Welcome Sophie Littlefield! After reading A Bad Day for Sorry I had to get you here to blog for us. Your unlikely heroine made me smile an awful lot.




Average And Then Some



I’m an average American woman in many ways. I’m from the heartland – Missouri to be specific – and while I’ve lived on both coasts I think I’m pretty solidly Midwestern at the core. I’m a size 12, which is just about the average. I have two children, only slightly higher than the current national average of 1.9.


I’m middle aged, at 46 smack in the middle of life. And until recently I followed a fairly average path, which could have been taken right out of the “Mid-Life” chapter of the Ordinary Housewife Handbook, if something like that existed.


Raise the kids? Check. Volunteer in school, church, and community? Check. Get the house painted, the tires rotated, the dog’s teeth cleaned…the mammogram, the high fiber cereal, the reading glasses, the sensible shoes? Check, check, and triple-check.


I did all these things and more, not just for myself but for my loved ones, day in and day out, year in and year out. And then one day I looked around and thought to myself:


“Wait a minute – that’s it?”


I had arrived at what I have come to think of as the Average American Woman’s Mid-Life Crisis. In some ways, it’s not so different from they guys’ version – it has to do with accomplishing everything society demands of us and suddenly realizing it’s not enough, that something is missing, that we yearn for something more. More meaning, more satisfaction, more excitement, more sense of accomplishment.


Unlike some of our male counterparts, we women don’t typically buy sports cars or take up with waitresses…we tend to go inward. I think a lot of us wonder where we went wrong, what we did or failed to do, what cues we missed or what rules we accidentally broke. When our needs start to make themselves known, we reject them at first as being unseemly, unacceptable, untoward….un-something.


And, tragically, a lot of us stop right there. We assume we’re the problem, and we try to suppress and contort ourselves into the box we’ve outgrown. If you ask me, a lot of the pissed-off old ladies in the world are just really really uncomfortable from having ignored the cues that it was time to break free, to pick out a whole new box – or put the box aside entirely.


It’s not for me to say what middle age ought to look like, but it does seem clear that we’re meant to do a little reinvention. The things that occupied us in our twenties don’t necessarily satisfy us two decades later. And that’s not a bad thing – we’re wonderfully complex, capable, sturdy, unique beings. One size emphatically does not fit all when it comes to deciding what our mature years should bring, what our work and relationships and leisure ought to look like. And guess what: we’re allowed to change our minds. Shall I say it again? We are allowed to change our minds! It may feel as though we are locked into contracts that we signed as new brides or new employees or new mothers, but those contracts are not binding. They’re not even real.


Change is hard. It’s terrifying and uncomfortable and our loved ones generally hate the idea. They like us the way we used to be – there’s no guarantee they’ll like the new us. But for some women, the need to grow will not be contained. The little voices get louder and louder, the zest for life chokes out the resistance until one day – BAM. Grown-up woman on the loose.


At its core, this is what my mystery series is all about. My heroine, Stella Hardesty, kills her husband and does a variety of other dramatic things once she hits fifty, but the way I see it, she’s just a woman figuring out who she really is at the mid-point of life. And like most of the fascinating and inspiring middle-aged women I know, she does it by making a lot of mistakes – and picking herself up and trying again and again.


There’s a line in A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY, a saying that Stella is considering putting on a sign to hang out front of her shop:


“The less a woman has to lose, the quicker you better get out of her way.”

That’s what middle age feels like to me, lately. I’m still average in many ways, but I’ve got a wonderful new career, and a host of fascinating people in my life – and my kids are proud of me. No way I’m going to stop now. What have I got to lose?


Join the discussion! Tell me what wonderful new things you’re discovering about yourself – at any age – and I’ll choose a random commenter to receive a signed copy of the paperback version of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, which just came out last week.

www.sophielittlefield.com

21 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // June 1, 2010 at 12:15 AM  

    Isn't there a new book due soon?

  2. Sophie Littlefield // June 1, 2010 at 2:18 AM  

    Why YES, there is a new book! :)

    A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY will be out next week. On June 8, to be specific. I'm pretty excited about it - it's gotten a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and 4 1/2 stars from RTBookReviews. There are some moments that still make me laugh in that book...and a few that had me sniffling when I wrote them.

    You can pick up PRETTY at all the usual places. And I'll be popping in here and there to sign and discuss, with my partner-in-crime and wonderful author Juliet Blackwell....check out the web site for schedule/details: www.sophielittlefield.com

  3. Judy // June 1, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

    Great to have you here, Sophie! had to laugh about your character's mid-life crisis...I think it's great when a woman looks deep inside her and decides to do something new with her life. My daughter-in-law and son just had a baby in their forties and I'm tickled pink! er...blue...It's a boy! LOL

  4. Mary Marvella // June 1, 2010 at 10:32 AM  

    YAY about the baby!

  5. Sophie Littlefield // June 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

    Congratulations on the new baby, Judy! Some days I look at my sweet teenagers and think awwww, I'd love to have a little one around again...and some days I think I'm out of my mind for having the first two!! :)

  6. Pamela Varnado // June 1, 2010 at 1:45 PM  

    Welcome Sophie.
    I found myself slipping into a midlife crisis when unexpectantly my daughter was sent to Afghanistan for eighteen months. While she was away I took care of her two boys, ages 1 and 4 at the time. They brought so much joy to my life that I forgot all about the gray hairs, aching joints and lower energy level. My days were full of laughter and activity. Now that they're back with mommy I miss them terribly. But they taught me one thing. Age is nothing but a number. Feeling young and healty is a state of mind. Just take care of yourself and do the things that give purpose to your life. The body will reward you with an abundance of vitality.

  7. Judy // June 1, 2010 at 3:05 PM  

    Well said, Pam. Hope all is going well with you and your hubby

  8. Mona Risk // June 1, 2010 at 6:53 PM  

    Welcome to the Pink Fuzzy Slippers Sophie. What a delightful post. I bet your book must be as much fun to read as this post. You described so well what many of us went through.

    I started a lot of things in my mid-life crisis. In addition to taking care of my granddaughters and publishing five books, I go to Pilates twice a week and finally managed to do the push-up, sit-up and the exercises I thought were impossible to perform.

  9. Mary Ricksen // June 1, 2010 at 8:17 PM  

    Wonderful blog Sophie, I was unfortunate not to hit my epiphany until I was much older. My generation took longer to realize we deserved something that was ours alone!
    But I thank my lucky stars I found it at all!

  10. Barbara Monajem // June 1, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

    Heh. What an enjoyable post. When I hit my mid-life crisis, I realized I absolutely HAD to get cracking with my writing career, and made myself join writers' groups and attend conferences, in spite of feeling awfully shy. It was well worth the effort!

    Your heroine kills her husband?? This sounds like an unusual book!

  11. Beth Trissel // June 1, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

    Thanks for being here on the Fuzzies. What an interesting and relevant post. I agree. I also took up writing in middle age, though somewhat younger than you. I woke up at 40. Your mystery series sounds quite an entertaining spin. Better to kill fictional relations, no prison time. I really like your book title too. I often feel that way.

  12. Patrice // June 1, 2010 at 10:00 PM  

    Sophie, what an interesting concept for a book, and I agree about the middle age crisis thing, but please, please, don't shoot the husband. LOL. Although many times I wish I did.
    Good luck with your book. It's sound delightful.

  13. Sophie Littlefield // June 2, 2010 at 1:29 AM  

    Pamela, I cannot imagine what you have gone through! I salute your bravery and the care you gave to your grandbabies. I am so glad that your daughter is home safe and sound. And I LOVE what you said about how the body will reward you with vitality - I couldn't agree more.

  14. Sophie Littlefield // June 2, 2010 at 1:31 AM  

    Um, Mona, you're kinda making me feel like a slacker. I've heard of this Pilates of which you speak...but tossing it in with publishing and grandparenting sounds pretty damn impressive! Do you think I expend a lot of calories yelling at my kids? I might have to step it up a bit...

  15. Sophie Littlefield // June 2, 2010 at 1:33 AM  

    Mary, isn't it amazing how many women got all the way to the end of their lives before realizing that they too deserved happiness, indulgence, even rest?

    I'll never forget when my grandmother came to visit us after being widowed. it was the first time she ever wore a pair of shorts or ate a meal outdoors, because these were things her husband did not allow. Her big smile both broke my heart and made me so happy that she was finally able to enjoy these things...

  16. Sophie Littlefield // June 2, 2010 at 1:35 AM  

    hey Barbara, a big toast to you for pursuing your dream! I too am shy, though no one ever believes me, since i have slowly learned how to act braver than I feel. :)

    I maybe should have mentioned that she kills her husband only *after* he abuses her, physically and verbally, for 30 years.

  17. Sophie Littlefield // June 2, 2010 at 1:37 AM  

    Hey Beth, thanks for the kind words!! I think a lot of women feel like they "wake up" somewhere around the age of 40. I can't believe I ever dreaded this decade...it's been pretty marvelous so far.

    Yeah, I tend to kill a fair number of relatives in my head...those holiday dinners can turn into a (fictional) bloodbath :)

  18. Sophie Littlefield // June 2, 2010 at 1:42 AM  

    hi Patrice,

    oh dear, I really got myself in trouble now, haven't I? I didn't shoot *my* husband - in fact, my husband is a really nice man, and has always been 100% supportive of my writing, even when it seemed like I would never get published.

    The husband in the book is a jerk - a horrible man, there's no other way to describe it. I'd never go so far as to say that any human *deserves* to be killed in cold blood....but this is fiction, and I had a lot of fun exploring vigilante justice. And I was definitely thinking about how it's not smart to cross a menopausal woman!! :)

  19. Mary Marvella // June 2, 2010 at 1:43 AM  

    I don't want to do a spoiler on this book, but you'll love the way this heroine gets justice! (SNICKER)

  20. Joanne // June 3, 2010 at 11:22 PM  

    Welcome, Sophie, to the Pink Fuzzies. Your book sounds like a must-read. A toast to all us (me included) middle-agers who are finding our way to pursue our dreams.

  21. Scarlet Pumpernickel // June 4, 2010 at 1:03 AM  

    Congrats on the release of A Bad Day For Pretty. I look forward to reading your new release. Welcome to the Pink Fuzzies, we're pleased you came to visit.