Like many of us when faced with a sudden, devastating blow, when author Dominique Browning lost her job she sought comfort in a certain addictive substance: sugar. "At first I thought I would write a book along the lines of 'Eat, Pray, Love,' except it would have been more like 'Eat, Eat, Eat,'" says Browning, who found herself unexpectedly unemployed after a 12-year stint as editor of House & Garden when the magazine folded in 2007.
A Stamford native, Browning was living in her "dream house" in Pelham when her professional world fell apart. Addressing an audience of readers at the Harry Bennett library on Tuesday, she described a series of post-layoff phases. After nixing the 'Eat, Eat, Eat' idea, Browning said she considered writing about her ambivalent relationship. Then, during a stint of gardening, "I thought I would write about women and nature. Eventually, I realized I wanted to write about women and everything!"
That realization resulted in Browning's book "Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness," published in April. Now leading a more relaxed but equally full life in Rhode Island, Browning says she's learned to appreciate the opportunities an empty schedule creates to connect with her friends, her two sons, and herself. But it wasn't easy at first.
"I have always had a job," she writes. "I have always supported myself. Everything I own I purchased with money that I earned. I worked hard. For the 35 years I've been an adult, I have had an office to go to and a time to show up there. I've always had a place to be, existential gravitas intended. Without work, who was I?"
Without work, it turned out, Browning was a lot like she was as a kid growing up on Clay Hill Road, where her childhood was defined by "a sense of nature, and a sense of community ... Stamford was a small town then." Her fondest memories, perhaps not surprisingly, revolve around the Stamford Public Library.
"I remember the first time they told me I could get six books out and take them home, then when I brought them back, I could get six more," she says. "It felt like a miracle!"
Make sure "Slow Love" is on your next list of six. To learn more, check out the website .
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