remember being able to get up without making sound effects.

    8. I had my patience tested. I’m negative.

    9. Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers.

    10. If you’re sitting in public and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and say, “Did you bring the money?”

    1. Actually laughed aloud at #3! Which meant I read them to he who is next to me. He laughed at #10. Most got eyebrow lifts which also makes me laugh. Much better for going to sleep with

  23. We finished our quarterly deadlines on Wednesday and I got the homework done for my class on Friday, so my weekend has been stress-free. Today I went to see Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, which was delightful. I’m not much of one for fashion, but I do love to watch craftspeople at work. I recommend the movie!

  24. Now I’m reading Donna Andrews and she is making me laugh / happy.

    They are searching a house:

    “He began deftly rummaging through the desk, whistling “Secret Agen Man” almost inaudibly.
    “Smart aleck,: I said, and went into the guest room.

  25. Dabbling on the edge of Fringe. This week huge craft fair with actual artists selling. I bought jewellery. I wanted a sheep. But since we’re still living out of suitcases in other people’s homes… Well and because too expensive to buy on a whim. Pretty sure I think it’ll make an excellent Christmas present, cause by then we’ll have a house, right?
    The sheep, and bulls, are upholstered in different breeds of sheepskin. You can really feel the differences. Might even be worth a trip to Suffolk. And they are really sturdy, even the smaller ones

    1. Clancy, those are a hoot! At first glance I thought I was seeing a skunk. Then, as I glanced at the many offerings, I couldn’t get Farrah Fawcett Majors out of my mind. You definitely need one in your new home.

  26. Also a future possible happy to think about. I’ve never considered going to Comic Con in San Diego even though it sounds amazing. It’s a sell out event at about 130,000 people so not my thing.
    I just found out that there is Comic Con Scotland, estimated crowd to be 1000-5000 in October. And it’s to be close to here. That, I could enjoy. Fun to think about at least

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