- Brandi Bradley
When I set my publication date for April 28, I did that for several reasons. One reason was that I wanted it to be available for people looking for Beach Reads. I also wanted it to be out in time for Mother’s Day, because books are always a good gift for mom.
But more than anything, it’s because Spring is when I am my most optimistic.
Right now, I have about two weeks left of teaching this semester. Then it’s just uploading grades and enjoying my time again. I’m already making little plans in my head for how I will spend all my time coming up. I can write more! I can go for walks. I read, like for fun! Oh, the glorious break I will have!
A couple of years ago I started tracking my moods via seasons. In the fall I have all this new boyfriend energy. In the winter I shift into hibernation mode. But Spring is all about pink. Strawberries, Rosé, Peonies! I feel lighter. My reading habits change to skincare blogs and celebrity gossip magazines. And much of my TV streaming switches from true crime binges to dating reality shows. It’s fun. It’s frothy. It’s a little silly.
Hubs hates it. He confessed to me once that while he spends his whole day speaking to adults in stern, almost shouting voices, with other lawyers, he’s actually triggered by couples shouting at each other.
Last Spring, he would walk into my studio. “What are you watching?”
“Bachelor in Paradise.”
I don’t typically watch The Bachelor because I’m always like Why is it a bunch of women fighting over one man? But Bachelor in Paradise has all the overwrought drama except it’s about multiple couples instead of finding “love” for one dude.
I really root for couples. I like couples. I like seeing two people working it out. One of my disappointments as a consumer of narrative crime fiction is it leans toward the lone detective, doomed to be alone. And how can readers or viewers conceptualize the concept of two people working through the tough stuff unless we have models? It’s not like we always have them at home. There are exceptions to this trope – True Detective season 3 being one of them.
I appreciate a good romance. What’s funny about the concepts of romance are often generalized. Reality shows are all about roses, champagne, and fantasy suites, but it’s not personalized in any way. One of the best takeaways from Grey’s Anatomy is how Derek didn’t buy Merideth roses when she was angry with him – he gave her a kidney in a jar. Because that was what she really wanted. It was personal and specific. No flowers, no candy, no grand gestures dressed as Santa Clause.
But it’s not romance I crave as much as it’s drama.
I just burned through all three seasons of Couples Therapy on Showtime (and Paramount Plus). The premise is the viewer is allowed to sit in with these couples as they receive therapy together with Dr. Orna Guralnik. It pairs many of the things I root for: couples, therapy, and drama. As a viewer, being a fly on the wall feels precious, and unlike other reality programming, it did not feel exploitive or amped. It’s a surprisingly quiet show, even if it shows couples to the point of yelling their frustrations at each other. And what makes all the difference is while in other reality couples therapy programs, the couples are more interested in being on television (I’m looking at you Celebrity Marriage Bootcamp) the couples on Showtime’s Couples Therapy actually look like they want help. I would parallel it to the podcast Where Shall We Begin with Esther Perel, except here you can actually see how much these couples love each other even if they can’t give each other what they want. It’s incredibly sweet to see the breakthroughs.
Not romance, but drama. Not the flush and the rush of the beginning of a relationship, but the persistent work of two people who chose each other every day.
That’s Spring, baby! Starting fresh.
As I start fresh on this new career as a novelist – I can actually say novelist instead of novel-in-progress – I feel touched by all the support I have received from friends and family.
I want to say Thank You and to Save the Date! Mothers of the Missing Mermaid will be available widely on April 28.
Also, don't forget that TODAY is Newsletter Day! Subscribers to the Books and Boots Newsletter get additional content, the Currently Loving List, and first access to offers, links, deals, and more. Get the newsletter delivered right in your inbox once a month at brandibradley.com/newsletter.
Read Books! Wear Boots! XOXO, B.