Why do many of us opt for “making do” rather than treating ourselves to something better?  Take  my phone, for example.  In the small room I work in  (I call it my “studiola, ” a word stolen from  Renaissance painters) the phone was  prone to static and the answering machine incapable of reporting the correct time of a message.   Instead of heading for a store, I dove into my storeroom of a closet and unearthed a phone stashed there since the last century. The only problem was that I couldn’t make outgoing calls, nor did it have the Caller ID which protects from unwanted interruptions.  I decided it would be economical to use this anyway and to carry in a mobile phone from the bedroom whenever I wanted to make an outgoing call. After months of this peripatetic arrangement, I told myself that as a professional writer I should have a more professional set-up.  I purchased a 21st Century digital phone with a built-in answering machine.   But when I brought it home I hesitated to open the box.  Did I really need  a new phone?  After all, the old one was still working  – more or less.  And how important is it to know what time someone calls?  My doubts fed on the directions for setting it up.  “Possible shock. . . fire. . . if not installed properly.”  (Ever notice how scary directions are for everything from gadgets to medications?)

After some tolerant friends assured me this was an excellent machine, and wouldn’t blow up the apartment,  I paid a neighbor to install the phone  and it’s transformed my life.  Imagine, incoming and outgoing calls on the same phone!

I go through the same back-and-forth with almost every purchase.  Take the computer, for instance.  I had one that was so decrepit it made my writing take three times as long as it should have.  Yet I kept putting off buying a new one for several years, until the computer gave out (along with  an unsaved manuscript)!

Then there’s my car . . .  Vintage 1983.  Obviously,  an object has to die of  old age before I replace it.

This isn’t miserliness, for when my adult children need something I unhesitatingly fork over the money. So why this trauma when it comes to purchasing something for myself?  Is it guilt?   Negative  self-esteem?  “Do I deserve . . ?“

A friend once confided that she and her husband inherited a set of expensive china from his parents. “For years I saved it for guests ,” she told me. “But one day I decided we should enjoy the dishes ourselves. And we do, every evening.  Better than saving them for the future.”    Better, indeed. There wasn’t much of a future, for she died a few years later.

Maybe we should all make a mid-summer vow that we are worth treating ourselves to the best  –  while  we can.





“What do you do?”  That’s the  question I dread, especially at those author cocktail parties where  you’re supposed to network.

Notice, the question’s rarely,  “How do you do? ” but , what . That’s when I try not to stutter, or drop my prop of a wine glass. For, as we writers know, the question is really what do we write about and I find it impossible to define that.

How can I explain in a one-minute encounter that my books range from bereavement to Bible?  Or that my short stories include an indescribable   variety of situations women cope with? And my articles range …well, you get the idea.

I did try getting attention from an assured  woman who boasted that she writes chick lit by telling her that  my latest short story is about a mother whose child is kidnapped.   Shuddering she retorted, ”What made you write about that?”  Then hurried on to the next prospect without waiting for my answer.

A friend advised me to say that I “cover the waterfront,” assuring me it’s a stock phrase for diversity. So at the next   literary gathering, I answered the usual question by telling a man,  ”I sort of cover the waterfront.”

“Water sports sell these days,” he said.

Left alone in that crowd I overheard a woman tossing off a blithe, “I’m a generalist.”

When I tried out that word I felt so military, I expected to be saluted.

Recently I was interviewed by British blogger Morgen Bailey, who wanted toknow  whether  I ‘m a  fiction or non-fiction author.  When I said I straddle both sides, she listed me as “multi-genre.”

Now there’s an impressive phrase!  But when I rehearsed it in private   I had trouble with the “r” – should it be pronounced or ignored?

Surely I’d get good advice from my articulate nephew, Benjamin Kassoy. At the awesome age of 24 he’s already co-authored two books. I asked him how he answers that inevitable networking question.   He told me that,  as I know, he loves to talk. He also loves to write.  But his twin loves fail to join forces when asked what he writes. “I let my writing do the talking,” he confides.

I’ve  now decided that the next time I’m asked what I write, I’ll say,  ”Words.”

Who’s listening anyway?

[Anyone with a savvy reply is welcome to share on my blog.]

WEBSITE: annehosansky.com


“Widow’s Walk,” available through iUniverse.com; “Turning Toward Tomorrow,” available through xLibris; “Ten Women of Valor,” available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon. Also available for Amazon Kindle.