The Alternative

The Droning Voice knows she promised, at some point, to never drone one of those insipid romance novels with formulaic plots involving muscular, brooding heroes, and saucy heroines whose bodices can barely contain their ample bosoms.

And she is keeping her promise (so far).

THIS romance novel (she is guessing it is a romance novel) gives the listener a peek into the life of an early 20th century New York Society gentleman.  They belonged to various clubs, they attended the best universities, they had fanciful nicknames, and, above all, they did NOT have jobs.  They, apparently, lived off the interest from trust funds and hoped to marry a wealthy heiress (or widow), the better to keep from having to get an actual JOB.

This appears to have really been a thing.  Heck, it may still be, for all The Droning Voice knows.  SHE lives, very happily, FAR from New York City Society and so is blissfully ignorant of the daily grind those folks must feel…determining which party invitation to accept (or decline), who to snub, which club to join.  But she is not without empathy.  “There, there”, she says, consoling the New York City Society elite. “There, there.”

AT ANY RATE, the hero in this romance (?) ultimately decides to marry only for love, and the object of his affection has been lowered in rank to “secretary” (gasp!), though was, of course, from one of New York’s finest, though fallen, families.  And then he (double gasp!!) actually Gets A Job, sending his poor father into a fit of apoplexy.  The beautiful secretary, of course, is extremely proper, only allowing color to rise in her cheeks as she demurely returns, briefly, a squeeze of his hand.  Then there is a pretty little tableau at the end, leaving our couple close together, him gently kissing her closed eyes as she rests her head on his chest (or something like that), as her hand delicately caresses his cheek.

No cold showers needed after THIS book is read, though, given the descriptions of a blizzard, a nice cup of something warm may help one be thankful for modern heating systems.  It may also help you drift off to sleep.

Pleasant dreams!

Here is a sample of The Alternative:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

Molly Make-Believe

This story is going to be difficult for anybody born after about 1970 to wrap their heads around, but, believe it or not, there used to be the equivalent of analog dating apps.  The Droning Voice remembers a very charming note received, and loving kept, by her great-grandmother which had been delivered via a messenger boy, and in which my not-yet great grandfather asked if he could enjoy her company that evening at her home….where, presumably, she would be under the watchful eyes of her parents.  Propriety, and all.

The plot of this little romance (?) involves a cold and distant socialite who can’t be bothered with her bed-ridden fiancé, leaving him to face the cold northern winter alone while she goes off to frolic in Jacksonville (Florida).  Before heading off she states upfront that she really can’t be bothered to write him more than once a week, so she leaves him a pamphlet for something called “The Serial Letter Co.”, which is kind of a pen-pal* for hire service, should he require more than a few cursory lines about the weather from his lady-love.  Letters can be received from Oriental Fairies, Historical figures, and even Plush Squirrels.  And, of course, love letters for the lonely, which is what Our Hero signs up for, innocently enough, as he wishes to provide examples of what a love letter should contain to his stately and aloof bride-to-be.  Not that she cares. Oh, no.  Today, of course, there are all sorts of ways one can snub their fiancé AND rub their faces in it by posting photos of themselves doing jello shots at beach resorts with strange men on social media. Hey, they aren’t married yet.

But back to our story:

Of course, everything goes wrong….or at least not as Our Hero thought it would.  The Droning Voice does not wish to spoil the ending for anybody wanting to listen, though is  hoping the listener will be in a drowsy stupor by then.  Still, this was one of the more engaging books she has read in the service of the insomniac, so offers a bit of caution for those of romantic inclinations.  For those into racing sports cars, the WWF, or watching programs where the goal is to determine which of three heavily tattooed men missing key teeth is the actual baby daddy, this may be just the selection for you.

Pleasant dreams!

*A “pen-pal” was a pre-internet, pre-social media way of meeting Russian women, Nigerian Princes, and, occasionally, interesting (and real) people from other countries where you could share bits about your cultures via the postal service involving actual STAMPS.

Here is a sample of Molly Make-Believe:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.