Under Cover: Author Says ‘Today Will Be Different’

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today“Today will be different. Today I will be present. Today, anyone I’m speaking to, I will look them in the eye and listen deeply. Today I’ll play a board game with Timby. I’ll initiate sex with Joe. Today I will take pride in my appearance. I’ll shower, get dressed in proper clothes and only change into yoga clothes for yoga, which today I will actually attend. Today I won’t swear. I won’t talk about money. Today there will be an ease about me. My face will be relaxed, its resting place a smile. Today I will radiate calm. Kindness and self-control will abound. Today I will buy local. Today I will be my best self, the person I’m capable of being. Today will be different.”

Ugh. How many of us have met the new day, week, or month with just such resolve? I’ll be more patient, less judgmental, more affectionate, and the list goes on.  Lofty goals, all, but in the quest for self-betterment, it’s next to impossible not to fall short.

With this list of goals comprising the opening paragraph of author Maria Semple’s new book, “Today Will Be Different,” it seems that both she, and protagonist, Eleanor Flood, feel our pain.

Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned for poor Eleanor. Her son comes home sick from school, and when she phones to apprise her husband of the situation, she is informed by his office that he’s on vacation – a fact he forgot to mention to Eleanor.

Seemingly, just like that, her desire to make today the start of a better Eleanor is thrown into a tailspin, as life gets in

Maria Semple.  Photo by Leta Warner
Maria Semple. Photo by Leta Warner

the way. What follows is a single day full of self-discovery that readers will be hard-pressed not to relate to in a personal way.

In real life, after a day like Eleanor’s, many would hit up the local happy hour. After all, who doesn’t love a good happy hour with friends? The siren song of discounted nachos and cocktails are hard to refuse, but the real draw is the chance to unwind with your comrades, swapping war stories, and girding up for a return to the trenches.

So, it’s only fitting that Semple is coming to town to discuss her new book, at the NBPL’s upcoming event, “Happy Hour with Bestselling Author, Maria Semple.”

As the author of 2013’s blockbuster, “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” as well as a former writer for such classic TV shows as “Mad About You,” “Arrested Development,” and “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Semple no doubt has plenty of stories to swap over nachos and beer, and the library is giving her the opportunity to do just that.

Appearing on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Central Library Friends Room, Semple will kick the party off at 6 p.m. with a reception serving beer, wine, and light appetizers. The evening will progress at 6:45 p.m., when she begins her presentation.

Tickets are $30 each, or $50 per couple, and include a copy of “Today Will Be Different,” with couple tickets receiving one copy to share. Semple will plan to sign books both before and after the discussion.

As an added bonus, the evening’s events will benefit the library’s non-profit organization, Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy, a group whose mission is to work with adult learners to “develop their literacy skills and empower them to achieve greater success in their lives – at home, at work, and in the community.”

So, if philanthropy was on your personal list of ways to make “today different,” you will be able to rest assured that at least one goal will be met.

For more information, or tickets, please visit newportbeachlibrary.org, or call (949) 717-3875.

Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected]

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