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Friday, July 29, 2011

Poof! One Day - Laura Lofgreen vs. Emma Morley

I recently finished a booked called One Day.  
I’ll try not to give too much away, as I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone else who plans on reading it.
One Day was a fun read, full of witty writing and specifically two interesting characters; Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew.
One Day wasn't life changing, like other books I’ve read this summer (The Help or Sarah’s Key), but it was worth the journey in many ways.
I laughed, I cried and know more about London then I did before.
One Day follows the relationship of Emma and Dexter, from just after their college graduation all the way into their forties.
There are highs and lows, bad jobs and even worse hair cuts, lovers and heartbreaks, but around the age of 35, Emma’s dreams come true.  She publishes a young adult book and every writer’s dream, writes sequels.  Next come the movie rights and merchandising. 
And I was jealous, of a fictional character mind you named Emma Morley, because I want to be published like her.
I actually mopped around, feeling sorry for myself, talking to my husband about it, until I took a step back and really compared my life to Emma Morley.
Emma, this non-real/non-person who’s never taken a human breath, is married in the book at the age of 38.
I’m 38.
And I wondered, where would my life be if I just married?
If I’d been single all these years.

Laura life before meeting Derek.

I loved college, thrived on higher education and was prepared to start a Master’s Degree after receiving my bachelor’s in communication from ASU.  
I loved running.  I ran everyday, up Camelback Mountain, around Papago Park, on the canal out to Red Mountain, around the track at ASU.  I ran at least an hour every day.  I always had index note cards in my hands when I ran; memorizing notes I needed for my advanced public speaking classes and other course work. 
I was a nerd in running shorts and a highlighter pen!
I think I was happy, although I do remember feeling lonely often, wondering if I’d ever find love.
A few years earlier at the age of 17, I'd read a book called Diet for a New America.  It changed how I looked at food. I became a vegetarian and wouldn’t eat meat for another 10 years. 
I loved children and was a professional nanny.  Actually, I was a professional at playing house in very expensive homes.  I played, traveled around the country and drove every type of Mercedes and Volvo with childproof locks.  I loved to cook, learning as I went, and was happy to do all the grocery shopping.  I cooked gourmet meals for the families I worked for; stuffed peppers with goat cheese, lentil soups with curry chicken, eggplant parmesan and homemade cheesecakes with glazed peaches. 
But at night, when I was at home in my apartment eating raw carrots and tofu, I remember feeling lonely. 
I wanted someone to love with all my heart, but how would I ever find him?
I never thought love would happen to me.  I knew I was different.  I didn’t have many friends.  Socially, I felt awkward, plus I was Mormon, which means not drinking, no sleeping around, dressing modestly and attending church on Sunday, very much not like Emma Morley.
I worked full-time and went to school full-time.  
Most my clothes were from the thrift store, vintage and hippie with a conservative edge.  
I rode my bike to school because I could not afford to pay for student parking.  
My bagged lunch was most often a brown rice sandwich; really it was quite good with lettuce and mustard.  
I was on a full-ride academic scholarship and worked a part-time internship.  
The night I met Derek I had no idea what was about to happen to me, that very soon I would be in love with this 6’5 beautiful person.  That I would have more happiness then I ever imagined, that he would change my entire world.
We meet in the parking lot at ASU, (hey, better then a dark alley) and talked about our goals for the upcoming new year.

The year was 1998.
We were friends for four months.  
Derek called and asked me out.  I told him I was too busy and didn’t want a boyfriend, but asked if he’d like to help me plant a garden in the small patch of dirt on the edge of my back patio.  He obliged and afterwards, I made him whole wheat pancakes with real maple syrup.  
I told him we could be friends, but he persisted with flowers left on my door step and red balloons tied to the handlebars of my bike.  He wrote poetry and mailed it to my apartment.  He had cookies delivered and invited me to the movies or out to dinner.
Until I finally said yes.
We dated for four weeks when he proposed and we were married three months later.
I was married 2 weeks before my 26th birthday in a borrowed dress and a handmade veil to the very best person I’ve ever known. 
At 26, Emma Morley was working as the manager of a cheesy, and I do mean lots of cheese, Mexican restaurant, wondering if she should date the new guy just hired to wash dishes.
Emma’s life is not exaggerated by author David Nicholls and I appreciate that, it just takes her a long time to figure out what’s best for her.  There’s no Derek to sweep her off her feet.
Personally, I would not have been friends with Dexter Mayhew.  He is toxic Emma and drags her down for way too long.  When I was single, I knew men like Dexter Mayhew.  Rich, arrogant, searching for the meaning of life in a bottle of beer; I could never be with this type of man.  I would be a very different person if Dexter Mayhew kept showing up in my life; confused, strung out, depressed, lonely.
I needed someone quiet, but strong, smart, but humble.  I needed someone to teach me what love was by how he loved me in return.
I needed someone who thought I was beautiful and would run 5 miles with me, which he did once.
Of course, I didn’t know all this when I married Derek.  I just knew I loved him with all my heart.
So, would I be a published author  like Emma Morley, traveling to Paris and taking a couple years off work to study my art? 
What if I wasn’t married with 5 kids?
Would I be a famous author?
My life is full of miracles; six to be exact.
My husband and five children like precious gems built into my heart.
I can’t be sure exactly, but without the love of my family I’d still be searching, hoping love would find me.  I wouldn’t be complete.  I’d still have only half my heart. 
Sometimes I say to Derek, "I can't believe you found me."
I'm so grateful he recognized me and saw something in me I'd never seen before.
Still, the desire to write burns inside me and I can’t put it away. 
So, I guess reading One Day did impact me more then I realized.  It made me look at my life differently and isn’t that the best thing about a gifted writer and the written word.  
So, here’s to unfinished novels, unsolicited queries and unedited manuscripts.  
Here’s to dirty dishes, dirty diapers and dirty socks and here’s to you, Emma Mayhew, for getting published and finding love in Dexter along the way.  
I’m not jealous of Emma anymore, alright, maybe just a little bit, but hopefully my time will come.


  1. That book will be a movie very soon with Anne Hathaway. It looks very good. Maybe I should read the book before the movie comes out.

  2. Best post ever Laura!

  3. I love this post Laura. And with writing as passionate as that you will be a published writer One Day :)
    Em @

  4. This IS a great post. So much love on this blog. :) It's inspiring.

    Did I tell you that my husband's name is Derek, too? He is the best and I don't know what I'd do without him and my little guy, either.


  5. I love this post. Sometimes reading certain stories makes me feel rather discontent with my chosen life too. Then I snap out of it and realize just how blessed I am and will always be because of my family and righteous choices. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. I just finished this book too Laura, and loved it!!! Personally I don't see Anne Hathaway as Emma at all but maybe she'll prove me wrong. Did you find it quite heartbreaking?

    K xx

  7. I enjoyed your thoughts. Your day will come!
    from Mom

  8. This was a great post! I love love stories and yours warmed my heart.

  9. Awesome post. Isn't it we have so.much and yet. Sometimes looking at what someone else has makes us feel like we are missing out. Then we analyze, and blog about it and we realize we have it all. And it always makes for an awesome post.