Stephanie Dickison has what many would consider to be the perfect life: she makes a living doing what she loves; she works from home and is her own boss; she’s paid to try out new products, eat at awesome restaurants and drink rounds of wine; her “office” is her bedroom, allowing her work at her roll-top desk in her pajamas if she chooses.
As a freelancer writer, blogger and reviewer of all things music, food and life in Toronto, Stephanie also battles serious deadlines, sends out streams of e-mails, makes plenty of phone calls, eats heavy meals many times a week and staves off her own exhaustion — all in the name of earning a paycheck doing what she so loves.
The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy about Writing and Working From Home is comprised of vignettes detailing her own writing life, including how she came to abandon her steady office job in the name of all that is creative. A quick, often humorous read, I loved the short chapters which felt like blog entries, each with the title of a different — and awesome! — song. Many of her chapters could stand on their own, which did occasionally make me feel a little disoriented. I wondered how everything was connected. But as I kept moving right along, I realized that Stephanie is giving us a look at her entire life — before, present, future — and many of her experiences, especially when young, shaped how she tackles life now. I loved reading about her adventures with her dad on a family trip to Williamsburg and really enjoyed the funny anecdotes about eating — and reviewing — in the city.
As an editor and novelist myself, I could definitely relate to her woes regarding deadlines and the very long, complicated hours writers keep. She does much better than I would do as a home-based entrepreneur, getting up and dressed and ready to rock at a reasonable hour every morning — despite the fact that her own bed is just steps away from her work space. And I really appreciated what she had to say regarding “reviewing” something and “critiquing” it — I share her opinions exactly. While we will both acknowledge a huge flaw if we see it, we don’t take the opportunity to put on our Nasty Pants and completely dress down the object of our dissatisfaction. We prefer to dwell on the positives of a book, album or product, actually reviewing it instead of dissecting it. Rock on, Stephanie!
If you’ve ever considered freelancing or wanted to run a business from home, The 30-Second Commute would be a welcome glimpse into that sort of life! Lovers of food, music and tales from the writing world would enjoy this memoir, too. Overall, a well-written and fun look at a woman finding that elusive literary bliss. And at 189 pages, you can gobble up the savor-sized portions in just a few hours.
4 out of 5!