For the better part of the past decade, my wife and I have both worked out of our home. This is a great setup if you can get it, especially in Los Angeles, where the perpetually logjammed freeways have been known to erode the sanity of many a daily commuter. During business hours, we essentially treat one another like cubicle mates, pausing to chat every so often over coffee, but basically respecting one another’s need to prioritize work—something made easier owed to the positioning of our desks at opposite ends of the apartment.
After her company was recently acquired, however, the wife started working out of a central office again. It’s a reasonably short subway ride away, so at least it isn’t a “killer commute,” though it has been an adjustment—for both of us. Speaking strictly for myself, I discovered in short order that many of the domestic duties we’d shared—be it walking the dog, making the bed, running laundry, buying groceries—were now falling, to a necessarily greater extent, on me. This isn’t a complaint, mind you—I still had the better end of the deal in that I continued to work from home, with all the freedom and flexibility that entails. But there’s no doubt I found myself in the throes of a time-management crisis, as days and sometimes weeks would pass without any appreciable progress—or any progress at all—on my manuscript. I was overwhelmed by all the shit that had to get tended to just to keep the household running.
Quick digression (and I promise it’s relevant): Anyone who’s followed this blog for any amount of time knows I’m a guy’s guy. I’ve written odes to 24, Rambo, Heat, the Dark Knight trilogy, Rush (the Canadian prog-rock band that, by its own admission, doesn’t inspire overwhelming female devotion), mob movies, and the cinema of horror maestros Wes Craven and John Carpenter, the latter of whom trades in tough guys like Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken and James Woods’ Jack Crow. For that matter, my forthcoming novel, Escape from Rikers Island, is populated almost entirely with alpha males, inspired in part by the crime fiction of Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, and Richard Price. Hell, at my last checkup, my doctor informed me I have the testosterone of an eighteen-year-old. Like I said: guy’s guy—now medically validated.
I’m secure enough, then, to confess I have a softer side, too. I’ve waxed analytical about Katniss Everdeen and Jane the Virgin and the addictive melodramas of Shonda Rhimes, as well as professed my undying love for Dirty Dancing on more than one occasion (like here and here). I’m hooked on Fixer Upper and the interior-design wizardry of Joanna Gaines. And my favorite show of all time—seventeen years and running—is Gilmore Girls, and it doesn’t get more girly than Gilmore—“Girls” is right there in the title! Last year, the long-awaited return of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo didn’t hold a candle, in my view, to the overdue encore of Lorelai and Rory; I would willingly and happily trade every future Star Wars movie for more Gilmore.
So it was for that reason I picked up a copy of Lauren Graham’s new memoir Talking as Fast as I Can a few months ago. I’d hoped to get insight into the development and production of the Gilmore revival A Year in the Life—and the book doesn’t disappoint in that regard—but the last thing I expected was a practical, step-by-step solution to my time-management problems… though that’s exactly what I found.