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Category: Personal & Family Life

Where do you go from being hugged by J. K. Rowling?

 

Last week, I met J. K. Rowling! I’ve now calmed down enough to tell the tale.

Working at Little, Brown has many benefits, but for a Harry Potter-head like me, the theoretical chance of meeting J. K. is really the main one. I had less than one day to get used to the idea last week when we got an email announcing a celebratory visit from ‘Robert Galbraith’ to mark the success of Career of Evil the very next morning. What should I wear? Should I talk to her? Would she be interested to know about my desire to get a Harry Potter tattoo?

The first question became moot by the morning as I blissfully forgot all about my impending encounter with the world’s most famous novelist. It was probably for the best. I decided I should talk to her, because the opportunity might never come again. And a friend put me off revealing my tattoo dreams, probably also for the best. Here’s the blow-by-blow.

Personal & Family Life

Book rec: I Know How She Does It

I have a book recommendation! Laura Vanderkam is a wonderful author who writes about time management. Her new book, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time is really worth reading if you’re a woman who dreams of having both a happy family life and a career, or already have both and find the juggling act stressful and difficult. (And if you’re a man in a relationship with such a woman, I would also recommend it to you for perspective.)I Know How She Does It cover

I’ve been a fan of Vanderkam’s writing ever since I happened to find What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast in a bookshop, and was inspired by her optimism about time. The lack of time is a favourite complaint among ‘busy’ people, but she actually maintains that you can make time for anything you want by planning and prioritising. And some of the things your time is currently spent on probably aren’t worth it.

The new book is based on research among women who have a big career and a family, and her findings are honey to my ears. I’m ambitious career-wise, but I also hope that I will eventually have at least one child, and I’ve already started worrying about how that’s going to work. The narrative is that if you want one, then you need to be reconciled to the fact that you will never be fully invested in the other. But Vanderkam’s research shows otherwise: the book is full of women who find the time to be properly involved in both, without big trade-offs, and it’s really reassuring to read about. 

Personal & Family Life

Kernels of thoughts

London street at twilight
A June evening on my street

When I was growing up, I kept a diary for years. I had a friend who was a very gifted artist, and when we met and swapped diaries to get up to speed about what the other one had been up to, I was so impressed with the colourful, doodle-y pages of her diary. I obviously tried to ape her best as I could, so the main purpose of keeping a diary for a while was to come up with some witty illustrations or colour patterns my friend wouldn’t have thought of.

Now I dream of keeping a grown-up diary where I could record thoughts. I figure, when I’m old and want to look back, I won’t be so interested in which places I visited, etc – but what I used to think about things.

My efforts to start keeping a diary again have largely failed, but I can at least commit my ideas to the internet! Here are a couple of thoughts from the past week or so.

Personal & Family Life