"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Congratulations to Kate Harding!
Posted by Jill | 10:18 PM
We all have a book we want to write. I have three novels in my head, each with a different cast of characters. These characters have been living in my head for between three and ten years. They really want to get out and have me tell their stories, and perhaps if we can avoid blowing up the world long enough for me to retire, I just might finish one of them, which is probably about 1/3 written. Then there's the compendium of posts from this here blog, which I should probably pull together and just self-publish on Lulu or some such.

I've always had kind of a "can't win, don't try" relationship with conventional book publishing. Perhaps it's from my days at Simon & Schuster when part of my job was to read and report on selections from the slush pile, knowing full well that none of those books would ever be considered. You had to be a published writer to be a published writer -- or so it seemed; or at the very least be someone well-connected to whoever's in power on a given day (which explains how people like Dinesh D'Souza originally got published).

But my boss had a book on gardening published a couple of years ago and is working on another one, so first-time authors CAN break through. And now there's truly exciting news, because Kate and The Rotund have sold a book to Penguin; a book that is no doubt going to come with lots of promotion tours in which they are going to discuss things like Health At Any Size and Intuitive Eating to the kind of rail-thin morning talking head show hostesses who are used to interviewing nothing but diet "experts". I can't wait to see their heads explode when presented with two self-accepting women who take up more than a few inches of space.

This book can't come out soon enough. Today I received in the mail a freebie magazine obviously sponsored by one of the local hospitals. It's supposedly about health and fitness, but there are an awful lot of ads for plastic surgeons and people who you pay to do "energy field analysis." The word "yoga" appears nowhere in this magazine, and an article about eating out tells you how to order your food: "Ask for a half-portion of pasta with a 1/4 portion of sauce. Ask for your fish just lightly brushed with olive oil and cooked on a dry grill." Why on earth would restaurants hire chefs if the customer is going to be able to tell them how to cook? I'd much rather have it the way it's done at Tom's Homestead restaurant in Bridgton, Maine, where if it isn't busy on a given night, Tom himself will take you back to the kitchen and show you how he makes cioppino. The person spending a Saturday afternoon at the museum doesn't tell the artist what to paint, either.

But where this magazine lost me is when a doctor interviewed in one of the articles said that women should aim for a BMI of between 19 and 25. This means that I should weigh between 91 and 119 pounds. Way back when I was 27 and went on the 300-calorie-a-day Cambridge Diet because I thought I was too fat, I weighed 118 before I started, and 105 when I went off this ridiculous non-eating plan after losing a colossal 13 pounds in 16 weeks. And my metabolism never recovered.

Recently I decided it was time to get rid of everything that no longer fits me and buy some clothes for the way I am now, the way I live now, the size I am now. I decided to deal with the numbers of the size I would need to buy, and bought some skirts, pants that actually FIT, and some lovely tops from J. Jill's clearance section. After wearing the same tatty sweaters and leggings for the last ten years, I now look like a reasonable human being, and I really don't give a rat's ass what the size number is on the pants. They fit, I feel great in them, and they look fantastic.

I took all the clothes that I'd bought thinking I'd shrink into them or that fit me for five minutes in 1983 and donated them to charity, clearing a lot of space for my new clothes that work on a postmenopausal size sixteen body.

And it only took me 52 years to get here.

I hope Kate and Rotund's book sells 40 kazillion copies. I hope they end up spending an entire year on the road doing TV appearances and radio interviews. Because all over this country there are women putting their lives on hold until they're thin. And life is just too damn short for that.

Go get 'em, girls.

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Blogger Jennifer Briney said...
I recently lost 40 pounds (my college/new boyfriend weight) by using the Weight Watchers program. I'm now back in my size 12. I used to think that size 8 was average because I'm in Southern California and I seem like a pretty big girl, but the truth is that I would never be comfortable that way. There comes a time in every woman's life (if she's mentally healthy) when we all just accept ourselves the way we are. It's a pretty awesome feeling isn't it?

Congratulations on dumping those clothes and being happy with the way you are and to your friends for their new book contract! It gives me hope that I might get published someday (now I just need to pick a subject).

Blogger Jennifer Briney said...
And I just noticed the "Brilliant Hussien at Breakfast".

Brilliant! I love it!

Blogger missy said...
Good for you! Enjoy the new clothes. It's amazing how when you buy things that fit and are comfortable, it changes your whole outlook, it makes you less anxious and gives you a much happier sense of who you are.


Blogger Bob said...
For literary success, one needs to be a successful criminal lawyer or investigative reporter with a manuscript featuring a peculiar private eye character, & have a New York agent one has known since college. If the series takes off, a publisher can count on a book-a-year. One writes these books in two hour daily installments while vacationing in a sea coast cottage or pleasant rural location.

Blogger Kate Harding said...
Hey, thanks so much for the support!

And you know what? We were able to sell this book because of the "platform" of our blogs. You've been around the blogosphere a hell of a lot longer than I have, and you have a readership. Don't underestimate it!

Also, I did my time with the slush pile at Random House of Canada a long time ago, so I totally know what you're talking about... but I actually found that experience pretty hopeful. I knew going in that only 1 or 2% ever get published, but what I didn't know was how UNBELIEVABLY BAD like 90-95% of slush is. And even at 23, I knew I wasn't yet in the top 1 or 2% -- but I also wasn't in the bottom 90%! That was a revelation!

You can write, and you've got an existing readership. That puts you SO many steps ahead of the average schmo looking for a book deal. Don't sell yourself short.

Finally, I am so in love with J. Jill. I just bought myself a couple pairs of "wearever" pants, and I never want to wear anything else.