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Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed Book CoverThoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed

Here is a lively personal account of life in a long marriage—what you get and give up for that commitment.  Mixing honesty, wit, and reflection (because that is what a shared life takes), the author depicts the issues, big and small, of trying to make two lives (not to mention children, parents, relatives, and friends) fit together. Negotiating monogamy, moths in the closet, breast cancer, heart attack, the powers of meatloaf, and how to survive a six-hour car ride together when “someone” forgot the map—all are considered in 34 linked essays that started “as thoughts between dozing and waking that rouse…like a soldier hearing gunshots.” The book offers no formulas, case studies, or how-to lists for conquering problems. Instead, readers are invited, as if friends, through a window of thoughts and events that shows a real marriage at work—one that tries to satisfy the needs for independence and the loyalties of love.

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Excerpt

Today I am leaving two giant meat loaves in the freezer--hand-molded and baked by me for Stu, who will be alone in New Jersey while I'm in Aspen, Colorado, for a two-week writers workshop. The soft, round mounds, topped with ketchup, mustard and brown sugar, are meant to keep my spirit powerful while I’m gone.

I would have made two quarts of fruit soup, too, but Stu said not to bother. He didn’t even care if I made meat loaf. He would manage fine with the deli down the street, or else he'd get some women to cook for him now that he's a bachelor. "Joke, joke," he said when I glared. "Make the meat loaf, I love meat loaf."

He does, too, especially this recipe found in an Amish cookbook we bought once in Pennsylvania; it's filled with reassuring titles such as "Children's Favorite Meat loaf," illustrated by 18th-century block prints of women with spatulas, stirring giant pots. I had not made the recipe in years, forgot I had it, in fact, until my mother asked what I was cooking for Stu before I left. She looked grim at my going, and so did Stu's mother when he announced, first thing after we walked into her apartment last week, that I was leaving him for two weeks.

"For a workshop-- part of my job," I said quickly. She kept scowling (her meat loaves never needed freezing!) and Stu grinned. The brave son. The brave husband. Modern, liberated, uncared for, but surviving.
Because of my meat loaf.  Last year, on my longest trip until this one, I called from Dallas every night for a week and asked, "What did you do for dinner?" imagining him dining by candlelight with someone who had a nine-to-three job and cooked Julia Childs' gourmet breakfasts. 

"I ate meat loaf. Delicious," Stu would say, and I'd beam with love into the receiver. No matter if I was going to a French cafe with some friends and then to a jazz concert on the town green…

From "Meat Loaf in the Freezer"

"I laughed and sighed and loved reading Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed from start to finish. Schwartz, who is a writer, professor, wife, mother, and friend, resists stereotypes of class, gender, and age to find or make, in lovely, clear prose, the sweetness of life for her audience. Do yourself a favor. Read this book."—Hilda Raz, author of Divine Honors and What Becomes You

“A queen-size bed may sound roomy, but when it is shared by a couple married for 40 years ...such a bed becomes a place where thoughts — on love, negotiating a long partnership, motherhood, staying faithful — and memories flow powerfully.”
--The New York Times

“A lovely, lissome collection of short essays on contemporary marriage, love, and fidelity, this volume beguiles with its elegance and grace.--The Virginia Quarterly Review

“In Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed, Schwartz has written a gem of a book…She offers us the stuff of a real marriage, its wrangling and humor, and suggests that marriage lasts if couples find their way between apartness and togetherness, independence and need.”--Jewish Book World

“A gentle moving celebration of the quotidian”--Kirkus Review

University of Nebraska Review