This morning Mr. Rowe took off for the Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop to spend a week in the North Carolina mountains critiquing stories and all the other stuff writers do when they're in an isolated spot together (gossip, drink, generate funny anecdotes for later, etc.). For those of you not from the Land of Science Fiction and Fantasy (and, according to Wikipedia, Slipstream, which I think in this context probably just means psst, literary), there are several peer workshops in the field that have been going on for long enough that history and reputation accumulates around them–Syc Hill is one, Rio Hondo in Taos is another, Turkey City down in Austin and, created especially for novels, Blue Heaven in Ohio. Many fine writers go to these workshops (and lots of other workshops and retreats, of course). I've been to all these except Syc Hill, but this week I'm declaring myself an official Workshop Widow.
While Christopher's gone my big plans seem to be of the virtuous variety. I plan to write LOTS–in fact, I already got in 1400+ words on my new novel and finished a proofing project today–and make sure the dogs are relatively happy. That's about it.
I bring all this up because recently I identified a phenomenon. I first cottoned to the possible existence of said phenom in grad school, where I would depart for 10 day residencies. I would come home and find things like charge slips from Wing Zone and TGI FRIDAY'S (apparently, it's next to the Barnes and Noble, open late for paperback fantasy cravings). Perhaps The Da Vinci Code movie or The 300 would have been watched. Sub par beer in the recycling bin… I think you get the picture. Clearly, the mister felt the need to indulge cravings he doesn't even really have (except for the wings) while I was out of town.
I wondered if this was true of other guys when their wives/significant others are out of range. So I did an informal survey at Wiscon and turned up some unsurprising but hilarious data to suggest this is A THING. One friend, an acclaimed novelist and short story writer, confessed that he'd purchased BLIZZARD-FLAVORED Oreos* and a pound of bacon while his wife was at one of the workshops mentioned above. Another confessed that wings sounded very familiar indeed. The confessions kept on coming.
None of the women I asked said they fit this pattern, though, because the stuff they did was stuff they'd also do normally.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I'm thinking I should strike a blow for the fairer sex and indulge in one SHAMEFUL, materially irredeemable activity per day. Things like going to see the new Twilight movie on opening night**, maybe? … I'm going to need to suggestions. They should probably be of the baby steps variety, as it just feels so … unseemly. (NO WINGS.)
Updated: See addendum below. Also, I am loving your suggestions and your confessions. It seems the ladies *do* indulge in such behavior, but I think the guys are still winning. Clearly, however, I need to feel MORE shame for my regular activities.
*So, after posting I remembered that he didn't actually buy the Blizzard Oreos, because they were too wrong. (Too wrong to exist, but that's another post–seriously, they taste like ice cream flavored with Oreos? What is this product? Who is it for?) He bought another variety of Oreos instead. And while I usually would come down on the thoughts don't equal actions side, for the purposes of this post I'm saying, contemplating the Blizzard Oreos alone is evidence! Plus, the bacon.
**These are not value judgments, but totally subjective. My SHAMEFUL materially irredeemable is someone else's Reason For Living.