I went to sleep at night thinking all's right with the world. I woke up this morning to discover that Fox has gotten Tonya Harding to box Amy Fisher.

Then I did my daily check at Amazon and discovered that the site's posted, like, every bad reader review my book has ever gotten right there on the front page ("This book is a cross between Jemima J., Bridget Jones and I don't know what!" Yeah, babe. And your prose is a cross between Hooked on Phonics, Tom Shales on a bad day, and I don't know what either.).

So I took Wendell for his walk, and was making myself all kinds of promises about how I wasn' t going to let reader reviews determine my sense of worth and happiness, and the sun was shining, and I was starting to feel the tiniest bit better when we walked past the Xando on 2nd and Lombard and saw the dread words: "CLOSING FOR RENOVATIONS from 3/5 to LATE MARCH."


See, Xando's where I work. Five days a week, I pack up my laptop, set myself up with some Earl Grey tea, and write my childish, disappointing, derivative, silly, insult-to-intelligent-women-everywhere prose. It's the perfect place -- big enough so that it doesn't get crowded, but still cozy, and I can almost always get a table near a power outlet. It's got huge windows that open onto the street, so there's always something to look at, and on warm days they open them up. And they play good music. It is, in short, the absolute perfect place to spend three hours or so every day. And it's going to be closed during March -- the month I've got to devote to heavy-duty revisions of IN HER SHOES before the book tour starts. And then it's going to be a coffee bar/sandwich shop. Which means it's going to be noisy and crowded and I'll never get a good seat again.

I can't get as much work done at home. Too many distractions -- telephone, Internet, unfolded laundry. Plus, after ten years in newspaper newsrooms, I actually work better when there are other people around. And the small indie coffee shops won't do -- too cramped, too dark, no windows, tables too small for laptop, weird clientele. So where am I supposed to work now? Freakin' Starbucks?